The Age of the Blockade Runner

A note in the latest DEV blog sent me scurrying to log my Jita Alt in:

http://community.eveonline.com/devblog.asp?a=blog&nbid=73995

“Blockade Runners are being updated to be immune to cargo scanners, and as such will always show up as empty on scans”

It has a much smaller capacity and much much smaller tank, but at least it will not be scannable.  I purchased a number each of the Crane, Prorator, Viator and Prowler on the speculation they might go up in price.

Also of note was this comment:

Ship maintenance bays are somewhat special: they will be scannable (ie, ships but not their modules or cargo can show up in results), but they won’t be dropping assembled ships as loot

While it won’t protect my mobile Orca bases from gankers for griefing, it makes them less of a target for gankers for profit.

Been busy in game – more preparations for Retribution, plus some steps towards re-anchoring an Empire Research POS.

I knew I shouldn’t have

After a reminder from Serpentine Logic (http://serpentinelogic.wordpress.com/2012/11/27/preparing-for-retribution/) I figured I’d put in a token effort and manufacture some of the items which will cost more to build after Retribution is released.

As he wasn’t forthcoming with what those particular items were (I don’t blame him), I tried half a dozen different Google searches until I found comments and posts outlining the obvious ones.

I grabbed out the related BPO’s and started kicking off some max run manufacturing jobs – only to hit the limit for my Industry Alt at just 5 jobs. Seems I hadn’t trained that Alt in Advanced Mass Production!

I quickly scramble to train up my PI Alt so she can kick off a couple jobs – but then realise she doesn’t have Production Efficiency V.

Skill plans get adjusted and updated, and a couple skill books are purchased.

I then log in my Main, Jump to his Industry Clone, and auto pilot an Interceptor to my Trade and Manufacturing Hub.  I’ll use him to finish off my manufacturing.

One job submitted, and then the next fails as I am short on Minerals. That’s right, buy more Mexallon was on my To-do list.

Back to my trade Alt, find some at a reasonable price on the market, purchase, and start hauling.

The last of the jobs is finally kicked off.  I realise my minerals could do with some replenishment, so I put some buy orders up.

I knew there was a reason I wasn’t going to bother with this. Damn you Serpentine Logic..

How dare you

A PI Run, a Trade Run, and then I log my main in.  I undock the exploration Legion and work through another 7 empire systems.  I run every combat site I find, some 20 odd, plus a handful of Magneometric sites.  Finally I settling down to clearing out a Hedbergite and Hemorphite Gravimetric site – not as it is profitable, but just because it is a little different.

In the collection I run a Sansha Burrow for the first time – surprisingly given it is about the poorest site in value, so I would assume the most common.  I see no escalations and very few faction rats.  The loot gods remain aloof, and my total profits for the 3+ hour’s effort is only around 50M ISK.  I wonder if that is because I am in the Legion, and not an Assault Frigate?  Do loot and escalation chances take into account the hull you are flying?

I then had very little free time for EVE for well over a week.

Finally when I could log in again I decided to throw caution to the wind, and I uncharacteristically do my Trade Run before my PI Run.

There was a discussion on the Corp Forum recently about the behaviour of some of our Blues.

The Corp is a little unusual in its charter.  It expects you to be relatively gentlemanly in game, and basically leave people alone outside of 0.0 and Wormholes.  Engage in some of the more nefarious pursuits of EVE, and you will get kicked.

As I have mentioned before, the Alliance is not especially numerous in 0.0, and they have a few Blues near them.  This provides the pilots who live down there extra fleets to join, and improves the Intel they need to rely on to stay alive.  It’s a pragmatic and common sense approach.

While they look for people who are good to work and fleet with, they don’t exclude Allies just because they might behave in ways that would get you booted from the Corp.  Our approach is after all not that common, and you have to accept people play this game in all different sorts of ways.  You are just meant to politely excuse yourself or not fleet up for those types of activities.

That all makes sense to me – and I have no problem with it.

Every so often a Corp member will get horribly upset that we Blue with such groups, complain, and leave the Corp because of it.  (Including one or two just recently.)

I would give them a little respect for sticking to their principles – but just as often I get the strong impression that it is more the fact they refuse to accept people play the game differently than how they want to.

I’m normally remarking here about the anti-empire brigade doing exactly the same thing – but Carebears can be just as bad.  I don’t really get it.

I expected more explosions

I’ve been thinking a bit about the collective EVE bloggers of late.

EVE Players constantly hunt and kill each other with real pixel consequence. A large enough number of these players also troll, lambast, scam, steal and belittle their opponents. They show no respect, mercilessly hound signs of weakness, and go out of their way to be upsetting. Big wars see streams of military grade propaganda and thousands of players displaced.

