Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Help me CCP you are my only hope

For some reason I can't seem to transfer my character. I have entered in a petition to get this fixed a couple of days ago, but after 48 hours no response yet. Unfortunately this is interfering with my attempt to cash Toterra in for PLEX for good. I am going to refund the nice guy who paid 27 billion for Toterra. Hopefully someone from CCP sees this and comes up with a solution.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Going out with a BANG - Donating Toterra to PLEX for Good

For a variety of reasons I am no longer playing EVE. It has been a great 5 years, but I just can't get into the game and have been thinking about quitting for a while now. With the PLEX for good announcement I have decided to donate my character to Typhoon relief and make it permanent.

As a result I am selling Toterra. All proceeds will be contributed to Typhoon relief.

Here is my post onthe EVE O Forums: WTA 83 Million SP Sub-cap pilot * All isk will be donated to PLEX for good

Thanks for everyone who has ever flown with or against me. I would especially like to thank Agony Unleashed for just being awesome. I can`t recommend enough that new players should do one of their courses.


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

CCP Financial statements and the failure of DUST514

CCP's financial statements are actually available on the web. Having a look at the first 6 months of 2013 a certain number stood out...

Revenue from subscriptions and in-game sales (2013.01.01 to 2013.06.30) = 34,337,747 USD.

It also mentions 490,000 subscribers of EVE Online at the end of 2012. This gives us an average revenue per subscriber of .... $11.68 per month. This sounds a bit on the low end, I can only assume that revenue per subscriber from china is a bit lower than on TQ.

What is missing?  How about DUST514. Where is any of the revenue from that game? Marketing for this period was over $12 million, I suspect much if not most of this is for DUST514.... yet the revenue contribution from Dust appears to be zilch, nada, zero.

It is official.. DUST514 is a total failure. As if we didn't know that already.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

STAR WARS Identities - Toterra

While attending a high-school homecoming, I visited the Star Wars Identities exhibit at the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum. Fun stuff. Below is my 'Star Wars' Identity I created for Toterra/myself. Lots of fun this was!


Male Wookiee

I was raised on the lava planet Mustafar, where members of my community made their living in the hot springs and sauna business. On holidays my two close friends and I would traditionally take in the annual lava-and-lights volcano show.
My parents raised me with a mix of independence and support, and I inherited my strong set of intellectual abilities from them. Later on I spent some time with the wise Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn, whose guidance left me with knowledge I still use every day in my job as a bounty hunter.
I remember this one time when I won a Podrace, and my reward was my freedom from slavery. This had a pretty big influence on me, I guess, because after that I took a job as a courier pilot with a package delivery company.
People often tell me I’m a generally adventurous and curious person, I also tend to be organised and prepared. But the most important thing to me is self-direction: I believe that living in a free world means we all have the right to choose.
The Force is very strong with me, so I wasn't surprised when the Emperor tracked me down. When he offered me limitless power in exchange for my allegiance, I fought the urge to join him and his evil minions and rejected his offer.

Friday, September 20, 2013


Here is my third EVE video. In it I am flying a breacher using a dual web fitting. It was great fun making this video and I hope you all enjoy it. The final fight I am particularly happy with.


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

KILL ALL THE THINGS 3 - Locked in here with ME!

Here is my third EVE video. In it I am flying a Firetail using a dual web fitting. It was great fun making this video and I hope you all enjoy it...

Kill all the things 3 - Locked in Here With Me

Saturday, August 31, 2013

KILL ALL THE THINGS 2 - She Only Loves Me When She Drinks

As a glutton for punishment I have decided to post another eve video. KILL ALL THE THINGS 2 - She Only Loves Me When She Drinks.

Similar to the first but this time I am using a ship that I have long admired, the Slicer. It takes me a few fights to get into the groove but I think my commentary is informative. The first two fights I make a lot of mistakes, but by the third I think I have things figured out. I don't really have much experience kitting, but plan on flying kitting ships for the next while to get much better at it.


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Kill All the Things - Episode 1

For some crazy reason I decided to try my hand at making some EVE videos. Each video will have lots of small scale solo fights and include whatever commentary as to what I think is happening.

Here is my first video: Kill All the Things - Episode 1 - Faction warfare PVP with a Tristan

In this video I use what has become my favorite T1 frigate, the Tristan. A hard ship to fly what with all the things that have to be managed successfully. It also really requires a high amount of SP as well (drone interfacing V, drones V, gallente frigate V, max fitting, max armour tanking, great navigation etc...). My commentary in the video pretty much says it all. After doing this I have a lot of respect for other EVE videographers, the amount of work to produce this was unexpectedly enormous.

