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Tech 3 Destroyers and Other Tidbits from EVE Vegas Keynote October 18, 2014

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
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EVE Vegas is running this weekend.  The one time player driven event that has turned into a CCP sponsored affair, complete with a keynote speech full of new treats.

CCP Seagull kicked things off with a theme and overview of how CCP is looking at the upcoming changes.  The idea is that CCP wants to create things where they cannot predict the outcome, because they if they can then we can as well.  So roll on emergent game play.

Playing and Outplaying

Playing and Outplaying

She reviewed the titan themed expansions so far this year…

The new expansions so far...

The new expansions so far…

And talked a bit about items we have heard mentioned before.  Then she gave us the release plan for 2015.

2015 Release Plan

2015 Release Plan

That is 10 release for 2015, plus the two we have left this year, Phoebe and Rhea.  This all led into a bit more overview on what the upcoming phases of change they are planning.

Going through a phase

Going through a phase

Phase 1 is looming, with Phoebe dropping in just a couple of weeks, but Phase 2 is where the shape of null sec might change.  She then wrapped up with a revised version of the road map for EVE Online.

Where we are...

Where we are…

This is a bit trimmed down from the old one.  The green line shows where CCP feels they stand, so industry is pretty much done but many more major changes are left to come.

CCP Seagull wrapped up and handed the stage over to CCP Fozzie who got to talk about some more specific items related to the Rhea expansion coming in December.  Most of that is still under wraps, but there were a couple of neat things.

Quick look at Rhea

Quick look at Rhea

The art change consisted of an update to the Blackbird/Falcon/Rook ship model.  There was a very early mock up of what they want to do with the some of the most loved/hated ships in the game, but CCP Fozzie said that it would likely bristle with antennae when it was done.

Then there was a new ship type announced, currently codenamed “Tug.”

The Tug

The Tug

This will be a freighter sized ship that will be used for carrying around multiple fitted sub cap ships.  A mock up of the ship was shown.

The model is still early on, so no textures have been applied, but CCP Fozzie did say something about the art team pushing the envelope when it come to the number of polygons used.  I suspect that this will be a popular ship.

Then CCP Fozzie spoke about the research race/contest that had been going on for the last week.  The results were in, which he announced, along with what it would mean.

Research Race results

Research Race results

Each of the empires will get their version of the end result in the order in which they place… and what they are getting is Tech 3 Tactical destroyers.

Tech 3 Destroyers

Tech 3 Destroyers

The Amarr should get theirs as part of the Rhea expansion, which other races getting theirs with following expansion.  There were even some mock-ups of potential models for the Amarr tactical destroyers shown.

Amarr tactical concepts

Amarr tactical concepts

He also showed mock-ups of the Caldari version, because apparently the Caldari were in first place in the race until almost the end, so the art team started in on what looked like the winning team early.

Caldari tactical concepts

Caldari tactical concepts

As with the “Tug” announcement, there were no final names or any stats for the ships.

That about wrapped up CCP Fozzie’s time, and he then gave way to CCP Seagull again who spoke of exciting times coming in the game with all of the changes they have planned.

Addendum:

Neville Smit’s comments.  He took better notes than I did… by virtue of actually taking notes I bet.

The Birth of a Pipe Bombing Campaign October 17, 2014

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
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When it comes to watching gaming related videos on YouTube, I must admit that I do not have much patience.  Small screen video, bad audio commentary, and a general inability to grab and hold the interest of any viewer not captivated by shiny colors and an overbearing sound track pushes me to reject just about anything that demands more than 5 minutes of my time in the medium.

Some of that is my MTV generation attention span, but a larger part is resentment that some poorly produced nonsense is demanding my full attention as it spews out its low quality efforts onto my computer screen.  I can tolerate armature podcasts… well, some armature podcasts… because at least they only require me to listen.  But demanding eyes and ears and mind for crap, that is asking too much.

And then there is the Rooks and Kings channel on YouTube.

Rooks and Kings is a small PvP alliance in null sec that, through skill and innovative tactics, is able to take on much larger alliances and win fights.

And they can make decent videos.  Their latest effort is over an hour long and I sat and watched the whole thing.  It is a documentary describing how the alliance had to alter its tactics to deal with the ever larger fleets it had to contend with, how they came up with and evolved the tactic called pipe bombing, and then how effective it ended up becoming.

(Direct link to video)

If you are interested in seeing a small group smash much larger fleets, describing how they did it, and playing audio of the victims (who in most cases express admiration at being so done in) this is a worthwhile watch.

Related to things discussed in this video are a couple of shorter videos, The Drebuchet,The False Tower, and War Crimes in Fountain.  The latter documents the time that Mister Vee got pipe bombed after mocking his fellow CFC FCs who had been roughly handled by Rooks and Kings.  I was in a fleet later that day and people were talking about that action.

One Hundred and Thirty Million Skill Points October 13, 2014

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
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I missed the big battle at CCP-US, where we traded a titan for 60 dreadnoughts, and the pipe-boming fiasco of Sunday afternoon, so all I really have at the end of the weekend is another round number to write about.  I have hit another meaningless milestone in the eternal quest for skill points in EVE Online.

