Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Popping a Cherry

So I logged in for about 20 minutes last night. RvB sent out a few corp mails about a new system meant for players to solo in where you could take on either Reds or Blues, regardless of what corp you were fighting for. The only restrictions on the system were T1 only and Battlecruiser or below. I had no problems with that. No jerks (potentially me) running around in a T3 beating up on the new kids.

I grabbed a Hurricane I had laying around and set off for the solo system. I dodged a pretty big fleet fight coming out of the new Blue home system. I guess I was pretty lucky that Red FC's didn't notice in time. Anyway, I got to the inbound gate to the destination system and I saw a Catalyst there. I didn't think I'd be able to catch him, but I gave it a shot. I popped my Warrior IIs out there and let into him with my Autocannons. I was surprised when I got point on him. He went down pretty darn easily.

After I took him out, I looked at his corp history. The character was rolled within the past week and the first player corp he joined was Red. I checked his KB to see that I was the first person to kill him! Woohoo popped his cherry! In all likelihood, it was an alt of somebody not paying attention. Just in case it was a new player though, I decided to reimburse him for the Catalyst and throw in a little more. I was just in that kind of mood I guess. Anyway, it was a cool experience for me, and regardless of whether or not he was brand new, I love seeing the new faces around RvB. The growth of the corporation coupled with the location change has really shaken things up. I'm still enjoying it quite a bit, although I'm starting to itch for a good NullSec roam soon.

The Mittani Conflict

By now pretty much everyone in Eve has heard about the Mittani's off-color remarks at the Alliance Panel at Fanfest. As I said previously, I didn't catch much of Fanfest live since I was so busy last week, but Marc Scaurus (or Marcasaurus, which I love), posted a link to the video of the offense. To be honest, I watched the clip, waited a little while longer, and then replayed it back before I realized what all of the commotion was about. You can call me slow or desensitized, but I couldn't believe that all of the threadnaughts were about that one (albeit very poorly chosen) sentence.

Before everyone loses it, I'm no supporter of encouraging suicide or internet bullying. But let's be real. Mittani's comments were really in bad taste and he was way out of line, but there's no need to overreact to the situation. The Mittani apologized publicly, and the opinion shared by myself and many others is that that apology was sincere. I am perfectly willing to forgive and forget. I know I've said a few inappropriate things before, both under the influence of alcohol and sober. I would want those I have offended to forgive me, so I give the same opportunity to the Mittani. Please, let any saints post here in comments and I will give you full validation for continued hating on the Mittani.

In my opinion, the most indicative thing in this situation is the reaction of the pilot who has been "bullied." In Liang Nuren's post, the chat logs show that The Wis didn't even know that the Mittani spoke the way he did. He hardly seemed offended when Xeross155 informed him of the situation. Now, in a link posted on Jester's Trek, The Wis seemed a bit hurt by the situation, but was still taking on a respectable "I'm trying to ignore it" attitude. He also did accept almost 11 billion in isk from the Mittani as an apology. If the "victim" is handling the situation in this manner, who are we as the community to turn this into such a big deal?

To close, the Mittani was wrong. No question about it. There's no need to talk like that drunk or sober, but he did. But at this point, he's apologized, and besides perhaps reaching out more directly to The Wis (in addition to the isk he sent), I see nothing more he could or should do. Stepping down from the CSM is hardly necessary. Whether you like the Mittani or not, he is good for New Eden. If he really wants to step down from the chairman position, that is fine. This is especially fine given that the Chair is really only special in terms of perceived status; it has no extra weight in decision making. At the end of the day though, its time to move on. Let's get back to what makes this game great and talk about Fanfest, Inferno predictions/commentary, and stories about internet spaceships. Let's give Mittens his one bad screw-up and hope (for his sake) that nothing like this happens again.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Fanfest 2012 -- Initial Impressions

Fanfest has come and gone at this point, and it certainly seemed like an experience. I was not able to go this year, and I actually had some difficulty even keeping up with the Twitter feed, let alone the live video from Eve TV. I had class Thursday, and I was on the shooting range all day Friday, so I missed a good deal of the coverage.

Here's what I picked up though. It seems like Fanfest is an awesome event for players. I think that CCP has done a great job creating an environment that gets players excited about the game and upcoming changes, and the Devs really reinforce this with such close interaction with the players. That said, I'm not sure I saw a ton of concrete information that I was excited about. I saw a lot of DUST coverage, which I expected. The game play does seem to be pretty cool, but I'm not sure its enough for me to run out and buy a PS3.

