Thanks for 2013 and best wishes for 2014

There are only a couple hours left of 2013 here in Australia.  We have just put our kids to bed after allowing them to stay up late to watch the children’s fireworks on TV and wave some sparklers about outside.  (We will pay for that tomorrow when they are extra tired and cranky!)  Before I head off I wanted to thank the readers of this blog, particularly those who have left comments.  It has made EVE a more interesting and richer game for me to play.  I wish you all a safe and enjoyable New Years.

Nothing to see here

It took 11 days into my leave before I actually had a few hours to play EVE online. I settled on roaming WH space, but then mistakenly jumped to my Low Sec Clone instead.

Not what I had in mind, but never mind. I undocked from my Hi-Sec staging system and scanned down a Wormhole and a Drone combat site. I ran the later just to get back into the grove, including 3 escalations. The loot drop was minimal, but I was feeling ready to jump into Low Sec. Then the phone rang, and I unexpectedly had to go pick up my wife and daughter. Session over.

A couple hours later in the day I tried again – this time hoping into a Covert Ops and moving into a Low Sec area I had not started bookmarking yet. I had covered off the first gate when I heard my 4 year old daughter throwing a tantrum outside. A moment later she came into my study to inform me that Mum was naughty and that she never wanted to see her again. Then she proceeded to cry for 20 minutes. Session over.

A couple more hours pass and I manage to log in again. I bookmark a station and 4 belts. I also flagged a second corporation as Orange after noticing half a dozen of them were hunting around the system and gate camping.

At one point a Covert Ops fit Loki drops probes in the system. The now Orange pilots quickly ran to the belts and hung around innocently, hoping to be dropped on. When that didn’t work, one of them tried this..

[05:14:32] iamreallynotapirate > what are you scanning?
[05:14:46] iamreallynotapirate > us? We just want to do sites
[05:14:46] lokipilot > W/H’s
[05:14:53] iamreallynotapirate > ah
[05:15:08] iamreallynotapirate > we can go back to sites then?

At this stage they had shown the Loki all their pilots and ship types. (Ship types which would not be running sites in Low Sec.) If the Loki was indeed hunting them, he would have known what he was up against, and how much help he would need.
Around this time – while I was sitting cloaked slowly moving away from a Gate, I noticed a pilot named Rhavas, flying a Cynabal, move through the system. I presume it was none other than the blogger and story teller at http://interstellarprivateer.wordpress.com/. I gave a silent wave.

When I logged off at a safe to go pick up my Son from a friends place, I felt that I had at least managed to be half productive in game.

I had one more EVE session – although it was interrupted by another tantrum from my 4 year old, having to cook tea, and half a dozen other demands from family that saw me having to walk away from the game. I had moved into another system which seemed to be home to a congenial collection of -10’s camping gates and chasing pilots, while cheerfully waving and chatting in local. I wonder if the banter actually has people let their guard down, and make themselves easier targets?

What has surprised me most about my disjointed exploration today was the number of different pirate groups actively hunting in what is a relatively small and not particularly populous Low Sec pocket. When I do something in this particular area I am going to have to use scouts and be careful.

She’s hitting me and kicking me and..

It’s not clear how my leave is going to play out.

Separately my 4 and 8 year old are reasonably easy kids to take care of. Together it is a whole different ball game. It tends to be a constant (and aggravating) effort to keep them from killing each other. It is not conducive to relaxing or playing EVE.

The first 6 days of my leave have been taken up with visiting my Parents in the country, shopping, finalising the Christmas preparations, and the previously mentioned keeping the kids separated. In what little downtime I have had I’ve been concentrating on getting my new Scanning Alt prepared.

The catalyst for training a new character was the 60 day game time card in the Collectors Box. I’ve been thinking about having a presence in Wormhole space for quite a while now, but I needed an extra character with scanning skills that I could leave logged off in one for extended periods of time.

The process…

. Creating the new account with the Collector’s Edition time code was painless, you just follow the instructions and you are up and running within minutes.

. Since this was a support character, I followed my tradition of making the Toon female. While it has no impact in game, I gave some thought to what sort of background and mindset the character might have to allow them to sit, cloaked and hiding, in a wormhole for months. I do have a Roleplaying background..

. It can take quite a while to sculpture the look of a new Toon. Not something you want to do when pressed for time.

. I ran all the Career training missions. This was not necessary, but it gave the Toon a very basic level of training.

