And Sometimes We are the Ones Outnumbered… September 17, 2014Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
Tags: B-DBYQ, Blawrf McTaggart, Null Sec, Reagalan
GUARENTEED FIGHT IN FOUNTAIN TONIGHT
-Blawrf McTaggart, the broadcast some claim jinxed the whole thing
Black Legion still has a tower set up in Fountain. We had put it into reinforce and the timer was set to come up last night. We were going to go and try to finish it off.
Reagalan put up a broadcast about fifteen minutes in advance of the form up time for the fleet, but otherwise it wasn’t really on the calendar or anything, so when Blawrf finally sounded the horn there were already about 40 of us in the YA0-XJ station and in the fleet. The follow up got another 50 or so people, putting us at 93 total.
Not bad for a week night without much in the way of advance warning. Enough to cause trouble most days of the week.
The fleet composition had yet to be announced. Reagalan wanted to take a Hawk fleet out, an experimental doctrine, but was overruled. Neither were we destined to run out to Fountain in Tengus, which was probably a good thing as my Tengu is still down in F2OY-X. The call from command said we were to go out as a Baltec fleet because this was serious business, a strat op, and not just some roam.
So we got out our Baltec ships. I got into my Apocalypse, which had made it back from Delve, and joined everybody out at the staging POS so we could begin the part of every fleet op where we discover we do not have enough boosters or logistics. I am still ages away from being able to fly a boosting ship and I wanted to get on a kill mail, it has been a slow month so far, so I was reluctant to give that up for logistics.
As it was, we had to escort somebody a couple of jumps to pick up a boosting ship in order to cover him from a hostile gang roaming the area. We managed to land on them at one point and I was able to lock up and get on a kill mail, helping blot out a tackled interceptor. I even got top damage.
My need for a kill mail satisfied, I volunteered to swap out for an Oneiros logistics ship.
Some other people swapped for logi and we ended up with a fleet composition worth taking out at last. Then it was a quick warp to a titan to bridge us a little ways along before we picked up the well worn trail to Fountain. The route was posted in fleet for us to free burn to B-DBYQ, the gateway system to Fountain from the north, where we spent so much time last year. I barely needed to look at the route, as I can fly it by rote at this point.
We burned out way, spreading out along the route, light ships landing at the destination as the battleships slowly followed a few systems back. Reagalan was trying to get the battleship pilots to hurry up by having them cycle their MWD modules before starting the process to warp to the next point in space. This is supposed to speed up the transition to warp by bringing the ship up to the 75% of top speed threshold needed to engage. Wags on coms were pointing out that this was shaving off about a second from the align and warp time, but that the extra second was pretty much being eaten up by the actually having to cycle the MWD.
As we arrived in B-DBYQ over time, Reagalan had us hole up at the POS where the jump bridge was located. The battleships finally caught up and joined us within the protective shield.
There we sat for a bit, the force now consolidated again, when Reagalan, without preamble, warped us to the local customs office. This was unusual as part of the doctrine is to keep everybody aligned so that we will all warp and land together. As we were all spread out in the POS and facing this way or that, this lead to a long, ragged fleet warp. I happened to be facing almost exactly 180 degrees from the destination, which meant I was one of the last to warp off, but which also meant I got a pretty good view of the new warp termination effect as the rest of the fleet landed in front of me. A pity it is so faint and transitory that it is tough to capture effectively in a screen shot. It looks very nice when you see it happen, but a single frame can’t seem to capture its essence.
Reagalan then had us align back in the direction from which we had just warped. A we landed back at the jump bridge he told us to take it, which got a collective moan out of the fleet on coms. Taking the jump bridge would send us in the wrong direction. That was the way home. That meant no fight for us.
Reagalan confirmed this. While we managed to get a fleet of nearly one hundred together, Black Legion had a Tengu fleet up with a reported 150 members in fleet, roughly one third of them logistics. That last bit is a key factor.
Logistics for sub caps is the new trend (well, new-ish at this point) in why null sec is broken. Back in the old days, long before my time in null, apparently fights were often blood baths where winner and loser could wander off almost equally mauled. Everybody got kill mails though, so even the losers in a fight where they were burned down to the last ship would feel that at least they had inflicted some losses on their foes. They had some tangible effect and the fight was not in vain. Some of the bad guys… and your foes are always bad guys… had to walk home too.
Now, however, if two fleets of roughly equal size square off, if one has better logistics support not only is it likely to win the engagement, it is likely to do so with minimal losses. So, in the absence of other ways to win a fight, piling on logistics support has become a thing. We no longer fly strat ops with just a couple logi ships. Instead the FC has to chide people into support ships under the threat of standing down if we do not get sufficient numbers in the space priest column. The same go for boosting ships, though calls for nerfing boosters has been going on for a while now, at least for off-grid boosting.
Anyway, so you can add “nerf logistics” to the “fixing null” sec bingo card along with “nerf jump bridges,” “nerf jump drives,” “nerf supers,” and “fix sovereignty.” (“Grr Goons” is the center spot and everybody gets that as a freebie.)
The upshot of this was that we faced a formidable foe by the reports that were shared with us. Spies on both sides mean that we all generally know what we are facing for this sort of timer fight unless somebody is very, very clever. The Tengu fleet alone seemed very likely to chew us up unless handled badly. Add in the fact that Black Legion’s allies had assembled an additional fleet of 100+ ships for the fight, and the decision was made not to give the enemy an easy victory by fighting them with the odds in their favor. We headed back to the staging station in YA0-XJ to stand down.
We got our participation link for showing up. While Dabigredboat took a bomber fleet down to harass the hostiles at about the same time we headed out, I am sure Black Legion saved their tower. I am also equally sure that we will soon be headed down to reinforce it yet again, so there will be more timers and more possible fights.
Addendum: And there was a fight there again already. Oops, sorry about that LAWN.
Addendum2: Or maybe that wasn’t the same tower. Still, bloodbath in Fountain.
