One or the other

I regularly remark to my son that he is whinging. He retorts that his comments are not whinges, but observations. His favourite observations are that he is tired or hungry. Or tired and hungry.

I have been contemplating this as I’ve been reading lots and lots of commentary on EVE and the Chaos era. What are whinges, what are observations? Where do my related posts fall?

I’ve done little in EVE since the end of the Skill Point related events. Hilmar warned of weekly chaotic changes, but that hasn’t really come to pass. Instead it feels like I am on hold – waiting for – something, anything to occur which will define what EVE is meant to become.

The notable changes that have gone in, the Null Sec Blackout, the recent Cyno updates, have had fundamental impacts on many players. So much so that I’ve been thinking CCP probably can’t reverse them. They will not be able to pretend it never happened or undo all the damage done. I suspect finessing is the best we can hope for.

I am waiting with interest for the minutes from the latest CSM summit. CCP seemed to be a bit gushy about how positive the whole thing had been, but I hope to get a sense of how the CSM and CCP really interacted and if there is positivity towards any coming changes they discussed.

I have read a lot of blogs and articles about the apparent initial impact of the Chaos Era. As with I, a lot of authors have been guarded in making any definitive calls, but there seems to be a feeling of disquiet. I remember Hilmar exclaiming about how exciting the initial statistics were from the first days of the Null Sec Blackout. I thought at the time he was premature to say that, and I am not aware of him repeating this more recently.

There is a risk that all the negative conjecture could fuel a self-fulfilling prophecy. I’ve idly wondered if CCP might work to cut off some of the statistics we are using to evaluate their changes. They could stop the feed eve-offline.net uses for its online user counts. They could stop or dramatically modify the Monthly Economic Reports. It might give them some breathing space, although at what cost.

The latest EVE Pulse is out.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQyNkyq3zlw

They discussed how normal Cyno’s can now only be used on Force Combat Recon cruisers or Black Ops battleships. In an irritating understatement, CCP Falcon said that lighting a Cyno will now be “a little bit more expensive”.

I wonder if this post is a whinge or an observation.

I almost forgot, I did do – or tried to do something a bit different in the game recently.

While moving around BPO I noticed some of those pesky roaming Triglavians hanging around my Abzel. I quickly docked up and took control of it.

When I attacked the Triglavians, they shot back. They didn’t do enough damage to overcome the shield regen and the Azbel never got below 100%. I got log messages that the Standup Neutralizers worked, and once in a while I’d land an ECM Success (even though it would have had no impact), bu the Standup Missile Launchers did not seem to do any damage and never appeared in the combat log.

I then launched fighters – but I could not see them outside the station, no matter what I did or tried with the overview or bracket settings. In the end I could not tell them to attack the Triglavians. I even watched some YouTube videos to try and work out if I was doing anything wrong.

When I stopped attacking the Triglavians they stopped attacking me. In the end I warped another character in to find the Triglavians had warped off, even though I could still see them from within the Abzel.  That didn’t work out as expected.

Bump Off

Something we should be seeing in September:

https://forums.eveonline.com/t/september-fitting-warnings-and-other-qol-changes/184553

. Ships will now automatically enter warp after three minutes of attempting to align and reach the required speed. This will now put a maximum cap on how long a ship can be bumped or stuck on geometry.

As you would expect there are threats of Carebear accounts being unsubscribed and – oh, sorry, I meant, Ganker’s accounts.  The irony.

The details are going to be important with this one.

Forum comments suggest testing shows the timer is reset if an offensive module is used on the target.  This means there will be no real change to bumping outside of Hi-Sec.

In Hi-Sec, most Gank to kill encounters are over within 3 minutes.  If a gang of Gankers needs a little more time to get coordinated, they would have to suicide a rookie ship on the target before each 3 minutes is up.  Organised groups would already have such resources in place to deal with the logoff timer.

One type of play it does likely kill are ransom bumpers.

It also makes bumping bots in Hi-Sec less effective.

The positives are it helps people stuck in objects in missions, and it helps people who are being griefed for long periods of time in game by bumping for no other purpose but to annoy.

Overall I don’t mind the change.

Stuttering

The deluge of Cyno nerf related commentary continues.

I wonder what CCP sees in the feedback.

Do they just see the happy people – an echo chamber reinforcing their own biases?

Do they just see the unhappy people – is it a worry or just a bunch of whiners?

Do they find the very rare thoughtful comment and consider modifying their plans?

Or do they just see the Chaos they feel is so important?

