Friday, February 28, 2014

Lessons: I Welcome Our New Afterburner Overlords

After a couple weeks’ absence from our Friday night low-sec roam, I was finally able to participate again.  Two weeks doesn’t seem like that much, but my fleet mates had dropped sec status by about 1-2 points each.  That sounds like a lot of missed fun.

So, I was eager to jump right on in.  And this time, I brought a artillery-fit Rifter that cost a whopping 10 million.  Though it matters little when it comes to how well you fly, there’s something intensely satisfying in being the top damage dealer on nearly all my kills.  And that’s the situation I was in with this fit.  In an artillery Rifter, your optimal + falloff is about 12 km.  Fighting at around 7500 meters gives pretty good damage, though your alpha strike is far better than your dps.

But the fun part is how little I care about dying in it.  I typically fly T2 Minmatar ships that run between 200 mil and 500 mil each.  Suffice to say, it took a bit of time to adjust my thinking.  Defense and “maybe I shouldn’t…” simply don’t exist.  We didn’t even bat an eye when we found a Vexor (typically a frigate killer when fit with webs, particular T1 frigates).  To our surprise, it dropped extremely quickly.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Coalition Identity

So, I had written my post about CFC hegemony before I saw James315’s post about the CFC and stagnation.  My post is more about dominance, not complete victory, but it was close enough that James’ post was particularly interesting to me.  Go ahead and give it a read…

I’m impressed by nearly all of it.  He goes into a lot of depth about history and how the allies of the past are enemies of the future.  And that’s all true, which makes his argument compelling.

But there is one glaring error in the thinking behind his well-reasoned argument.  His syllogism is correct, with sound logic and a sound conclusion.  But it’s nonetheless false, since one of his premises is false, albeit not flawed.

And that false premise is one of identity.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Losing Track of Time

Frequent readers may have noticed my absence.  I just finished the first week of my new job, moved to a new city the week before, had to sort all our boxes (success!), and keep a close eye on the kids to make sure they’re acclimating well, all while trying to figure out exactly where the supermarket, doctor, barber, etc. all are.

Suffice to say, I’ve had little time for Eve.

But I’ve still been thinking about Eve, even though I haven’t had a chance to play.  And my thoughts have been continuously resting on the headshot of N3 in 0-W778.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

The End of the Small Scale Fight?

This one is going to be odd.  I don’t know where I’m going with it as I write it, so we’ll see how this turns out.  I’m of two minds regarding whether small-gang warfare is truly coming to an end, or whether it’s simply in desperate need of innovation.

Over at Jester’s Trek, Ripard Teg talks about how it’s becoming increasingly harder to find small-gang fights.  In a nutshell, the average size of a roaming gang is increasing rapidly because:
  1. Effective logistics ships are easier to fly,
  2. The number of skill points of an average pilot is increasing, meaning they can fly better ships and more easily fly with boosters
  3. Warp speed changes make slowing down and tackling roaming gangs easier, meaning nano and kiting gangs are nearly impossibly to fly these days (a familiar tactic of hunters).
  4. Pilots are generally very risk-adverse, and simply won’t engage unless odds are overwhelmingly in their favor.

This has, he states (and re-states from his alliance mate), caused a general up-tick in the size of “small gang”.  The risk-adverse nature of Eve players naturally means fleets responding to invaders are increasing in size – no one wants to reward roamers with a whole fleet of kills, which only encourages more roamers.  But hunter gangs themselves will increase in size: defenders are bringing more logi, which means the hunters need more dps to break that logi.  As players become more experienced, they learn to anticipate everything, which tends to make them more risk adverse (“I’m not undocking without five logi”).  So fifteen is increasingly becoming fifty.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Fear, the Great Motivator

In my last article, I talked about how fear can paralyze your decision-making process, and suggested a procedural approach to coping with unfamiliar and fearful situations.  But fear serves critical purposes, such as encouraging innovation and intelligent flying.

It’s important to distinguish between at least two different kinds of fear, panic and paranoia.  Panic is sudden fear that interrupts your decision-making process, such as what I discussed in the last post.  But paranoia is a type of fear born of the knowledge of all the things that conspire to obliterate you in Eve.

In the real world, paranoia is the belief that everyone is out to get you.  I suppose paranoia doesn’t really exist in Eve, since everyone IS out to get you.  But the common element – suspicion of everything – still holds true, so I’ll use the term fairly.

