Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Friday, 18 August 2017

Albion Online: Crafting numbers

Crafting generic items is generally done at a loss. Currently using 4359 silver worth of pine planks to make a T4 bow will give you a bow that sells for about 3000 silver.

You also get some planks back:

Resource return by Location:

Black Zone crafting station


Private/guild island: 0% (35% with focus)

Caerleon or other major city: 15% (45% with focus)

Black zone city: 20% (48% with focus)


Food buffs:  



You can improve crafting speed and quality by using food. This is a huge buff and you should always do it.

Bean Salad: +33% speed and quality for 5 minutes.

Turnip Salad: +66% speed and quality for 5 minutes.

Potato Salad: +100% speed and quality for 5 minutes.

Skills

The higher a crafter's skills the more quality and focus cost efficiency they gain. Each item has 2 skills that boost these attributes, the two furthest out on its spoke of the Destiny Wheel.

The base skill, the skill unlocking your crafting tiers starting with Tier 4 gives
+0.3 bonus focus cost efficiency and +0.75 increase in quality to all the items it shows in its window.

The specialist skills give
+0.3 bonus focus cost efficiency and +0.75 increase in quality to all the items in its weapon group.
+2.5 bonus focus cost efficiency and +6 increase in quality to the specific weapon. The artifacts specialisation applies to all artifacts of the weapon group.

For example:

Callduron is specialising in making Warbows.

16/100 Bow Crafter gives +4.2 bonus cost efficiency and +12 increase in quality when crafting all bows.

9/100 Warbow Crafting Specialist gives +3.3 bonus focus cost efficiency and +6.75 increase in quality while crafting all bows. It also gives +22.5 bonus focus cost efficiency and +54 increase in quality when crafting warbows.

The other bow specialisms are at 0 so I get no bonuses from them.



Maximum possible skill bonuses are + 400 focus cost efficiency and +975 increase in quality.


Putting it all together:

Max resource return: 48% (crafting in the black zone with focus).

Best crafting speed buff: +100% from food

Crafting quality: up to +975 from skills, +100% from food (I don't know how those stack). Using focus also gives a quality bonus.

Bonus focus cost efficiency: up to +400 from skills.


The life of a high level crafter then will be a matter of passively collecting your 10k focus per day, then using it to make highly lucrative x.3 or x.2 items which will bring a small profit if you get a low quality or make mad bank if the RNG gods give you Outstanding or Masterpiece quality. Actually you can probably find items that you make small profits on even without focus.

This places two soft constraints on a hardcore crafter:

- it's a big waste to do anything else with your focus.

- it's a big waste to do anything else with your learning points.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Albion Online: Gear set management

Playing on with this very addictive MMO. I'm now Tier 5 in my gear which while nothing exciting is solidly mid-pack.

I've realised that it's all too easy to suffer excessive financial setback through mismanagement of gear. In fact I just found out the hard way.

I joined a ZvZ group which is a Zerg v Zerg group for some open world pvp. In ZvZ gear doesn't matter that much. If there are 10 of you and 3 of them you win, if there are 3 of you (because you got separated or over-enthusiastic) against 10 of them you lose. Gear will tip an even fight but that's a relatively unusual circumstance.

When I died I had a moderately expensive mount on me (a T5 Armoured Warhorse).  Just silly not to swap it out. The zerg moves rather slower than the speed of its slowest member and as a healer I'm not out flanking in exposed positions. I should just stick with the group on a cheap horse as all fighting will be done on foot. Anyway not a bank-breaker and lesson learned.

So it's about gearing on the cheap.

For me that's this build.


Add t3 or t4 riding horse and you're fine for supporting a zvz. Possilby a gathering tool if you think you're likely to make it home with more than the value of the tool.

It's probably not true for tanks. If you're going to charge boldly in you probably need decent survivability from gear quality.

But for healers and dps I think it's better to have more uptime (ie I can carry on past 3 deaths) than higher quality. (I died, sorry guys, got to go.)

I don't think the same is true of gathering unless you're consciously going into dangerous zones. I do most of my gathering in the black zones just outside our friendly town. For me to get ganked they would have to manage to sneak multiple people between me and the safe haven of our town. I have multiple escapes on the gear plus it's really hard to close quickly on someone in the very cluttered forest terrain.

Here's my gathering gear:


Horse is a Tier 5 Armoured Warhorse.

Here's my expedition/fame farming gear.





The boots are a little behind the other armour types as I realised late that I wanted to wear Assassin's boots at end game so they're in my fame-grinding set.

