Category Archives: PvE

Oh Look, the Miners are Pissed

Color me a stunning shade of not-surprised-at-all.  It’s kind of a very noncommittal grey.

Let’s review the last little while for miners.

  • Their products weren’t worth diddly squat because there were a dozen other sources for them.    CCP nerfed the other sources, removing all T1 drops from missions.  Prices haven’t skyrocketed but they have gone up gradually since then.
  • They were getting ganked constantly by dirt-cheap destroyers, cleaving through their naturally low hit point buffers like a chainsaw through lard.  Rather than say HTFU and “Tank Your Ship” CCP buffs the hell out of mining barges.  Which the miners hilariously still fail to tank all too often.

So now they are getting bumped, and ganked again.  BIG surprise.  CCP has even said bumping is not a petition able action.  So far anyway.  The mountain has come to Mohammed before and I suspect it will again.  The big difference between the two groups continues to be not one of playstyle, but one of outlook.  One side sees challenges, finds ways to have fun within the system, and when their sacred cows are smashed they find a new one.  The other side treats their sacred cow as an irreplaceable object and regards interference with it as heresy.  When the gankers/bumpers/jerks are made to change things, they find a way to adjust their playstyle to continue having their fun.  The other side lets their public face be completely dominated by rubes who simply do not want to be playing a multiplayer game (except for the part where someone else pays them for their efforts) while displaying a very unwholesome disregard for their own responsibilities with regards to things like safety.

Now I’m not saying all carebears are like this.  Fancy Hats slid by many a target during Hulkageddon that was well tanked, that was well prepared, and we whiffed on a few that managed to surprise us as well.  In addition there’s people like Mabrick show a very different face for the bearish folk of EvE.  The problem is the forum warriors are, well, caricature-ish and the drek they spew in local when folks like James 315 start bashing on them makes me cringe.  The issue with these folks isn’t that they aren’t being pandered to, because they have been, the issue is they want to have their cake, eat it, be able to sell it to someone else, and STILL have and eat it.  Eventually they will run into EvE and they will A) Grow or B) Leave and EvE will be better for it.

I don’t mind people leaving EvE because they aren’t compatible with the game.  It reminds me of the old Winston Churchill Quote

You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.
Winston Churchill

if you aren’t offending anyone, you probably aren’t driving anyone wild with delight.  I’ll take the days I squeal with joy in return for the days I bash my head against the keyboard, throw my headset across the room or crush the power button and start drinking heavily immediately, without bothering to try to get my pod out.  Yes I’ve done all those things.  I learned.  I grew.  I do them less now.  They are the price of admission for the awesomeness I get to experience some days.

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can

 

The Holy Trinity of Highsec

I have spent a lot of time in highsec.  I’ve lived there before, I’ll live there again, and I can comfortably consider myself at least a highly informed person when it comes to the highsec population.  I’ve noticed that highsec people tend to be 1 of 3 types.

  1. Alts.  Lots of people have “highsec alts” whether it’s for market games, missioning, spamming Jitamart, whatever.  Highsec alts make up probably 40% of highsec.  They tend to be completely isolated from anyone in highsec as they are talking to others in null… who may also be alting it up in highsec but let’s not get into recursion here.  
  2. Carebears these are people who have chosen to avoid null, avoid low, and avoid wormholes.  These are not nullbears, or WH bears, these are the true Carebears.  They form small, insular groups, which function as “echo chambers” where their own “knowledge” is shared between them gaining more and more weight as they all “hear from someone” that whatever they want to think is true is, in fact, true.  Funny story, we had an infiltrator in a mining corp convinced they could build carriers in highsec to kill the “ebbil piwates” who had savagely smartbombed their mining fleet a few days before.  They very rarely seek any form of outside information and often end up with wild misunderstanding of the rules and even basic mechanics of EvE.

    I’m not just throwing that out there, look at how long it took to get even most of the Incursion community away from missiles.  There’s a few that picked it up fast, but nearly everyone looking to get into Incursions seemed to be trying to bring a Raven or a Drake even with several established websites telling you what to bring that you could Google.

    They make up another 40% of the normal highsec population. They tend to be the least interactive and I tend to be pretty hard on them, but they don’t usually read blogs so meh.

  3. Griefers Hi there.  Seriously though, these tend to be communicative and interactive, and by definition they are reaching outside their circle.  They run the gamut from being brutally sociopathic, seeking only to drive people to the game, to being people who play a game for fun, in a way that occasionally victimizes other people, but also willing to offer a hand back up to those they “dust down” a bit.  They make up 5-10% of the population, but they generate almost all of the multiplayer content accessible to outsiders in highsec.  They may not WANT to be part of the content, but that’s rather the idea of EvE.