. I moved the Character to my home system and joined my secondary Corp

. I created API keys for EVEMon and EFT to allow me to plan and track the development of the Toon

. I set up three skill plans – the first to be able to fly a T1 scanning frigate with appropriate fittings for Wormhole space, the second to up that to a T2 fit Covert Ops Frigate, and the third to flesh out the basic flying skills

. I updated the Clone

. I purchased any skill books I was missing from the skill plans

. I purchased basic Implants

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. I purchased and fitted out one example each of the T1 and T2 ships she will fly

. I moved my EveHermit alt into Rens to act as a Price check Alt.

. I Bio-massed my original Rens Price check Alt. That leaves room to move this Toon across later.

. I purchased two PLEX – 1 to cover the transfer of the Toon to one of my other accounts once the 60 days is almost up, and the other to pay for dual training as my skill plan is a bit longer than the 60 days available.

. Now I just have to log in and update her skill queue as required. When the skill plans are complete I’ll have a useful resource.

As with all things EVE, the effort required to execute this idea required was surprising large.  All told it will have cost me around 50M ISK and $30 of PLEX for a ~3+M SP Scanning Alt. Arguably I saved only 1 PLEX by doing it this way – but I also ended up with an extra set of Christmas gifts which offset the ISK cost.

Speaking of Christmas, I loved the shuttle. That’s exactly the sort of EVE ship which works well as a gift. I don’t mind the concept of the Advent Calendar, but mostly found they were uninspiring.

Now this is done, I need to return to my EVE regular gaming.

How do you EVE?

I find it intriguing to see the physical locations people play EVE from.

http://novakaneinc.blogspot.nl/2013/12/how-do-you-eve.html
http://razielwalker.blogspot.com.au/2013/12/how-do-you-eve.html
http://turamarths-evelife.blogspot.com.au/2013/12/how-do-you-eve.html

The topic does the rounds every so often, particularly on Corp forums. I find it doesn’t generally have great patronage though, which is a pity.

Here’s how I do EVE – the photo taken today. It has not changed much since last time I posted.

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To the bottom left you can see my Yamaha AV Receiver. It is hooked up to a Bose 5.1 system mounted around the study. The TV, one of the monitors, 2 PVRs and a PS3 are all hooked up through it. I can also run the sound through it from my PC, although generally don’t bother. The excellent little Bose 2.1 system attached to that more than suffices.

Also in the picture you can see my laptop (which I run EVE on when travelling), a QNAP 4 Bay NAS, a Canon Multifunction Inkjet Printer and my Rifter model atop my bookcase.

The PC was custom build some 18 months ago, and runs Windows 7 on an i7-3770, 16GB of RAM, GTX-670, 2 SSD’s, 2 HDD’s, with a Corsair Case and power supply. I am happy enough with the Logitech G710 keyboard and Steelseries mouse.

I absolutely love my dual DELL U2711 monitors, and would have upgraded to 3 of them if I had any practical way of making enough room. A large resolution EVE client is glorious.

Of an evening, after the kids and wife have gone to bed and I am free from distractions or interruptions, I like nothing better than to retreat to this excellent hermit hole for some EVE related relaxation.

Everything old is new again

I’ve got three weeks off; the longest contiguous period of leave I’ve had in more than 18 years. Invariably that meant I had to spend the preceding three weeks doing double my normal work load – to cover for the time when I wouldn’t be around to do it.

Annual leave seems to be a bit of a crock in that way.

Be that as it may, the consequence of this and the general busyness of Christmas has seen my EVE time hamstrung.

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Oh yeah, this place.  I haven’t seen it in years

In my few spare moments I worked my way through the new player career agent missions with my scanning alt – Exploration, Military, Advanced Military, Industry and Business. The information and progression has improved greatly over what I remember when I first joined the game, and you end up with a hanger full of ship hulls and supplies that give you a good starting point.

There is a “but” though, and I am not sure I can describe it properly.

There are obvious things that could be improved:

. I’m not sure some of the steps required to progress through the missions would be clear to newer players.

. The source of advice can be a bit disjointed – you speak with the agent who gives you tips, then Aura pipes up with a Tutorial, then later a Sub-Agent in space might tell you something, or it might just come up in a pop-up window. It doesn’t always feel cohesive.

. The order of some of the tips could be changed. I’d have liked to have Salvaging shown earlier for example.

