Friday 29 January 2010

Eve Online: Goonageddon, Part Two

On Tuesday 26.1.10 the rent for Tactical Control Units (TCUs), the structures that determine sovereignty on 0,0 systems, seeded by CCP with the Dominion expansion became due. Some Alliances had taken care of the bills in advance, some were prompted by the eve-mail three days before, some had enough money in the correct Corporate wallet division to cover the costs.

Three alliances were too disorganised to pay and sovereignty dropped in some of their systems. For the Goons, the largest alliance in Eve at the time, this triggered a failure cascade that led to them abandoning their space empire to their old rivals: Bob, now known as the IT Alliance.


"at 04:06 eve our batch of Sov bills came due to be paid automatically from the Master Wallet. Master Wallet had ~282m in it at the time and first bill(but QY6) was paid leaving ~30.5m in the wallet at which point the rest bounced and CCP is a harsh fucking mistress. at 04:18 it looks like someone went 'oh shit' and dumped a bunch of isk into the wallet but i guess by that time it didn't matter." (Dramaticus, SA forums)

Over the next ten hours -A-, Sys-K and IT aggressively attacked the TCUs in the vulnerable systems while some Goons tried valiantly to slow them down. Unfortunately it seems a number of Goons assumed it was a bug that would be rolled back and so didn't contribute to the defence. In their defence a similar bug had recently affected CVA, an Amarr roleplaying alliance, and that did get rolled back.

It's like sport. In sport players are coached to play to the whistle, even if they feel they've been fouled. Because if you stop playing and the ref doesn't concede the foul it can be disastrous.

On the other hand a lot of Goons would argue that if you have to play, especially a stay up all night call to arms type operation, when you're pretty sure it's all going to get rolled back then you're taking the game far too seriously.

Those ten hours proved crucial because of two factors, both eerily reminiscent of the fall of BoB described by the Mittani on Ten Ton Hammer. Goonswarm docked most of their capitals at a single station, as it turned out in one of the systems made vulnerable when the bills went unpaid. This is just what BoB (then called KenZoku) had done a year earlier, docking hundreds of capital ships in PR-8CA, a system Goonswarm were able to cut off, trapping the ships.

As Manfred says "We had decided that the Primary targets overall had to be J-LP and NOL-M9 the former being Goons capital staging point and the latter being there subcapital staging point and main market hub."

This allowed the invading forces to trap a large enough proportion of Goonswarm's resources that defence of Delve ceased to be a viable option. 

To their credit the Goon leadership reacted decisively: they gave a State of the Goonion address announcing they would pull out of Delve and move back to Syndicate. "It now resembles Haiti, except that it is Haiti busy being invaded by the Chinese and several other great powers". Also very creditably they prioritised the extraction of the resources of individual members rather than corporation assets. They're planning to get the Alliance assets out with spies later on. They may not be able to recover 300 billion isk which is in a corporate wallet only available to CEO Karttoon (on holiday, and possibly unaware of this whole fiasco) and CFO Niart Epar (bored of Eve and not playing any more, although there's a conspiracy theory that he was actually a deep undercover spy achieving a masterful piece of destructive meta-gaming).

This is without doubt a much better option than hanging on in a bitter unwinnable defensive war. It puts the Goons in a position where they will probably win any fights and it positions them close to their major 0,0 ally the Northern Coalition.

It radically changes the picture in Syndicate, described recently by Bozokast as being full of timid players. Syndicate will become absolutely deadly to smallish corps who are not great at pvp so expect many of them to relocate.

It's not known whether the Goons will collectively decide to hold territory again. It's perfectly possible to base yourself at a NPC station in 0,0 so you can never really be denied access to your stuff except in the very short term. Basing out of stations prevents you from securing safe private isk-farming belts and moons but makes you impossible to attack. It changes the gameplay to shooting ships (generally regarded as great fun) instead of shooting POSes (player owned stations, generally regarded as not great fun).

I think Goons will take some territory, simply because it is such a large community that many of them will want it even while a lot don't. They may wait a while before emerging however. They will be able to rat and mine in the Northern Coalition's space.

Logistically it's very hard for the alliances which have defeated them in Delve to threaten the Goons in Syndicate (unless they also relocate entirely). Travel is slow in Eve and the two regions are far apart.

It is very likely that most of the alliances in the North will band together against the Goons and the Northern Coalition. Or desperately try to blue them (set them blue, ally with them). Goons won't want to blue too many people as they will want someone for their members to shoot.

Is it the end for Goonswarm? Absolutely not. Many individuals will quit. Some Goon pet corps will leave the alliance. Some Goons who had quit Eve because it had got boring will come back to enjoy the fiasco and the less POS-based playstyle. But there's an awful lot of Goons in Eve and some of them clearly view this as a positive, something that has made a dull space warfare phase of Goons winning segue into a hilarious disaster phase of things going wrong in comical ways. Goons love forum drama and I'm sure the GF forums are highly entertaining now and will be for some time.

What it does mean is that a lot more Goons will enter Star Trek Online than would otherwise have been the case. How Cryptic cope with an army of disruptive and anarchic players looking for people to annoy will be quite interesting. They may have to go the Funcom route of wholesale bannings.

