Agency

The latest in game event has gone live. This one is called The Agency.

https://community.eveonline.com/news/news-channels/eve-online-news/the-agency-welcome-to-the-next-eve-online-event/

The first thing you notice when you log in is that you get an Agency Speed Booster. It is a reward for, well, logging in. It provides a 3% Velocity Modifier for 30 minutes. If you have Biology V, it will last for 60 minutes. You can get one each 23-hours. I assume this is a sort of proof of concept test, or a reminder to people that they should think about boosters, as I don’t see how it would have any real impact on what people do in game or if they log in or not.

The event uses the format I prefer with these sorts of things. You are given a list of optional challenges to do various different things in game. As you complete them you are given points that earn tiered rewards.

The Challenges on initial appearance are similar to the previous ones. Lots of mine related to exploration sites. I guess they might change as the event goes on.

One of my Challenges ended up apparently bugged. I found and ran and completed a Combat Signature Site while flying a Tech III Cruiser, but it was not credited. Given the site did escalate, I ran and completed that, just in case. The Challenge was still not credited. I then waited until downtime, in case they would clear things up, but no.

Interestingly, once you complete a challenge, you have to wait 23 hours for that slot to be available again. If you get a challenge you don’t want, there doesn’t currently appear to be an option to drop or swap them. That might change with time. I don’t know.

The rewards are – putting it mildly, crap. Assuming you log in and earn 50 odd points a day, it will take you a couple days to get a single (3M ISK) PLEX. After four good days of effort you get a single booster (+3% repair rates for 30 minutes). Maybe 6 days to get 4 more PLEX, and finally after 8 days, an ok looking skin for a Tengu. The reality is you probably won’t put that sort of effort in, or will find you are not able to do all the challenges each day. If that happens, the end of the event will come around quickly on you.

Given how generous some recent Events have been, and how poor this one is, I am wondering if this reflects CCP’s mindset. Events that have open sites in space that encourage conflict are liberal with their rewards, Events that can more easily be done ignoring other players, minuscule loot.

The event did have me logged in today longer than I have been in probably months. I setup and flew around an Exploration Legion and an Exploration Gnosis trying to complete some of the challenges, and I happened unexpectedly across a Superior Sleeper Cache which I opened the initial can for and warped into before stopping to do a bit of research on what the hell I had just found, and deciding not to test my Pacifier on it.

I also found how annoyingly easy it is to keep recalling your probes when you actually want to use analyze. Stupid button moving crap.

I expect over the next couple weeks I might have a couple more game sessions targeting some of the challenges, but I won’t be bothering with targeting any of the rewards.

Go towards the light

Using the Stratios in Hi-sec is substantially more rewarding financially than the Legion.  Being able to access most of the combat sites makes a big difference.

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In a recent exploration run I picked up 150M ISK in just over 30 minutes across three sites.  While that is unusually good for Hi-Sec, if I was in the Legion (or any other T3) none of it would have been accessible.

An Oops Side-track

I had an hour spare so I logged into the Stratios. I thought with the end of the Serpentis Event that there would be more Explorers about, but that doesn’t seem to have transpired immediately. I am finding plenty of sites and little competition, so I haven’t roamed far and am still in Everyshore.

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I start out with coming across a Wormhole to Thera, which I think is the second time I have stumbled across one. I also had an Escalation from an Anomaly, which seems to have been very rare of late. After running that I had just selected to warp out to a gate when I realised I had not recalled my 5 T2 Hammerhead drones. I tried to cancel the warp but it was too late, and without a bookmark I could not get back to them in a now despawned site.

I was able to fit an Expanded Probe Launcher on the Legion so could have just scanned the Drones down, but I was only able to fit the Core Probe Launcher on the Stratios. While still sitting on the outbound gate I spent a few minutes looking at EFT and the regional market. 15 minutes, a dozen jumps, 40M ISK and half my offensive modules offline, I was back in the system with a Sisters Expanded Probe Launcher and a couple T2 Scan Rangefinders fitted and was able to scan down and retrieve my 4M ISK of drones.

I figured I would likely forget drones again, so I will carry the extra probe launcher around with me.

Sometimes it is just little things like that which make the game interesting.

Also – I actually have something positive to say about Citadels! There seem to be lots of them around now so other people are obviously embracing them. I’m not sure if I have mentioned it yet, but I am finding the tethering to be very useful. It is common for my Drones to get armor damage. Now all I need to do is warp to the nearest Citadel, have my ship, cap and drones automatically repaired while I am tethered outside, then continue on my way. The only issue I have found so far is the Drone damage bar indications don’t seem to update to show the repair while you are tethered, but it is done.

The Feels

I flew the Legion over to Everyshore and started my exploration roam in Quier. This was simply because it wasn’t an area I was particularly familiar with.

I had several reasonable length sessions doing all Exploration sites, scanning down all signatures, and visiting all named locations as I crisscrossed the constellations.

It gave me a reasonable feel for the hull.

The Legion cost 775M ISK to setup. At this point in my EVE Career I don’t care too much about ISK reward verse risk ratios and what not, I fly things based on fun. It is not however a cheap option for Hi-Sec exploration.

It doesn’t have a great buffer on it – 25K EHP, which could put you at risk of grievers. I did not however really feel uncomfortable flying it.

The hull felt a little slower than what I would have preferred. The 7 second align time meant it just didn’t feel as snappy as you want when visiting large numbers of systems and sites in a session.