Other than the DUST link, the only things that I got to see directly were U/I and Art/Graphics coverage. Honestly, that doesn't do much for me. I play Eve on low settings to get the best possible performance. I don't need a pretty camera showing the ship I'm shooting. I understand that many people really do want the best possible graphics, and they should. I'm just saying its not a huge draw for me personally.

I'm eagerly awaiting CCP uploading all of the videos from Fanfest to YouTube. I still have a lot I want to review before giving a comprehensive breakdown of my thoughts. As it stands right now though, I'm a little underwhelmed. I've heard some murmurs of changes in Crime Watch and FW, and I'm not sure CCP is on track from what I understand. The jury is still out for me. As I said before, I think Fanfest is a great event for the players and the larger Eve community, I'm just not yet very excited about the actually changes to Eve that I saw out of it.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Fanfest Breakdown and Some Dust Concerns

Well Fanfest is rapidly approaching, and judging by the #tweetfleet, it looks like most people have arrived already. I'm thoroughly jealous at this point, but very happy for all who are able to attend. I was looking through the Fanfest Event Schedule, and here are some of the things that caught my eye:
  • State of the Economy -- We're seeing a ton of inflation right now, and I'm not a big fan. I'm interested to see sources of the inflation (Incursions?) as well as CCP's plans to fix it (if there are any). Still wishing for those QENs to return.
  • Ship Balancing -- This should be a very influential segment with Ytterbium's recent dev blog. I'd love to see what CCP has in mind for this role rebalancing, as well as if they make any reference to Titan rebalancing as well.
  • Nullsec, FW, Starbases, Crime Watch, and Black Ops -- All cool topics, general interest in interesting things

And on the other side of the coin, there's plenty of things I have no interest in: Sound/Music, German/Russian Communities, Eve Uni, Virtual Goods, etc. No big deal, just not as high on my list.

The big thing that has drawn my attention is the huge focus on Dust 514 at Fanfest. I suppose its about time, given that the game is supposed to be rolled out by the end of the year, but I'm extremely leery. Now, I'm normally a pretty darn optimistic person, but I am very, very scared of Dust and its potential implications on Eve. I've been a console gamer. In fact, I've been a console gamer ever since  I picked up my Dad's Atari and Nintendo as a kid. Eve is my first and only MMO actually. I get console gamers to some extent.

What I'm getting at is that in all of my time playing console games, I've never hung onto a single game for more than a couple months. Recently, Call of Duty: Black Ops & MW2 have probably had the longest runs, being a few months, and Skyrim had a very intense 2 month run.  That's it. And that's the problem with console gamers. There is no commitment to a bigger end game like Eve players have. Playing first person shooters (FPS) is about firing up the system, shooting some baddies, and moving on. And Dust has to compete with all of the big names already out there. This seems like a world of trouble to me. We have a long-term commitment issue from players in a game that had a lot of its development resources cut in the year before it launched in a market already over-saturated with FPS games. Awesome.

The biggest question is how CCP intends to link the two games. If they are heavily co-dependent, this will be a crushing blow to Eve if/when the console players jump ship for the next great game. Think about a Nullsec where you can't get anything accomplished because there aren't enough Dust mercenaries to get the job done. Maybe CCP could press the reset button on the system and roll it back if it is extremely unsuccessful, but that seems really unlikely.

At the end of the day, I really hope CCP wows us with Dust and that they release it in continual expansions as they do with Eve to keep console players on board. The health of Eve as a game and CCP as a company both depend on it. I'd be more than happy to see CCP make me want to buy a PS3 to play Dust, but I'm just not sure that's the way its going to go right now. Another game of wait and see. I think its safe to say that everyone is intrigued to see what comes out of Fanfest. Enjoy it, my friends, and keep me posted.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

BB 34: CSM Growth

The polls have just opened for the election of candidates to occupy the 14 seats on the 7th Council of Stellar Management. To kick-start a topical CSM-themed banter, CCP Xhagen - fierce champion of freedom of speech and in his words, "the guy that gets yelled at when the CSM dudes do booboos" - has offered this question:

"How would you like to see the CSM grow, both in terms of player interaction and CCP interaction?"


This one seems like a softball to me. I'm going to go ahead and spoil the rest of this entry by saying the CSM should be more involved in pretty much everything Eve. Let's kick it off with the CCP point of view.