One final point about gear in relation to consumables. A lot of people skip food and potions. This is an error of analysis. If you are playing in a context that is quite likely to kill you then it's all consumable. There's no point cheaping out on consumables when you can just use cheap ones as everything is just going to be lost sooner or later anyway. When you die every half an hour, a hat is just a consumable that gives you some stats and the Ice Block ability for 30 mins.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Albion Online: first fortnight

Albion Online launched about a month ago, the latest in a long line of games aiming to be a "fantasy Eve."

In Albion's case they seem to have struck closer to the mark than some of the previous attempts. There's a single shard server with a very interesting economy. There's a relationship between pvp, pve and crafting/gathering that's dynamic and engaging. We even have a Goon blob guild that is offending the elite pvpers.

If you want to know more about the basics then there's a ton of good beginner's guides on youtube.

I'm going to talk about my heavily sub-optimal start to the game.

Optimisation in this game is straightforward. Pick a thing, do it over and over. Dull but efficient.

I'm not wired that way so I've experimented with all kinds of things. I started as a Fire Mage, then turned into a Holy Priest simply by equipping a new staff. I can go back to being a Fire Mage at any time by equipping that weapon which is need.

Healing is fun in pvp and efficient in doing the game's pickup dungeons. I wait 30 seconds for a group as  healer compared to about 15-20 minutes if I do one as a fire mage.

I've also done lots of gathering with him.

I built a private island, then decided I'd put it in the wrong place and had to demolish it and start over. I'd definitely advise waiting a bit on the island until you're clear what you will be doing in the game.

I made a tank alt and a rogue alt. The classes are really fun and if you want to check out a different playstyle you just change your weapon.

Silver is incredibly impactful in the game and you can make alot of progress if you're wealthy.

The end game that I'm working towards is 5v5 pvp content. 5v5 fights are used to contest territory and the game world is a huge Risk map of conquerable zones. There are also special dungeons called Hellgates where you run a normal dungeon with mobs and bosses but the kicker is there's another 5 man party in there.

So far it's exceptionally fun, the only notable downside being a rather large amount of DDOS related downtime. Highly recommended and if you're an Eve player you may meet a lot of familiar names here.

Here's a video of some high level players having a laugh in a Hellgate.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

AT XV Villore Accords debrief

In Magic: The Gathering there's a concept of recognising when you're not the beat-down. You may have constructed your deck to get a fast start with plenty of cheap creatures aiming to finish an opponent quickly. However if your opponent has a similar deck and gets a better start you need to recognise that your usual aggressive tactics are wrong for this match and play defensively. You need to recognise you're not the beat-down.

Villore Accords met two close-range blaster set-ups in this tournament. We needed to kite, to minimise the time spent doing damage by the enemy blaster boats. We didn't get this.

Even, agonisingly, a situation developed in our second match where a whole bunch of enemy Brutixes etc were chasing but not catching a ship that was about 30km off them not doing any damage. All the pilot had to do was nothing - let his ship coast out towards the edge of the arena dragging the defanged enemy team behind him. Instead he decided to turn around and fly back into the happy wolfpack.

Now the key to this I think is practice. We practiced once or twice a week and our practices were not efficient in terms of matches played per time spent. I'd guess we were about 1.5 matches per hour which is not a lot when a match lasts at most ten minutes.

People were also getting tilted too easily in practices.

Let's now look at some positives. The practices and tournament games was very useful experience and we saw some sigificant  improvement in some players. I'd like to mention WubtheCook (our logi) and Malmar (frigate pilot) particularly. Ship fitting was  good (Ashley being a supremely gifted pyfa wizard) and doctrine theorycrafting was fine. It's the understanding of how the enemy's doctrine works that we didn't get and that's a very achievable goal for next year.

It was a ton of fun and I was very glad to be allowed to participate after I fell out with my former alliance just days before the cut-off.

Match 1: Villore Accords v United Federation of Conifers

Match 2: Villore Accords v SOLAR Fleet

Sunday, 18 June 2017

AT XV: The Draw, Villore Accord perspective

Alliance Tournament XV will be held over the course of four consecutive weekends starting on Saturday July 29 with the grand finals taking place on August 20.

Following last weekend's Feeder rounds we now have the draw for the tournament.

Here are the teams placed into a Tournament Bracket Generator. Unofficial but should be correct.

For my alliance, Villore Accord, this means our first match is against United Federation of Conifers.

Match 1: United Federation of Conifers

This alliance is new to the tournament and afaik so too are the players. They are definitely paying attention though because when Apothne mentioned them on some obscure podcast they got in touch with him.

They seem to be a group of pvp focused players using a low class wormhole as a base to raid across New Eden, mostly nullsec targets. Generally using small ships.

Top 3 pilots: Rye Zero, Sholto Douglas, Nai Nesealc

Top 3 ships: Jackdaw, Ferox, Republic Fleet Firetail

zkill

evegate

eve who

dotlan

Expected Mawderator  pun: it's a needle match.