I think the skill point thing was perhaps one of the best moves CCP made in designing EVE Online.  It is practically money in the bank, as some people will stay subscribed for ages because they are making progress on that front, even if they aren’t really playing.  And with the new limitless skill queue coming… money.

Anyway, the milestones so far, which act sort of my progress chart through New Eden as I have bounced from one thing to another over the years:

The pattern of milestones is a bit odd, though that too reflects to a certain respect my engagement with the game.  And, of course, I never hit 100 million skill points because CCP broke out Battlecruisers and Destroyers into racial skill with the Odyssey expansion, giving those of us who had them trained to five an instant boost of about six million skill points.  That jumped me from around 99 million to 105 million skill points, and spared you all one of these numbers blog posts.

Anyway, here we are at the next round number and here are how my skill point distribution stands.  Those categories marked with an asterisk changed since the last milestone, so that is where my training time went, while the numbers in parenthesis show how many skills out of the total number I have for each category.

Spaceship Cmd   35,466,680 (42 of 67)*
Gunnery         13,915,745 (36 of 39)*
Missiles        10,311,505 (21 of 24)*
Navigation       9,362,039 (12 of 13)*
Drones           9,309,104 (17 of 20)*
Leadership       8,507,855 (13 of 14)*
Armor            6,899,137 (14 of 14)*
Engineering      5,748,120 (12 of 14)*
Shields          5,643,314 (11 of 12)
Resc Processing  4,569,908 (22 of 28)
Science          4,408,426 (21 of 39)
Trade            3,271,765 (9 of 13)
Electronic Sys   2,458,519 (6 of 15)
Targeting        1,521,805 (8 of 8)*
Scanning         1,412,995 (7 of 7)*
Neural Enhance.  1,384,785 (5 of 8)*
Subsystems       1,320,000 (10 of 20)
Production       1,157,986 (5 of 12)
Corp Mgmt        1,108,784 (4 of 7)
Social             943,765 (5 of 9)
Planet Mgmt        769,335 (5 of 5)
Rigging            580,275 (10 of 10)*

Total         ~130,000,000 (295 of 398)

I am clearly guilty of trying to have one character do everything over the years.  I will recycle, once again, Jester’s skill point chart that gives a general view of the whole.

Skill Points Mapped Out

Skill Points Mapped Out

There are, as always, chunks of training time spent around optimizing for fleet doctrines.  But far and away the majority of my training time over the last cycle has been devoted to Leadership skills, with more than 6.1 million skill points accrued.

This was due to me decision back in June to train to be a fleet booster.  Getting Leadership maxed out, which means all the way up to the Fleet Commander V skill, has been described as a year-long process that you just have to buckle down and dedicate your training to.  Certainly there are not a lot of happy, useful mid-points, at least not in our fleet doctrines.  You have to have a lot of level V skills to take on the role.  My first plateau, the point at which I might actually be useful, will probably come by the end of this year, at which point I will Wing Command V and the appropriate Warefare Link specialist roles trained up, along with the Command Ships skill, so that I can fly the Damnation command ship as an on-grid wing booster in Baltec fleets.

Damnation in a POS

Damnation in a POS

Let’s hope Baltec fleet is still a doctrine by then.  Given that leadership is shown as ~12 million skill points over all, my next milestone will no doubt feature mostly an increase in that category again.

All told, my character knows 295 different skills, up from 283 at the last milestone.

Level 1  - 4
Level 2  - 23 
Level 3  - 48
Level 4  - 71 
Level 5  - 149

Only four of the new skills were in the Leadership category, while another four went into Rigging, while the final four were in Targeting where I discovered I was missing the racial sensor compensation skills.  That discovery was largely because of the skill review at the 120 million skill point level, so I suppose these milestones are not entirely meaningless.

At the end of these posts I have traditionally put in a calculation about how far I am from flying a Titan.  Way back in time that tended to be a hilariously large number, to the point of seeming unlikely to ever come about.  As time has marched forward, I have managed to edge closer and closer to that ability, to the point that I last reported that I was about 50 days of training shy of being able to fly (but not fully equip) a Titan.  49 out of those 50 days were tied up in Capital Ships V, something I am unlikely to be training in the near future.  And so that number seemed to be static.

However, in the CFC, we have a utility that shows you where you stand on your skill progression if you want to fly in one of the capital fleets.  This shows you what skills you are missing and the minimum training level that the CFC will accept, so I can now list out how long it will take me to fly a fully operation titan.  In this case, the shortest path is to a Ragnarok, the Minmatar titan. (See its doomsday weapon in action. Not a super laser like the Avatar or Erebus.)

Free wheeling Ragnarok

Free wheeling Ragnarok outside the POS

This is largely due to the fact that I have trained up the skills to fly the Minmatar Naglfar dreadnought, and the capital ship level weapons skills apply in both cases.  The training plan to fly this beast looks like this:

1. Capital Ships V
2. Astrometrics V
3. Jump Portal Generation I
4. Jump Portal Generation II
5. Jump Portal Generation III
6. Energy Pulse Weapons II
7. Energy Pulse Weapons III
8. Energy Pulse Weapons IV
9. Energy Pulse Weapons V
10. Doomsday Operation I
11. Doomsday Operation II
12. Doomsday Operation III
13. Doomsday Operation IV
14. Minmatar Titan I
15. Minmatar Titan II
16. Minmatar Titan III
17. Minmatar Titan IV

According to EVE Mon, that is 6 unique skills, 17 skill levels, with a total time training time of 130 days, 17 hours, 44 minutes, 40 seconds.  The training time number was generated when I was in a clone without implants, and my attributes are sub-optimal, so I could cut that time down some if I so desired.  Any of the other titans would add another two days to the training time, which isn’t very significant.