Cleaning Up the Neighborhood Back in Deklein September 9, 2014Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
Tags: Mordus Angels, Null Sec, Pure Blind
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The return to Deklein seems to have been accomplished for most people over the weekend. Somewhere I missed the broadcast about there being a channel set up for people looking to get ships brought north via excess hangar space in carriers. By last night the channel was deserted, leading me to the conclusion that most people were done with their move.
I got on last night and clone jumped back up to Deklein to examine my own carrier, and Archon that has sat docked up for nearly two years since I bought it and made the one jump from where I purchased it to the system I generally think of as home in null sec.
As it turns out, I hadn’t even finished fitting it. Of course, I managed to slap on the rigs, so I can’t just repackage it and bring it back to the store with a gift receipt… or just sell the hull on the market. So the choices are to finish fitting it and sell it, finish fitting it and actually put some effort into using it, or let things roll as they are. I don’t actually need the ISK invested in the hull for now, so there is no sense of urgency. It is just something else gathering dust in a hangar, like those Drakes I have, waiting for a trigger event to get them into action.
Get thee behind me, Satan!
Anyway, the “let it roll” option was chosen because as I was staring at the half fit Archon, a fleet op came up over Jabber. I was already online, I had the time, and I was avoiding making a decision, so it seemed like the optimum time to roll out.
The call was for a Baltec Fleet, with Lyris Nairn in the FC position. The good news was that I had already gotten my Apocalypse up north over the weekend in the one convoy I managed to find. The bad news was that I was in the wrong clone and I had just clone jumped.
First world space problems.
Jump clones are nifty and let you pre-position yourself around space so you can appear in a specific region without all that mucking about in space. You have to have a ship waiting for you at the far end of your jump, otherwise it is just you and your pod, and there is a 24 hour cool down on jumps, which can be reduced to 19 hours by training one of those new skills… Xenomorph Info Compulsive Behavior of some such… up to level 5. I went for level 4, which gives me a 20 hour cool down.
The thing is, ships are not the only thing that are independent of your clone jump. Implants are also independent of your clone. Implants are the skill and attribute enhancements that you can plug into your brain. They stick with the clone you plugged them into, which up until now, hasn’t been an issue. I have a clone in high sec with +5 attribute implants, so when I am going to be offline for a few days, I jump back there to speed up any training in progress. Otherwise I have just been a line member sub cap pilot with no need for implants. I have a set of cheap +3 implants in a clone I sometimes use when I am ratting, just to keep skills sped up a bit, but most of my clones are implant free.
Or they were.
When they introduced the Apocalypse to Baltec fleet, I was keen to fly it because… well… I wanted to play with pretty lasers. I am always the guy at structure shoots now with multiple colors shooting forth. I am easily amused.
However the fit for the Baltec Apoc was very tight, such that you need the EG-603 implant, which boosts your power grid 3%, in order to fly it and shoot all eight lasers. And the implant itself runs 20 million ISK. While I’m not poor, I intend to stay that way in part by not buying things I don’t need. So I have an Apoc clone parked at our new staging system in Deklein. I was not in that clone and I had a good 19 hours left until I could jump to it.
Instead I was sitting in my ratting clone.
Well, not a huge hairy deal. I could fly logistics. As it happened I even had an Oneiros sitting in the station with me ready to go. But it did make me thing about this whole fleet booster training plan I have been working on. That too depends on implants and having the right set for the right booster role for the right fleet. I suspect that unless I go “all boosting all the time” I am going to end up in the wrong clone often enough to be annoying.
Problems for another day.
So I strapped on the Oneiros and flew on out to the staging station while listening to voice coms. Somebody there was asking about convoys and getting their ships back up from Delve, which is where I first heard about the channel dedicated to finding space on carriers moving north. At least I wasn’t alone in that. I don’t mind being lost, unless I am the only one who is lost. Misery loves company or some such.
Our mission for the night was to go reinforce a couple of towers in 5ZXX-K in Pure Blind, which is literally one titan bridge away from the staging system. 5ZXX-K is an NPC null sec system held by Mordu’s Legion (which has a nifty looking station) which is also home to the role-playing Mordus Angels. They are also bitter foes of the CFC, having been a part of the coalition and then purged at some point before my time. They are also pretty much in the middle of the southern flank of CFC space in the north.
While we were down in Delve they had something of a breather to put up towers and otherwise run around and make trouble. They are the current favorites of Gevlon, who is soliciting donations to support their war against the CFC. So our content for the night was sponsored by Gevlon.
We were headed down to 5ZXX-K in order to put a couple of towers into reinforce. Since this would likely be a no kill mail tower shoot, logistics would be an easy enough role for the evening. I would just have to orbit the logistics anchor, put reps on anybody who happened to get targeted by the POS guns, and take screen shots. It seemed unlikely that Mordus Angels would come out to play. We had over a hundred ships in Baltec fleet to cover the dreadnoughts jumping in to do the heavy lifting. So we scooted around as the dreads showed up and quickly reinforced the tower.
Now we get into tower timers. The actual tower kill comes when the timer runs down. But being 1 day and 17 hours in the future, it will likely happen while I am still at the office, so it will fall to our Euro time zone brethren to blow it up and get the kill mail.
After that the dreads headed home while we sat covering them. Then we were off to our next task, which was another tower in the same system. However, it was a small tower and was thus deemed not worth dragging dreads out to put it in reinforce, so that was left to us.
The guns at the small tower were a bit more active. For some reason they all decided to concentrate on a single Celestis cruiser in our fleet. It flew too close to the shields or some such, but it was the most active moment of the evening as we actually had to be on the ball with reps to keep that poor ship alive.
The guns later switched to focus on various ships, so we kept moving our reps around to keep everybody safe. I don’t know why the guns were more effective here. A pilot with the right skills (I have them trained, but have never used them) can take over the POS guns and target them, which makes them much more effective, but there did not seem to be anybody in the POS doing so. The AI was just having a good night. So we had to keep the reps going.