Further reading:

Something Awful, the Eve Online public thread, now elegantly renamed Come here to laugh at Eve Goons who can't pay things on time.

Scrapheap Challenge Delve - Querious reports

Eve official forums Sir Molle's gloat thread, filled with IT members bragging "tonight we dine in NOL".


State of the Goonion, Weds 27/1/10

Eve Online: Goonageddon, Part One

On Tuesday 26.1.10 the rent for Tactical Control Units (TCUs), the structures that determine sovereignty on 0,0 systems, seeded by CCP with the Dominion expansion became due. Some Alliances had taken care of the bills in advance, some were prompted by the eve-mail three days before, some had enough money in the correct Corporate wallet division to cover the costs.

Three alliances were too disorganised to pay and sovereignty dropped in some of their systems. For the Goons, the largest alliance in Eve at the time this triggered a failure cascade that led to them abandoning their space empire to their old rivals: Bob, now known as the IT Alliance.

I present to you here a fascinating account by one of the invading Alliance leaders.

Dearest Filthy Killers;

I just awoke from some sleep after what has been one of the most amazing days of Eve I have ever experienced. It all begun on monday when our Titans and Supercarriers warped boldy onto the field in D-G to take down the jammer. What proceeded to happen over the next 30 hours was pure chaos and ecstasy in motion.


Mon 25

19:00 -19:10 Titans & Supercarriers take down D-G jammer

19:10 -21:00 Friendly forces bridged into D-G from multiple titans. During this time multiple skirmishes and pos bowling happened in D-G. Hostiles will to fight was destroyed.

21:00 - 22:00 Several hostile POS destroyed in system.

22:00 -23:00 D-G Station placed into 2nd RF with no opposition.

23:00 - 23:59 WD-VTV hostile I-HUB and TCU destroyed with no opposition. We then went to 9KOE and killed a hostile tower that had just exited reinforce.

Tues 26

00:00 - 03:30 Small skirmishes by roaming gangs in and around D-G. I was watching system and had been stalking a few carriers as they began to rep POS modules. I DD'd one thanatos and killed it and called for light support to come assist in bumping the other back out of the pos as several titans were logging in for some fun.

Pesky Supercarriers wanted some action as well and Provi-Blob had a nice BC camp all in a nice little ball on the F9E gate in a bubble. So with carriers on standby in GE and scouts reporting all clear. I unleashed 3 Supercarriers to go eat the BC gang. As they landed they started smartbombing claiming 20+ kills in under 20 seconds. Provi-Blob sensing blood called for backup and then the fight was on. Our supercarriers were bubbled well but tanking fine killing hostiles at a rate of 2-3 per minute. Then word was recieved that Goonswarm was moving a 50 man BC gang in this direction. I issued the order for supercarriers to leave the field but they were very tackled by HIC's and dictors.

Knowing that situation could turn into a problem very quickly a warpin was setup and 4 titans came in and DD'd hictors to free our supercarriers. Boom Hictors down I told supercarriers to warp and as I did a bubble was dropped on Lordmordred's Wyvern as the other 2 escaped. Mordred was calm and insured that his tank and cap was holding fine but Phreeze had just entered D-G local. Goons jumped and started pounding our now lone single supercarrier. So I warped my rapier in ontop of Mordred and lit a cyno bringing about 8 carriers in to help spider tank and clear more tackles.

Within 5 minutes the carriers and supercarriers were able to loose the Wyvern and it broke free into warp. At this point I had been podded and decided to go get my carriers as 10 more carriers were also ready to jump into the fight. Virtuozzo lit a cyno and in we poured with more carriers warping instantly to the field. One of our carriers a thanatos piloted by Therik was primaried and even though being spider tanked by 7 other carriers had fallen to 40% armor. As the new carriers joined the field we stabilized our spider tank. But local was now almost 300 with almost 200 being hostile.

What proceeded next was amazing. Here we were 20 tackled carriers fighting 200 hostiles. We aligned to the planet where our POS was and started to take down targets. No matter how many we killed it seemed more appeared. Sometime during this bloodbath a friendly pulse Zealot made it onto the field which the carriers made sure to keep alive. For the next 20 minutes we butchered the hostile force. The field now littered with wrecks and almost all hostile dictors and hictors dead our senses told us that we should take our leave and warp out to the POS while we could.

Sure enough not but a moment or 2 later after our carriers left the field hostile capitals warped in. At this point all hostile dictors had been killed and the collecting swarm of titans had grown jealous of our fun and shenanigans. Virtuozzo made a warpin targets were assigned carriers and supercarriers aligned in case we needed to bail out our boomsticks. Whoosh 5 titans warped to a spot far off the F9E gate. DD fired was repeated by all of the titans followed by warping out by all as well. We giggled and took some relief after what had been a 4 hour running battle.

185 killed for 4 losses (6 capitals killed). GO US TZ!!!

