Monday, November 30, 2015

Schrodinger’s Die

I want to mention what I’m not going to talk about.  I’m not going to discuss what I think all the and RMT stuff means.  I’m not going to weigh in on my opinions about deriving RL profits from Eve Online.  I’m not going to discuss Endie’s supposed leak.

That doesn’t come from a lack of opinions about it.  On the contrary, I have very strong opinions about it, what it means for the game, and what each of you should think about it.  No, I’m not going to discuss it because – ultimately – none of that matters.

In the end, each of us establishes a sense of what we believe is right and what we believe is wrong.  We each identify what we believe benefits and what damages the game as a whole.  And we each make judgments about what we want to be part of.  I’m not going to get up on a soapbox and declare why I do what I do in this matter.

I made the choice to simulcast some articles for for 250 mil each, the same agreement I had made with EN24 previously.  I’m not going to sit here and criticize their business plan if I’m participating in it.  I can tell you that I’ve never witnessed or heard about anything even resembling RMT through the Trello, Slack, and web portal discussions, interactions, or posts.  Admittedly, my “level” is at the very bottom, so don’t take that as a statement that no RMT is going on; I simply haven’t seen any evidence of it first-hand.

But that’s not why I’m refusing to write about it; that decision comes from the fact that nothing you, I, or anyone else says about it matters.  The only opinion worth a fig is CCP’s.  It’s their game, they control the rules, and they adjudicate through an impenetrable wall.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Fall of Off-Grid Links: A Well-Deserved Death

Years of complaints. Hundreds of thousands of unequal solo battles. Enough tears to satisfy the water needs of the Syrian refugees for the next ten years. Heaps of travesty piled upon the very manifestation of abuse.

For years, we were told, “Changing the code would be too complex.” We were given words like “legacy code” to focus our hate upon.

And finally, after all the terror, the torture, the isk lost to frustrating engagements, off-grid links are dying a well-deserved death.

If I could dance in the halls through WiS, I would.

Let’s take a moment to bask in that. From about a month or so from now onwards, for that ship to go 8 km/s, you’ll have to see the links on grid with you. They’ll be exposed, vulnerable. And many of them will die. No longer can the same boosting ship survive for years on end. And no longer will links be an automatic win button that simply can’t be defeated.

Sure, there are the obvious advantages to solo pilots. Fighting in a FW plex will be a fair fight now. Solo and small gang pilots will be able to see what they’re facing, and can even attempt to head-shot enemy links now. With the advent of T3Ds, expanded probe launchers are more common now, and that makes every ship on that grid a viable target.

This is a glorious day for the small-gang and solo enthusiast.

Never say CCP doesn’t give us what we want!

Taking Advantage of an Early Thanksgiving Dismissal

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! One of the grand traditions of Thanksgiving in the United States is the early close. Companies all across the country shut down around 1-2 pm instead of the usual 4-5, giving you a few extra hours to use as you see fit. We celebrated Thanksgiving last weekend when we went back home, and we’re only doing a slight dinner today. The kids were happy at preschool, so the wife and I took some time for ourselves, which, meant setting up for an adventure later that night.

Recently, I made the decision to head on into Guristas space and make a play at killing ratters. I resisted doing so out of a lingering sense of loyalty for more than two months after leaving the CFC. Somehow, it didn’t feel right to simply charge on over there and start popping ratters and miners.

I wanted to leave a little time so all of my services and APIs dropped, and allow time for folks to shift around their assets and habits enough that I wouldn’t feel as if I was using any special knowledge from my CFC time. It’s one thing to kill your former alliance mates – that’s understandable and acceptable. It’s another to use your knowledge of them against them. I remember sense of outrage I felt when a corp once left Razor and, on the way out, immediately began camping systems and killing folks; it seemed underhanded.

But, after two months, all is fair. So I packed up a Stratios and headed up to Venal to cause a little mayhem. The entertainment value of killing CFC PvE folks does not disappoint, nor did the famed CFC response time later that night.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Siggy is Much Better than Siri

My new alliance, Psychotic Tendencies, uses Siggy.  I love Siggy, even though my past use of it was limited to three weeks between CEI and RP when I was part of Sky Fighters.  As a tool to gather information and save time, it’s invaluable.

Siggy is a cosmic signature mapping tool that serves as a central repository for sig scan information among a corporation or alliance.  Curious what cosmic signature XYZ in system A is?  Click on that system in Siggy and see if anyone in your corp had previously scanned it down.  When mapping wormhole chains, it works like old-style D&D graph paper, allowing you to map your routes effectively and easily.

