Time Flies out the door

Aside a couple sessions working on T3 fittings, I’ve spent very little time playing EVE over the last few weeks. I have been reading about the current and approaching wars, but it all tends to come across as the same old story, just a different day. The style of propaganda probably doesn’t help much there. I think the August release is arriving today. I looked at the patch notes but not much stood out. There is a new event starting called Lucky Clash, a new Standings UI, and some updates to the map and scanning interfaces I’ll have to look at. One nice change is that scan results no longer clear on session changes.

I have been playing a bit of World of Warships, and try to fit in a couple battles each day. I actually feel like I am playing ok – not brilliantly, but regularly being in the top 3 or 4 experience earners in my team. This is not however reflected in my stats. My win rate for the last 3 months is sitting at around 40% from 215+ battles. I know it shouldn’t matter, but it does. It doesn’t make it a particularly satisfying game.

I am sailing a lot of Tier VII and VIII Cruisers at the moment, and often find myself bottom tier up against Tier IX and X ships. The Battleships just chew through you – the majority of your strikes just shatter, but every time one of their shells land, boom, 30 to 40% of your hits are gone. It only takes one or two salvos and you are out of the game. I say the same thing over and over – but it pretty much sums up my experience.

Recently I resorted to running a few Tier III/IV matches, up against a generally lower level of player. I am finding I am normally effective, sometimes enough to carry a match. It was a confidence boost I needed. The above battle was particularly memorable with the Murmansk captain well and truly outclassing everyone. I am pretty sure he came out with around half his hit points still. I did a lot of spotting and had many torpedo hits in that game – being untimely robbed of several kills. I cemented the win by soloing a Battleship parked in one of the Capture points, and then choosing not to engage the Murmansk and focus on ensuring a strategic point win. I have seen a lot of games lost by players focused just on drawing blood. It is an easily exploited tactic used in EVE.

I am still doing a DDO Session every week or so with friends. They use the one night I join them to do loot runs, primarily in EPIC level quests. They all have characters with many reincarnations and highly optimised set ups and equipment. They run these quests solo, and in groups they move mindlessly at breakneck speeds. There is no such thing as stopping to smell the roses. Often, I spend the entire session running to catch up, struggling to even just target opponents before they are swiftly killed by the others. It doesn’t tend to be fun. I had to put aside all but one of my highest-level characters as they just fell too far behind. I am down to just using my original Cleric now, and while I often pull my weight in the kill count, it is just a handful of crowd control tactics used over and over and over again. I just don’t have the time – or the inclination – to spend the months required to partially catch up. The reality is I should stop playing.

Speaking of stopping, I’ve pretty much stopped playing all my iPad games – with just the occasional glance at them with weeks or months between. Interesting how none of them have really been able to hold my interest like EVE had.

All told my gaming time has dropped by more than 50% over the last year. I should have a bit of spare time on my hands, maybe to tackle something new. Real life however energetically vacuums any of that time up. Mostly it sees me taxiing kids around to their silly number of activities and events. I am struggling a bit with the lack of escapist downtime.

I have written various more personal blog entries that I never posted. I might throw one or two of them up for the other middle-aged gamers with kids to nodded their heads at and mumble yep.

WoWS – Numbers

In a recent World of Warships battle I found myself on the wrong side of the numbers game. My spawn location dictated what capture point I moved towards in my battleship, and I was joined by only three others, a Destroyer, a Cruiser and another Battleship. The remaining eight ships in our fleet went to another capture point. As our enemy showed themselves it became apparent our squad of four would be up against eight, and our squad of eight would be up against four. This sort of split is common, as is my ability to be on the wrong side of the numbers. I resigned myself to an unpleasant early demise.

I didn’t pay much thought to the rest of the fleet, instead concentrating on my closest allies as we began a fairly hectic battle. Our enemy kept passing behind large islands which afforded us cover from their shells and meant our return fire tended to be more focused on those fewer ships in the open. When I took a breath and looked up from my gun sights, our squad had captured the point with the loss of the Destroyer and Cruiser, sunk six of the enemy, and forced the remaining two into retreat.

I had a momentary thought that the battle was in the bag when I stopped to wonder at the status bar across the top of the screen. Our second squad of eight was down to one, having only sunk one ship in return. Our three remaining ships – two badly damaged, were spread out. The enemies five ships were all together, steaming through the capture points, and focusing fire.