Anyways, have a look, and be on the lookout for more (probably one a month).

Monday, July 22, 2013

Various Slingshot How-To Videos

While busy trying to quit EVE... and failing at that... I came across a new video from Aznwithbeard demonstrating the slingshot technique. Great video that clearly shows how to do it right.

Another good video from a different author on the same topic is the following...
Personally I have always sucked at this particular and important technique. I hope to try it again with a bit more success the next time.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Alliance Tournament XI Ship Point Changes

While I have been taking a bit of a break from EVE, CCP has announced the new alliance tournament. This should be a very interesting one. Not only have there been some interesting point changes (see below), but with the complete revamp of Cruisers, Battlecruisers and other ships, we can expect a huge change in setups from previous years. Of special note are the changes of T1 cruisers to now be worth 7 points. Combined with the huge buff to T1 combat and attack cruisers I think these will be common in the tournament this year. Also I think that the micro-jump drives fitted to battleships could be interesting, assuming they don't all end up jumping out of the arena by accident.

Ship TypePoints
AT 7AT 8AT 9AT 10AT 11
Battleship, Pirate Faction2121212021
Battleship, Navy Faction2121212019
Battleship 1818181717
Black Ops Battleship1818181717
Command Ship1616161616
Strategic Cruiser1616161616
Cruiser, Faction1314141412
Heavy Assault Cruiser1514131312
Battlecruiser (Navy)

Battlecruiser (Tier 2)1313131313
Recon Ship1313131414
Heavy Interdictor1313131212
Logistics Cruiser1212121213
Battlecruiser (Tier 3)1213
Battlecruiser (Tier 1)1111101013
Bomber 66665
Electronic Attack Frigate55555
Frigate, Faction44444
Assault Frigate44444
Interdictor 33333
Interceptor 33333
Frigate (e-war)33324
Frigate (non-ewar)33322

Monday, April 8, 2013

Mission Maelstrom (+ Vargur)

For a bunch of reasons there is a lot out Caldari and their Raven battleships seem to be the favorite for Level 4 missions. I however believe that the Maelstrom is in fact a superior boat. The Maelstrom combines a slot layout enabling both a full active shield tank and enough low-slots to provide massive damage. The active shield tank is further boosted by a bonus to shield boosting and a cap-less primary weapon usage. The primary weapon is further boosted by being able to select damage types and good to excellent range due to massive falloff. The Maelstrom is built for missions.

Let's start by looking at a basic T2 setup:

[Maelstrom, T2]
Damage Control II
Gyrostabilizer II
Gyrostabilizer II
Tracking Enhancer II
Tracking Enhancer II

100MN Afterburner II
Large Shield Booster II
Shield Boost Amplifier II
Shield Boost Amplifier II
Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
Adaptive Invulnerability Field II

800mm Repeating Artillery II, EMP L
800mm Repeating Artillery II, EMP L
800mm Repeating Artillery II, EMP L
800mm Repeating Artillery II, EMP L
800mm Repeating Artillery II, EMP L
800mm Repeating Artillery II, EMP L
800mm Repeating Artillery II, EMP L
800mm Repeating Artillery II, EMP L

Large Capacitor Control Circuit I
Large Capacitor Control Circuit I
Large Capacitor Control Circuit I

Warrior II x5
Hobgoblin II x10
Warrior II x5

While cap stability isn't great, with the afterburner off, it can run everything else for over 7 minutes, more than long enough to bring most rooms down to a controllable level. It also should be known that if you need extra range, switching to Barrage L extends fall-off to 59 km, giving this ship the ability to project damage across the entire grid.

Typically when I engage I take out the web/scramble frigates first. Often this means burning in the opposite direction to increase range and minimize transversal.  If the guns can't hit them then I send in the drones. Although the ship has the bandwidth and drone bay to handle medium and heavy drones, I just fit enough lights to easily replace losses. There is nothing worse than loosing all your light drones and having no way to destroy a scrambling frigate.

As good as the T2 fittings are, this ship can really benefit from one of the most powerful relative to the T2 version faction modules in the game, the pithum medium shield boosters. Couple these with some low-grade Crystal implants 1-5 and you get a perma-tank that can handle most rooms handily.

