Friday, June 29, 2012

Transport Ship Bonuses

As my security status drops, I have had to consider how I'm moving my gear out so I can continue to pew. This led me to look into the Transport Ships category. Particularly, I'm looking at the cloaky transports that can fit Covert Ops Cloaks. Let's be honest, these ships are pretty great for logistics runs. They're relatively fast, align well, and they have a decent cargohold. The cloaky transports are fantastic, and you have no excuse for dying in them in lowsec. Even in null, your odds are still pretty darn good.

Here's my problem though. Every single ship in the "Transport" class has that stupid bonus to either armor or shield repair bonus. Let's break it down with a Viator. The fitting layout is one high, three mids, three lows, and two rigs. Now let's consider what modules and rigs are essential: Covert ops cloak and microwarp drive. After that, its at least agility modules and rigs and maybe cargo mods if you're greedy or you really need it. What does that leave the ship with? Not a lot, to be honest. At all V skills, it has plenty of CPU left, but only 2 MW of power grid. Not a lot of room on there for an armor repairer, huh?

Looking through all of the cloaky transports, the song remains the same. The decreasing order of cargo size runs Viator, Prorator, Crane, and Prowler. The order for align time is just the opposite. All four of them have distinct issues with tanking though, especially the active variety. Fitting for the required Cloak/MWD plus tank leaves room only for small armor repairers and either small or maybe medium shield boosters. I can't find any fit that tanks more than about 100 DPS. Holy useless bonus, Batman.

The thing is, these ships shouldn't be super tanky. If there should be such an industrial, its the other half of the transport ships. The covert transports have safety in their cloaks. Given this, there is no reason to have an active tank bonus for these ships. In fact, there's almost no reason to train Transport Ships past level one unless you need the CPU for the Covert Ops Cloak for some reason.

There are a few ways the Transport bonus could be fixed for these ships. First, take out the armor or shield repair bonus. Its useless, no one uses it, and even a frigate will roast your Transport if it gets caught. Replace this bonus with a new one, that could go a few different ways. The most logical would be either a bonus to cargo or navigational skills. The cargo bonus would be much appreciated since they run a bit light on space as it is. The navigation bonus could be better agility, better speed, longer duration of afterburners and MWD's, or even something else. All of these would be useful, but none are present right now. You could even just add a passive resist or HP buff, and it would still be more useful than the active tank bonus right now. Something needs to change.

Transport Ships don't need a change like some other ship classes do, but right now they have a 100% useless bonus. Given that CCP is undergoing such an effort to tweak ship balances, it makes sense that they give this class a quick once-over. I'm looking forward to being able to say "I told you so," if and when they get around to looking at these ;)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Officially A Bad Person & A GCC Rant

After just five short days in Waffles, I'm already below -2.0, meaning I'm not allowed in 1.0 space. In my book, that makes me officially a "bad person," if the negative security status previously wasn't enough. And the kill that put me over the edge, you may ask? Total domination. I was out roaming in a Myrmidon, and came across this little beauty. He didn't even put up a fight. -2.0 killmail. Yup, that's one cyno frigate down. Nothing like a good fight to push you to a new milestone.

Going lower on the sec status scale has been something that I've been considering for a while now. I'm looking forward to going -10.0 in the coming weeks. Its mostly just a badge of honor, but its a nice one to have.

The only part that bothers me with the lowered security status is that it makes logistics a little bit more difficult (see: logging in an alt). Related to that is the fact that my Macbook is on its last leg here. I've had it for three years, and its pretty burnt out from so much Eve (oh, and that engineering degree that put hours upon hours of running Matlab). Anyway, after flying the Viator on my alt to get gear out here, I'm not too worried. On the other hand, my Viator fit only has 7.7k m3 of cargo space, meaning it can't even fly out a cruiser hull. I'll have to look into some other options for that. Regardless, I'm headed towards a nice, even -10.

