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.

WoWS – Avoiding being a Priority

I fell out of the habit of playing World of Warships.

I prefer sailing Cruisers, but once I hit Tier 5 I found them especially frustrating. I’ve already remarked on how I had changed my style of play. I couldn’t be too aggressive as I died too quickly, I couldn’t be too defensive as while I might live longer, I would not do enough damage to have an impact on the game. I got better at using islands for cover, maneuvering to make myself harder to hit, angling my ship against incoming fire, thinking where my route through the islands would leave me positioned many turns ahead, being very mindful of the alignment of my guns and so on. I tried to remember the basic strength and weaknesses of the ships I was opposed to, I looked at the alignment of their guns through binoculars, I tried to logically think ahead about their likely course and behaviour. I watched YouTube video after video, and captained Battleships against Cruisers to better understand what tactics worked and what did not, and made a real effort to improve my play.

The outcome was failure.

Any time I made the slightest of mistakes I always seemed to be punished severely for it. Two Battleship volleys was all it took to take me out of the game. Bang, 100 to 50% health, bang, 50 to 0% health. Multiple times I’ve been sunk on the very first volley of the match – despite taking evasive action the moment I was detected. I would have had to move directly into the path of initially errant shots.

Maybe it was because I always seemed to be bottom tier in my matches? Maybe I needed to push through to higher tier Cruisers? I looked at the stats of Tier 6 and 7 ships and they didn’t actually look that much better. Sometimes on paper they looked worse. (Subsequently I’ve realised the upgrade slots is what lets them shine.)

Maybe it was because I did not have any maximised Captains? Maybe some of those top tier skills make all the difference?

Maybe it is because I don’t use any mods?

This is not just a short run of bad luck – I’ve been playing for 5 months, and over 300 of my 600 matches have been in Cruisers. I had to put up my hand and admit – with embarrassment, that despite my efforts I was frankly just no good at the game. It wasn’t a deliberate decision to stop playing, but I had.

I logged back into the game when update 0.6.0 was released, some 11 days ago.  I still had premium time on the account so I thought I would have a look around.  There has been a lot of displeasure about some aspects of this update, but without a deep investment in the game none of it really worried me.

After updating Captain Skills, I grabbed a few cruisers and took them out for a spin.

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Obviously, I have taken this screen capture at a nice point in time and I expect things to return to their normal pair shape, but I’ve had 80+ matches since the update and it has been like a different game for me.

In reality, there is often only one person, or a small division of 2 or 3 people who actually decide each match and carry the rest of their team. I am not that person. I see them at the top of the result boards on each win. Since this last update however I have been close to the top of the results board, behind those people who carry the game, providing a useful contribution. When that person is not in my team and we lose, then I am finding myself in the top couple of the losers. I am not skilled enough to carry the team, but usually get something out of the game.

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There have been a couple mechanical reasons for the change.

Because of my Graphic Card upgrade I am now playing the game in full window mode at 3832×2085. There are aspects of the UI I wish I could upscale, but the full screen view seems to help with immersion, improving my situational awareness and allowed an extra level of finesse to my control inputs.

I have also moved away from firing by math (where you mentally calculate the lead based on time to target, estimated speed, direction of travel and what not), and moved back more to firing by feel. “That feels about right”. It is easier to do this with Cruisers as you can fire single spotting rounds, then walk the main salvo in on the target. Once zeroed in like that, you tend to be able to constantly rain shells down on them without over thinking.

Both these have made a difference. The biggest impact by far however has been the one point “Priority Target” skill.

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I have found it invaluable in a Destroyer or Cruiser. In the past evasive manoeuvring started as soon as you were detected, then ramped up when you saw shells coming your way. Such manoeuvring slows you down, throws your guns off the optimal bearings, takes you off your planned route, and often delays your arrival behind cover.

Now if you are spotted but no one is aiming at you, you can continue (torpedo awareness aside) towards your waypoint. If you know that one opponent aiming at you is that Battleship, you have 20+ seconds between each salvo were evasion doesn’t have to be your highest priority. If you have only one opponent aiming and you know it must be a Destroyer, you can respond differently than if you have Five opponents aiming at you. I still get one shot of the map at times, but I have found it far easier to place my ship more optimally, am staying alive longer on average, and having more of an impact on the game.

It is not perfect. I’ve already noticed that people can salvo you without the target indicator showing. I expect from the map that they were tracking another target in the same direction and switched over to me without specifically keying the UI to update. Once they fire however the indicator tends to come on soon after.

I expect this short flurry of win’s will die away as others work out the best offensive and defensive use of Targeting Priority, but in the meanwhile I’ve felt unusually almost competent, which has made the game much more enjoyable.

WoWS – Forgetting to Play

The time I have spent playing World of Warships has fallen off a cliff. I’m forgetting to play, which shows how enamored I’ve been with it of late.

I like the concept, pace and tactical aspects of the game, I don’t mind how the progression has been worked out, and I have battles that I really enjoy. A little more often though I come away annoyed or frustrated.

There are obvious balancing issues between ship types and ships that are placed in matches together.

There can be an element of rock-paper-scissors – where against one ship you dominate, but against the next you are easy prey.

A little too often you come up against opponents with fully skilled captains and all the best flags and consumables loaded.

The match maker probably needs to be less random – for the reasons above, and because there are too many matches where the battle is painfully one sided.

Early aggressive play tends to be punished, almost forcing you to hang back at the start.

All these can be irritating, but for most you can just focus on certain ship types or tactics.

I think the biggest problem however is that as a middling player, the results are generally out of my control.

Hold on – doesn’t that make sense? Isn’t that how’s it is mean to be? Yes – except the majority are just middling players. When you look at the stats at the end of the battles, there are commonly only 1 or 2 out of 24 who make that key difference and carry the win. It feels that really – if I die within the first two minutes under focus fire or in the last minute after a valiantly and well played match, I wasn’t that important in the grand scheme of things.

There are exceptions – as I said, some battles are really enjoyable. There are just not as many of those battles as there should be.