CCP is far from a perfect organization. I love Eve, but I'm not really sure what gets in the developers' heads sometimes. I would honestly like to meet the team of guys who sat across the table from each other and said, "You know what, I think we've got something really great with this Incarna expansion." I think Seismic Stan pretty much hit the nail on the head with Incarna: The Text Adventure when it comes to how awesome walking in stations is. At the end of the day though, that's not even close to the end of bone-headed things that CCP has done. Do the words "18 months" mean anything to anyone? Even as recently as the past month with the skill rebalancing dev blog that set out to turn Battlecruiser and Destroyer skills into 4 racial variants, we're seeing a lack of vision from CCP sometimes, even if its only in communication as opposed to actual ideas.

This is the importance of the CSM to CCP. As an independent corporation, CCP has no obligation to the CSM in any way. That's all well and good, but evidence shows they need to make the CSM part of the regular process in terms of new ideas. I understand that it is logistically impossible to involve the CSM in every little detail of development. Eve is an enormously complex game, and that's why most of us are still here. But the CSM doesn't need to be a part of every minute detail. They need to be an efficient sounding board for significant changes. Before CCP devotes resources to extensively developing an area of the game, somebody should make an effort to figure out if the players want or need it. The team of 7+ veteran players, chosen by their peers to be representative of the community might be a decent place to start.

The CSM has taken on the role it needs to. I think all of the members of CSM6 did a great job fielding the Summer of Rage and ushering us into Crucible. Mynxee and the CSM5 crew even foreshadowed the lack of vision and cooperation from CCP heading into Incarna. The CSM has accepted its role in the process and is waiting for CCP to acknowledge them consistently. The key word there is consistently. When CCP Ytterbium says that he forgot to consider running ideas by the CSM, that shows me that the CSM is not a focus within CCP. That's fine if that is the route they want to go down, but I'm pretty sure that history has shown its not.

On the other side of the coin, the CSM has to be a bit more vocal and forward with the player base. CSM 6 was a bit mixed bag on this one. I didn't catch either of them, but I heard the Mittani's Fireside Chats were very well attended and received. These disappeared after the first two though, never to be heard from again. The blogging from CSM members can be a bit scarce too. I understand they're probably gagged pretty badly by NDA, but interaction with other players is still allowed from what I understand. I'd much rather hear "Sorry, NDA" than nothing. It would be nice to hear that some things are being addressed and concerns are taken into account. Maybe that type of information is covered under NDA, but if its not, it would be great to hear. Roc Wieler brought this notion up on the Lost in Eve debate he was on, and even though I'm not the biggest Roc proponent, I've got to agree with him on that one.

The CSM is a great institution, and I think at this point, CCP cannot shelf it. It seemed over the course of the winter expansion process that some of the higher-ups didn't like a few aspects of the CSM, but at this point, I think its too integrated to lower their responsibilities and privileges. Honestly, there is no reason to draw back the reigns on the CSM. The current group did make a few power plays by using the player base to make points, but this was done for a reason. I know CCP doesn't want to feel hijacked by their own creation, but the simple point is the CSM has put forth a lot of good points and responses. The TLDR is that the CSM is integral in showing CCP what needs to get done and the player base appreciates and looks to the CSM for a lot of feedback. The more fluid the exchange between CCP, the CSM and the players, the better. I'm really looking forward to seeing how the voting has shaken out, and I hope that CSM7 will continue to be an effective force for positive change within CCP.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Titan Tracking Issues Revisited (Changes Announced)

Looks like I got that Titan tracking post out just in time. CCP released the official changes today via CCP Greyscale in this forum post. The changes were a pretty short list, but it seems like it could be effective.
  • Base Titan tracking is halved
  • Scan Resolution dropped to 5
  • Max locked targets changed to 3
 I can't really knock any of these changes. I like that CCP decided to combat the issue not by nerfing the tracking all to hell but also by affecting targeting matters. A scan resolution of 5 is really, really low. CCP intelligently based this number on officer grade Sensor Boosters, which makes sense given that Titan pilots don't normally object too strongly to pimping these ships a bit. The maximum of 3 locked targets seems a bit weird to me in terms of immersion, but I understand it from a technical point of view (Immersion-wise, the most advanced ship in the game can only lock up 3 ships? Ehh). So CCP's general thought was "cut the tracking, but let's also cut down on how quickly they are able to lock up sub-capitals." I can't really argue with that. Let's look at the numbers.