Meanwhile, if I went the super carrier route, I could be flying an Aeon in about 105 days, thanks to the Amarr carrier skills I trained up for the Archon.

The Aeon looks half finished

The Aeon looks half finished

Of course, this is just an amusing numbers exercise.  I won’t be flying either a titan or a super carrier in the foreseeable future.  In part, that is because I do not have the patience to actually earn enough ISK to buy either class of ship.  I would be stretched to fork out the 3 billion ISK required for the Naglfar I have already trained to fly.  But mostly it is because titans and avatars pretty much require you to dedicate a character full time to them.  There is no docking up and swapping ships.  Once you are in your giant space coffin, you are stuck with it.

So, while an amusing metric, super capitals aren’t really a goal for me.

Anyway, off for the 140 million mark.  At least I don’t have to upgrade my clone until the 150 million mark.  Maybe I will be “done” training by then.

Sometimes you can even catch me in high sec buying skills or just sitting in my training implants clone.

New Eden Alt Creation Becomes Easy with Phoebe October 10, 2014

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
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CCP put up a dev blog listing out what will be in the next expansion, Phoebe.

And while there are many tasty tidbits to digest on that list… including the whole jump drive nerf, which has gotten some alterations based on feedback… the one stunner for me is CCP removing the limit from the training queue.

You will be able to pile up as many skills as you want in your training queue.

Training queue to infinity...

Training queue to infinity…

Some people may never have to log in again.  I cannot tell if this is truly awesome or horrifying.  I know I like it, though you do have to wonder what eventually changed CCP’s mind on this.

And being able to identify a bitter vet will eventually go from those of us who remember when there was no queue to those of us who remember when the queue was only 24 hours long.  We have had the 24 hour skill queue for more than five years now.  It came in with Apocrypha back in 2009… along with a lot of other stuff.  Look at the list on that link.  Wormholes.  Ship fitting windows.  Blue lasers for ice mining.  Damn, we take for granted these days.

It isn’t the be all, end all of course.  Unless you can inject and queue skills that you cannot yet train, there will have to be some logging in now and again.  But it looks like I will be able to load up the remainder of my fleet booster training plan and let it ride after Phoebe drops on November 4th.

Makes me want to create another alt… which I am going to guess is part of what changed CCP’s mind.

 

Another Null Sec Achievement! October 8, 2014

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
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There we were.  The ping had gone out.  Nulli Secunda was running around Deklein.  They were in YA0-XJ, our staging system, when I logged on.  all 54 of them.

A fleet was formed.

We piled into Tengu fleet doctrine ships to fight them.  We undocked, but our scouts reported they were running.

Reagalan, our FC secured us a titan.  We could cut them off.  All we had to do was get bridge to a system a couple jumps out to cut them off.  We had eyes on them, we knew where they were headed.

We hit the staging POS first, then Reagalan had us warp to him on the titan.  We all bunched up there, looking straight into the face of the giant Amarr titan, the Avatar.  Reagalan asked the titan pilot to bridge us to the beacon in the cut-off system.  We started intently at the titan, waiting for the visual effect that would indicate that the bridge was up.

The tension mounts...

The tension mounts…

Nothing happened.  Reagalan nudged the titan pilot again.

Suddenly the Avatar, this giant visage right before us, transforms itself into a red ball of energy and disappears as a streak into the distance.

Poof!  Gone!

There was a moment of silence as we processed what happened, and then fleet chat broke out in hilarity.

The pilot selected “jump to” instead of “bridge to” and sent himself off to the cut-off system, while we were all left to run there the hard way.

Fortunately Nulli Secunda was too busy heading out of our space to see the titan.  Not that they could have made much of an issue of it, as we were very quickly burning through gates as fast as we could to catch up.  Reagalan got himself popped racing ahead, but otherwise everything was okay.

So we headed back to YA0-XJ, catching a hostile on the way.

I have heard about titan pilots mixing up “jump” and “bridge” before.  It was how the battle of Asakai happened.  But to see it happen was quite a thing.  I feel steeped in just that much more of the null sec experience.  I can now mark that off of my list of things to experience.  And, some day, should I fly a titan, I will try to follow the simple guide.

Picture source: unknown

Picture source: unknown

All the more so because once Phoebe drops in about a month, there will be the heart ache of jump fatigue to deal with.  Then again, a titan won’t be able to get very far away after Phoebe either. Fun stuff.

 

We Pay Black Legion a Visit October 6, 2014

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
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We are suddenly living in interesting times in New Eden.  Change is coming.  A lot of people think they know how things will play out, but when CCP is telling people that they cannot predict the results, it can be hard to tell which pundit has some deep insight versus just some wishful thinking.