Now, on to my GCC rant. I know I'm not the first person to say this, but GCC is just not a fun game mechanic. The other night when a gang disrupted our lovely little POS shoot, I aggroed one of the frigates that wasn't red to me, giving me GCC. Once their gang took off, we resumed the POS shoot. I didn't realize that going back to shooting the POS continues to extend the timer with every shot, effectively keeping GCC for as long as we were out there. To recap, besides the 15 minute timer, which is already too long, any aggression (even legal war decs) keeps restarting the timer. That doesn't make much sense to me.

Personally, I think GCC should be changed to five minutes after the last illegal aggression. Five minutes is more than enough time to get away from the bad people who shot you, but it doesn't waste a pirate's night waiting out GCC. Also, extending the timer for legal aggression doesn't make much sense at all to me. If you're going about business as usual, there's no reason to get more criminal flagging. I'm actually surprised this mechanic hasn't been tweaked by CCP in recent memory, but here's to hoping that does happen and soon.

Recruiting My Roommate

Settling into my new place IRL, I was chatting with my new roommate about Eve. He's a big time gamer, but had never taken part in our lovely little universe. On the first day we got down here I tried to sell him on it, but he refused, saying he had never really gotten into MMOs. "Just wait," I thought. Its been a little under two weeks, and I got him to fire up the client and log in the other day. Man, its a different take on the New Player Experience when you actually have a new player in front of you.

When he first logged on, the character creator was the first part that popped up, naturally. He'd never really been interested in creating characters in previous games and so he decided to randomize until he saw an option he liked. Then he got to the screen where you have to take a picture of the character and was amazed by the level of detail in facial expression. After a "Wow," he was back to the previous screen, making sure his character was done exactly how he wanted. Hooked already.

Once he got in game, I directed him towards the tutorial missions. He's generally been PvE focused in other games, and I told him that it would be a great way to learn general controls. Its pretty funny watching him buzz around in a Velator doing approximately 45 DPS. He's enjoying it though. He turned the graphics up to high and fell in love. I'm surprised that two things I take for granted (character creator and graphics) were two big selling points for him as a new player. As a side note, the one thing he hasn't liked so far is the general UI. Fair point.

I have to say, its been an experience for me so far, and I can't imagine what he's thinking. Questions like how do I warp and how do I train a skill are beyond foreign to me, but that's the level he's at. I think my biggest problem is trying to get him involved in too much. I want to get him set up with EFT/PyFa, Evemon and iPhone apps. I want to get him into Pvp. Its a bit frustrating for me because he's just not ready yet. Hopefully he can get it relatively figured out soon and I can take him out on a roam or at least point him in the right direction. Regardless, it could be a lot of fun having some more RL friends get hooked on Eve. Let's hope CCP's work on the NPE works like a charm this time.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wrapping up the POS Bashing

Tonight was another night in the Oracle cleaning up some of the space trash. Luckily, the Waffles & PL supplied some dreads to help drop the POS's coming out of reinforced. Its unbelievable how much quicker it is to take down a POS with Cap support. I pity anyone who has to do it any other way.

Everything was going smoothly for quite some time. On the third POS of the night for me, local spiked and in came a decent sized gang. Our fleet didn't have much in the way of light tackle given our mission, but we had to stick around to support the dreads. The enemy fleet got tackle on a couple dreads, so they went into siege and waited out their timers. Once this happened, our fleet was committed, at least for the short term. As the battle went on, we ended up taking down a large part of their fleet before they warped off. I was impressed to see the results. The dreads jumped out safely to a friendly cyno at the end of their siege cycle.We held the field.