More often than not, one of the first things I do when I log in is to check for wormholes in our home system.  I’m looking for anything that shortens the way to Jita, or serves as a conduit to feeding grounds.  Typically, I’m looking for low or null exits.

You can imagine how delighted I was when I woke up and checked Siggy to find this:

That’s a tremendous amount of work, most of which was done by a single person in my corp.  He’s my new best friend.

Those of you who have been following action in null-sec recently will note one particular hole… a direct connection to a system in Cloud Ring, where the content lived (up until the Imp deployed there and smashed it with a mountain).  There’s still some fun to be had, though, including a brave lad ratting in a Vexor in an anomaly with numerous neuts passing through (I’m not going to link it out of respect for his brass cojones).

Without me logging in and seeing that robust chain mapped out in Siggy, I wouldn’t have gotten that kill.  If you travel through wormholes with more than just yourself, it, and the programs like it, are content-generators.

Have you folks played around with Siggy or any of the other mapping tools?  What’s your favorite?  Give me your best “content-creation” story!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Lessons: Take a Chance

A lot of Eve players operate under the principle that losing a ship is somehow a negative, and should be avoided at all costs.  These players view it as a negative ledger item, a debit in the overall accounting books of their character.  That’s one way to look at PvP, but it completely misses the point.

Ultimately, PvP is about squeezing enjoyment of the game.  I view it as the end game because it’s the only activity in Eve (other than giving your isk away or buying plex) that consumes resources by nature, when done effectively.  Everything else accrues assets, but without something to spend that money on, there really isn’t a point to that exercise.  Getting rich matters because of what it enables.

And the best PvP enjoyment happens on the edge, when you’re facing long odds and still manage to pull out a victory.  Not only is the victory sweeter when it isn’t certain, but when being defeated by greater numbers or stronger ships, you can avoid the “regret” and “anger” stages of the process and get right to learning what you did wrong and improving.  After all, if you take a fight you should probably lose, you can’t very well get mad at the result, right?

Sometimes, you have to take a chance, like I did in my Harpy.

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Perfect Fight

I wasn’t anticipating writing another article until I finished a Lessons post, but I just had to write about the experience I just had not two minutes ago.

It all started innocently enough.  I logged into to find TISHU knocking around a few ping-pong balls in Cloud Ring.  So, I jumped into a Heretic, caught a titan bridge, and made my way there.

It started as a gate camp farming all sorts of traffic between two Pandemic Horde systems, and it started to morph into some entosis fun a few jumps away.  I had just put up a bubble to kill a Catalyst, and was a little behind the rest of the fleet.

I was picking clean the carcass of my last kill when a Kestrel landed on the edge of my interdiction bubble, so I burned into him and killed him, just as a few of his friends arrived.  They had warped in from different vectors, so I had a little space between me and them… long enough for me to warp off.  However, the Kestrel got me into very light armor, about 95%.

As I bounced safes, I switched overviews to scan for bubbles.  My out-gate was clear, so I started making my way out of the system towards B-D, six jumps away.  At the time, I felt I was having a pretty good night.  All of my kills were small gang, and we were having good fun in someone else’s space.  It was exactly why I joined Adversity (well, that and taking 8 gates in a fleet of Archons to kill Tempest Fleet Issues).

But all of that was prelude to a moment of transcendent satisfaction.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Changes Coming to Pirate Ships?

Several months ago (or is it a year?  Who can keep it straight anymore?), CCP re-bonused some of the pirate frigates and cruisers and rebalanced a whole bunch of them.  Amid the changes, my dear, precious Cynabal, suffered some nerfs.  There was much weeping, and many tears.

On the other hand, the Worm and Gila were given purpose again, a welcome change from the ignominy they wallowed in for the several years prior. But, in providing them with purpose, CCP went a little too far, making both of those ships best-in-class damage dealers.  The Worm can easily get 250 dps and the Gila can breach 850 dps, both while kiting.  Suffice it to say, they’ve quickly dominated all of the fleet comps because of their significant advantages.

On the other hand, have you ever tried fitting out some of the other pirate ships?  It can be quite a challenge because of powergrid and CPU issues. Typical fits don’t quite work, and often need both CPU and powergrid 603 implants even with maximum skills… something which simply can’t be done. So, while the Gila and Worm became powerhouses, the remaining pirate frigs and cruisers always remained less than they could be as a result of “not quite enough” syndrome.

And, worst of all, one of my favorite ships, my dear, beloved Cynabal, was left to rot from nerfs.

But all of that may be changing soon.  And, I emphasize, “may”.  

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Pontifex. Stork. Magus. Bifrost.