We put the tower into reinforce… another one for the Euro TZ… as well as the warp disruption batteries to keep anybody scouting out the status safe. Then it was time to go. Lyris had even arranged a ride home for us just a couple systems over, so there was no need to take gates back to the jump bridge network. We met up with our titan and got everybody collected as this was going to be one of those “make the first bridge or walk” events. We had one straggler, a lone Apoc that somehow got hung up on something back in 5ZXX-K. We waited for him then bridged home. Mission accomplished.
We never did run into Mordus Angels, or their partners in the war on Goons, Triumvirate. The report was that they couldn’t muster enough to take us on, so they went out to hunt ratters and ended up getting suckers by a bait carrier laid out for them. Back in April, when Black Legion was working with them, we would get a fight now and again. But with tower bashing fleets roaming the region and the US TZ based Freedom Squad group from the CFC camping them in their station to keep them from being able to go after ratters at will, it is looking like quiet structure shoots might be on the agenda for a while.
And since I had lots of free time spinning around the anchor, I have the usual allotment of screen shots after the cut.
Leaving a Pile of Stuff Behind in Delve… September 8, 2014Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
Tags: Delve, Null Sec
Another Summer in Delves comes to an end. The word came down on Friday that our deployment to Delve would be closing down and that there would be many… that was the term used… convoys heading back to Deklein so we could get various ships safely home to our new staging system.
Having piled up a number of ships, as I tend to on these deployments, I was looking to get a few of the more expensive ones home. So I was keen to into one of these “many” convoys. I made sure I had installed a jump clone down in F2OY-X so I could hop back and be ready to bring up the next ship after the first convoy. I had a couple ships picked out to drive back up to Deklein. All I needed was convoys to commence.
The first one came up Friday evening. It was specifically called to get Tengu fleet ships back up north due to an op set to roll about an hour later. However, we could only get about 20 ships in the fleet. That turned out to be insufficient mass to gets us cleared to move out, so we stood down. Due to other operations going on, no further convoys were called that night.
Saturday morning I managed to catch another call for a convoy op headed north. I jumped into my Apocalypse this time, it being the most annoying of my vessels to get back to Deklein, shoveled any excess items from my hanger into the cargo hold, and joined the fleet. This was about at the time when TNT was losing its match in the Alliance Tournament. We managed to get about 35 people in the fleet, which was just enough to be cleared to head out. And so a pack of battleships set off.
This ran like most convoys… actually, with so few people, it ran better than most… and we slowly moved from jump bridge to jump bridge through null sec, from about 7 to approximately 1 o’clock on the dial. There was a point in Fountain where our scout spotted a 40+ fleet from the Battlement Coalition in our path. That was enough to be a concern, as a convoy fleet is generally not fit to fight on equal terms, being a pretty random selection of ships, and depends on numbers to keep hostiles away. An outnumbered convoy needs to be wary.
The hostiles were in a system where one of our jump bridges is anchored, so going around meant a long diversion off of our way. But as we waited to see what they were up to, they left, missing out on a juicy target and never to be heard from again during the op. We moved onward through Fountain, Cloud Ring, Pure Blind, and into Deklein.
A couple of jumps from our destination we were cleared to free burn to the staging systems. A participation link was provided and the op was over. I docked up, left my ship, a clone jumped right back down to F2OY-X in hopes of catching another convoy north.
However, no further convoys were announced while I was online on Saturday… or on Sunday. And since I was logged into Jabber for most waking hours over the weekend, I am going to guess that it wasn’t just bad timing on my part.
The FC on the first convoy op, which stood down, speculated that with the push to get people into capital ships in the CFC, carriers were becoming pretty common. And if you have a carrier deployed… and we had quite a pile… it is pretty easy just to shove a few sub caps into the hanger bay… yours or your friends… and hop home with the rest of the capital fleet.
Not being part of the capital fleet, and with most of the people I consider close enough friends that I would start asking for favors not playing EVE Online right now, I am somewhat dependent on the whole convoy thing to get bigger ships home safely.
I do own a carrier. I bought it nearly two years back and then never really used it. I am stuck in a chicken and egg thing on that front. I am not confident enough in my ability to use it to sign up for capital fleets. I literally have no clue as what to do, and while everybody is happy enough to answer questions in a frigate fleet, the more expensive the ships get the less tolerant of questions people get, or such is my observation. And while I don’t mind being the idiot in fleet once in a while, when it starts putting people’s expensive toys at risk, I get really nervous. But I cannot get any experience without joining up.
So, while theoretically I could fly my carrier down to Delve, pick up some ships and fly in back, the reality is that I lack the confidence to put my Archon at risk for a set of ships that cost significantly less than the carrier itself. Meanwhile, over at DOTLAN, the route down and back they suggest is five jumps either way.
That means getting somebody in each of those systems with a cyno as a jump target for the Archon and being at risk for at least four of the five jumps. Add in the fact that our alliance leader hates when people lose carriers in anything but strat ops, so a round of public humiliation and a quarter billion ISK fine are part of the bargain if I screw up, and I am seriously considering just selling the Archon. I am just not invested enough in the game right now to want the complications it brings.
Meanwhile, I’ll just leave a jump clone and a collection of ships down in Delve. It’s not like we won’t be back.
August in Review August 31, 2014Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online, Month in Review, World of Warcraft.
I took down the MMO Blog RSS feed in the side bar earlier this month. Bhagpuss had been wondering why he was getting strange ping backs from my blog on his posts a while back. Then, earlier this month, a couple of other people noted the same thing. All of them had blogs hosted on Blogger, so there appeared to be some strange interaction going on. The only thing I could come up with was the RSS feed, so I removed it lest anybody get more upset.
Which is a bummer, because I liked the feature when it worked. So I am still looking for a WordPress.com compatible solution on that front. My response to this change was to put a few more blogs into my blog roll. Welcome to obscurity. Nobody clicks on that. I am working on a new feed option. It is down at the bottom of the side bar. But it needs some tuning as I am trying to combine multiple feeds that don’t quite follow the same pattern.
Meanwhile WordPress.com, no doubt feeling the sting from my lack of complaints about them recently, decided to implement a new editor for posts.
At first peek it was awful.