Warp speed at 3au is what you expect of a Cruiser, but I’d consider swapping one of the two tracking rigs for a Hyperspatial Velocity rig instead, if the guns still worked ok against the NPCs.

The 740m/s speed under Afterburner also felt a bit too slow when running Data and Relic sites. I’d go for a Mircowarp drive if the fitting options allowed.

It was still all workable to fly around in, but could have done with some tweaking.

The locking speed with a 560mm sensor resolution was ok, but only just. Only being able to lock 5 targets was also a bit of a limitation.

The Focused Medium Beam setup concentrating on tracking didn’t work out quite right in practice. The Legion I fly for Events does not have drones, so the tracking is boosted up to 0.153 to it hits most things, with a webifier to ensure it.  The Exploration hull’s Beams had tracking of 0.067. It was certainly effective enough against anything but Frigates/Drones under 5km – but I had drones of my own for anything too close. Based on my experience with this and other laser hulls, it would have worked out better to go rigs / a setup for longer optimal range (was 13km with multifrequency crystals with a 7.5km fall off) or higher DPS.

Again the setup was workable as is, but could do with adjustment.

The 300m3 cargo space was limiting. I carried two small secure containers, one for loot, one for spares. You had to be selective on what you picked up. Again, it was workable.

It was nice having a tractor beam. It meant you were able to salvage / check out cans as you cleared sites. The 200m3 drone bay also meant you had plenty of choices about what you carried. I had no issue with scanning times, or running the analyzers, or Cap, or tank.

So – again, workable, but with room to tweak.

But – as you can probably tell by my tone, I am not flying the ship any more. The T3 hull simply locks you out of too many combat sites.  (Possibly all of them I would guess, as I did not scan down a normal combat dead space I could access.)

Taking the lessons learnt (and most of the fit) I’ve replaced the Legion with a Stratios.  I will have to see how that pans out.

No horizons

Once I stopped doing the Serpentis Event I was still feeling inclined to do some long distance exploration based roaming. The basic idea is to open the Dotlan map and set off to Hi-Sec areas I haven’t spent much time in, visiting exploration and marked sites as I go without returning home.

I spent a couple of sessions in EFT trying to decide on what Ship I would fly. As you would expect I wanted one that basically could do it all without needing to change fit. It needed to scan, be able to fit both Data and Relic analyzers, do reasonable DPS against all NPC types and have a bit of a tank. I was also leaning towards lasers for their low volume requirement for ammo, and quick reloads / changes on the fly. That all limited the choices.

I started out by checking those new(ish) joint Data and Relic analyzers. I figured they might open up a few new ship types to try, but they were very expensive and the stats did not impress. In the end I looked at more than a dozen hulls before concentrating on the Confessor, Stratios and Legion. The Confessor is a little too easy to gank if I end up carrying large values of loot, so I discounted it in the end, and the Legion worked out stronger than the Stratios is most areas, particularly as I did not need it to be able to cloak.

[Legion, Roam v1]
Drone Damage Amplifier II
Heat Sink II
Heat Sink II
Corpum C-Type Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane
Corpum B-Type Medium Armor Repairer

Federation Navy 10MN Afterburner
Relic Analyzer II
Data Analyzer II
Sensor Booster II, Scan Resolution Script

Small Tractor Beam II
Salvager II
Focused Medium Beam Laser II, Imperial Navy Multifrequency M
Focused Medium Beam Laser II, Imperial Navy Multifrequency M
Focused Medium Beam Laser II, Imperial Navy Multifrequency M
Focused Medium Beam Laser II, Imperial Navy Multifrequency M
Sisters Expanded Probe Launcher, Sisters Core Scanner Probe

Medium Auxiliary Nano Pump I
Medium Energy Metastasis Adjuster II
Medium Energy Metastasis Adjuster II

Legion Defensive – Nanobot Injector
Legion Electronics – Emergent Locus Analyzer
Legion Engineering – Augmented Capacitor Reservoir
Legion Offensive – Drone Synthesis Projector
Legion Propulsion – Fuel Catalyst

Hobgoblin II x5

On paper it looks ok – but EFT statistics do not always give a clear indication of what a ship is like to fly. Tracking was one of the things I am going to have to get a feel for undocked. So far it seems to be able to hit destroyers and up fairly reliably, with Frigates ok out past 10km. Closer to that I can just use drones. I might be able to swap one or two of the tracking rigs out to see the impact it has.  Time to test.

Jita Shortcut

I’ve had a play around with the new D-Scan / Probe window.

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As I have said before, I prefer having the map and scan window separate. The D-Scan aspect of the tool is particularly good. I found it easier to use with much better visual ques.

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Turning on the Scan Cone option shows you the D-Scan range – although the colour really should be different so as not to clash with signatures.

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Turn on camera tracking on the HUD.

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Lower the scan angle to 5%. Now you can click on objects in the Scan window or on a suitable Overview Tab, and if they are within range, you can very quickly and accurately D-Scan them. Finding ships in sites or POS around moons is a breeze.

I know that was possible before – but as I said, it just works better. I can imagine newer players finding the concept easier to grasp and quicker to master.

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You can also use the option to “Align with Camera”, for a “look behind the cone” view of D-Scan. It is more useful where objects are above and below the horizon. If doesn’t work entirely as you might expect with Camera Tracking turned on. If you click on an object in the Scan window your ship view will swing around to align with it. If you just move the angle of your view around in the Scan window, your ship view will move, but will then keep trying to return to the last selected object. If you release your mouse, it will snap back. It doesn’t feel quite right.

