Category Archives: EVE Online

The Proposed Phase Two of Sovereignty Changes

There was a big, big dev post from CCP yesterday about their next phase of changes to null sec sovereignty.  The first phase came with Phoebe back in November, which introduced jump fatigue.  That expansion changed the null sec map… before it even arrived.  The big null sec blocs adjusted themselves and settled in.  There has been some fighting in the east where the Russians have been staging a comeback, but they were already players on the map for many years.  The much ballyhooed, mythical big blue donut remained pretty much intact.  The names on the map sometimes change, but there are very few new powers that have shown up in my time.

Null Sec Sov - Dec 2011 and March 2015 compared

Null Sec Sov – Dec 2011 and March 2015 compared

You may see Absolution Alliance on the right side, but that is just White Noise from the left hand map.  Brave Collective is new, but it has TEST hanging out with them.  Even Intrepid Crossing is still on the map as two tiny little green boxes in The Spire.  You need a score card to tell who is dancing with who these days, to torture a metaphor, but a lot of the same players are out on the floor.  So, yes, there might be some justification for tinkering with sovereignty.

Anyway, the second phase is based on a series of goals CCP is attempting to achieve.  They are:

1. As much as possible, ensure that the process of fighting over a star system is enjoyable and fascinating for all the players involved

Hard to argue with that one, though that might be more because it is pretty vague.  Fights are fights after all, and I have been involved in some really great fights under the current sov system because timers force the issue and make people come out and play, because otherwise they will lose their holdings.  I think the previous dev blog about nerfing Ishtars and Tengus would be as likely to accomplish the “enjoyable” goal in my book, but I’ll take it as “don’t make things worse.”  I can live with that.

2. Clarify the process of taking, holding and fighting over star systems

Okay, amen to this one.  I’ve been a soldier in the sov wars since December 2011 and I still can’t tell when we are really, truly fighting over the very last, final, there ain’t no more, we get the system now, timer unless the FC explicitly says so.  And I’ve been on ops where the FC has said that and has been wrong.  Of course, they went on to describe a new system that seems to be just as arcane in its own way, but at least they want to give it a UI that mere mortals can access and decipher.

A UI proposal

A UI proposal – Also, Atlas Alliance!

I don’t get access to Region Commander, so it would be nice for CCP to let the soldiers be able to tell what is going on.

3. Minimize the systemic pressure to bring more people or larger ships than would be required to simply defeat your enemies on the field of battle

Make it so when the defenders bring three fleets we don’t have to up the ante and arrive with four I guess.  After two reads through the whole thing, I am not sure how a bigger coalition is not going to be incentivized to roll out as many fleets as possible when an important system is in dispute.

4. Drastically reduce the time and effort required to conquer undefended space

Sounds good.  I’ve already been through undefended region grinds.

5. Provide significant strategic benefits from living in your space

I’ve seen this one getting some heat.  What it means is that the systems you use to rat and mine and produce in, those will get a defensive buff.  What it does not mean, and what some people seem to expect it should mean, is any sort of boost to the benefits of living in null sec.  Without that latter bit, there are a lot of raggedy ass, bad true sec systems out there that alliances tend to hold merely because they happen to be in the same neighborhood as the systems they actually use.  All of null is not equally valuable, so I wonder what becomes of the off brand stars that don’t spawn worthwhile anomalies or asteroids.

6. Spread the largest Sovereignty battles over multiple star systems to take advantage of New Eden’s varied geography and to better manage server load

This is one where I begin to wonder if CCP plays its own game.  Have they been in a sov war since time dilation was introduced?  Because outside of Jita, very few star systems appear to get their own dedicated resources.  The same set of CPUs seems to run a whole constellation, or even a whole region at times, because a big fight in one system will spread the time dilation love to adjoining systems so we all share the pain.  So this one seems moot unless there is some server infrastructure change that goes with it, as 4,000 people in one system and 4,000 people in one constellation seem to be about as likely to bring the servers to their knees based on my own past experience.

7. Any new Sovereignty system should be adaptable enough to be rapidly updated and to incorporate future changes to EVE

CCP actually attempting to plan for the future.  Will wonders never cease?  Next they will tell us that their programmers comment their code in a comprehensible and meaningful way… and then I will know they are full of shit.

