I though the salivating was strong

This image was posted on Twitter by @CCPQuant on the 16th of Feb.  (Ignore the S/M/L – the sizing labelling is wrong.)

It shows a count of the Hull-Reinforced Structures in the game.  Can you guess when Upwell 2.0 was released?

There was a level of humour from @CCP_Fozzie  and amongst the various comments on Twitter and Reddit, so the destruction is pleasing some.

I assume most of these are Offline structures, which have suddenly become much easier to destroy now.  An interesting reflection of the huge impact CCP’s tweaks and balancing can have as they change the ground rules.  I wonder what it will mean in the long run for structures in game – particularly for casual players.

You can watch roughly how this is unfolding on zkillboard:

Citadel Group stats

https://zkillboard.com/group/1657/stats/

Citadel Group Losses

https://zkillboard.com/group/1657/losses/

(Last year average monthly losses – 269.  Lost so far this month 404.)

..

Engineering Complex Group Stats

https://zkillboard.com/group/1404/stats/

Engineering Complex Group Losses

https://zkillboard.com/group/1404/losses/

(Last year average monthly losses – 227.  Lost so far this month 305.)

..

Refinery Group Stats

https://zkillboard.com/group/1406/stats/

Refinery Group Losses

https://zkillboard.com/group/1406/losses/

(Last three months average monthly losses – 166.  Lost so far this month 132.)

..

I will try to remember to revisit these after the month has finished.

 

Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover

Pyfa 1.35 has been released, with the latest Assault Frigate changes.

https://github.com/pyfa-org/Pyfa/releases/tag/v1.35.0

They have also made available the first Beta of version 2.0 of Pfya.

https://github.com/pyfa-org/Pyfa/releases/tag/v2.0.0b1

I had a momentary feeling of hope that maybe the GUI would be changed so we can finally see fittings side-by-side like in EFT, but alas no. (I have read before that such a feature was unlikely due to the underlying design of the program.) The changes look mostly back-end – such as supporting newer toolkits and versions of Python.

I am pretty sure I commented a while ago about purchasing and playing around with the Porpoise – the ORE Industrial Command Ship, or Orca lite. While a pretty cool ship, I didn’t think of it as especially useful for my solo play. This was primarily due to its reliance on mining drones – something I have never been a fan of.

While mining with my Skiff in recent months I have found that drone mining isn’t so bad if you just focus on asteroids close to the ship (obvious I know). As such I had in the back of my mind to give the Porpoise a second chance.  I’ve done that recently.

The stats for the Skiff I use:

85.8K EHP (Shield tanked with active resistance modules)
478m/s using 5MN MWD
20.1 m3/s Mining with Modulated Strip Miner II, range 15km
25.7 m3/s Mining with addition of Drones
15,000 m3 ORE Hold
Carry combat and salvaging drones to clear up rats

When playing around with the Porpoise I setup max yield and max tanked versions, which came up with stats of:

60.6K to 99.3 EHP (Hull and Shield tanked with Command Bursts)
458m/s using 10MN AB
12.8 – 18.6 m3/s Mining with Drones
62,500 m3 ORE Hold
5,000 Fleet Hanger

I ended up with this fit somewhere in-between:

[Porpoise, Mining Half Tank]

Reinforced Bulkheads II
Damage Control II

10MN Afterburner II
Large Shield Extender II
Drone Navigation Computer II
Survey Scanner II

Small Tractor Beam II
Salvager II
Shield Command Burst II, Shield Harmonizing Charge
Skirmish Command Burst II, Rapid Deployment Charge

Medium Transverse Bulkhead II
Medium Drone Mining Augmentor II
Medium Drone Mining Augmentor II

Mining Drone II x5

As configured – it has these statistics with my Character Elmis:

65.3K EHP (Hull and Shield tanked with passive resistance and active Command Burst)
528m/s using 10MN AB and active Command Burst
16.9 m3/s Mining with Drones
62,500 m3 ORE Hold
5,000 Fleet Hanger
Carry combat drones to clear up rats

It is surprisingly not that far behind the skiff, for just under half the price. While the mining yield is lower (16.9 m3/s compared to 20.1 – 25.7 m3/s) you are not having to switch crystals and you can stay mining for a bit over an hour without docking, unlike the Skiff’s 10 minutes.

So, the fit explained (something I don’t tend to do).

The ORE ships lend themselves to Hull tanking, so the Damage Control, Reinforced Bulkheads II and 1 Hull rig give the ship a reasonable 57K EHP.

I fit a 10MN Afterburner to increase the speed from 125 m/s to 458 m/s. You must move through the belt as you mine to be close to the Asteroids the drones are chewing on. The ship will fit a 50MN MWD, which gives a speed of 1,383 m/s. I think that might actually be too much, when you just want to move carefully through a belt without overshooting your destination.