I see toxicity.

I’ve remarked before that if CCP’s changes are polarizing – with those very much for or very much against, then CCP have probably got it wrong. Their best changes are those that leave no one particularly happy, and everyone looking at the multiple choices they have in how best to adjust.

In this case we have some very happy players – and in amongst those seem to be plenty who go out of their way to goad, troll and enrage other players to quit the game. The comments across blogs, forums and social media are full of them. Emboldened, and seemingly supported by CCP’s communication strategies.

As I said – toxic.

One of the things I was working on recently was to again own Capital ships. I thought I might try to take down a low sec custom office with a Dread or try again to set up a base in Low Sec and use a Carrier to move ships and supplies in and out.

This was an option available to me as a solo player that I’ve made use of many times before.

The new requirement to use a 200M+ Ship to open a 10-minute Cyno is effectively out of my budget. I only play casually and currently would not make enough ISK in a month to replace one Cyno ship loss.

CCP seems to really be disconnected from all the different sorts of players it has and their average incomes.

One of the things I completed today towards my goal of trying to get out of High Sec more was a PC Hardware upgrade. It was in the works before learning about the Cyno changes. The issue I have which keeps me out of dangerous space is a long black screen I get when undocking from stations. It leaves me visible, lockable and attackable for 10+ seconds before I see anything on my screen.

In addition, over this year various Windows and EVE Client Updates seem to have perceivably degraded the performance while running two EVE Clients at the same time, with the unfocused client often stuttering.

I would need a solution to both before advancing my plans.

The PC is heading towards two years old but is still a reasonable spec with an i7-8700K CPU and 32Gb RAM. The CPU is a 6 core 8th gen running at 3.7GHz (turbo to 4.7Ghz). The OS and EVE clients run off an M.2 drive and everything else off SDD’s.

The slowest component were the dual GTX 1060 6GB Graphic Cards. They were getting on a little, but were still well above CCP’s minimum system requirements, and equal to their recommended configuration. They did seem the logical area to update.

So today I swapped one of my GTX 1060 for an RTX 2060 SUPER. I plugged my two 4K monitors that I run my EVE clients on into the new card, and it stopped all the stuttering and related performance issues I was getting.

It did not however help the black screen undock in the slightest.

I also went to Display Port connections on all 4 of my screens. Windows 10 still doesn’t like mixed resolutions (2x4K, 2xFHD), but it was made worse when my screens sometimes came online in different order. I’m hoping this will be a little better now.

So I continue to amuse myself, while trying to ignore the growing doubt that CCP is getting all this Chaos right.

How blinkered will CCP’s Chaos be?

The next Chaos related change (coming in September) has been announced. The standard Cynosural Field Generators are being restricted to Force Recon Ships (the ones that use Covert Ops Cloaks and are harder to tank) and Black Ops Battleships.

https://forums.eveonline.com/t/chaos-era-continues-cyno-update/182197

Cynos were called an oppressive activity with limited options to disrupt.

Considering the obvious impact to logistics, to offset this change CCP will allow Jump Freighters to use Covert Cynos. These can be fitted to cheaper hulls, such as the Prospect, Stealth Bombers and Covert Ops.

Oddly each time CCP has talked about Chaos, they have proposed changes which please the very same sort of players, are most easily circumvented or moderated by the largest and most organised in game and seem to be the most negatively impactful on the solo and smaller groups of players who prefer being self-sufficient.

You would assume this change is about disrupting the capital umbrellas the Superpowers can wield. Catch a Rorqual in a belt? It won’t be able to light a Cyno by itself and call in the cavalry. More kills for the unsated. Having fun in a battle? It won’t be as easy for a side to safely escalate with more Capitals. All good – except the larger groups and richer players will be able to adjust and get around this imposition. It might even result in less fights, as it seems to help the more organised defender.

A (cynical) bonus for CCP is that it means players will need to invest more time and ISK into their Cyno chain.

I have used Capitals in Null Sec, NPC Space, and Low Sec – primarily to move ships and supplies in and out of areas. I have done this mostly solo. It means I have been able to live and operate in quiet areas of dangerous space that I might not have been able to if needing to rely on moving those supplies though choke pointed gates or waiting for suitable wormholes to open. This sort of logistics is much more dangerous for the solo player as we usually don’t have access to Intel channels or friends nearby. I can still do the same now – but it will be at the high risk of Hundreds of Millions of ISK every time I try.

Ironically this change is oppressive for my game style with limited options for me to counter it.