Apparently there is only one more day of POS shooting left. After that, its on to actually targeting and violencing ships instead of towers for a while. I'm most certainly looking forward to that. I've racked up a few kills this week, but nothing really of interest. Its time to start getting back to basics. Looking forward to seeing what gangs the FCs are taking out this weekend and learning the ropes for real. My plan is to stick to tackle, bombers or battlecruisers to get my feet wet. I'm ready to go.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Joining SniggWaffe

Over the weekend, I applied and joined up with SniggWaffe. The Waffles are affiliated with Pandemic Legion, but from what I've gathered they don't directly fly together too often. No problem for me there. I want to jump into low & null and take fights where I can get them; I don't need to be actively flying with PL members all the time.

Not sure when I picked up the massive bounty btw

Why the change? For me it was pretty simple. RvB is great, but I needed something more. I'm not going to pay for multiple accounts so that I can smash Rifters into other Rifters forever. Again, that's no knock on RvB at all, but I want to upship and take on some bigger challenges.The question, then, was a matter of where. I'd known of SniggWaffe for a while, and saw on the forums that they were recruiting. As I've said before, I respect PL, so I decided this would be a natural choice.

Upon joining, I had to wait for forum access for comms, putting me a bit on the outside for fleets. I was still able to get on board for a good old POS bash though. All I had around was a Tornado, which does the job well but wastes a lot of ammo at the same time. I spent most of the weekend grabbing ships, shuttling them in via a Viator and fitting them. I'm glad to be mostly done with that part of the process.

A banana boat with Tachyons

Tonight we were still bashing POS's. Some we had to reinforce and some were coming out of RF, but it was pretty rough both ways. I did learn my lesson regarding the Tornado though. An Oracle with T1 ammo has no need to waste charges.  Its a fantastic POS take-down ship, which is just like being the best at winning staring contests... its really just not all that great.

I did manage to get in one good fight tonight, but sadly I was on the wrong end. A fleet mate and I split a gang across a gate and tried to take down a Sleipnir before getting the hell out of there. The isolation worked pretty well, but I botched a jump instead of a reapproach and got caught up. I neuted the Sleipnir and gave it everything I had, getting him into hull before I dropped. It certainly would have been a nice kill to start my time in Waffles. I think the pilot's direct quote in local was "I JUST PEED MY PANTS." Yeah, it was that type of close. Oh well.

Its been a very solid start to the new corp overall though. I'm well settled and ready to hit the ground running. The first deployment should be a damn good time too. The next task is finally getting the dust off of that Thanatos and getting it over here. Meanwhile, I'm hoping for some actual fleets instead of POS bashes (for at least some part of this week). Time will tell.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Boosting The Battle: Command Ships vs T3s

At this point, its pretty apparent that CCP is going through a large-scale rebalancing effort for all ships. As I've talked about in previous posts, I think its been very well done so far, with the exception of only Supercapital roles perhaps. One thing I'd like to bring up is the current roles of fleet boosting ships. I know that Rixx posted a piece on how he thinks off-grid boosting should be removed altogether, but I'm not going to argue either way on that issue. While off-grid boosting is still a part of the game, I think the balance between Command ships and T3's needs to be looked at.

Right now, Strategic Cruisers are much more effective at providing links. The easiest comparison to look at is the Loki & Claymore. With the Loki Defensive - Warfare Processor subsystem, the Loki gets 5% bonus to effectiveness of Skirmish Warfare links per level. The Claymore only gets 3% per level of Command Ships. Right off the bat, that seems like a problem to me. That's especially true given that the Defensive Subsystem skill is a 1x multiplier versus Command Ships 8x, and Command Ships require a much larger skill investment overall with Racial Cruiser and Battlecruiser V.

This isn't even the start of the problem though. Tech 3's are incredibly versatile. Anyone who is using a T3 as a pure booster (alt) will clearly set it up with the Covert Subsystem and likely an expanded probe launcher. This can easily be setup with 3-4 warfare links to boot, no problem. What you get out of that is an unbelievable advantage: a ship that can launch probes, cloak up, provide a warp-in and then GTFO and boost you to victory. That's a pretty awesome advantage for "solo" or "small gang" pvp.

