Category Archives: EVE Online

The Coming March Update in New Eden

CCP is pretty good about telegraphing what they are going to do with their expansions and updates.  They have a long history of dev blogs and forum posts about proposed features and have shown themselves to be responsive to feedback.  Of course, the latter is always a hazard, because if CCP bows to somebody’s logic then somebody else with a different view of things will start crying “foul!” or “favoritism” or “fake news!” or whatever the term du jour is.

I tend to believe CCP operates in good faith, in part because changing your mind in front of a live studio audience tends to be a painful experience and, as noted, makes people mad.  It would be much easier to do this in a smoke filled back room and announce the results as edicts not up for discussion. It works for Blizzard.

Anyway, in the grand scheme of things now, CCP has month updates which tend to tune a few things and maybe add a feature, and expansions, which are the vehicle for big changes and spanking new features.  Citadels and Alpha accounts go with expansions, ship re-balancing and in-game events and changes to how you blow up a citadel go with updates.

But now I am looking at the mounting number of things planned for the March update and it seems like a lot.  There isn’t any single item that seems out of scope for the above rules.  Rather, there are so many things with such impact that it is starting to feel like more than an update.

First there was a dev blog about ship balance changes that opened with these two points that came out of the recent CSM summit:

  1. More change is better, even if it’s small
  2. The meta is feeling stagnant, particularly around Feroxes and the Marchariel

So, yes, both the Mach and the Ferox are taking a hit.  I always feel a bit sad for the Ferox when it gets knocked down as it was, for a long stretch, completely nonviable in the fleet meta where Drakes and Hurricanes ruled back in the day.  But now it is on the decline.

Meanwhile CCP has been trying to beat down the Mach for a while now, reducing the blueprint copy drops and boosting the cost to make them.  But the Russians have been farming those blueprints for so long that the supply is effectively endless.  As for raising the cost to make… do you even read the monthly economic report bro?  So CCP is now set to clip its wings a bit hoping to push this faction battleship back towards being a rare bling-mobile rather than its current status as a ship of the line for nearly every major coalition.

There were other ships getting specific tweaks while tech 1 battleships got an across the board boost:

  • +25% to cargo capacity
  • +20% to maximum lock range

Because why not I guess.

The dev blog also introduced the Flag cruiser concept, a hardened FC ship, in response to the ongoing drone about FC headshotting. (A topic covered for Blog Banter 76 a couple years back.)

The Monitor Flag Cruiser concept

You can see the proposed stats, as well as the community response, in this forum thread.   The debate is heated and one common item that keeps coming up is the lack of a way for an FC on this ship to get on kill mails.  We shall see where this ends up.  Right now it seems like a niche ship for very specific circumstances.

While that was still in the air another note came from CCP about removing the built-in voice chat from EVE Online.  This is apparently another item in the way of a 64-bit client.  Built-in voice chat was very much the thing a decade back and CCP, like SOE and a few others, went to Vivox for an integration. (I found out at GDC that the Vivox people came from the same speech/voice corner of tech I have dwelt in for most of my career.)  EVE Voice came in with the Revelations expansion back in November 2006 (high level list of features on the EVE Uni Wiki, but the actual Revelations 1.0 patch notes for the release went missing with the update to the community site) and has been lightly used ever since, with CCP declaring that only 0.4% of the players giving it a shot.  Of course, we’re finding out now who depends on it, but for the most part you were more likely to use the captain’s quarters than EVE Voice.

Then there was word of a new chat back end coming with the March update.  CCP will move to a centralized independent chat service that should make things better for somebody.  Currently one of the ways to improve your client performance in a big fleet fight is to close Local, even when TEST isn’t involved.  Maybe this will help with that, though it sounds like it won’t change anything you dislike about the in-game part of the chat system.

