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.

Rose-coloured glasses

My wife was sitting opposite me in the living room the other day. She was browsing her Facebook feed on her iPad, her expression half engaged in what she was doing, half relaxed.  She was bathed in glorious soft late afternoon light and my heart skipped a beat to what was in my eyes a quintessential, picture-perfect scene. After a while I quietly got up, grabbed “the good camera” and took a couple quick photos before my wife became aware of what I was doing.

I’m overzealous when it comes to crafting the family photo album. If I take 100 photos over an outing, I’ll keep only 3 or 4 that best trigger our memories of the day. If I capture 20 perfect photos of the same person or scene in one sitting, I’ll keep only one. I tend to be very proud of the collection of photos I retain each year. In amongst those carefully selected slices of our life will be just a handful that grab right at our souls. The perfect representation of a person, a moment in time, a trigger not of a memory, but a flood of them. A photo you cherish for a life time. That was the sort of photo I was confident I had captured.

When I downloaded the photos later that evening I was instead a little disappointed. Technically they were good and captured the scene, but my wife was not the glowing beautiful woman that had taken my breath away just hours earlier. Your eyes were too easily drawn to the wrinkles, and posture, the not quite right hair, the slight hint of a dour edge to her expression. Instead what I had was a photo that would be looked at fondly as the years progressed. The sort of photo my wife would look at in her 50’s and remark that she always complained about her appearance in her 40’s, but now she realised she looked alright, and wished she appreciated it more at the time. The sort of thing she says now in her 40’s about photos taken of her in her 30’s.

Technically I could have swapped to a faster lens and used a much shallower depth of field to soften the photo, but the candid nature of the scene would have been lost to the set up. The expensive camera and lens did what it was designed too – captured a very large, sharply in focus image.

The reality is I see my wife through rose-coloured glasses. It is a consequence of not just loving her – but of being in love with her. It is a selective filter on what you see in your mind’s eye.

Now if you have read this far, you might be wondering what this has to do with EVE. I’ve been aware for a while now that I’ve put down my rose-coloured glasses when it comes to EVE. I love the game – but I am no longer in love with it. I felt this keenly as I watched, read and listened to the details coming out of EVE Fanfest 2017. I really needed some sort of inner predisposition to be happy with whatever I was being shown, because when looked at it objectively, there was very little to look forward to or be enthused about for the Solo player.

I feel like a broken record in this regard – but it is the game style I play and the primary focus of this blog.

The new PVE AI in the new PVE site sounded like it could be interesting – but there will only be one instance of the site in the game at any one time, and it will be defended by hundreds, maybe even thousands of NPCs. Obviously not content suitable for solo use!

I had a glimmer of hope when on one slide about the upcoming structure work CPP mentioned they were looking to support a wider variety of player types than they have been so far. Then I realised it would just be the need to have miners in the new moon goo collection process.

One of the few things relevant to me was CCP Seagull alluding to new content coming to Empire Space in the Winter Expansion. I got the impression it was PVE related, would be big, and that she wanted the players to find some of the details out for themselves in the game when it was released. I assume it relates to the NPC AI changes. If I had rose-coloured glasses I would be excited for the possibilities, but instead I’m left contemplating CCP’s apparent lack of understanding of their Empire players, and wondering if we would be as excited about this new thing as they are.

While it doesn’t really impact game play, CCP is continuing to try and improve the look of the game. There were several art concepts pictures shown for what CCP wouldn’t mind moving the in game space scape towards.

I like the idea of it, but at this point I’m over desperate instead for some worthwhile game play changes.

EVE and WoWS – Charge

The Total Net Worth indicator has been added to the EVE client:

https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&t=513617

I’m worth about 167B ISK apparently.

 

CCP have given an overview of how the Upwell Refineries / moon mining might work going forward.

https://community.eveonline.com/news/dev-blogs/introducing-upwell-refineries/

There is plenty to like about it, but again, nothing really for solo players.  You can’t even Ninja mine the Moon chunk asteroid belts without the Refinery Owners getting a detailed log about what you were up to – or likely being able to shoot you in the Belt from the Refinery.