I said in the comments of my last post that I was imprecise, and that is possibly the worst thing to be in a blog.  I am perfectly OK with people playing in highsec.  What I really want them doing is creating content for ME.  A highsec player who does nothing but accumulate isk running missions, mining, doing whatever, doesn’t really add value to MY experience.  A griefer potentially does.  Alts have mains, who potentially do.  A carebear?  Meh.  His replacement is a dime a dozen.  The ore he mines will rapidly be acquired by someone else and my prices will stabilize   The isk injected by that mission runner who got horribly ganked will be replaced by another mission runner and the prices will stabilize.  Again I don’t care what you do much, or where you do it.  I care that you bring something to the table, that you contribute to this game, to this community, to me.  If you can do it by moving, great, if you can do it by blogging, great.  If you can do it by doing what you are doing, fantastic, but if you aren’t doing anything for me, why should I give a rats ass about you?

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can

 

 

I Want You to Want Me!

Mord FiddleJan 23, 8:33 pm

Well, now you’re just ignoring me. ;) Why do you believe people should be forced out of highsec?

I haven’t been ignoring you Mord.  I’ve been puzzling out a proper, non-flippant answer.  The short version is:  I don’t want to force people to do anything.  This is EvE.  I want them to move of their own accord, for reasons that make sense to them at the time.

I write a blog so you get the long version for free –

I think it’s fantastic that there’s people who stop travelling out when the sec status starts looking yellow.  They turn around and scamper back.  They find their rut and they travel it doing the things they like for as long as they want.  It’s fantastic.  They are enjoying the game their way.

The problem is they are likely engaging in single-player EvE.  It may actually be a small group, but they are not really doing much to create content for the greater community, and they aren’t terribly likely to stick around according to CCP’s metrics.  CCP has stated repeatedly that players are far more likely to stick around if they are engaging with other players socially.  Usually this means a corp/alliance.  I think there’s two reasons for this.  A player who works with other players is more willing to share in risks, and a player who is confronted with adversity is far more likely to recognize the scope of them, and overcome them either by getting advice before the adversity and mitigating their risk or by having a support network that can soften the blow with recovery efforts.

Let’s zoom out a stage.

Many, if not most, highsec-only players believe that they are, or at least should be, totally safe as long as they are playing in highsec, and not doing anything aggressive towards another player.  They think that their sole responsibility for self-preservation is to keep themselves out of 0.4 and lower sec status systems.  They do not think to protect themselves from people willing to lose a ship to destroy what they are flying.  When they do lose a ship to people willing to make that effort they blame it not on themselves for failing to protect themselves, but on the gankers, and not in such a way as to give them credit.  They do not recognize that self-preservation is forever and always their own responsibility and that a reliance on CONCORD and other players forbearance is a fickle means of protecting ones hard-earned isk.

This is not to say that gankers are all wonderful people that shit rainbows.  Some of them are bullies, some of them are jerks, some of them are people playing the game their own way.  Just like the miners.  The difference is in how they define their way, and how they understand the game.

Now if a miner belongs to a corp that does have a support they can still lose their shit, but they aren’t likely to leave the game.  As long as the corp supports them.  I have lost some EMBARRASSING ships.  However I had corpmates who supported me.  I had a community I belonged to, and who helped me see the scope of things and how unimportant one miserable Drake was.

Eventually that community led me to branch out.  To see PvP not as an evil practice to be avoided, but a fun and challenging (but hopefully not too challenging) focus of the game.  I want people to see as many reasons as possible to leave highsec, and I want highsec to be as limited as possible in pursuit of that goal.  Not every player is going to get involved in blowing up other players spaceships.  At least not directly.  However, at some point in his EvE career, every player needs to realize that pvp is the foundation of the game, and can happen to anyone at any time.  The players least likely to understand this are the highsec carebears who never venture beyond 0.5 for fear of encountering… well… EvE.

I want production to be more practical and useful in low/null to make the decision on where to manufacture goods to actually involve a choice other than “Safest area with the most available slots = win for me!”

I want resources to be more accessible and valuable in low/null to create an economic push so that veld isn’t always a “top 3” mineral when it comes to value.

I want low/null to have useful and unique mechanics that make them more fun and enjoyable.