Then a huge dev blog dropped… huge if you’re in null sec at least… about changes to entosis, tethering, and a 95% reduction in jump fatigue.  This was greeted with both cheers and speculation as to whether or not all of CCP had been replaced by pod people or something, this being a heady and unexpected change.

The jump fatigue change, a game mechanic introduced with the Phoebe update in late 2014 because null sec was stagnant and needed a change, will drop the cap for overall fatigue (blue timer) from 4 days to 5 hours and the jump clock (orange timer) from a maximum of 9.6 hours to 30 minutes… because, no doubt, null sec is stagnant and needs a change.

Will 30 minutes be enough of a roadblock to keep titan fleets from ranging across the map, moving from citadel to citadel in great packs?  Or will the jump range limitations that came in with jump fatigue be enough?  As I tend to say, we shall see.

Finally, in what I suspect is the final package of things for the March release, there was also a forum post of “little things” to be addressed.  The list, as it stands right now:

  • Color coding in Fleet watchlist window
  • Targeting bracket on Fleet mates is purple (the fleet color) rather than yellow
  • Text for broadcasts for reps now include what ship type the broadcast came from
  • Fleet tags are now displayed on the targets in the target bar
  • It’s now possible to remove a Fleet tags (from whatever was tagged before)
  • The results from ship scans are now organized by slots
  • The Show Info window for a solar system now has a special tab for structures in the system. Please note that like before, it only lists those structures you have docking access at.
  • The HQ listed in Show Info windows for corporation will now be a link
  • A tooltip has been added to the standing icon in the show info window to show what that icon is based on (player to player, player to corp, alliance to corp etc).
  • If your security status is -2 or lower, the tooltip on your security status in the Character sheet will tell you in which systems the faction police will attack
  • There’s now an option to have the Compare tool only list those attributes that differ for the items currently being compared
  • The height of the “Duration” drop down in market orders have been increased, so all entries fit without scrolling
  • The Salvage option for salvage drones has been moved to the top of the right click menu
  • Volume information has been added to the “material input” and “output” tooltips in the Industry window
  • The right click options that have been categorized as potentially especially destructive will now have a red ! in front of them. Among other things, we hope this helps to make it easier to differentiate between “Reprocess” and “Repackage”.

My favorite on the list is the ability to see the ship type that broadcasts for reps.  It isn’t that I don’t love you support frigates in the fleet, but I really need to keep DPS, my fellow logi, and the FC alive, after which I might have time to spare a couple of rep cycles for you.

Color coding the watch list will be good as well.  Currently I have a stack order for FC, main anchor, snowflakes, logi anchor, and cap chain partners that can get a little mixed up when things go sideways.

Anyway, as I was getting at a thousand words or so back, this seems like a lot for a monthly update.  It lacks a big anchor feature to make it an expansion, but for an update it has a lot of chewy goodness packed in.

Finally, I suspect that these updates coming now, after the winter CSM summit, are not a coincidence.  Good job CSM12!  I suspect that this update will feature in a few re-election campaigns.  But my real question is, does this mean having Sort Dragon speak up constantly during meetings is a good thing?  His name comes up a lot in the minutes.

Trying Out the Guardians Gala Sites

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.

Guardians Gala Comes Again

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.

The Agency owns all your PvE

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.

Big Shiny 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.

My crappy Drake fit

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.

On grid webbed and painted

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.

Something for my efforts!

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.

The advanced booster boost

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.

Citadel Destruction Unleashed

A major aspect of the February update released last week was the Upwell 2.0 revisions.  Those were designed to make blowing up citadels… at least unused or neglected citadels… much easier.

An Astrahus meeting its end

A couple items… the shields being vulnerable at all times along with the new “low power” mode that removed the armor timer from the mix… were combined to make the removal of citadels easier.  You could no longer just leave one sitting unfueled with the vulnerability times set to an awkward hour and expect people to leave it alone because it wasn’t worth the effort.

Or such was the hope.

But any revamp that comes with a flow chart can be a risk in the comprehension department.

