Thursday, April 26, 2012

Blog Banter 35 - Lovely Rifter - Pity it Will Never Be Released

Like pretty much everyone else who plays EVE I was excited by the Lego Rifter and voted for it. Now that we have released 10,000 votes the project is moving on to the next phase - the review phase. This is how Lego describes this new phase (just the essential bits) :
What happens now?
... "LEGO Jury" composed of designers, product managers, and other key team members will examine the idea ... determine if the concept meets our high standards ... and fit with the LEGO brand. ... When finished, we make a "go/no go" decision to develop and sell the Rifter. ...

So here is the important question... do you think EVE, and the EVE community what with the goons and Mittanigate and all that, fits with the LEGO brand?

The other three projects from LEGO CUUSOO all fit nicely. Two spaceships are textbook LEGO products which totally fit with the brand. Minecraft is a reletively non-violent game that has actual similarity to LEGO in many ways, it fits nicely. Do you think a game where people get drunk on stage and say stupid things, a game known as a griefers paradise, a game with a terrible public perception fits with the LEGO brand?

No, it does not. Time to get excited about Back to the Future I guess.

I do hope that I am wrong.

Note: There will be no podcast this week as I am off to Bermuda for long needed vacation.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Sard Caid Guest FC Agony Alumni Roam Plus Two More Things

Just a couple of quick things for today:

1. If you an Alumni of one of the Agony Unleashed courses I highly suggest you have a look at our Guest FC roam and seminar led by none other then Sard Caid (bloodthirsty pirate/twitchtv streamer)! You can check out the enrollment thread here --> [06 May @ 18:00] Alumni Roam / Seminar with Special Guest FC - Sard Caid! This is going to be an absolute blast!

2. Check out the new missile animations. They are asking for feedback and they are awesome! I love the missiles tracking out of the silos.

3. Lastly just in case any of you are living under a rock.... go show your support for the LEGO Rifter project. As of this writing we are 88% of the way there to LEGO looking at making a kit. I WANT ONE! For those who are worried about getting spam from signing up, I signed up over a month ago and have not received a single unsolicited email from them. So no excuses... we have 300k subscribers to EVE, I don't see why we don't have that many support votes for EVE LEGO!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Solo Roaming in Cruisers ... On a Budget

An absolutely fantastic post on Failheap-Challenge by Prometheus, [HOW2PLAY] Solo Roaming in Cruisers, gives detailed fitting and tactic recommendations for Brawling T2 and faction cruisers. If you read only one thing about EVE PvP strategies this week, that is the post you want to read. In it he covers a variety of ships that he feels are ideal for roaming around in.

For Prometheus, he has a laundry list of attributes needed for a roaming cruiser...

- tank more than 35k ehp
- not be reliant on cap boosters
- align faster than 7 seconds
- be faster than 1200m/s before heat
- be capable of dealing over 550dps

Any ship that can meet these requirements can be counted on to stand up in a close range fight against similar and even many above class ships.

The problem with his post is that the ships are expensive. At about 200 million isk per ship they are hard to justify for many players. So the question remains, how close to that level of performance is possible using T1 ships? After a bit of playing with PYFA I came up with the following fit for a rupture:

Tank is just short of the 35k target, but close enough IMHO. It is not reliant on cap boosters, however cap is limited if those small neuts are in fact used. It is a bit slow to align however it is faster then the 1200 m/s. DPS is just over 80% of the target.

Obviously this ship can not keep up with it's T2 and faction counterparts. However it is pretty close. A Vexor or a thorax also can be fit quite nicely to be very close to meeting Prometheus' criteria.

I would suggest to anyone, if you are going to be trying out one of those expensive fits, fly and loose at least 5 of these cheaper T1 cruisers first. Otherwise you are just throwing money away.

