Monday, August 31, 2015

Lessons: Being the One Getting Shot

Normally, when I’m engaging in PvP, I’m the pilot traveling from system to system, hunting for targets.  Deciding what fights I want to take and hoping my target’s still there when I land.  A lot of that happens in faction warfare plexes.  Bring the aggressor, I tend to slide into a lot of situations that are marginal engagements at best.  That’s how you end up losing some ships.  But it’s great fun.

Normally, I’m a big proponent of the importance of aggression.  If you take the first action, you force your opponent to react to a situation of your creation, not his.  Many times, you can take the tempo of the fight and keep it the whole time.  That is, if you’ve chosen your fights well and accurately understand your strengths and abilities.

But recently, I’ve started to explore – and really enjoy – the pleasure of being the target who other people choose.  With my faction warfare alt, I’ve really enjoyed being the “victim”.

And I’m starting to see some advantages in giving up the initiative.  Or, rather, understanding that one can set up the circumstances favorably before the first action is taken, stealing the tempo by good preparation.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Bulldozing of Providence

When you commit to establishing a voice and a tone in a community, there are a lot of advantages.  People recognize you when you fly through space.  You gain the platform to share your thoughts and – importantly – improve them by having your readers point on where you’re wrong.  It’s a nice thing, most of the time.

But, you also make a promise to speak honestly about the things that affect you, your mission, and your readers’ trust in you.  Sometimes, that means you need to address the giant elephant sitting in the room, even though you may not want to. 

If you fail to deliver on those expectations, you risk alienating any credibility you have.  Sometimes, you need to comment on major happenings in Eve even though it can be awkward.  This is one of those times.

So, here it goes.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Eve Lotteries’ 2T Celebration

Some eagle-eyed readers may have noticed an advertisement on the corner of my blog for Eve Lotteries.  Earlier this month, I had occasion to try out their service.  They gave me 10 million isk to play a couple blinks and I ended up walking away with a Brutix Navy Issue and two Hookbills.  Not a bad take, all tolled!

Eve Lotteries began in the wake of the Somer Blink shutdown.  A real-life web developer, Thorr VonAsgard, was virtually addicted to blinking, and when one of his favorite pastimes was taken away, he decided that instead of complaining, he’d do something about it.  Eve Lotteries was born, a site operating in a similar fashion to Somer Blink, but with a far more appropriate and descriptive name.  It went live on February 18 of this year.

Fast forward to this month, when Eve Lotteries surpassed two trillion in payouts provided.  It’s a huge threshold they've reached very quickly, and they’ve decided to celebrate with a host of giveaways totaling 40 Bil isk, including a supercarrier and 14 separate billion-isk giveaways.

I encourage you to visit Eve Lotteries to get your piece of this prize pool.  The celebration ends on August 30!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Logistic Diagnostic

Ah, logi-bros.  The people who love them the most want to be them the least.  Logi doesn’t appear on killmails, despite how much they help the fleet.  And while a combat ship stands at least a chance of surviving if they have to disconnect mid-fleet, logi ships tend to be utterly helpless when traveling alone.  Sure, it’s a role that requires you to be actively thinking and responding to the battle – particularly if you’re a logi anchor – but when the fleet loses, you’re the second person (behind the FC) that your fleet blames.

But they’re absolutely essential to any fleet, right?  How many doctrines have you seen that won’t undock without at least 20% of the fleet flying logi ships?  In small gangs (though, you could argue that “gangs” have no logi, while “fleets” do), the presence of even one more logi can make the difference between victory and defeat.  I’ve seen fleets with three logi successfully brawl fleets with only two without taking any losses.  Every logi matters.

Only… let’s look at what logistics really accomplishes: it repairs damaged ships to keep them alive for longer.  When working correctly, it denies the enemy a kill.  When it works highly effectively, it denies the enemy any kills at all.