It is not hard to imagine why people get annoyed, or even angry, and why grudges and rivalries can last for years.

Given this, I was surprised at how generally civil the EVE Blogging community is.

Yes I am sure you can prove me wrong with enough exceptions and bad examples. I am not saying it is some angelic utopia of fair-mindedness. I’m saying that – given the nature of the EVE environment, I am surprised that the blogging community is not more fractious and troll like.

And then the obvious came to me.

The average EVE Blogger is probably not the truest representation of the EVE environment. Yes they can be found in Empire, and Low and Null Sec, and Wormholes, and in solo play, and in small gang PVP, and within Industry or huge Alliances. Yes by following them you can learn about the mechanics of the game, the histories, the many different play styles and you can get valuable tips and ideas.

But the authors tend to be well (well) out of their teens, often have careers, are often married, and a fair number also have kids. They tend to have a perspective on what is really important in life, and the maturity to realise that life isn’t just about them.

It would be a mistake going into EVE assuming this relative civility is the norm.

(I’ll stop thinking about the EVE Blogging community now! 🙂 )

 

Obvious is not always Obvious

Every so often I read an EVE Blog post which is “sincerely hypocritical” – where the author is convinced of the merits of their argument; but to a neutral observer the post just speaks of blinkered bias.

It is worth remembering that the average EVE blogger is not a trained author. They don’t operating under a journalist oath, or have rules governing their professional integrity.

They are mostly just hobbyists – and should be cut some slack.

The EVE Blogging Community

Three days ago I updated the format of this site to allow me to list the main EVE related blogs that I follow. As I remarked in a comment, I wanted to do this to acknowledge in a small way the community that exists.

Yesterday Ardent Defender ** posted a number of links to current discussions around the EVE Blogging Community and two of its staples – the EVE Blog Pack (http://blogpack.evebloggers.com/) and Eve Bloggers ( http://www.evebloggers.com/). I don’t follow either closely as they tend not to be updated frequently enough, but the discussions are worth noting.

http://ardentdefense.wordpress.com/2012/11/13/interesting-points-of-view-on-the-community/

Seismic Stan will be trying to keep a list of related blog posts here:

http://freebooted.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/an-ecosystem-of-wordsmiths.html

So what is this EVE Blogging Community that we are talking about? Simplistically it is just a collection of EVE Bloggers who link, recognise and refer to each other. At its very core I would guess there might be a half dozen or more very prominent and well known writers with large reader bases, and maybe 30 or 40 more respected and decently patronised sites. Around this would be hundreds more active EVE blogs.

The Blogs come and go, and fall in and out of favour – but I think the community is now relatively entrenched and easy enough to stumble across. While the community ebbs and grows organically now, it was certainly helped in its creation by the semi-formal relationships begun through mechanisms like the EVE Blog Pack.

The EVE Blogging community can also be found in twitter under #tweetfleet, in CCP’s own Fan site list (http://community.eveonline.com/community/fansites.asp), and either directly or cross posted on EVE News 24 (http://evenews24.com/) and The Mittani (http://themittani.com/). All these, in one way or the other, have commercial interests, so rightly or wrongly I don’t specifically tie them into the underlying grassroots of the community.

My version of the EVE Blog community are the 18 blogs I follow in Google Reader and the 40 WordPress Blogs I am subscribed to. I would say 30% are updated regularly, 40% infrequently, and 30% are dormant. I tend to leave those I really like in case they return, but every so often I will add or remove sites from this. I also follow (and occasionally post in) the Blog Banter.

As it is, it can be a struggle to keep up to date on all those blogs – but I feel they keep me informed on what is going on in the EVE sphere; and my EVE experience is more enjoyable and richer for following them.

My own contribution is pretty light on. I link to my favorite blogs, and I make a point of commenting in or referring to them at times. I don’t specifically promote this site as I still – and I expect always will – write it for myself. I’m aware people read the posts, but for the most part it is just me getting my own thoughts in order. I only count myself as being on the outer fringes of the EVE Blogging Community.

On the surface, there is no specific need for the EVE Blog Pack and such any more. As it stands there are so many links between the most popular and well known EVE bloggers that all it takes is a simple Google Search for a new EVE player to be quickly exposed to the community, be it a little haphazardly. (Half of all my traffic comes from search results, the other half from referrals or subscriptions.)

Where the EVE Community can however really benefit from these older structures is in how they promote and encourage participants to both increase the quality and frequency of posts. While they might get unwieldy and politicised as the community grows and get older, they can still play a very valuable part in it.