04:00 - 11:00

After taking carriers back to GE and relaxing what seemed to only be a few seconds a "Source" contacted me and was very excited. " Goons just lost SOV everywhere" he said. At first I was shocked and figured it to be a troll he had bit on. Insistently he proclaimed " Sov is down GOONS are SHITTING themselves" . I ordered up a few scouts to burn over to Querious and verify this was true.

"OMG GOONS HAVE NO SOV TCU AND IHUBS ARE ANCHORED" scouts reported. I quickly started yelling on comms and chats alerting as many people as I could. Pinging jabber " Goons Sov is down get in FLEET". Ships were swapped to BS > FSI > Dictors as I scrambled to assemble the fleet and move it to 4-07. As this was going on I was locating TCU's and preparing to go in and start taking out TCU's. I contacted SysK as well as getting on IT teamspeak and going from channel to channel waking them up and instructing them to get there alliance awake and in fleet. All the while im nudging people on MSN and pinging away at jabber.

We moved to H74 and took down the TCU and started to online one of our own. After that we raced all over Querious killing TCU's and getting dropped on by 40 Goon carriers that were hellbent on stopping us. We would get a TCU into deep armor and then Goons would drop a carrier blob on us and we would have to withdraw for lack of numbers. By this time IT and SysK were getting fleets up and moving. Only 2 problems SysK's fleet was small and underpowered and IT's fleet was being blockaded in 1-SMEB by a 150+ Goon fleet. All of us were speaking and we all decided to press on as this opportunity was to great to give up on. AAA would continue to run around and inflict as much damage while SysK moved on T-PAR. IT continued to battle Goons and keep them fixated on trying to stop IT from reaching NOL.

I swear ive tried to remember the exact order of where we went and which TCU's were killed but it escapes me. I was tired as hell and running on pure adrenaline. But we made progress Goons would hotdrop and we would bail to another system and continue pounding TCU's I was in multiple convos getting TCU's sorted and freighters moving to acquire IHUB's. All the while orchestrating moving new gangmembers and ammo resupplies in from various points.

Finally someone got Molle out of bed and he answered my MSN. Next thing I know he was in game and working to build numbers. Liam from SysK had a harder time of getting adequate numbers and to make matters worse ZAF was blockading TCAG with a medium sized gang and carriers. He eventually was able to break the camp and get to TPAR but it cost his ships and precious time. Omg was time prescious because everywhere were little timers of onligning TCU's that Goonswarm scrambled to get back up and online. To make matters worse some of the TCU's we killed had been replaced by new ones but they were anchoring at POS's. At one point we reshipped many people into Logistics so that we could deal with killing TCU's at hostile POS's

Molle Liam and I were constantly speaking with eachother in a groupchat with other FC's scouts and " Intel Sources" collecting and reporting hostile movements size and etc. We had decided that the Primary targets overall had to be J-LP and NOL-M9 the former being Goons capital staging point and the latter being there subcapital staging point and main market hub. Terciary to this was I1Y and H74 for AAA ( logistical points for Querious Delve Period Basis ) and TPAR for SysK to facilitate attacks and staging. Liam was now in TPAR but Molle was still blocked but his numbers were growing.

I dropped what we were doing and moved our fleet to J-LP and started working on the TCU to only be dropped by Goons Carrier blob. We managed to kill the cyno but the AAA fleet was only about 90 strong at that point. We withdrew next door to F-T and killed the TCU there. Scouts reported that Goons carrier blob had left J-L and it was now mostly clear. It should be noted that Goons were basically moving a carrier blob all over there space attacking SysK IT and AAA to try to stave our attacks. Unfortunately for them we understood the tactic and decided that we had 3 fronts and they could only stop progess in 1 of the 3 at a time.

With the F-T TCU down we moved back into J-L and shot the TCU. As the TCU got to about 25% Armor a new cyno was lit at a POS in line with planet 9. I issued orders for dictors to move 90km in the direction of planet 9 from the TCU and keep dictor bubbles up. I ordered the fleet to align away from planet 9 and to " Throw every bit of DPS you have at this TCU now". This system was crucial to get control of Molle was blockaded Liam was in Period Basis we had no help or backup it was on us to get it down. In came the Goon carriers "YES" our dictors caught them in the bubbles and out of rep range of the TCU as the TCU was getting into hull. I can only imagine the panic and disappointment Goons felt watching there TCU slowly drop to deep structure damage powerless to do anything to stop it as they were trapped in our dictors web of bubbles. I felt bad for them for a split second as im sure they were feeling there space and power slide out of there grasp. Then I came to my senses and we BBQ'd that TCU and warped off in a chorus of cheer.

We moved on with no waste to the next system with a onlining TCU. The process was as simple as warpin shoot align to something and go to the next as soon as the TCU died trying to preserve every second of time. We made it to our 3rd system after J-L and started to shoot the TCU. Molle exclaimed " We broke through and are in NOL but Goons just dropped caps on us to try to stop us can you get here?" . I told everyone to pull drones and put a scout ahead and we burned for NOL . As we reached PR- we found a Rebellion BS gang of about 30 trying to block us. They retreated into NOL and we followed. We jumped in and engaged killing some as they tried to escape and I ordered our scout " Get me a fucking warpin on those caps".

