Skills on Demand

The latest thing to stir up controversy in EVE is this recently released DEV Blog on skillbook changes.

https://www.eveonline.com/article/pnjc8z/skills-on-demand-changes-coming-to-the-skill-system

From the reaction so far, you are going to see it mentioned across the EVE Media sphere.

In short – any skill seeded by NPC’s on the market, will also be available on-demand from your character sheet. The on-demand skills will have an as yet undefined premium added to its price, but it will save you having to hunt down a school system or visit a trading hub to buy it off the market.

Special skills not seeded by NPC’s but found by players through game content – such as the Precursor hull skills from Abyssal Space, won’t be available on demand.

These changes are being introduced in part to make the game a bit easier for new players.

In addition, the pricing of all skills will be reviewed to bring them into better alignment with each other, something that has never really been done before.

I noticed some obvious pricing discrepancies when I was using skill injectors a couple months ago to build up my Alts. I suspect however a review by CCP will end up with skills costing more overall.

There were a couple things about Skillbooks that had a formative impact on my early EVE Career.

When I started EVE, I almost immediately moved out of my school system and flew half way across Tranquility to join a friend in a far-flung backwater. The closest skill books were more than a dozen jumps away in a neighbouring region. I learnt a lot about the game having to travel so far for Skillbooks – including needing to forward plan.

I also made my first Billion in EVE helped substantially by trading in Skillbooks. Grabbing extra skills during my shopping trips and re-selling them on the local market.

While there will be some sort of margin available to resell, it is unlikely to be enough to make it as worthwhile as it used to be.

I don’t view this change as particularly good or bad. While it makes life easier – particularly for those out of High Sec, I’m not sure taking the new player learning opportunity away is such a positive.

Burn Jita 2019

Very unusually I had 4 hours today where I would not be interrupted by my family.  I had set aside the time to play EVE, and had a number of specific goals lined up to work on.  In preparation I had even moved a number of characters around earlier in the week, leaving some in Jita so I could make a fast start.

After waving goodbye to the wife and kids I sat down to a glorious morning of EVE – only to notice a particularly inane flavour to the flood of spam in Jita local after I had logged in.  Sure enough – Burn Jita is on again.

https://imperium.news/burn-jita-terrorizes-the-forge/

https://imperium.news/burn-jita-6-a-minute-of-truth/

I noticed references to it on media feeds recently but had not paid it close attention.  Now I had various haulers loaded with cargo stuck in Jita 4-4, along with a number of key characters who can not jump out without destroying clones they already had in station.

I hastily came up with a Plan B.

Raitaru.Fitting.Hypothetical.06

I feel odd posting fits on this blog. I use them and know they work for me – but I play EVE in my own way, and that is not the traditional min/max approach normally taken.

Posting about how I might fit a Raitaru – when I haven’t any experience using one was particularly awkward. I was reminded however after going back through the 1,000+ posts I’ve made here, that these types of threads are relatively well received. I guess – while the research and thought process I go through as a solo player might be mundane, there are plenty of people who never get the opportunity to anchor or fit their own structure. They have all that done for them by Corporation Officers.

So – what am I looking to achieve with all this Structure talk?

The building of the Raitaru, and my start on building an Astrahus has been to re-familiarise myself with PI and Manufacturing. Both these areas had changed since I had last used them. While it won’t have been the most profitable ISK per hour possible, it has increased my net worth and been interesting to do. It has been a success.

The next step is obvious – can I use it? It was a step however I would not have previously contemplated. I’ve been very much against structures for solo use. The reasons are still there – they are more expensive than POS, much more expensive to fit that POS, take much longer to anchor and unanchor than POS, are much riskier to unanchor and are more likely to be stolen than POS, will not automatically defend themselves like POS, and cost 110-150+M ISK per month per service module to fuel.

You might be surprised to hear that I think they are actually a great addition to the game. They are just like customisable mini stations that add lots to what Corporations can do and get out of the game. They have just done that by raising the bar / barrier / cost for those who like to play solo without giving alternatives.