It was very slow to load, it was very small and didn’t resize, and it rearranged most of the controls, hiding many in nested menus. Nested menus may be my least favorite control scheme ever.
Of course, they have billed this as a “better” editor, where better is apparently defined as “better at pissing me off.” It is a classic example of not understanding the difference between “new” and “better,” as the new editor is objectively worse than the old one in some very important ways. Fortunately, they do let you revert back to the old editor for now, though they “forget” that preference a couple of times a day, so I am greeted by the 10 second loading graphic. 10 seconds turns out to be exactly the amount of time it takes such a graphic to make me swear aloud.
They are working on it. Every day or two when it comes up, they have tweaked something. For example, the edit window no long feels as narrow as a 40 column monitor, and the controls have starting to get moved to where they were in the old editor, which makes you wonder what justifies the new one. But I mostly object to the idea that the whole thing was in any fit state to shove in front of a live audience. Or did somebody at WordPress.com really think that going with a very narrow editor was the wave of the future? (They probably thought it looked great on their phone and pushed the code.)
And, finally, I reverted the site theme back to the format that it has been in for nearly 8 years. I remain in search of a better alternative. I liked the some of the other themes I tried, but not enough to stick with them. Life goes on.
One Year Ago
I wrote about the hunter class in WoW, and how things used to work in the old days.
We were trying to do something in Neverwinter.
We had the big EverQuest Next announcement, which I summarized with two pictures. A lot of people were blogging about SOE’s big new MMO plan. Cyanbane even put up a site dedicated to tracking EverQuest Next news. But I wondered, given SOE history, if they could keep the excitement going. No they could not.
All that talk by SOE about voxels reminded me of NovaLogic’s Delta Force series of shooters. So I went back and played the original.
And in EVE Online, the war in Fountain petered out a we took TEST’s last system in the region and began deploying to Delve. We’re always in Delve during the summer. The CFC changed long standing policy and created the Greater Western Co-Prosperity Sphere in order to rent space in null sec. We were also being encouraged to train for dreadnaughts. And I also wondered who had the longest standing sovereignty claim in null sec, along with other bits of space trivia, including dumb ways to die.
And finally there was the Star Citizen Propaganda Video of Strongly Beating Spirit. Is Star Citizen a thing yet?
Five Years Ago
The Matrix Online (MxO for those in the know) was shut down by SOE that August. Planetside is still around though! For now.
Bruce Everiss was getting sued for libel by the makers of Envoy. That was eventually worked though this past March. Enovy, LLC dropped their suit, but not before causing Mr. Everiss much pain and hamstringing his desire to be as forthright in the future.
Somebody was granted a patent for something that sounded a lot like podcasting. How did that ever turn out? Oh, wait, like this. Turns out podcasting doesn’t make any money, even for Adam Corolla, so trolling with that particular patent is a losing proposition.
That Wii Bowling Ball made another appearance. Still no know deaths attributed to it.
I was wondering what genre our post apocalyptic future really was. People assume it is Science Fiction. Is it?
On the Blizzard front, we learned that we were not going to get StarCraft II for Christmas. I still don’t own a copy yet.
There was a lot of speculation before BlizzCon about the next WoW expansion. My guesses were far off the mark.
I also tried to draw parallels between 2004 and 2009.
I actually posted the results of that cheating poll I had set up. I generally mean to post the results of these sorts of things, but somehow I usually don’t get around to it.
New Linking Blogs
The following blogs have linked this site in their blogroll, for which they have my thanks.
Please take a moment to visit them in return.
Most Viewed Posts in August
Search Terms of the Month
world of warcraft rolling toaster
[Dude, I want one of those]
eq next vs wod
[Look, you don't even want to start that fight]
wizardry online august 2014
[In Asia, yes. Closed here at the end of July.]
my wow account keeps getting banned even with the authenticator
[I am not sure it will prevent that]
no character names left in everquest
[We all knew this day would come]
is obama autocracy
[The search term I was waiting for]
Our epic game of Civ V finally came to and end. After fourteen sessions totaling to probably more than 40 hours of play, we might be done with Sid Meier and his games for a while now. That includes Civilzation: Bey0nd Earth, which I expect will follow in the grand tradition of Civ games and launch in a barely playable state, only to be fixed months down the road. This will be the first official Civ game I haven’t purchased at the earliest opportunity since the original Civilization.
The Delve deployment has kept going, but after some promising events early in the month, it has devolved to chasing people around like a game of interstellar cops and robbers. Another bug hunt. The Battlements Coalition looked like it might gel into something, but hasn’t exactly changed the scenery. The members of it that were shooting us before, kept shooting us, while those who had not been did not look all that enthusiastic to start. Meanwhile, the pile of random suggestions for how to “fix” null sec (which ranged from making it more fun to punishing those who have the temerity to organize) seems to have tapered off. That SomerBlink thing must have distracted everybody.
I have started preparing for a potential run at the National Pokedex when Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire come out in November by tracking down various Pokemon in Pokemon X & Y. But what I really need to do is finish Pokemon Black and White so I can move some of the hard fought or otherwise rare Pokemon I have collected over the years. If I could get the bridge from Pokemon White to Pokemon Y going, I could funnel in Pokemon from as far back as Pokemon FireRed and LeafGreen or further.
World of Warcraft
The instance group has been on summer hiatus for all of August. People have been traveling and such, so no further instances have been run in Pandaria. We still have enough time to finish them out before Warlords of Draenor though. And with school starting, the days getting shorter, and the weather cooling off, we will likely find ourselves in Azeroth. Meanwhile, I have been puttering along with my run for the Loremaster achievement in Outland.
You would think that after an SOE Live event I would find some time for some flavor of EverQuest or another, but I am not really feeling it.
I am also not really feeling it in EVE Online lately. Random roams to try and catch people on gates or what not are not a big draw.
In Azeroth, more zones are waiting for me in my Loremaster quest, while it seems likely that the instance group will return at some point during the month.
With Civilization off the table for the strategy group for now, we move to our next game: Total War – Rome II. I foresee comedy.