How to blow up a citadel

Fortunately it seems that the prospect of blowing things up is enough to get people to pay attention and focus.  CCP Quant posted a chart showing a huge surge of structure reinforcements the day the Upwell 2.0 changes went live.

Structure Reinforcement Spike, Feb. 15, 2018 – That should be M, L, and XL

Reinforcing Upwell structures was easy now though.  You could do it whenever you wanted.  The question was whether or not people would follow through.

Looking at zKillboard it appears that they did.  The first short timers started to come due on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018, and if you look at the losses for the various Upwell structure flavors for that date there is a clear uptick in kills.

Astrahus citadels, the most common structure floating around in space, saw a wave of destruction.  Looking at losses for recent days, 5-20 seems to be about the range of kills on any given date.

Saturday saw 218 Astrahus kills by my count, most of them being purged from wormhole space.  WH space also happens to be the part of space without asset safety so, unlike elsewhere, there is a chance to find a loot pinata.  This led wormholers to go after them with gusto I gather.

Likewise, the Raitaru, the other common medium structure, saw 95 blown up on Saturday.  Again, this was heavily in WH space.

Other Upwell structures also saw an increase in destruction save for Keepstars and Sotiyos… both are big investments and unlikely to be in low power mode… though nothing close to the above two.  even Tataras saw a slight uptick with three going down on Saturday.  So op success I suppose.  Structures made easier to kill were killed en mass.

Who will pick up the pieces?  Who brought a salvager?

After this orgy of destruction it seems as though the pace will slacken.  The easy targets have largely been singled out and blow up I imagine.  And, aside from those found in WH space, the incentive for blowing up these structures is just kill mails and the joy of seeing something explode.  But sometimes that is enough.

Anyway, more things going “boom” in New Eden.

A Bad Show asks What is EVE Online

A Bad Show (For Bad People) explores the ins and outs of EVE Online.

The presentation, done with dry sarcasm, is pretty spot on when it comes to the nature of the game in New Eden.  Some of it digs up the usual conflicts about the game like pay to win, balance, null sec being the main point of the game, and the eventual ISK death of the New Eden universe, but it is worth a watch if you’re thinking about finally trying EVE Online.

There is also a video up about the current Guardian’s Gala event and one about ship fitting if you want something on that front.

A Hole in the North

I heard Monday on comms that Pandemic Horde was packing up to move.  This was confirmed later via an article over at INN.  PH were going to leave their home in Fade, Pure Blind, and a bit of Cloud Ring, and move east to pick up space in Geminate.  That space was being vacated by the Russians who were going to consolidate deeper into null sec after Triumvirate gave up in Insmother.

The North Feb 15, 2018

That will actually put Pandemic Horde up tight against the rest of PanFam who sprawl across Tribute, Tenal, and Vale of the Silent, the latter sharing a border with Geminate.  That is probably a good move for them as it makes for a tighter center of mass for PanFam.

Move ops should be fun as people line up to try and catch them exposed on the path to their new home.

But it raises the question of who will move into the vacated space once PH finishes relocating?

Certainly the Guardians of the Galaxy Coalition, led by Darkness, seems a likely candidate.  One of their members, Mordus Legion, already holds some space in Pure Blind.  But do they want to shepherd that much space?

One of the oft commented upon/complained about aspects of the current situation in null sec is that you do not need to control nearly as much space to have sufficient access to mining and ratting to keep your members happy.  The Imperium, for the most part, is fine just in Delve, as the monthly economic report indicates.  Farms and fields.

The Initiative went and took much of Fountain when the previous situation there fell apart, not so much out of need as the fact that the space was there to be taken.  That put the reach of The Imperium up to the border with Cloud Ring and not so far from Fade and Pure Blind.  There went the neighborhood.  So PH’s move puts them a bit further from that mess.