[Maelstrom, small faction]
Damage Control II
Republic Fleet Gyrostabilizer
Republic Fleet Gyrostabilizer
Tracking Enhancer II
Tracking Enhancer II

Republic Fleet 100MN Afterburner
Pithum C-Type Medium Shield Booster
Shield Boost Amplifier II
Shield Boost Amplifier II
Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
Adaptive Invulnerability Field II

800mm Repeating Artillery II, EMP L
800mm Repeating Artillery II, EMP L
800mm Repeating Artillery II, EMP L
800mm Repeating Artillery II, EMP L
800mm Repeating Artillery II, EMP L
800mm Repeating Artillery II, EMP L
800mm Repeating Artillery II, EMP L
800mm Repeating Artillery II, EMP L

Large Capacitor Control Circuit I
Large Core Defense Operational Solidifier I
Large Capacitor Control Circuit I

Warrior II x5
Hobgoblin II x10
Warrior II x5

Although not cap stable with the afterburner, it is once it is turned off. Use the AB to move around in position but be mindful not to let the capacity drop below peak recharge at around 33%. With mission specific hardeners only the very hardest rooms can make a dent in the tank, allowing getting in close range with the target battleships.

Of course there is an easy step above this fit. But it requires going with a Vargur, the ultimate mission ship. While a Macharial is more popular, the Vargur's invincible tanks, superior tracking, low ammo usage allowing the cost use of RF ammo and the ability to fit tractor beams and salvagers results in more isk/hour IMHO. Compared to the Maelstrom, it provides a better tank against EM/Therm, about 50% more speed. Here is how I fit my Vargur complete with recommended implants.

[Vargur, Vargur Dream]
Damage Control II
Republic Fleet Gyrostabilizer
Republic Fleet Gyrostabilizer
Tracking Enhancer II
Tracking Enhancer II

Republic Fleet 100MN Afterburner
Pithum B-Type Medium Shield Booster
Shield Boost Amplifier II
Shield Boost Amplifier II
Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
Adaptive Invulnerability Field II

800mm Repeating Artillery II, Republic Fleet EMP L
800mm Repeating Artillery II, Republic Fleet EMP L
800mm Repeating Artillery II, Republic Fleet EMP L
800mm Repeating Artillery II, Republic Fleet EMP L
Small Tractor Beam II
Small Tractor Beam II
Salvager II

Large Projectile Collision Accelerator II
Large Projectile Metastasis Adjuster I

Hobgoblin II x5
Hobgoblin II x3
Warrior II x7

With a fit like this I was able to fully complete Worlds Collide Sansha / Angel looting and salvaging all large wrecks in under 50 minutes for about 60-70 million isk/hour. Most missions can be run much faster.

The result of all this is that minmattar pilots should not feel compelled to switch to the Caldari mission boats. The Maelstrom and Vargur represent IMHO an actually superior mission platform.

P.S. It should be noted that the current vision from CCP Fozzie is to somewhat nerf the Tracking enhancers. They will give a 20% boost instead of 30% to falloff. This will somewhat lower the range of these ships, but not enough to significantly change the tactics.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Brawling Frigate Strategies - Part 1 - Turn and Burn and Disrupt

Toterra is terrible at kiting. In general I manage to usually either 1. Fly away too far and have my enemy escape, or 2. overcompensate by hitting approach and getting caught. As a result my choice in ships tends to gravitate massively towards the brawling (close range) strategies. Although many T1 frigates are effective in this role, there are two strategies, with corresponding fits, that I find work the best.

1. Turn and Burn
Mostly effective against turret ships, it is on the surface very simple. Keep your angular velocity significantly higher then the tracking of the enemy guns. This works best on armour tanked ships, with four mid-slots and a utility high. With requirements like that it is not surprising that Minmatar ships excel in this role.

In EVE angular velocity is usually represented in radians. According to Wikipedia, here is the definition of a radian: 'Radian describes the plane angle subtended by a circular arc as the length of the arc divided by the radius of the arc'. Sounds complicated but really it is just the ratio of how fast you are orbiting a ship, divided by how far you are from the ship. So if you are orbiting at 500m/s, and the orbit swings out to 1000 meters, your angular velocity is 0.5 radians per second.  If you are orbiting at 250m/s, and you are 750 meters, your angular velocity is 0.333.

The other factor in tracking is the ratio of the signature resolution of the gun (40 meters for small turrets) and the signature radius of the ship. Your angular velocity is divided by this ratio. So if your ship has a signature radius of 30 meters, and the guns shooting you are frigate sized (40 meters signature resolution), your angular velocity is multiplied by 1.333. In the case of the ship orbiting at 500m/s 1000 meters away, this results in an effective angular velocity of 0.666 radians per second (0.5 * 1.33).