But the ripples in the pond don’t stop there. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

I Don't Think That Means What You Think That Means

For the past several months, I’ve been hearing how null-sec players are “risk adverse”.  It’s the insult du jour ever since the topic of sovereignty rebalancing and FozzieSov in particular were raised.  According to the narrative of those who use this term, null-sec players are too afraid of loss to engage in the behavior they would prefer, and as a result, like frightened sheep, they herd together in great big coalitions and collections of allies.  This, in turn, results in the “big blue donut” view of null-sec, in which everyone “who matters” got together to form cartel-like collusion agreements to avoid their possible risk.

This view of Eve downplays any possible mechanic-reliant issues with the game and instead places the blame on players taking actions out of fear or a desire for safety, resulting in a terrible experience for null-sec players.  The players are to blame, not the game.  In fact, only a few greedy players are to blame, the coalition-leaders who serve as a star chamber pulling the strings and forcing everyone to dance to their tune.

In this case, “risk adverse” players are the great evil facing Eve… if only we could change the attitude of players, the reality of a boring null-sec would change.

Only… that’s not what “risk adverse” means.  In fact, “risk adverse” doesn’t mean anything.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Searching for the Structure Fight

I’m an odd sort.  I spend my game time like Diogenes with his lamp, looking for an honest engagement.  I’m very particular about the kind of PvP that I enjoy.  I try to keep in mind that I’m intentionally choosy about my content.  I want high-quality content, and I’m willing to spend a lot of time to achieve it.  On the other hand, there’s a lot of PvP content I find of little value.  Thousands of those kills don’t balance out even one great fight.

But I wanted to share a little about myself to help you understand what I mean.

Friday, August 14, 2015

... And Then It Got Worse

Boy, I can sure pick the times to be away from the game, can’t I?  Or rather, my laptop can (status update: still waiting on Best Buy, whereas Amazon got me my components in two days.  No wonder why BB is dying).

First, we had jump fatigue.  While we had some change aversion, it also brought very real frustration from logistics and industry pilots, as well as the penalty to subcap movement  when one wasn't needed.  And yet, it did accomplish the Balkanization of supercaps, which was a very good – and necessary – thing for the game.  Lowsec entities, in particular, cheered the changes.

Then, we had FozzieSov.  At first, the system was very bad, then it improved as CCP released revisions, and then it launched and sapped the soul right out of every defender.  The process as structured isn’t working as intended.  One of CCP’s stated goals – a noble one – was to make the results of sov battles more accurately reflect control of the grid.  CCP envisioned small gangs holding the line and killing cross-entosis ships, with ECM battles and a delicate interplay of various factors as forces jockeyed for control.  In reality, we got lone trolls and piles of nodes attackers never intended on contesting.  

And then, apparently the developers went on vacation right after releasing FozzieSov.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Eulogy For My MSI Gaming Laptop

It's official: my MSI GT70 laptop is, in fact, dead.  I attempted to replace the AC adapter, only to discover that the the motherboard is shot.  So, too, are my hopes of replacing it with another laptop.

Prior to me getting my MSI laptop in October of 2012, I had only ever played Eve on low settings with an integrated graphics card.  Seeing New Eden come alive with max settings was breathtaking, and since then I've only ever turned off asteroid effects and camera shake.  To me, MSI equates to a beautiful Eve.

It lasted almost three years, but alas my budget doesn't permit me to buy another one now.  But even if it did, I'm afraid I'm leaving the gaming laptop camp, perhaps for good.  With laptops, when one component breaks, you often have to toss the whole thing.  And I tend to get personally attached to my computers... I don't like replacing them or having to set them up again.  I don't like having to say good-bye to a laptop that did everything I needed it to do, and was sexy as hell to boot.

It's just too painful.  So, I'm joining the ranks of the desktop legions.  I was worried that I'd have to give up the evening Eve couch sessions while sitting with my wife, but I think I've found a work-around to that (monitor shifted being between put away in the corner and on the living room table, wireless mouse and keyboard, ftw!).  We'll see how it works.

It's a hard thing to abandon laptops, but the upside is just too great.  I need some flexibility to replace components instead of computers.  If I'd have done that previously, I'd still be able to keep Windows 7 on my main computer, instead of the crapshoot that is Windows 10.