The issue is – can you find the appropriate people to manage them? Do not underestimate the time, effort and politics which would be involved in running and maintaining a central resource like the Blog Pack. I’ve been involved in various online communities for 20 or more years now, including being a moderator on a forum that had thousands of registered and active users. It can be like a part time job with no pay, little praise, and regular angst, aggravation and dummy spits from the louder members of the community. It can be hard to disassociate yourself from the commentary and not take things personally. I fully appreciate the labors of those who have previously managed these services for the community, and can’t blame them if they decide to abandon them.

Regardless what happens I suspect the community will carry on, probably even after the EVE servers have finally shutdown – at least long enough to dissect, opinionate, and muse over the reasons CCP failed.

** Ardent Defender followed it up with his own detailed thoughts here:

http://ardentdefense.wordpress.com/2012/11/14/sensationalism-irrational-fear-blogging-drama-in-the-eve-blogosphere-community/

A hiccup in the nomad lifestyle

So I am really enjoying my roaming Orca bases – in particular the Exploration base. I like being able to move from system to system, swap ships, fittings, carrying loot and covering lots of different contingencies, all while not needing to dock. I can’t fully explain it, but the notion of being a space nomad really appeals to me.

As reported elsewhere, and I think flagged in this blog already, CCP are making changes to the Corporate Hangers on Capital Ships (which Orca’s fall under).

https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&t=164501

With further clarification here:

https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&m=2123982#post2123982

Basically:

. All Capital Ship Corp Hangars will now be Fleet hangars
. Volumes stay the same
. Divisions and reliance on Corporate Roles are gone
. All assets currently stored in different divisions will be combined after the patch

Organisation and security will be managed by containers:

. 5 new non-compressive containers are being added to the game for use in Fleet hangers
. Only the flying pilot will be able to take items from containers
. Only the flying pilot will be able to remove containers
. Fleet or Corporation members will be able to drop items into containers, but not remove
. The Ship Fitting Service will always be available to anyone in your fleet or Corporation
. You can configure both Fleet Hanger and Ship Maintenance Array to allow or dis-allow access to Fleet members and / or Corporation Members

 

So far the only negative will be having to re-organise my spares and loot into containers, and make sure any security settings are appropriate for the ships use. But then there is this bit of information:

. Fleet Hangers will now behave like a normal cargo hold – and be able to be scanned and will drop loot

First, it makes sense and I am not opposed to the change. But it should not be underestimated – it is a dramatic Nerf to hauling, and a huge boost to Ganking.

It also throws a spanner in the works for my roaming Orca bases. During exploration you collect a huge pile of cheap Meta items, cheap Faction loot, Manufacturing and Invention Supplies. Even if the value of this loot remains below normal hauling risk limits, the scan results, along with the spare fittings you carry, mean you are now at far greater risk of being ganked.

So as far as loot is concerned, will I now be forced to drop it off at stations as I move around, and go back for it weeks / months later in some over tanked transport ship or cruiser?

 

And then there was this:

Forlorn Wongraven – “Great changes right there. Can we get drops from SMA as well, please?”

CCP Greyscale – “Yup. Anything in any kind of bay should now be able to drop (including drone bay, SMA, ore bay etc).”

https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&m=2153829#post2153829

 

And therein might be the end my nomadic life style. While it doesn’t look like you can scan the SMA as yet, it becomes a loot pinata. Again, I am not opposed to the change just on the fact it makes sense to do it, it just makes my game style far less practical.

Can’t quite decide if an Orca’s fleet hanger is worth ganking for? Give it a go anyway, as you might drop something worthwhile from the SMA.

I would like some sort of mechanism to offset this a little – which doesn’t involve double wrap courier contracts. Maybe a container type which only holds half its volume, but can’t be scanned? Maybe a fitted module that gives a chance of self-destructing the SMA or Fleet hanger if the ship is destroyer? Maybe a module which has a chance of causing a ship or cargo scan to fail, or means it only reports 80%, or 60%, or less?

So – I don’t want to get all alarmist, but basically I think I will need to ensure my Orca’s carry less than 1Bil in assets, and loot which won’t be confused or overvalued. My mobile mining base should be safe from ganking for profit. My mobile mission base carries ships worth over 1Bil, but at the moment you shouldn’t be able to scan that. I guess I could just do missions in a Marauder which I fly between mission bases, and leave my Alt’s T3 at home to reduce the value of any drop. The Low Sec exploration base is relatively safe – aside from loot. My Hi Sec exploration base has a pimped out Legion in it at times – and of course will have the loot risk.

I wonder if the price of Orca’s will drop when the change comes in?

What’s the bet the price of Tornadoes doesn’t drop…

(I have no issues with the impact on my carriers, aside having to do some organising with them. No one scans them before deciding to gank or not – they just try to kill them regardless.)