This new factor is then compared to the tracking speed of your guns. If the effective angular velocity is equal to the tracking speed of the guns there is a 50% chance of hitting. However that is the inflection point of the curve. In the case above, where the effective angular velocity is 0.666 radians, if the guns actual tracking speed is 0.5 then the chance to hit is only 29%, effectively dropping to less than a third.

The result of all of this is that the game is designed so that frigates running an afterburner being shot at with small guns, sit around this inflection point. Anything you can do to push yourself even a little further along will make a big difference.

So the turn and burn strategy is to do everything to push the tracking as far past the inflection point so that almost no damage is taken from another frigate.

To do this we do several things.

1. Armour tank: Armour tanking does not boost the signature radius of a ship so it increases the effective angular velocity of the ship relative to target. There is a speed hit from some hits/armour modules which will reduce angular velocity, so it is best to not go overboard. Typically a 200mm RT plate and a small repper is ideal.

2. AB + Scram + Web: Fitting both a warp scrambler and a web means that it is hard for the opponent to use speed and maneuvering to reduce your angular velocity to the point where he can hit your effectively. Ideally, you have a faster ship so he can not kite you. Again, since many of your potential targets have a web, having one of your own is pretty much required.

3. Tracking Disruptor: Using a tracking disruptor on the enemy ship reduces their tracking as much as 50%, even without off-grid boosters and bonused ships.

There are several ships at several price points that are ideal for this. Starting cheap... here is the post retribution slasher...

[Slasher, Turn and Burn Slasher]
Damage Control II
Small Ancillary Armor Repairer, Nanite Repair Paste

1MN Afterburner II
Faint Epsilon Warp Scrambler I
Fleeting Propulsion Inhibitor I
Balmer Series Tracking Disruptor I, Tracking Speed Disruption Script

150mm Light AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet EMP S
150mm Light AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet EMP S
150mm Light AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet EMP S
Small Nosferatu II

Small Projectile Collision Accelerator I
Small Projectile Metastasis Adjuster I
Small Projectile Metastasis Adjuster I

This setup can massacre almost any turret based ship that doesn't have some way of mitigating the angular velocity or a second weapon system. The main problem with this ship is the tank, or rather the lack of a tank. Overheat everything going in and get under the guns as quick as possible. Take out any drones ASAP. But if you get under the guns, and kill off the drones (if there are any) then it is only a matter of time before victory. A naturally high speed/low signature radius is the perfect combination.

For a bit more ISK, the Republic Fleet Firetail is an ideal option. I talked more about this ship here:
Ships I Fly - Republic Fleet Firetail. This ship packs more of a punch, and has more defenses, but is a little slower.

For the rich, or if you just want to try something with a bit of bling, there is nothing better then the Dramiel...

[Dramiel, Turn and Burn Dramiel]
Damage Control II
Coreli A-Type Small Armor Repairer
Adaptive Nano Plating II

Gistii B-Type 1MN Afterburner
Faint Epsilon Warp Scrambler I
Fleeting Propulsion Inhibitor I
Balmer Series Tracking Disruptor I, Tracking Speed Disruption Script

200mm AutoCannon II, EMP S
Small Diminishing Power System Drain I
200mm AutoCannon II, EMP S

Small Projectile Collision Accelerator I
Small Projectile Metastasis Adjuster I
[empty rig slot]

Warrior II x3

With the Dram, I would highly recommend a set of low-grade halo implants to maximize the effectiveness (reduces signature radius) in addition to the deadspace articles mentioned above, especially if flying in low-sec. More DPS than either the Firetail or the Slasher, the Dram is pretty much the ultimate turn and burn ship. Even webbed it is still a fast ship and able to control the engagement. Additionally the use of drones gives a good chunk of DPS even when counter tracking disrupted. Expensive, but a great ship.

Next post we will discuss the strategy of tanking like a BOSS!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

My Endorsement for CSM - Matias “Brave Newbie” Otero and Zander (Crossing Zebras)

After listening to a bunch of podcasts and 'interviews' I have decided who I would vote for. Either Matias Otero or Zander. Neither has announced running for the CSM. I am not even sure that Matias knows what the CSM is, but listening to them they clearly would make better CSM members than any of the announced candidates.

Matias Otero
Within one month of starting to play EVE created he has grown his new corp to over a thousand members strong. Listening to him on the Declarations of War podcast, he obviously has way more recent experience as a new player who is very involved in the game then any of the veterans that have announced. Stupid game mechanics that we have long forgotten about (like the idiocy of game mechanics basically encouraging war-decking new player corps) are stupid to him. He is articulate and clearly willing to do what it takes to learn the game. I feel he would actually bring something to the CSM that CCP could actually use.

