Beating the old Drum

Yinmatook kindly commented on the last post and provided a link to the EVE Vegas presentation relating to PVE / the new Forward Operating Bases.

https://go.twitch.tv/videos/181166320

The more interesting bit starts at 10:42.

It wasn’t mentioned how many sites would appear in Hi-Sec at the same time.  I assume there would be lots more than Incursions / Shipyard sites.

Hi-Sec will be divided up, so one part will get Blood Raider Forward Operating Bases, the other part will get Guristas bases.

They will be a bit more common in systems with a security rating towards 0.5, a bit less common in systems with security ratings towards 1.0.  Regardless, they could turn up just about anywhere in Hi-Sec.  (I assume specific systems are excluded, like the big trade ones.)

You have to scan them down, but there will be clues they are there.  The NPC Mining Operations in that system will instead be the Pirate Faction.  You should also see special ships flying around.

If they are not addressed after a few days, they will head out and shoot players with bad standings towards them (that would be almost everyone), and attack vulnerable structures.  I didn’t hear any specific reference to gate camping, or how many people would be required to deal with these roaming ships.

The actual Forward Operating Bases are designed to be tackled by between 10 and 50.  By comparison, the Shipyards are designed for a minimum of 75 players and scale up as required.  Apparently up to 1500 have tackled one before.

There will be no capital BPC drops – as you would expect, but there will apparently be some new special drops that will occur from time to time.

Most of the reward will be in Concord bounties placed on the actual Forward Operating Base.  The Fleet doing the most damage attacking it will get the bounty, scaled and spread equally across the fleet members.  That would mean if contested, only one fleet will get paid for clearing the site, the rest get nothing.

It doesn’t sound quite as bad as suggested – but again, I need to wait for more concrete information.

While obvious and already apparent – it was made quite clear in the presentation that the goal of these sites is two fold.  First, to get Empire Players together into fleets and hopefully trigger in them a new, co-operative based passion for the game.  Second, to train players in PVP like tactics through the new NPC AI, in the hope they will then go out and fight other players.

This is apparently the only solution CCP can find for retaining players in EVE.  It seems us solo players just don’t hang around long enough..

The Witless

I found a few sources of information covering the first half of EVE Vegas, but then it all seemed to go silent. I’m not sure why.

I noticed a fair amount of gleeful zeal from the Anti Hi-Sec brigade, relating to the proposed new NPC Hi-Sec Occupations. Apparently, Blood Raiders and Guristas Forward Operating Bases will start to pop up in Hi-Sec. They should use the new NPC AI and be some lite and much less rewarding version of the Blood Raider and just announced Guristas Shipyards. To mix things up a bit, if nearby players don’t deal with a site, the NPC’s will start to roam. They will hunt players, attack structures, and camp gates. These roaming groups will require fleets of around 10 players to defeat.

I would expect if it is as dangerous as it sounds, that a small number of people already running incursions will farm these sites and everyone else will just ignore them. If the rewards don’t make sense, then they will be mostly ignored. If that results in people being randomly and without warning ganked by NPC’s when they traverse Hi-Sec systems, then there will be tears, then a proportion of those players will stop playing.

Nothing so far in this admittedly vague outline will result in more people playing EVE for longer. If CCP thinks otherwise, maybe the line of Anti Hi-Sec cohorts energetically self-stimulating their genitals will raise a warning flag. Or maybe not.

Anyway, I’ll have to wait for DEV Blogs to be released with specific details and timeframes. It seems unlikely I’ll by choice be able to interact with such PVE in my Hermit play style.

Of more interest I noticed that EVE Down Under will be an official Fanfest event in 2019. My Subscription currently gets me to February 2019. Should I set myself a goal of attending? Or will the witless have finally pushed me out of the game by then.

*Edit – Lazy blog posting from me.  Looking into it, the Forward Operating Bases will come on October 24th.  They are available to check out on Singularity.  Initial player feedback has been pretty light on, although apparently some have soloed them in a Marauder.  There are too many hours of CCP Twitch videos from EVE Vegas for me to go away and find the original quotes from.  Seems odd such game play hasn’t been announced, maybe the extra danger above was the wishful thinking for future versions of the sites.