Edit: Since someone asked me, here is a possible Vexor fit (Keep in mind that I am not overly familiar with fitting Gallente)

A little less tank then the Rupture, but, counting the drones, more gank. A very nice ship and one that should be feared.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

It is the Mistakes That Get You

Today I wanted to talk about two recent losses I had to gatecamps. In both cases I could have survived, but I made tactical errors that cost me my ship.

The first fight led to this lossmail: Jaguar Lost In Providence
After a long run through null from syndicate I had been bumping around near the Dital and Assah entrances to providence looking for some action. Withe the recent changes to Assault Ships I am still looking for my 'New' Jaguar fit. Jaguars now have the tracking bonus so in theory the web is no longer as needed. This plus the extra low-slot makes for several interesting possibilities. The fit I was in was a heavy tank, some gank MWD fit with two medium shield extenders giving it about 15k EHP and + decent shield recharge rate. This is a very tough nugget. A nanofibre in the new low slot makes this ship about as fast and maneuverable as the shield Rifter. On the downside, damage is only mediocre.

The problem with this fit vs a more ganky fit is that with the lowish DPS it can take a long time to kill a target. I was not going to be popping anyone under the eyes of their gang. Unfortunately all I could find were a series of 5-10 ship gate-camps in the area.

In the end it was one of these camps that got me. In 9-FOB on the 4B-NQN gate I jumped into a HIC bubble. There was a gang on the other side so rather then bump back and forth a few times, I decided to burn away. I failed to realize the significance of the Ashimmu on the field :(. With it's high price tag and bonus to webifiers it was likely fitting a faction web extending it's range. Not realizing that this was the major threat on the field, I was more concerned with the small ship tackle, my escape trajectory brought me within about 15km of this ship where I was promptly stopped cold. Going 300m/s 20km from gate while under MWD was not going to get me to safety.... I died.

The loss led to this loss-mail: Jaguar Lost In Syndicate
This was a bit of an experimental fit, an active armour tanked Jaguar. I have seen these before and thought, with the extra low-slot, it was quite viable. In this case however it was the pilot (me) who led to the loss. There was a gate-camp on the FD-MLJ to PF-346 gate (pretty much always a camp here). However the gate to X-M2LR was clear. I jumped through and held my cloak. 'Perhaps something interesting camping the other gate would come and chase me' I thought. Not a bad plan but execution is key. I held my cloak until something came through, in this case a stealth bomber uncloaked. I gave chase but couldn't catch it. At this point a Sabre came through and launched a bubble. Not having aggression and still 20km from the sabre I was safe. I could outrun a sabre or burn back to the gate. Unfortunately at this point I mis-clicked my overview and resorted everything by name. By the time I had my bearings (which entry was the gate) the sabre had moved into range and I was tackled. With other ships pouring in certain death came soon later. Oooops!

The importance of both of these losses was not that gate-camps killed me, it was that they killed me ONLY after I made avoidable tactical mistakes. Gate camps are a fact of life in 0.0. Some of them will be un-escapable. However most of them are not perfect. They can be dodged in a fast ship. It is the mistakes that get you.

Sidenote: Today is the 100-year anniversary of the tragic sinking of the Titanic. For e the historical significance is this.... it is the first of many huge, and entirely avoidable, tragedies of the 20th century. Pity the 21st is off to an even worse start.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Professional EVE Players - The EVE is EASY project

When I first noticed the EVE is Easy website and videos from Garmon and Willl Adama, I was stunned at the professional quality of the videos and the amount of work that went into the projects. I suspected that it might be more than just a hobby project and it turns out I appear to be right. In the latest video, a 'preview' video, the content and more importantly, the comments, indicate that this is going to be a paid site. See the video and comments for yourself here:

EVE is EASY - Dual Thorax Guide [preview] + New EIE Site Details!

In particular this comment is very telling:
No Scams :)

We are going to be working on this website full-time pretty much, so there is going to be a commercial aspect to it. The details aren't worked out yet, just stay tuned for the 14th!

eveiseasy in reply to benos59 1 day ago 6

Have Garmon and/or Willl Adama become full-time EVE players. Apparently such professional players do exist in other games. The life of a pr0 is pretty sweet (seee I guess.