Host of the Crossing Zebras podcast, he has interviewed most of the announced candidates. His interviews are first rate. Although he claims to be off working on an oil rig, I would suggest CNN hire him. Amazingly good interviews. He clearly does the research ahead of time and asks tough questions that really gets at what each interviewee is all about. Amazingly he doesn't get mired in pointless arguments. After listening to most of the interviews, he his clearly more aware of the issues, and able to discuss them reasonably, then any of the candidates that he interviewed. Fantastic job, a huge amount of work, and I think he needs to be on the CSM.

Really, I hope either or both of these candidates make a run. And I hope most of the other bitter-vet / more toys for null-sec candidates drop out. In the end, with the new voting mechanics, I think we are going to see a CSM dominated by Goons and TEST with maybe one or two relatively independent bitter-vets. The CSM will spend most of it's time dealing with the most important issue facing them... 'Who gets to go to Iceland!'. Hopefully the rest of the community can come together and not split their vote so much that the major blocs dominate CSM 8.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Resistance is Futile

Granger of Agony Unleashed had an excellent post on our internal forums last week regarding base ship resistances by race/class. This is one of those topics that I knew some of the details for, but never really dug in to fully understand the various impacts in detail. With permission I include below the complete post:

Well actually, resistance is anything but futile.

Simply described - resists reduce the amount of damage your ship actually takes compared to what is delivered. Example:

A Drake shoots a Kinetic missile at you for 100 damage. You have shield resist of 75% to Kinetic, so you only take 25 damage.

The knock-on effect is that increased resists also makes self-reps (Armor Repairers, or Shield Boosters) more effective, as well as remote reps from logistics, due to the reduction in received damage. Thus, increased resists not only increases your base EHP but also results in more effective repairing, unlike adding hitpoints through plates/trimarks or extenders/field extenders (unless of course you don't have enough buffer to allow the reps to land, but that is another topic).

One thing that seems to be frequently misinterpreted is how the various ship classes compare in terms of resists. Well, they all follow the same pattern. I am going to concentrate on armor here to try and keep it simple, but will list shield base stats too. All profiles are listed EM-The-Kin-Exp just like in EFT

Shield 0-20-40-50
Armor 50-35-25-10

Now - the way armor works through the classes is that all hulls have some level of improved defence against the primary damage type of their natural enemy. So, the natural enemy of the Caldari are the Gallente. Gallente primary damage type is Thermal (think drones). So, all Caldari ships have some extent of improved resist against Thermal. Likewise vice-versa, and of course for Minmatar-Amarr. Each race also has a secondary damage type. The primary and secondary damage types are listed below.

Race - Primary - Secondary
Amarr - EM - The
Caldari - Kin - The
Gallente - The - Kin
Minmatar - Exp - Kin

So - how does this improved defence apply across the ship classes?

Vanilla T1
NB this rule applies to all T1 hulls, from Frigates to Titans. Each race gets a 10% modifier in Armor to the primary damage type of their natural enemy. Thus, the T1 hulls get for armor:

Amarr 50-35-25-20
Caldari 50-45-25-10
Gallente 50-35-35-10
Minmatar 60-35-25-10

That's the easy part out of the way, as for the T2 ship hulls, both shield and armor get a buff, in both primary and secondary damage types. It depends on ship class, though thankfully makes sense in that light fast ships (Inty, Dictor, EAF) get slightly less bonus compared to those we usually associate with massive tank (HIC, Command Ship). As there are so many combinations, I am going to concentrate on Amarr Armor only from now on.

Interceptor / Covert Ops / Interdictor
These receive the smallest of all the T2 ship class buffs, an additional 10% in primary damage type only over the T1 hulls:
Amarr 50-35-25-30 (NB EFT will tell you different for the Malediction, but that is because it gets 5% resist bonus per level of Amarr Frigate skill)

Black Ops
Oddly, receives a smaller bonus to primary damage type than an Inty, but also a small bonus to secondary:
Amarr 50-35-28.75-28

Stealth Bomber / Marauder
Receive a bigger bonus to primary damage type and also a small bonus to secondary:
Amarr 50-35-34.4-40

Electronic Attack Frigate / Force Recon
As above, but now a bigger bonus to primary damage type and also a small bonus to secondary:
Amarr 50-35-43.8-60

Combat Recon / Field Command Ship
Amarr 50-35-53.1-70
(Similar to Malediction, EFT will tell you the Absolution does better, but again it's due to the 5% resist bonus per level)

AF / HAC / HIC / Logistics Cruiser / Tech 3 / Fleet Command
Amarr 50-35-62.5-80
(Again EFT will tell you the Damnation/Devoter does better due to the 5% resist bonus per level. You can also fit the resist Sub to the T3)

As I say the same traits are applied to shield as well as Armor, making it easier to make balanced Armor tankers from Amarr T2, whereas Minnie T2 make balanced shield tankers. Caldari/Gallente are a bit oddball in that given they are strong to The/Kin and Kin/The respectively, it means they have a huge hole left. However, once plugged, it does mean they can fit very strong tanks with good resist across the board, simply by fitting an EM Screen on a shield fit or an Explosive Hardener on an armor fit.

