Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Vacation and Burner Missions

So, I've been enjoying time with the family since the weekend down in Ocean City, MD (and all the beaches nearby, honestly).  My hotel Internet connection is spotty at best.  I haven't really been able to engage with Eve very much this vacation.

That can actually be a good thing, from time to time.  Every so often, we need to recharge our batteries and engage in something other than Eve.  We only know what we value when we notice it's absence, right?

But there is one area I'm interested in hearing more about: burner missions.  Has anyone tried them yet?  I personally hope they continue being developed in ways that bridge the gap between PvE and PvP.  Hopefully, they can encourage high-sec solo players to give the other areas of space a try.

I assure you that this desire is intended to drive the health of the game and in no way meant to boost the potential readership of a blog dedicated to PvP, and newer players in particular.

So, if you have any experience with the burner missions, send me a comment.  I'd love to get your thoughts on if they can help bridge that gap and - in and of themselves - how you find them.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Insert SOMERblink Pun Here

There have been a lot of articles talking about the SOMER Blink RMT situation, controlled shut-down, and subsequent ban of its founder. Here are just some of them: It Happens While You Blink, Somergate: Lend Me Your Voice, SOMERblink 2014: Closing the Doors, Somer’s Come and Gone, Final Verdict.

And that’s just some of them. Some of those are cute puns. Some of them are update articles with personal opinions on the scandal.

This is not one of those articles.

Quite frankly, this is a PvP blog, and I’m not terribly concerned about writing about RMT. I don’t quite understand all the ways people RMT; there are so many things related to this game to learn, I simply don’t have time to learn about risks I’m never going to take (and RMT is a game-ending risk).

Nor do I care very much whether a bunch of wannabe heroes lose the ability to post “promo blink” in alliance chat as if it’s something that matters to their alliance mates. Have I blinked before? Sure. I even tried it again during ATXII, and won two PLEX for a 400 mil investment. Happily, I cashed out immediately. It’s a fun addition to the game, and I suspect someone will start a similar service after buying the code from Somer (probably for RL currency, ironic…). It’s a nice ornament to the game, but the loss of blink doesn’t really impact my game much.

What I do want to talk about are some of the second- and third-order consequences. And these do affect PvP.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Lessons: My Wife Fit a Ship

Some time ago, I wrote about the fun of playing Eve with my wife.  Her knowing about Eve and Eve mechanics has some hilarious side-effects.  For instance, when I was trying to explain a Marketing presentation I was putting together, I compared social media for our particular industry to a shield boost amplifier.  For a few months, she’s called targets for managing our children the same way ECM pilots coordinate (“Jam the baby, she’s painting with pudding.  I’ll primary the toddler.”).

After a particularly hard day with the kids (one screaming non-stop for no reason, the other one throwing tantrums because we threw away a plastic Dixie cup she grew attached to), she’s been known to say, “Today felt like TiDi.”  And when I’m roaming while we watch watch something like “So You Think You Can Dance”, she trolls me when she looks over and sees no modules beside my S/A/H/C wheel.  “Ha ha, you died again.”

One of the other side effects is that she takes an interest in Eve, and in embarrassing me whenever possible.  I tolerate this because I love her.

Thus, the Roving Guinea Pig was born.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Guest Post: Theomachy Event Summary

From time to time, I allow guest posters to share their thoughts on this blog. The topics generally revolve around PvP or – as in this case – important events in the Eve community.  My corporation, Repercussus, hosted a player-run event with several dozen billions worth of prizes up for grabs, called Theomachy on August 9th.  What follows is the event summary written primarily by Roland Cassidy and Riela Tanal of Repercusus, with editorial support from several members of the corporation.

Please note: Repercussus corporation members were forbidden from participating in this event in an effort to ensure an absence of favoritism.

Theomachy: “Battle of the Immortals”

Thus far one of the largest-scale, completely player-driven events in EVE Community history was conducted Saturday, August 9, 2014. After a grueling, explosion-filled 4 hours of battle royale on CCP's Singularity server, one pilot, James Ogeko, emerged victorious. For James’ efforts, he won a Barghest and 24 PLEX along with a special CCP prize. Read the details below to discover how James and many others earned such rich rewards and had so much fun doing it! As one prize winner said, “...[this was] literally the best time I know I will ever have in Eve!”

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Hyperion Wormhole Changes

As promised, I wanted to give a few thoughts about the new wormhole changes being launched in the Hyperion patch.

But first… CCP: can you please stop reusing the same names?  It’s really hard to have T3s and Tier 3s, Hyperion and Kronos the ships and Hyperion and Kronos the expansions… let’s be unique, shall we?

Anyways… There are a few changes which I think can safely pass without too much comment.  The adjustments to WH effects, for instance, will be quickly adapated to by the WH community – the only disruption we should see is a few lossmails from people who haven’t yet figured out exactly how much of an effect these changes will have.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Hell Is Other People

I do a lot of philosophical thinking when I’m driving.  Recently, I was desperately trying to get to work on time (that’s a common theme, now that I think about it… too many late nights with Eve) and no matter what I did, I couldn’t get past the drivers who think the left lane is meant for cruising.  I’m not sure if it’s the same outside of the U.S., but here, it’s not.  The left lane is meant for passing and bursts of speed; if someone’s on your tail in the left lane, you’re doing it wrong.