The Claymore, on the other hand, has almost none of those advantages. It has the lower bonus for warfare links and none of the cloaky-warp upside. You can fit an expanded probe launcher on it, but it has no bonus for scan strength of probes or fitting requirements. It can field three warfare links without need for Command Processors, but the Loki has no problem tacking on two or three of those to get the links fitted. The only advantage currently to Command Ships is that you can fit these three links without gimping a combat fit. But with boosting as it stands today, very few people bring their link-fitted ships on grid anyway.

This whole deal doesn't seem quite right in my opinion. T3's should not outdo Command Ships in the role that CS's were designed for. Strategic Cruisers were meant to be a jack of all trades, not the ultimate ship for every task. The balance is clearly off.

What's the answer then? There are a few options. First of all, if RJ's proposition of ending off grid boosting goes through, the problem would solve itself in terms of balance between these classes. No one will leave a gimped Loki on grid to get primaried, but the Claymore (and other fleet command ships) can hold its own, especially with appropriate Logi to prop it up. But if those changes don't go through and off-grid boosting remains, the bonuses on these ships need to be changed to bring them in line. Either Command Ships need a buff or T3's need a nerf or maybe even both. A cruiser should not be beating a dedicated bonus-providing battlecruiser hull. No questions asked.

I hope CCP takes a look at this over the next few months (years?). Its not necessarily an overwhelmingly important fix, but the current situation is out of balance nonetheless. Give Command Ships back their rightful place in fleets and as off-grid alts!!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Three Years in Eve

My first character's three year birthday in Eve was two days ago, and I can't believe its been that long already. The best part is I'm having more fun now than I've had yet in Eve (Note: If you're a carebear, please, please, please go try PvP somewhere. It doesn't matter what form, just go freaking do it).

Let's recap the journey over the past year. I finally stopped being a little bitch and started shooting other peoples ships. I have just shy of 60M SP and just over 400 kills. Its nothing crazy, but I'm starting to come into my own, I'd say. Also, just like CCP's prediction regarding the three year mark for players, I shouldn't be going anywhere any time soon. I think I'll be in Eve as long as my schedule allows it and the game doesn't tank (dont mess this up, Dust 514).

What's next? I'm glad you asked because I have some goals for my next year in Eve. First and foremost, its about PvP. I plan on getting over 1000 kills lifetime, and hopefully over 1000 on the year. Its ambitious, but I want it. In line with that, I'd like to cross into Battleclinic's top 10,000 pilots. I'm around 40,000 right now, but I've been trending upward pretty rapidly. I'd also like to start FC'ing. I feel like its the logical next step in my internet spaceship career. I feel pretty confident that I could step into that role. I'll probably welp a couple of cheap fleets first, but I'll get there.

I suppose my last goal is monetary. I'd like to cross 20 billion in liquid isk. That might actually be the toughest on the list, especially as the more I PvP, the more isk I spend.The most difficult part about this one is just keeping motivated to log in and change orders regularly. I usually use that time to catch up on podcasts though, so life isn't too bad.

To wrap it up, cheers to my best year yet. Here's to year four being better still. No bitter vet syndrome here. See you in space.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Moar Ship Rebalancing

CCP rolled out yet another set of changes for ship classes. I'm beginning to feel like an old timer, thinking about back in the day when Merlins had missiles and the Navitas was a mining ship. Anyway, I can't really complain about many of the incoming changes to frigates. A lot of the lesser used (see: anything that is not a Rifter, Incursus, Merlin or Punisher) frigates are getting buffs or total re-designations. I'm not sure that all of the theory crafting that CCP is undergoing will make all of these ships useful, but I don't see much being detrimental. I'm almost going to miss my split weapon system (hybrid/missile) Tristan though. Just picked up a new batch from Jita today.