Guardians of the Galaxy will no doubt scoop up the remains of Fade, which is small and in which they had maintained a foothold already.  The western half of Pure Blind however seems like a lot of space for them to keep an eye on.

And Cloud Ring seems right out.  Cloud Ring is already a bit of the Wild West with even some Gallente Faction Warfare pilots, off on a lark, grabbing the Assilot constellation in the region back in September, space that they still hold today.

I guess Cloud Ring could just roll along on its own, but western Pure Blind… GotG either have to take it to cover themselves or get somebody they can deal with to move in.  Maybe Tri is looking for a new home?

Then again, Pure Blind isn’t anybody’s favorite region… unless you like to hole up in the NPC in the middle and hot drop on the things.  So it will be interesting to see who ends up there and if they will live there or just hold it to keep somebody else from living there.

On the one hand, it is probably good that null sec is now all largely livable space without the useless systems that made people spread out.  On the other, if you told me five years ago that there would be chunks of prime, livable null sec that people wouldn’t want to bother with I might have laughed.

Anyway, we will have to see what develops in the hole in the north left by Pandemic Horde’s move.

One Hundred and Ninety Million Skill Points

That time has rolled around again.  Another meaningless skill point milestone, a new round number, made more meaningless by the advent of skill injectors, but at this point it is a tradition so I might as well carry on.

Past the 190 million mark

The story so far, for those wanting a quick summary of my skill point progression over the last decade or so.

Since the last check-in at 180 million I did an attribute remap to chase down some skills not focused on willpower and perception, which covers a spaceship command and a lot of the weapon skills, changing the emphasis to memory and intelligence.

Thanks to the way CCP thinks, I am committed to that remap for a full year, which puts me out to October.  You would imagine that a remap token would be something worth selling in the New Eden Store, but that hasn’t occurred to CCP quite yet.  They’ll sell skills directly to Alpha clones, but a skill remap would be heresy I guess.  So until then I am somewhat gimped if I suddenly need a new ship type trained up or a weapon skill.

Fortunately I have all the sub-cap skills up to IV and many of them to V, so that isn’t too likely.

Anyway, this change was to allow me to wrap up skills around scanning.  I was feeling the pain of that after using my alt to scan.  He has all the skills up the V and Wilhelm was still languishing with skills at level III of IV.  So that was my initial focus.

However, that wasn’t going to take anything like a year so, at this point, scanning skills are all done, pushed up to level V.  I haven’t had an opportunity to use them yet, but like so many of the skills I have trained over the years, they are there waiting if I should need them.

That done I started going through and tossing skills on that would be optimized by my remap, or at least not drastically hindered by it.

 Spaceship Cmd 61,730,636 (60 of 75)*
 Gunnery 17,197,141 (36 of 46)
 Fleet Support 12,896,000 (14 of 15)
 Drones 12,652,303 (22 of 26)*
 Missiles 11,111,853 (22 of 26)*
 Navigation 9,660,314 (13 of 13)
 Engineering 7,886,130 (15 of 15)*
 Electronic Sys 7,806,958 (14 of 15)*
 Armor 6,131,137 (13 of 13)
 Shields 6,074,039 (12 of 13)*
 Scanning 5,791,765(7 of 7)*
 Science 5,714,282 (21 of 39)*
 Resc Processing 4,756,183 (22 of 28)*
 Subsystems 4,096,000 (16 of 16)*
 Trade 3,399,530 (10 of 14)*
 Targeting 3,207,765 (8 of 8)
 Neural Enhance. 3,202,510 (7 of 8)
 Planet Mgmt 1,612,315 (5 of 5)
 Structure Mgmt 1,446,824 (6 of 6)*
 Rigging 1,312,395 (10 of 10)
 Production 1,157,986 (5 of 12)
 Social 1,130,040 (5 of 9)
 Corp Mgmt 24,000 (2 of 5)

 Total ~190,000,000 (345 of 424)

That is a total of 345 skills by my count, up from 338 last time, so somewhere along the line I picked up 7 more skills.  Those with an asterisk went up since the last check-in.