Hope that was worthwhile.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Ultimate Question - Survey Results

Last June I asked on my blog, and on some forums, for people to respond to a simple survey. The survey was designed around the concept called the "Net Promoter Score" that is a current fad in the corperate world.

Personally I am a huge fan of the survey and have seen it transform organizations. As a result I thought that I would try and apply it to EVE Online to see what people say. I also asked WOW players on what forums I knew about the same question. I had over 200 reponses from EVE players, and about 90 responses from WOW players.

So... without any further adieu... Here are the results

EVE Online NPS = 21
WOW NPS = 21

Interesting eh?

Here are some of the comments from the EVE Online 'Promoters' (score - comment):
9 - I enjoy the real consequences of pvp/pve and would like friends to play with me.
10 - It is a uniquely realistic depiction of a lawless society, also fun, lots of fun
10 - EVE allows a freedom unsurpassed in any other MMO, basically the sandboxiness is awesome. Also, you're flying SPACESHIPS, anyone who doesn't like that is probably a communist.
10 - It's vast and wonderfully complex, it has SPACESHIPS! And it makes you think... A lot.

And here is a 'special one'...
10 - player name - hahahahahaha Nice try.. Rule #1 Trust No One   

Here are some of the comments from the EVE Online 'Detractors':
0 - I love EVE, but it's a terrible game. It has a terrible community, and terrible customer support (GMs often seem "out to get you"). You need ISK for everything, but the only way to get ISK is to spend hours a day grinding. It's a terrible, terrible game, and I love it, but I wouldn't wish it upon my worst enemy.
2 - Too time consuming - I don't want to ruin a friend's life or marriage.
1- The player environment of Eve is not conductive to making new acquaintances you could actually play with, and few people pull it off. Paranoia levels in Eve among veteran players are so high, that the chance to find a non-solitary niche for a new player is fairly low, and new players drop out quickly and most importantly, together. (A solitary niche is not worth recommending in the first place.) Which means that if I introduce a friend or colleague to Eve, I will have to BE the core of their social environment and provide that niche myself if I wish them to stay. That, basically means that I'd be recommending them something they cannot possibly enjoy on their own without me. The only way that could work would be enticing many people to do that at once and support each other, forming a straight up corporation entirely from friends and colleagues. That is quite a tall order, which makes such a recommendation not impossible, but very unlikely.
2 - Goon shenanigans, especially as they impact the Market and the overall game economy and player attitude, has made any activity for the regular player meaningless. Also, player attitude is childish in the extreme, especially on Forums. It used to be fun till CCP got in bed with and praised Goons.

For comparison here are some WOW Promoters:
10 -   I love the game, there is so much to do, and most of the people are amazing!
9 -  It's a great game to play with friends.
9 -  This game is extremely fun. It's a game where you can spend time with friends and other people. I've connected with a lot of people through WoW and people have connected with me. This game is truly amazing and would recommend it to everyone who loves MMO's.9 - In spite of its issues, I've loved this game for a long time. But I would probably only recommend it to someone if I already knew they were an avid gamer, because there's always been a certain amount of social stigma around this game in particular.

 And here are some WOW Detractors:
3 -  The games long life cycle means there is no one I know who would like that hasn't already tried it. Meaning I would just be getting back into the game with the same old addicts.
0 = After playing for 8 years the thought of explaining the mechanics to someone new just seems like a huge task. Things that I think are trivial probably don't come easily. Relating to someone brand new would be an extremely challenging task. The best I can do is point you to this blog post on the Elitist Jerks forum. It essentially goes through what raiding at 60 was like, compared to raiding in wrath. The points still stand and even more so now with Cata being wrapped up and heading into Mists. The complexity I went through was seeing the changes unfold and adapting. Now that's not the case. It's understanding what were once pretty crazy ideas and adapting those without any background.
5 - Depends on the person... mostly I would like to because I love the game... but it can also be embarassing.