By the time we got on field and loaded grid there were only 10 or so caps left we proceeded to butcher them while Molle kept cynoing more and more dreads and titans to the field. We reposistioned once moving in close range to some Goon/Rebellion BS that came in as a last ditch effort to turn the tides. Killing them and the last caps dieing we warped out to the TCU being joined shortly after by the entire IT capital ans subcapital fleet burning the NOL TCU down with only a few minutes left for Downtime. We killed it with 5 minutes to spare and I decided to try to move towards 49-U to regroup after downtime. Sadly we only made it as far as 319 and the order was issued to dock up and wait for downtime to pass.

12:00 - 19:30

After downtime we quickly formed back up and moved down the pipe towards 49-U stopping otw in 2 systems to kill more TCU's The second one should be noted we killed with less than a minute before it finished onlining. Realizing that we couldnt kill anymore TCU's we moved people back who could get in dreads and recruited more new gang members as well. While this was going on Molle was working to kill J-L's 2nd TCU that Goons had ninja'd up and Sysk had killed the TPAR and 1 other TCU. We got capitals and BS moved to I1Y and proceeded to kill the IHUB and then go siege the station. I have to say that stations have a ridiculous amount of hitpoints and with only 20 dreads a few assorted carriers and 30-40 BS it took us a hour and a half to shoot the station all the way down to 0 structure. During this time freighters were moved in and we got a IHUB anchoring and onligning in I1Y.

PPN got the killing blow on the station in I1Y and got a station manager over to setup station timer revoke cloning contracts and rename it to a fitting name. I1Y Evil Thug Memorial FUCK YES I thought. We restronted dreads and then moved everyone to ED-L9T where this process was repeated in less time due to growing numbers but nevertheless still seemed like a eternity. As this was going on Molle was killing random Goons trying to escape with assets including a Jumpfreighter. Rebellion moved a 100 man BS gang to tpar along with 20 carriers to try to stop SysK from getting there TCU online. SysK's fleet was pretty small as Liam had told 200 of his pilots to log in D-G the night before. We were working to bridge them out with a AAA titan as they logged in but it was clear the Period Basis front would collapse if not bolstered. We were in siege in ED-L9T and werent able to move to help SysK so IT luckily had just came out of siege 1 capital jump away. Molle volunteered to jump his 200 capitals into TPAR to stave off the counter attack of Rebellion. Liam took 10 carrier losses and heavy subcapital losses protecting the TCU till IT was able to come in with the calvary and butcher Rebellions fleet making them flee.

At this point we finished ED and VVS had won the station but didnt have someone to take care of the station there so they turned the station over to Havoc. As a joke I renamed the station ED FIX HQ and this got some giggles. The best part of the whole day though was Evil Thug hoppin on Teamspeak to see what we had all been up to. It was reported to him that we with BOB and SYSK were burning Querious Delve and Period Basis to the ground. We also let him know we captured I1Y and named it in his honor. This was a moment of personal satisfaction and gratitude to all of you that we have been able to come alive and work so well together. Capturing that station and naming it in Thugs honor was one of the things I think I will be most proud of in Eve.

After ED was finished we moved onto H74 to kill the IHUB and then back to Catch to prepare for our CTA in D-G. I was tired and had been FCing for 26 hours straight at this point. I turned the fleet over to Nighthawk Virtuozzo and Xero and proceeded to stumble to my bed and fall fast asleep. I dont know the exact details of what happened in D-G but judging by the killboard we WTFPWND Proviblob and killed the IHUB.

I want to say thank you to everyone in this alliance who has gone out of there way to show up get in fleet and to never run out of desire to kill and burn everything we see. Special thanks go out to all the FC's scouts and logistic teams we have been moving at a hurried pace and you all make things so much easier. I cannot express enough the gratitude I have for you all.

Source: originally posted on the Atlas Alliance forums.

Tuesday 26 January 2010

Eve Online: A guide to attributes

Eve's attributes do one thing only - they reduce the time it takes to learn skills.

Skills are an important element of an Eve character. In addition to having a benefit (like 5% more damage or some such) they are prerequisite to equipment and ships and serve as the game's "gearscore", a system by which other players will judge you.

The attribute system takes a lot of strategising to optimise. The reason you want to optimise is because people will look at you and go "woo, a 20 million skill point character, he can join our elite corp" as well as to be 5-10% better at killing/mining or whatever you do in the game.

The basics of how the system works are on the Eve wiki so read them through before continuing with this blog post. Be careful though - the article is out of date and the stuff about Bloodlines is redundant and remaps are once a year now instead of once every 6 months. This page is brief but up-to-date.

A downloadable addon that tracks your skill development is available here: Evemon

The way I think about attributes usually is points over the minimum. If you look at Attributes in game in your character sheet window you will get an option to Remap and a display of the points assigned. For each stat there are 4 points in white, you can't move these. You also can't move one of the green ones. So every stat has at least 5 plus whatever you add by training up Learning skills like Instant Recall. The points after this, the ones that can be moved total 14. So you could put 7 in Int and 7 in Mem and be good at learning Int/Mem skills as well as Mem/Int skills. Or you could go 10 Int, 4 Mem and be perfect at learning Int/Mem.

