Laser Fire

The next of the September Patch changes I wanted to check out was this:

“Renovated turret firing VFX resulting in improved visuals and client performance of Hybrid, Projectile and Laser turret firing effects.”

I primarily use Lasers and / or drones, so I undocked with interest to view the new visuals.

I realised three things.

First – I never zoom in to look at my lasers firing, so I couldn’t really tell if they looked better now or not

Second – I wasn’t overly wowed by the laser fire

Third – I wouldn’t really be zooming in to look at my lasers firing in the future.  It isn’t good for your situational awareness.

I don’t have any way to confirm if the client performance has improved, but I’ll take CCP on their word and be pleased for it.

While underwhelmed, I did get reminded as I cleaned up after my testing that the Noctis, even when dirty, is a really great looking ship model.

 

Taking a step outside

I noticed in the September release patch notes that there were 9 new skills being introduced to the game in preparation for the Lifeblood expansion next month.

https://community.eveonline.com/news/patch-notes/patch-notes-for-september-2017-release

They are all under the Resource Processing Group.

Four relate to running reactions: (Name – Price – Each Rank Gives)

Reactions – 1M – +4% speed
Mass Reactions – 5M – +1 extra reaction job
Advanced Mass Reactions – 25M – +1 extra reaction job
Remote Reactions – 15M – start remote reaction jobs +5 jumps

Five relate to processing the new moon Ores – each provides +2% reprocessing yield for each rank for a set of new Moon ores: (Name – Price – Moon Ores)

Ubiquitous Moon Ore Processing – 10M – Zeolites, Sylvite, Bitumens, and Coesite
Common Moon Ore Processing – 15M – Cobaltite, Euxenite, Titanite, and Scheelite
Uncommon Moon Ore Processing – 20M – Otavite, Sperrylite, Vanadinite, and Chromite
Rare Moon Ore Processing – 25M – Carnotite, Zircon, Pollucite, and Cinnabar
Exceptional Moon Ore Processing – 30M – Xenotime, Monazite, Loparite, and Ytterbite

While unlikely, I could use these skills, even if I wasn’t personally involved in moon mining.

To give me an excuse to undock and do something in EVE, I grabbed my Interceptor Shuttle and flew around and grabbed all 9 skill books.  I found them in two separate stations.  146M ISK later.

I’m training most to rank III, but will skip Advanced Mass Reactions for the moment.  I purchased the skill book and stored it away, but don’t expect I will train it unless actually needed.

I noticed something today that I hadn’t realised before.  The skill queue now shows what training a skill will unlock (new skills or access to new equipment):

That’s a neat enough feature.

I also noticed the new market ticker introduced with this September release:

Seems interesting enough.  Apparently you can hide it if it annoys you.  My only concern was when I first opened the market window it took almost a minute to display all the panels.  Hopefully that was just a once off thing to download components, and doesn’t happen every time I start a new session.

And with that small effort to do something, it seems I played EVE for a bit.

Pace

I find my life overly busy, rushed and complicated. If I am to be honest, I don’t find that much joy in it. I would much prefer a slower pace.

Outside of divorce, there is not a great deal I can do about it. My wife has a pathological need to fill life with activity that can’t be sated or reasoned with.

When it all starts to feel too much, I tend to resort to physically decluttering. I’ll sort, I’ll neaten, I’ll clean, I’ll throw stuff away, to end up with a little area of calm in the whirlwind that my life can seem like some days. Often it will just be my computer desk – and generally it doesn’t last long.

For many years I would escape to EVE Online for a few hours, but we know how that is working out at the moment. Now more often EVE is coming up as a possible target for my decluttering endeavours.

I need to salvage my interest in EVE, else I take back those 1 to 4 hours a week (mainly reading) that it distracts me, and have my wife spend them on what she wants. There is always some new or return activity on her mind. My Daughter has been asking about doing gymnastics again, to add to her soccer, athletics, roller derby, swimming and karate…

The Nature of it

There has been some drama in EVE that has reached the gaming websites again.

I noticed it mentioned on Facebook initially. Wilhelm Arcturus has blogged about it and provided a useful list of links:

https://tagn.wordpress.com/2017/09/12/the-imperium-buys-a-keepstar/

In short summary, The Judge – a senior leader in the CO2 Alliance, has performed possibly the biggest theft so far in EVE history, misappropriating funds and selling or turning over alliance assets to their enemies. The leader of CO2 apparently threatened real life retribution, and has been permanently banned from the game by CCP. Meanwhile CO2’s enemies are falling with glee upon the wounded, possibly dead Alliance, ensuring misery for as many of its line members as possible.

With some references to deserving some reward for all his hard work with the Alliance, there are no explanations, excuses or justifications that The Judge can now provide that will paint this as truly altruistic. It is just another case of someone finding the price they are willing to hand there integrity over for.

I am not saying it was wrong or right. EVE is a game. I just find this sort of thing confronting.

Half of me cheers the drama and amazing possibility that the game EVE offers up.

The other half reflects somewhat sadly on the nature of us humans.

Your own way

“They found old 99 knocking on the front door, trying to get back into Atmore..”

