Daily Archives: October 11, 2013

Quote of the Day – Screwed by the Autopilot

Every player shares the same gigantic persistent universe, which sounds impressive but means that the main gameplay mechanic is “commuting.”  Ships hopscotch across the universe from stargate to stargate. This can take hours, which is why you have an autopilot, and that autopilot might as well be a self-destruct system.

Cracked, 6 Groundbreaking Ways Video Games Are Screwing Players

True enough.

The main complaint in the EVE Online part of this article is that the autopilot in EVE doesn’t warp you to zero when traveling through jump gates.  Which, I grant you, does slow things down when traveling.  And I won’t even go into how “warp to zero” wasn’t even a thing when I started playing.  “Warp to 15km off” was the way it was for everything back in the day.

Fine.  EVE has lots of things that annoy people.  And I cannot say that I like travel all that much.  While a single trip can be an adventure, hauling crap repeatedly over the same space quickly turns into a chore. But then I tried to factor in the title of the column.

6 Groundbreaking Ways Video Games Are Screwing Players

That seems like a bit of a stretch for this issue.

I mean, with all the things going on in the gaming industry, in a world where Zynga still exists (remember them, Cracked?), where selling hotbars is a thing, and where making single player games “online only” is a trend, ranting about the autopilot the EVE Online might not actually be worthy of the #2 spot on such a list.

Putting the auto pilot in there feels more like “axe to grind” when lined up with daily presents you must log in to claim, lock boxes, DLC porn, and consumer behavioral optimization.  There are basically five decent, money related issues that link back to the opening paragraph, plus the one non-monetary entry seemingly added just to piss all over that internet spaceship game.  Or maybe it was an attempt at link-bait trolling, knowing the EVE Online community and such.

But it does make me wonder how much it would change EVE Online if the autopilot warped to zero.  It certainly wouldn’t save people in null sec.  I get popped on gates warping to zero already.  It happened last night, thanks to an erroneous “clear” response on the intel channel.  (Clear aside from that Pandemic Legion camp on the gate.)  Likewise with low sec.  It just makes the ignorant and the foolish mildly more difficult to catch.

And while it might cut back on suicide ganking in high sec choke points like Niarja, I get the feeling that the align time for a freighter fresh through a gate would give the sharp gankers the time they needed to scan and destroy likely targets.

So, warp to zero for the auto pilot:  Would that be a game breaking change or just another tweak with the usual unintended consequences?

Hat tip: Harbinger Zero

Misplaced Space Ships and Other Lost Junk

EVE Online is a game where you can actually lose things… or at least lose track of them… quite easily.

You can find things if you know what you are looking for.  There is a reasonable in-game way to find specific things.  But if you have forgotten about an item, you are not going to be reminded that you have it by looking in your bags or your bank slots.

The only other game that comes anywhere close to that in ability to lose things is EverQuest II where you have huge bags, many bank slots populated by even larger boxes, shared bank slots, home storage slots, and whatever you have listed on the market to contend with.

And that really isn’t all that close to what happens in EVE Online.  Maybe if you spread that over multiple characters, each with all that storage, you start to get a hint about how easy it is to lose things on a single character in EVE Online.

The thing about EVE Online is that there is no magic bank or like inventory system that you can access from multiple handy locations.  In World of Warcraft, if I put something in the bank in Ironforge I can go pull it out of the bank in Dalaran.  In EVE, if I drop something off in Jita and fly out to Amarr or Hek or Dodixie, what I dropped off is still in Jita.  If I want that item I have to either go get it or create a courier contract so somebody else can bring it to me.  And if I left something in one of my favorite unpronounceable systems, like Uosusuokko, I am as like as not to forget that the item even existed over time.

Been there enough times

Been there enough times

Just in high sec space I have stuff spread out all over the place.

Inventory is serious business in New Eden.

But so are utilities.

As a game it sometimes seems like CCP threw together a bunch of cool ideas at one point, implemented them, and then have spent the remainder of the time trying to actually make them work.  There are times when the game seems just stubborn about yielding information.  As was the gist of my post the other day, it is often tough to figure out what you don’t know about the game.  And while that has been getting better over time, the opacity of in-game information combined with the innovative data sharing API structure have spawned a small army of essential out-of-game utilities.

So we have EVE Mon and the EVE Fitting Tool and Neocom on iOS and EVE Maps at DOTLAN and Null Sec Influence Maps and probably a bunch more I cannot recall off the cuff.  Everybody has their favorites.