I'm not going to run through the full analysis from yesterday, but here's a couple side-by-sides.
Post Nerf
Its pretty darn clear that Drakes have a much better shot at survival now. The lock time is going go up as well, so hopefully this gives a fleet of Drakes a chance. 

The Tornado saw similar increases as well. And if you remember from yesterday's post, they weren't in too terrible of shape already.

Pre Nerf

Post Nerf

The Tornado now looks almost like the AB Thorax from yesterday. Tier 3 BC's could be really effective in anti-capital fleets, especially with the new changes in mind. Just keep moving.

The changes that CCP Greyscale proposed look pretty solid to me. The primary use of Titans probably shouldn't be to rip apart cruisers and battlecruisers. With these changes, they won't be able to do that. The occasional tracking fit Titan will still be able to one shot some BC's, but it should be much less of a regular occurrence. With the 3 target max, I'd also think they'd be more inclined to shoot larger targets, but we'll see how that works out. I've got to applaud CCP for these changes. Titans are still mega powerful, but they're more in balance with the role they're supposed to have. 

I'd also like to applaud CCP for knowing when to throw out the bad ideas. Check out some of Greyscale's potential "rebalancing" ideas in that forum thread. Example: Titans can't lock subcapitals. Wtf? I don't know if there was any CSM involvement in this whole discussion, but either way I'm glad that some of these terrible ideas got taken off the table.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Thorough Titan Tracking Analysis

Edit: After some input from Two Step, which you can see in the comments, I've decided to update the analysis with the most relevant possible data. Initially, I used 6 T2 Tracking Computers to keep on the same page as Kirith, but the updated figures show 3 Cormack's Tracking Computers, 3 Tobias' Tracking Enhancers, a Strong Drop booster, and the strongest implant available (+6% tracking). This gives a tracking of .02572, per Two Step.

Recently there's been some buzz about Titan tracking. In fact, one CCP dev (the name escapes me at this point) explicitly said that they have a team working on it right now. That's all well and good, but Kirith Kodachi's post on the matter inspired me. I decided to check it out for myself and share the results with everyone.

The problem people have right now is that Titans are blapping sub-capital ships with their tracking fit XL guns. I can understand that. Its no fun to be one-shot by something you're supposed to be able to out maneuver. Let's start with Kirith's first example: A Titan with 6 Ion Siege Blaster Cannons and 6 T2 Tracking Computers loaded with tracking scripts tries to take out an Afterburner fit Thorax. The cruiser has a max speed of 542 m/s and a signature radius of 140 m. I tried to pick ranges illustrative of the Titan's effective range of fire, so I chose its optimal (19km), its optimal + falloff (34km), and a point in the middle (25km). I think the only major difference in my analysis versus Kirith's is how we went about calculating transversal speed. My formula was this:

Transversal Speed = Speed * sin(Transversal Angle)

So my assumption was that the ship was going full speed and varied the transversal angle by manual piloting. Here's a quick diagram for anyone who isn't on the same page yet. I'll place a lot of emphasis on transversal angle as its a fairly intuitive concept in manual piloting once you understand what I'm getting at.

Also, here's the equation that Kirith found regarding chance to hit (from Evelopedia)

So anyway, here's how the results came out for the initial AB fit Thorax versus the Titan when considering Transversal Angle. A quick disclaimer: like Kirith, I'm not taking into account any leadership bonuses, remote effects or anything other than the basic Titan I described above. All of those things will make what you are about to see even worse (the little lines will move higher on the page).

So the results are pretty much what we expected. It essentially boils down to the combined effects of range and transversal speed/angle. The actual numbers here may be surprising though. The chance to hit is still below 10% for even just 20 degrees of transversal angle maintained, and at 30 degrees of transversal, even the farthest range still has less than 1% chance to hit. To me, this gives you one quick and easy rule for Titans: Dont Use the Approach Button! If you aren't flying right at (or away from) a Titan, its pretty darn hard to hit you. 

Let's consider that same Thorax with an MWD fit though. The only numbers changed are the signature radius and the maximum speed. What happens here?

Might be some problems with this one. Now even at 40 degrees of transversal movement, we've got 1/10 chance to hit on all but the optimal setting. The Titan has a 25% chance of hitting you out to almost 30 degrees of transversal. This engagement profile looks a lot more friendly for the Titan. If you aren't consciously trying to maintain transversal, it looks like you're in trouble. 