If so this is an interesting development within EVE. Of course they may not actually be the first. Aside from the RMT guys mostly running bot farms there are rumors of Russian FCs being paid to play. In a game where virtual goods have valuations in the thousands of dollars, such a development is not surprising.

As for the EVE is Easy site there are now more questions than answers. We don't know how much it will cost, will it be a one-time fee or a subscription model, nor exactly how successful it is going to be. All will apparently be revealed in a few days when the site goes live. We do know that Abbadon21, who seems to the third person working on this site, has his own instructional site with a one-time membership fee of $30.

So I wish these guys good luck with their venture. I don't know if I will subscribe to the site. Depends on the cost mostly. But with Garmon and Adama running it, it is quite tempting.

Of course if you are looking for an introduction to EVE pvp you really can't do any better than take the Agony Unleashed PVP-Basic course. We teach groups of students the basics of how to fit and fly frigates in 0.0. We also offer an intermediate course in destroyers, and an advanced course in cruisers which cover a wide range of topics in much more depth.

Edit: $15 per month... $199 for a lifetime subscription ... too rich for my blood.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Scram Web - An EVE Online Podcast - Episode 2 - The Percocet Edition

High on percocet due to a shoulder injury, I decided to record a second episode. Enjoy!

Topics Discussed:

Download this episode (right click and save)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Minerals... The Perfect Storm

In the 2000 movie 'The Perfect Storm' a confluence of several large weather systems all at the same time merged to create a massive storm in the North Atlantic that claimed several lives. Since then any time an event happened where several rare events coincided to reinforce each other it has been referred to as a 'Perfect Storm'. What we are seeing today in mineral prices in EVE is an example of such an event.

Here are the following elements:
1. Large ISK faucets: With incursions introduced last year, combined with ever more productive ratting from higher skilled/equiped average players, ISK per player is on an upward trend.

2. Mass Bannings: CCP Sreggs and team have started mass bannings of bots and RMT traders who operate, among other things, huge fleets of mining ships extracting minerals. The influx of minerals into the markets from these operations is reduced.

3. Proposed Rogue Drone Changes: Rogue drones are going to be changed to have bounties instead of dropping minerals. The influx of minerals into the markets from these operations is reduced.

4. Proposed T1 Rat Drops: Wrecks from rats will no longer have the relatively mineral rich T1 meta 0 loot. The influx of minerals into the markets from these operations is reduced. Edit: Just confirmed that meta-0 items to be replaced by one unit of metal scrap. This refines to less tritanium than most modules and no other resources.

and the icing on the cake...

5. Hulkageddon: Starts later this months. With the huge backing of the angry goons this should be the biggest Hulkageddon ever! Miners beware! The influx of minerals into the markets from these operations is reduced. Lost ships (ganked and gankers) will increase the demand for minerals to facilitate replacement.

The end result is that speculators are predicting a massive drop in the supply of minerals, which coupled with a cash rich player base, will result in a massive spike in ship and other product prices. We have seen 2x increases in battlecruiser prices already. Other ship classes are also showing similar increases. Ruptures for example are now priced above 10 million ISK. Since insurance payout adjustments lag the market in increasing the cost of loosing a T1 hull has gone from very small to now as much as 50% of the purchase price.

The effect of this on the game is dramatic. Expect players to become a lot more cautious with their suddenly expensive ships. For example I recently lost a Diemos on a roam with my corp. It will cost me almost twice as much to replace it. I am considering purchasing a cheaper ship like a stabber fleet issue, that will still fit the same gang doctrine but not impact my wallet.

At the same time that time honoured and ridiculed profession, mining, has suddenly become much more lucrative. Expect a lot more mining fleets in empire and out in 0.0.

This effect will be most pronounced on new players. A 10 million isk rupture, a 70 million isk Drake will completely change the new player experience, for the worse.