Some of these already exist.  The last one especially has quite a few options, but there still isn’t enough to drive the great hordes out of highsec empire.  Having unique resources that cannot be collected in highsec space helps.  Having unique gameplay opportunities, like wormholes, or FW, helps.  Having organizations that help even the newest players capitalize on the opportunities to be found below 0.4 helps.  Look at Goons and TEST.  They can and will take players still in awe at the power of their reaper, slap them in a rifter and throw them to a system with a name like VFK.  They will bring them in, teach them to play and understand the game, and give them an opportunity to grow.  Sure they can be an embarrassment to the community, but they also contribute to the community.  Look at the rage being spouted by highsec carebears almost every day over at minerbumping.com and you will see just how “noble” the pvp-averse carebears can be.

So no.  No I don’t want to force people out of highsec.  I want them to want to move out themselves.  I want them to go out and create content of their own and discover the real awe of EvE.  The ability to drive your storyline wherever you want it, not just Motsu station.

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can

 

The Great POS Lie

You keep using that word.  I do not think it means what you think it means.
– Inigo Montoya The Princess Bride

So for years we’ve been calling them POS towers.  Player Owned Stations.  The problem is they aren’t really owned by any given player.  They belong to corporations.  The CEO can access anything in them.  So can Directors.  This presents a massive problem for people trying to use them.  Granularity to allow Players to own and operate their own towers simply doesn’t exist.  Recently I put a Archon in to research.  Well.  I didn’t.  I only have access to the hangars available to everyone.  So I have to trust it to one of the higher ups to put it in. Which means that only 4 or 5 people can access it at any time and potentially rip me off.  Do I think any of them would do it?  Of course not.  Well.  No more than anyone else in EvE would.

The real core of the problem is that I can’t have my OWN station.  I can’t build my own facility belonging to Corelin, unless I go back to Fancy Hats and start stripping roles.  It’s a trade off that doesn’t seem to serve much of a purpose.  I think CCP needs to once again call a spade a spade and admit that it’s a Corporation Owned Station (COS) and follow up by re-introducing the POS as a small structure that can fill some portion of the functions served by a modern Corporation Owned Station, CCP can offer players the opportunity to do their own research, their own light industry, maybe even their own reactions, CCP offers a stepping stone even the lone miner can use to find something he likes more, and maybe a stepping stone to the more powerful functions of a full-up Corporation Owned Station.

I would make the core module of the new POS a fairly cheap component.  Modules would also be fairly inexpensive, except for reactor and computing modules.  Those would allow you to use more reactors, labs, what have you, and would cost exponentially more for the utility.  Each player and only anchor one, and they have to be anchored near something warpable in the system.  Could be a planet.  Could be a moon.  Could be an asteroid belt.  Might allow more than one at certain beacons.  Planets might allow as many as a dozen.  Defenses would cripple the utility of even a fully upgraded POS, with enough guns to disturb even a small battlecruiser gang rendering the POS nearly useless to anyone else.  It can only have two ships docked at it at a time (bonus points for them to show up mated to docking collars rather than hidden in a hangar) and the bubble would be tiny.  Forget hiding your Titan in one, your Mach is gonna be showing it’s ass outside the bubble.

The goal here is not to completely replace the current COS system.  They serve a purpose, and should be kept in some form.  Certainly alliances wouldn’t want to be utterly dependent on one person being around to keep up its cynojammers, its bridges, let alone the wealth of its moon miners.  POS structures will allow players their own base for a secure, safe operation divorced from the godawful Corporate Interface.  It reduces the strain on the corporate interface by making POS towers less of a necessity for the individual.  This won’t actually make players too much more independent though.  Readers of my blog already know I hate people who try to never interact with their fellows.  Instead I suggest having no more than a 24 hour timer for reinforcement.  Notifications will be sent to the entire corp letting them know that they have a friend in need.

This system creates a new choice.  Do I accept a penalty to research time and cost to secure my own resources, or do I put them at risk in a communal structure in order to save time and resources.  It creates opportunities.  It allows players to dabble in something they might not have access to otherwise, and provides new conflict drivers.  Imagine finding your rival running a POS in a lowsec cull-de-sac.  Think you wouldn’t be drooling over the chance to set a trap for him?  As a conflict driver they offer a real target for small gangs.  I think a decent BC gang, or even Tier 1 Cruiser gang should be able to smash up a cluster of these things to drive fights without the horrible monotony of a 2 hour POS bash.

Finally I don’t want them in highsec.  I want them in null.  I want them in Wormholes, and I really want them in lowsec.  The thought of hundreds of alts in NPC corps clogging up highsec beacons with stations is horrendous.  NPC Corp?  No POS.  Highsec system?  No POS.  These are conflict drivers.  These are enablers for individuals.  These are not traffic obstructions.  The last thing we need is more clutter at the Jita 4-4 undock.