In addition to my own minor predictions, I am going to guess that, over the next few weeks, we will be witnessing the last hurrah of easy jump drive and jump bridge travel.  The Phoebe expansion and its huge travel changes, expected to drop in early November, looms and all good pilots in New Eden are at least making contingency plans.  The wise are making sure all their jump clone related skills are up to snuff.  The traders are stockpiling goods, the industrialists materials.  Those needing to have stuff shipped are doing it now rather than later, as shipping charges are expected to jump.  And I am willing to bet that alliances with supercapital heavy doctrines will be looking to get in some last-minute cross-region hot drops.

And those of us who have been flying subcaps back and forth across half the galaxy in order to defend the empire… we’ll be eager to do a few last farewell flings across space as well.

So it was Saturday when Reagalan put out a ping on Jabber that he would be doing something hilarious and that he had a fleet up, but that the doctrine was as yet undecided.

Once nearly 200 people showed up and piled in on that promise, it was time to pick ships.  Reagalan wanted to go with the new Hawk fleet doctrine which he has been championing, however logistics held us back.  There just weren’t any Hawks up on contract.  Some of us had them, but most of the fleet did not.  So the doctrine was changed to Harpy fleet, while asking some people to stay with Hawks to give us some more tacklers.  I opted for a Harpy because I happened to have three in the station, so I figured I might as well lose something I already had backup on.  Besides which, as I found out with Sunday’s fight, the Hawk fleet configuration changed a bit and my Hawk needed to be refit to be brought up to date.

The act of nearly 200 of us swapping ships brought up TiDi in the system.  CCP is going to have to put some more CPU power behind our new home, what with fleet assemblies and Black Legion coming to visit.

Once shipped, it was time to undock and head out to… wherever it was we were going.

Most dramatic undock screen shot yet

Most dramatic undock screen shot yet

That was some more TiDi, as was the move through the first few gates.  Other ops were likely in progress.

We started down a route I had not previously been aware of, and Reagalan had been very quiet about our actual destination, no doubt in the name of operational security.  But eventually he had to tell us where we were headed.  We ended up joining the old convoy route to Fountain, and by the time we got to J5A he had put NOL-M9 in as a destination for fleet.  We were headed to Delve.

Which was something of a pisser.  I have a jump clone and the correct doctrine ship down in Delve.  I could have just landed down there and waited for everybody else to take the jump bridge highway from Deklein.

Looking at another jump bridge array...

Looking at another jump bridge array…

That is the problem with op sec.  You can’t just ping that you want people for form up in YA0 and then add in the bit about jump cloning to Delve if you’re trying to keep the hostiles from being totally aware that you are coming.  So my jump clone sat unused, still saved for a rainy day, or Phoebe, whichever comes first.  I suppose I did get to update some jump bridge bookmarks.  The Oceanus expansion last week changed the rules a bit on where jump bridges could be anchored, so some of them had to move, obsoleting some bookmarks.

We were headed to Delve to support our southern cousins in the CFC.  FA had a fleet coming from Fountain, while the LAWN gnomes were forming up along with The Initiative to defend their turf.   A tower in NPC null had been put in reinforce so there was going to be a timer fight and Black Legion, also crossing the galaxy for a fight, was expected to be there.  Time for a bit of pay back for our losses at YA0 Thursday evening.  We had to fart about a bit camping a gate to see if we could grab anybody headed to the fight, but eventually we jumped into G-TT5V, warped to the tower in question, and found a fight in progress.

Landing at the tower

Landing at the tower

We were a little far off from the fight, so Reagalan warped us off and then back on top of Black Legion where we anchored up and started in.  Bubbles went up around the fight.  The numbers were in our favor, so the key to things was to pin them down, kill off their logistics, and then chop them up one by one.

Ball of Tengus in the bubbles

Ball of Tengus in the bubbles

As a percentage of their force, their logistics was not as prevalent as they were at YA0 two days before, and they did not seem to be as well coordinated.  This may have been due to there being different fleets calling different targets, thus spreading the Scimitar reps more thinly.  Whatever it was, we were able to start breaking the tanks on their Scimitars, and pretty soon they were going down as quickly as we could lock them up and start shooting.  With support down, our path to juicier targets was clear.

Black Legion Chimeras

Black Legion Chimeras

Black Legion had three Chimera carriers on the field, which we proceeded to target and turn to scrap one by one.

A Chimera wreck, and a soon to be wreck

A Chimera wreck, and a soon to be wreck

Three carriers down and the battle was really going our way.  Without logistics to support them, bubbled up and unable to flee, the Tengus were meat before us, waiting to be consumed.

And then, as we were laying down another round of  bubbles on Black Legion, some allied stealth bombers dropped on the Tengus and bombed them.  This was unfortunate, as they did not have nearly the firepower to do more than scratch the Black Legion fleet, but they had more than enough blast to clear away the bubbles.  The Tengus, already burning to get out of the bubbles, was clear to warp away.

There was some chasing about.  We managed to drop on and tackle one hostile in an asteroid belt.

Harpies unleash

Harpies unleash

But Black Legion had freedom of action and was able to dock up in the Blood Raiders station in system to avoid further loss.

We kept the station under guard while the other fleets finished up their business and withdrew.  The most expendable fleet gets to fly cover while the more expensive assets pull out.

Sitting on the Blood Raiders station

Why does every Amarr structure look like it was made out of Apoc parts?