The ship has bonuses for Tractor Beams (range out to 48k), so fitting one of them, a flight of combat drones, and a Salvager II allows me to take care of any Belt rats and clean up afterwards. The occasional lucky salvage drop can add to the profitability of your mining session.

I fit a Survey Scanner – although a little less necessary as the mining cycle is only 60 seconds. I also fit a Drone Navigation Computer II to make the drones move quicker to and from Asteroids (from 688 m/s to 894 m/s). I also used two Drone Mining Augmentor II rigs to increase the drone mining yield from 12.8 m3/s to 16.9 m3/s.

At this point I have a couple high slots empty and one medium slot. I figured I would double tank – comparing a resistance or shield buffer module, finding a Large Shield Extender II increased the EHP buffer the most, from 57K to 62K.  I am also more of a fan of passive tanks I don’t need to remember to turn on.

The Porpoise can fit two Command Bursts. I selected a Shield Command Burst II using Shield Harmonizing Charges, which increased the dual tank from 62K to 65K. I will turn this on only if I get targeted by another player. I also added a Skirmish Command Burst II with Rapid Deployment Charges. I will use this when moving around the belt – it increases my AB speed from 458 m/s to 528 m/s. If I went to a 50MN MWD, the speed goes up from 1,383 to 1,647 m/s.

I have found it surprisingly good and effective to fly.

I could remove the Survey Scanner and replace it with extra tank (close to an additional 10K EHP), or a Sensor booster (currently has very slow lock times with a Scan Resolution of only 113mm), or speed up the Drones with another Navigation Computer (up from 894 m/s to 1,127 m/s). I could swap the AB for MWD and change the Skirmish Command Burst for a second Shield Command Burst and fit the Extension Charges. Without the Survey Scanner the tank sits at around 75K EHP.

While it is still certainly a gank target, it has 3+ times more EHP than a retriever and more than twice the capacity, for almost the same yield.

I picked up the Angel Industrial Livery Skin – I like the look, and the notion of hiding in amongst the Asteroids.

On the move back from Jita.

At work

Overview again..

The new PC has been all up and running fine for a month or so. There is little difference in day to day use, but hopefully the newer parts equates to reliability for a while longer.

Since last I remarked, I have trained

ORE Industrial V
Heavy Assault Cruisers V
Medium Beam Laser Specialization V
Light Missile Specialization V
Heavy Missile Specialization V
Weapon Disruption V

I am currently training Skirmish Command Specialist V, with 19 odd days left.

The Level 3 mission running is progressing. Was struck by a Gallente standings hit as I mistakenly ran a mission against that faction. I need to be a little more careful. As you would expect the Cerberus is handling them without issue. In fact, I should be able to swap out one of the dual small shield boosters.

I ran a couple of the new Gala event sites. I was caught out by the overview settings not showing half the rats, and had to warp the Cerberus out of the first site, actually overheating the shield boosters in the end to stop dipping into armour. The site despawned so I was not able to finish it. When I did return to salvage there was a Guardian Angels ship 480 km off. I aligned to a station, cleared the field, and had the rat warp off after a while. Not sure if a bug or the DEV’s are just messing with us. I ran a second site in a Gila. I like how the rat’s warp in and out to re-position themselves, meaning you can’t kite them. It does mean you keep getting “target invulnerable” messages for a while after they warp back.  I’ll have to setup something a bit meatier to run the sites in if I continue with them.  Probably not really something for newer players.

The Dirty C Word

Why does an eleven-year-old EVE Character with 227M Skill points and several hundred Billion ISK decide to run Level Three missions in High Sec?

I can remark on not having run missions much for a while, and rarely for the Caldari. I can point out that Heavy Assault Cruisers are getting a rebalance soon and I thought I would fly one before and after. I can highlight the fact I have a nice skin I want to try for a Cerberus. I can remind you of the solo Astrahus build, and how through loot reprocessing and selling off salvage I can collect the Zydrine and Megacyte I need.

I can come up with so many reasons and explanations that the phrase “thou doth protest too much” comes to mind.

The reality is in normal circumstances my Character should really be doing more interesting high and end-game content. Building Super-carriers, flying Titans, running Alliances. (I do that last one already, but an Alliance of one doesn’t count.)

Circumstance is the key word – I can only play EVE Casually – with a capital C.

I talk about it all the time – but just what is a Casual EVE Player? Using the dictionary, the notion is towards an irregular, non-permanent player, possibly relaxed or unconcerned about the game. That definition doesn’t really work – that is a temporary participant in the game. A Casual EVE player can be around for years.

To me, a casual EVE player is one who cannot consistently and reliably invest time in playing the game. It doesn’t mean you are not interested, or passionate, or captivated by it.