There are two things though that have changed for me. The first have been the updates to the War Declaration system. If I want to access that – either as an attacker or defender, I need to ensure I maintain some sort of structure in space. The second is a mindset shift for me as far as ISK is concerned. I have tended to calculate whatever I do in game around risk and profit. I don’t care how much ISK I earn an hour, but at the end of each hour I still want to be in profit. There is no justification from a risk and profit point of view for me to anchor a structure. Now – assuming I have an ISK buffer, interest and fun are more important to me, even if I make a loss on the risk and profit calculations.

So – to ensure a backup for my POCO as a War Dec requirement, and just for the interest of it, I plan to anchor a structure. I will use it initially to update my BPO collection, and then I will probably leave it in low power mode until needed, and consider it burnt ISK.

Researching a Raitaru fit was interesting. 500 DPS really limits what it can do to defend itself. Going through (literally hundreds) of kill mails I know many were destroyed by 1 to 4 attackers. In such a situation, especially if I brought a second character in to support with a heavy battleship, I might pull off a successful defence, but the scope of that is limited.

As part of this process I looked at multiple alternatives.

Raitaru with Hyasyoda Research Lab
-15% time for science jobs
-3% cost for science jobs
~1,040M ISK Fitted
110-120M ISK a month in fuel
502 DPS & 18M HP Full Power Mode

Athanor – disregarded as 250M ISK extra cost over Raitaru with minimal benefit

Astrahus with Hyasyoda Research Lab
~1,470M ISK Fitted
150-160M ISK a month in fuel
2,968 DPS & 27M HP Full Power Mode

Azbel with Hyasyoda Research Lab
-20% time for science jobs
-4% cost for science jobs
~4,350M ISK Fitted
110-120M ISK a month in fuel
2,886 DPS & 54M HP Full Power Mode

Ignoring the higher cost and slower research time, the Astrahus better suits the role of a defendable structure than a Raitaru.

Both the Astrahus and Azbel can use 3 tubes of Standup Light Fighters, which greatly increase their damage output, and the interest in playing around with them.

The Azbel has a lot more HP than the Astrahus and will be the quickest to do BPO research with, but it costs 3B ISK more.

The Astrahus is the obvious choice – but the Azbel had more of a cool factor about it. The problem is I looked at the Azbel killboard statistics. They attract (as you would expect) bigger and more organised attackers, and there were lots and lots of examples of non-economic (no profit to be made) kills. That suggests they are a bigger target for griefing kills. There is also the problem of how I move around an 80,000m3 structure worth ~3.7B ISK without getting ganked?

I will have to think on it.

I wonder if this was anchored for the vista, or as a form of defence – to annoy any attackers who might have to look at that during a take-down.

Raitaru.Fitting.Hypothetical.05

Like for a ship, you can also fit Rigs to a Raitaru. Also like a ship (aside T3), once a rig is mounted, you can’t remove it without destroying it.

The Raitaru can fit 3 medium structure rigs.

There are 8 odd types of combat rigs, the T1 medium versions costing 250-350M each. These generally either reduce combat module capacitor use or increase module range.

There are 30 odd types of engineering rigs, the T1 medium versions costing around 650-850M each. These improve Material and Time efficiency in manufacturing and Accelerate or reduce cost of invention and research.

Last there are 11 odd types of Resource Processing rigs, the T1 medium versions costing 650-750M each. These improve reactions, reprocessing and moon drilling.

I discount the use of any of them on a Raitaru due to price. As a solo player, there is very quickly a point where you won’t be able to save a structure, regardless the ISK you put into it. It is a balancing act in helping the process to defend / have fun – while not throwing good ISK after bad.

Unlike ships, the Raitaru also can use Service Modules. The Raitaru has 3 service slots. They require fuel to put online, and then fuel to stay active. When a structure has an online service module they are in full power mode and have more EHP and more Reinforcement Cycles. I.E. They take longer to kill.

The Raitaru can fit a combination of up to 3 of – a Cloning Center (~230M), Research Lab (Standard (~150M) and Hyasyoda (~400M)), Invention Lab (~130M), Manufacturing Plant (~150M) and a reprocessing facility (25M).

Other service modules that exist but are not available for the Raitaru or the location in High Sec include Market Hub, Capital shipyard, Supercapital shipyard, Biochemical reactor, Composite Reactor, Hybrid Reactor and Moon Drill.