We sat outside and made chicken sounds and attempted to goad Black Legion into undocking, but Elo Knight merely responded in local that sticks and stones might break his Tengus, but words would never hurt him.  At least I think that is when he uttered those words.  That might have happened on Sunday when we had him holed up in the station at 5ZXX-K.  I forget which.

Once everybody was clear, we were able to withdraw and get on the jump bridge highway back to the north.  Our movements may be hampered come November, but it is still October.  Black Legion also headed north.  As noted in the previous post, we ended up facing them along with Nulli Secunda in Pure Blind just a day later, and then again later that night up in Deklein.  They were not able to repeat their performance at YA0 and the Sunday night brawl devolved into us chasing their Ishtars all over 2R-CRW in Hawks while they tried to escape.

But the fight at G-TT5V at least got a little payment back for YA0, with the ISK war tilted in our favor this time according to the battle report.

Losses - Team 1: CFC, Team 2: Black Legion

Losses – Team 1: CFC, Team 2: Black Legion

A lot of our losses were wrapped up in a Naglfar that The Initiative threw into the brawl to hit the Black Legion carriers.  Being fixated on my own little corner of the battle, I completely missed the dreads dropping in to assist.

For a wider view of the battle, what it was about, who did what, and so on, there is a post up over at TMC by Arrendis, who was also our anchor for the main part of the fight.

I expect, with Black Legion, Nulli Secunda, and a few other groups now in the north to take advantage of the last few weeks of easy travel in null sec, that we will have more fights on our hands .  The final days before Phoebe will be bloody because nobody is really sure what we will be doing once the travel changes clamp down.  So we will take our fun while we can get it.

There is Blobbing, and then there is Blobbing October 5, 2014

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
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It was Sunday afternoon/evening and elements of the N3 coalition along with Black Legion came calling in force, taking advantage of easy travel while it still exists.  There was a call up for fleets, a tower to be saved, and all of the usual elements.  But the surprising bit was catching the Tengu fleet on the gate in R6XN-9 and having first capital ships and then supercaps drop in on the fight.

Titans on grid did not bring out PL, so there was no B-R or Asakai style escalation.  Not ready to have a supercap pyre just yet I guess.

Meanwhile, DBRB and his bombers were taking care of a hostile Abaddon fleet in one pass.

Addendum: Reports on the bombing run at TMC and EN24.

 

Black Legion Pays Us a Visit October 3, 2014

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
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I managed to sit down at the computer last night just in time to have a Jabber alert pop up calling for a fleet.  Black Legion was in our new Deklein staging system at YA0-XJ.  I guess those change of address cards worked.

The alert said that more than 100 ships were in YA0 looking for a fight, so I logged right in.  I was in my high sec training clone, so I jumped back to my clone in YA0,  got into my Baltec Apocalypse, and got onto voice coms to listen to the usual operetta of a fleet form up.  The fleet commander, the tenor, must sing his sad tale of not having enough logistics (and too many interceptors) and how we won’t even undock if we do not get enough.  I sit in my Apoc and rationalize by saying to myself that it is a new month so I need a couple of kill mails, and in any case I am in my Apoc clone, the one with the EG-603 implant, which is required to fly our fit, so if I am going to get podded and lose it I am damn well going to do it in the ship that requires it.  I’ll fly logistics next time, I swear.

Eventually Red Crown cajoled enough people to swap so that we meet the minimum doctrine requirements.  The logistics theme is not done yet though.  That motif will continue through the fight.  But we are able to start undocking, which turns on the time dilation.

Undocking in YA0

Undocking in YA0

Red Crown had us align to the 2R-CRW gate in YA0, where Black Legion was reported to be lingering.  That is when we started to prove again that we can be very bad at EVE Online.  On of the squad commanders warped his squad to the gate rather than aligning, sending most of his squad to a quick and early death.  On person was able to cancel warp, the rest were blown up on landing, being served up for Black Legion like hors d’oeuvres.  The rest of us managed to align without warping to a fiery death.

Once we had a safe warp in, Red Crown warped the fleet and we landed on grid with Black Legion and the shooting could begin.  Black Legion was out in Tengus with a fleet of over 120 ships, a quarter of which were logistics.  As has been discussed elsewhere, logistics is a very powerful aspect of fleet composition.  This is why the FC is always shouting for more logi.  Black Legion was going to be a tough nut to crack with all that support.

The first thing on the agenda was to clear off a Mobile Cynosural Inhibitor that was on grid, so that we could bring in some more firepower in the form of some carriers and their sentry drones.  This led to a moment of comedy where everybody locked up the inhibitor, shot it into structure, then moved on to the next target.  When you are shooting ships, and you see one out of shields, out of armor, and taking damage to its hull, it is time to think about moving onto the next target.  But with structures, the hull actually makes up the bulk of the hit points.  The inhibitor only has 20K hit points armor and shields combined, but 150K in the hull.

So everybody shot it into hull and moved on, leaving it still alive.  So the FC had to get us all to go back and finish it off so some carriers could land on grid with us and add their fire to the mix.

With that finally accomplished, we started trying to whittle down the enemy logistics, which were on the far side of the battle from us.  Baltec fleet in general, and Apocs in particular, are good and picking off ships at range. With the right crystals loaded, I can engage targets out past 150km.  So the FC began calling Scimitars as targets.  We even managed to pop the first one, but then the hostiles were alerted and each subsequent target got reps before we could get it into armor.