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The probing aspect of the window works pretty much as it did before. It does highlight the arrows on the movement box when you are hovering in the right position, and the option to save layouts seems easier. I do not however like how little the signatures are once you start to get a hit on them. Above you can see a tiny red dot and a tiny yellow dot. They should be much bigger.

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This is in contrast to the strange large cones that appear as you are resizing and moving probes around.

There are some pretty specific bugs people have reported about the scan window. I found for general day to day use it worked, although with a caveat. It was at times glitchy. Sometimes I would go to click on a menu icon and it would not respond. I would have to click on something else and come back to find it working again. Sometimes the Directional Scan result window would update when you did not expect it to, and wouldn’t update when it should. You were not entirely able to trust the results – you basically had to re-scan every time you moved the camera angle.

Overall I am pleased, but it requires polish.

Otherwise, I spent a chunk of yesterday out in space. There was a Hi-Sec to Hi-Sec Wormhole in my home system. It had that telltale blue nebula colour. As luck would have it, when I poked my nose through I found a route to Jita half the length than usual, which also bypassed a couple of those more dangerous systems.

I then spent a lot of time ferrying loot, excess supplies, and a bunch of speculative items I had sat on for some time which were now well worth turning over for profit. My Alt’s Exequror hauler got quite a workout, often shuffling 1+B ISK worth at a time. It is likely that over its life that single hull has moved more than a Titan’s worth of value around space.

BB67 – I am CCP Hermit

BB 62 – There has been a catastrophic accident in the CCP Offices and you have found your player account has been upgraded to a senior CCP staffer! You are now CCP Hermit and have a team of developers eagerly awaiting your commands. So what are you going to have your team work on?

For obvious reasons if you follow this blog, I am going to focus on the niche of solo or small group exploration and nomadic movement.

I would like to dramatically increase the available exploration content, starting with the ideas in this list which are relatively easy and quick to implement before moving onto the harder options. They should fall into the category of sites or cosmic anomalies as appropriate.

The idea is to increase variety and mix up the ship hull and fitting options people might use or carry around during exploration. It is not to homogenise space or making Hi-Sec so interesting that you don’t want to move. The rewards from these sites and the frequency they can be found should be balanced and scaled.

Now the site ideas:

. Upsized Rats – on occasion find a solo NPC Battleship with a bounty of 500K in High-Sec, 1000K in Low-Sec, or 1500K in Null Sec. Mix it up with occasional doubles or triples (more commonly out of Hi-Sec), and small support wings.

. Out of place Rats – on occasion find a small group of NPC ships out of their usual Regions, such as Guristas in Sansha space, or Serpentis in Blood Raider. You might just use their version of the standard cosmic anomaly.

. Entirely out of place Rats – on occasion find a small group of Sleepers or Incursion rats.  The later would just give a small number of LP as reward.  (I wouldn’t mind seeing solo options added to Incursions – for simplicity maybe just having clearing Incursion rats from belts giving you minor LP rewards when the incursion is finished.  The rewards would only be a small fraction of running the proper sites – this is more just for variety.)

. Out of place resources – on occasion find 1-3 Asteroids in a mini-field in an area where you would not normally find them – so a single Mercoxit or a couple small Arkonor asteroids in High Sec. Consider mini Gas sites.  These sites should be small and not worth a great deal – it is more for variety.

. NPC Convoy Ambushes – you warp in on an NPC hauler with a number of guards. Consider these to be like Hauler spawns but they carry a much wider range of goods. The difference here is that these Convoys will warp away. You need to quickly lock a ship and warp disrupt it, then force the guards off before you find what loot it might be carrying.  This mechanism (having to scramble rats) could be implemented in multiple areas.

. Burner NPC sites – in effect small exploration sites that mimic Burner Missions with very difficult rats.

. Hidden NPC structures doing moon harvesting or reactions which you can place siphon units on to steal small volumes of goods. You possibly need to remove defenders or defensive weaponry. Have them only last a day or two before they are pulled down by the NPCs.

. Hidden NPC structures that you need to use Entosis links on. I’m not sure on the specifics of these – maybe listening or scanning arrays that you need to put through a number of defended reinforcement stages and get a bounty from Concord if you destroy them.

. Have a rare COSMOS type site which drops COSMOS type ingredients

. Have a rare COSMOS agent. They offer up 3 or 4 quests to any pilot who asks. However only the first to hand in a quest gets the reward and that quest is dropped as an option from the agent. The Agent disappears once all their missions are done or completed. These could be tied into the current COSMOS sites or be new / different ingredients.

I expect there would be many more viable options.  It think the feeling of exploration would be increased if you had a lot more different sites to come across.

Next are movement ideas:

. Smuggler Gates – an old topic for me. These are temporary NPC gates you have to scan down. These should last longer than normal locations – a week give or take a day. Generally Hi-Sec Smuggler Gates will go to neighbouring Low Sec areas, and Low Sec to Null Sec. They will reliably only connect to bordering zones or regions – so if you search Derelik Low Sec you might find Smuggler gates into Great Wildlands, Curse or Providence. This is one way of bypassing normal Gate bottlenecks. Either you need to pay the pirates operating these gates to pass, or destroy the guards and sentries to pass, or use Hacking or Entosis modules. In addition – these Gates can also be destroyed via DPS. Find a Smuggler Gate into your Null Sec constellation? Drop a small fleet on it and blow it up.