I still had my unpleasant demise, it just took longer than expected.

If not on the wrong side of the numbers, I keep finding my Tier VI and VII Cruisers are ending up bottom tier in most of their battles, up against Tier VIII and IX. In one battle my poor La Galissonniere landed 50 main shell hits with her 152mm guns, and did a grand total of just over 500 points damage. Yes – I changed targets, where I was aiming, and shell type, but everything shattered or bounced against the primarily Tier IX opponents. The ship was put out of its misery by just two shell strikes, taking off 90% of its hit points.

In another battle I was impressed to see half our fleet were in the same division and obviously knew each other. They then proceeded to yolo troll the chat channel, shoot each other down to 1/2 health, then suicided themselves into the enemy.

I am still intrigued by the game, but the reoccurring theme over and over is just how random the battles seem to work out. I am just as likely to come out of a battle with a win when I am ineffective and sunk within minutes, as I am to lose a battle when I play a (rare) faultless game and do everything right.  I assume it plays a little nicer if you are top tier.

Show me the Money

I realised the other day that I have spent more on World of Warships in 7 months than I have spent in EVE in over 3 years.

Both games can be played for free. In EVE you are restricted to a relatively small subset of skills, ships and fittings on a free account. In WoWS I think you can basically do everything on a Free account that you can do on a Premium account, the only difference is the premium account earns 50% more XP and Credits.

The grind in WoWS is real, especially if you are silly like me and tend to train all Destroyer, Cruiser and Battleship trees for all Nations all at the same time. Premium makes sense.

A year of premium time in WoWS is around 20% cheaper than a year’s subscription in EVE, but I have never paid that full price. I picked up 7 or 8 months on specials with reasonable discounts, plus more recently another 12 months at 50% off.

I have purchased extra port slots in WoWS – also on reasonable specials. This was required as I train so many ship lines, plus I have a tendency to keep my favourite hulls even after I stop using them. I have however picked up enough free slots from containers and the like that I now actually have too many.

I have picked up extra reserve slots for Captains – again on special – and again I have since picked up enough free slots from containers and the like that I also have too many.

I have purchased Credits and Doubloons – again always on special. The Credits get used on Ship upgrades – freeing me up from some of the grind. The Doubloons have been used to purchase some permanent camouflage, but mostly they get used for converting earnt XP from Elite and Premium ships into Free XP.

I have purchased flags packages, again always on special, and primarily for those focused on standard and Captain XP boots.

I also purchased some of the Christmas containers.

Mostly however I have purchased Premium ships – yet again, always on special. Some of these are kind of pay to win – the Murmansk, Belfast and Scharnhorst are particularly effective. Most however tend to be harder to play than standard ships. They might have a party trick or two, but they require more skill than average to make the most of them. I have purchased more of these Premium ships than I had any need too as I simply like trying many of them out. I might also have been caught up on occasion by the collect-ability / rarity of some of these hulls that might only turn up once a year.

I wonder how much more money CCP would make selling special edition collectable ships for limited periods of time from its store, instead of just the skins. They would have to be balanced very carefully. Probably won’t be worth the player upheaval, but Wargaming has been able to extract a lot more of my money than CCP has been able to.

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.

Off the pedestal

I paid for a year of premium time in World of Warships – then immediately had 8 or 9 losses in my next 10 battles. I played some really good games, but kept finding myself in teams that needed to be carried, and I am not good enough to do that.

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That can get rather frustrating.

EVE has definitely been dropped from the top of the pedestal for both the time and money I put into MMOs. I still play and have an active account, but no longer have that old passion. I tried – I really tried hard to keep it. It has just been too long since much of anything was introduced into the game that I was enthused about.

Who would have guessed that Solo Hermit game play isn’t on CCP’s development radar?

I went right through the CSM11 Summit 2 notes looking for inspiration, but found only a single thing that was particularly interesting. There would be changes to the scanning UI, but nothing fundamental to game play, just tweaks to try correcting earlier mistakes in the design.  Mostly this effort however was deflating – with CCP saying things I didn’t like, agreed with and supported by the Null Sec heavy CSM.

I didn’t run a single Guardian’s Gala event site – it was just far too much of the same. Instead I went to Jita towards the end of the event and purchased the handful of skins I liked the look of.

I am however logging in regularly and am working through a To Do List for my newest Alt, but what I am up to doesn’t really seem blog worthy!