I should probably do some sort of wrap-up about Blaugust, now that we have arrived at its end, at least to congratulate those who managed a post a day in August.
And after so many announcements and such during normally quiet August, I am not sure what is left for September. Things like Destiny or The Sims 4 just don’t interest me. What is coming up?
Quote of the Day – The Machines are Winning August 28, 2014Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
Tags: Burner Missions, Hyperion, Quote of the Day
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Really more of a Tweet of the day I suppose, but here was CCP Fozzie on the first day of the Hyperion release:
It sounds like the “Burner Missions“introduced with Hyperion are indeed hot stuff, with the NPCs blowing up 1,563 player ships for 207 losses, a 7.55 win ratio for the pirates. Now that is a green kill board.
Okay, that is a day one stat, when everybody was figuring out the mechanics of the new missions. But at least it sounds like being forced to stick to frigate hulls in order to hunt down these faction flying NPCs aren’t a complete push over. At some point somebody will write a guide complete with suggested skill set and a winning fit to tackle these missions, but for now they look to require some effort.
This got Tubrug1 over at The EVE Onion to declare that CCP Fozzie is an agent of the New Order and an ally of James 315, confirming that the slaughter of high sec mission runners has only just begun. While the EVE Onion is nominally a satire site, as with The Onion on which it is modeled, I sometimes wonder if the whole thing isn’t a more accurate editorial page than what some legitimate news sites offer.
Enter Hyperion August 26, 2014Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
Tags: Apocrypha, Hyperion, MMO Expansions
The Hyperion is a great ship for people who don’t like to ask questions, like “Why didn’t I just buy a Megathron?”
Today CCP drops the second mini-expansion on us. We had Crius five weeks back, and today we have Hyperion.
Of course, I was all “Heh, there is a battleship type called ‘Hyperion’ in the game, I should run with that!” when I saw the name of the expansion.
Not a very original idea and, as it turns out, the Hyperion seems to be a bit of a loser when it comes to Gallente battleships. As the quote from the Goon Wiki above indicates, I would be hard pressed to come up with a scenario where one would choose the Hyperion over its Gallente stablemates, the Dominix or the Megathron. I even went over to my other site to find a picture of the ship, but with more than 800 EVE Online screen shots posted, the Hyperion only appears once. And that shot was a classic graphics shot from 2009, back when the ship might have had a place. Oddly though, the year 2009 fits into the scheme of things, but we’ll get to that in a bit.
Anyway, the Hyperion expansion was not named for the Gallente battleship, which as far as I can tell gains no benefit from the update, but from the mythical titans, who lend their name to the expansion out into the foreseeable future. My momentary flirtation with the ship was mostly because Hyperion’s main focus is on wormhole space, and I know squat about wormhole space.
Wormhole space showed up with the Apocrypha expansion back in March 2009 (back when I was taking classic graphics screen shots of Gallente battleships) along with the skill queue, tech III ships, the ship fitting window, that epic mission arc thing I never did, and an updated new player experience, all of which seems far more recent in my brain than five years ago.
But there it is, and wormhole space added nearly 2,500 star systems, which makes up more than a quarter of space in EVE Online. And I have barely ever been there.
Potshot and I were planning a wormhole expedition at one point. We were going to find a small wormhole, set up a tower, and live the life of the independent space pioneer. And then we found that we were far from alone in that idea as every wormhole we scouted seemed to be occupied. Packing up to go live in w-space seemed to be a fairly common goal. So it seems odd to read articles that talk about CCP’s vision for w-space being that of a nomadic existence, where players never settled but just roamed about, mining or ratting or whatever, only to return to known space at then end of their mission. I only ever heard, “new lands to settle!” sorts of sentiment back then, probably influenced by the ideas of sovereign null sec.
Emergent behavior took over, players did what they wanted to, and w-space became what it was. CCP has been clear in its blogs about Hyperion that they are not going to try to “fix” things to bring them back to what they envisioned, but rather change things to help suit what has become the defacto behavior in w-space… and, of course, tune some of the discoveries made by players over the years as to how to exploit w-space. Given enough time, players will always find the best, or most efficient, approach to anything.
Since I know next to nothing about wormhole space, I’ll defer to those who live there as to whether the changes are good or not.
Other than wormhole space, there are some changes to incursions and missions, including a new type of optional level 4 mission called a “burner mission.” In those missions, you will be tasked to go chase down and destroy a pirate faction frigate fitted for PvP style encounters. And you, yourself, will be limited to a frigate hull as well, so this is supposed to be something of a challenge… which is why it has to be optional… and perhaps a way to get people to transition a little more towards a PvP mentality after running endless PvE missions.
I will be interested to see if this ends up being used much or not.
There are also a couple of additions to the New Eden Store (formerly NEX) that give players some additional items they can purchase for real world cash and turn around and sell for ISK in game. The two new items are the Pilot’s Body Resculpt Certificate, which lets you redo your avatar, and the Multiple Pilot Training Certificate, which lets you activate a second training queue on your account so your alt can train up as well as your main. Previously you could purchase both of these with PLEX. At first I suspected that the increasing price of PLEX has prompted CCP to separate these two, though to get Aurum, the currency for the New Eden Store, you have to buy PLEX in any case, so the price of PLEX in Jita will still drive pricing so… what was the question again? Anyway, these are now things in New Eden.
And then there is the usual array of minor adjustments and bug fixes for the release. You can go read the Hyperion expansion page for the general overview and the patch notes for the gritty details. The expansion itself appears to have been deployed without incident.
The next expansion on the list is Oceanus, which should show up in another six weeks or so, putting it somewhere in early-to-mid October.
I guess that CCP timeline is way-off by this point (so I should probably stop using it), largely because what ended up going into Cruis, all those industry updates (and did those change the shape of industry very much, I haven’t really paid attention), were supposed to be in Kronos, so the clock got moved up for that first mini-expansion. And soon we will hear what Oceanus might bring. But for today it is just Hyperion.
As I have noted elsewhere, at least we get new music with each new expansion, so with more expansions we get more music, so I will leave you with the official CCP music for Hyperion.