The situation gets even worse for a Drake. Take a look at this Drake fit including an MWD and shield mods and rigs that increase Signature Radius to 2188 m.

If that figure doesn't scream "Bad News" to you, I don't know what does. This basically says that if you're within an Erebus's falloff range, you're getting hit. Even at 90 degrees of transversal (which is full circular orbitting at that point, ie no "approach" or radial movement) you're getting nailed 40% of the time. Oh and by the way, you're getting nailed with an alpha of over 40k EFT damage. Enjoy that, Drake pilot.

The last angle consideration I made was the Tornado. The Tier 3 BCs were meant to be quick, to have small-ish signature radii, and to pack a punch. Maybe a Tornado fleet could have more encouraging results.

Even with the MWD on (speed 1782 m/s, signature 1020 m), we're back to seeing a nicer picture of things. Tornadoes can be pretty effective versus Titan tracking, but they had better still keep their transversal up. 

Graphs, EFT, and the Ships Above
I could turn out literally hundreds more graphs on the subject. If you're curious about actual DPS output versus range and transversal, hit up EFT. They've already got the software to give you pretty graphs and answer your specific questions. Everyone knows its not how the game really works because there are always other variables involved, but its also pretty plain to see a Titan can one or two shot pretty much every sub cap. If you've got any more questions on the hit chance mechanics, I'd be happy to provide any other graphs on the subject relating to any of the relevant variables.

In all honesty though, I'm not sure Titan tracking is totally broken. Both variants of the Thorax discussed, as well as the Tornado, can get under the guns of the Erebus without too much trouble. It might be a pain in the ass and take a while with some manual piloting, but its do-able. And in the case of the Drake, you can easily orbit outside of Antimatter's effective range (optimal + 2x falloff = 49 km) and sling missiles at it all day long. Now if he changes to Iron XL, that's a whole new ball game. 

The Glass Cannon
An important thing to take into account is that there will almost certainly never be a Thorax that takes down a Titan solo. The idea of a "glass cannon" with a few million EHP is a joke. They aren't glass cannons, so we can stop with that nick name. There should/will be support fleets on either side. If no one shows up to help the Titan, you can totally grab him like Jester pointed out not too long ago. Even if the Titan in this case was ruining the attacking fleet, you better believe people were reshipping. But, with a lock time of close to 30 seconds on an AB cruiser (before SeBos), he wasn't just running them off the field with his XL guns.

The Final Word
My final word is that I'm not the one to make the call. There are many who are infinitely more experienced with Titan warfare on both the attacking and defending sides of the issue. Personally though, I'm okay with the most expensive ship in the game being a bit on the powerful side. I've heard Titans quoted at 80 Billion isk before fittings. I'm more than fine with 80 billion isk going a long way in terms of DPS. Hell, if you could find enough pilots to fly them, 80 billion worth of T2 fit Rifters is going to pack a punch too.
Regardless, Titans do seem to be able to pop smaller ships pretty easily. This whole analysis ignored scrams and webs. Webs in particular are effective because they slow down the target without turning off the MWD and related signature bloom. The equation, which Kirith showed in his post, is very much dependent upon speed and signature radius. If a Titan pilot has a well coordinated support fleet, in particular with Rapiers/Huginns/Lokis, I could easily see how people aren't happy about Titans tearing them apart once they're webbed. And multiple Titans at different ranges? Yeah. Something doesn't seem to be stacking too well here. 

In the end, its all situational -- just like everything else in Eve. If its one Titan, no corresponding support fleet, and you've got enough AHACs on board then go for it. On the other hand, if its multiple Titans and a well organized support fleet to slow & hold your guys down? Well... good luck. I'm not inherently opposed to some rebalancing, but I wouldn't know where to start except for maybe increasing the signature resolution for XL guns (or at least Titan XL's). I'm looking forward to what CCP puts out in terms of the impending Titan changes.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Some Inferno Changes Rumored

Blake over at k162space linked a pastebin entry with a few interesting changes yesterday. Here's the link to the pastebin, which Blake said he found at Reddit.

To break it down, it looks like we have two big time (potential) changes. One is for industry and one is for combat. In combat, we've got the introduction of Micro Jump Drives (MJDs?). From what I'm reading, it seems that MJDs are a navigation system that is explicitly noted as a Battleship class module. It has a spin-up time, ie not instantaneous, but when it activates, it shoots the ship 100km in the direction it was pointing. When the ship lands it still has its same velocity. Also, there is a signature radius bloom akin to MWDs while the MJD is spinning up. Lastly, it says that ships are affected by warp scramblers and warp disruption fields. So does that mean an MJD is shut down by these? Not so sure, but it does certainly make sense.