-------


 Match 2 will be against the  winner of SOLAR Fleet v Salt Farmers if we win or against the loser of that match if we lose. So let's examine these two.

Match 2: Either SOLAR Fleet

SOLAR Fleet are a major Russian alliance living in the Drone Regions. They have played in many ATs and almost always do badly.  They played Villore Accord last year and it was a strange match. VA warped in too close and seemed certain to be punished for it as SOLAR brought double  Vindicators.  SOLAR then managed to fly their Vindicators so  badly that they couldn't track and thus succeeded in snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

SOLAR are very experienced with all types of ships up to and including titans. They  also have many years' worth of AT. They haven't been able to translate that into any AT success yet but maybe this could be their year to come  strong. I feel they're one FC short of becoming a solid team, perhaps Mactep needs to let someone else run the team.

Top 3 killers: Olaf Tarkka, elita force, Stine Hakkari

Top 3 ships: Cerberus, Stiletto, Rapier

zkill

evegate

eve who

Dotlan

Expected Mawderator pun: not a  stellar performance from SOLAR Fleet.

Match 2: Or Salt Farmers

Salt Farmers are a German low sec group based in Okkamon in Black Rise. Their killboard shows most of their kills come from gatecamping their whole system but they also run nightly roams.

Top 3 killers: Front242 Ellecon, Demoleon Delwargin, Scramma

Top 3 ships: Svipul, Kestrel, Jackdaw.

zkill

evegate

eve who

dotlan

Expected Mawderator pun: Villore Accords farming salt as they send their opponents to the losers' bracket (I hope!) 

Match 3:

Win, Win, sees us play the most successful from Phoebe Freeport Republic, Ghost Legion. It's Only Pixels and Pen Is Out. I think Ghost Legion. which is based around Fafer and some other PL AT veterans is the most dangerous. They clinically despatched Phew 100-0 in the Feeders.

Win, Loss sees us play the winner of (loser of NC. v Razor) and (loser of Shadow Cartel and Of Sound Mind). Equally likely to be Razor, Shadow Cartel or Sound. Very unlikely to be NC.

Loss, Win sees us play the loser of SOLAR v Salt Farmers and beat them then play the loser of (NC.  v whoever wins the Shadow Cartel v Of Sound Mind match). I'd expect to play the more successful of Shadow Cartel and Sound.



---------- 

Match 4:

I won't go through all the permutations but if we win our first three games we'll probably get a chance to knock Pandemic Legion down into the Losers' Bracket ;)

Saturday, 27 May 2017

AT level up: A beginner's guide to Look At on opposing ships

I'll be doing a series of gameplay posts in the run up to AT XV that aim to explain a simple feature or technique that will help some people play better. I'm shamelessly borrowing the phrase "level up" from LRCast, a Magic: The Gathering podcast and community.

First is a guide on how to use Look At.

This is principally used by AT players to assess the opposing comp and determine how it will apply damage. This can often give crucial information to AT Fleet Commanders, for example you probably want to move in on a setup using long range weapons and move away from a comp using high damage close range weapons.

1. We will be using a third party Eve fan site called, rather charmingly, Caldari Pony Club.

2. It's slightly easier to have two screens. Possibly a PC and a phone may work. Alt-tabbing is ok if you can't set that up.

3. The time between when you first have intel on your opponents' comp and when the match starts is about 120 seconds. This is valuable time that you can use to gain small advantage if you use it well. Among other things checking their fits visually is a valuable use of this time.

4. Pick up your opponents on D scan and put the ship type you want to check into the Caldari Pony Club search with a weapon system it is bonused for.

5. In Eve Online, look At the ship you wish to check on one screen. On Caldari Pony Club look at the likely weapon types.

6: Example: Typhoon:




Cruise Missiles

Rapid Heavy Missile Launchers - not there so we'll look at RLMLs instead which should be pretty similar, if a bit less chunky.

Torpedos.

In this example it's actually a little hard to tell Cruise from Torpedos when they're not firing but if you use the Fire All Turrets anination on Caldari Pony Club you will be able to confirm definitively early in the match when they start firing.

7. Example II: Vigilant.




The hull isn't in the drop down so we'll use Thorax, which is the  base hull, instead.

Rails

Blasters (we have to use small blasters as Heavy Neutron Cannons are not in the drop down.

8. Relay the information to the team. I recommend using fleet chat as the FC may need to explain tactics verbally during these critical seconds.



Summary: it's not perfect, sometimes the exact hull or weapon won't be in the list but there's enough visual information there that you should be able to be confident what class of weapons are on your opponents' ships.