Low

Over the years I’ve read many a good idea from bloggers about changes to EVE which would work well for the Solo player. I’ll let myself enjoy a moment of wonder at the possibility, then I’ll try to forget about it. You’ll never likely see them in the game.

I’ve read a few such good ideas over the last couple weeks. I suspect bloggers are getting excited about EVE Vegas and wondering what announcements we will get to hear.

I’m rather ambivalent about what we will learn this weekend. I’ve set my expectations very, very low.

I wasn’t able to log in for about 10 days. When I did I found just 12 hours left of the Warzone Extraction Event. I looked at the ships in my hanger and checked out the Gila fit. It should have sufficed for running the event site. The local system however was very busy, and I wanted to just relax, not be competitive, so I did not end up running any of them.

My basic training of the new moon related skills had completed, as had Gallente Strategic Cruiser V. That rounds out the set of the four Strategic Cruisers all at level V. I found myself working on Electronic Attack Ships V for no apparent reason, so moved Interceptors V into the top training slot instead. At least I fly those on occasion.

I noticed in some older patch notes that the in-game map had been updated. It had been a while since I looked at it properly.

The normal map view takes into account relative distances of systems on the X and Y scale.

 

Alternatively, you can select an abstract view, which somewhat flattens the map and system spacing.

 

This abstract view had been changed. I can’t remember exactly what it looked like before, but it did seem to be more workable than last time I played around with it.

 

Still not anywhere near as good as Dotlan for giving you a clear picture of where you are in a region or your travel path options, but it will work at a pinch if you just want to quickly look at what systems are nearby from within the client.

Playing around for a while I found the map was still a little buggy. I got the occasional white flash or map shake as I zoomed in and out, but it always seemed to settle quickly when I paused moving. I also found oddities such as when you were changing settings you would often lose focus on systems. You would zoom in after making a change and find yourself looking at blank space as the system you were previously focused on had been deselected. In a similar vein, any orientation of the map would reset between closing and opening it.

Anyway – all told, it seemed to have improved a bit.

I also noticed in the August Patch notes this – “Moved all medical clones, which were incorrectly located at Upwell Structures in Wormhole systems, to their school headquarters.” I thought medical clones were allowed in wormhole space now? Not to jump or be podded to, just to swap to while in the same Citadel. I thought that was a good option. Maybe I heard wrong.

*EDIT* – Should have read that closer.  It said Medical Clones.  Those were not meant to be in Wormhole space.

Last random thought from my blogging notes – coming in Lifeblood this month will be Personal and Corporate Mining Ledgers. It should start with historical data CCP have already been collecting for a while. It is not really necessary from a solo point of view, but I wouldn’t begrudge the development time. It could easily enough become source of solo goals in game for miners.

https://forums.eveonline.com/t/lifeblood-personal-mining-ledger/20386

https://forums.eveonline.com/t/lifeblood-corporate-mining-ledger/24249

Space Junk

The next thing on the September release patch notes I figured I would check out was:

“revamped all debris structures found in missions giving them a new luster”

I wasn’t sure if this covers all debris, or just the ones in Missions. I grabbed my Exploration Legion and ran some Level 2 missions.

When I first viewed each debris, there would be a short pause as it downloaded the new graphic assets. This short moment gave you the opportunity to compare the old and new look. The pictures below are the new look of a couple items.

There is a noticeable improvement, although the examples I checked were just sort of ok, and had no wow about them.

I hunted around and found an old screen capture from 2012 with a couple of debris in it for a very rough comparison.

This is an odd area when it comes to improvements. It is worthwhile, it makes a difference, it moves the game forward. However, aside the rare occasion, most people will not see it or pay it any attention.

I guess that is probably the point of it. If they let the appearance of things such as debris fall too far behind the rest of the game, people might notice and point at it negatively.  People having no need to pay it any attention might be an acceptable outcome.

Laser Fire

The next of the September Patch changes I wanted to check out was this:

“Renovated turret firing VFX resulting in improved visuals and client performance of Hybrid, Projectile and Laser turret firing effects.”

I primarily use Lasers and / or drones, so I undocked with interest to view the new visuals.

