Down to 0

I used up all the unallocated skill points on my main pilot Elmis.

They allowed me to pick up all the Capital Weapon Specialization skills to rank 3.

That moved me to having 445 of the 446 skills currently in game. The exception as mentioned, is the unused Astronautic Engineering.

Another thing ticked off.

The next logical step is to ensure I can use all modules and charges in game.

I picked up the ability to use T2 Siege modules and have 44 days of training left to use T2 Fighters, and an additional 33 days to fit T2 Triage Modules.

I think that is it – 74 days of training to cover everything. (I suspect there will be some obscure things that I have not considered.)

At that point Skill Points will have very little impact on my Main Pilot. It will mostly just be covering off mastery certificates and making the skill list look neater by making sure everything ends up at Rank 4 or 5. That last goal – getting all the new Hull and Capital skills from rank 3 to rank 4, will take some 300 days.

Interestingly my 275M SP is only around half of the maximum Skill Points you can train, which is somewhere up around 500M. That means with a little more care, you could get to the point of flying and using everything in the game with less than half the possible SP trainable.

Then I logged in after downtime and caught the start of the Season of Skillpoints event.

I got a further 275,000 SP on my Main Pilot. That dropped me from 41 to 35 days of training for T2 Fighters.

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.

Inflation, Economics and the Lack of Light

I’ve been moving old ships around. As a precaution I do a quick review of their fit and its value before I undock. I am finding many of the faction modules I’ve been using have dramatically increased in price over the last year or two. Some so much so I’ve had to remove them and go for cheaper options, otherwise I make myself far too much of a gank target.

I wonder at the cause of this inflation. Is it a reduction in module supply? Is there more competition for the original supply? Is it – as I’ve read elsewhere, related to there being so many super rich players willing to mindlessly pay a premium to pimp their ship hulls?

As announced, Local disappeared in Null after Downtime on Friday.

https://www.reddit.com/r/Eve/ went into private mode for a while as acknowledgement of the change. It was back to normal by this morning. With more impact, https://zkillboard.com/ went black and is not showing any information. It will return after Monday’s downtime, but they are looking to implement an hour delay in future before displaying API sourced kills, making it less of an immediate intel source.

Well organised corporations and alliances will adjust and even benefit. The disorganised and more casual player will suffer. For solo Null Sec players there will likely be a big shift in the risk verse reward equation. The risks increase with limited options for them to mitigate it.

Interestingly not all hunters are crowing. One remarked on a recent roam that covered 60 Null Sec Systems, where they saw only 9 other players. If they entered an empty system, they could immediately see that and move on. Now they will have to scan / probe every system they travel through, including the dozens and dozens that have no targets. I guess you need to be careful what you wish for. That does open the opportunity for solo players to still ninja resources from quiet systems.

What I am not sure about – does NPC Null Sec still have Local?

What I am sure about – this change has caused the strongest and most angry PVP verse PVE player hate that I have seen in a long while. I am reading comment after comment about how much better off the game will be if people who don’t focus on PVP get up and leave.

I wonder at the lack of basic economic common sense.

It is hard to get people to subscribe and stay subscribed to EVE.  In the long run an overall reduction in subscription numbers hurts the game. It doesn’t matter if in the eyes of those remaining it becomes a better game. Less subscribers means the game becomes less economically viable. Lose too many subscribers, and you lose the game.

People who PLEX accounts are in fact financially contributing to the game. This is because someone has had to pay for those PLEX for them to be available. Once the PLEX is spent, it stops being deferred or unearned revenue. That has a positive impact on CCP’s balance sheet.

So – even if you are philosophically opposed to the concept of a Carebear, most Omega Carebear accounts contribute financially.

They also contribute by giving PVP players extra targets. If players struggle to hunt these extra players, then the solution is not to get rid of them, but to campaign for balanced game rules that give both the hunters and prey choice and fun.

There are some areas where I feel CCP has managed to get this reasonably right.

When I haul goods, I am a target. However, there are a wide range of skill training, hull, fitting and tactical choices I can make to impact the risk verse reward equation. I can choose between volume and tank and speed and value of what I haul.

It is the same when I mine. I have real choice between where I mine, what I mine, the yield I achieve – against the cost of the hull, its tank and its capacity.

I am not that enamoured with the simplistic idea to just turn off Local in Null as an experiment to see how it goes.  I’m still hoping CCP has additional development ready to be released to suggest they put more thought in to it.