The only service module I will really get a practical use of – at least initially, is a Research Lab. There are BPO’s missing from my collection that could add some in game content to source and research. The research labs are also bonused when fitted to a Raitaru. The time taken for science jobs (such as ME and TE research) is reduced by 15%, and the cost for them by 3%. They also cost 25% less to fuel.

From a tactical point of view, I will also fit but not online a Reprocessing Facility. If I had a war declaration with a Raitaru anchored I would online the cheap reprocessing facility, then offline and remove the Research Lab.

The possible variation is swapping one of Heavy Neuts for an XL. Reader Palydin indicated they were Capital neutralizers and were less efficient against Sub-caps as Heavy Neuts are. The statistics in Pyfa suggest otherwise – but it is likely they are wrong. I would test this anyway.

In the next and likely last post in this series I look at what I am hoping to achieve with this structure talk and the alternative structures I would also consider.

Raitaru.Fitting.Hypothetical.04

Unless I have forgotten something, the only “offensive” type fitting option left for the Raitaru are Energy Neutralizers.

There are 2 categories – a Standup Heavy Energy Neutralizer and a Standup XL Energy Neutralizer.

The Heavy category has a T1, T2 and Faction option, and the XL category has a T1 and T2 option. The Faction and T2 modules are discounted straightaway due to price.

The Heavy Neut has a range of 100km with a 100km fall off and drains 1,500 GJ every 15 seconds (100 GJ/s).

The XL Neut has a range of 150km with a 100km fall off and drains 10,000 GJ every 30 seconds (333 GJ/s).

In comparison each Neut on my current Curse and Pilgrim fits drain around 30GJ/s on 12 second cycles.

I almost start drooling, but whenever something in EVE seems too good to be true, it generally is.

First, neutralizing 10,000 GJ in one hit seems impressive, but there are attributes on Neutralizers that seem to substantially reduce their effectiveness based on the targets hull size. For the standup modules, this is -10% for Large (Battleships), -42% for Medium (Cruisers) and -65% for Small (Frigates). The standard Neutralizers have similar attributes, but not as impactful.

Second, a 30 second cycle gives your opponent a lot of time to react.

Third, at this point fitting restrictions and capacitor come into play.

While you can fit two Standup XL Neuts on the Raitaru, it limits Capacitor run time to under 5 minutes and cuts out other fitting options.

You can fit a XL Neut with a Heavy Neut. Drain the target’s Capacitor quickly with the XL, then turn it off and maintain with the Heavy. Your capacitor is still in the negative range though, so will continue to drop even without the XL running.

You can fit two Heavy Neuts – which brings your Capacitor run time up to a bit under 15 minutes. That will neutralize around the same as a Bhaalgorn.

At this point the choice is no longer about individual modules – but sets of modules together.

I go through and look at my remaining options.

There are some fitting modules – a low slot Co-Processor Array to increase CPU and a low slot Reactor Control Unit to increase Power Grid.

You also have the low slot Signal Amplifiers I have already mentioned for increasing Scan Resolution and max targets, a mid-slot Capacitor Battery and a low slot Capacitor Power Relay. The Cap Battery is useful in conjunction with the Neuts, but fitting is problematic. There is also a low-slot Armor Reinforcer, which increases Armor by 10%. On paper that doesn’t really seem worthwhile.

Overall the Raitaru (and all structures) are now very much like a standard ship to fit, be it with a reduced set of modules available.

I would really like to fit a Cap Battery with dual Heavy Neuts, but there is no room left over for a Service module, and I need one to place the Raitaru in full power mode.

So, at this point I am tossing up between three possible fits.

One that uses a fitting module in the low slot to allow me to fit a Cap Battery and have more flexibility with my use of Neutralizers (runs everything for 11 minutes).

One with the same fitting module but two Heavy Neuts – giving me an almost everything on and forget run time of 30 minutes.

And one that uses a Ballistic Control System and Target Painter to increase damage but has more limited capacitor (runs everything for 5 minutes).

The third option is my current preference, however next I need to look at Rigs and Service Slots.

Raitaru.Fitting.Hypothetical.03

Deciding on the first module for a Raitaru fit opened a Pandora’s box of questions.