Tower Watch in Fountain and Delve August 18, 2014Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in EVE Online, entertainment.
Tags: Null Sec, Delve, Fountain, Battlement Coalition
It looked like it might be a good week for fights. The word came down that the rest of the N3 coalition was going to deploy to Delve to join Northern Coalition and help boost their numbers. NC and Black Legion had also gone out of their way to reinforce a number of CFC towers in both Delve and Fountain, which I took to be a good indicator. As much as null sec veterans loathe the sovereignty mechanics, timers mean fights. Both sides have a vested interest in showing up and being on grid when the tower comes out of reinforce.
However, it was not to be. At least not for the times I was online.
During the week we rolled out to cover some tower swaps in Delve. I was in Baltec fleet for that run. We headed out to 1-SMEB to stand by as a small tower of ours was blown up so it could be replaced with a larger one. Hostiles were reported forming up, but could not get the numbers to come fight us, so the only kill mail for Baltec fleet was our own tower.
On the way back from that we stopped at the BL staging system and hung out around the undock in hopes that somebody would come out. CFC Sky marshal Blawrf McTaggart even flew around the station in a pod daring the enemy to emerge and pop him.
But they didn’t have the numbers to come out. Meanwhile, people started locking Blawrf up just for fun. He was getting reps from several of the logis in the fleet. Then Jay Amazingness put a target painter on him which lead one of the Fatal Ascension dudes to open fire… because FA. So essentially we ended up popping him for BL.
It is all fun and games until somebody gets hurt.
After that it was back to base.
Saturday looked to be a prime day for a fight. There were several towers in reinforce up in Fountain and Blawrf had been pinging us well in advance to get people out for the timer.
I was on early for the first call, as were a load of people. We had well over 100 people in the Tengu fleet before the announcement that the fleet was up went out. There was also a Baltec fleet and a Celestis fleet up as well along with the carriers that would be needed to rep the towers after they came out of reinforce. Of course, we were gummed up for a while trying to get boosters for the fleet. You need one for each wing and one for the fleet itself, each of which has to fly a very expensive ship and, in the case of the wing boosters, hang around in a safe spot during the battle giving boosts while hoping not to be scanned down. I am still a long way from my training plan for that fleet role. Maybe next war.
But eventually we got the support ships we needed and we off to Fountain. We bridged through various systems and got to the first tower and hung out. Intel came down saying that the hostiles could only get about 100 people into fleets because they were all watching the Alliance Tournament.
(Editorial: The Alliance Tournament is never going to be a popular esport because an outsider can’t tell what is going on by looking at the stream. You either see a single ship, which doesn’t give context, or you see the grid with some icons on it which is dull. And even the announcers can’t keep up with what is going on with all the ships.)
So with 600 of us stomping about Fountain, there didn’t seem much point for them to come out to play. But we still had to stick around and cover the capital fleet and their tower operations just in case. That meant staying system, but we didn’t have to sit on the tower itself, so the FC took us through some anomalies just to shoot stuff.
That got us some ISK for bounties as we melted anything that showed up. A lot of us were shooting, so those bounties at least exceeded the cost of the faction ammo we were shooting for most of us.
We also got to admire baltec1 and his amazing fast Megathron. People were moaning about a battleship being in a Tengu fleet, assuming it would slow us down in fleet warps… which adjust to move at the speed of the slowest ship… not knowing how it was fit. I had seen it previously flying with a Harpy fleet where, jumping alone in a race against the fleet, it landed ahead of the Harpies every time.
We stayed at that until the caps were done and then headed home. We did get two participation links out of the deal. Participation links, or PAP links, are the metric by which corps and alliances in the CFC see who is pulling their weight, to the point that we have all become a bit obsessive about getting our PAP links for each fleet. Some alliances pay members for each PAP link. In our alliance we just get yelled at for not clicking enough of them. (I was the #3 clicker of PAP links for our corp last month, behind our CEO and a corp member who is also an alliance FC. Not bad for a lazy, on-call pilot.)
Sunday morning saw a call up for a Harpy fleet to go shoot hostile capital ships. That is the sort of fleet everybody loves, especially when the caps were reported to be just a few jumps from home. The fleet was already under way when I got in, but they were running via gates so I was able to catch up by taking jump bridges to PR-8CA where the hostiles were reported to be. It turned out to be a safe route as a CFC Tengu fleet was headed out that way, so I had plenty of cover and arrived in the target system at about the same time as the rest of the fleet, albeit through a different gate.
By the time we arrived any capital ships had vanished.
We did, however, run across an NC/BL Ishtar fleet and were able to bubble them up and pick off some of their logistics in hopes of setting up a dunk. They slipped away a couple of times and eventually headed to a POS where a titan was waiting to bridge them out. We had to sit and watch them jump away, though we did knock off about a dozen of them during the chase, including Futurama reference of the day, 25star-General Zapp Brannigan.
So that was my weekend in space. A lot of running about and hanging around with a few moments of combat.
On the hopeful side for the future, there is a report up that a group of 14 alliances has formed a new coalition. Called “Battlement Coalition” they are declaring that they are coming after the CFC to reclaim content.
I am a little confused by a quote attributed to leader, PantsuFan:
CFC has taken a lot of content away from the pilots in EVE and we are here to rectify that. CFC controls nearly one half of the game content in eve now.
As far as I can tell, we haven’t take any content, we ARE the content, at least in null sec. And even then, our wars hardly matter to most EVE players, except that they sometimes drive up market prices and occasionally cause TiDi in the odd low or high sec system.
The new coalition includes a number of alliances we were shooting at anyway, such as Triumvirate and Mordu’s Angels. How this will play out has yet to be seen, but I can only imaging that more fights will work for us, given how many pilots we had piling into the game for the timers this past weekend. This might actually be a boon for the CFC, since I think the most likely reason it might crumble is lack of fights. (The Mittani responds to this development, complete with competing PowerPoint presentation.)
And that is about all the news I have from space for the past week. Some fleets, a few kills, the promise of a new foe, and screen shots… always screen shots after the cut.