Fear, the Great Paralytic

Space is a big place, and in Eve, every session affords you plenty of threats you should genuinely fear.  Sometimes, it’s easy to forget that this is ultimately a game.  Maybe you’re jumping that low/high gate for the first time wondering what you’ll find.  Maybe you’re participating in your first tidi grind and worried that you’ll face soul-crushing lag and lose all control of your ship.  Maybe it’s your first time hitting that “jump to xxx” button in your new carrier.

Fear is natural.  Fear is useful.  But fear can also turn to terror and leave you unable to make rational decisions.

Everyone who has ever entered low or null has faced the familiar scenario.  You load grid in your Drake only to find a dozen ships orbiting the gate with drones out.  If you’re in null-sec, they’ll even have a Sabre to trap the pods of any unfortunate victims.  Maybe one of those interceptors is starting to get pretty close to decloaking you.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

All His Dreams, Torn Asunder

We've had so many reports of null-sec politics updates that I really must comment on them.  After all, it’s not every day null-sec entities decide to shuffle the deck so completely.  Let’s look at how it all started, though, before going into the detail about what’s happening now.

B-R was a turning point in null-sec politics this year (and yes, I’ve written about the consequences to PL and given a few musings in fictional form.  Prior to it, N3 and PL combined were widely believed to hold an overwhelming advantage in titan and supercarrier power.  Already, PL has proven their willingness to drop supers on anything with a pulse, as well as a long-standing network of cyno alts that allow them to bridge to any capital fight anywhere in the galaxy within about fifteen minutes’ notice.  No other null-sec entity can do that.

PL had always snuck under the radar by not owning very much space themselves.  Sure, they had plenty of moons, but tracking moon ownership without the corresponding sov ownership is difficult at best.  How many moons do they own?  I’m sure some of the CFC logistics folks know, but it’s not widely known.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Guest Poster: aPOCOlypse

From time to time, I'm approached by an alliance-mate or friend who really wants to post something for wider distribution.  1Robert McNamara1 felt very strongly about the conflict-driving nature of high-sec POCOs and submitted the following piece.

Something very strange is happening in high-sec.  There are wars with purpose.  I’m impressed with CCP they gave small and large groups a rope to pull on, tied with the knots of war.  Along with it, several new conflict drivers in high-sec.

The larger conflict driver is Player Owned Customs Offices (POCOs).  RvB, Goons, and other large groups are clearing Interbus offices en mass, with smaller groups doing much the same.  Naturally Caldari space is getting most of the attention.

What’s interesting about the high-sec angle is that it’s shaping up to be the sub-capitol baby brother of null-sec style fights and conflicts.  This new age of POS-lite warfare has people looking at planets to see who owns it and declaring war if they think they can take and defend…  Big sov blocs like Goons and N3 will have momentary distractions, giving the little guys chances to take planets.  Not sure what could distract a group like RvB however they may be poised to own huge swaths of empire space. 

We just passed is the land grab period.  Most un-defended planets in Caldari space have been claimed.  Now is a period of real conflict as null-blocks and empire fighters trade fleets for POCOs.  All of this leaves the carebears with an awkward arrangement...

The PI carebear now has a vested interest in throwing their lot in with a PVP group that can defend a network of planets.  This is remarkable as currently only null-sec offers such a driver for PVE to seek out PVP groups.  This gives the high-sec groups a reason to cut their PVP teeth.  A reason to organize and fight for ‘turf’.  Good preparation for the larger scale conflicts.

Given that high-sec lacks the same tools for force projection, it may well be that it will be divided up by local groups who reside in a given constellation or region.  Hopefully we see more high-sec conflict drivers like this from CCP.  It stands to reason as the empires lose their dominion over high-security pod players.

Keep track of the action yourself, with the eve-kill feed of POCO conflict.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Lessons: Two Incursuses Walk Into a Bar…

Occasionally, you come across one of those real-life examples of a thought exercise.  Teamspeak servers across New Eden are filled with people discussing fictional fights, the tactics each side should use, what would be an equal fight for each ship type.  How many and what type of ships would a Sleipnir have to face for the victorious pilot to have bragging rights?

When you have the opportunity to experience one of those theoretical fights in real life, it’s something special.