Of course the CCP in-house economist must know about what is happening and could predict these changes. He has several possible tricks up his sleeve that could ruin a speculator's day. He might delay one or both changes to the loot mechanics. I don't think that will happen however. What I think we might see very soon is a change to the amount of minerals per hour mining. Either increasing the refined amount of minerals per unit of ore and/or increasing the mining yield of mining lasers both would negate some of the effect on the overall market, while still making mining as a profession viable.

This is an interesting time for the EVE economy. Personally I think these changes are long overdue. The loot mechanic of getting minerals just always felt wrong. By making mining a viable and important profession again, messing with botters, things will eventually achieve a new, better equilibrium then before. I just wish I had the forethought of stocking up first.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Scram Web - An EVE Online Podcast - Episode 1

I thought to myself, 'Why not have a podcast'? This is my first crack at it. I discuss the fight I had in Providence yesterday, as well as some coverage of fanfest. I was debating on whether to release it as obviously the production quality is low (crappy mike, no intro music, some details wrong) however I figured what the Hek and released it as is. Next time I will plan out what I am going to say first and perhaps do some modicum of editing. Happy listening :).

Download this episode (right click and save)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Using Gate Aggression Mechanics to Split Apart the Enemy

Recently I left on a nice long round-about roam. Or at least that was the plan. Oddly I seem to have been stuck in Providence. I can't seem to make it very far without running low on ammo/cargo space for loot :). Earlier this morning I logged on and had a very quick fight on the 9UY-H to H6-CX8 gate. I thought that this fight represented some very basic strategy that any pilot aspiring to solo pvp must know.

The situation was this. I was in an Enyo and saw a Jaguar on d-scan. A Jaguar vs an Enyo is a good fight, could go either way. The main issue being wether or not the Jaguar tries to pull range or not. Anyways, I engaged him on the H6 gate and quickly started taking him down stripping him of his shields and well into armour. Unfortunately his buddy in a Sabre popped through the gate. With the added DPS from the Sabre + the likely additional points and webifier, this turned from an easy win to a likely pod-loss. Aligning for the sun I hit the overloaded MWD bailed out. :(.

At this point I decided to keep on trying for these guys. My systems were damaged (but not offline) from overheat so my effectiveness was reduced, but I figured if I could take on one of them alone I should still come out on top. Warping back to the gate I took a quick glance at them and jumped through.

With only the two ships against me I was in a very safe situation. Neither of them alone or together could prevent me from getting back to the gate. Of course they were also 'safe'. No way I could engage them both at the same time. What I needed to do was get it so that they were both in a state of aggression on opposite sides of the gate. That way they could neither get out through the gate, but help would have to wait the full 60 second timer to come in.

Clearly they were on to my plan. I couldn't get either of them to aggress. So I started giving them a little encouragement. On the side of the jaguar I inched slowly off the gate. My plan was to convince the jaguar to engage me since I could not immediately go on through. It worked. I was about 4000m from the gate when he opened fire. I quickly motored back to the gate and jumped as soon as I could. Shields were dropped to about 50%.

Now I had a very small window to act. I had about 60 seconds before that jaguar could come in. Fortunately the Sabre decided that he was willing to play into my plan and he launched a bubble, giving him aggression. I immediately locked and approached the Sabre, scrambling it once in range and opening fire. He returned fire but, with only a slight DPS advantage, and a much weaker tank, he went down before the Jaguar's aggression was up. Thanks to his own bubble I was able to get the 90m+ isk pod as well :). The jaguar finally came through but, after the drubbing I had given him solo earlier, was in no mood to play without help. I probably could have engaged him, but I did have significant damage so I just played it safe. I looted the wreck, popping what I couldn't hold and left.

TL;DR: I used gate aggresion mechanics to isolate each member of their gang on opposite sides. This included baiting the Jaguar by moving somewhat off gate to encourage him to take a chance. These same tactics can also be used in larger gangs.