. Introduce a new class of ships somewhere between a Nestor and Orca. These would be Mobile Exploration bases you take with you on long roams. I’m thinking a Ship Maintenance bay of around 150,000m3, a Fleet Hanger of 10,000m3, an Ore hold, no offensive modules aside a couple flights of drones, and remote repair bonuses. Maybe even a bonus to movement under cloak. An Explorer would move around with a small selection of ships they can swap in and out of to run different sites.

. Allow jump clones to be moved in ships and stored in the same locations. Either move them in a new class of ships, or simply have a container they can be stored in and carried as cargo. Allow a much shorter jump clone timer if you swap within the same station. Maybe give the Mobile exploration base above a clone hold and reduction bonuses to the time you have to wait between clone changes.

I expect that should keep my development team busy for a while.

Other posts can be found here.

Here, but it wasn’t the here I wanted

So to recap, I was focusing on two things in the game. The first was flying around in my mobile home Orca testing the Confessor out against different Faction Exploration sites. The second was repairing my Minmatar Faction standings so that I could run through some of their COSMOS missions.

After running several hundred Hi-Sec exploration sites across Sansha, Serpentis, Guristas and Angel space, I have had enough of doing that. I will go visit Blood Raider space, but won’t be particularly scientific about it. Instead I just plan to visit some of the other Hi-Sec regions I’ve never really spent time in, to get a feel for them.

My opinion of the Confessor remains the same – a fun and very effective ship, with not enough of an EHP buffer to be entirely relaxed when flying it.

I was still a little short on my Minmatar standings to run the next level of COSMOS missions – but had three options to increase them. Run general missions (each 16 would give me a storyline mission which would impact my faction standings), run the Minmatar Career Agents (which could also impact faction standings), or run the last Minmatar Tag agent I had not used yet.

I decided to finish my first lot of level 2 missions. My biggest issue, aside growing boredom, was the frequency at which I had to decline missions against other factions. I should have been able to  run 16 level 2 missions across a couple sittings, but it took 5 or 6 before I was able to complete them. The Confessor handled them all without issue, aside The Recon, which I had to pull the Gila out for. My Storyline mission was unfortunately a courier one – Data Delivery.  That had the following impact:

Increased Minmatar Standing from 0.15 to +0.22
Decreased Amarr Empire from 6.12 to 6.05

With my skills I had a Minmatar Faction standing of 1.79 – and I needed 2.0 to run the next COSMOS missions.

I took the easy option and went back and saw Frie Tasmulo in the Emolgranlan Republic Data Center. It cost me 85M ISK for the 20 Angel Brass Tags they required, which had the following impact:

Increased Minmatar Standing from 0.22 to +0.65
Decreased Amarr Empire from 6.05 to 5.70

That left my skill adjusted Minmatar standing at 2.15. Sure enough I could now access the COSMOS missions I was previously locked out of. I ran one of them which was an interesting enough 3 stage with a security site, courier mission, and finally collecting a certain drop from a COSMOS static site. The faction standing hit was noticeable when I finished it:

Increased Minmatar Standing from 0.65 to +1.06
Decreased Amarr Empire from 5.70 to 5.36

And here I’ve come to a stop. If I continue with the COSMOS sites I will hit my Amarr and Caldari standings harder than I wish too.

This process has increased my Minmatar standing by 3.22, and decreased my Amarr standing by approximately 2.44.  It is now down to a storyline mission or two from the minimum 5.0 I wanted to maintain.

My other main faction standings (without skill adjustment) are at reasonable levels of:

4.13 Caldari

1.97 Gallente Federation

4.00 Sister of EVE

I don’t want to get into a position of running one Minmatar Storyline line, then one Amarr Storyline, and then continuing to swap between them.  I’ve also previously used up most of my Amarr Tag Agent and COSMOS mission options, so getting to their storyline missions will be more problematic.  I am going to have to ponder that one.

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Nice to be flying the Cormorant again, even if just to salvage.

 

Man down

I dislocated the little finger on my right hand yesterday playing Aussie rules football with my son. I first dislocated that finger in a friendly football match while at University, more than 20 years ago. Since then the finger hasn’t quite moved in sync with the rest of the hand, and I’ve dislocated it more than a dozen times since – playing basketball, washing the car, just catching it on something as I walk past.

I pulled it back into place (a somewhat unpleasant task), iced it, and will leave it strapped for a week or three until it feels stronger. Having it strapped is – as always, playing havoc with my touch typing. More noticeably this time it is also impacting my EVE sessions. Running your EVE client at 4K resolution means you have to be extra precise with your mouse input, and I am now constantly miss-clicking. I am also catching my fingers on the mouse as I go to move my hand to the keyboard, sending it flying.

I’m sure I have your heartfelt sympathy.

My dalliance with the Guristas Pirates is hampered by the injury, but continues. I managed a solid 45 minute exploration session, only running into one other explorer. The incoming DPS is more noticeable with this faction – I hit half armor a number of times in a certain site before I can kill off enough destroyers. The Confessor still chews though these sites very quickly, with some cursory examples during later sites suggesting I could do some twice as fast as some of the cruiser sized competition.

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Running a Relic, or was it a Data site?

Unfortunately that earlier exploration session was an aberration. Since then there has been heavy competition for sites. While I have found other pilots to be surprisingly courteous so far – warping out of sites you have started, getting to a site first can be very problematic. I’ve had 40 minute sessions where I did not find a single system without at least one other pilot actively doing exploration; with even up to half a dozen pilots sometimes. I am going to have to work out the quiet times, but so far it hasn’t been particularly enjoyable.