I realised three things.

First – I never zoom in to look at my lasers firing, so I couldn’t really tell if they looked better now or not

Second – I wasn’t overly wowed by the laser fire

Third – I wouldn’t really be zooming in to look at my lasers firing in the future.  It isn’t good for your situational awareness.

I don’t have any way to confirm if the client performance has improved, but I’ll take CCP on their word and be pleased for it.

While underwhelmed, I did get reminded as I cleaned up after my testing that the Noctis, even when dirty, is a really great looking ship model.

 

Late to the new T3 Party

Reading the July Patch notes finally got me off my backside and into doing a little preparation. This involved buying up one of every T3 subsystem and Hull so I can spend some time playing around with new fitting options when they go live. I know some of the subsystems will disappear / be reimbursed, but I couldn’t be bothered working all that out.

Doing this so late meant I tended to pay 10%+ more than if I had been more organised earlier. A handful of the subsystems were not available in Jita or were at double or more of the usual price. I had to fly across several regions to pick some of them up.

Of particular note, the Imperium News site suggested

“The only way to get the new support offensive subsystems, and covert defensive subsystems will be to have their precursors (The defensive ‘warfare processor’ and offensive ‘covert’ subsystems, respectively) fitted to hulls when the patch hits… or you will have to wait for them to be built and hit the market”

https://imperium.news/development-updates-patch-notes/

That is something to keep in mind. I dummy fit my four new T3 new hulls with those particular subsystems.

I’m not sure if there will be more of these gotchas or not. I am intrigued by some of the initial commentary I’ve read about the new T3 approach, particularly making the Covert subsystem a defensive instead of offensive one. I expect to get a quite a few hours out of looking at the fitting options.

While jumping around space I made some changes to my overview settings. I’ve created a new travel type view that excludes Citadels. My goodness do they fill some systems up.

I note that CCP has announced that they will be soon focusing on the defence / offence balancing of Citadels. I expect from the all the complaining that the goal will be to make them easier and quicker to kill. Even more reason for me not to use them.

Politics

A couple of days ago I briefly remarked on CCP’s balance changes to Capital fighters, suggesting the process was mismanaged.

https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&m=6968205

The forum post has now been updated, and the initial nerf has been scaled back. At quick glance, you might have thought CCP capitulated to the vocal ranting and raving from their players, but the devil is in the detail.

First – they called out the Capital pilots for the apparent unfair advantage they currently hold over the rest of the player base, an advantage for which they were screaming blue murder to keep.

In 5 days of data from the start of the month, 1.4% of pilots generating PVE NPC bounties were in Supercarriers – yet they earnt 22.3% of all PVE bounty ISK. A further 4.8% of pilots were in Carriers, and they earnt an additional 24.2% of all bounty ISK. So CCP was trying to nerf 6% of players who were taking almost half of all PVE bounty ISK, while 94% of PVE players shared the other half.

It is a very political sort of retort – divide the population into a minority of haves (PVE Capital pilots) and a majority of have nots (the rest of the PVE pilots), and ride on the coattails of democracy to getting your way.

If you are willing to risk a Carrier or Supercarrier in space to PVE, then you should get some increase in income. However, EVE has generally taken the approach that increases in ship or module power cost exponentially more than the on-paper rewards they provide. A T2 module might provide a 10% increase in power over a T1 module, but cost 10 times more. This seems to work in most other areas of the game.

I could imagine a Supercarrier pilot would be risking 10 times more ISK in space than a Carrier pilot, and I could imagine a Carrier pilot would be risking 10 times more ISK in space than a T1 Battleship pilot. How do the PVE rewards they are getting tie in with the rest of the game?

This is the sort of statistics CCP should have provided right from the start – and quantified it better by comparing the income and ship usage to before all the Capital re-balancing work over the last year or so. Then they might have had an easier time with the blowback.

Second was this line – “We are working on changes to Anomalies that will reduce the effectiveness of Carriers and Supercarriers. These changes will be announced at a later date.” Despite all the carry on, CCP sees this as a real problem, and will be nerfing this ISK inflow into the game one way or the other. The whining might have impacted this battle, but it won’t win the war.