CCP did a second Structure blog which was more self-congratulatory than informative, but there were some statistics and a link to a survey worth looking at.

https://community.eveonline.com/news/dev-blogs/the-advancing-world-of-upwell-structures/

 

Unless you are hiding under a rock, you would be aware PLEX changes are inbound.  I’m not going to talk about the mechanics, but I think it is a good idea to get rid of Aurum.  I’m not sure why CCP made so obvious miss steps in their initial Dev Blog.  The first and follow up Dev Blogs are below:

https://community.eveonline.com/news/dev-blogs/plex-changes-on-the-way/

https://community.eveonline.com/news/dev-blogs/plex-rework-follow-up/

 

The CSM 12 elections are in full swing (or at least I assume they are).  This year I think my vote will have slightly more value in not being used, so I will be skipping it.  CCPs and the CSMs version of “all play styles” has been proven for many years now to be too limited in scope.

 

I haven’t looked at the new scanning UI changes – most of my MMO time has still been spent in World of Warships.  I continue my fascination / dislike of the game.  After finally reaching the heights of a sad 50% odd success rating I then lost something like 10 out of 12 battles.  This happened immediately after I purchased a year of premium time – sort of like karma laughing at me.  There were some obvious reasons for this – I was finding matches more difficult again as people came back from ranked battles, people adjusted their play to the new skill options, plus I moved into some new Tier VII ships and onto new maps I’ve never played before.  Despite my wining streak coming to an end, I am finding if I am not sunk in the very first push forward that I often rank towards the top in many of my battles.  I’ve found a particular liking for the US Tier VI Battleship New Mexico.  The tri-turrets seem to work better for how I aim, and it is so slow that it is more difficult to overextend.  Actually – by the time I reach battles it will often be at stalled flanks, and I’ve been able to push my side forward by moving past them in my own version of a charge.  The New Mexico can take a pounding and seems particularly deadly in closer combat.  I’m sure some of these lessons would help me in EVE PVP.

Out and About

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There has been an unexpected number of things to do with the Ascension release. Hunting down new BPO, new skill books, new charges, testing new game mechanics, looking into new ships, updating old ship fittings and what not. I don’t recall an expansion generating this much “stuff” to do in a long while. Even my training queue had an overhaul. A long-time bastion of “whatever” and “just because” skill selections, it now has more than 100 days of purpose.

There is lots to like.  I was playing around with the new Command Bursts just this morning, and on initial view I like them a lot.  The fact you can boost yourself when not in fleet makes for interesting fitting variations for the ships that can use Command Burst modules.  There are also some annoyances.  The “warp drive active” announcement grates.  I want to hear “Docking permission requested”, and “Docking request accepted” messages, but cull plenty of the others.

And what about the high online user count this weekend?  It was well over 40,000 when I logged in earlier.  I hope this isn’t just a short term blip.

Anyway, it was nice to have reason to be out and about.  (Well, in game.  I was in and not moving in real life.)

Unexpected start

I was logged into EVE late last night looking at some of the changes with Ascension. I got to talking with a pilot who had just logged in as an Alpha clone. They had played EVE previously but were not in a financial position to subscribe. They had logged in as soon as the game went free to play. They lamented the price of PLEX and remarked on some of the political changes in game. They then wondered if they could earn enough to PLEX their account using their restricted skill set. I suggested they focus on finding fun instead of worrying about grinding a PLEX straight away. They paused and remarked that it wasn’t as if they had a time limit anymore on getting a PLEX.

I truly have no idea how the Alpha Clone state will impact the game, but it was nice that the very first interaction I had after the expansion was a player returning to look around who otherwise would not have. Here’s hoping they stick around.

200

I do not consciously read the odometer in my car – but every so often I will suddenly be drawn to it just when it passes a milestone. A nice round thousand, all the same number, a repeated pattern or the like. I assume you subconsciously see it as you check your speedo, but your brain doesn’t bring it to your attention unless it is unusual.

It tends to be the same with my EVE skill points. Today while checking my Jump Clones I was unexpectedly drawn to my skill point total, which had just trundled past 200M.

Not that long ago I would have met this with a bit of fanfare and a touch of excitement. With the arrival of Skill Injectors however the feat seems to have much less meaning. In fact – after I had loaded some SP from one of my Alts (to “transfer” Empire Control V), I’d felt somewhat like I had cheated.  Maybe 200 is not really 200 yet.

My EVE activity at the moment is probably best described as pottering. I continue consolidating my assets, most recently clearing out duplicates in my Memorabilia container. I do like being so close to Jita though – being able to quickly sell off surplus stuff, and to pick up fittings I am missing. I also updated another ship fitting in response to my likely more dangerous new home – fitting a Hull tank to my Noctis salvager. I’ve also fitted up and been running some exploration content in a Jackdaw, which I have not used much in the past.