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can

What I Did in EvE Today

Today was a fairly eventful day.  I logged in, fiddled with my horrendously unsuccessful market alt for a bit.  Looked around and finally bit the bullet.  Jump Cloned Corelin down to empire, sold some stuff to keep liquid and bought an Archon BPO.  Because I can.  I then puttered about for a bit, realizing I don’t have a good place to research it at the moment.  One of the corpies misinterpreted my plight to understand that I needed an Archon.  He mentioned that he had one he couldn’t fly stuck near a station owned by some reds in NPC null.  He’d bought it a while back and just never bothered to skill for it.  He needed it, and the ships it was stored with, moved out and pronto.  He was willing to pay.  With the carrier.  I want to make this point clear.  I did not ask for the carrier.  It was offered to me free and clear, I asked him if he was sure.  No I didn’t ask very hard.  The Archon was not located in friendly space.  In fact it was decidedly unfriendly space so I hopped in Robert Capa, my extremely slippery Loki that was literally built for this sort of expedition, and moved out.

33 jumps later…

I bounce through a few systems filled with baddies.  Was kicking myself for not checking the route more thoroughly and I was *REALLY* hoping that the carrier had little things like fuel, some fittings, and that the station had a generous undock.  I land on the station and breathe a sigh of relief.  FAT undock.  Love it.  It’d take multiple Mach bumps to get kicked away and I’m not that dumb.  I rechecked the jump range, counted the people in station against in system, and realized that I could go straight to a cyno beacon, and that the only person undocked was someone I’d seen stooging around in an Ibis.  Whelp.  Load everything in the carrier, and I mean everything, Undock, ctrl-space, quick d-scan, right click on the capacitor and JUMP!  It even had fuel.  Of course the idiot that fit it in the first place had triple trimarked it so lumbering into warp took EVEN LONGER than it normally would.  Finally I breathed a sigh of relief as the warp tunnel formed and my ship slid across space into the friendly confines of our local home.  Trading back the ships and faction mods from the carrier I enjoyed myself spinning it for a little while.

We have recently imported practically an entire highsec carebear corp.  Caldari ships and mining vessels abound for these guys and hardly a turret to be found in their whole arsenal.  I spent a little while chatting with them about the “why” of turrets and armor, including such gems as “I’m fairly certain an Armor tanked Nidhoggur could run down a Rokh” and a pretty intelligent discussion of delayed DPS, and the more recent missile nerfs.  Fortunately these guys have the right attitude.  They know that explosions happen, and are willing to train into what they need to train into.  Sadly they have a bit further to go than I’d like but we don’t all start with great armor tanking skills, or T2 turrets sadly.  What they do have is not only the capability to generate raw materials, and basic ships, modules and munitions, but a driving NEED to do such things.  They were drooling over the opportunities to make money with a completely unconstrained voracity.  When the JFs arrived they eagerly tore into getting themselves sorted and making money just to “stake their claim” on space, and see what opportunities they had.  Hopefully they can continue their enthusiasm and pick up an equal penchant for blowing up the fruits of others labor.  All in all quite a fun and successful day.

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can

 

I’d Nuke my ISP

But they are practically next door so I think it would cause far more problems than it would solve.  Alternately it would solve ALL of my problems.  Permanently.

Anyway.  I finally got my net up long enough to run a mission or three.  I first tooled around in wormholes in a Proteus, then realized how rusty and sloppy I was and got OUT of the 400 million isk pod in a 900 million isk ship in 0.0 sec space and headed to “safer” territory.  Setting up a Paladin was a matter of a couple of minutes, and the new market makes picking out faction fittings pretty simple.  Oh and that’s FACTION not DEADSPACE in case you were planning on ganking me.  I have no problem putting some shinies on a billion isk ship.  I will not turn it into an isk pinata.  I plan on learning how to play again then heading back to places where 0.0 never goes away for weeks.  and lose some isk doing stupid shit.

The new UI is interesting.  I’ve noticed the “LOCKED” keeps flashing forever.  I don’t like that.  I do like that I can see who is hitting me and how hard, and targeting rats that happen to be using some form of EWAR is easy, which I like even more.  I like to think that CCP is getting up on the curve they’ve been behind on with regards to the UI providing information.

The new CCP seems to be very good at solving the little things but missing the big things.  There doesn’t seem to be a “Vision” for EvE, let alone a plan to get there.  The mission statement for CCP Games could very well be “We’ll muddle through” mixed in with a dash of “OOOOOOOH shiny!” for spice.  Look at the Dev Blogs.  Chartsville, Dev roam, General Tso’s EvE, MOMA announcement, UI fix, hangar fix, Dev video, Wardec fix, EON modernization, Drone Region fix, UI change (which I hate, which was coincidentally penned by Greyscale…) BOUNTIES!  YES!  SOMETHING THAT INCREASES RISK IN THE GAME FOR THOSE BEING JERKS, and yes I’m aware that I’m quite likely to be a victim of the bounty system later, and I think that that is AWESOME.  UI fix, UI Fix, ship balancing, Sound updates, Community Spotlight, New Eden Open.