I'll be moving from a GeForce 670 graphics card to a GeForce GTX 960, though.  The benchmarks and reviews seem to indicate it's a slight step up, and the former was good enough for me to run two Eve clients, which is all I really need.  I'll be really bummed if the reviews were all wrong, and I have to make sacrifices, though.  So bummed that I'll have to prioritize a new graphics card.

But, one thing at a time.  Oh, the hardship we endure for the game we love... New Eden problems, man, New Eden problems...

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Oceanic Assault

This is just a quick heads up that the finals for Oceanic Assault will be held shortly after downtime tomorrow.  Be sure to tune in to the CCP Twitch stream to watch an excellent display of solo PvP skill.

If you've ever hoped to see expert PvPers going at it 1v1, here's your chance.  It's guaranteed to offer you a few tips, and be great fun in the process!

Friday, August 7, 2015

A Beautiful Game I Can't Play

My computer is suffering repeated blue screens of death, so I've been without a computer for the past three days.  Fear not, though.  I do have a few posts queued up in the coming days.  While I can't post or play, I can write.

But I wanted to share my troubles in case anyone else experiences a similar issue.

I have a GT70 MSI Laptop, purchased a little more than two years ago.  This laptop comes with two graphics cards, an integrated Intel card and an NVIDIA GeForce 670 card.  Starting about four months ago, I started experiencing intermittent hard freezes (mouse doesn't move, keys don't work, nothing functions) when playing Eve.  The only way to resolve it was to pull the battery and restart.

Originally, this would happen when I had multiple clients open.  However, it started happening with one client, and then the Windows Aero effects would cause problems on their own.

Core temperature wasn't the cause... it would happen at 35 Celsius shortly after starting up.  After restarting, I could normally do basic Internet and application functions without a problem.  A test of the hardware confirmed that there weren't any issues, so it's not like the motherboard or graphics card itself was the problem.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

You Have to Check This Out

On reddit is a post that includes a comment simulator/generator.  This bot generates fresh comments based on your comment history on reddit.  If you want a hilarious read, please check it out.

Some of the best ones so far...
"The only thing that really matters is your own personal reaction towards those situations and what role it serves by the methods we used to be able to tell the stupid from the Caldari and elite PVP." - pinkyfeldman
Apparently the bot is a squid at heart...
Not sure if it's a good idea to do something to keep more newbros in the game" - abdel abu
It's a complicated issue, whether we should lift a finger to help keep newbros.
For me I wet the bed wetting, even an electric cup that shocked me. I beg them to police this and force the employee to attend and pass a computer course as they are suppose to be a quality of life upgrade. Don't complain when the HD is otherwise not in your browser. - alphax45
Good lord, I never realized the high-definition issue held such dire consequences!
I came for the dank memes, I stayed for the dank memes, I stayed for the dank memes, I stayed for the shitposts on /r/eve" - Flatcherius
What's his stance on "dank memes" again?

Monday, August 3, 2015

Active Armor Tanking for the Shield Booster

I am a shield-tanker.  I admit this quite freely.  I love the Ancillary Shield Booster (or ASB, for the hip kids), particularly for solo roaming, and have had a lot of success with ASB Merlins, Harpies, Svipuls, Vagabonds, Stabber Fleet Issues… you name it.

Shield tanking, in general, benefits from three distinct advantages.  The first is, of course, the immediate application of shield reps.  The moment you activate the module (or more precisely, the moment the server receives and processes the command to hit the module), your shield realizes the benefit.  It’s a very easy decision process… need shield, receive shield, wait.

Shield tanking also produces a very satisfying psychological effect on your opponents.  There’s nothing more disheartening than to hope, for a moment, that you really ARE doing as much damage as it appears and you’re simply shredding your opponent, only to have your dreams and spirits crushed the ASB restores a significant percentage of shield in one burst.  I’ve had pilots primaries off of me once they saw that.

But the last key benefit of shield boosting over armor tanking is the ability to fit oversized boosters.  When we talk about ASB fits, we’re talking about oversized ones: frigates fitted with mediums, cruisers and above with XL.  Lost in the mix are small and large ASBs, which are utterly worthless in every application (bold statement, I know, but there it is).

And it’s that reason that I love shield boosting over armor boosting.  Armor repairers can’t be oversized.