Before the age of around 12, music did not really play much of a part in my upbringing. While my father had a strong preference for us kids to spend our days outside, I think the dearth of music related more to my parent’s lack of spare money. It wasn’t really until the first year of high school that popular music hit my radar. It was around the same time I became a lot more aware of the concept of conforming to the norm and trying to fit in.

My early exposure to music came from commercial radio, what other kids listened to during lunch at school, and of course the now iconic Australian music TV show, Rage. I was destined to have very mainstream tastes until my Mum pulled out a very old record player and let me listen to her collection of LPs. It turned out Music had been a big part of her life growing up, especially when she was working and single.

I listened to the likes of The Carpenters, John Denver, Kenny Rodgers, Dr Hook, Elvis, ABBA, The Beatles, Neil Diamond – music that at the time was very uncool. I consumed their full albums, and in amongst a lot of stuff I didn’t think much of, I got an appreciation of what a truly classic song can be, found B side gems, and realised I was going to miss out on a whole lot of good music if I just followed what everyone else listened to. It was my first – easily hid – move to being an individual.

I’m not talking about being an individual by rebelling against conformity. That just ends up being a sort of conformism in its self. I’m talking about making choices and decisions on what you like truly for yourself – even if that is what everyone else likes, or if it is as obscure as all hell.

I am proud of my digital music collection. It currently has a bit over 4,000 songs in it, carefully gathered over the last 20 odd years. It is made up of only songs I love and can listen to over and over again – usually just a couple from each album. It is a very eclectic mix divided across 13 genres, current to more than 90 years old, from very popular to completely uncool. It doesn’t matter what I click on – I know I will enjoy listening to it. It wouldn’t be there otherwise. It is more than just a source of entertainment, but a partial reflection of what makes me, me.

On the weekend, I spent half a day searching for music on YouTube. One of the Yachting videos I was watching used Christopher Cross’s award-winning song, Sailing, as part of its background music. I had forgotten just how brilliant that song was, so I went off to find the best version I could to add to my music library. YouTube suggestions lead me further down the path of classics from the 70 and 80, by artists including Lionel Richie, Billy Ocean, Roger Hodgson, David Gilmour, and in the end, Dr Hook.

One of the B sides I loved in my youth was by Dr Hook. It talked about the stories a boy and his brother heard from their prison guard grandfather. The final stanza or two was about one prisoner who was transferred to a different jail, broke out, and was found knocking on the door of their old Jail asking to be let back in. It had always struck a chord with me, and I had looked for the song a number of times over the years without luck. (I couldn’t remember enough details to identify it). It was also not on the various Best of Compilations I had purchased, hoping to find it that way.

At the end of my music hunting on the weekend I stumbled across it. It was called Atmore – but I think it is actually meant to be called 99 and me.

If you want to know why I play EVE the way I do – my own way – this song was one of the very first reasons.

This idle thought was brought to you by

The Nosy Gamer –

http://nosygamer.blogspot.com.au/2017/08/winter-is-coming.html
http://nosygamer.blogspot.com.au/2017/09/eve-online-lifeblood-surprise-expansion.html

And Wilhelm Arcturus

https://tagn.wordpress.com/2017/09/05/meaningful-progression-in-new-eden-pve/

Who got me thinking once again about how the game of EVE can be for the Solo Empire Player, and where it might be heading, if anywhere.

Opened Eyes

(One of the Non-EVE Posts I mentioned earlier.)

My son regularly tries to access Reddit. He is 12.

He has two iPads (one for school, one for home), an Xbox One S, and a Windows Gaming Desktop. On each I have set up restrictions around age, applications and store purchases, given him non-administration accounts, locked him into child friendly DNS, use Norton and Windows Family software and what not. I also keep a semi regular eye on what he is doing, reviewing his logs and history.

I must annoy him no end when I refuse to allow him to install lots of games his friends do – generally based on if they are too realistically gory or violent, or with concepts that are just too dark.

What I have done won’t protect him fully, but it helps, and it is why I’m aware of his interest in Reddit.

He loves gaming and wants to be a game developer after school. His wayward web searches have always been aboveboard, hunting down game and development tips and reviews and bug fixes. When blocked he knows just to move on and try the next link.

Some of my son’s peers have far more restricted access to the internet. One has an extremely technically minded father who has rewritten their modem’s firmware with all sorts of parental controls over access, times, length, sites visited and what not. A handful are simply not allowed to access the internet at all without their parent sitting with them.

The majority however – the vast, vast majority, have minimal or no restrictions or monitoring on their Internet use. In some cases, they have even circumvented the rudimentary controls that their non-technical parents had tried to implement, or have their older siblings do it for them.

I’m sure there are lots of healthy and useful areas in Reddit, but it really isn’t a platform I want my son to be familiar with at his age. The mind truly boggles at just what the majority of kids must be accessing on their devices, and from such a young age. My god that could mess up the minds of so many kids.

While I make an above average effort to protect my son, I don’t go to the extremes I am technically able to. I use it more as an opportunity to explain why some of the sites are blocked, and he uses it as a debating point on when or why he should have access. I hope the fact that it is something we openly communicate about helps him when he visits friends or sleeps over, and doesn’t have the same sorts of restrictions or protections in place.

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.