As with Hauling and Mining – I would prefer a situation where there is real choice for both Prey and Hunters in Null.  Have Local turned off – but give the defenders / prey choices.  Have anchored and vulnerable to attack infrastructure that turns Local back on.  Give it more than just a fuel cost.   Have a system with Local spawn fewer and less profitable combat sites and smaller and less profitable asteroid belts.  Allow attackers to hack these structures to remove their names from local.  Create new pulse or probe equipment that temporarily shows the number of pilots in local – while also telling everyone else in system that they are there.

These are just thoughtless ideas and I am not suggesting at their balance or suitability as a solution.  The idea however goes back to giving all types of players choice.  Instead what we have ended up with so far seems unnecessarily toxic and damaging to the game.  It doesn’t feel like it needed to be that way.

Kikimora – PVE Thoughts

Last year I looked at what sort of PVE hull the Triglavian T1 Frigate Damavik made.

https://evehermit.wordpress.com/2018/10/21/damavik-pve-thoughts/

It was a fun zerging ship, but overly expensive to buy and operate, and very lightly tanked.

This time I am reviewing the Triglavian T1 Destroyer Kikimora, to see what sort of PVE hull it makes.

The fit is pretty much the same as the Damavik, but it has a 2-3-4 slot layout instead of the Frigate’s 3-3-3. This means it dropped the Core Probe Launcher (making it a little less flexible) but picked up an Armor resistance module (making it a little tougher).

[Kikimora, PVE Play]

Damage Control II
Coreli A-Type Small Armor Repairer
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
Entropic Radiation Sink II

1MN Afterburner II
Sensor Booster II
Small Cap Battery II

Light Entropic Disintegrator II, Occult S
Salvager II

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

It is very much like the Damavik – except the EHP is better (7.0K vs 3.4K), the DPS is higher (675 vs 434), and it is a little slower (947 vs 1,201ms). It is also around the same price as I have it fitted, currently ~200M ISK.

It really zerged High Sec Combat Anomalies and Level 2 missions – and did so more comfortably and a bit faster than the Damavik. The Disintegrator had no issues with tracking, and it was nice not having to use Drones to get its full DPS. The spool time also mattered less as its base damage was enough to one shot more rats.

It is also a nice looking ship.

Overall it was an even more plausible PVE ship than the Damavik, and very quick to go through appropriate content. I would keep it over the Damavik. However – I can’t go past the cost. It is an expensive loss to an easy suicide gank, and the bounty revenue is mostly swallowed up by the ammo cost. It is really a tool for low level PVE content zerging.

Impure

In October 2016 I decided I wasn’t really playing EVE or making use of my multiple accounts or pilots.

To simplify things, and as a step towards quitting the game, I decided to move close to Jita, amalgamate and sell off lots of my assets, and go back to a single account and fly a single pilot. Become a real, proper hermit.

At the time I had some 475M Skill points across my accounts and pilots. I stripped / extracted the maximum skill points I could off all my Alts, and bio-massed most of them.

Some of my Alts had skills that my Main pilot did not. Some of those I did not want to lose access to – so I used some of the extracted skill points to inject and train them up on my Main. This was a costly conversion of only 150K injected for every 500K extracted. Everything else I sold.

By the end of November 2016, I was left with a main pilot with a couple million more SP than he would overwise have had, a couple Alts with a wide range of skills but very low skill ranks, and enough ISK to purchase and fit multiple Titans.

In November 2018 I had to admit the solo pilot game was a failed experiment. I had found the game much less enjoyable without having a second account and some half competent Alts to muck around with. The relatively healthy bank balance had added nothing to my game, and even though I was enjoying playing less now, I still had not got to the point where I was ready to quit.

So, I decided I would use all the ISK I had gained from extracting skill points back at the end of 2016 to buy Skill Injectors and set up a party of new alts. I introduced them back in January of this year.

https://evehermit.wordpress.com/2019/01/08/meet-the-crew/

I was very fortunate that CCP was giving out Absolute Injection Augmentor Boosters during the 2018 Christmas celebrations. These allowed me to use Skill Point injectors without the normal loss for diminishing returns for higher SP pilots. That made a huge difference.

In the end I spent all the ISK I had gained from the skill extractions, and as of now am sitting on 375M Skill points spread two paid accounts and 7 pilots. As I remarked before, it has been a very expensive failed experiment (to the tune of losing 100+M Skill Points).

Of the 375M Skill points I have, 17M were yet to be allocated to skills. (Most of these were on my Main Pilot – Elmis).

I find having too much ISK, and too many unallocated Skill points is a negative to my game play. There is less motivation to undock and do things that might earn you ISK, and you lose some of that anticipation and reward from training new skills when you can just instantly train them if you want.