How many interesting things could they have done here – instead of or in conjunction with their change?

. Have a cyno module that has a much shorter cycle – 1 or 2 minutes, but that only allows one ship to jump through?

. If you jump through a cyno, have a session change timer that stops you opening a cyno of your own for 5 minutes or more.

. Require Cyno ships to use fuel to open the cyno, and then additional fuel for each ship that jumps through.

. Adjust the time a Cyno ship is locked in space based on the number and / or size of ships that pass through, and / or the longest distance the jumping ships have travelled from.

If I have to risk so much ISK every time I open a Cyno to jump my Solo Carrier or Dread through, give me options CCP.  Give me something that is not predictable.

Hunting for skill points

Swinging sticks

The latest Dev-Blog is out – detailing large increases to in-game sales taxes and broker fees.

https://www.eveonline.com/article/pvewgz/updates-to-sales-taxes-and-brokers-fees

The maximum taxation you will pay in NPC Stations with no standings or trading skills has increased from 5 to 10 percentage points. That is not a subtle difference.

The degree this will impact you will of course vary. Your trade skill effectiveness will increase (by almost 19%), but overall at a minimum you will pay an extra 2.25 percentage points taxation in NPC structures (from 3 to 5.25, up 75%) and an extra 1.25 percentage points taxation in player owned structures (from 1 to 2.25, up 125%).

The feedback thread on this is interesting.

https://forums.eveonline.com/t/devblog-updates-to-sales-taxes-brokers-fees/178876

Just what is CCP trying to achieve?

Some point out that the biggest percentage point impact will be on alpha and low skill characters, however I don’t really buy that argument. Technically it is correct – but what is a couple percentage points on the price of a standard T1 frigate?

It will impact traders. It will impact players when they buy and sell items worth hundreds of millions. It will impact those buying and selling PLEX in volume.

Are they trying to push more of us to use Citadels instead of NPC stations for our market sales and purchases? How did that work out last time? If it did work this time, wouldn’t that risk giving more money to the Perimeter cartels?

Personally, I never sell out of a Citadel, and I never buy unless I am docked there. This won’t change my mind.  In fact, the cries to change or remove the asset safety mechanism see me even less inclined to do so.

Is this just an effort to take more ISK out of the game?

Do we have our next weekly “Ooo Chaos” change?

Who knows?  CCP didn’t think it important enough to provide context.

Skill point Explosion

What do you do if you are CCP and are trialing Blackout – one of the bigger changes made to EVE in some time?

You collect before and after data and carefully monitor the reaction and behaviour of the players to the changes.

It also seems if you are CCP, soon after Blackout begins you kick off the Season of Skills. This is a series of events to encourage people to subscribe and to log in daily to get extra skill points. It is the sort of thing which will skew some of the statistics that CCP should be looking closely at.

It must never have crossed their minds.

An overview of the events can be seen here:

https://www.eveonline.com/now/season-of-skills

From a law perspective, CCP is giving you extra Skill points so you can better respond to the threats posed by the Drifters, Triglavians and the Blackout.

 

The first part – announced on the 15th, and expiring on the 17th, is a bonus with 3-month Omega subscriptions:

https://www.eveonline.com/article/puowou/season-of-skills-3-months-of-omega-with-usd1-mct-offer

If you get a 3-month subscription, for $1 more you get three months of Multi-pilot training on that account. (It is limited to once only for each account.)

It should be noted that you do not get Multi-pilot training certificates (which could be sold on the market). Instead training for a second pilot is immediately activated on that account – so you will have to log in and manually start the second queue. Ideally you might want three months of training planned and lined up in that queue.

I grabbed two of these deals for my two Omega accounts. (I actually had training I wanted to do for an Alt on each of them, so this was fortuitous.)

The second phase of the Event is a week of getting bonus Skill Points if you log in each day between July 17 and 25th. Alpha pilots will be able to claim up to 200K SP, and Omega 650K. There will also apparently be Cerebral Accelerators.

The third phase runs between the 24th July and 21st of August and gives you between 10K and 50K SP for killing NPCs. I presume the exact rules will be shown via the Agency or the like.

The fourth and final phase will be between August 23rd and 26th. Log on each day and get more Skill points, up to 75K for Alpha pilots, and 250K for Omega.

I will likely log in for most of these. I guess that will make me part of the proof of the roaring success of the blackout – even though I am unlikely to visit Null Sec in that time period.

I’m just not sure what to think about it all.