For each skill (full list here) there are two attributes. Add your value for the first attribute to half the second to get a score for how good you are. So if you are 10 Int and 4 Mem you are 10+2 = 12 for Electronics skills. 12 is the best in this system, the worst is 0 which means you put your bonus points in attributes that don't help the skill you're training.

Remapping strategy is all about keeping this number high as it's the main variable. Sure, you learn your attributes skills and place implants in your head but that's kinda obvious and everyone does it. Finessing your remaps takes a lot more thought.

There are four phases to consider with a new character's remaps:

Phase 1: before you remap anything. Train skills that you will need immediately but which don't get benefit from your first remap. So if you plan to first remap to Mem/Int then consider Per, Cha and Wil skills that you may not want to do without for a few months.

Phase 2: first remap. Generally most people are going to want to remap to learning skills. It makes a lot of sense to get your learning skills out of the way early because that way you get maximum benefit. No sense in training up a load of ship skills and then training Spatial Awareness (which lets you learn ship skills faster) afterwards. So I recommend Mem 10 Int 4 or Mem 7 Int 7 or Mem 4 Int 10 for this remap. Go Mem heavy if you want to focus on Learning, Corporation Management, Industry and Drones over Electronics, Engineering, Mechanics, Navigation and Science. It's not a bad idea to keep time down for this phase since it's beneficial to you to get the remap clock ticking by taking your second remap.

Phase 3: second remap. Probably Per/Wil. Everyone needs to learn to fly a range of different ships and most people need to learn weapons. Most combat skills are in this category.

Phase 4: third remap. This is not available until one year after you clicked the second remap button. In fact you may find that you want to stay Per/Wil for a while and get your guns, missiles and ship skills to where you want them before you remap away from Per/Wil. Most 0,0 alliances will expect you to fly a fairly wide range of different ships so check the requirements of some of the corps you are interested in before you remap. For this remap plan a whole year's skills out since it will be a year before you can remap again.

Remember the goal is to be operating as close to a perfect 12 score as you can all of the time.

Here's an example:

New Amarr pvp pilot.

Phase 1. So, what skills are not Mem or Int based and are essential right away? I'm expecting phase 2 to take around 2 months so I will train up some skills I really don't think I can live without. I decide to take Amarr Cruisers to 3 and Medium Lasers to 3 so I can at least shoot a bit. I also like to be able to pick up cheap ships since I expect to get loads blown up so I take Retail and Trade to 2 so I can place adequate Buy Orders.

Phase 2. Mem +4 Int +10 I really want to get my Learning skills out of the way fast so I can get to an impressive skill point total after about a year. There are also a lot of highly useful support skills.

First I get Learning, the low end attribute skills, Eidetic Memory and Logic up as well as Cybernetics for some implants to make it all go faster. (The other 3 learning skills - Clarity, Focus and Presence - are better learned when I'm Per/Wil). Then I grab some of the most useful pvp skills:

Electronics (Int/Mem)
Cloaking - if planning on Covert Ops, 1 for the basic cloak, 4 for the better cloak.
Electronics - fit more modules on your ship, really important skill that is quick to get to level 5.
Electronic Upgrades - prereq for many modules as well as Covert Ops ships
Long range targeting, Targeting, Signature Analysis - better locking, worth taking to about 3. Signature analysis 5 is needed for Recon Ships.
Propulsion Jamming - saves cap costs on modules you are likely to be using extensively early on. You need this to 2 for tech 2 warp scramblers and disruptors or 4 for tech 2 webs
Target painting - maybe useful in a dps role, worth a point or two.
E- War skills - probably not good for a newbie because you will get targeted first if you fly an e-war ship. Always going home in your pod isn't going to be much fun early on.

Engineering (Int/Mem)
Engineering - fit more stuff on your ship. Worth taking to 5 early on.
Energy Management and Energy Systems Operation - more cap. Take to 3 or 4, you run out of juice a lot early on.
Shield skills - this Amarr pilot can skip

Industry (Mem/Int)

Mechanic (Int/Mem)
Get basic rig skills for Tech 1 rigs. For Amarr you probably want Armour, Laser and Cap rig capability. Forget tech 2 rigs for now - they're very expensive.
Hull Upgrades is good and is a prereq for many modules including plates. You need this at 4 or 5.
Mechanic - not a useful bonus and not needed as a prereq for basic pvp gear. You can leave this at 3.
Repair systems - don't go mad on this. Early on a buffer tank is much much better than an active tank. This is because generally you will die fast. So having 15k effective hit points is much better than having 10k hit points and being able to repair 5k a minute. 2 or 3 is all you need.
Salvaging - noob cash cow. Level 1 or 2 is fine.
Armour Compensation - very strong skills that add a lot of effective hit points. Get them all to 3 or 4.
Nanite skills - just repair in a station after you overheat.

Navigation (Int/Per)
Everything except the Jump skills is worth taking to at least 3. Evasive maneuvring 5 is required to pilot Interceptors.