So – I have been trying to work out what to do with those unallocated points. As I remarked in a recent post, my Main pilot can fly every hull, fit every module, and perform every in-game action that I need them too. As there really wasn’t anything I needed to train, I went looking for what might amuse me.

Titans.

Some of the only ships I can’t fly in game are Titans. I investigated what prerequisites I needed for the hulls, and any of their specialised modules. One of those covered the skill required to get into a Flag Cruiser, so I added that as well.

I then went and spent the following:

Skill Books:

Amarr Titan, 6B ISK
Caldari Titan, 6B ISK
Gallente Titan, 6B ISK
Minmatar Titan, 6B ISK
Fleet Command, 35M
Flag Cruisers, 65M
Spatial Phenomena Generation, 200M
Burst Projector Operation, 20M
Doomsday Operation, 250M
Doomsday Rapid Firing, 250M

 

Skill Points:

Capital Ships from IV to V, 2.95M SP
Amarr Titan to III, 0.13M SP
Caldari Titan to III, 0.13M SP
Gallente Titan to III, 0.13M SP
Minmatar Titan to III, 0.13M SP
Wing Command from IV to V, 1.68M SP
Fleet Command to III, 0.10M SP
Flag Cruisers to III, 0.06M SP
Spatial Phenomena Generation to III, 0.08M SP
Burst Projector Operation to III, 0.06M SP
Doomsday Operation to III, 0.11M SP
Doomsday Rapid Firing to III, 0.11M SP

The result was my Main pilot Elmis can now fly all the ship hulls in game. It is highly unlikely he will ever fly a Titan, but technically he can.

I then looked for all the skills Elmis was missing, and spent more on some of the low remaining fruit:

Skill Books:

Sovereignty, 500M
Triglavian Quantum Engineering, 52M
Triglavian Encyrption Methods, 59M

Skill Points:

Sovereignty to III, 0.06M SP
Mass Reactions from IV to V, 0.42M SP
Advanced Mass Reactions to III, 0.06M SP
Triglavian Quantum Engineering to III, 0.04M SP
Triglavian Encyrption Methods to III, 0.03M SP

I think that leaves a total of 9 in game skills he does not have. 8 are specialization skills for T2 Capital Weapons. 1 is the Science skill Astronautic Engineering, which is not used, not sold by NPCs, and is a rare collectable selling for 40+B ISK the last time I checked. That one I won’t worry about.

It will take around 12M Skill points to get all 8 missing specializations. I think I have around 10M left unallocated. I don’t want so many unallocated skill points, but I am not sure being able to use T2 Capital weapons amuses me enough. I will have to think about it.

I will say that none of this feels like an achievement. While I can sort of justify in my own mind the extraction and reallocation of Skill Points and ISK, there is an underlying sense that my Main pilot is tainted. Less pure. In the end however, it is up to me to play the game in whatever way I find fun or amusing. I also don’t mind the idea that the old Alts I had developed and trained for so many years have ended up supporting my Main pilot one last time.

Oh look – some wreckage

 

I wrote the other day that I did not think much of the reaction of some of the Null Sec leaders to their Drifter invasion. They seemed to want to lash out and damage the game and other players instead of – at least publicly, being constructive in their feedback and lobbying.

Mike Azariah went a little further.

https://mikeazariah.wordpress.com/2019/07/04/why-i-aint-in-charge/

It is fascinating that it is even possible for them to do it – but probably doesn’t speak well of them from a personality point of view.

What I might not have been clear on is that I agree with many of their concerns and complaints.

On one hand I don’t mind that CCP introduces new things as a back story, and that players need to work things out for themselves. The Drifter invasion however seems to reduce player against player interactions in Null Sec and sounds tedious and unrewarding.

https://tagn.wordpress.com/2019/07/04/drifter-change-up/

Like the Triglavian invasion, the Drifter invasions are changing over time, but CCP has just ramped that up even further:

https://www.eveonline.com/article/pu69gy/nullsec-local-blackout-incoming-during-july

At some point soon, CCP will be switching local chat in all Null Sec over to delayed mode. It will operate as Local does in Wormhole space. The back story is that CONCORD’s resources are stretched due to the invasions and they are having to turn it off.

We don’t know if it is temporary, or a trial to becoming permanent, or if CCP will be releasing new tools or Upwell structures to allow Null Sec residents to combat this change.

The feedback is about what I would have expected.

https://forums.eveonline.com/t/local-comms-blackout-discussion-thread/171935/43

There are some very unhappy people, and some very happy people goading them and gloating over the impact.