When I started playing EVE I could spend an hour or two a night during the week, then several 2 to 4-hour sessions on the weekend. This survived the first few years with our first child. It allowed me to play a full, flexible and cooperative version of the game. After the arrival of our second child things changed. My free time dropped to an hour every other night, and a couple two-hour sessions on the weekend. While I could still play a comprehensive game, I found it awkward cooperating with other players. I had to lean towards solo play. As my kids got older, taxiing them to their separate nightly and weekend activities ate into and broke up my free time. Add challenging behavioural problems with our youngest, and now my free time to play EVE can be in just the occasional 30 minute block, and must be something I can walk away from at very short notice.

While I had plenty of time to adjust in my transition from full to casual player, I found the game did not really cater well for my time limitations. I preserved – helped I suspect by both my memories of what EVE can be and a dose of EVE OCD, but it hasn’t been easy.

I have watched many EVE players and bloggers go quiet over the last decade. A number were claimed due to financial reasons, or disinterest / boredom, or the departure of their friends, or conflict (with CCP or other players). Half – probably more – went for the RL > EVE equation. For lots that meant they did not have enough of that precious commodity of time.

I have believed for a long time that CCP could have kept lots of these players in game by better catering for the time poor. Surely this could be profitable? I’ve spent well over 20 years of subscription fees across my multiple accounts and various purchases of book and box sets from CCP.

Instead – they have pushed forward with a primary focus on group content that is difficult and time consuming for the casual player to coordinate, with game mechanisms that require you to be online for long or set periods of time.

When I was reading the CSM Summit notes the other day I was reminded – yet again – about how ill-informed the game’s influential players and CCP are when it comes to what Casual in EVE means. They think they know – but they show by their words and actions that they don’t.

I see small slivers of hope in such things as the addition of moon mining to Wormhole and 0.5 High Sec space, opening lite versions of end game content. While I wait for more, it is level 3 missions I will turn to this week.

Blazing Cerberus

I looked at some skins today that CCP had advertised.  They were nice enough, but I couldn’t justify spending the asking price.

Unexpectedly I then got distracted in game, and ended up spending a couple hours on it.

For reasons already forgotten, I set up and compared 6 PVE ship fittings in pyfa (which took a while).  I looked at passive and active tanked versions of a Caracal, Caracal Navy Issue and Cerberus.  Realising it would give me an excuse to use one of the Blaze Squadron skins, I put together a dual small shield boosted / Heavy Missile Launcher Cereberus.

Since then, I’ve been running some Level 3 missions when I found space time during the day.  The vague idea / excuse is to salvage and reprocess loot to be able to cover some of the higher end minerals I need for the Astrahus build.  Whatever makes me undock..

 

CSM Winter Summit Notes

I put my back out a fortnight ago.  It is something I am all too familiar with.

It was attacked with the usual modified behaviour, exercises, twice weekly Physio visits, heat packs, painkillers, and this time round more powerful anti-inflammatory meds than normal.

Worryingly the recovery has been unexpectedly slow.  I haven’t been able to sit down for any period of time without noticeable consequence.  I’ve played no EVE, or World of Warships, or Dungeon and Dragons Online.

Thankfully I have finally seen an improvement in the last two days, but the whole situation has put me in a rather grumpy mood.  It is probably not the best time for me to have reviewed the CSM Winter Summit Minutes, which are available here:

https://www.eveonline.com/article/p3uodb/csm-winter-summit-minutes-and-changes-to-the-election-process

What follows are just short notes I made as I (quickly) skimmed through the 70 something page document.  It is just whatever piqued my interest, generally with a solo / hermit bent.

(Note the page numbers may not be exactly right.  I could have also misquoted.  I didn’t have it in me to re-read the whole thing to make sure I got everything right.)

Pg 4 – A priority for CCP over the next six months is increasing the Daily Average User Count.  (For both old and new players.)  It will be a sign of the success (or not) of their efforts.

Pg 5 – A reference was made to acquisition attempts – as if it was common knowledge.  I couldn’t make sense of the subsequent conversation.   Might be something of interest in that.

Pg 5 – A  common thread through the whole document was the CSM wanting more time spent on fixing issues or adjusting existing features, instead of adding new ones.  This is almost the opposite of what I want, and stabbed at me every time they repeated it.

Pg 6 – CCP Guard stood up for / reminded the CSM of Players who just do their own thing without being associated with big groups or politics.

Pg 6 – Another common thread that popped up through the document was that CCP was thinking internally about the notion of cutting features that were not working.

Pg 6 – Another common thread that popped up through the document was that the CSM was focused on killing things, lamenting players were concentrate too much on Green Killboards, and how Nullification and Logistics made it harder to kill things, and how defenders have it way to easy.  At this point I was feeling so well represented by the CSM that I could barely make myself keep reading.

