Daily Archives: October 8, 2015

Multibuy – A Vanguard Feature I Totally Underrated

When the Vanguard expansion for EVE Online hit last week, I was quick to highlight a few of the obvious “big” features that it delivered.

There was the boost in skills and skill points for new players.  Kind of a big deal, going from 50K to 400K skill points when starting off, though even if you’re just chugging along at 1,500 skill points an hour that puts you less than two weeks ahead.  Meaningful when you’re new, but not something that changes much for the long term.

Then there was the removal of Entosis Link module abilities from interceptors.  People can no longer troll with a cheap, interdiction nullified, speed boat.  The list of systems in play over at Timer Board seem to be down a bit.  Certainly I am getting less notifications when logging in about things being attacked, though I thought I heard somewhere that MOA moved down to Geminate for a bit to harass LAWN for a change.

Finally there was the combat battlecruiser rebalance that held the promise of bringing back battlecruisers.  Granted, we were already flying Feroxes for homeland defense fleets.  But now they are even better and there are already some possible Hurricane fits being passed around.

And then there was everything else, which I lumped into a bullet point list, drawing more attention to the fact that you could now mount festival launchers on your Archon than anything else.  Multibuy was in there somewhere, mentally dismissed by me as basically the flip side of multisell, which showed up with Phoebe.  I glanced at the dev blog for it, said “nice little feature” and moved on.

You can buy multiple things, how nice

You can buy multiple things, how nice

Unfortunately, in my cursory glance at the dev blog I missed the key item, which is summed up in a single button and which, if I had been writing the dev blog, I would have highlighted with giant flashing letters or, barring that, at least a big red arrow.

The big red arrow...

The big red arrow…

That is a “Buy All…” button in the in-game saved fitting window that lets you, with a single press of a button… um… buy all the things!

Multibuy instantly went from “How nice…” to “BEST FEATURE EVER!1!!1” in my book.

Literally, the main pain point in the game as I play it today was buying doctrine ships in Jita and making sure I had all the right items before I had them shipped out to our staging system.  You cannot press the “fit” button… another favorite of mine… to see if all the modules got picked up because rigs are one shot.  They get destroyed if you repackage a ship before having it hauled out to null sec, and you pretty much have to repackage for that.

Now I just import the fit into the game… thank you “Copy from Clipboard” feature… open it up,  press the button, and hey presto, I can buy it all!  And I can even buy multiples!

Sell me five Ishtar fits!

Sell me five Ishtar fits!

Once I saw this I was grinning like a baboon.

Baboons grin, right?  That is their thing, isn’t it, that and having a red ass?

Also, I think that is the original Reaver Ishtar fit I used as an example.  Not something we fly any more.

Anyway, I was so happy at this that I bought and shipped 10 Claw interceptors and associated fittings and shipped them all out to our staging system just because I could with a couple of clicks.

A Claw up close

A Claw up close

Then I fitted them all out and listed five on contract for pretty cheap just to get some of my money back.

(And then, in some sort of karmic circle of life thing, Norrec Lafisques, for whom that particular fit is named, bought a couple them, so I have that going for me… or something.)

Basically, instant quality of life improvement!  And, an added side benefit, since it prices out the hull and all the fittings for you, I also get a per-unit cost per ship without having to go back and add everything up manually.

Granted, buying whole ship fits right off the market really only works well if you’re buying Jita… or maybe Amarr… but since Jita seems to be the main supply point for our part of null sec, that works out for me.  I wouldn’t press that button in any other station.  We are pretty good at price gouging ourselves on in null.  Our Ferox fit had a rig change with Vanguard and, what do you know, the price of those went up ten fold.

All in all though, a great new feature.

Of course, as with any system, once you clear up one bottleneck you quickly find the next one.

In this case, I now really need some better way to organize my inventory.  I get by in Jita by keeping nothing in my station inventory, so when I am buying everything I buy gets shipped and when I am selling everything I have shipped in gets sold.  Nothing is allowed to linger aside from an Ibis and a couple of shuttles in the ship hangar.

That works great in Jita.

That doesn’t work at all for me in YA0-XJ or any other staging system where I may have stockpiled ammo or have drops looted from rats or after a battle or modules that have been replaced in doctrine fits or whatever other garbage I may have collected over the years. (A quick look at one of our coalition utilities shows I have 156,224 items in that station.  And while most of it is ammo, that still leaves a lot of items knocking around in the inventory window when I open it up. And the estimated value of all that is nearly 5 billion ISK, so now you know.)

