Hindsight heh

There has been a theme running with my posts over the last 10 odd days.

Gaffe’s from CCP, thoughts on the resulting dysfunctional reactions and interactions from both CCP and the players, and the journey towards appeasement and resolution.

Today yet another DEV blog from CCP:

https://community.eveonline.com/news/news-channels/eve-online-news/concord-hulls-the-future/

They explain their mistakes and lessons learnt around their CONCORD Hull gifting, what they will do moving forward, and their plans with how and roughly when these hulls will be accessible in other ways.

It all seems reasonable to me, but I’m not invested in any of the rage so can’t say how this will placate those carrying pitchforks.

Mostly I find myself coming away from many of these CCP / Player clashes with a sense of awkwardness. CCP’s mistakes can be a bit silly, and obvious with hindsight, but the player’s reactions can just as often  seem too excessive. You end up feeling both sides have got it wrong.

Rogue Swarm Nests

Living close to Jita can be a pain with regards to how busy the systems are and the higher population of griefers. It makes doing anything in space less relaxing, and as such I tend to spend less time undocked.

Earlier today while returning from Jita I noticed a couple of the Rogue Swarm Nests in my local system. These are the most recent date limited PVE event sites, this time based around Drones. Given it was after midnight in game and things were quiet, I decided to run them in my Legion (set up for Event Sites). I managed to do so without being interrupted.

https://community.eveonline.com/news/news-channels/eve-online-news/rogue-swarm-alert-get-involved/

The sites are slightly different in the sense the NPC’s warp in, they drop a slightly wider range of loot, and if you wait a minute after killing the Swarm Overmind, you will get another spawn. Apparently, this additional spawn can be a Battleship, but I have not seen one. Instead I’ve always got around 8 small drones, although once got around 16, and in the last site I ran there were around 24.

The site looks nice, and they are simple to run. Warp in, kill 3 mixed spawns of Frigates, Destroyer and Cruiser sized drones, then kill an Swarm Overmind. Even the NPC warp ins seem to be placed so that you don’t have to worry about getting hung up on structures.

I had noticed CCP was keen to advertise these sites could be run by anyone – and they have done this by giving the NPC rats pretty anaemic damage. I have been comfortably passive shield tanking them in an Armor tanked Zealot, with what Pyfa suggests is around 2.5K Shields and a 7 EHP/s regen.

After the first two sites, I decided I’d fit up a Zealot, and slowly head off randomly towards quieter regions running them as I go. This is the fitting I am using:

[Zealot, Event]

Damage Control II
Heat Sink II
Heat Sink II
Heat Sink II
Tracking Enhancer II
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
Medium Armor Repairer II

50MN Microwarpdrive II
Sensor Booster II, Scan Resolution Script
Dread Guristas Stasis Webifier

Focused Medium Pulse Laser II, Scorch M
Focused Medium Pulse Laser II, Scorch M
Focused Medium Pulse Laser II, Scorch M
Focused Medium Pulse Laser II, Scorch M
Focused Medium Pulse Laser II, Scorch M

Medium Energy Metastasis Adjuster II
Medium Energy Metastasis Adjuster II

To make the sites as relaxed as possible, you want to be quick. Quick to warp around, quick to lock up the rats, quick to kill them, and be quick enough to rush loot drops when contested. It also helps not having to carry much ammo, be able to mindlessly tank the sites, and have enough cargo space for plenty of loot. In the dozen sites I’ve run so far, the Zealot has hit the mark well.

I am just using Scorch, which does 372 DPS out to 31+6km which covers the rat range profiles until the loot drops. I can switch in Multifrequency Crystals for 466 DPS to 11+6km, but it is not required.

Anyway – not sure how many sites I will end up running, but at only a few minutes each they should keep me amused for a little while.

Oh

The plot thickens.

There have been some follow ups to the Ghost Training Exploit by CCP on Reddit. I don’t tend to read Reddit – too toxic for my liking, but EVE News24 mentioned the comments in this article:

http://evenews24.com/2017/06/16/ghost-training-discussion/

The direct link to the thread is here:

http://www.reddit.com/r/Eve/comments/6hf3ca/eve_news_exploit_notification_ghost_training_ccp/

(Sorry, this link won’t open a new window, or might need to be cut and pasted.  If I leave it as a normal valid link WordPress automatically creates a large thumbnail to the Reddit article. Not sure how to stop it. It does the same with YouTube links.)

So – back to the original notification here:

https://community.eveonline.com/news/news-channels/eve-online-news/exploit-notification-ghost-training/

I had the assumption that since CCP was specific about the date and time Ghost Training was being declared an exploit, that any use of it before was not being looked at. That is why I was confused about why they would just look at it for a week.

I was wrong. To paraphrase some of the Reddit comments of GM_Lelouch:

“To clarify: We are going after past abusers.”

“..our objective is to go after those who intentionally abused this exploit.”

“You have nothing to worry about if you just happened to benefit from this exploit on accident … There is a pretty clear distinction between this and a skillpoint farm that’s been set up to benefit from this issue.”

