Sunday 28 February 2016

Shout-out to Talvorian Dax, hero archivist

With the unfortunate shutdown of Eve's official wiki, the Evelopedia, one blogger has taken it upon himself to preserve some of the site's most useful content, the guides to running cosmic signature PvE sites. (The database closure made headline news on TMC and EN24).

Running these sites is actually pretty fun and if you're interested in doing Eve pve you should try it as it's both interesting and lucrative.

A cosmic signature PvE site

They have a lot of rats inside

It's a huge help to have the walkthroughs so do check Talvorian Dax's new cosmic signature ratting guide section. It's a work in progress, he's been adding pages all day. You might want to tip him some isk for the help. Or just let him know that the hard work's appreciated.

Even without this very useful project Talvorian has emerged as one of Eve's outstanding bloggers and his site should definitely be on your readers/blogrolls/whatever.

AAR: Eve London

I successfully deployed to the Weatherspoon's pub in central London for the Eve Meet yesterday where I met corp mate Heathen Blackguard. He does, in fact, look somewhat like one would imagine a heathen blackguard to look like, fortunately he took the night off from holding up stagecoaches or whatever he does in his regular life to drink me under the table instead.
It was a quieter turn out than usual, one of the oldest Eve Meets it's been eclipsed by louder showier rivals but it's still a fun place to go talk about Eve. There's always a mix of Eve players, some quite casual, some famous FCs or alliance leaders. I met Rocket X, Suas and Sort Dragon who are all pretty high profile. I also met Omega from PL who was really nice and got to have some real talk about what might await me if I eventually get into PL and try to run fleets. It didn't put me off but it did prepare me for what would probably be a tough landing for a new FC to that alliance. There was a drawing competition and a guy from Rim C won himself a Rhea by drawing one. I also met Tibs again from Eve NT who I know from previous Eve Londons, he's so genial he's always a pleasure to chat to. I briefly met the CEO of Bovril Borers but I didn't get a chance to chat to him, people kept distracting me with alcohol.
I also met a CCP dev but didn't catch his name. I did appreciate his laid back humour, I guess working at CCP and dealing with all of us nerds hones a sense of humour.
I was introduced to a concoction called "POS fuel" which is served in a bucket and looks like sewer water. But hey, it's got Pernod in it so it can't be bad right? Hmmm, not sure about that one.

One of the more entertaining moments of the evening was watching Omega trying to explain entosis to Suas while Sort Dragon interrupted every couple of minutes with an obscure (and possibly wrong) correction. Apparently once the beer glass has been entosised salt and pepper pots magically appear throughout the constellation and then something something.

There will be another one in about 6 months or so so.

Thursday 25 February 2016

Wednesday 24 February 2016

BB 72: Roadmap for me; roadmap for Eve

BB72 is on the subject of roadmaps  and I'll break it into two parts.

For me I have a very clear idea of what I want to achieve in Eve.

- I want to FC Titans.

- I want to win the Alliance Tournament.

- I'd like to sample each and every new experience that our developers introduce.

With ambitions so grandiose I have to break it down into smaller achievable steps. Currently I'm in Waffles, feeder corp for PL, because getting into PL would be a step toward the first two goals. If I do get in then the next steps will be getting into the AT squad and getting accepted as a subcap FC. If I don't get in I might have to shelve one while focusing on the other as few alliances both fight with titans and have a decent chance to win the AT.

These are long term ambitions that may take me years but I'm very clear on the direction I want to go.

Wide open road

By contrast with Eve overall I'm much more inclined to be laid back about things.

In general I think the people at CCP are getting most things right, are far better game designers than me or any other player and can pretty much be trusted to develop the game on our behalf.

I have a few random thoughts:

- I hope the new areas of space that are opened up do not favour the large well-organised established powers. This is something they pretty much got right with wormhole space.

- I would like isk generation to be more susceptible to disruption. POSing up, perfect Local intel, etc, the only times players die while making isk in "dangerous" space is when they make a really glaring mistake.

- I would like to see disruption more susceptible to counterplay. As I write my alt is cloaky camping some enemy whose fleet of miners are POSed up while he's afk. I'm afk; he's afk, it's all very boring.

- I would like the same iteration and tuning that have been used to great success on the last three years of ship rebalancing to be used for other elements of the game, eg anoms and missions. Missions that people avoid should maybe pay a little more, Forsaken Hubs, so heavily farmed, need to be brought into line with the anoms no one ever runs. Just keep making small tuning passes that reduce the extent to which  PVE is solved.

- I would like players to be able to offer constructive feedback without these massive drama-bombs that seem to dominate dev-player dialogue. I don't really have any good solutions but listening to the latest Goon leader to be deputised to the CSM was just appalling. His interview was arrogant bragging about his ability to intimidate CCP staff, it seems their approach is "you didn't like the last bully  we sent so here's someone even worse."

- I'd like to see a shift away from the most vocal players. "Listening to the players" sounds admirable but in practice it means listening to a small subset of highly invested very vocal players whose interests run directly counter to most of the player base.

Our game in her hands - fine by me

Overall Eve Online is rolling along in a pretty healthy way and it's important to remember in thinking about mapping out new features that it's a very sound game that the people playing already enjoy. I want a roadmap with few sharp contours taking us in comfort through gentle country where  we feel at home.

Saturday 13 February 2016

Feedback on Jason Quixos' latest soloing post.

Jason wrote a somewhat frustrated post on his excellent blog. I started to write a comment then realised a) that I had too much to say and b) that a lot of people are interested in soloing and might find it useful to read his and my posts.