My initial reaction to MJDs is meh. I somewhat understand the mechanics, but its not quite there yet for me. Battleships are big and slow. These new drives give them they ability to dictate range to some extent. The problem is that whole "big and slow" thing gets them caught before they get to use the new GTFO ability. Another possible thought is that the MJD could also be partially to combat Tier 3 Battlecruisers to some extent. I still see it as problematic though. By the time the BS lands on grid again after a micro jump, would it realistically be able to lock a nano BC and scram it in a reasonable amount of time? I'm still thinking no on that one.

Overall, I understand that Battleships could certainly use a buff. The 3rd Tier BCs definitely put Battleships farther away from the front lines in many cases. The Battlecruisers are faster and more agile than Battleships and they generally pump out similar damage. The MJD might be a step in the right direction, but I think to be a truly effective BS buff, the spin up time has to be relatively short, and optimally, you could choose a distance (say between 100km and 1000km) to Micro Jump to. There are certainly more potential stipulations or add-ons, but that's what jumped out at me to start.

The second major change thrown into the pastebin is that NPC drones are getting bounties put on their heads. Hopefully CCP has the good sense to take away drone alloys if this is the case. Otherwise its just a huge buff for the DRF. Regardless, this puts drones on par or better than other rats, creating uniformity to NullSec space. If the alloys are removed though, this is a huge buff for the mining profession, and you can bet on it having a huge impact on all market operations too. I'm going to send CCP Diagoras a tweet to see if he can tell us what percentage of minerals come from drone alloys. I hope he can field the question and its not too specific. If we do get an answer, it should be indicative of just how important mining is about to become.

The drone ratting change could be pretty crazy. It actually relates to something I've been thinking about in terms of botting recently too. I know people lament the amount of bots in Eve right now and many say that CCP wasn't hard enough on them with the new banning initiative. My concern is that the bots really do help prop up the economy. If the minerals they produce come back to HighSec and get turned into the ships that everyone is buying, the decreased supply of minerals is going to drive up ship prices.
Supply Shift Inward Increases Price Levels
I think such a change would probably just be for a short while, but it could be significant. Prices would probably spike for a month or two after alloys get nerfed, but then mining will become profitable enough for people to start actually doing it again. I still think that mining needs a legitimate buff in terms of the activity itself rather than a nerf on drone alloys, but its certainly a start for the mining profession. 

As a disclaimer, none of this information is official yet. Not even close. On the other hand though, I saw a similar pastebin regarding Crucible changes before they came out, and most of them were true. That one introduced Tier 3 BCs among other things, and the only legitimate changes we saw were that the Naga became a Hybrid boat and the Talos lost its web bonus and drones. Sidenote: that would have been an incredibly sexy Talos to fly. Anyway, just thought I'd be thorough and not get everyone's hopes up too much. It all looks plausible though. Waiting on the dev blog then.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Daring Birthday Wishes

So Friday is my birthday, and I've decided to celebrate. I want to do something a little bigger than my usual weekend PvP, so here's what I came up with. I'm going to Faction fit a Daredevil and just take it out into the wilderness until someone catches me, takes me down, and throws their hands up in celebration over the awesome pinata they just popped.

I'm actually pretty excited about the idea. I'm not sure where I'll head yet though. I think I'll start the venture through LowSec and head out to 0.0 as I see fit. I'm hoping for a couple decent solo kills before it goes boom, but who knows. With my luck, I may just get popped on the first gate into low by some blob, but we'll see. This could be a lot of fun, as I rarely fly pimped ships. 

I'm still working out potential fittings for the Daredevil. Its a matter of getting the best fitting possible while not going absolutely crazy on spending. If anyone has any ideas on fit, please post in comments. I'd love to hear some feedback. Also, if anyone is in the generous mood, feel free to contract any mods and I'll be sure you see them on the killmail! ;)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Dev Blog of Mini-Rage -- Ship Rebalancing

The Dev Blog published today caused a widespread insta-rage, but let's start off by saying right up front: "YOU'LL BE ABLE TO FLY ALL OF THE SHIPS YOU CAN ALREADY FLY TODAY."