Mining ships are also getting tweaked a bit. It may sound ignorant of me, but in all honesty, I don't care very much. The buffs to the lesser used ships won't outpace the mining bonus for the Hulk, meaning we won't see a great change from the status quo. The one positive coming out of the mining rebalance is the introduction of an ORE mining frigate. Instead of having 4 very sub-par mining frigates, have one ORE specialized one. It makes perfect sense to me.

The last point CCP brought up in the Dev Blog was more Destroyer rebalancing. The Crucible expansion left the Thrasher and Catalyst well ahead of their counterparts, and there are apparently some changes inbound to balance the four. Hopefully that means a buff for the Coercer and Cormorant as opposed to nerfing the previous two. Also, CCP alluded to creating 4 new missile-based destroyers. Start training those rockets and light missiles.

Overall, I have to say CCP is on point with all of these changes once again, and believe me, its nice to say that. Happy anniversary of Incarna, by the way ;)  CCP is gunning for all ships to have a role somewhere. Right now, there are tons of ships we, as players, don't even dream of flying. It'd be great to see more variety on the field as opposed to Drake, Maelstrom, Abbadon, Tengu, & Hurricane. As long as CCP gets the balance right, its going to be a fun couple years to be an internet spaceship pilot.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Internet Returns!

After over 15 hours of driving and all of the setting up at the new apartment, I'm finally getting settled in. Here's a picture from my bedroom window.

Life Sucks

If anyone is in the Pensacola area, give me a yell to grab a beer sometime. 

Getting back to Eve business, I'm beginning to return to logging in regularly. My work schedule is going to be a bit erratic for about a month or so, but I should have plenty of time to log on and kill some Reds. RvB is really firing on all cylinders right now, and I can't wait to get back to business. 

On another positive note, the Alliance Tournament is coming up. CCP is replaying old AT's until the action begins on June 30. I'm looking forward to the action. I'm pulling for RvB (obviously) and PL. I have no affiliation with PL, but I respect their style and they're top notch Alliance Tournament veterans.

Lastly, I'm considering taking my main out of RvB and into null permanently. I want to fly with some competent fleets backed with Logi and some strategy as opposed to "Fit for DPS --> Fire the Weapons." I'd like to find a null corp with gangs of 5-25 pilots on all the time. Logistics in getting out there would be appreciated to. We'll see what pops up.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Learning From My Mistakes

In RvB, a small in-house tournament just got underway. Its 4 rounds of double elimination format, set up by one of the Blue FC's, Uclanchar. The rules are pretty standard: T1 frigs with all T1 fittings, ammo and drones. Any meta level is fair game. The tournament seemed like good fun and it is a pretty laid back format, so I threw 1M isk to Uclan for the entry fee and headed to Jita to fit a ship. To me, the ship choice was clear. After getting beat up by an Incursus a week ago, I knew that ship had the firepower I needed.

I modified the fit I posted earlier this week to all T1 stuff, most of it being meta 4. I'm not going to post the exact fit as the tournament is still going on, but let's just say that by dropping from T2 gear I had the ability to put a little something extra on the previous fit.

My opponent and I warped in on the anchor, both of us at zero. He was in a Tormentor. I don't think I'd ever fought one before, so I really wasn't sure what to expect. As it turns out, he had lasers and a nos. I engaged him with the full force of my blasters and my measly little Hobgoblin I, and I was pouring DPS. I got him below shields first, and he started repairing armor. Once he got me into armor, my overheated repairer was working like a charm. I took him down without too much trouble and didn't even cause any heat damage to the repper. Here's the killmail. Also, Uclan was kind enough to Fraps all of the fights from the anchor's perspective. It's nothing too special, but here it is.

Just as a side note, I love corp contests like these. I think its a blast for everyone involved. 0UCH used to run monthly FFA's and they were great for corp morale too. Looking forward to the next match.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Somer Blink: Utility Calculations

Disclaimer: In this post I'm going to use **MATH.** I don't mean to scare anyone away, but its something I wanted to delve into. Also, please correct me if I'm wrong on anything here.