A Busy Thursday in August for MMOs August 14, 2014Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in Blizzard, entertainment, EVE Online, Sony Online Entertainment, Star Wars: The Old Republic.
Here it is Wednesday night and I am wondering what I am going to post about tomorrow. I have several choices, as tomorrow appears to be a busy day in the MMO world.
At 9:30am Pacific Time (16:30 UTC) Blizzard is going to do their big announcement for the date for the Warlords of Draenor expansion.
That is the date people have been waiting for… and predicting would come early or earlier… since the beginning of the year. My own pick back in January was September 9th, a date judged as pessimistic by some. Now I am going to guess November 18th, right near the 10 year anniversary but just before the holiday season begins in the US.
Blizzard will also be showing us the cinematic for the expansion, which will no doubt be much discussed, but won’t tell us much more than the story behind the whole thing.
Then just a couple hours after that, at 20:00 UTC (13:00 Pacific Time), CCP will be holding their own live stream on their Twitch channel to present the next expansion for EVE Online, Hyperion.
So far this has been billed as the big “fix wormhole space” expansion. I didn’t even know W-space was broken, but players will work whatever system is in place.
Sony Online Entertainment
Then in the evening, at some point past 19:00 Pacific Time (2:00 UTC) SOE will be having their SOE Live Welcome Keynote address.
This will also be on their Twitch channel, though SOE is trying to get people to put down $20 for their channel, so I am not sure what you get for free.
While we probably won’t get much in the way of details, this is the likely point during the event for any big announcements. This will produce news, and I will be watching the EQ2 Wire blog for a summary. (And they have a list of streamed SOE Live events.)
And at some point today BioWare will be launching the latest Star Wars: The Old Republic expansion, Galactic Strongholds.
This will be the housing expansion for SWTOR and I will be interested to hear what path they have chosen for this and how players react.
Addendum: Or maybe not. I thought there was a live stream planned for today about housing, but I must have dreamed it. Probably for the best.
Meanwhile, Gamescom is still running in Germany and I haven’t checked to see if any other developers have decided that the second Thursday in August is THE day to announce something, but I won’t be surprised if somebody else is on board.
Which announcements will you be paying attention to?
People Aren’t Wearing Enough Hats! August 12, 2014Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
Tags: Aurum, Cash Shop, Hats, Hyperion, Only Half Joking
Last week Rixx Javix put up a post over at his blog about hats.
Specifically his post was about EVE Online avatars that he has adorned with hats over the years, including his own and others.
You should go look at that post. He has done a lot of hats. EVE Online avatars with hats on them appear to be quite a thing. Even my own avatar on the blog is my EVE avatar with a horned helm applied to it. (I used that avatar at work as well.)
That lead me to joke that if CCP had given us hats instead of monocles with the Incarna expansion, things might have gone a bit differently.
I was, of course, being silly, and doubly so because monocles were never the main issue with Incarna.
But still, I felt in my gut that there was something to this. Hats are fun. Putting on a hat is almost the simplest form of costume. Hats lend a sense of style, silliness, or personality when put on. I love hats.
In fact, in-game if I cannot have a good hat I won’t wear any hat at all. But I will go out of my way for a hat that fits my mood or forms the basis of a look. One of the things I miss about Rift is that it had both a varied selection of hats available and a cosmetic system that allow players to easily wear what they liked.
I realize that Blizzard wanted to use transmorg to get gold out of the economy, but the restrictions on what can be transmog’d into something else are too restrictive in my book. I want to make my plate helm look like Whitemane’s chapeau or the Hydromancer’s Headwrap! Is that too much to ask? (Also, the stuff you sell in the Blizz Store… the hats… they look awful.)
And in Lord of the Rings Online as well, I always had to find the right hat.
Hats may be the only item I have eagerly spent money on in cash shops.
And there is Team Fortress 2 which apparently finances itself entirely through the sale of hats. That seems to indicate that it isn’t just me with the whole hats thing. Hats make the character.
Hats seem to be a thing worth monetizing. Here is an opportunity for CCP to add something to their in-game cash shop that people might buy.
I hear somebody from the back of the hall saying, “But you can buy hats in EVE Online. And they are bringing more in with the Hyperion expansion.”
And I would have to admit that those are true statements. But the options currently available do not thrill me, and the options they are adding with Hyperion are even less palatable.
That was clearly the problem with the NEX Store, or whatever they are calling it these days; not enough color choices in the hosiery section.
Anyway, those headgear options barely qualify as hats and certainly do not represent anything I would want to display on my avatar.
What CCP needs to do here is get off the whole dark brooding dystopian future… after all, this is the future where anything should go, so if you can name yourself DoomBunny or HVAC Repairman (or even Dabigredboat) in-game and be taken seriously… and at least one of those people is… then fix things so you can find a decent hat in New Eden. Dystopias tend to have pretty decent hat selections. Look at Blade Runner or that snappy model Alan Arkin wore in Gattaca. And lets not forget the Mad Max series. Or the Soviet Union. Police states and dictatorships practically rise and fall on their haberdashery selections.
So here is what I want.
I want to have a wide selection of hats, from subdued to zany, that I can buy from the in-game cash shop and apply directly to my in-game avatar so when anybody sees it come up in an info screen… or if they are one of those horrible people that leave icons on in chat… there is my damn hat in full view making exactly the statement I want… which is that I think hats are cool. In a year I want Rixx Javix to look at the store in EVE Online and say something like, “I can’t keep up with that.”
But that is not all I want.
No, I want an entire hat subsystem in the game. I want to be able to buy a hat from the store and apply it to my avatar right away, easy-peasy, no questions asked. I want a hat inventory window where I can view and select from my ever growing collection of hats so I am always wearing the hat appropriate to my mood and the occasion. I want the method by which I acquire in-game currency… Aurum, isn’t it? I want that simplified. I don’t want to have to buy a PLEX and then convert it to Aurum. That commits me to a nearly $20 transaction. Just sell me a stack of Aurum, small to large, starting at $5.