Now onto the news. The Dev Blog in question was released by CCP Ytterbium regarding ship rebalancing. The bulk of the rage comes from the pending introduction of racial BC and Destroyer skills as opposed to the blanket skills that exist today. Vets are raging because they don't want to lose the ability to fly 3 races of BC's even if they get fully reimbursed for one racial BC skill (same for Dictors/Destroyers obviously). I had the same initial thoughts. I am just finishing up a complete crosstraining at the moment. The only thing left for me is Amarr medium and large guns. I would be pissed if someone told me I just lost the Drake, Oracle, Talos, Myrm, etc (because I would definitely keep Minmatar BC. Tornado and Cane are enough for me). Luckily, Liang Nuren cleared that one up for me in one single tweet.

"According to CCP Soundwave cross trainers have nothing to fear from the skill changes: "
- @LiangNuren

If you read through Soundwave's comments, he explicitly says "Destroyer and Battlecruiser reimbursement: it has been said before, but allow us to repeat again, that we do not want to cut ships you can already fly. Thus, having BC skill at 5 would mean you get all four variations at 5." Perfect. That's all I wanted, and now I can settle the hell down and analyze whats going on. Take a nice deep breath, everyone.

Overall the changes regarding ships are fair and pretty intuitive. It seems to be well in line with CCP's initiative to simply processes in Eve that are unnecessarily complicated. Was the current skill tree unnecessarily complicated? I could argue both ways on that one. I'll be honest, I was a bit confused the first time I hit Battlecruisers. "No Gallente BC? Just plain Battlecruisers? Okay works for me." But that was it though. In all honesty, I viewed both BC and Destroyer as quite a blessing once I began to crosstrain, and I'm sure many have. Getting BC V made me feel damn near invincible switching between races. I'll have to pick a new skill to point out to people as "the best level 5 to train."

At the end of the day though, it is a change that simplifies the game to some extent. Battlecruisers are the backbone of most fleets, and they may as well be introduced as part of the normal progression up in ship class. The same argument applies for Destroyers, but they aren't as integral as they just aren't used as much currently (ignoring Dictors).

I have two concerns with the skill changes however. The first is how much this change benefits the vets. Anyone who had one BC V gets 4x the amount of SP. If they don't change the rank of Battlecruisers, that means that each BC V skill will be around 1.5M SP. For each vet, that's on the order of 20-30 days of training. For a corresponding new player to catch up, thats almost 3 months extra training time when they were already behind to begin with. I'm not too sure I'm behind that element of it.

The second problem I have with the skill remapping is a small one. I'm not totally in favor of opening up a race's capital ships for Battleship 4. Personally, I really liked the BS V barrier into capitals, as I don't think they're just "next in the logical progression." I only have Gallente BS V, and although I have a Thanatos, I've never flown it. I just think that in a game where capitals, and even more so, supercapitals, are so often complained about, we don't need to lower the entry barrier. Everyone can get to capitals 30 days faster, and apparently Dictors/CS's are up to 20 days faster, but Battleships can take 17 days longer? The priorities seem backwards here. Battleships should be more attainable than capitals and high level T2 ships. I know that you obviously still reach Battleships before Capitals, for example, but even to trend in the opposite direction seems unintuitive.

As for the rest of the blog, its a lot of wait and see. The new ship lines are "fine" until we see what concrete changes come about. I'm in favor of every ship having a role because I think it could alleviate some of the FOTM type of stuff we see right now. I'm hesitant to get on board until we see actual stat rebalancing though. I hope CCP has their heads on straight for that one.

A final note for anyone who didn't pick up by the way:

Weekend Review 3/4

Well it was actually a pretty solid weekend for me in RvB. Initially I didn't feel like being part of the blob and I've been trying to get out and nab some solo kills, so I made for Jan, which is the LowSec system next door to the Blue Headquarters. I hung around there for a couple hours, but not too much came through. I popped a few cyno alts, but that was about it.

I can't believe how quickly security status drops though. I was at -0.4 to start the day, and just after three little cyno alts, my sec status is down to -1.3. I'm still trying to make up my mind as to whether or not I want to go pirate on my main. I actually really like the idea of being a flashy red, but I'm not a huge fan of the logistics strain its puts on me. If any legitimate pirate corps are recruiting now a days though, I'd be very interested in joining up. Play time can still be quite limited during the week due to trying to wrap up my engineering degree, but I'm as active as I can be at the moment.