Science (Int/Mem)
Thermodynamics - a key pvp skill. Early on you will almost always want to overheat your modules in your life and death fights. Gives a significant edge.
Cybernetics - 1 for +3s, 4 for +4s (about 100 million isk a full set), 5 for +5s (about 500 million isk a full set).
Astrometrics - get all 4 related skills to 3 or 4 if you want to hunt people down or skip and go straight for damage skills instead. If you go for Covert Ops you should take these skills - your ability to find people and go sit on them will be a key factor in your fleet killing stuff. Many people have separate cov ops alts so they can bring a fighting ship along too.

Drones (Mem/Per)
Before learning Drone skills it's best to learn a few points of Clarity. This is supoptimal for Clarity but boosts your drone learning.

Drones - a number of skills require Drones to a certain level as prereq:
1: Scout Drone Operation.
3: Combat Drone Spec,
4: Durability, Navigation
5: Racial Drone types, Interfacing, Sharpshooting

To taste here. If you are flying Battleships it's very useful to be able to deploy Warrior IIs (Scout Drone Operation 5, Minmatar Drone spec 1, Drones 5). They are a great defence against small ships.

On the other hand you're not really optimised for drones so nothing wrong with just taking Drones 1, Scout Drone Operation 1 and moving on. (Bear in mind that you will probably never be optimised for drones - there just aren't enough drone skills to make it worth remapping to Mem/Per for a full year).

Phase 3: Per +10, Wil +4

Perfect 12 score for Gunnery, Missiles and most Spaceship Command skills as well as the Learning skill Clarity. 9 score for most T2 ships. This may also be a good time to take a little Focus and Presence - at least better than when you were Int/Mem.

This is the time to get good at shooting stuff, to unlock a range of your race's ships and get good at flying them. For our Amarr pvp pilot he'll want to be decent with a Frigate (4 or 5), Cruiser (4 or 5) and a Battleship. Even advanced pvpers often go out in t1 frigate or cruiser gangs. Battleship sniping is a standard role in a fleet.

More advanced ship options that you may need to master to do well in 0,0 include Heavy Assault Ships, Interdictors, Interceptors. Many corps will expect you to be able to pilot these. Ships like Electronic Attack Frigates and Logistics are likely to be more optional. You will also be expected to be able to use T1 rigs and T2 modules.

Phase 4
Use Evemon and plan a full year out. You may find staying Per/Wil for a long time simply because there's so much good stuff there. Possible options for a pvper are going Int/Mem and raising the level of your support skills, going Wil/Per and mastering a wide range of T2 ships or going Mem/Per and getting really good Drone skills.

Tuesday 19 January 2010

Eve Online: One button pwnage

After playing Eve for seven months I have finally figured out how to stack weapons.

The tutorial doesn't tell you and most pvp guides don't tell you but it's a very significant boost to your damage in all forms of Eve combat.

A new player will have a frigate with up to 4 weapons on it. To activate those weapons he or she will press F1, F2, F3, F4.

A veteran player will drag those weapons all onto one button. To activate them he or she will press F1.

That gets your weapons active a lot quicker than the first method plus it's more relaxed.

To set this up you will need to discover the little white Options arrow to the bottom right of the round ship monitor in the middle of the bottom of your screen.

Right click it to open it up. Two options need to be set: Unlock Modules And Enter Grouping Mode. Next make sure you're not currently using the modules you want to move, they need to be inactive. Unload them (you can do this by right clicking them and choosing Unload to Cargo. Then simply drag all the weapons on top of each other.

My Drake has 7 missile launchers grouped on F1. I've just discovered this and I really like the new playstyle that finding this has given me.

Saturday 16 January 2010

Eve Online: Disposable pvp frigate

Eve is famously a game of consequences. People carve out empires and reputation over the bloody broken husks of their opponents' destroyed ships. And most importantly you lose everything when you die in pvp.

At least that's what people say...

It doesn't have to be true, with some clever gaming you can pvp without consequence particularly if you're new.

Now let's hope to win but plan to lose and design a character setup and a ship fit that can cope with disaster.

Section 1: Implants and cloning.

A big cost of dying in Eve is losing your implants. Most people regard implants as basically necessary since they help you skill up faster.

There are several ways to not lose implants in pvp.

First make sure you understand how to not get podded. In your Eve interface right click on the Overview tab, where it says DEFAULT. Pick Add Tab. Call it PANIC. Click on your new tab. Right click on the little arrow next to the word OVERVIEW. Open Overview settings. In Filters Tab, Types sub-tab Deselect All. Under Celestial tick Planet and Sun. Close. Right click on the little arrow next to the word OVERVIEW. Pick Save Current Type Selection As... Call it PANIC. Go back to your normal overview, you may need to select whatever it is you usually like to notice.

In a fight once you realise you are going to lose your ship, get as much distance from the opponent as you can (point away from him, set full speed and turn afterburner/microwarp drive on) pick anything off your PANIC tab and mash the warp to button. Mid warp open People and Places and Add Bookmark. As soon as you come out of warp warp back to your bookmark just in case someone followed your pod.