Which leads me to the last, and most essential bit. Make the hats cheap.
We have a luxury item with a non-insignificant amount of overhead to create, but which has almost zero incremental cost per unit sold. You make it once and sell it a zillion times and your costs don’t change all that much.
Because here is something that Jester got totally right on the similar topic of ship skins, which are too expensive (and too inconvenient) for most people to buy for ships they are going to lose.
Price the hats so that you will sell many. I want them to be cheap enough that an FC can call for a specific hat style and get decent turn out on that front. I want them to be cheap enough to feel okay calling anybody who refuses to “hat up” a cheap-ass scrub. I want to see GSOL running around in yellow construction hats and Theta Squad in fezzes and Triumvirate in very serious fedoras and a halo for The Mittani and a selection of pirate hats and horned Viking helms for every low sec pirate corp to feel included.
What hat would you and your corp or alliance want?
I know, I know, technical details, 3D modeling, limited resources, everything is too hard. Make the hats freakin’ stickies to apply to your avatar ala that horrible system in Google Hangouts. You can add in fright wigs, red ball noses, and bow ties while you’re at it them.
All I know is that I want some decent, affordable hats dammit.
Which CSM member will take up this cause? Who will lead the campaign for more hats in New Eden?
I would, but I’m trying to get this Soviet Naval officer’s cap on my avatar. It just isn’t quite right.
A work in progress.
Weekend Fleet Ops in Delve August 11, 2014Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
Tags: 1-SMEB, Delve, NOL-M9, Null Sec, Rilera
The “Good Fites” war in Delve continues on, giving us something to do during our summer vacations, such that they are. As usual, I tend to just sit and do other things until Jabber pops up and tells me it is time for a space fight.
Saturday morning seemed to be a rich time for ops. I missed an earlier tower defense, but happened to just sit down at my computer when a call went out for Harpy fleet. They had suffered some losses during a fight and were re-shipping in F2OY-X, so there was an opportunity to jump in. I quickly got online and on coms and was off with the fleet to NOL-M9 where a Northern Coalition Tengu fleet was in the process of being pinned down. NOL is about at the edge of what is the current radius of action around the NPC null sec stations in Delve.
We arrived just in time to find the NC Tengu fleet bubbled up and heavily committed. We were able to warp to the fight and join in at extreme range for Harpies, using Spike ammo and range scripts.
Time dilation was running close to 10% at times with a lot of ships on grid, but we were able to close and get in on our share of kills before the remaining hostiles slipped the trap. We then bounced around quite a bit trying to catch them on their way home, but there was no further action for the Harpies and we eventually headed home ourselves.
That fleet slaked my need for a fight, but when a call came up two hours later for a Baltec fleet to go and kill some super capitals, I was in as quick as I could be.
On coms the word was that there were supers tackled and so it was time to go go go! Reagalan was FC and, as proof that we were in a hurry, he had us warp to zero when traveling to the titan waiting to bridge us, causing it to get a severe bumping. (Don’t bump the titan is the mantra of almost every bridging operation.) We bridged immediately to another POS where another titan was waiting to bridge us soonest out to Rilera, where the supers were said to be waiting.
However, once we got there, the supers had slipped away. We were left with a Black Legion carrier on the field though, which we proceeded to blow up as quickly as we could, and then we cleared out all the drones that the supers left behind. Super pilots leave so much litter behind I swear I saw a crying space Indian… or native American… or whatever.
We then managed to corner a Black Legion Ishtar fleet and took a bite out of them before they got away. There were a lot of people hanging around the system for a while, and then people faded and Reagalan had to figure out what to do with us. We were in a low sec system, which was fine, but to get back to Querious and F2OY-X, we needed to travel through high sec. Rilera is a pocket of low sec surrounded by high.
For me this was no big deal. My security status is 4.98. But there were a lot of people in fleet with negative security status, all the way down to -10 if coms are to be believed. And I have yet to be in a CFC fleet that has to pass through high sec where anybody seemed to know definitively what will happen if low security status pilots go into high sec. Will CONCORD shoot them, will faction police shoot them, will they get pointed or just webbed before being blown up, will they be able to get through in a battleship… always questions with half a dozen conflicting answers on coms.
Reagalan eventually just got us lined up on the jump gate to Col, gave everybody the destination, and told us to just fly as fast as possible through high sec. There was nothing else for it, nobody was going to risk jumping a titan out to low sec just to rescue a few relatively cheap battleships. So we went.
And, as far as I could tell, nobody got blown up.
From there it was just a matter of getting to null and the jump bridge network for The Initiative, which we can use, and hey presto we were home. A lot of anxiety for naught.
That was it for me on Saturday, but Sunday held the promise of more fights. One of our towers was reinforced in 1-SMEB and the timer was set to come out at around 19:00 EVE time. Skymarshal Blawrf McTaggart was putting up pings on Jabber about this operation, counting down to the undock time and practically promising a fight.
STRATOP FORMING IN 30 MINS. We’ll be forming large – tengufleet as first fleet, baltec as second, fyf & harpies as third. BE IN F2O FOR A SUNDAY BRAWL
Since 1-SMEB is in the Delve hot pocket, I figured this would be a short commute for a fight, so got into the Tengu fleet. I am starting to acquire a ship for every occasion in F2OY-X.
We formed up, caused a lot of TiDi undocking, bridged to 1-SMEB, got to the POS and watched the tower count down the minutes.
And nobody showed up. Well, we showed up, but the other side did not. We ran off to a blocking position in another system, lest this be some trickery of some sort. But the hostiles were not going to fight us. Eventually Blawrf was back on Jabber telling us the fight wasn’t going to happen.
After broadcasting for guarenteed fight all day, the lowsec pirates sit on a titan and ref a moon before docking again. Sorry that we didn’t get a fight.
We wandered back home and stood down. Unfortunately, that was about all I had time for on Sunday. I left Jabber up and it looked like there were fleets of opportunity throughout the day, but I was done. Still, two fights out of three tries isn’t a bad record for null sec.
Some screen shots of the various ops after the cut.