After waiting out 3 different GCC timers and the intermediate roaming around, I headed back to high sec to see what was going on with my RvB comrades. As I mentioned in my last post, RvB membership went through the roof this weekend for both corporations. Overall there was nothing too crazy here, but there were some good FCs online, and believe me that makes all the difference. Over the course of the weekend, I actually went 42-3, which is easily my most productive weekend to date. I still know its not hardcore PvP, but I'm also still having fun, so I've got no complaints.

I probably won't be able to log in much until the weekend, but Friday happens to be my birthday. I think I am going to go for a faction fit Daredevil to celebrate. I may arse around RvB to start, but I'm going to jump in a no-implant clone and head towards nullsec until I get popped. An early happy birthday to me then!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

RvB Membership Explosion

Members in both the Blue Republic and the Red Federation exploded almost overnight this weekend. I'm sure a few observant pilots noticed the ad for RvB at the login screen this weekend (I'm still looking for a picture of it if anyone grabbed a screenshot btw). Well you weren't the only ones. In Blue alone, there are almost 300 new members, and the average number of pilots logged in at any given time this weekend was usually around 90-100, which is almost double normal figures. Here are the respective membership charts for the two corporations, as provided by Dotlan

Blue Membership
Red Membership
I'd say the sudden growth strained the RvB directors a bit this weekend. I heard the influx of applications was pretty overwhelming, and tough to get the appropriate information out to all of the new players too. Also, our little rhythm of grabbing 15-20 pilots and meeting the Reds in Akon was a little out of whack too. It was no problem hitting 50+ fleets and often FC's had to take the advert down. 

The next couple weeks will be telling as to how appealing RvB is to the masses. If all of these new players enjoy their experience, both corporations could undergo really massive changes in trying to deal with becoming some of the larger alliances in the game. I'd love to see the two corporations start employing multiple fleets or even themed support. The first thing that came to mind was a typical Cruiser/Frig fleet supported by a group of Tier 3 BC's to warp in and snipe. Regardless, more numbers should make for more ability to pick off loners in 1v1 situations and bigger fleet fights. It should be a great thing for the corporation unless all of these new members turn into more station humpers who can't undock without overwhelming odds in their favor. Believe me, I'm hoping for the former.

Eve Blog a Day #021 - Vote Match

Question #021

Go over to Dierdra Vaal's Vote Match, fill out the questionnaire, then let the site tell you which candidates are most in line with your way of thinking about EVE Online. Which candidate is your highest vote match? Will that candidate be the candidate you're most likely to vote for?

My Response
I actually enjoyed this quite a bit. I took the survey last year as well, and I think its another example of how awesome the Eve community is.  The results for this one surprised me quite a bit, however. My number one match is Meissa Anunthiel at 66%. Meissa seems to be a very good candidate and is one of the longest standing CSM vets. I enjoyed listening to his points on the Lost in Eve debate #1, although I'm sure I would have enjoyed anyone pitted against Riverini in that one.

The pick that surprised me though, was Kelduum being #2, at 64%. I looked the issues, and it seemed that many of the points that we agreed upon were strongly held by one of us and not the other. Also, we agreed on many points in nullsec, despite the fact that neither one of us live there. Overall though, I suppose we still share a lot of similar points on issues. I'm not one to bash Kelduum just for the sake of bashing him, but hearing him on V&V really made me think that he was just the lucky benefactor of a large voting bloc as opposed to an intelligent candidate.

The only other "surprise" was where Alekseyev and Hans placed. I put surprise in quotes because they weren't that far from the top; I just figured they'd be higher. Alekseyev beat out Hans by 62% to 57%, respectively. I still find myself leaning towards one of these two, although Meissa is certainly not a bad choice either.

Lastly, who am I least like? Answer is Mu'ad Diib. This guy is either one hell of a troll or he's a bit deficient. He is clearly getting trolled by multiple Goons, and two current CSM members even drop by to give him questions/continue the trolling. I'm glad we're not too closely aligned as it makes me feel better about myself. This is an example of one of the candidates that proves this arbitrary "100 likes" threshold was setting the bar a little bit too low. If you feel like a good laugh, check out his election post in Jita Park here.

The Vote Match for CSM 7 app is great though. I think the best use out of it comes when candidates directly respond to questions (via the mouseover). Its a neat way to organize their thoughts on the issues in a very efficient way. Thanks to the creator Diedra Vaal and also to Poetic Stanziel for the topic once again.