My Conclusions
Personally I find the results of the survey interesting. In both cases players love the game because of doing things with other people (duh! it is an MMO). WOW players loved the large amount of content, and EVE players loved the sanboxiness/lawlessness. In both cases players have concerns about new players not being able to enjoy it.

What CCP / Blizzard need to do to improve...
It seems that bot EVE and WOW should work on helping players interact more with other players more, especially when new. This seems to be the key to move them from detractors to promoters. The resistance to this in EVE is that new players are intimidated by veterans, and veterans are paranoid about new players. With WOW it sounds like there is no simply no motivation for older players to work with newer players and this results in a large amount of grinding upwards to get to be actually noticed by other players. Game mechanic changes to improve these areas would be welcome and contribute to the success of both games.

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Butcher's Bill

I am sure everyone has heard by now of the huge fight in Asakai. 3000+ players are involved in a huge furball between two large coalitions with losses approaching one trillion isk makes for rather spectacular news. CCP must be all smiles knowing the huge publicity that this is giving them. There is literally no other game on the market that can create such an epic event.

Despite the headline grabbing nature of the fight I think it is important for players to understand what this all means without the hyperbole. Lets look at the facts as I see them.

1. The EVE-Online server can handle a fight of over 3000 players!
In and of itself this is a huge development. While there have been other similarly sized fights in the past, they were characterized by crippling lag, client crashes and complaints of players unable to load grid resulting in losses. While lag was enormous during this fight, with time dilation likely far worse than the 10% being reported by the client, it seems that most were happy with the ability of the server to give them a viable gaming experience. Considering that this was apparently on a non-reinforced node using older hardware (low-sec gets the old stuff apparently) this was all the more satisfying. Good Job CCP! This will actually encourage more of these sorts of fights in the future.

2. Super-Capitals are very hard to hold down and kill.
Hard to say this after such huge super-capital losses, but considering that there were reportedly 27 Titans on grid at one point, and countless more super-carriers, it is surprising how few were actually lost. The whole focus of this fight was to destroy super-capitals, and both sides effectively going 'all-in', yet most of them for both sides managed to escape. It is almost impossible to keep Heavy Interdictors (HIC) alive during these fights due to the massive DPS. Since HICs are the only ships that can point a super-capital this meant that loses were actually lower for the super-capitals than for support ships.

3. Given a chance to kill a CFC super, PL will engage.
The whole instigator of this fight was Pandemic legion having a chance at killing a CFC Titan. They had the chance and they jumped at it. This was not just an opportunity presented under the current political climate, they had apparently been working on this plan for months.

4. Given a chance to kill a PL super(s), CFC will escalate.
Once PL dropped in, the CFC responded with the full force of their coalition. Whatever the diplomatic situation, a chance to kill a super is a chance to kill a super and super-cedes everything else.

5. Without the help from TEST Alliance PL would have lost.
With a massive capital fleet, and a massive sub-cap fleet, the CFC had the numbers needed to obliterate PL's super capital fleet. While PL has a lot of heavy stuff, they needed other alliances to provide sub-cap support to save them. Top of this list was of course TEST. While PL is clearly the heavyweights of the HBC coalition, without support from TEST they can not stand up to the CFC. (PL < CFC < PL + Test)

6. OTEC is still alive and kicking
None of this had anything to do with Tech moons. Although relations are being strained, the steady supply of isk coming from the tech moon printing machine is not in play. Neither PL nor the CFC have any interest in breaking OTEC. The only caveat to this is TEST. As I understand it TEST does not have nearly the Tech moon resources of either PL or the CFC. Considering TEST military strength at this point, they are going to be making requests soon and something is going to have to give. Think Germany in 1900.

tl;dr: big fight, nothing much changed.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Retribution T1 Cruisers - Part 8 - The Omen

Part 8 -Omen
As many an Amarr player have complained over the years, the Omen never really worked all that well. It just couldn't fit the things it needed to fit to be an effective player. Now as a new 'Attack Cruiser' it has an extra low-slot, much more fitting space and a general bump in all other characteristics. Even the drone bay has been significantly boosted. Lets see how it does...