So… what’s the goal of EvE for the next while.  Where does CCP see the meta moving in the next 3, 6, and 12 months.  What is the “horizon” for Highsec, Lowsec, Nullsec, NPC Nullsec, and Wormhole Space, where are they moving towards for the foreseeable future.  I certainly don’t have an answer going back who knows how far.  The closest we see is the Halftime review of Retribution, written on 30 October, which gave a look at what Retribution would be, but it really just shines a spotlight on the problem.  CCP isn’t steering a warship across a stormy ocean with a firm hand and rock-solid nerves, they are floating an inner tube down a river and hoping like hell that there aren’t any jagged rocks waiting for them.

See this? This is the clearest stretch for the next 2 years.

EvE is an amazing game, and they have amazing people working for them.  Hell even the much maligned Greyscale is clearly an intelligent guy, he just doesn’t seem to get EvE.  Saturday I’m going to go over WHY CCP doesn’t seem to get EvE, and what they can do to help themselves.

Oh and for those wondering about Warmachine, Deneghra + Nightmare + Prey + a well positioned Arc Node + Satyxis Raiders = a turn 3 assasination that should NEVER have worked in a million years.

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can

Death under the Downs

So the old Fancy Hats crew got together in LotRO to run the Great Barrow instances.  We had an interesting group, I’ve played off and on since release, one of us had played since Beta, but had lapsed a couple years ago, another was new to LotRO but not to Theme Parks, the last one has literally never played a theme park style MMO.

This has presented a challenge to me and to the others as his progress gets tripped up by things that most MMO players haven’t even really thought about in years.  Things like combat/non-combat states, inventory management, grouping mechanics, and party composition/the “Holy Trinity”

Which brings us to tonight.  I had my lowbie Guardian, along with a Sith Lord Runekeeper who was a bit ahead of us level-wise, Minstrel, and Hunter rounding out the Fancy Hats contingent, joining us literally as we set out was a higher level Burglaer, who happened to be a Role-Player.  We ran through “The Maze” with a couple issues.  First progress was rather slow, I had forgotten how to set up targeting assists, I was trying to explain some concepts to my erstwhile minions, and of course our Burglar buddy wasn’t on teamspeak so we had to type to him to let him know we hadn’t all gone AFK.

This confusion led to our one wipe of the evening.  I was trying to explain how we were going to pull one of the first big rooms when our RK inadvertently threw out some Force Lightning PERFECTLY EXPLAINABLE WITHIN THE THE LORE OF THE BOOKS NATURAL LIGHTNING THAT HAPPENED TO SPROUT FROM HIS FINGERS UNDERGROUND.  20 Silver if you can guess where I fall on the “Are Rune-Keepers Canon” debate.  With full-room aggro we were quickly very hard-pressed and at level 23 my guardian simply didn’t have the threat-management to keep the healers up, or even himself without burning through all my potions and cooldowns.  The wipe happened slowly but there was no chance at surviving that pull.  Especially with the mini-boss happily joining in the affray.

Recriminations were kept to a minimum, mainly an admonition to watch pulls. We steamrolled the rest of the room taking our time to make sure our pulls were done cautiously, and the room itself gave us a perfect example of how “Not to Stand in the Fire”  Hordes of worms showed up and promptly went into a writhing spasm of death, dropping copious puddles of green goo that melted our poor Sith Lo RUNEKEEPER into a vaguely elf-shaped puddle.  One quick song from our Minstrel later and he was rallied and ready to go.  We pressed on and simply steamrolled the final boss.  It was actually a bit embarrassing.  We went back to town for a quick re-set and delved straight into Thadúr.

Thadúr presented us with the most frustrating encounter we would hit.  We didn’t die in it.  We didn’t come close to dying during it.  However several members were ready to pull what little hair they had left out before it ended.  The encounter centers on these small, fairly tough lights that spawn in sequence.  The first one triggers the second “wave” of two, spawning at random locations, which must be defeated within seconds,  15 for the first and maybe another 5 for the second.  The next is a group of three with a similar pattern, and finally a group of four.  The problem is that some people didn’t understand the encounter, others simply lacked the muscle-memory to help much in pulls, and as frustration set in we quickly lost any semblance of unity.

