Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Spice Must Flow!

What do you do when your source for isk suddenly dries up?  How long do you go before adapting?

With Repercussus’ move to Goonswarm, we had the inevitable adjustment period while we all move our ships to exactly the right place, find new homes for everything we do on a regular basis, and generally find ourselves a nice groove.  This happens at both the corp and individual levels.

It hasn't been hard to find PvP content.  RP is stepping up even further to keep the content flowing for the corp, and GSF is great at providing a range of options even during a relatively dull time (wars winding down, holidays, etc.).  Logistics take a little longer as our logi pilots learn the new routes and danger spots, but it’s still flowing pretty well.

But, for me, my isk has generally come from cosmic signature ratting.  Lots of scanning practice (which has a clear PvP application) and high-yield time actually spent ratting.  But we’ve gone from an alliance of 3,000 to an alliance of 12,000, and the time zone focus has shifted to our TZ from the EUTZ, meaning there are a lot of competitors for those sigs.  So many, in fact, that it’s not viable any more.

I’m sitting on a good pile of isk, but dropping 5 billion on three months’ game time for two accounts throws into sharp relief the fact that I’m going to need to create some new revenue streams within the next year or face a significant cut in my net worth.

Monday, December 29, 2014

What the Heck is Going On in WH Space?

Every year, one of our awesome Repercussus pilots put on the “12 Ganks of Christmas”, a holiday event that actively encourages RP pilots to go into WH space, find targets, and arrange for their abrupt return to kspace.  A successful catch nets the prober an isk bounty, and the acclaim of his corporation.

As you could expect, this gives a PvP corp like Repercussus some focus to our murdering ways.  We base out of Tamo, a low-sec system that affords excellent wormhole connection opportunities.  Plus, our pilots have been very eager to explore those WH connections this year.  When I’ve personally logged in, I find that most of the connections are already scouted.  So, we’re definitely exploring our chains very well.

And yet, we’re struggling to fill those twelve ganks (instances, not ships).  It’s definitely not from a lack of effort, but rather a dearth of WH residency, at least among those we’ve found.  And it’s not a matter of the enemy seeing us and safing up.  Rather, we aren’t finding any ships or wrecks on dscan.  If space had tumbleweeds, we’d have quite the collection.  We even joked about starting a WH corp so we could farm it for kills every so often.

So, my question to the community is… is this normal now for WH space?  I remember WHs being filled with pilots, but is this no longer the case?  Or did we just get very unlucky?

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Special Thanks to Daciana Caliente

Merry Christmas to everyone!

I wanted to take a brief moment to thank one pilot in particular for an unsolicited, surprise gift when I logged in today: a brand new shiny Confessor from Daciana Caliente.

Thank you very much!  It's sincerely appreciated!  You, madam, are a classy lady.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Ripples In a Pond

Ed Note: So, it seems that a lot of what I predicted ended up being true.  I wrote this post earlier today, before CCP’s adjustments to their proposed changes, which reduced some of the resists.  Rather than redo the whole post, I’ve decided to just post it in full.

Let me begin this post by stating that I generally don’t read the forum discussions about rebalances before posting my comments here.  I try to form my opinions first based on my own play style and how proposed changes affect it, then move into thinking about others and what it all means for them.

This comes from my native subjectivity – I don’t believe there is an objective truth for meaning.  So, why waste your time trying to come up with the “single best solution” in a detached, objective way?  Every solution , even “successful”, every “right” needs to be tied to an objective, a perspective, or an agenda.  When some says to you, “This is right!” you should ask yourself, “For whom?”  If you hear, “This is correct!”, ask “In what circumstances?”

So, I’m going to write about what matters most to me… whether the recon changes will make my gameplay more fun.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Did I Say “Eww, Rebalance”?

As my Five Ships post may have indicated, I’m quite fond of a certain ship in particular, and a certain class of ship in general.  That ship, of course, is the Rapier.  Dual-webbed, I get 400 dps out of mine.  I love it.  I have three of them, one in each major staging area.  I love recons.  I love the Curse.  I really want to love the Lachesis, if I could only get some decent dps out of it.

So, I’m not gonna lie… I feel like CCP gave me an additional Christmas present with the announcement that the January Proteus expansion is going to include a recon rebalance.

This. Is. Awesome.

Let’s go right for the heart of the matter.  Combat recons (Curse, Arazu, Rook, Huginn) are all getting dscan immunity.  That’s right… for most circumstances in k-space, no warning about a combat recon about to land on you until it’s too late.  Can you imagine the tears and carnage incoming from ships as useful as recons becoming even more common and dangerous?