Depending on the missile loaded, the Multirole Launcher has a range of between 687km to 945km.

So how close can I anchor it from other structures? Specifically, can I plant it near one of my Player Owned Custom Offices or pair up two Raitaru so that they can support each other?

The official support page on structure deployment outlines where they cannot be anchored (Trade Hubs, Career Agent Systems, New Player Starter Systems, Shattered Wormholes or Thera), but is vague about how far away from other objects they must be in space.

https://support.eveonline.com/hc/en-us/articles/208289335-Citadel-Deployment-and-Unanchoring

It says the restrictions can be found within the attributes of the structure – but I don’t find any in game or by showing attributes in Pyfa. In fact, I don’t find anything definitive in the first couple pages of Google search results. I think it might be 1,000km. That makes sense – so the structures can’t defend other structures.

So, if the missiles can reach out to 945km, how far can I lock too? Pyfa says 350km.

That’s a mighty big gap.

Are there any Structure skills that close that gap? No.

There is an Enhanced Targeting System Rig – giving +10% Range and 100% scan resolution. The T2 version is +15% range and +150% scan resolution. The problem is the price – 292M ISK for the T1 rig, and billions for the T2. Using those on a Raitaru make no sense at all.

I check the module list and find a Standup Signal Amplifier. The T1 module increases the targeting range by 11%, Scan Resolution by 20%, and adds +1 to the maximum number of targets you can lock. The T2 version provides 15%, 25% and +2 respectively. They are priced reasonably too – around 3M for T1, and 40 to 80M for T2.

I could use the Signal Amp instead of the Ballistic Control System in my 1 low slot. That would reduce my DPS by 7% and increase my lock range to 392km and scan resolution to a still dismal 78. Now the question is why would I want to do that? There would have to be a specific tactical reason for needing the extra 42km of range. I would also think attackers in a High Sec structure takedowns will be within that 350km range and hanging around for a while, so possible to lock.

Needing a further understanding of the ranges I will be working under, I review the Structure Electronic Warfare modules.  They suggest I won’t need a longer lock range.

The ECM jammer can be scripted and has a 75km optimal and 75km falloff. You could use ECM to disrupt logistic ships or to take some DPS off any friendly ships supporting the Raitaru – but you would need to fit two of them to make much of a difference. That removes the option of tackle, and I think Energy Neutralizers would be a better option. I discount ECM.

The remote sensor dampener cuts the targets lock range and scan resolution by 55% and has a 75km optimal and 150km falloff. I guess you might use it to force logistics into closer range but given the Raitaru’s ranges and the type of ships likely to attack, there doesn’t seem to be a need for this module.

The Stasis Webifier has a 200km range and a 70% effectiveness. It is an amusing thought but doesn’t seem practical. Anything small enough that really requires slowing down won’t do enough DPS to be of concern – and again would be better dealt with by Neuts. No to 200km Webs.

There is an interesting group of Burst Projectors that do area effect EW but – unsurprising – I read they can not be fitted in High Sec, so I discount them.

The Target Painter increases Signature Radius by 65% and has a 75km optimal and 150km falloff. That is a possible option.

The Warp Disruptor has a 210km range and a Jam strength of 100. You can fit only one – but that is a mandatory selection. It can be scripted to also turn off Microwarpdrives and micro jump drives – but only at a range of 63km. I think the Neuts again would be a better option than scripting.

The last option is a Weapon Disruptor. It cuts range and tracking of turrets (by ~60%) and range and precision of missiles (by ~30-50%). Like the Dampener, there doesn’t seem to be a pressing need for this module.  It seems more important to hold and damage attackers than make one of them approach closer.

 

After much research I’ve now selected two modules (launcher and warp disruptor) – and have two maybes (Ballistics Control and Target Painter).

Astrahus.01

My Astrahus build is underway.  This was started by my main character last year but was abandoned when I realised it would tie him down for too long in the one location.  I used the Raitaru spreadsheet as a template.  The minerals are now covered..

.. and I have started the long process of PI extraction and processing.

It has been a much quicker and easier project to kick off using the resources and knowledge I gained in building the Raitaru.