BL Scimitar taking heat

BL Scimitar taking heat

On our side though, casualties began to mount.  We had half as much in the way of logistics, and a third of it was being flown my one guy who was multi-boxing.  Add in the fact that armor reps apply at the end of the module cycle, as opposed to the beginning of the cycle with shield reps, and there was a lot less margin for error on our side.  Even TiDi, which usually makes logistics easier, as your reaction time remains the same while the world around you slows down, wasn’t enough to help us out.

BLYTiDi

We swapped to other target types, and managed to knock down a couple, but once the hostile logi was wise to our plan, reps thwarted further kills.

At some point Red Crown went down and Reagalan took over the FC slot.  He aligned us away from the hostiles so we could engage at range and then tried a few tricks to see if we could alpha ships before reps kicked in.  He would have us all hold fire until we were ready to go, then give us a target to lock up and shoot.  When this worked, it worked quickly, but for the most part Black Legion seemed to be on the ball and calling for reps as soon as we started locking somebody up.  Anybody who was slow died, the rest got reps in time to thwart our damage.

There were a couple calls to get more logistics in our fleet and a small Celestis fleet went up to try and damp the hostile logistics, though they were targeted and destroyed in pretty short order.  After a while of mounting losses for little gain, we left the field and headed back to the station.  Black Legion won the day, with more kills and more ISK destroyed.

Team 1: CFC, Team 2: BL

Team 1: CFC, Team 2: BL

The battle report from which that graph was drawn is available here.

Some screen shots from the fight.  There are a couple of shots where you can, thanks to colors, spot people using the wrong crystals for their lasers.

The First Thing We Do, Let’s Kill All the Super Caps… October 1, 2014

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
Tags: , , ,
6 comments

We expect the impact of these changes to be emergent, and as a consequence are unpredictable and will take a while to develop on TQ [Tranquility, the EVE Online live server]. This plays into our longer-term plans…

CCP Greyscale, Long-Distance Travel Changes Inbound

Oh, we’ve spent a lazy summer, with no major sovereignty war to occupy us, going on and on about how null sec is broken and how it ought to be fixed.  The problems and potential solutions have been enumerated, argued over, compared, contrasted, discarded, and picked up again and again while CCP, long aware of the situation, has largely been quiet.  They have been busy with other business, but with the Phoebe expansion now next on the agenda, which we can expect at some point next month (because there isn’t enough stuff dropping in November already), null sec is now on the agenda.

The first dev blog has been posted and it is a doozy.

CCP is planning to bring changes to null sec in multiple phases.  Later phases will include things like sovereignty mechanics and the like.  But the initial phase is going straight after power projection and the apex force with a one-two punch around travel.

Caps and supercaps will have their jump drive range limited to 5 light years.  That is the distance you’ll be able to go with max skills.  No word yet on how that will scale up if you only have jump drive calibration III trained, but the max distance jump will be five.

And the second blow is jump fatigue.  Now, via another mathematical formula, you will accrue jump fatigue… if you’re an old-school EQII player, think experience debt applied to travel I guess… which will act as a way to limit how soon you can perform your next jump.  Fatigue builds up based on how far you have jumped.

So there will be two new timers.  The first counts down until you can jump next, while the other keeps track of your accumulated jump fatigue, the latter being used to calculate the next round of the former after each jump.

JAandJFtimers

The stated goal is to make any travel using jump drive technology… which includes jump bridges… take longer than travel by gates past the 20 light year mark by basically putting an ever increasing timer between jumps.  CCP loves timers.  There are formulas and samples in the Dev Blog which I hope have been corrected by this point, as there were errors initially.

There are a couple of mitigation to this.  To keep the spice flowing supply lines open to null sec, Jump Freighters and Rorquals will get a special 90% reduction in the jump distance used in the fatigue calculation.  And, to keep caps and supercaps moving, they will now be allowed to use jump gates in null and low sec.

How do I frame this to get across to a non-EVE player how this feels to your typical null sec capital ship pilot?  I suppose this is about the equivalent of Blizzard limiting flying mounts to a half a zone in travel, putting a timer on travel between flight points, but letting all your flying mounts act like ground mounts to compensate.

Wait, isn’t that almost the plan for Warlords of Draenor?

Anyway, this has caused a lot of drama.  No kidding, right?  Emotions are running high and the comment threads on the announcements over at The Mittani and EVE News 24 are full of woe, while the threadnaught on the official forums is a joy if  your goal in life is to see supercap pilots delivering “I quit!” messages.

But what does it really mean?  I have no special insight, but I can take a few guesses.

The first guess is that the plan for Phoebe will be altered before it goes live.  The proposed industry changes for Kronos got pushed out to the next expansion when it got this sort of “the sky is falling” reaction.  That said, I don’t think it will be changed drastically, if only because CCP tends to throw things against the wall in the forums, but once it is a Dev Blog they are fixed on a target.  I suspect a cap on jump fatigue will be an early change.

The second is that the status quo won’t change.  Phoebe will not usher in the fall of the mighty null sec empires.  The same sovereignty mechanics apply, and as slow as capital ships will move, they will still be able to respond to a timer.  Instead the empires will optimize for the new system, the same as they have always done.  For example, I expect a new jump bridge network layout that makes the best use of those 5 light year jumps and is spaced to minimize fatigue.  It will even be easier for GSOL to maintain.