To keep myself amused during the busier times I’ve run some Cosmos missions. I can’t really afford to mess up my Gallente or Minmatar standings any further, so I am contemplating moving to one of their Cosmos constellations and run those for a while in conjunction with exploration. I’ll need to shuffle my ships around in the Orca though.

Snakes along the shore

I’ve completed my 100 Serpentis anomalies and signatures, packed the Orca caravan and moved out of Everyshore.

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A rest stop mid trip

In the end from the 100 sites I had 5 Hi-Sec escalations, 2 Low-Sec escalations (not run), 7 Anomaly Faction spawns, and about 100M ISK in total from loot and bounties. (Yes, only 10M ISK gained from the last 20 sites.)

I took a short break today to fly back to my home system to ingest a Ship Skin. While there I noticed a Covert Research Facility site was in the system. I took 5 minutes to run it, earning 25M ISK. That is just the way exploration works out some times.

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The new skin

I left most of my collected loot in a GSC. I’ll return to pick it up in a Transport ship later. While the value wasn’t a gank risk, someone scanning my cargo might not have realised how worthless the collection of faction mods was. Such precautions can be advisable in EVE – as I was reminded when I flew through Uedama which was being hammered by Goonswam Catalyst pilots today.

The Confessor proved itself more than a match for the Hi-Sec Serpentis, now to spend some time with the Guristas. (Another faction I have had little to do with.) It is already apparent it might take me much longer to find 100 uncontested sites to run.

That will do it

A follow up on my son’s hacked Roblox account.

In response to my support email, Roblox sent a list of 8 common ways players lose access to their account. I watched my son’s face and listened to the tone of his voice as I read through them. I got a definite “Ohh” when covering in game phishing. Apparently it is common for compromised games to be scripted to pop up a pretend login dialog, or to offer surveys with free Robux rewards. I could imagine he might have been swayed by something like that.

Roblox offers a once only manual review of an account and an attempt to recover stolen assets. Given the loss was minimal, I declined. It was worth the price of entry for the lesson it – hopefully – provided my son.

The support I got from Roblox was admirably quick. It was however overly scripted, and I had to repeat a number of my questions over and over, such as how best to clear the compromised games the hacker had created on the account.

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I’m up to about 80 sites run in Serpentis space, triggering 5 hi-sec escalations, 2 low-sec escalations (not run), and 4 anomaly faction spawn. Total income has been a fairly paltry 90M ISK. As I said though, the loot gods have not been kind.

The Confessor has been brilliant, and is quite a fun little zerg ship.  It would be my favourite combat orientated high sec exploration hull.  The probe sensor strength of 75 has been enough to scan down all signatures but one so far (a particular relic site). I have noticed however that with a proper scanning ship I can normally down size my probes in steps of 2 or 3 during the scanning process, but with this confessor even a step down of 2 size grades can throw me off the trail.

As I have remarked, there seems to be constant competition for sites in the area I am operating, no matter what time of day I play. Some of that competition is, well unusual. One of the pilots I see regularly runs anomalies in a Kronos. Yes I am sure of it – I’ve warped in on him several times now over a number of sessions. Another uses a Raven. Yesterday I came across a Blackbird, although I have flown one of those before in PVE for the fun of it.

I’ll try to run another 20 odd sites before moving on to try the Confessor against a different faction.

2026 days

I lost my first ship on my Main in 2,026 days **. Not to another player – but to NPCs.

I had known what I was doing was risky, and the loss of my ship was probable, but I was in an experimenting sort of mood.

As I warped away in my pod, then salvaged my wreck, then headed off to Jita to replace the ship, I can’t say I felt particularly liberated by my actions. More slightly bemused, slightly annoyed.

I ran a Lesser Serpentis Covert Research Facility, or ghost site, in my Astero. I had the opportunity to warp away, but deliberately hung around to check how my fit handled the damage output. It didn’t.

I tanked the Secure Depot explosion ok. It did 1,773 points of damage, which was a little higher than expected given my main tank – armor, had 70% explosive resists. It was not however high enough to get into hull. What I had not expected was the high damage output from the sites Serpentis Cruiser Guardians. After the Can exploded I was hit with several wrecking blows of 200-300+ points of damage each. I only had enough time to overheat my armor repairer and zoom out my overview so as to try and pick a better transversal before it was all over.

The frigate had an EHP of 9.1K. If I had flown a little better and had a little more luck on the wrecking hits, I might have been ok. “Might have been ok” however isn’t a viable fit.

The hull and faction fittings cost just shy of 300M ISK. The salvage was about 12M ISK. That was an expensive experiment.

So my next move?

I have a new fit to try. Next time I try the site I will swap out the expensive faction modules and go for a dual armor and shield buffer tank. I know you are not meant to, but this is for this specific site. The new version has 14.2K EHP. Its loss should also only be around 100M ISK.  Should be worth a try.

 

** Checking across my Alts, I have two cyno ship loses (at 1,011 and 1,897 days ago), and one loss from NPC’s (at 577 days ago – although this was part of the new player experience and you had no choice but to die).  I don’t really count those as proper losses.

 

Chump Change

I’m not sure how many Serpentis anomaly sites I’ve run fishing for Faction spawns – near on 40 at a guess. I finally got my first Shadow Serpentis – although the drop, including T2 salvage, was only worth 600K ISK.