Here is an Armour Omen:
[Omen, Armour Omen]
Damage Control II
1600mm Reinforced Rolled Tungsten Plates I
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
Adaptive Nano Plating II
Heat Sink II
Tracking Enhancer II

Experimental 10MN MicroWarpdrive I
Warp Disruptor II
Small Capacitor Booster II, Navy Cap Booster 400

Focused Medium Pulse Laser II, Scorch M
Focused Medium Pulse Laser II, Scorch M
Focused Medium Pulse Laser II, Scorch M
Focused Medium Pulse Laser II, Scorch M
Focused Medium Pulse Laser II, Scorch M

Medium Ancillary Current Router I
Medium Trimark Armor Pump I
Medium Trimark Armor Pump I

Hobgoblin II x2
Hammerhead II x3

Like the Maller, scorch gives the Omen the ability to do good dps out to the edge of warp disruptor range, and beyond. Not the heaviest hitter, but this extra range gives it great flexibility. Fitting is still a little tough with the 1600mm plate, requiring a single fitting rig, but otherwise this ship now works far better than before. Even the speed is great for an Armour tanked cruiser. Omen is a great small gang ship now. Basically zoom around trying to keep from being tackled while using scorch ammo to lay damage from medium range. If you like the Omen Navy Issue, you will love the new Omen at one quarter the fitted price :)

With only three midslots, a shield setup really does not work IMHO. There are better options if you are going that way.

tl;dr: Omen is now a viable option for Amarr pilots. Fast, tough, and flexible engagement envelope.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Differences Between Level 4 Skills and Level 5

One thing players, especially new players often hear is that they shouldn't worry about skills because a skill at level 4  is usually only 5% less effective then level 5. In fact, often the difference is much less. It sounds good, but it is not really true. What people often forget is that skills multiply. A 5% rate of fire decrease, and a 5% damage bonus, gives a 10% bonus. Having multiple skills at level 5 vs another player with level 4 skills, adds up quickly to be overwhelming. Lets look at a Rifter as an example.

Below is the quintessential rifter fit with all level 5 skills.

Here is the same fit with all level 4* skills:

* Note: Having all skills at level 4 is actually impossible since some skills (like small projectile specialization) require other skills to be at level 5.

As you can see there is a huge difference. A 19% drop is DPS is nothing to ignore. But that is not all. Since skills such as fall-off, range and tracking are also impacted if you look at the DPS graph with one ship going at full speed, the difference is even more extreme.

Here you can see at even the best range for the level 4 skilled ship, the DPS is dropped by fully 22%. Hardly the 5% difference that is often claimed. The level 5 player will not even be in structure when the level 4 player is popped.

While it is very true that skills are not a simple 'I Win' button; tactics, positioning, picking fights, understanding mechanics and all that do matter more; they do matter a lot. Don't discount them.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Retribution T1 Cruisers - Part 7 - The Caracal

Part 7 - The Caracal
The old Caracal was mostly used as an anti frigate platform. Fitted with Assault Missile Launchers (Now called rapid light missile launchers) it could clean the floor with frigates who assumed that it was fitted with heavy missiles. However since the heavy missile variety was so rare.... neither was regularly seen. With retribution bonuses are slightly improved to cover all damage types, but major improvements in fitting space slots and most importantly, mobility make this a very different bird. Lets have a look

Here is a Shield Caracal:
[Caracal, Shield Caracal]
Damage Control II
Ballistic Control System II
Ballistic Control System II
Reactor Control Unit II

Experimental 10MN MicroWarpdrive I
Large Shield Extender II
Large F-S9 Regolith Shield Induction
Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
Warp Disruptor II

Heavy Assault Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Mjolnir Heavy Assault Missile
Heavy Assault Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Mjolnir Heavy Assault Missile
Heavy Assault Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Mjolnir Heavy Assault Missile
Heavy Assault Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Mjolnir Heavy Assault Missile
Heavy Assault Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Mjolnir Heavy Assault Missile

Medium Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer II
Medium Core Defense Field Extender I
Medium Core Defense Field Extender I

Hobgoblin II x2

Huge difference! As an attack cruiser the Caracal has needed speed to keep at range, firepower to do great damage out to the edge of warp disruptor range, and a full tank to keep safe if it gets into trouble. Kil2 and others (with different fits) have already created videos showing the utility of this ship in small packs. In the past the Heavy Assault Missiles could not benefit from several missile skills, now they can so hitting moving targets is now possible. Besides, the missile effects look truly bad-ass. In fleet the basic strategy is to keep about 20km from enemy targets to keep point, and reduce incoming damage. Keep outside of web/scram range of anything likely to be fitting them. Be prepared to turn on and probably overload the MWD to get out of dodge if primaried, but have the MWD off whenever possible to conserve cap. If solo, keep out about 25 to 30 km, and only move in on the kill once enough damage has been done to the enemy to be assured of victory.

tl;dr: Fast, tough, hits hard out to warp disruptor ranges, the new Caracal delivers,

Stay tuned, next post I will discuss the Omen.