Those who know me know that I tend to be rather terse in voice during fights.  I was very frustrated myself, no less than my minions certainly as I was more-or-less leading things and things were going poorly.  Finally we got the idea ready, and our Hunter, despite almost no experience in MMOs managed to get the pulls handled.  By shooting each of the mobs and dragging them in close it allowed our burglar and myself to hammer down and transfer DPS efficiently leading to us FINALLY staggering out of the room, leaving only our dignity behind in tattered shreds.  Thadúr himself was an afterthought, a simple single-mechanic boss requiring us to burn down adds between vulnerable periods.

Sambrog was simply a cakewalk.  While we spent lots of time with the tank AND healer stunned we simply didn’t find anything that could challenge our party enough to slow us down.  Murder and Mayhem followed and we ripped through the dungeon so fast we barely noticed it.  All in all it was a pretty satisfying afternoon.  Defeat barely rared its’ ugly head and all of us had a good time and even learned something, not always easy when you’ve played a game for five years.

Next week we plan on pressing through and evening up the level gaps hopefully, as well as some sight-seeing.  Hopefully I remember to take screenshots this time as well.

I’m using it every time I can

Aasimov’s AI?

Probably Not

No more bringing in a defenseless logi alt to power your Nightmare through L4s without a care in the world.  No more sitting in a AFK Domi for hours on end, no more sitting in a mining ship with a good tank until… wait that still works.  This is a nerf to multiboxers and professional mission runners who use more than one account.  It’s also a big nerf to new players.  One of the first things I did in EvE was joining corp mates for level 4s in my pitifully badly fit and under-equipped ships.  Caracals, Feroxes, who knows what garbage was on those, I’ve long since destroyed the evidence.  The only reason I don’t have 30 additional losses on my history is because of Marvin MartianVII, an out of game contact who was kind enough to tank for us nooblets so we could tag along.

Newer players will be forced out of missions which is both good and bad, it’s good because it puts them back on the track of self-sufficiency, of learning how to tank, how to participate, and how to contribute.  However it excludes them from content; and, more importantly, from group content.  Before my rather rude introduction to EvE PvP, the most enjoyable part of EvE was playing these missions with friends.  This will make that far more difficult to do.  No longer will the NPCs just bash against the toughest brick in the fleet, now they will spread fire to all and sundry, reducing those newer players who don’t know how to tank to fiery metal hulks.

On the other hand maybe an object lesson like every cruiser and BC in some missions hitting my Ferox (one of the more easily tanked ships in the game) and crushing it like an egg would have made me learn my tanking lessons before I started PvPing.  Maybe not.

The overall effect?  Less money in the game, this will slow down the rate of money entering the game, by an admittedly small percent, and it will change who it goes to.  Now new players are going to struggle more to make isk.  They will have to either cram enough tank in to survive the odd aggro they will now pick up in level 4s, or find another source of isk.  Or they can stop playing because EvE is to hard.  It’s generally impossible to make a change that nerfs older players without nerfing younger ones harder.  Older players are infinitely more adaptable, experienced, capable, and generally wealthy.  New players will have to pick from a lot of other, less desirable choices, either mining.  Tedious, dull, newly competitive mining.  Faction warfare, which I suspect will see a huge nerf as a “profession” in the near future, and the normal trading, buying plex with real money, manufacturing etc, all of which match them head-on with higher SP toons who can do it more efficiently.

I’m not saying this doesn’t need to happen.  I think improving the AI in missions is long overdue.  At the same time new players might be struggling.  I don’t think it will be terribly serious.  The newer, tougher frigates and destroyers replacing the lower tier ships should do great things to ease the pain.  The new mining frigate will certainly help a great deal for those of that mind.  Still this is the kind of nerf that can REALLY affect people disproportionately.  The exact methods and timing of the target shifting should be studied carefully to avoid brutalizing the poor nooblets of EvE.  There should be a smoother transition between the levels of missions.  Each one is significantly more rewarding than the last, to the point of utterly obsoleting the previous tier once you don’t have to do them anymore.

Old players will adapt, new players will learn or leave.

I’m using it every time I can

Dark Men in Smokey Rooms

So Caldari Militia hit Tier 5 tonight.  BOY are my fingers tired from spamming the LP store, but more on that from others.  For possibly the first time in my EvE career I’ve participated in something like a Cartel.  There’s two distinct hierarchies in the militia.  There’s a PvP hierarchy, responsible for going out and shooting things, then there’s the LP Cartel.  The two have a lot of overlap.  The best PvPers have their fingers in all the pies.