So when I dump stuff into the inventory window to ship back to Jita… because you cannot contract it out of your ship’s inventory or a sub-container the last I looked… it gets mixed in with everything else and I inevitable end up sending a few items on a round trip.  This week I had a blockade runner filled with loot from ratting.  I shipped all that back to Jita to sell, but once I got it there I found a stack of Nanite Paste I needed back in the staging system as well as rigs for a couple of hulls I hadn’t gotten around to fitting yet.

So that is now my main pain point in the game, inventory management.

Of course, that is usually a major pain point for me in any game where you can accumulate things but have limited space… or even unlimited space, since even then you still have to be able to find things.

How CCP can fix that I am unsure, but I hope that is on their list somewhere.

Stormhold and the Pacing of Nostalgia

At some point today… 9am or noon or maybe 3pm, I’ve seen all three mentioned, though EQ2 Wire says the actual downtime will be at 7am Pacific Time… Daybreak will unlock the Desert of Flames expansion on the Stormhold and Deathtoll Time-Locked Expansion servers.

That is Daybreak's graphic for the idea

That is Daybreak’s graphic for the idea

A bit more than a month back, the first vote to unlock that expansion failed on both servers.  That made a bunch of people angry, to the point that there were even some claims that Daybreak rigged the vote.  How could it go against unlock so heavily that Holly announced the results early?

More recently, the second vote to unlock the expansion passed on both servers.  This also made a bunch of people angry, again to the point of a few people claiming Daybreak cooked the results.  How could the voting swing from more than two-thirds against unlock to more than two-thirds in favor of unlock in just 30 days?

Clearly there is a split in the nostalgia demographic.

Those who want to unlock the next expansion say they are bored, need new content, that anybody who is “really” playing is at level cap and done with the content already, that if they made it to 50 already on their busy schedule then anybody can, that the expansion doesn’t affect the older content, and, in the words of one genius, that it is called a “PROGRESSION” server for a reason, even though it isn’t actually called a progression server. (See official name/logo above.)

Those who want to slow the pace want to know why people are in a rush, they are still enjoying the content, they are working on alts and trade skills, that they don’t want this server to simple become a live server in the shortest possible time, and that opening the expansion will most certainly affect the older content, bringing in new gear and allowing a large chunk of the player base, currently at level 50 and so available to do classic end-game content at level, to move up to level 60, at which point they will be demanding the unlock of the next expansion, along with the usual hangers-on who simply want to keep the server at the classic state forever.

What should Daybreak do?

This is actually a somewhat important question because, if you go to the EverQuest II site and look at the server loads, most hours of the day the Stormhold server is far and away the busiest one on the list, and every user who is playing is paying.  It requires a Daybreak All Access subscription to play on Stormhold and Deathtoll.  no Freeps allowed.  So anybody who gets pissed off enough to walk away… maybe they’ll go back to live, or maybe not… is potentially dollars lost.

My own sense is that having the first vote on new content after only 30 days with the current expansion is too quick of a pace.  That was my reaction when the unlock voting schedule was first proposed and I remain convinced of that.  If nothing else,  EverQuest II is not EverQuest, where the progression servers do become pretty much focused on raid unlocks and moving forward for the next expansion.

And once votes start tilting towards unlock, they tend to stay that way, so I will be surprised if the Kingdom of Sky expansion doesn’t get unlocked on its first vote 30 days down the road.  If hard chargers had already consumed all 50 levels of classic content in 30 days, the next 10 levels will be done for sure.  With only a dozen expansions to speak of, Stormhold will catch up with the live servers by this time next year if the votes go that way.  Will it remain as popular then?  Will people pay to play on just another live server?

Which isn’t to say that I think Stormhold should remain forever locked in classic or some early expansion either.  Moving forward and exploring each new expansion in turn is an express part of the experience, and the server should catch up to live some day.  The question is just when.

How should Daybreak balance this sort of thing?

One of the suggestions often put forward is to make more such servers, each tailored to a specific progression (or lack of progression) desire.  The problem there is that one of the great things about Stormhold right now… and one of the great things about the Freeport server back in the EverQuest II Extended experiment back in the day… is its huge popularity.  It is fun to play on a server with lots of people.  It is how the game should be played.  Slicing that up into a few more focused servers risks losing that aspect of things.

As usual, I don’t have any real answer.  I just felt the need to ask the question.