At this point, most people have heard of Somer Blink. If not, its a lottery system using all in-game isk and it is run by a third party website. I've been intrigued by it for a while, and despite not being much of a gambler, I decided to give it a shot today. I threw in 250M isk to start, and figured if I lose it all, no big deal. I decided I wanted to calculate how many tickets I should buy. I started working on the math and then promptly got caught up in just blinking as much as possible. Out of the 250M I used to start, I got as low as 1.5M isk remaining. Then I won a few big ticket ships and got right back in the game. I'm currently sitting at 493M isk. At that point, I knew I was getting pretty lucky, so I wanted to actually run down the numbers for this lottery. The results surprised me.

To me, this looks like a classic problem in Expected Utility, which is a concept out of Economics and Game Theory. To be honest, I studied engineering, not economics, so forgive me if I've botched something along the way. Based on what I saw though, this is the formula for utility:

L = pA + (1-p)B

where L is the lottery's utility, p is the probability of option A, and 1-p is the probability of option B. To translate this to Somer Blink terms, the probability, p, is the number of tickets purchased divided by the number of tickets available. A is represented by the value of the ship minus the cost of the tickets purchased, and B is simply zero, since losing costs nothing (outside of ticket cost, which is already accounted for). So, our formula for Somer Blink is as follows:

L = (n/n_max)*A - n*bid

 By changing values of n (number of tickets bought) up to n_max (total tickets available for specific lottery), you can see the utility of each possible number bought. If we rearrange this equation, we get a very useful form for the utility. 

L = n * (A/n_max  - bid)

Very clearly, the utility is proportional to the number of bids. The question is whether or not the other quantity is positive or negative. As is almost certainly by design, I have yet to find a blink that has a positive quantity for the (A/n_max  - bid)  term. This means that utility is decreasing for every bid you place on an item. It also means that utility is negative for all n, indicating that there is no rational reason for you to bid ever
Taking a step back, this all kind of makes sense. If the lottery were set up so that you pay one eighth of the price of the ship, and there are eight slots, you have perfect odds. You should make your money back exactly (and by exactly, I mean statistically over time). Since this is a system where the bids are more than the respective share of the ship, you're supposed to lose over time. That's how Somer Blink makes isk.

There's one last important thing to note. You can buy enough tickets so that you automatically lose isk. Divide A by the bid price and round down to the nearest whole number. Don't be a dummy bidding to automatically lose money. 

What does this all mean? Probably not a lot at the end of the day. If you buy multiple tickets, you'll earn less when you win, but you stand a better chance at winning each individual blink. Like almost all lotteries, its not really what you'd call a good investment. On the other hand, someone still has to win, right? If you get lucky, then good for you and enjoy the ride. I've doubled my money already, why can't you? Best of luck.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Post-Inferno Incursus

The other day I was roaming about the Forge and wandered into RvB's FFA system. I'll poke my head in there sometimes, but its often unoccupied. I was in a trusty Rifter and feeling pretty cocky. I saw an Incursus jump through the gate and knew I had him from the start. I was doing everything right. I was keeping out by the edge of scram range to utilize my falloff versus his, overheating guns. When he got me into armor, I had my overheated small repairer ready to go. There was no way I was losing the fight.

TFirish3's Rifter was destroyed.

At first I was confused. I had him to low armor at one point and I was sitting pretty. After the fight, the pilot asked me how I was pumping out so much DPS without any damage mods. I'm pretty sure we both thought I had it. So what happened?

