The current Guardian’s Gala event in EVE Online is the sort of thing that makes me wonder what people really want out of such events or how they should be structured.
Like such events before it, Guardian’s Gala is embedded in the structure of The Agency. However, the grasp of The Agency has grown since I last spent some time on an event. The Lifeblood expansion back in October expanded The Agency from an event framework to the “everything PvE” vision CCP had for it. So rather than the event being its own thing it is now jammed in the frame with all things PvE though, if you haven’t hidden it already, you will get some event info on screen.
Having read the event preview over at The Nosy Gamer, I had a good idea as to what ship I might bring. With the NPCs warping in on top of you it reminded me of the Warzone Extraction event from last September. I grabbed the same alt that I ran those with along with the same ship, a passive tanked Drake.
I swapped out the resistance amplifiers to explosive and kinetic flavors in order to match the expected damage and, after one run, swapped the Scourge heavy assault missiles out for normal Scourge heavy missiles along with a target painter to improve damage application.
I’ll paste my crappy fit into a comment on the post if you’re interested… and if I remember. I don’t recommend this fit particularly, I just happened to have it sitting around handy and my alt has all the skills for it maxed out. I also cheaped out and shot plain T1 missiles, though I brought some faction missiles along just in case.
As with the Warzone event, the sites are all over New Eden and when you arrive in a site the NPCs have a propensity for warping in on top of you so you aren’t going to pull range and kite. Unlike the other event, you won’t get warp scrambled or have your capacitor drain. But you will be webbed many times over by the frigates in the site while the cruisers will sit at range with target painters on you blazing away. That range turned out to be “just beyond my heavy assault missiles engagement envelope” which is why I dropped the HAMs for HMLs. With heavy missiles my alt can hit out to 78km and, since I wasn’t neuted, I could run a target painter to help clean up the frigates.
The goal seems to be to slaughter as many hostiles as it takes… the number seems to be about 20 or so.. in order to draw out the guest of honor, so-called, who arrives in a battleship or a battlecruiser. You then chase that down, blow it up, and you’re done with the site.
You are seriously done, because any leftover NPCs align out and warp off at that point. You lose lock on them even before they’ve entered warp.
Anyway I took to shooting the frigates primarily because with the target painter they only required three missile salvos and the less ships slowing me down with webs the better in my book. Meanwhile the sig of my fat ass Drake, boosted by shield extenders, was probably big enough that the cruisers painting me made no difference at all to damage being applied to me. So a double win, frigs died faster and in doing so removed something slowing me down in completing the site.
Site rewards come from the wrecks, the primary source being the battleship/battlecruiser who has, for me at least, dropped a SKIN and a learning accelerator with every round. The smaller ships also have loot, though more often than not it is metal scraps which are hardly worth the effort.
So, in general, easy-peasy. Warp in, shoot small stuff until the big guy shows up, shoot him, profit.
The details are where things get a bit more messy.
For openers, this seems like a good way to kill new players. It isn’t as deadly as the Warzone Extraction event, because this one doesn’t lock you down with a warp scrambler so you can escape… and being webbed will get you to warp more quickly… but things can still go sideways fast if you’re not prepared. My alt with max shield skills and a passive fit Drake that regenerates at 188 DPS won’t have an issue, but somebody wandering into a site with their level 2 mission cruiser may be in for a rude awakening.
But do we care? If we judge who the event is for based on the level of effort required, then it is something for canny PvE veterans I suppose. It does seem to require people who can manipulate the overview because, as usual, the NPCs are unselected by default.
Then there is the open nature of the event. Anybody can see the sites on their overview… even if the ships themselves might not show up because CCP… and can warp on in at any time. And if somebody shows up and gets the last hit on the special end ship, then they get the loot. Or, if they can get to the wreck of the last ship before you do and loot it, it is theirs unless you’re ready to take them on in a fight. That is just the special nature of EVE Online, where you are never fully able to play away from your fellow capsuleers. I went off to a remote area to run the sites and still had this happen to me once. I can only image how this is playing out a few jumps from the crowd in Jita.
And then there is the whole point system that events in The Agency use to distribute additional rewards. This time around they are not too bad in that they are mostly in line with what you are going to do anyway, which is run sites and shoot NPCs.
You earn ten points for killing, in sequence, 5, 10, 50, and then 100 of the small fry, ten points for finishing a site and then a couple of sites, and ten points for killing 1, 2, 5, then 10 of the loot pinatas at that end the site. I managed 80 points my first night out, though I was thwarted twice on that last set, once when somebody showed up and destroyed the boss ahead of me and once when the boss got bored and warped off. I’d read that they might warp off and that I should be patient, but after 10 minutes I figured he wasn’t coming back and that I’d been denied rewards and progress yet again.
The second night I passed 100 points and earned my first reward.
Of course, that would have been a lot more impressive if I hadn’t already looted 1,700 Angels Arisen Fireworks already. To get the next reward I need 300 points and, frankly, the event isn’t that much fun.
Of course, somebody out there is going to be obsessed with the ISK per hour measure of the event, so let me see if I can help on that front.
I timed myself on a couple of sites and it took about 15 minutes to complete and loot in my slow old Drake; extending out to maybe 20 mins if I bumbled my efforts to pick up loot along the way. With a better ship/fit than mine you could easily cut that back some. On the other hand, you also have to find a site. I was pretty lucky out in my area of operation, being the only one in local and having a new site ready every time I finished. Still, let’s be conservative and call it two sites an hour.
I got 250-300K ISK for just shooting things up. I think shooing the cruisers more than the frigates could boost that, but whatever.
You get the skill booster which, depending on which one you get, is worth 15-50 million ISK.
And then there is the SKIN, which is the real wildcard. I imagine the right SKIN would get you some ISK. The problem is that the market is currently flooded with the Spirit SKINs that drop, all the more so because they are the same SKIN that dropped last year, only they changed the name of the set so I thought for a moment it might be a new SKIN.
But it isn’t.
It is still a good SKIN. Not as good as a new, hot pink SKIN would be, but good. In some cases, it is the best looking SKIN that you can find for a few ships. But it is pretty common so it might be something to save until after the selling frenzy settles down.
The most valuable one I got was probably the Gallente Shuttle SKIN, which you cannot even list on the market. You have to sell it via contract, a complication that means that there isn’t much competition for it. But even then, you might get 10 million ISK or so, which isn’t all that much, and which requires somebody to know that the SKIN exists and that it is only available via contracts.
I’ll probably keep it just to add to my collection.
Otherwise the next most valuable SKIN I got was for a Phoenix dreadnought, which might be good for 6 million ISK on a lucky day.
And then there are fireworks. I got a lot of fireworks off of wrecks. And metal scraps. So many metal scraps. And then there was the odd ship module now and again, some of which were useful.
All told, if the odds were ever in your favor, you could bring in upwards of 100 million ISK per hour with optimum drops. But that seems unlikely. Reality is probably closer to 30 million ISK per hour, and that is indirect because you have to schlep back to a market hub to sell your loot.
Basically, you shouldn’t stop ratting in your super carrier to run off and harvest the bounty of Guardian’s Gala. All the SKINs and learning accelerators you want will be on the market in Jita waiting for you and your ISK to show up.
Even my dank 10-18 million ISK ticks in my little Ishtar are a better value as I get that and all the loot and salvage as well.
But as a distraction from whatever you’re doing in New Eden currently Guardian’s Gala probably isn’t the worst thing you could choose. And you might even get a SKIN or two that you want. And it makes for a few nice screen shots.