. There could be more tips on using the interface, and the places where you can configure the client.

. I thinking the on screen tracking should be set off by default. It could get disconcerting and confusing for a newer player, and it is not immediately obvious for them to work out how to turn it off.

. I am not sure about the pacing of the lessons. You are flooded with quite an amazing array of information – to the point where I could see it just ending up being confusing. When I first started out I spent days just working out how to mine and slowly improve my yield and methods. Now you have the basics within 5 minutes before you move on to the next topic. Mining alone could handle 20+ mission steps, which each one adding a small element to your education, from ship types, range, survey scanning, Meta levels and yield upgrades.

. There were people griefing new players every other time I visited the starting system. It wasn’t being done as obnoxiously as I have seen before, but I wouldn’t like to think of how many people never get past the trial period because of such parasites.

Less obvious areas I suspect need to be improved:

. It took a while for me to put my finger on this – but it seemed the Tutorials were written by people who have been playing the game for years. I could understand and follow them because I also have been playing the game for years. I am not sure it would follow the most logical path taken by a new player however.

. At times during the tutorials I would stop and think wow, the visuals of this game would look great to a new player. I did not at any point think to myself that wow – a new player would think this is so much fun.

I know it is vague, but I came away from the effort feeling that the mechanics of the game were being explained better, but not in the way that would attract and retain more people.  It should be more fun.

I did find it very amusing to see how difficult it is to kill a 4,500 ISK rat in a barely trained pilot. The 7,500 ISK rats required some skillful management of range and transversal. All those skill points do make a difference!

ehimg339

Some wow factor when I first undocked and followed the tutorial on zooming in and out.

Oh, one last thing. I made a 50 odd jump round trip in my Orca yesterday, the first time since the warp speed changes. Oh hell.

Little bits

My EVE time is being slammed, so I’m just going to clear some of the short scraps in my Blog notes.

. Corporation Faction standings – important for Anchoring POS, providing access to Empire Jump Clones and such, are calculated from the average standings of its members where they are non-zero. Generally if you want to add a new Alt to your own Corp it is best for them to have no Faction standings at all. To ensure that – do not run the Tutorial Career Missions for interest sake.

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Oops – I forgot about that, the Exploration Career Missions cost more than expected.

. TwitchTV integration has been added to the EVE client. I have FRAPS, but thought this might be easier to use – until I read this in the patch notes: “The resolutions available are fixed and will alter the size of your client when you start the stream”. It makes sense, and I don’t know why I didn’t just presume that.

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The maximum Twitch resolution

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The resolution I play at

I don’t want to update my screen layout every time I use twitch, so the option is off the table.

. Wouldn’t it be interesting to be able to Hack Null Sec gates – to either get a snapshot of what is on the other side of the gate, or delay the updating of local when you jump through? Add some mechanisms for the system owners to make the process more difficult with upgrades, and I think you would have an interesting game mechanic.

. I’ve been amused that some of the people cheering the Interceptor changes for making it easier for catch other pilots; are now crying over the Mobile Depots being used to fit WCS so their targets can escape. Personally I like the multitude of new options both changes have introduced into the game.

. The ISIS indicates that I am the master of next to nothing. I’ve looked at the skills I am meant to train to V, and it is likely I will stay the master of next to nothing. Pointless training is pointless.

. I sold my Freighter a while back – I could count on one hand the number of times I had undocked in it over the last couple years.

. I’ve spent the better part of two months training up my second Trading Alt to round out their flying skills – allowing them to fit T2 Shield and Armor tanks. With that finished I have moved back to my original Scouting alt, with an eye on making them more useful in Wormholes.

. I love the idea of the Christmas Advent Calendar. I’m not too sure about the point of most of it so far.

Listening

I told my wife I had set up my fourth EVE Online Account.

Her response – a few words, half shrug, slight smile, can be summed up as “That’s nice dear; did you want a cup of Tea?”

Not – how much did that cost? Or – does that mean you are going to spend even more time on that game!?

I know I should be thankful, but I am left wondering if maybe she isn’t paying quite enough attention to what I say. That was underlined when she made me a cup of Tea after I had said no thanks.

🙂

I’ve created a 60 day account with the code that came with the EVE Second Decade Collector’s edition box. I’m going to train up a Basic Scanning Alt that I can leave in Wormholes. In two months I will move it onto one of my other accounts. Meanwhile I am doing some of the Tutorial for the interest of it.