Time Flies out the door

Aside a couple sessions working on T3 fittings, I’ve spent very little time playing EVE over the last few weeks. I have been reading about the current and approaching wars, but it all tends to come across as the same old story, just a different day. The style of propaganda probably doesn’t help much there. I think the August release is arriving today. I looked at the patch notes but not much stood out. There is a new event starting called Lucky Clash, a new Standings UI, and some updates to the map and scanning interfaces I’ll have to look at. One nice change is that scan results no longer clear on session changes.

I have been playing a bit of World of Warships, and try to fit in a couple battles each day. I actually feel like I am playing ok – not brilliantly, but regularly being in the top 3 or 4 experience earners in my team. This is not however reflected in my stats. My win rate for the last 3 months is sitting at around 40% from 215+ battles. I know it shouldn’t matter, but it does. It doesn’t make it a particularly satisfying game.

I am sailing a lot of Tier VII and VIII Cruisers at the moment, and often find myself bottom tier up against Tier IX and X ships. The Battleships just chew through you – the majority of your strikes just shatter, but every time one of their shells land, boom, 30 to 40% of your hits are gone. It only takes one or two salvos and you are out of the game. I say the same thing over and over – but it pretty much sums up my experience.

Recently I resorted to running a few Tier III/IV matches, up against a generally lower level of player. I am finding I am normally effective, sometimes enough to carry a match. It was a confidence boost I needed. The above battle was particularly memorable with the Murmansk captain well and truly outclassing everyone. I am pretty sure he came out with around half his hit points still. I did a lot of spotting and had many torpedo hits in that game – being untimely robbed of several kills. I cemented the win by soloing a Battleship parked in one of the Capture points, and then choosing not to engage the Murmansk and focus on ensuring a strategic point win. I have seen a lot of games lost by players focused just on drawing blood. It is an easily exploited tactic used in EVE.

I am still doing a DDO Session every week or so with friends. They use the one night I join them to do loot runs, primarily in EPIC level quests. They all have characters with many reincarnations and highly optimised set ups and equipment. They run these quests solo, and in groups they move mindlessly at breakneck speeds. There is no such thing as stopping to smell the roses. Often, I spend the entire session running to catch up, struggling to even just target opponents before they are swiftly killed by the others. It doesn’t tend to be fun. I had to put aside all but one of my highest-level characters as they just fell too far behind. I am down to just using my original Cleric now, and while I often pull my weight in the kill count, it is just a handful of crowd control tactics used over and over and over again. I just don’t have the time – or the inclination – to spend the months required to partially catch up. The reality is I should stop playing.

Speaking of stopping, I’ve pretty much stopped playing all my iPad games – with just the occasional glance at them with weeks or months between. Interesting how none of them have really been able to hold my interest like EVE had.

All told my gaming time has dropped by more than 50% over the last year. I should have a bit of spare time on my hands, maybe to tackle something new. Real life however energetically vacuums any of that time up. Mostly it sees me taxiing kids around to their silly number of activities and events. I am struggling a bit with the lack of escapist downtime.

I have written various more personal blog entries that I never posted. I might throw one or two of them up for the other middle-aged gamers with kids to nodded their heads at and mumble yep.

Time off does not mean time in game

I had last week off. I normally do 32 hours of paid work, so I thought I would end up with around 15 hours of uninterrupted downtime for myself across the three days were both kids were at school and kinder. That should have meant some good EVE sessions, but that did not eventuate. I ended up with only 6 hours of downtime, and spent most of that in DDO mucking around with a solo Swashbuckling Bard (splash of Rogue) that I’ve been finding amusing.

I realised that I am not a working professional who fits in Dad duties during the week, but instead a full time Dad who squeezes in paid work. I am not entirely sure how I feel about that distinction.

I also realised that EVE is not especially compelling at the moment where I can have a week off with so little extra time spent in it.

I am however still logging in every day.

My blueprint research continues, with my count of fully researched BPO increasing from 270 to 390 over the last fortnight.

I have pulled the Medium POS down. Everything is now going through the Small POS. Whoever decided these things would have 20+ minutes of un-anchoring time was a sadistic so and so. While I understand the reasons, it was a nervous wait. Oh – and a tip, remember to bookmark them before they finish un-anchoring. You can’t warp to them afterwards.