Over in my part of the woods, there is a new web utility.  It is actually a Goonswarm utility, but we get access to it.  It is part EVE Mon, with access to training plans to help people get where they need to go, and part financial tool to keep track of what you have up for sale.  But it also has a tab for in-game assets that sums up what you have system by system, but also totals the whole lot up.

It was in this utility where I discovered I had more than 15 million “things” in EVE Online.

That was the sum total of all of my possessions.  That actually lead to a quick windfall as I found out that six million of that was minerals I had socked away at some past date.  I sold those off, which left me with a total of 9,092,769 items.

That is still a lot of things, counting everything from individual rounds of ammunition to battleships sitting in hangers.

And, since thing in EVE Online have volume, which is the constraint on how many things you can carry, it also summed up the total cubic space all of my things took.

62,312,747.20 m3

That is a lot of space.

I was looking for some web utility that would tell me something like “a cube of that volume would be n meters on a side” or some such, but ended up with a site where I converted cubic meters to liters, then liters to gallons (I had a milk/cow metaphor in mind), and then, just to check the result, back into cubic meters.  When the answer came back as “62” I began to suspect that things were not hooked up correctly and moved on.  My hand calculation says that it ought to be about 1,646,302,775 gallons of milk, which would require about 750K cows to produce in a single year, if you believe that “6 gallons a day per cow” number I pulled off of the internet.

Which I suppose is an awkward way to say, “That is a lot of space” without actually giving you something you can relate to in your every day life.  But I am not sure that you can relate to a number that big.  Anybody?  Anybody?  Bueller?

All of this sums up to an estimated 8,172,418,954 ISK.  A tidy little sum, if I broke everything down, hauled it to Jita, and was able to sell it for the estimated market price.  That is unlikely to happen, but I suppose some estimate is better than no estimate at all.

Of course, in all of this, the biggest and most valuable items are ships.  And I couldn’t possible lose track of those, right?

You might be surprised.  I seem to leave those all over New Eden.  For example, when I limited my asset view to show just ships, I found that I had a Scimitar cruiser docked up at Misaba V, Moon 3 in the Zoar and Sons Factory station.  I cannot explain how that got there.

Wilhelm's first Scimitar

Have you seen one of these?

That is kind of a useful ship to have misplaced.  And I have more of those about.  My total ship count was larger than I thought, summing up to about 100 ships scattered about New Eden.

The biggest count went to shuttles, of which I have 14 at various stations.  Those are cheap, disposable ships which I generally repackage and put back up on the market when I have used them to travel.  Apparently I do not do that every time.

There there was the Ibis count, which stood at 11.  When you clone jump or die and reanimate at a station without a ship, the game hands you the default starter ship for your faction automatically.  I have a surprising number of those, considering I lost one the other day sneaking over to Fountain in order to move stuff back to Deklein.  It was a substitute shuttle, though probably less valuable.

Then we get into real ships.  I have 6 Scimitars at various stations, including the one in low sec mentioned above.  No doubt a measure of my commitment to the logistics role.

Then there are 5 Drakes, a measure of my commitment to everybody’s former favorite battlecruiser.

4 Each: Badger, Caracal, and Harpy

3 Each: Manticore

2 Each: Buzzard, Catalyst, Crane, Heron, Mackinaw, Mammoth, Megathron, Rifter, Thrasher, and Zephyr

And in the 1 each category, the list gets huge.  This is probably a testament to my not keeping backup ships around.

Apotheosis, Bantam, Burst, Celestis, Cormorant, Dominix, Eagle, Echelon, Executioner, Exequror, Ferox, Gnosis, Hound, Hulk, Hurricane, Iteron Mk. V, Kestral, Magnate, Moa, Noctis, Oneiros, Primae, Punisher, Raven, Raven Navy Issue, Reaper, Rokh, Scythe, Slasher, Tengu, and Tormentor

All of those are just on my main.  My alt has about half that many ships floating around as well.

Where are of these ships?  About two thirds of them are in clusters in Deklein, Delve, Domain, Fountain, or Curse, close to where I might need them.  The remainder, like my little lost Scimitar, are scattered all over.

As for what to do with the scattered ships… well… like all my other scattered goods, I will probably leave them where they are and forget about them until I pass through those systems again.  I always check systems when traveling to see if I have left anything behind.  I am surprised how often that is the case.