Of course, Spaceship Command still reigns supreme as the top category after all these years and, despite the attribute remap, it still went up a bit this time around and a new skill was added.  That would be Minmatar Carrier, since the Nidhoggur is the current new hotness in the meta.  I don’t own one, but I could get in one and fly it if I had to.

A Nidhoggur with a Cerb shadow on it

At the top end of the list Gunnery and Fleet Support didn’t get touched, but Drones saw a boost as I started working on the level V versions of fighter skills in order to use tech II fighters with carriers.  This was spurred by my going on a capital training op that actually explained how to use fighters in terms I could understand, so I think I can do that now… though I think I already forgot how to send fighters to specific locations using that two-axis command.  We’ll see.

A few other slots got minor boosts, but Scanning, as one might expect from what I wrote above, saw the biggest boost overall, jumping over 2.7 million skill points since the last check in.  I have all those scanning skills to V now.

All that training upped the count of skills at level V, so my current spread looks like this:

 Level 1 - 1
 Level 2 - 4
 Level 3 - 43
 Level 4 - 91
 Level 5 - 206

That’s what you get at my end of the training cycle, a lot of skills.  As for what to keep training… well… I always have a queue at least two years deep.  I have to finish up those fight skills.  Then there are things like Neurotoxin Control and Neurotoxin Recovery to enhance my in-game drug usage… all Reavers are Quafe addicts… and others that align with my current attribute selection.  There is more than enough there to keep me going through the 200,000,000 mark.

I do wonder how much longer this series of posts will be viable.  In part, I wonder when I’ll just be done an start actually training an alt on my account.  But mostly I wonder about my ability to get at the data for these posts.

I have used EVE Mon for the data over the years.  However, support for it has fallen by the wayside of late and, while it did get an update recently, even if development for it is renewed with some vigor, it still faces the looming cliff of the death of the old API system in the spring.

Come the 8th of May the old API system, along with CREST, will be shut off and only the new-ish ESI API will be left.  I get the reasoning and we’ve certainly been given plenty of warning, but it will still mean the death of a number of third party applications that have popped up over the years as the authors decide if it is worth reworking their integration.

That’s the problem with community projects, which make up the bulk of EVE Online tools, they depend on players remaining invested with the game.  Once they wander off, support for their tool often stops.  I worry that come May 9th we might find something major like DOTLAN EVE Maps has gone missing.

Meanwhile, my experience with the new ESI API system, largely confined to the Neocom II app on my iPad, has been less than stellar.  Either that app is messed up or the new interface does not deliver data in an accurate or timely manner.  As I noted in my look at that app, it shows me two different skill point totals, neither of which are correct.

Of course, I could just log into the game and dig through my character sheet for the data.  However, it doesn’t total up my skills nicely by category the way EVE Mon always has.

My skill counts by category in game

Though EVE Mon is fallible as well.  It still showed the old 5 subsystems per empire skill plan, but that has been trimmed to 4 now, so it should be 16 total skills for the Subsystem category, not 20.  Such is life.

And my alternate choice, EVEBoard, where you can see my character’s skills laid out, also depends on the old API as well, so that won’t help much unless/until they upgrade as well.

So the next milestone is 200,000,000 skill points which, given the usual 7 month cycle, ought to hit at some point in September.  We will see then if

Citadel Changes Feature in February EVE Online Update

The February update for EVE Online has been deployed and it brings a host of changes.

Love is in the air… or space… or whatever

As noted in the headline, the biggest changes are probably to citadels, which got the
“Upwell 2.0” firmware update.  Or so they say.  This is covered in detail in a Dev Blog, including changes that were made after it was initially published, so I won’t repeat all of that.  Instead, a few highlights.