Warzone control is not a measure of PvP dominance.  It is rather like a goal which one side wants to achieve that in many ways serves the need of the other for a time.  Opposition isn’t fierce, but there’s ways to profitably mess it up.  This makes the organisation of such events often rather fractious.  Too many and the market gets demolished, too few and people on the fringe of both communities drop out.  The arguments get nasty, and the drama approaches null-sec levels of whining.  I snuck a camera in to the last chat with the Caldari CEOs and here’s the clearest picture I got:

So you thought you’d bust a few bunkers on the side Fredo?  Maybe the Family wouldn’t notice?

Tier 5 control requires a lot of systems under your control.  Those systems have to be upgraded and that takes 75 systems at level 5 and 7 more at level 4 according to what i’m looking at right now.  That’s pretty close to the minimum although I’m not sure how else you could combine levels, I’m not that into the maths.  I will tell you that 75 systems at level 5 takes 7.5 million LP minimum.  Fully buffered it’s 12.75.  Million.  LP.  Those LP don’t come from nowhere, and people won’t spend that much in the first place for their discount unless they have a lot more than that to spend.

To get that many LP you have to farm a LOT of systems and missions.  A LOT.  This means throwing the game, letting the other side gaining dominance in systems.  Letting them bust bunkers  Busting them for them.  You can’t make this stuff up.  There have been bunker busting fleets set up by one faction against themselves to get systems flipped to allow for more farming.

Fancy Hats, as a member of KRAKEN. (because it’s not an EvE alliance without a dot it seems) has me at least sitting in on a lot of these meetings.  I’m an Army vet.  What’s more I’m an artillery guy.  I’m not quite to the level of un-subtle that I’d hit every problem with a 1600dps shieldtanked domi, but I do own one.  I marvel at the planning, not busting bunkers even in strategic station systems, to prevent a momentum swing as plexers flood it and fleets stalk it.  Quickly forming fleets to bust bunkers before rumored enemy LP dumps to prevent them easily reaching the high tiers.  Working to steal marches not only on Gallente fleets, but even to keep the number of factions within Caldari down.  Bringing in certain people, shunning others militia wide.  Influencing the tidal forces of the militia at large to plex certain areas to make the inevitable LP dump more successful, and harassing the enemy to limit their ability to resist our dumps.

I don’t even get a lot of the things that go on, and I’m sure I’ve misinterpreted some of the ones I think I do get.  Faction Warfare may be easy at times, but it clearly isn’t simple.  Not by a long shot.  There’s wheels within wheels and drama cuts away at the trust that is so important even as much as it does in null.  Trust and faith in the leaders is vital in FW.  There are fewer unifying factors, no “We Must Protect This House” no “All for One and One for All.”  Faction Warfare is “What have you done for me lately, and what will you do for me tomorrow?”  When that question is unanswered, when that faith doesn’t exist, when people feel leadership is just dark men in a smokey room, they don’t work together.  They don’t sacrifice a little themselves to get everyone a big benefit.  The irony is the leadership does largely consist of very self-ineterested people who magnanimously take others along for the ride.  The Mittani gets to see HIS minions in Goonswarm/CFC go forth and conquer and prosper.  Whether that’s what drives him or not I imagine it is of immense satisfaction.  Bolsterbomb and the others leading the LP Cartel don’t get that satisfaction.  The hold they have on the Militia at large is far more tenuous.  The Mittani can drive individuals, corps, alliances and even coalitions from his space with ease.  Bolster has to put up with anyone who can take a little smack talk in local.  The Mittani has a machine working to bring glory and credit to his name.  Bolster is lucky to get a thank you for his stunning victories, like today.

And I suspect he’s ok with that.  He enjoys leading the cartel, and he knows the measure of his success.  He has a far more personal and visceral take on the game, and his own personal success is still tied to the contents of his hangar, not his eve-mail box.  People in Low aren’t in null for a reason, either they don’t want to give up an identity that’s incompatible with null, they want to make it on their own, they don’t want to put up with the bullshit, or they just can’t hack it.  Today those dark figures in smokey rooms pulled it off.  They took control of the Caldari – Gallente Warzone with a firm hand and came back to cash in their richly earned monetary rewards and reflect on their dominance of their craft to views like this:

Full Spectrum Dominance. For a Day.

Tomorrow Tier 5 will be gone.  In a week it will be back to 1 on each side.  Plexing will resume and the march towards the next LP dump with it.  Roams will go out, plex farmers and mission runners will resume their craft and the market manipulators will have a field day; and the men in the back rooms will plan for the next run.

I’m using it every time I can

Lebensraum Pt 2 – The First Solution

Two things are required for EvE players to get involved in something.  It has to be neat, it has to be profitable.