It turns out CCP has encouraged player verse player interactions – it just happened to be on the forums where the consequences are lost good will and subscriptions.

If I was in Null Sec I would not like that change – but then I am not the sort of player CCP seems to favour.

My god I hope you know what you are doing CCP.

Meanwhile, I think I might get the hell away from Jita.

Keeping Up

A week ago, I wrote about how I purchased the $5USD Starter Pack for both of my accounts.

https://evehermit.wordpress.com/2019/06/29/cancerous-players-made-me-open-my-wallet/

This was not in response to or a judgement on if the pack was a good idea or not. My purchase was a small pro CCP action within a larger anti CCP maelstrom. It was a minor example of putting my money where my mouth is.

Wilhelm Arcturus looked logically at the value this Pack had for players:

https://tagn.wordpress.com/2019/06/29/starter-pack-frenzy/

In short, a new pilot with less than 5M Skill points would have to use 2 Large Skill Injectors to get 1M SP. With a current going rate of 996M ISK each for the injectors, the Starter Pack can be worth 2B ISK to them.

Due to diminishing returns, a veteran player with more than 80M Skill Points would have to use 6.6 Large Skill Injectors to get 1M SP. For them the Starter Pack can be worth 6.6B ISK. A notable bargain.

ISK and Skill points are easily defined and measured, and it is a valid – startling – comparison.

It is also a comparison that I don’t think matters as much as it seems.

I did not apply the Starter Pack Skill Points to my main pilot. 1M SP went to my Industry Alt, who has 22.6M SP. The conversion worked out to be 2.5B ISK of value. The second 1M SP went to my Industry Support Alt. They have 15.8M SP, so again the conversion worked out to be 2.5B ISK. I ended up with 5B ISK of value for my $10USD spend.

Did I mess up? Would it have been smarter to apply the Skill Points to my Main Pilot on one of my accounts? On paper the value would have been 9.1B ISK instead of 5B ISK.

In my situation 1M SP on my Main Pilot does not have much value. They were born in 2006 and have been actively training the entire time since. They can fly every hull, fit every module, perform every in-game action that I need them too. Aside distractions such as the Triglavian skills, for years now most of my training choices have come down to turning bits of my Ship Tree Gold ..

.. or finishing off a skill category ..

 

Little of that has really enhanced my game in a discernible way.

That is not to say it would have no value to another 2006 pilot. 1M SP might have a tangible and immediate value, particularly when it comes to getting into Capital hulls and T2 Capital modules a couple weeks quicker than standard training allows. That might be the difference between joining a once off in game Operation or not.

Generally however, there will be a bigger impact from that 1M SP for a new player over an old one. Adding 1M SP to a new pilot with 1M SP increases their skill points by 100%. Adding 1M SP to my main increases their points by less than 0.4%.

That is the quandary about measuring value. Value is subjective and personal.

Giving 2M SP to my Industry Pilots should give me some value – however I have not yet spent any of the points. Both those pilots do everything I need them to be able to do. The skill points are there to be able to respond quickly to any unexpected future needs. The value will come later.

At this point, I’ve spent $10USD (around $15AUD) on a few Frigate skins I don’t particularly like.

There is one another aspect to this I find interesting, and I mention it as it explains in part why I am OK with veteran players also having access to the Pack, even if the value is not as impactful.

The idiom “keeping up with the Jones” refers to comparing yourself against the perceived social and economic benchmark set by your neighbour.

I wonder at the focus newer players have and are encouraged to have – in comparing themselves to the Jones – the veteran players. It is unhealthy.

If you started a fresh pilot as of today and wanted it to have the same number of Skill Points as my main does, you would need to use 1,520 Skill Injectors. That would cost 1.5 Trillion ISK. Your 1M starter pack skill points – to me or to you – overall makes little difference to that gulf.

Here was my reality.  The most fun I’ve had in EVE was when my Skill Points were south of 50M. When I was having to scrounge for ISK, when I sat up late watching a skill train finish so I could try out some new hull or module, when my choices in game really mattered to my game.  ISK and Skill Points are not the be all and end all in EVE, nor is trying to keep up with the Jones.  Your focus needs to be on finding and having fun – in whatever individual way that works for you personally.

The on paper value difference highlighted by Wilhelm Arcturus is real, however I don’t think it is as important as players having fun.  I can see how a Starter Pack could help a new player find fun a bit quicker.  I think that is a good thing.  I can also see how a (purchase once only, contained 1M SP) Starter Pack could help a Veteran find some fun.  Frankly I think that was a good thing too.