Daily Archives: December 22, 2018

Some Better Luck with Operation Permafrost

Thanks to a tip in the comments from the last post about the event I went looking at the December patch notes… patch notes get updated for follow on fixes… and I did see that CCP ended up doing some tweaks for the Operation Permafrost event, so I thought I might give it another shot.

It is what we have now

Among the fixes listed were missing ore and NPCs podding players.  I was having problems with the former and am glad to have not had to experience the latter.  That can be a nasty surprise.

I was able to get out the Procurer again and actually found some ore beyond the west gate that I was able to harvest.

Procurer mining like it should

I don’t know if the asteroids still only respawn at downtime or not however, since the site I entered was empty of other players.  So the asteroids I found there might have been respawns, but it is possible that the rush to mine was done already.

Here I was finally able to discern deeper differences between this and the Crimson Harvest event.  Again, while similar to a certain degree, CCP sought to change things up some.  During the Crimson Harvest event the tasks from The Agency seemed to be pretty much infinitely redoable.  You mined so many units of the event ore, get the points, then do it again.  Kill so many NPCs, collect the points, do it again.

You can view that as dull or serene depending on how you look at it I suppose, but I gather CCP felt it was more towards the former.  So for the mining side of things it did start off with a series of “mine X amount of ore” followed by “mine X+Y amount of ore.”  But then it started in with some other tasks, like reprocessing a set amount of ore.  I flew back to a station to do that.

Then there was more mining to be done, then a requirement to process a given amount of ore using the structures in the West pocket, which I didn’t know you could do until that came up.

Using the structure

At that point I had to go back to the station where I had stashed a load of the ore to bring back in order to meet the goals for that task.

On the way back I decided to figure out the three tasks asking you to examine each of the three gates.

There is no “examine: option

I had previously used them and looked at the info display for each gate, but that didn’t seem to do anything.  Google didn’t help either, though I did find one guy’s video about the event where he too couldn’t figure out what to do.  Fortunately, in the comments, somebody said to use the “look” command on the gates from the overview.  Doing that got Aura to pop up and explain each gate in turn and let you claim the claim the rewards for the tasks… which were worth one point each.  This is why I wasn’t in a hurry to figure it out I guess.

Aura explains it all

The words about the gas cloud harvester would come into focus shortly.  Once I was done with the next ore refining and harvesting assignments the tasks moved on to gathering Hiemal Tricarboxyl Vapor.  Gas.

More than a dozen years into EVE Online and I had not once harvested gas.  Still, how hard could it be?

Something in the back of my brain knew that the Venture was the choice for gas harvesting.  I had to go get the skill and train it up on my alt, but I had some free skill points hanging about, so I popped that up to level IV right away.

Then there was fitting the Venture.  Being a mining frigate it is small and not very tough.  I recalled Johnny Splunk telling tales of avoiding NPCs while harvesting gas in by speed tanking them.  Signature size also plays into that, so I decided to go that route.

I toughened up the Venture against thermal and kinetic damage to give myself a bit of buffer, fit two gas harvesters to collect the vapor, fit a rig to give me a little more capacitor space, then strapped an oversize prop mod in the form of a 10MN afterburner, something meant for a cruiser hull, onto the ship.  That prop mod would let me go 2km/sec but keep my signature smaller than a 5MN microwarp drive would.  And it all fit.

I headed back out for the site, went through the West gate, and started up the gas harvesters.  I also set myself to orbit the gas cloud at 1km, since the gas harvesters only had a 1,500m range, and lit the afterburner.

150km out from my warp in I realized that the gas cloud was effectively zero distance from anywhere on grid, so set myself to orbit one of the structures at that range, trucking along at 2km a second.

Venture running along

That kept me far away from the Mordu’s Legion NPCs that were spawning.  They would try to lock me up and I could see them firing missiles… you can see some missiles in that screen shot above… but nothing seemed able to touch me.