In an entirely unrelated occurrence, Curses jumped in price by 33% today.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

I Dreamed Last Night

In many cases, you only know how you’ll react in a PvP situation when you’re upon it.  Sure, you can debate and analyze what you’d do in different situations, but not until we have only one second to analyze the situation and react do we know how quickly and efficiently we can process information and arrive at a conclusion.

Whether it’s the right conclusion depends on your “player age”, of course.  If you’re new at the game, you’ll most likely make the wrong decision.  As you play for longer, you gain experience and can react more appropriately.

There are some ways to speed up the learning process.  One of them is to spend a lot of time in the game, PvPing as much as possible.  Players who play for 8 hours a day will learn faster than players who spend 2 hours a day, but this isn’t as big of an advantage as you’d think.  We all benefit from having a little time to mull over our actions, and sometimes playing non-stop can cause you to miss some of that reflection time.  You can’t replay old fights over in your head if you’re too busy engaging in the next one.

And reflection is benefited greatly by Fraps.  Seriously… get Fraps and record all your fights.  You’ll notice things in the replay you missed during the fight itself – maybe as small as the alignment of your enemy to bigger things like how the way he approached secretly gave away how he was fit.  After all, you’re not only learning tactics when you go over your fights, but you’re improving which information you choose to focus on amid all of the data streaming at you during a fight.  Your eyes can only focus on one thing at a time, and you also have to learn where the most important info is likely to be coming from.

For me, I found a very rare occurrence that also taught me something.  Last night, I dreamed about Sugar Kyle.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

I Didn't See That Coming

This will be a short one, but I wanted to share two events I didn’t see coming.

The first… the Rhea patch introduced Eve players to Thera, a system that CCP wanted to be the “Mos Eisley of Eve”, which would attract all sorts of seedy sorts to conduct illegal business and serve as a type of central hub for the wormhole community.

This system is a WH system.  Suffice to say, I was shocked – Shocked! – to discover that the first thing Eve players did was turn it into a giant killing field with 40 billion isk in destruction within the first 24 hours.

I was floored.  I was surprised beyond measure that such fine, upstanding citizens of the galaxy would resort to base devastation at the drop of the hat.  I mean, it’s not like null-sec is like th… err… I mean it’s not like WH space is… well… but low-sec doesn’t see…

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Lessons: A Beautiful Death

There’s nothing quite as liberating as taking a ship, setting off in a random direction, and flying until you lose it.  Sometimes, you’re in for an early night.  Sometimes, you finally shut off the computer, lost in some distant corner of Eve having found no one willing to give you a beautiful death. 

When Repercussus moved to Goonswarm, I had to guess what ships I’d used in each staging system.  I joined a few GSF squads, we had our staging system, our new home, a ratting system, and RP’s low-sec home, all of which I needed to stock with ratting, scanning, solo roaming, and small-gang ships.  Fortunately, no one supplies staging systems quite like Goonswarm, so I knew I could buy any doctrine ships on-site.

Suffice to say, I got some wrong, and had to fly back and forth manually flying the expensive ones to their new homes.  I was left with 7 Tristans and a Vexor that simply weren’t worth the time it’d take to reposition them.

So, of course, I had to lose them spectacularly.

Monday, December 8, 2014

“Optimal” Deconstructed

A few bloggers have posted well-thought responses to my article about boosting retention of new players.  I advised new players to get out of high-sec and join a player corp to start making the social connections that are so important to the narratives in Eve. 

The contentious part was in me saying they shouldn’t jump right into solo play, but should play with others initially.  A couple bloggers took exception to my use of “optimal” in the context of that position.  Sugar Kyle mentioned that she tends to be somewhat contrarian to anything she perceives as dictating the “right” way to do anything.  TurAmarth mentioned that solo play, or playing “the wrong way”, is something he truly enjoys.

So that got me thinking about “optimal” as it’s used in Eve.  And in looking into it, I realized that a lot of players and bloggers tend to use “optimal” as a way to say “best” without sounding so overtly arrogant, as if they know THE RIGHT WAY to play Eve and that all other ways are wrong, wrong, wrong.  But that’s not what optimal really means, and that’s not how I’m using it here.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

It’s Awful Lonely In Here…

I recently posted an article about what new players should know before starting their life in New Eden.  It generated a lot of responses from the community, a lot of which were extremely positive.  I can’t call it universal acclaim because of my warning that newbies shouldn’t try to play Eve solo when starting out.

A lot of solo players took umbrage at that.  The most complete reaction came from Eve Hermit, who wrote a counterpoint about the virtue of solo play.  It’s a quick read and makes several defenses of solo play, all of which support the general idea that it’s quite possible to play the game solo and be very happy with it.

And this is all absolutely valid, and completely true.  Solo play is a great thing in Eve (it’s also the best form of PvP).

Yet… diving into Eve with an intention of playing solo from the start is not an optimal way to approach the game for the first time.