CCP have said they won’t be advising of how long the downtime will be for the Ascension Release (scheduled on Tuesday 15th). They want to do whatever testing they feel is required before opening the game world. I’m not sure they have ever done that before.

https://community.eveonline.com/news/news-channels/eve-online-news/eve-online-ascension-to-be-deployed-on-tuesday-november-15th/

There will also be a dramatic increase in research, copy and manufacturing times for big blueprints for Capitals, Structures, Supercarriers and Titans.

https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&m=6701678#post6701678

It reads that it is to offset the bonuses from the new engineering structures. That seems to nerf the Solo Industrialist who makes normal Capitals out of stations.

Stop Buying Skins

EVE Vegas is on – so I’ve been keeping an eye out for new information on game updates and where things are heading.  Some of the official announcements have been added to this CCP News piece:

https://community.eveonline.com/news/news-channels/eve-online-news/news-from-eve-vegas/

Of note is that you should stop buying skins from the New Eden Store immediately.  There will be new skin types released soon after Ascension which can be applied to all hulls, including those racially different.  This will allow you to have mixed fleets that have a consistent look – if that is the sort of thing you felt you were missing.  The example shown was some sort of Captain American type skin.  To celebrate there will be a massive sale on all existing skins with the release, with examples of 75 to 90% off shown.  Mildly annoying as I had just spent some of the Aurum on my Second account (that I will be letting lapse) on full priced skins!  That would not be as annoying as it would be if you are a skin trader though.  They didn’t say how long this sale will last for, or what price these new skins will be.

You can watch the Keynote speech here:

Thanks to http://nevillesmit.com/ for highlighting this link.  I presume there will be an official CCP release of it shortly on their normal channels.

Most of the speech was about Ascension.  CCP Rise did an interesting short presentation on his experience using an Alpha Clone character for three weeks on Tranquillity.  CCP Ghost showed some video of the new “New Player Experience”.  It will be called Inception, and is focused on telling a story with a tutorial support system behind it.  It looks to be an improvement, although just listening to the instruction about clicking here and using the radial menu there, it was a reminder how clunky the game interface can be.

CCP Fozzie then came out and talked very briefly about Engineering Complexes. He said the Raitaru – the smallest (medium) Engineering Complex will be a perfect home for small organisations or bold solo industrialists.  This aggravated me.  It is not a bold solo industrialist who anchors a Raitaru.  The structure won’t defend itself unless you are online – and what defence it then provides is pitiful and pointless.  The unanchoring process requires blind luck that no one else notices and steals it from you.  To anchor one of these solo you are saying – “Hi EVE, here is some of my ISK, destroy it whenever you feel like it, there is jack shit I can do to stop you”.  That is not bold, that is stupid.  I certainly appreciate how cool it is that a solo player can now basically anchor their own station – but for the love of god, allow the thing to defend itself like a small POS can now.  Of course it is unlikely to make a difference to the end result, but it requires at least a little risk and thought from the attackers.  (It is my same old rant – but CCP really don’t seem to understand their non-PVP players.)

CCP Fozzie then moved onto more pleasing things, briefly touching on the mining updates (which I am finding intriguing); the new ghost fitting option (useful, but as Fozzie pointed out – brilliant for new players unaware of the third party fitting tools), and the next round of balancing for T3 Destroyers (which he did not outline, but from what I’ve read elsewhere sounds reasonable).

CCP Larrikin then came out to talk a little about the new NPC and PVE.  The asteroid belt encounters / mining NPC were discussed with a bit of detail – how they react and will work together.  If CCP get it right, and apply it to many more areas, it could make for some very interesting game play.  To try and get players to be involved, the Haulers can carry strongboxes which can drop interesting loot.  Again for me though – the impact on standings is a killer.

CCP Seagull then returned and showed a short feature video for the Ascension expansion – which also reminded me about the Sunesis Destroyer and of course the Porpoise Industrial Command ships which I am looking forward to flying, the skin changes I have already mentioned above, a new EVE merchandise store (available November 15th), the new EVE Online Portal Mobile app (also available November 15th), changes to benefits for new players recruited via other players, and the possibility for Corporations to get in on that process in future.

There is actually a lot of stuff in this release – although little that particularly enthuses me personally.  It was worth watching.  As an aside, I found the crowd to be a little more subdued that previous gatherings, but the yelling a little more obnoxious.