Low Power Mode – This is a new state for citadels that have no service modules active which, one would assume, means that they aren’t being used for much besides docking and tethering.  When in low power mode any attack will get to skip the second round of assaulting the citadel, skipping the armor cycle and having to just do the shield and structure rounds.  Shield hit points for structures in low power mode are also reduced by 33%.  This should make clearing unused or abandoned structures, something of an issue in high sec currently, easier.

Updated Vulnerability and Reinforcement Cycle – The timing of attacks have been changed.  Probably the biggest aspect of that is now one can attack a citadel and finish the shield cycle at any time rather than having to wait until a specific weekly vulnerability window.  After that attackers have to come back during a time chosen by the defenders.

  • An initial attack that can occur at any date and any time chosen by the attackers
  • A second attack that occurs in the timezone of the defenders, on the day chosen by the attackers
  • A final battle that occurs in the timezone and day chosen by the defenders to allow them a last stand

CCP posted a news item suggesting that owners of citadels set these new timers before the update.

The flow of attacking an Upwell structure now follows this flow chart.

How to explode a citadel

There has also been an overhaul of citadel weapon systems that includes the removal of void bombs, which were restricting the composition of attacking forces to doctrines that could hold up while being neuted out.

Moon mining is now available in wormhole space and in 0.5 high sec systems, two items promised since last year.

Again, there is a huge list of changes covered in the dev blog (and clarified in some cases in the patch notes) for those interested.

On to other items, Assault Frigates got a balance pass to make them more attractive, so they are all now a bit faster, a bit lighter, and have 30% more capacitor.  In addition the Ishkur, Retribution, and Jaguar got some extra attention, which is covered in this thread and the patch notes.

There is also a new series of Assault Damage Control modules that may be fit only to Assault Frigates or Heavy Assault Cruisers.  The new modules give less passive resistance, but can be activated for a short period (13-17 seconds depending on the type) to provide a 75% boost to resists, after which it takes 150 seconds for the module to recycle.  We shall see if this makes Assault Frigates or HACs more useful in a universe where battlecruisers, strategic cruisers, or T3 destroyers are usually a better or cheaper option.

Then there is the Guardians Gala Event, which kicks off today and runs through to the 27th of the month,

Guardians Gala Comes Again

The event consists of sites that will pop up on your overview all over New Eden which you can attack for loot.  They will show up in The Agency interface.  The sites come in two flavors this year, normal and VIP.  The VIP sites are alleged to require more than one ship according to CCP, but I’m sure somebody will come up with a fit to solo them.  There is a scouting report for the event over at The Nosy Gamer.

Among the prizes this year are slot 8 stasis webifier enhancing implants and Eros Blossom SKINs, which are pink… and you know how we all love pink SKINs.  In addition some Eros Blossom SKINs (and pink fireworks as well) will be available in the New Eden Store for PLEX.

On NPC structures, Bloodraiders and Guristas shipyards will now no longer be locked into a select set of regions but will now spawn all over low and null sec.  I do not see a mention of whether or not there will be more spawns, but I assume that at least the Bloodraiders, which used to be limited to a single spawn, will be increased in numbers.

And both the shipyards and the forward operating bases will have a cap put on the size of their defense fleets.

Objects seen on missions (which CCP still calls “dungeons” in the patch notes because they hate me and want to give me an aneurysm) have been updated for the V5 shader so are probably a lot shinier than they were before.  They might even look better too.

Finally, there is a line item in the patch notes that indicates that CCP has updated the Wwise audio engine in order to improve audio stability and performance, which I am sure will get any number of readers to respond with, “EVE has sound?”  Audio has long had performance issues in the game and people who end up in fleet fights generally turn sound off just to eke out some additional performance from the client. (Closing Local helps too.)  I’ve run this way so long that I’ve become used to fight in space being silent affairs aside from voices on comms.   But silence is probably right for battles in a vacuum.

Anyway, the update is now live.  You can read up on it in the Patch Notes or on the Updates Page.