My second Industry Alt completed the training required to perform 10 Science jobs at the same time.

My POS equipment sell off is on going, but the prices are progressively falling. I really burnt myself there.

Hyperion arrived and there wasn’t anything worth a full blog post on. I glanced at the market tooltips, looked at the extra items in the New Eden store for a couple of minutes, and smiled when the Scan ID’s didn’t change over downtime.

I have spent a lot of time trying to finesse my overviews. Thanks to a bug from CCP I lost my Main Toon’s overview settings so started from a clean slate. I have really appreciated being able to set up everything on the one client and then send an alliance mail with a link for my other Toons to just click on.

I’m not sure why they had to use two Share options – the one at the top of the Overview Setting window that only transfers the tabs and associated presets, and the one under Misc > Export Overview Settings, which allows up to 15 extra tab presets to be exported.

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And speaking of Tabs – FOR THE LOVE OF GOD CCP, GIVE US MORE THAN FIVE OF THEM.

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I have currently settled for two travel tabs – safe and unsafe. The second doubles as a PVP overview. I have a third tab for PVE, one for POS related stuff, and a Run-To tab. I really need several more tabs to minimise the need to swap presets in and out, such as for Mining, and an extra two for PVE and PVP.

I also ran a few exploration sites – so I guess I have been a bit busy.

A mishmash of nothing

The kids were sick for a week with gastro, so very little was accomplished in game. While they are ok now, my wife and I are still somewhat shell shocked. At one point I counted more than 20 loads of washing done in 4 days.

It took a while to motivate myself, but this afternoon I finally managed to log in and update my various industry activities. My PI has basically ground to a halt, with none of my stocks moving. It is waiting for me to identify what items currently sell at a worthwhile profit. While that wouldn’t be difficult to do, the thought of changing all my planets has sapped any motivation to get started. General trade volumes remain low, with related subdued profits. I have sold some 175M worth of T2 item’s so far that I’ve manufactured, which makes a bit of a dent into the setup costs. I suspect I won’t be manufacturing Crow’s all that often. I can’t make a profit on those at trade hub prices.

The DEV blogs have continued over the last fortnight.

A team has been put together to revisit the new player experience, to try and improve the retention rates. Obviously worthwhile:

http://community.eveonline.com/devblog.asp?a=blog&nbid=3421

 

They announced that there should be small releases in March and April, with the next major release being called Inferno, coming out just before the northern summer. It was light on details – as is pretty common before Fanfest, but it will apparently focus directly and indirectly on conflict.

http://community.eveonline.com/devblog.asp?a=blog&nbid=3433

 

There was a blog from the Avatar team. Again this was relatively light on detail, basically saying they are just working on some minor tweaks while going back to the drawing board to try and identify the most effective way for WIS technology to enhance the game.

http://community.eveonline.com/devblog.asp?a=blog&nbid=3430

 

The new launcher has reached Singularity if you want to have a look at it now:

http://community.eveonline.com/devblog.asp?a=blog&nbid=9082

 

They are remodeling the Rookie ships – which is a good starting point for the new player experience. All of them look better.

http://community.eveonline.com/devblog.asp?a=blog&nbid=3435

 

There is an explanation on the standardisation of EVE modules, implants and script names. I understand the need for this, although it will take a little while to adjust to it.

http://community.eveonline.com/devblog.asp?a=blog&nbid=9130

 

There are 40 candidates for the upcoming CSM elections. I’m not sure I will have the motivation to read all their campaign messages. I guess after I arbitrarily dismiss the Null Sec voting block candidates, it might be more manageable. I was rather horrified to see that Mintrolio was the only Australian candidate. I don’t know why his obviously faked; one trick pony comment style garners so much mirth or support.

http://community.eveonline.com/devblog.asp?a=blog&nbid=9128

 

Last but not least, we learn no one was at the helm of the anti-bot processes at CCP for a while, but they flicked a switch again recently and identified 1,000+ more accounts using bots. What was particularly nice to read is that once warned for this, a character will be locked to that account from then on.

http://community.eveonline.com/devblog.asp?a=blog&nbid=9133

 

Even though I haven’t been that active, the skill training is however rolling along.