I can probably foresee us spending more time in interceptor fleets moving across space to link up with pre-positioned equipment.  Technically, the CFC pilots should have fleet ships in Deklein, Delve, and Fountain already, but I am guessing that most do not.  That might have to change.  And since jump clones aren’t being touched yet, the argument for pre-positioned equipment is increased.

Finally, the CFC seems to be the best positioned to absorb this change, being made up of alliances that are spread over our territory and actually live in the locations they hold.  Also, we’re already a subcap heavy group, so expect us to just blob on as we always have.  In fact, the first thing that came to mind was the old joke where the genie tells a guy he can have a wish, but whatever he wishes for his enemy will get double.  So the guy wishes for the genie to beat him half to death.

In the longer term… well, we shall see.  But I suspect that changes to the sovereignty mechanics will have to come into play before anything big happens.  And what CCP is saying on that front is not incompatible with the Null Deal proposal that was put out this week by the null sec stakeholders.

What else do you think this means?

Of course, others are also looking at these changes.  I will link them as I find them so we can go back later and see who had the best insight further down the road.

September in Review September 30, 2014

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online, Month in Review, War Thunder, World of Warcraft.
Tags:
6 comments

The Site

What to complain about this month?  Yes, with the coming of a new game, the spam turns to follow.  And so there was an outbreak of ArcheAge spam caught in the filter this month.

ArcheAge Gold Spam

ArcheAge Gold Spam

But there is a host of spam caught in the filter every month.  Sometimes SynCaine is caught in there too.  However, that isn’t really much of a complaint.  Besides, if you bought ArcheAge gold, could you even log on to spend it?  So I will have to find something else.

How about stats?

The other day I was looking at the referrer stats on this blog and saw that my other blog, EVE Online Pictures, was sending me a bit of traffic.

In the morning 17 can seem like a lot

In the morning 17 can seem like a lot

I thought this was interesting as, since I own both blogs, I can match up the stats!  Because accounting!  So I looked over at the outbound stats for EVE Online Pictures and saw this.

That would be less than 17

That would be less than 17

The flip side shows just two clicks.  I am not sure if they are counted differently or just counted incorrectly, but something definitely seems amiss.  Stats are an illusion.

One Year Ago

We heard that Warhammer Online was slated to shut down in December.

We also got the official word that Blizzard would be killing the auction house in Diablo III.

SOE was getting over some of their Station Cash screw ups.

In general I wasn’t too excited about the expansion outlook on the MMO scene.

In EVE Online the Rubicon expansion went live.  Our corp had a little drama as Gaff plotted to overthrow our CEO and created a new corp, Black Sheep Down.  As is usual, he was good for the intrigue, but once he became El Supremo, he got bored and stopped playing.  Happens after every coup… and there have been a few.  We went from being literally the worst corp in TNT to… erm… well, that didn’t change I guess.  We did run out to null sec for a fight and I put my alt in the corp to bolster our numbers because there is a minimum height requirement or some such.

In general we were finishing up our deployment in Delve cleaning up after the TEST collapse and I hit 110 million skill points.  Also, there was the war between evebloggers.com and evebloggers.net.

The instance group, in a hint as to where we were headed, ran a series of WoW dungeon knock-offs in Neverwinter.

And it was time for the usual bout of autumnal nostalgia.  This time I returned to Azeroth, which made me ask the question, when is it nostalgia anyway?  My daughter and I and a friend had a plan to roll up some new characters on a new server.  Whatever it was, it felt like home.

And, finally, I covered the great resurrection exploit in TorilMUD.

Five Years Ago

I described some really old-school gaming… pre-computer… which involved hunting each other in cars.

There was a brief moment of nostalgia for Infocom games… or at least for the ads.  Honestly, I think the ads were better than some of the games.

I was still talking about my days of playing MUDs, with a description of getting to Kobold Village and the great bronze armplate smuggling get rich quick scheme.

And Turbine announced the Siege of Mirkwood expansion for Lord of the Rings Online, which brought out a little guilt in me, since I hadn’t even gotten to Moria.  I still haven’t, for that matter.

Then there was WoW.  We were really on a WoW binge that September.  I put up a poll about what instance we didn’t want to see made into an heroic, and the results were… unsurprising.

There were pirates and Brewfest and I managed to get my chef’s hat and all the sundry cooking achievements.  There was corpse spam and phasing and we ran through Ulduar and the Oculus. and trial of the champion.

And, finally, there was the three year anniversary of the blog, with the usual round of stats and trivia… oh, and the Nine Circles of MMO Hell.