Inferno happened. I had forgotten all about the buff to Incursuses (Incursi?), and to Merlins for that matter. The previous bonus to falloff was instead changed to an armor repair bonus, and there was some more general tweaking. I fired up PyFa today to see just how strong the Incursus has become. Results are as follows:

[Incursus, Inferno Incursus]

Damage Control II
Small Armor Repairer II
Adaptive Nano Plating II
Nanofiber Internal Structure II

1MN MicroWarpdrive II
Warp Scrambler II
Stasis Webifier II

Light Neutron Blaster II, Federation Navy Antimatter Charge S
Light Neutron Blaster II, Federation Navy Antimatter Charge S
Light Neutron Blaster II, Federation Navy Antimatter Charge S

Small Hybrid Collision Accelerator I
Small Hybrid Burst Aerator I
[Empty Rig slot]

Hobgoblin II x1

Well that's quite a fit. I was able to pack on a full rack of neutron (most powerful) blasters, the full MWD/scram/web complement, and still had 4 slots in the lows to play with. The small armor repairer is a must-have for the solo/small gang option. After that, it was all about boosting resists and speed. With this little fit, the Incursus has 195 DPS, 57.5 HP/s repair, and goes about 3.3 km/s. On the other hand, that Rifter I lost has 126 DPS, 40.1 HP/s repair, and does about 1 km/s (Afterburner fit, still has room for MWD if desired). No wonder why I lost. That's one heck of a boost for the Incursus.

Needless to say, I'm eagerly awaiting the delivery from Red Frog Freight to Blue HQ in Liekuri. Its nice to see Gallente ships becoming useful again. Incursus, here I come.

Credit Where Credit is Due

We all know Eve is supposed to be a cold, harsh universe, and both the players and CCP have embraced that fact fully. Players have absolutely no problem telling CCP when they messed something up. In fact, we're coming up on the year anniversary of Incarna and the Jita riots (Incarna dropped June 21, 2011). I'd like to take a minute and actually commend CCP for all they've been doing recently though. Let's look at the trajectory.

This time last year, CCP was just about ready to give players a room that could fry GPU's, cause massive unsubs, and make players spend their in-game time shooting a statue. We were about 12 months into the legendary "18 months" of no spaceship iteration. They kept true to their word on that one, by the way, failing to do anything remotely significant for combat-oriented spaceships until Crucible. And then, of course, there was the "Greed is Good" publication. Can't forget that one. The best part about this ongoing fiasco was that  CCP had no clue what they were doing wrong. "Why don't you guys like the pretty room with the door?" It makes me shiver just writing about this.

Let's take a look at now. A year later, I think we have an almost entirely different CCP. Let's start with the releases: Crucible and Inferno. Please raise your hand if you had a problem with Crucible. I'm not holding my breath for any takers. In my opinion, all of the Inferno features are neutral at worst, with the exception of the unified inventory. Personally, I don't think that the UI is that bad. Its different, but not inherently terrible. Regardless, CCP committed to a very aggressive release cycle in order to rectify the issue, including two more releases over the next 2-3 weeks. Plain and simple, this would not have happened last year. Its an extremely positive step.

Another important factor that says great things for CCP is the CSM interaction. It appears that the CSM is being well utilized and the the summit was at least relatively successful. Even through strict NDA, Seleene and the rest of the delegates seem optimistic about the state of things. Again, this is a drastic contrast from CSM 5's open letter to the public and CSM 6's public opposition to CCP. The CSM is no longer fighting against, but instead defending CCP. They have no reason to be lap dogs, which therefore leads me to believe this is genuine.

The overarching theme is more communication and transparency. Look at Twitter for example. CCP devs are constantly chatting with players. The environment is laid back and friendly, but these people care. If you're interested in getting something done in game, it can't hurt to poke one of the devs on Twitter. The answer to requests is not always yes, but a lot of times its "Hmm interesting, I'll look into it." That's a nice start. A special shout-out goes to CCP Punkturis, who is arguably #tweetfleet's favorite dev.