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The same site also triggered an Escalation – the 4th for those 40 odd anomalies. Each Escalation (Serpentis Narcotic Warehouses from memory) has been 9 jumps away, which is a bit of a hike there and back. I ran three of them, the fourth was in Low Sec and I did not think to use a cheaper clone on this investigation. It probably goes without saying, but none of the escalations dropped much in ISK value.

I haven’t run enough sites to know, but on this initial limited set of data the income from Serpentis sites has been noticeable lower than for Sansha. If that is accurate, I don’t know why there is as much competition for exploration sites as there is here.

I’m quite comfortable the Confessor can handle anything thrown at it by these empire Serpentis sites without any change of fit or tactics. I’ll keep running sites for a while longer just to get a better idea on what can drop.

I probably shouldn’t admit this – but I do occasionally salvage my anomaly wrecks for the bigger sites. It is not for the ISK, as the real earner there is to maximise the number of Faction Spawns and Escalations you get. For me it is just a short change of scenery, plus I find the process of efficiently salvaging to be kind of peaceful – like mining. I also find – as I have remarked on many times before, these small little collections add up over time.

Here was the salvage from one site:

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*Edit – these posts are a little behind what is happening in game.  I’ve had another escalation into Low Sec within the next 10 anomalies I’ve run – this was a DED 5 of 10 which I did not have a suitable ship handy to run.  I would need to be using a cheaper clone and carry a Gila or Stratios in the Orca for that.

Lugging

Look back through the many years I’ve been playing EVE, my favourite solo style of game play was when I was roaming nomadically, living out of Orca’s.

I used to be able to carry around a collection of bling fitted ships, spares, and weeks of collected loot in an Orca with relative safety. That came to an abrupt end when CCP changed the cargo scan and then drop mechanics. All bays in your ship could now be scanned, with the contents having a chance of dropping when you were killed.

My mobile homes became an unacceptable gank risk, so I sadly sold most of them off and gave up on that style of play.

Encouraged in part by Sir Livingston’s example I recently decided that I would test the Confessor out against other NPC factions, and not just the Sansha that live around my home base.

With the Confessor turning out to be such a good all round ship for Hi-Sec Exploration – and being relatively cheap, it has opened the possibility of living out of an Orca again.

My standard travel Orca is fit has 414K EHP and allows me to do the 10 second MWD cycle warp trick, or the MWD + Cloak trick if I feel the need.

(Thanks Raziel Walker for the suggested fitting change, I hadn’t taken into account the Compact option available now)

[Orca, Roam]
Damage Control II
Reinforced Bulkheads II

500MN Y-T8 Compact Microwarpdrive
Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
EM Ward Field II

Small Tractor Beam II
Salvager II
Improved Cloaking Device II

Large Transverse Bulkhead II
Large Transverse Bulkhead II
Large Transverse Bulkhead II

 

So I decided to do my Confessor experiments using a roaming Orca. Into the Ship Maintenance bay went the T3 Destroyer, a Salvaging Destroyer, Prospect, Retriever, Astero, and a Malediction that I use as a shuttle. The total hull prices are under 170M ISK, and even with fittings, the value of all of them is less than my Stratios.

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I am now in Serpentis space, where I am finding the Confessor’s 112km targeting range in Sharpshooter mode readily handles the NPC EW dampening. I haven’t had much luck with drops as yet however, so it hasn’t been a profitable move so far.

I confess

My main distraction in EVE at the moment is (still) Hi-Sec exploration (with the occasional run into Low-Sec for certain escalations). Primarily I am clearing anomalies looking for Faction Spawn or Escalations, and scanning down Combat sites for Faction drops. It fits in well with my short and unreliable play schedule.

There is a lot of competition for these sites, so while I don’t like the min/max/zerg approach to gaming, it pays to find and clear each site swiftly.

Ideally you want a ship that:

. Is agile and warps quickly between systems
. Can use probes to scan down sites
. Isn’t impacted by any gate hull restrictions
. Can tank all sites
. Can lock small targets quickly
. Can one or two volley most of the small NPC’s you will face
. Has some flexibility to mitigate the NPC EW
. Has reasonable cargo space
. Doesn’t require frequent Ammo restocking
. Can salvage the Faction Wrecks
. Doesn’t need to refit to do all this

It is a long list – yet the Confessor does it all. While I am not particularly enamoured by its appearance, I have become a big fan of flying it. It recently triggered a Sugar style consolidation of the ships in my hanger, with my exploration Retribution, Phantasm and Worm all being repackaged, ready to be sold.

My current fit hasn’t changed much since I last posted it:

[Confessor, Explore]
Internal Force Field Array I
Heat Sink II
Heat Sink II
Coreli A-Type Small Armor Repairer
Coreli C-Type Adaptive Nano Plating

Coreli A-Type 1MN Afterburner
Cap Recharger II
Tracking Computer II, Optimal Range Script

Sisters Core Probe Launcher, Sisters Core Scanner Probe
Salvager II
Small Focused Beam Laser II, Imperial Navy Multifrequency S
Small Focused Beam Laser II, Imperial Navy Multifrequency S
Small Focused Beam Laser II, Imperial Navy Multifrequency S
Small Focused Beam Laser II, Imperial Navy Multifrequency S

Small Capacitor Control Circuit II
Small Auxiliary Nano Pump I
Small Auxiliary Nano Pump II

I generally fly in Sharp Shooter mode. With a scan resolution of 812 it locks most things within 3 seconds, and is able to hold a respectable 7 targets in total. I spit the turrets into two grouped pairs. It does 425dps out to 20km with Imperial Navy Multifrequency, and 246dps out to 60km with Aurora Crystals. It clears the lower end sites very quickly without the delays of drones or missiles.