After finishing the New Player Experience and running all the Career agent missions, I decided to make a move to a High Sec area with access to lots of Low Security space. It was some 20 jumps away from where I started.

It took me some 150 odd jumps to move 6 fully fitted ships into my new home system, via the Amarr trade hub to tweak fittings. Several times I had to stop and wait for excess gear to sell on the market before I had the money to finish off some of the ships. Not a T2 module in sight, and often a lower Meta level item picked because I couldn’t afford the more expensive ones. It was kind of enjoyable.

One play session might involve making a flight one way between my old and new home. Another session might have been spent in Pfya trying to find a suitable fit with low skill points and little ISK.

When Burn Jita came along I simply did not log in for a week. The alt couldn’t afford to lose one of these ships to a griefing gank.

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I’ve ended up with 6 rigged and fitted hulls, a small collection of spares, and around 500,000 odd in ISK (total worth somewhere between 5 and 10 M ISK), ready to start trying to accumulate some wealth.

I have two haulers (one slower with more capacity but less tank, the other faster with less capacity but more tank), a mining frigate, a scanning frigate, and a combat frigate and destroyer for PVE.

As I said – I am finding this process kind of amusing and enjoyable.

WoWS – I finally reached mediocrity

It took almost 700 battles, but I have finally wrestled myself into the mediocrity of a 50% battle win rate in World of Warships. This was after languishing around 47% from battle 100 to 600.

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There are excuses outside of just being a poor player, particularly in my preference towards using Cruisers. In reality however I was just not playing the game in an optimal way. Like Homer or Bart Simpson, I would repeat my failing tactics over and over. Not because I couldn’t see there were better ways, but because those better ways lead to a less satisfying game.

I didn’t relent and play differently, instead Wargaming changed the rules. They added some skills, tweaked some ship attributes, and I was able to mitigate some of the punishment from pushing forward earlier in the game. Instead of dying soon after first being detected, I now often get the chance to push, retreat, adjusting and push forward again a number of times over. That means I am more often a positive contributor to my team, and that seems to help with the average win rate.

Yes – I am cheering 50%.

WoWS – Flaming Ship

World of Warships regularly has time limited goal orientated tasks, under the guise of Events, Challengers, Combat Missions, Campaigns, Ranked Battles and what not.

For the first 600 odd of my battles in the game, I’ve almost totally ignored them. I play World of Warships in a very casual manner, without knowing when I might have free time, how long it might last, or if I will be interrupted or not. Time limited grinds don’t really fit into that.

With the continued positive impact on my battle experience from the Priority Target skill, I decided I would try to complete the Lunar New Year Marathon, which required you to earn 20,000 raw experience in Tier V or above ships for each of the Japanese, USA, German and Russian Navies.

This process helped trigger my move to multiple Tier VI ships, which for the most part have been better to play than their Tier V counterparts. I picked up the Fubuki, Aoba, Farragut, Cleveland, Budyonny, Nurnberg and Bayern in recent weeks.

I found it reasonably easy to grind the XP for the Russian and German lines. I like their guns and last stand torpedoes, and generally contribute in most battles. The US line took a little longer, but was helped a lot when I picked up the Cleveland. The Japan line however was a hard slog. I struggle doing much DPS with the Furutaka and Aoba in particular. I got over the line in the end when I picked up the Tier VI destroyer Fubuki. A nice mix of gun DPS and reasonable Torpedoes that suit my play style.

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The end result was getting this colorful ship in my port:

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Apparently in battle it just looks like its donor ship to all the other players – only you get to enjoy the flashy paint job. It is also in its own special navy type so you can’t use it to train up captains. It is however the first special ship I have picked up by myself in the game.

In the meantime, I have also been paying attention to the various combat missions and Campaigns running, working through those too.

I’ve had 100 battles now paying more attention to these little quests, and I’ve found it adds a positive element to the game.

I have always said about EVE that – if you don’t have a social impetus to log in, that you really need to ensure you have goals set for yourself. I’ve been struggling for quite a while now to find goals that I am really interested in. The smaller type quests that World of Warship provides work well. I know EVE has the Guardian’s Gala event coming soon. This type of thing was a step in the right direction, but from what has been said it seems to be more of the same of what we have already experienced. I’d like to see more simple and short goal options set by CCP, to help prod the casual player to log in more.