Not exactly rocket surgery, nor groundbreaking, but good to get out of the way.  My idea for solving the stagnation of EvE revolves around an old idea of CCP Abathur’s.  Going where no one has gone before.  Exploring new systems beyond the normal EvE galaxy.  Here’s the way I see it happening.  An anchor ship makes a “Focused Jump” to a star beyond the EvE galaxy.  It sets up a beacon allowing other ships to jump in, bringing with them what they will need to set up a base camp, which will evolve until they can choose to build a stargate, of course where the other end will go could be VERY interesting.  This will require new ships.  Tech 2 ships.  CAPITOL Tech 2 ships (something I’ve wanted for a long time.)

NEW SHIPS! (and not just reskins CCP *glare*)

  • Dreadnoughts will become Explorer ships, their huge hulls crammed with the machinery required to jump beyond the stars without a beacon.  They will retain their defensive power, but their offense will be much much weaker.  In addition they can plant a beacon that other Tech 2 caps can jump to.  The cost might be a bit higher as well.
  • Carriers will become Jump Carriers, they can jump to a Explorer AND they can “carry” a number of capsuleer-piloted ships with them.  In other words they act as a 1-time jump bridge, bringing everything with them when they go.  They retain their triage ability, but lose their drone/fighter bays, replacing them with the equipment needed to warp a huge area of space around them to jump a fleet.
  • Motherships return as the Tech 2 supercarriers.  They will offer jump clone services, MAMMOTH ship storage, ship repair, and many other station facilities, defenses will be very tough, but they lose the drone bays.
  • Titans become the e-peen of industrial ships.  Gate Construction Vessels, the final piece of the puzzle that will take a newly discovered system from a rough outpost to a connected part of the network.

Ok 4 new shiptypes is neat.  They don’t even have to be tech 2 caps, although I think it would breathe new life into them as they seem to be pretty mature shiptypes as-is.  Also I like the idea of CCP scrambling to find a good way to build T2 supers.

Why would we do this?

Well first off I’m going to go with money.  Stations can be built out there as in Null, but more like empire stations, with huge numbers of mfg and research slots.  If you want to build more than one in a system go ahead and do it.  Resources will be present as well, PI, Moon mud, Minerals, Rings (whatever those end up being) and the systems will likely start at -1.0 sec status and go down from there.

Control.  Those T2 cap ships?  They aren’t just building gates.  They are building sentry guns, they are building defensive beacons, all the stuff null-seccers have been wishing for for years.

Challenge.  It’s not all Steak and Beer out there.  Warpable beacons will be rarer, having to be built in the first place, which is a double-edged sword as someone else could be building a base in the same system you are.  Expect some real WWII type sub hunts to make Wormhole space look tame.

Wait why does the system sec matter?

Because the rats out here are going to be total rat-bastards.  All this stuff you are building will need to be defended from attacks.  I’ll leave it to CCP to figure out what and why they are there, although super rogue drones (including rat caps) incursion-style sites with new forms of deadspace loot (no bounties out this far)

What kind of upkeep will this require?

Well the good news is since you aren’t GETTING money from CONCORD you don’t have to pay the bastards either.  No sov bills.  You will have to defend your structures from rat attacks, that means living in the space you are theoretically living in anyway, and there would be fuel requirements as well, but all fuels would be available in most systems.

How will I get home?

I’m betting lowsec is FILLED with smuggler stargates that could be reactivated by enterprising explorers.  Imagine if suddenly Nasesharafa  was a gateway to a system of unimaginable riches, instead of just Tirbam.  The gates you build will show you a general region they exit in, so you might know “Ok we’ll end up in Tash-Murkon.” but only by pressing butan will you know where in T-M you end up.

How does this cure stagnation?

Well first there will be plenty of conflict, both intentional and unintentional.  With it being hard to see who is doing what in your system without constant scanning ambushes and new fronts will be far more common than in the static regions of nullsec.  All of the structures in this new area should be destructible to some extent.  Especially stargates, but even stations should be at least vulnerable to being temporarily disabled by damage.

Second it will give a jolt to players, sending them out among unfamiliar stars and creating and building empires from scratch.  Strategy in EvE will have to be rebuilt from the ground up.  Planning a campaign will require new shiptypes, and phased campaigns where gaining a lodgement in a group of enemy systems, and then defending it becomes critical.  Chokepoint systems could change with one new stargate being built, routes could shift overnight, things that FCs take for granted today would be shifting constantly, scouts would have to scout not only for new enemy fleets but new enemy stargates threatening flanks.

I think this would shake up EvE almost enough to call it EvE 2.0 I think this would be amazing, and would shake the power structure of the current game on enough levels to break the problem of stagnation for a long time.

I’m using it every time I can