My main is just short of 94M SP. His Capital skill training is coming along well – covering off all Racial Carrier, Local and Remote Capital Amor, Shield and Energy, and both Tactical Reconfiguration skills to rank IV. He still has 3 Racial Dreads, and various Dread weapons to get from rank III to IV, but I put them temporarily on hold just to cover off a few different things. I’ve recently picked up Transports IV and Infomorph Psychology V, and am currently working on Black Ops IV.

Alt 1 is up to 87M, and after finishing up all the Minmatar medium T2 hull and weapon skills, is currently working on Recon V.

Alt 2 has hit 20M, and is currently working on Frigate Construction V so she can manufacture the Retribution BPC’s she invented. (Can’t remember if I remarked or not, I ran 18 invention jobs for 7 successes.) After that it will be science skills for further invention opportunities.

I won’t have much time for EVE in the next few weeks, but after that I should have some extra free time in my evenings. I had been getting stuck in DDO night after night trying to keep up with a burst of Guild activity based around several friends working towards completionist goals. Miss a couple nights and you basically would never catch up. They have however scaled the schedule back to 3 nights a week.

Trundling along

I haven’t played EVE for the last week, instead spending each evening in DDO running quests with guild mates.  I’ve been enjoying leveling my first pure grunt – a Barbarian.  It provides a level of somewhat mindless but enjoyable play.

Training continues – my Main is just under 3 weeks off Minmatar BS V, Alt 1 is working on getting each of the Shield Compensation skills from IV to V (1 down, 3 more to go), and Alt 2 is working on being able to fly an Orca.  (She is about 20 days from that – then I suspect might need to work on one or two support skills to be able to fly the same fit as my other Toons.)

I noticed another possible Corp to join the other day.  I know after my previous failed attempts to find something suitable I decided to stick with the solo approach, but I’ve realised I’ve been favouring DDO recently due to the interaction with Guild mates, and not so much the game itself.

I’m busy this weekend with family events, so EVE might have to wait a bit longer before it gets any attention.  I did make 250M in sales over the last week, including starting to clear some of the PI stuff I’ve been stockpiling, so even when you don’t log in, your EVE life can be progressing.

MMOs

I currently have accounts active in three MMO’s.  Aside from EVE, I also play Last Chaos ( http://lastchaos.aeriagames.com/ ) and Dungeons and Dragons Online ( http://www.ddo.com/ ).

Last Chaos is a somewhat boring and visually underwhelming game that requires far too much repetitive grinding – but I keep an account because it is simplistic enough for my 5 year old son to navigate around in while I watch.

DDO is prettier and a bit more complicated than LC, but there are pretty much set builds and paths you should follow to achieve what you want in game, and your characters are a lot less effective if you step off those paths.  You are forced to join Guilds or PUGs to progress at the higher levels though, so it really doesn’t suit solo play.  You are also forced to grind quests and Raids for crafting ingredients, but otherwise there are generally enough options to go from 1st to 20th without getting too bored.  Its complexity is in getting the very best mix of equipment, buffs, enhancements and feats for your chosen character – although many of these are mapped out for you on forums and enthusiast websites.

What is interesting – and I have touched on it before in EVE, is the elitism in DDO.  It is a relatively simple game that just about anyone can be effective in with a little effort.  Sure some people carry around a perfect set of named, Green Steel and Elite equipment, but it doesn’t take much more than the ability to read and a silly amount of perseverance to get to this sort of “end game”.  And yet, people seem to have a heightened sense of what achieving that actually means.  If you are in a public raid or questing group, there can be very little patience for newbie questions or mistakes.  At the first sign that not everyone in a group is 100% competent, it is surprising the number of people who quietly drop group.  They don’t’ want the hassle.

Last night I was one of a pair of experienced healers in a Shroud run.  We were beating on Harry during the daily services restart, and lost several fighters while our heals simply lagged out.  Sure enough a number of people in the raid (who did not know us / had not run with the guild before) let loose with snide comments about our level of fail.  It is a pity you can’t exclude people from mass cures…

While EVE has more than its fair share of similar players – on a day to day basis the people you interact with seem more flexible and friendly.  I wonder if it is because the game is hugely complex, and there is no clear blue print to reach a common end game.  You can come up with your own unique skill plans and ship fittings, and be surprisingly effective.   There is also no single “I win” button – but if you think you find it, there will be someone who comes along and teaches you the counter for it.  In EVE, you are pretty much all in the same boat.