Another way to not lose implants is the use of Jump Clones. You will need standings of over 8.0 with a NPC corp. You will also need the skill Infomorph Psychology, you can make one jump clone per rank in this. A jump clone is a temporary You which doesn't have your implants in so you can go nuts with it and when it dies you don't lose that expensive cyberware. In fact if you get podded you just appear back in your body.

An alternative method is the low skill pvp alt. When you get podded you have to re-clone and it makes pvp expensive... unless you have under 900 thousand skill points. If you have under 900 000 skill points then the basic Clone Grade Alpha which everyone gets after a podding is all you ever need. So you have a low skill pvp character (ideally you skip learning skills since they fill up your 900K quota with stuff that isn't about killing) and once you're skilled up you train the other guys on this account and never train skills. You can actually be a pretty nasty frigate pilot with 900K skills and never need to worry about cloning or jump clones or whatever.

Section 2: Your ship

Part 1: Trading

The key element to keeping cost down is buying effectively. Purchasing is a genuine skill in Eve and most players aren't very good at it.

Buy at Jita on Buy Orders with an alt. Plan in advance so you have a stockpile of expendable ships and have buy orders for more ships and modules. For instance the ship I'm going to show you later needs 10 buy orders which you can get by training the Trade book you get in the noob tutorial to level 2. Remember not to train this on your pvper if you are keeping under 900K skill points. To place a buy order click Market in the Neocron or Station Services, search or browse to your item, look at it in the details tab. Click the Price column in the Buyers section to sort so that the highest price is at the top. Place a Buy Order that is 0.1 isk higher than the current highest. A lot of times you won't get your order filled as people overcut you but this is why you need to plan in advance. If you have 8 Punishers ready for action who cares if you don't fill your order for 8 more? Just keep overcutting once a day until you get your stuff.

On your Buy Orders set range to Station and duration to 3 months and tick Remember Settings. Don't screw this up or you'll be flying around for hours collecting your stuff.

You may find it helpful to open your Wallet at the ORDERS tab. This means you can see your orders in one window and the market details in another at the same time.

It's also helpful to right click each item and add to market quickbar. Do manually check from time to time, just because a module is cheap now may not mean that it will always be.

Now a word about modules. Many modules are cheaper for the meta 1 or meta 2 named than for the basic vanilla version. At the time of writing the price of buying on .01 isk overcuts at Jita (16th Jan 2010) Small Nosferatus is as follows:

Small Nosferatu I (8 energy, 5500m range,requires 8 grid) = 24200.03 isk
Meta level 1 small Nos (8 energy, 5775m range, requires 8 grid) = 3700.01 isk
Meta level 2 small Nos (8 energy, 6050m range, requires 8 grid) = 4002.34 isk
Meta level 3 small Nos (9 energy, 6325m range, requires 9 grid) = 45555.02 isk
Meta level 4 small Nos (9 energy, 6600m range, requires 9 grid) = 526012.34 isk
Small Nosferatu II (9 energy stolen, 6600m range, requires 10 grid) = 700827.44 isk

Notice that the second and third ones are cheaper and better than the first option. There's no downside here. People are simply buying and using the wrong choice.

This helps us outfit our cheap pvp ship because several of our modules are better and cheaper than regular starter stuff.

Part 2: The Build

3 Light Ion Blaster 1s with 300 Antimatter S for each
Small "Knave" 1 Energy Drain
Fleeting Progressive Warp Scrambler 1
Monopropellant 1 Hydrazine Boosters
Damage Control 1
Small Inefficient Armour Repair Unit
Dual-sheathed Adaptive Nano Plating 1
100mm Reinforced Nanofiber Plates 1

Platinum insurance

Total cost of insured ship = 315,394.86 isk

Insurance payout = 287,500 isk

Cost per ship lost 27,894.86 isk

I could have gone a little cheaper but if both the meta 1 and the meta 2 were really cheap I forked out a couple of thousand extra for the meta 2.

Another cheap and really dirty variant is the hull repairing Punisher. The trick here is that most even fights will put you into structure fairly fast at which point your opponent will believe he has won. His frigate won't quite get the kill on yours though because you have high resists and hull repair but no one ever, ever, leaves a frigate v frigate fight if they got the opponent down into structure. Also no one does it so the modules are dirt cheap.

I'm going to test drive a few now, expect a follow-up post with some anecdotes and tactical analysis in the next few days.

Wednesday 13 January 2010

Eve Online: Skills listed by attribute


- Memory: All Electronics skills, All Engineering skills, Logic, All Mechanics skills, All Science skills except Doomsday Operation, Informorph Psychology, Research Project Management, All Defensive, Electronic and Engineering Subsystems skills
- Perception: All Navigation skills


- Willpower: All Gunnery skills, Clarity, All Missiles skills, All Spaceship Command skills except Assault Ships, Black Ops, Command Ships, Covert Ops, Electronic Attack Ships, Exhumers, Heavy Assault Ships, Heavy Interdictors, Interceptors, Interdictors, Jump Freighters, Logistics, Marauders, Recon Ships, Transport Ships, All Offensive and Propulsion Subsystems skills