Blazing away at me with missiles to no effect

I seemed pretty safe.  The harvesting, however, was taking some time.  Each cycle only harvested two units per collector, and I had two tasks set for me, one to harvest 350 units and one to harvest 400 units.  So I left myself in my big orbit slowing gathering up gas.

I also had along a pair of Hornet II drones to take care of anything that might stray into range.   I think they got maybe one frigate.  Otherwise they just flew along with me.

Hornet drones just following along

With nothing happened I was lulled into a false sense of security.  I seemed to be pretty much invincible in my orbit.  So I walked away from the computer as the numbers slowly counted up.

I came back to find myself still in orbit, however I was now just in my pod.  The wreck of my Venture say in space not too far behind me.

Just a wreck now

I had gotten pretty far along however, almost half way to 400 units harvested.  I didn’t look at the kill mail, thinking it was likely just a bad luck NPC spawn or maybe one of them had managed to cut me off somehow.

So I went on back to Amarr and fit out another Venture, the same as before.  Then I went back and, thinking maybe I hadn’t gone far enough out in my orbit, I aimed away from the warp in and put a good 300km between me and the nearest NPC, harvesting as I went, and started an even bigger orbit.

Venture venturing out

Once set I tabbed out to look at something else, then tabbed back only to find myself dead again.  Well, clearly I was doing something wrong.  So I grabbed another Venture in Amarr, but didn’t waste time fitting much to it.  Gas harvesters and the prop mod was all I brought with me this time.  I went for an even larger orbit.  In addition, some other people had showed up, so I figured they might give me some cover.

Look at them in the distance

I hung in for a bit, enough to finish the harvesting tasks and get another, when suddenly I was taking damage.  I turned to warp out to one of the local citadels, shutting down the AB, but before I was aligned I was in my capsule yet again.

I saw the damage flash by on screen, but had to go check the logs to be sure about what I had seen.

[ 2018.12.21 19:51:31 ] (mining) You mined 2 units of Hiemal Tricarboxyl Vapor
[ 2018.12.21 19:51:31 ] (mining) You mined 2 units of Hiemal Tricarboxyl Vapor
[ 2018.12.21 19:51:45 ] (combat) 355 from Atmospheric Instabilities - Hits
[ 2018.12.21 19:51:50 ] (combat) 253 from Atmospheric Instabilities - Hits
[ 2018.12.21 19:51:55 ] (combat) 123 from Atmospheric Instabilities - Hits

I went and looked more closely at the kill mail and saw that I had been done in by an “invisible cloud.”  According to zKillboard, invisible clouds are doing in lots of ventures and destroyers.

So I now I knew that the site hits you with damage every so often, enough to blot out my ship in ten seconds from the first hit.  Well that wasn’t going to work out with the Venture.

I hadn’t notice this with the Procurer since it was getting hit by NPCs pretty constantly and is pretty tanky.  But I would have to be quick, aligned out, and, more unlikely, paying attention to the screen to warp off to safety before I was hit.

Meanwhile, I had another task for 350 units of vapor and a new task asking me to refine a bunch of vapor at the structure.  And, of course, I had lot both my ship and all the gas I had harvested.  I was starting to tire of the whole routine again.

But I can see how the pattern of the event changed when compared to the rather more simple Crimson Harvest event of earlier this year.  CCP decided they wanted to go with a more directed experience, setting a selection of different tasks before players to get them doing various things.  I suppose this has some merit.  I did learn a bit about gas harvesting after more than a dozen years playing.  But the whole random invisible cloud attacks on grid put me off the whole thing.  And unlike some events given through The Agency, the tasks do not appear to reset.  I’m still on the hook for harvesting and refining more gas, which isn’t worth the price in Ventures to my mind.

I did manage to get through the second set of rewards and on my way to the third, sitting at 269 points into the event.  And there is still more than a week to go.  Maybe I’ll get out and blow up some Mordu’s Legion ships with medium sized weapons… another rather specific task… to round out the event.  Or maybe I’ll learn to hack.  That is another thing I’ve managed to skip so far in the game.