My fit it is cap stable with fairly omni tank of 105dps, increasing to 158dps in Defence mode. I haven’t had issues tanking up to 4 out of 10 DED sites, although you have to pay attention to your position and speed in some.

Last of all I use the Propulsion mode to close on gates, containers or wrecks when the field has been cleared.

As I have said before, this “profession” in EVE tends to be a hit and miss on ISK pay outs, particularly if (like me) you don’t follow all the escalations (too far or into busy low sec systems).  I earnt less than 10M ISK for the last hour I’ve played today (very busy and already cleared systems) – but I earnt 120M ISK for 30 minutes work a couple of days back.  It is part of the charm of the activity.  The Confessor don’t guarantee a big pay day, but it makes the exploration process more enjoyable.

Raided to death

This week I got a series of emails from a work colleague as he wrestled with a catastrophic failure of a RAID array. Like me he has two decades of experience with backups and disaster recovery, but I didn’t like his chances of salvaging anything. The tone of his correspondence became more despondent until he was forced to admit defeat. I asked what he had lost, and was told his only complete collection of family digital photos.

I’m not sure about you, but the thought of that was quite confronting.

While I have a regimented backup regime at home across 3 different devices, they are in the one location and at risk from damage or theft. I spent the time I would normally be playing EVE this weekend procuring somewhat robust USB keys, and copying the family photos, videos and music collection to them. I will leave them with my parents the next time I visit, and update them once or twice a year. I’ll have four backups now.

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While RAID technology is a given in the business environments I support, I never use it at home. For the last 20 years I’ve seen it fail more often and more ruinously than just straight configured drives. Don’t even get me started on the privacy and reliability of Cloud services!

I have still been playing EVE – although as mentioned not so much this weekend. My loot container value is now up to 650M, which means I’ve earnt 100M a week since I last looked at its value at the end of May. All I am doing is logging in every day or two, poking my nose out of my home station, and probing down and running sites that happen to be there. If there is nothing I’ve gone and done some mining. It still amazes me how much you can amass over time with relatively little effort, just by clicking on that undock button.

CCP’s recent Drifter summary blog was worth a read:

http://community.eveonline.com/news/dev-blogs/an-update-on-the-drifters/

Mark726 from EVE Travel did a great post about the complexes now available within the Drifter wormholes, which is also worth a read.

https://evetravel.wordpress.com/2015/06/19/drifter-complexes-barbican-conflux-redoubt-sentinel-vidette/

It seems to be outside the capability of me to explore this solo – even using an Alt. I continue to enjoy this NPC arc in the game anyway.

I have found one quibble with the new icons. I find it difficult to work out what I have locked and what I haven’t in the overview. That is probably more a consequence of non-scaling the client on a 28” 4K screen than the design, but I am hoping the changes they are looking at for the 90% UI scaling players helps me too.

As Splatus (https://splatus.wordpress.com/2015/06/20/winning-eve/) points out, winning at EVE can just be finding an acceptable level of activity that fits in with real life.

Third one

I visited Jita the other day. I couldn’t remember the last time I was there – it had plausibly been months.

I picked up and fitted a Jackdaw, the new Caldari T3 Destroyer. I wanted to compare it against the Confessor as a High Sec Exploration vessel.

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The initial quick fit I used and tested is below.

[Jackdaw, Play]
Ballistic Control System II
Ballistic Control System II

Coreli A-Type 1MN Afterburner
Gistii A-Type Small Shield Booster
Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
Domination EM Ward Amplifier
Domination EM Ward Amplifier
Scan Rangefinding Array II

Light Missile Launcher II, Mjolnir Light Missile
Light Missile Launcher II, Mjolnir Light Missile
Light Missile Launcher II, Mjolnir Light Missile
Light Missile Launcher II, Mjolnir Light Missile
Light Missile Launcher II, Mjolnir Light Missile
Sisters Core Probe Launcher, Sisters Core Scanner Probe

Small Bay Loading Accelerator I
Small Anti-Thermal Screen Reinforcer II
Small Anti-Explosive Screen Reinforcer II

While the Jackdaw tanks better, in most other ways the Confessor is better for exploration. It is cheaper to fit, requires far less cargo space for ammunition, can fit a Salvager and probe launcher without impacting DPS, is quicker to change ammo, damage is applied immediately and so on.

I don’t mind the look of the Jackdaw, but I doubt it will find a permanent place in my hanger.

At least it was worth fitting and testing the hull. I still haven’t unpackaged the Svipul I purchased a while back. While in EFT that ship does a great deal more DPS and otherwise matches the Confessor, the short range of its weapons and the requirement to close up on targets means it will clearly be slower at the task of clearing sites.

During my ship testing I had time to get accustomed to the new icons. They can be a little hard to distinguish at the high resolution of my monitors, but the approach certainly provides a lot of extra information and I expect I will get used to them with time. I am not sure why some players are crying about the sky falling in on them.

Welcome, new sites and ISK

Sometimes a short EVE session is all you can manage. When this happens I put aside my ship spinning and force myself to undock in an Exploration ship.

Yesterday I scanned down a Contested Guristas Covert Research Facility, and while in warp realised there were also two Lesser Sansha Covert Research Facilities in my new home system.

ehimg404

That’s an unexpected cluster, and I took it to be a nice welcome.