Some constructive criticism:

- first off, just having the balls to go out and try to solo is rare and awesome.

- don't worry about losing. Even the best soloers are usually under 50% on their killboards. Learning and improving is your goal as a soloer, challenging yourself so that you have to do  your best.

- join in-game channel Bringing Solo Back.

- you need to visualise the play. In sports athletes get taught how to do this. So for example a soccer player might imagine that to score a goal he might need to start his run late, get across his defender and glance the ball to the top of the goal at the far post. He won't always get it right but he's much more clear than someone who intends to just rush to the ball then slam it goalwards.

The reason I say this is that looking at the lossmail I'm thinking that there's a lack of a plan. Some of the modules suit a kitey plan, often referred to as "nano." It has railguns for long range, a long range point but what on earth in today's meta would take a fight with a Myrmidon but be slower than it? It's a slow ship with no nano and an armour plate. You won't be able to kite anything and your "kitey"modules are bad for brawling.

There are two basic plans in Eve solo pvp: brawl and kite. For brawling you take the short range weapon system (eg blasters), web, scram, mwd, then rush on top of someone, pin them in place then hope that your tank and gank numbers are bigger than theirs.

For kiting you want to be faster than them and never let a hostile get within 20km while killing them slowly from range.

The way you fit your ship should support your plan. Figure out the plan first, then the fit.

Here's a sample plan:

First you need to chose one of the archtypes or something out of the box entirely. We'll pick brawler.

We need to pick a ship. We'll go with Myrmidon, it's a strong ship at a low price and very engageable so you will get fights.

The ship has a drone bonus and an active armour rep bonus so we'll plan for that.

[Myrmidon, Brawler]

Damage Control II
Medium Armor Repairer II
Medium Armor Repairer II
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
Armor Explosive Hardener II

X5 Prototype Engine Enervator
X5 Prototype Engine Enervator
J5b Phased Prototype Warp Scrambler I
Medium Capacitor Booster II, Navy Cap Booster 800
50MN Quad LiF Restrained Microwarpdrive

Heavy Neutron Blaster II, Void M
Heavy Ion Blaster II, Void M
Heavy Ion Blaster II, Void M
Heavy Ion Blaster II, Void M
Heavy Ion Blaster II, Void M

Medium Auxiliary Nano Pump I
Medium Auxiliary Nano Pump I
Medium Nanobot Accelerator I

Ogre II x4 (active)
Ogre II x4 (spares)

Inherent Implants 'Noble' Repair Systems RS-603
Inherent Implants 'Noble' Repair Proficiency RP-903

Null M x1000
Void M x3000
Improved Exile Booster x2 (Standard is fine)
Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge M x1000
Nanite Repair Paste x100
Navy Cap Booster 800 x14

The fit I've designed uses double web and scram to pin someone in place and then outlasts them due to an extreme tank. Generally people will die to you when they make a mistake and the mistake we're planning for them to make is to underestimate your tank. With heat this thing tanks 1000 dps (all Vs, no links) so a small gang of 300 dps cruisers should be beatable. If they have 4 guys shooting you, once you get one down you can comfortably tank them. If they shoot you with explosive ammo - normally correct for an armour tanked ship - you can tank a lot more with overheated armour hardener.

The stats on this fit overheated are 691 dps, 1032 hp/sec repaired vs omni, 1585 hp/sec repaired vs explosive, 13km web range, 1636 m/s speed, price 109 million isk.

There is a lot of player skill required to really master this - heat management, cap management, drone management, target assessment. Fortunately a very low level of player skill is needed to get started. Approach, web, scram, set Keep at Range to the optimal of your guns and shoot them and put drones on them while repping yourself. Turn off your mwd once you have them tackled and try not to waste cap. It's reasonably powerful even without heat.

You can gain real advantage by fighting in favourable terrain which is this: less than 30km off a  stargate. Here's how a fight should go. You get spotted, hero tackle come in. Don't aggress, let them take the gate guns (if you're not a pirate). They will want to scram you because they'll be worried about you burning to the gate or MJDing. If they can scram you you can scram them back except for a few ships (lachesis, proteus, keres, Navy maulus). If you see these ships you may be best to just leave and find another fight.

Once you scram and web something most things are going to die unless they have logi. Logi is another reason to leave and look for a different fight.

You will probably kill something then see their numbers build up. If you think you have the raw stats to out-brawl them keep going, otherwise look to deaggress. If they've got you pinned away from the gate kill scrams, then webs while approaching the gate, deaggress once you are nearly close enough to jump, overheat reps and mash the gate until you jump. Against a confident gang there's nothing wrong with taking the fight at zero to the gate. Once you jump you have the option of fighting them on the other side when they'll be a little disorganised and perhaps you can kill one then deaggress and jump back through. Using the stargate to split their gang is a big advantage and helps you play around enemy links.

Try to assess how many people they will bring. It might be better to learn one constellation well rather than to roam. Where Stay Frosty live in Ishomilken might be a good place to gather intel. Gather intel simply by flying there in a frigate and seeing who's in Local and who's on D scan. Get  a feel for how they respond and what they bring. Stay Frosty for instance respond much less aggressively when Rixx isn't online.

 Where we live in Kinakka is normally good but we're not home at the moment. Hard University stage out of Kehjari and they'll probably bring a disorganised frigate blob to try and kill you. Which of course is awesome. Don't fight in staging systems and don't pick on strong alliances like Snuff Shadow or Bebop.

Nullsec entry systems like EC- or A2- are great places to try this too. Querious in particular is full of gangs of all sizes.

Good luck, I hope that's some help.

Fraps yourself and watch your fights afterwards to see how you could improve.