Overall its just nice to see positive change. Before Crucible, I told my girlfriend that I was worried about the state of Eve and the impact Dust would have. I'm still a little bit apprehensive about Dust until more details come out, but Eve is most certainly going in the right direction. CCP still isn't perfect, but its nice to give credit where credit is due. To everyone at CCP, thanks for all of the hard work over the past year and keep it up!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

RvB Ganked 27: Kotuku

Ganked night is a tradition in RvB that takes a themed fleet out to nullsec and pretty much welps it into anything it can find. Despite being in RvB for the better part of a year now, I've managed to not make it out to a single one until today. I'm not going to make that mistake again. These fleets are awesome (and open to the public!).

The theme for Ganked 27 was missile ships in honor of the new launcher and missile effects on Tranquility. The fleet had tons of different ships: Drakes, Caracals, bombers of all types, and even a Raven or two. The fleet was over 80 strong to start. Personally, I decided to go with a typical nano Drake. I know that seems pretty boring, but I've actually never really flown them. Plus, what could be more appropriate for a missile themed roam? Here's the fit:

[Drake, Nano Drake]

Heavy Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Scourge Heavy Missile
Heavy Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Scourge Heavy Missile
Heavy Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Scourge Heavy Missile
Heavy Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Scourge Heavy Missile
Heavy Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Scourge Heavy Missile
Heavy Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Scourge Heavy Missile
Heavy Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Scourge Heavy Missile
Small Energy Neutralizer II

Experimental 10MN MicroWarpdrive I
Warp Disruptor II
Stasis Webifier II
Stasis Webifier II
Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
Large Shield Extender II

Ballistic Control System II
Ballistic Control System II
Nanofiber Internal Structure II
Nanofiber Internal Structure II

Medium Core Defense Field Extender I
Medium Core Defense Field Extender I
Medium Core Defense Field Extender I

Warrior II x5

The Ganked roams kick off from Rens, so I grabbed a fresh jump clone from Dodixie and fit my Drake. We set out through Great Wildlands. That entire region was pretty dead, but it was good to get new guys used to the large fleet movements. Next we headed into Curse. Not surprisingly it was a bit more active. A fairly large gang from Raiden kept after us. They first gave us a go by cynoing in from a Devoter. In came a Damnation, more Devoters, and a metric ton of Abbadons. Most of the gang was able to burn out, and we managed to get the initial cyno Devoter. I'm not sure how many we lost on the engagement. The Raiden gang followed us for a couple more jumps, but there was a similar result. I'm sure we lost a few, but we took out another Devoter. Most of the gang was able to burn out though.

At that point, we ran off towards a lowsec system for a quick break. We took 45 minutes off and formed up to hit it again. Numbers were still over 90 pilots for the second go. The gang snagged a Tornado on our way out towards Providence. A poor Hawk also jumped into the gang once we were in Providence, but I wasn't nearly quick enough to get on that mail.

As we pushed into CVA space, we found a small fleet of ratting ships. The fleet managed to snag an Apocalypse kill worth about 500M isk. A little faction pimped for a standard Apoc, huh? The interesting thing is that I actually flew for the same corp about a year ago when I was still a big carebear. Crazy how times have changed for me over the past year.

On the third leg of the trip, we set our eventual destination for HED-GP. At this point, I'd been missing out on a lot of kills because a Drake takes too darn long to lock and we had a lot of DPS still. Remind me to pack a SeBo for the next one. Anyway, the fleet size was still around 60+ pilots, which is great. We picked up some kills en route & made it to HED safely. Finally we drew the attention of a well-organized AAA gang. There were a couple of Machariels, some Cynabals, a ton of BCs, HICs and 4-6 Scimitars. Somehow I managed to get myself primaried and podded pretty quick. I didn't mind too much as it had been quite a long day of roaming, but I would have liked to kill something before I went down.

It was an awesome day all around though. Special thanks to Mangala for getting it together. Also, thanks has to go out to everyone in fleet for the great work all day, both in fighting and in the spectacular local spam, ranging from facts about the Queen of England to some softcore porn. I'll be seeing you at future Ganked events.

Gentlemen, The Queen.