The first enterprising souls have gone on Sisi and identified some new ships available for review; the command destroyers (inb4 we call them “commies” or “codies” (CoDes… though I doubt Code will use them). These ships are new T2 destroyer, a class sorely needed to make interdictors feel less alone.

The first thing I noticed was how stupid the name Stork was for a ship. It stretches credibility that they’d name a ship something as un-threatening and docile-sounding as “stork”. Jackdaw… okay, even if they took the name from Assassin’s Creed. Herons and buzzards aren’t threatening birds. I get Eagle, Vulture, Raptor, Vulture, Griffin, Raven… they all sound bad-ass. But “stork”? I suppose it’s terrifying to think someone’s going to drop a baby off on your doorstep, but…

The second thought I had was how cool it was that the new ships all focus on delivery, motion, or projection. Pontifex suggests “pontificate”, and projecting opinions. Storks are responsible for babies. Magi project power through magic and mysticism. And the bifrost is the coolest bridge in the history of literature (though, the Bridge of Hrethgir and Pons Sublicius are pretty awesome, too). It’s a pretty neat naming convention.

The reason for that, of course, is the cool new ability command destroyers are going to have… the ability to serve as a mobile micro jump unit, projecting all ships within its effective radius 100 km in the direction they’re facing. That’s right boys and girls, ALL ships, both friendly and hostile. Need to scatter an enemy logi wing? Just burn directly for the logi anchor and spool up your mobile jump module to scatter them from their fleet.

Monday, November 9, 2015

What Makes a Good PvP Experience?

Here's a question for the community.  What essential characteristics define an enjoyable PvP experience for you?

Do you need to face an enemy that has a chance of killing you, or do you enjoy catching your target unawares?  Do you enjoy large fleets, or do you prefer fighting solo?  Are there specific kinds of ships you prefer?  Where do you prefer to find your PvP?

And, here's the big question: Which of these are truly essential?  If you had to boil down your PvP preferences to that which is common to all of them, what would remain?  What really satisfies you?

And, just as importantly, when you hear someone brag about or post a kill in local, what aspects make you want to reach through the screen and strangle them for bragging about it?

What kinds of fights give you the shakes?  Let me know in the comments!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Naglfar and Thanatos for Sale

This is a quick one and in no way "crowds out" a regular article.

I'm selling a Thanatos and a Naglfar, if anyone would like them.  Both are located in Ihakana.

The Naglfar includes 20,000 hydrogen isotopes and 3  Capital Trimark Armor Pump I rigs and is listed for 2.6 bil.  The Thanatos includes 20,000 oxygen isotoles and 3 Large Capacitor Control Circuit I rigs and is listed for 1.45 bil.

If you're interested and reference that you saw it on this blog, I'll take 100 mil off the Nag and 50 mil off the Thanny.  (You can either accept the contracts as-is and I'll reimburse you, or I can pull the contracts and private-contract it to you; the former will be faster, the latter more secure).

Friday, November 6, 2015

Re-thinking High-sec in Light of the Lore

This is not a post about nerfing high-sec.  Not at all.  In fact, my argument isn't going to be about player engagement, income distribution, or any of that stuff.  I just want to talk about a cool thing I thought of while replying to a comment on the reddit post for my last article.  To do that, I'm basing my argument on a bit of logic and some lore.

First, some context.  CONCORD exists to apply precise "rules of war".  In part, it also serves to protect the empires from capsuleers, who cannot be killed permanently and represent a borderline xenophobic threat to the empires, even as they represent the empires' key way of fighting each other.

But, Concord (no caps anymore, too annoying...) also serves to manage intel and payment for activity against pirates, as well as classifying the security status of every system of New Eden.  Yet, Concord hasn't revised it's security status calculations in a very long time.  To the point, they haven't revised them in response to the discovery of wormhole space, the change in customs office ownership, sleepers, drifters, and the general weakening of the military forces of the empires, both in comparison to the past and to capsuleer empires.  A full fleet of capsuleer titans is a thing, yo.

I think it's high time Concord revises it's security status calculations to reflect this shift in power away from the four main empires.

Plus, it's time pirates get a seat at the table.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Care About PvE Even If You Don't Care about PvE

You should all stop what you’re doing right now and read Neville Smit’s latest post about the silent half of Eve players who may never make it to Fanfest or speak too loudly in the community but who still play the game just like we do.  This is a post about giving a little love to the non-PvPers.  Pay attention to what he says; his point is a critical one.

Seriously.  I’ll wait.

“But Tal, are you seriously suggesting CCP should focus some attention on PvE?”

Yes, yes, I am.  And it’s absolutely critical for the PvP game you play that we not forget about these players.