“I want to take the opportunity to urge anyone who intentionally abused this issue to come forward by submitting a support ticket.”

And some more paraphrasing of comments by CCP_Falcon

“We now have solid methods for identifying and dealing with the people who’ve been actively abusing this, while protecting those who simply stumbled upon it by accident. I have full faith that our CS and Security teams will take care of this appropriately.”

“I’ve just been speaking with our customer support team, and they’ve confirmed that as part of the reprimands issued against those who’ve been abusing Ghost Training, the CONCORD ships that were issued, or the ISK that abusers of Ghost Training have received from the sales of them, will be confiscated as part of any reprimands that are issued.”

I’m not sure about the accuracy, but some of the comments in various locations on this topic suggest some EVE players have been abusing the exploit using 50 – 150+ accounts.  It is a unique game, with a unique collection of players.

Still doesn’t explain why it was left for so long, but judgement day finally appears to be near.

Huh?

For more than six months CCP has been aware of, and has left unaddressed, a mechanism in the game where you could train Omega (paid) skills on an Alpha (free) account.  I did it myself by accident back in February, logged a support ticket when I noticed, and had it summarily closed.  It has been called Ghost Training.  I ensured I didn’t use the mechanism again, but needless to say some people went out of their way to exploit the situation.

A week ago many people found their skill queues had stopped.  It turned out to be caused by a script CCP had run in relation to this Ghost Training.  I called it an awkward misstep, but in hindsight maybe it was indicative of the problem being hard to solve, hence why it had been left around for so long.

Then today I read this little article:

https://community.eveonline.com/news/news-channels/eve-online-news/exploit-notification-ghost-training/

Ghost training is now considered an exploit, which should be fixed / stopped next week.  If you knowingly use it between now and then, you will be accordingly punished as per the EULA.

I’m not sure why CCP has opened themselves to the obviously dangerous premise of deciding if a player is “knowingly” or “unknowingly” using it.  It is an exploit that can easily be used unintentionally.  After taking so long to address it, why hasn’t CCP just said nothing until it was fixed next week?  They must have known there were risks with this approach being contentious, because they specifically mention involving the CSM in the decision.  I wonder at the cost / benefit analysis which was done on this one.

Water bug

I picked up one of these off the market today – an unnecessary purchase, but it kept me amused for a couple of hours.

It is less tanky than the Astero I tend to use for Hi-Sec exploration, but is faster in warp and does more DPS. Here’s the rudimentary initial fit I used. Not entirely sure about it.

[Pacifier, Hi Sec Explorer 01]

Coreli A-Type Small Armor Repairer
True Sansha Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane
True Sansha Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane
Heat Sink II

Coreli A-Type 1MN Afterburner
Data Analyzer II
Relic Analyzer II
Republic Fleet Small Cap Battery

Sisters Core Probe Launcher, Sisters Core Scanner Probe
Dual Light Beam Laser II, Imperial Navy Multifrequency S
Dual Light Beam Laser II, Imperial Navy Multifrequency S
Dual Light Beam Laser II, Imperial Navy Multifrequency S

Small Auxiliary Nano Pump II
Small Capacitor Control Circuit II

It may become another hanger ornament. Oh, it’s in warp transformation reminds me a bit of a particular water beetle, be it in slow motion.

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.

Missteps at a snails pace

I remarked back in February how my Alt account kept training an Omega skill after it had switched to an Alpha state.  The support ticket I had opened was simply closed without explanation.

https://evehermit.wordpress.com/2017/02/14/closed/

CCP has finally gotten around to doing something about the apparently well known issue – but messed up the process.

https://community.eveonline.com/news/news-channels/eve-online-news/skill-queue-issues-2017-06-09/

They have a special talent when it comes to missteps.

Speaking of missteps, sorry, balance changes, sorry sledge hammer adjustments.

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

I’d expect balance tweaks to be in the 10% or less range.  20 to 30% nerfs (and I assume even more when it comes to the Rorqual) show the initial implementation got it wrong.  That ends up annoying the people who raised early warnings, annoys the people making use of the initial rule changes who are now getting seriously nerfed, and it annoys people on the outside looking in at the excessive ISK their contemporaries had been enjoying for a while.  Obviously something had to be done – but the whole process has been cringe-worthy.

I’m not suggesting CCP gets it wrong all the time.  They have made a large number of small ship balance and role changes in recent years that they have got right, with only small tweaks required here and there.  I get the impression that when they get it wrong, sometimes it is because they let their own enthusiasm get the better of them.  If they hear themselves thinking “this change will be cool”, then they probably need to stop and reevaluate.

I passed an online social media bio of an EVE player the other day which stood out for the wrong reasons.  In it, they stated their goal and joy came from griefing high sec players and making them quit the game for good.  They seemed genuinely proud of themselves – ridding the game of undesirables.  If without the excuse of a mental illness, that person seems like a right old turd.  God there are a lot of them out there.