New Linking Sites

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 September

  1. The Mighty Insta-90 Question – Which Class to Boost?
  2. Level 85 in EverQuest… Now What?
  3. Running Civilization II on Windows 7 64-bit
  4. Blizzard Isn’t Giving You a Free Copy of Warlords of Draenor
  5. Considering Star Wars Galaxies Emulation? Better Grab a Disk!
  6. Eight Years of Link Rot
  7. Nostalgia, Name Wipes, and the Next Expansion in Azeroth
  8. Rome – A Shameful Display
  9. When Does an MMO Become a Foreign Country?
  10. ArcheAge Went Live and Everybody Went Crazy or Something
  11. Extra Credits – Free to Play Is Currently Broken
  12. Rift Joins the Insta-Level Club with Nighmare Tide Expansion

Search Terms of the Month

what time will servers unlock warlords of draenor on november…
[Doesn't matter, the queue will keep you from playing anyway]

why is war lord of draenor $50
[Because Blizzard owns you, and me too]

firiona rift destroy
[I am pretty sure Norrath is her current target]

when does pokemon alfah safire and omega ruby come out
[I actually prefer your spelling]

Defense Grid 2

Long awaited, since the Kickstarter funded but not as fully as expected, I am happy to be able to play it now.  And with how Hidden Path Entertainment has put together the game, we can look forward to plenty of official and fan made updates.  It isn’t perfect.  They have some work to do on their administrative interface and I have found at least one serious “you shipped with that?” bug.  But actual game play is solid, so  I am a bit bemused at some of the rage about the game in certain quarters.  Basically, a few people seem upset that the game is… well… different.  The towers were changed and rebalanced and given new options, with certain go-to defaults being much less effective. (Cannon towers are no longer “I win!”)  On the whole it seems good to me, but some people just wanted more of the old game… which I can understand.  I played the hell out of that too.

EVE Online

Given that my previous three posts this month were about EVE Online, I guess I did actually play the game this month.  Or paid attention to it a bit.  I managed to get a couple more ships out of Delve and back up to our new staging system in Deklein.  There was also a bit of cleaning up the neighborhood in the north, as it had gone to seed a bit while we were away.  And then things got pretty quiet.  Even the regional intel channel has been quiet while I have been logged in.  What is Gevlon paying Mordus Angels for, if not to shit up our space?  Anyway, we’ve had to travel further afield, out to low sec to find fun of late.  And low sec is weird.  Security status means something there.  There are no warp disruption bubbles.  People don’t always shoot strangers in the face the moment they show up.  Gate guns shoot at you.  It is most queer and disturbing after three years in null.

Rome II

The strategy group has pressed forward with Total War: Rome II.  We seem to be doing okay as long as we fight against each other.  I think we are still mostly learning how to get the game to do what we want, or at least understand the limitations of what we can do.  The fights are interesting, but the fact that we, as a group of four, are pretty much limited to a variety of different skirmishes, which I can see getting old sooner rather than later… which is what happened with Age of Empires II: Age of Kings over time.  But I am not sure where we would head next.  Maybe Endless Legend or something from the list I made earlier this year?

War Thunder

I actually got out War Thunder and patched up to play for a bit.  I went out and dropped some bombs and then tried the whole tank side of the game.  The beginning level tanks are not the silly level of joy that they are in World of Tanks, but they also seem… more realistic maybe?  I’ve never driven a tank, so how would I know?  But there is a higher level of difficulty in just shooting stuff, your crew dies very easily if you take a solid hit, and the whole thing seems less arcade-like than WoT.  Is that a good thing?  I am not sure.

World of Warcraft

After the summer of working on the Loremaster achievement, I think I may have fallen off of that horse.  All the groundwork of the 1-60 achievements has been laid, so I can go back to it at some point, but my idea of doing all the zones in Outland at level became less fun and more chore as I moved through the zones.  I keep asking myself, “How did we do all of this with no flying mounts and effectively less power?”  So my WoW time has tapered off quite a bit.  That might not be a bad thing, as Warlords of Draenor is just about a month and a half away.  A rest from Azeroth might be appropriate, so as to be fresh when the expansion drops.

Coming Up

There is a blogging event called Bragtoberfest coming up.  I am not sure I understand it.

The Oceanus expansion for EVE Online is dropping today, so that will make some waves. (Ha ha!) I am not sure many doctrine fits will be affected by the first round of module revamps, though light missile launchers are on the list, which means that somebody might have to look at our Hawk or Crow fits I suppose.  Also, EVE Vegas is coming up in the middle of the month, which is about as close as an EVE Online event ever gets to me.  Unfortunately, I just wrote a big check for braces for my daughter, so that will have to wait for another year.

The ongoing ArcheAge: Tales from the Queue drama should no doubt subside at some point and people will start getting into the meat of the game… which should lead to some fresh new drama.  SynCaine is already hinting at some possibilities there. (As well as some of the promise.)

And, speaking of drama, maybe the whole “gamer gate” thing will subside soon.  One can only hope.  It seems to have devolved into two camps talking past each other, trying to score points more to impress their own team than to convince anybody of anything, and painting the other side as being in lock step with, or automatically condoning all actions of, the worst person on their respective “side.”  Bleh.

Finally, I have to think that we will see the big WoW 6.0 patch drop before the middle of the month, likely next week.  Blizzard has been talking about it, it has been on the public test realm for a while, and the launcher started letting people pre-download the files for the patch.  So it is a comin’!  And that will give us a few weeks to adjust to a lot of change before November strikes and we have BlizzCon, the Warlords of Draenor launch, and then the World of Warcraft 10 year anniversary.

Oh, and log on to WoW today if you haven’t recently.  Last day to get the Horde chopper for free.  I am not particularly enthusiastic about that whole Azeroth Choppers thing but, hey, free mount.