- Intelligence: All Social skills
- Willpower: All Leadership skills, Infomorph Psychology, Contracting, Corporation Contracting
- Memory: Accounting, Daytrading, Margin Trading, Marketing, Procurement, Tycoon, Visibility, Wholesale
- Perception: Presence


- Intelligence: Doomsday operation
- Perception: Assault Ships, Black Ops, Command Ships, Covert Ops, Electronic Attack Ships, Exhumers, Heavy Assault Ships, Heavy Interdictors, Interceptors, Interdictors, Jump Freighters, Logistics, Marauders, Recon Ships, Transport Ships
- Charisma: Focus, Broker Relations, Retail, Trade


- Intelligence: All Industry skills, all Learning skills except Clarity, Focus, Logic, Presence
- Perception: All Drones skills
- Charisma: All Corporation Management skills, Research Project Management

Note this list may differ from other sources, presumably because this information has altered over the course of the game. Each skill individually checked in-game 13/1/10.

Sunday 10 January 2010

Eve Online: A second server for Eve?

If you follow Eve Online in the slightest way then you will know one of the game's proudest features is its single server. Developers and players alike are rightfully proud of this feature which adds complexity and depth to both the economy and the territorial empire-building game.

If you've played Eve recently you may be starting to suspect that this is not going to last.

The server crashed at about 10pm last night. 54000 players were logged on, the market was bustling, the war in zero,zero rages. The game is starting to not cope with its own popularity.

The recent Dominion expansion places more load upon the server. Planets look gorgeous now and are lushly rendered. A bug has been accidentally introduced with grids that causes entire fleets to black screen and be killed by their enemies while loading.

One Eve veteran enthusiast from the F13 forums had this to say:

I just spent 3 hours in game staring at a black screen. when IT bombed is from 100kms away. This despite everyone else in eve if you fire bombs in heavy lag the bomb explodes in your face. Before we went in AAA lost 40 bombers that way.

With IT they fired bombs and they went 100 kms and exploded right on top of us. Perfectly. Then my logistics ship was shot to bits in real time without me able to do a damn thing.

Then they are able to move around probe down capitals and destroy them with bombers. Then trap titans, siege blow them up etc. While I'm staring at a blank screen and playing stuff on my laptop.


I'm sorry if I come across as mad but in Eve I am a warrior. If I die in a fight, big deal. Dying while not even loading grid for 2 hours?

Sorry for venting here, dominion has brought back the old shitty bob lag. I'll give it it whoever planned this. They knew that they would have a jammed up node when they paid off that SOT corp and knew they would be able to drop a tcu and get it on-lined before the node could be reinforced at downtime. That's a serious exploit as far as I am concerned. And quite frankly I'm tired, I've been up all night for this and I don't feel like giving ccp my money for this crap. And I don't want to face another night like tonight ever again. I'm getting too old for this shit.

I think I'll do something more fun like have an ingrown toenail. Oh and I've just been told the titans never even saw themselves get shot.

I think I'll go install LOTRO now.

Now bugs can be fixed of course and more computing capacity can be purchased. But there's a
limit to how far and how fast Eve can grow. They already run the game on one of the most sophisticated supercomputers in the world.

And I think the Eve playerbase will grow and grow. Sure there are a couple of strong space MMOs coming out this year. SWTOR and STO will draw large crowds. But those games won't draw off many Eve players - Eve is a strategic pvp experience and those games are tactical pve experiences..

Also Eve is designed to support being put on a backburner - if I get gripped by TOR fever then my Eve accounts will sit there nicely on their own, paying for themselves with passive income. The plex system really helps the game here. If you are a plex seller then you're used to spending a lot on Eve in exchange for being awesome. If you're a plex buyer then you play for free and it will probably take minimal effort to cover the monthly gametime. Combine that with a skill system that rewards people for real life time and you have a game where you may as well stay subbed even if you're not actively playing..

So if Eve will keep growing both in player numbers and in graphical complexity then a second server becomes inevitable. And it's not like there isn't some precedent: the Chinese play Eve on a separate server and there is also a separate Test server.

Edit: this issue provoked some very good responses, basically saying the answer is No and well worth reading. Links here in case people skip the comments:

Friday 1 January 2010

SWTOR: Gungan Rap Stars

As a tongue in cheek remark to Melmoth I mentioned making a Gungan rapper guild in Star Wars: The Old Republic. His enthusiasm and warmth has convinced me this is a good idea.

We're probably about a year off the launch of the game. Plenty of time to learn the Gungan vocabulary and practice sliding across a stage in front of your bedroom mirror.

Here is a Gungan to English dictionary:

Meesa speak-a da Gungan.

Here is a guide to rapping

How to write rap lyrics.

Obviously it will be a hardcore pvp guild for players who like fighting against extreme odds. But that's ok because...

We's da Gungans and we's always up fer da crunchen,
In da mornin or when we is tongue-grabben our lunchen,
So join da Gunga posse and pee vee pee wit da Masters,
Wit our light sabres or with our tack-tic-all nuker,
We is puttin' down our enemies super-fasters,
Dem all goin' up in a great big bodooka!

Thank you, thank you, peace out!