I’d get behind one inconsiderate driver, then switch lanes and be stuck behind another.  This happened for 20 minutes.  Hell is other people, sometimes.

But in Eve, it’s exactly the opposite.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Gevlon Pushes the Wormhole Safety Button

Gevlon Goblin put out another article today, this time talking about how the changes to WH space will be a positive thing for the gameworld.


Let’s get the “Damnit, Gevlon…” stuff out of the way.  Good writers who talk about Eve are up front and honest about their biases, and they call them out directly when they propose a change that benefits their perspective.  Personally, I’ve been pretty clear that I believe small gang PvP is the pinnacle of the Eve experience, since it blends both the social aspect and the thrill of having your actions influence the result.  When I propose changes that benefit this playstyle, I actively call it out, and I try not to propose changes that advance small gang at the expense of other play styles.  And I’ve certainly written about the virtues of the other playstyles, too.  Hell, the purpose of this blog is to make PvP more transparent to players making their first forays into PvP.

Gevlon makes no such effort to state his biases.  He’s a WoW player who uses charts and graphs to try to plot the optimal way to “win” a game.  He obviously applied this methodology to WoW, and he tries the same with Eve.  That, in itself, demonstrates that he just doesn’t get Eve.

He writes, “Because C4+ WH space is as far from the original design as it could be. It was meant to be a great unknown, where unexpected things happen, due to the random connections. This randomness was destroyed by the “ragerolling” process.”

Undermining Your Target's Will

As I was driving to work today, I had to make left turn without a traffic light, so I had to wait for a gap in the opposing traffic big enough for me to fit through.  A few cars down the line, I saw a gap coming.  As it approached, I think the car that was leaving the gap saw it too, and he began to speed up.  But, I was able to make it through in plenty of time.  Interestingly, the moment the other driver realized I’d be able to get through, he also slowed down; no need to speed if he can’t close the gap, right?  As I drove down the road towards work, I thought to myself, “Jerk.”

Or is that what happened?  It’s just as possible that I perceived him to speed up because that was my expectation – that somehow he’d change his behavior and I wouldn’t be able to get through, forcing me to wait at the turn for another gap; given that road, it could be five extra minutes, making me late.  And it’s just as possible that – as I made the turn and drove away down the side street – the changing angle at which I was viewing the other car only made it look like he was slowing down.  It’s very possible the other car didn’t care or even didn’t see that I was waiting to turn, and he kept his speed the same.  In that plausible case, the other driver’s jerky behavior was entirely in my head.

It has been long known (at least to anyone who isn’t an Idealist and subscribes to Platonian, Augustinian, or Kantian philosophy) that there is no objective reality.  We can never know the exact nature of a thing, or identify an unbiased account of something that happens, since human beings perceive the universe from a single perspective.  Even if we can gather multiple perspectives, we’re still bound by viewing them all through human eyes, which depend on a very subjective process of pattern-recognition and our eye’s biological structures and limitations.

This got me thinking about whether there was an opportunity to exploit this very human limitation in PvP in Eve.  Sure, we should all be trying to surprise opponents by unusual fittings that are meant to counter the ships that opponents would fly as hard counters; for instance, fitting a Tornado with medium autocannons and dual webs while acting like you’re trying to keep long range in order to catch tacklers.  But people build their own expectations into a fight, as well.

Friday, August 1, 2014

The Search for an Anti-Frig Ship

No matter where you go, you’re bound to run into the blob.  You have to get used to this; Eve is an MMO, after all.  There are three kinds of blobs.  The first is the O/U blob – the overwhelming, unpredictable blob, in which you’re swarmed by an impossible-to-overcome blob of ships that either cynos in or jumps in from an adjacent system as you’re engaging an enemy 1v1.  This can happen any time, and by their natures are overwhelming.

The second category is the roaming swarm.  A single ship jumps into system and tackles your ratting carrier, only to be joined by fifty of his friends.  The solution?  Watch local, stay aligned, and get safe immediately.  Otherwise, enjoy the fireworks and pray they don’t have a bubbler.

The third category is the most interesting: the predictable blob.  In these situations, you’re roaming to an area of space where you know the residents will a) definitely come at you with superior numbers, and b) tend to fly the same ship(s) all the time.  Their behavior is predictable.  And in that predictability, you can overcome the blob and score some nice kills, possibly surviving, but definitely making it worth your visit.

Now, keep in mind that I’m talking about blobs in relation to solo PvP – genuine, true solo PvP without boosters or insane implants.  And a blob that a solo PvPer can overcome without that sort of “cheating” assistance is a gang of 2-4 players.  Your survivability is dependent upon recognizing the kinds of blobs that you can successful overcome.  If you allow yourself to be blobbed by hordes of Sleipnirs, you did something stupid or are facing an O/U blob (see point 1).  But you can reasonably expect to take down a couple assault frigates by yourself, and multiple T1 frigates on your own if you’re crafty.  Case in point (note the time on the other Razor guy in this BR… a whole 40 minutes earlier).

For instance, in this post, I talk about going to fight a small group that I know will bring frigates, and likely be in the 2-3 pilot range.  My selection of a Sabre was, as it turned out, poor (after all, it died to an AF and an interceptor).  But what sort of ship WOULD work?