Pg 8 – Vague suggestions that Corps might be able to put up items in The Agency for their Corp mates – using templates and rewards they provide.

Pg 9 – The start of a few complaints about the Agency not being as good as it could be

 

By this point in the document it was apparent that Sort asked a whole lot of questions.  It did not change for the rest of the document.

Pg lost – Compromised Email Accounts was the biggest source of EVE Accounts getting hacked.  It was also a bigger source of RMT than Bots.

Pg 23 – The Badger and Navitas hull redesigns have been done.

Pg 23 – New acceleration gate activation effects and audio have or are being done.

Pg 24 – New players have not taken to the Resource War PVE sites, and CCP will not continue working on it.  Who would have guessed that.

Pg 28 – CCP Fozzie suggested at a small structure for Wormhole Day Tripping (to replace Small Towers) is being looked at with maybe a 2018 release date.  The first thing I felt any particular enthusiasm for.

Pg 31 – The bumping of tethered ships will not be considered an exploit.

Pg 36 – The Strategy Team is the leadership group responsible for the direction of EVE development at any given time.

Pg 36 – The push into mobile is one of their initiatives.  I am not sure I have really noticed any impact of that yet.

Pg 37 – The CSM once again pushed for fixing things in game – which was really fixing things in their part of the game.

Pg 39 – The CSM were given the opportunity to vote on the priority of 2018 features – which came down to Nullification, War Decs, FW, Fatigue, and having a Dedicated balancing team.

Pg 43 – Accelerators were viewed as the primary / most effective reward for Events.

Pg 44 – The February Event has some new skins that the CSM liked a lot.

Pg 46 – The Margin Trading skill will be changed this year.  The traditional scams using this skill will no longer work.

Pg 46 – I wasn’t entirely sure from the wording, but a CSM member suggested that R&D agents should be removed, and it seemed CCP was just waiting on priority or a team to be available to do it.

Pg 50 – A strange quote that suggested CPP was confused about game balancing priorities at the moment

Pg 62-3 – There was talk about hiring staff because the community team was not big enough to cover all its requirements.  (Derrr..)

Pg 64 – A note about the community feeling like the game was static. (Yep)

Pg 73 – Mission running is still the third biggest of the main activities in the game.

Pg 73 – Lots more people are using PI than you might think

Pg 75 – Sort worried that too much time was spent on finding New Players, instead of trying to get Veterans with their multiple accounts to come back

The summit finished up with the CSM suggesting CCP seemed a bit tired / flat / down.

I’m not sure how much more enthused I would have been without my back pain.  I suspect not much more.

 

We had part of a map after all

I re-watched the original announcement of Structures 2.0 which was made at EVE Vegas last year:

I was comparing it to the recent DEV Blog giving details of what would be coming in Structures 2.0 in mid February:

https://community.eveonline.com/news/dev-blogs/upwell-2.0-structures-changes-coming-on-february-13th/

The Video showed this little thing:

It was a status update on one of CCP Seagulls original road maps – showing us where the game was going with structures.

CCP Fozzie reinforced those last four areas would take years to cover off, but indicated in the moderate future they were working on the Advertisement Centre.  I thought this was an odd choice – but it might simply be low hanging fruit.  The Advertisement  structures would take up the function now covered by depots, cans and TCU’s for players to advertise their Corporations and label space and what not.

Also in the same sort of timeline are Stargates – but not the grandiose future some of us initially thought.  They were described as the structure version of the POS Jump Beacons and Cyno Jammers.

Eventually CCP Fozzie said the Admin Structures would take over ihubs and possibly the Sov System.

I’d forgotten about that Road-map.

One thing I will commend CCP on with Structures 2.0 is allowing Moon mining in WH and 0.5 High Sec Space.  I’ve said before that I think this is the sort of approach they need to do more of.  As I understand it / view:

. They already have the system coded / working, so it should be cost effective to implement

. The Rewards – especially in Hi-Sec, will be minor when compared to Low and Null Sec.  It is more about the experience than the wallet balance.

. It opens up new game play options for Hi-Sec players

. It means a player moving out of Hi-Sec can be familiar with the mechanic and more quickly productive / comfortable with aspects of their new home

. It will encourage players and groups (who are so inclined) to use the lessons learnt in Hi-Sec to try for better rewards out of Hi-Sec

I think all of that is a good thing.

I won’t be able to participate in this as a Hermit player in the initial land rush.  I wouldn’t expect to.  Maybe in a year or two down the track I could Ninja in on an abandoned moon somewhere.

Last thing to note is the result of the Blaze charity skin event.

https://community.eveonline.com/news/dev-blogs/a-tribute-to-ccp-blaze-an-incredible-community-effort/

I hope at some point in the future Mrs Blaze and Mini Blaze gain just a little comfort from having so many people thinking of them and Blaze.