 

ehimg405

The contested Guristas site is a little odd – just a floating container you hack. The Sansha sites dropped nothing much of value. I am going to have to think about fitting a MWD to my Stratios so that I can more reliably get to a second can before the rats arrive and everything blows up.

I then ran a couple of anomalies to test the drone changes to the Gila. Not sure I like that hull as much anymore. I then went back and hoovered up the wrecks in a Noctis.

Finally, noticing a new signature in system I scanned down a wormhole. It was to unknown space so I ignored it. I did however notice a steady stream of pilots passing through it, probably on their way to Amarr which was conveniently nearby.

I was undocked for less than 30 minutes and made around 5M ISK, but managed to look at one of my ship fittings impacted by Kronos and happen upon one of the new sites.

If you looked at that in a min/max sort of way the session would have to be considered an abject failure. I should have been spending my time inventing Prospects or hunting Low Sec for the new Mordu’s Legion BPCs. I could have been earning much more ISK.

Instead I was just enjoying space, lining up the new solar flares against the updated rich golden shine of my home station and smiling at the effect. EVE once had a manic hectic pace for me. Now is provides moments of calm and peace. Until the kids start screaming about how one hit the other, or the more recent delightful behaviour of who was spitting on who.

I must be getting old.

And that pointlessly small 5M ISK? I throw it into my “To Sell” container, and without much thought or effort, and the occasional lucky drop, it slowly turns into 100s of millions.

I added a new site to the blogroll – Killmail Archivist:

http://namamai.wordpress.com/

Well worth a read. Jester like in many ways with a deep understanding of game mechanics and history, and the ability to clearly and interestingly explain the topics.  I hope they hang around.

Paying attention to the stories

My Capsuleer awoke and undocked in their Buzzard. There were two other pilots mining and two signatures to scan down amongst a sea of anomalies. These worked out to be a Data and a Relic site, which were run for around 4M ISK in loot. There was a Jaspet site in system, so the Hulk was next undocked. The Alt was also awoken and refitted the Orca for mining boosting, and they also undocked. Another 19M ISK was earned over a short stint.

I’ve been in the island for a bit over a week now, and my total casual income has been around 125M ISK. These are from sessions which were as short as 10 minutes at a time, and included 3 or 4 mining stints, the most I’ve done in possibly years. Your real pay days with this sort of gaming are from the faction spawns – but there have been few; and their drops particularly poor. That’s just the luck of the draw – the fact I am undocking means I am open to the chance of some reasonable ISK.

That is what the Island is offering so far, reasons to undock, even if just for a quarter of an hour.

ehimg367

Mining tends to be more relaxed on the Island

The other day I noticed a suddenly influx of pilots in the system I was idling in. This many pilots appearing together is unusual for the Island. I glanced at them, and noted most were freshly in various NPC corporations, having just left a Player Corporation.

Looking at the war history of the corporation, I could see they were under a War Dec. Looking at the War Report, I could see they had lost a couple Orca’s and various other ships in the war, and were obviously losing. Given the pilots were all together, it didn’t look they were bailing out on each other, just (possibly temporarily) the Corp.

Because the area is quiet I am picking up a lot more of the stories behind the other pilots. There is a pair of Pilots – obviously a Main and an Alt, who are always circling the island probing down sites in a fairly methodical manner. There’s another pilot who circles the island at break-neck speed, running specific sites for maximum profit, and making a particular point to steal faction spawns from other players. There’s a couple mining Corporations who strip belts in an assortment of barges with support, and there are some mission runners doing their own thing. There are also a lot of explorers generally.

As I sat cloaked off the wormhole to Jita the other day I watched a procession of familiar pilots moving supplies in and out. Obviously this is a location and method of living that other pilots have also found to their liking.

An unexpected scramble

I was doing the rounds of the Island, checking for any Hi-Sec wormholes. Early indications are that these won’t be particularly common.

I was being regularly interrupted by wife and kids, so it was taking a while. Some of the inhabitance might have been thinking I was the worst scanner in history for how long the probes could sit idling in space.

I found a hole to Low Sec, which dropped me off in Reblier, right next door to High Sec. Having lived in Syndicate I was very familiar with Reblier, and its often camped neighbour 6-CZ49. At a pinch I could use it to ship in supplies, particularly if I used some scouts, but it would likely be dangerous.

I moved on hoping for a better option, and a couple systems later found a fresh wormhole to somewhere in Hi-Sec. The colour suggested the other end terminated in Lonetrek, and sure enough I stepped through to be only 3 jumps out from Jita.

I embarrassingly did a little fist pump.

So – I have the kids around all day and plenty of work to get done, but this is an opportunity I can’t pass up. Over the day the Wormhole saw a flurry of activity, with me having all three accounts logged in and active.

I moved my Main Alt into the pocket. I moved an Orca, Hulk and Mackinaw in. I moved half a dozen PVP ships in – mostly recons. I moved in some haulers and a Noctis, and last of all I moved in a PVE Assault Frigate.

I had to buy and fit all these. Although I had some of them sitting around unused in other stations, I just couldn’t afford the time to collect them. It was a mad scramble as it was just to get this much done in between all the normal busyness of my day.

In hindsight I really should have prepared all these before – probably having them in Jita already to go. The bank balance is a couple Billion ISK lighter because of it.

I’m still not fully set up, but I am in a much better position that I was before that wormhole opened up.