Thoughts on This

So those are the seven goals which are alleged to inform all of the mass of text that follows them in the dev blog.

What does it all mean?  Damn if I know.  I just align where the FC tells me and shoot the targets indicated… or rep the targets indicated more likely… when I can be bothered to stop trying to get good screen shots.

Moving sovereignty fights so that they occur in multiple systems in a constellation sounds interesting, if not exactly logical.  In order to capture system A you need to blow something up in system b and c?  Sure, I’ll do it, and I guess it makes as much sense as timers do in the first place.  And the defense bonus structures will get means that bigger fleets will still be encouraged by the system.

Likewise, the whole Entosis link module sounds interesting.

And they come with a flow chart, so #winning

And they come with a flow chart, so #winning

Of course, I am sure that module will never be abused, there being absolutely no history of EVE players gaming the system or min/maxing or finding strange new uses for things. (Cue footage of hot Ishtar on Ishtar action and suicide gankers resupplying from Orcas.)  I know, stop laughing.  But if you are thinking that at least it will put power in the hands of smaller groups, you might want to remember that the coalitions have their own think tanks dedicated to optimizing that sort of thing.

But we might have to start using all those SBU’s that Wibla is purported to be holding for a rainy day, as they will be obsolete when the new system comes online, replaced by the Entosis link module.

Freeport mode sounds like it could be rich in comedy.  I fully endorse that.

Being able to set your prime time defense window favors defense.  While I have seen it said that this pretty much lets the pacific time zones out of playing to sov game, you know some group will recruit Australians just so they can set their timers to go off when Europe and North America can’t get numbers on grid.  This will be a strategic decision.

While there seems to be an unstated goal in the mix about making sovereignty accessible by a more diverse group rather than the same old players that are in the maps at the top of the post, I am not sure that the price will be paid by the big blocs.  There are a lot of corps out in null sec only because they can rent space.  They are the most likely group to be driven out of null, replaced by whichever new groups (or reconfigured old groups) that want to grab a piece of space real estate to call their own.  Is that a good thing?  If you’re thirsting for sov, probably yes.  If you’re a renter corp, maybe not so much.

Finally, while I have seen a couple of references to the end of the blue donut again with this dev blog, I do not see anything in the whole mess that would make me think for an instant that the big, well organized, and currently entrenched blocs will be at any sort of relative disadvantage when the change eventually comes.

But I wouldn’t expect to see such a thing unless CCP completely lost hold of their senses.  Alienating a large and fairly dedicated chunk of your player base never plays out well.  Nobody wants to be part of the next NGE fiasco, so CCP isn’t going to change things to allow a couple 100 person corps to throw Goonswarm out of VFK.  They want null to be more interesting, but not THAT interesting.

Anyway, the dev blog is all just a proposal at this time for something to hit come the summer, so there will be plenty of time for CCP to gauge reaction and adapt to the holes poked in their ideas.  Plus they will get a couple of new CSM members putting their two cents in soon enough, and one of them is likely to be Endie, which should make for a good time.

We shall see what the summer brings I suppose, but first we have to get through Fanfest and spring and a couple more of those every five week releases.

Others writing about this dev blog:

WoW Tokens – PLEX with Price Supports

Well, they went for it.  I was predicting against it due to the frenzy of bitterness left over from the Diablo III real money auction house fiasco, but it looks like there will be a PLEX-like item from Blizzard, as was previously brought up, that people can buy for real world money and then convert into in-game gold in World of Warcraft.

Current prices are around 800 million ISK in Jita

Current prices are ~800 million ISK in Jita

Called WoW Tokens, Blizzard will join the other games that have followed EVE Online and its PLEX model to help combat/sate the pressure some players feel is on them to buy the in-game currency in order to get what they want out of the game.

The WoW Token highway has no exit

The WoW Token highway has no exit

While Blizzard is not the first to take their cue from CCP on this front, though they do appear to be one of the few, aside from SOE, to avoid a cute acronym.  And even Krono (as in “Chrono” as in “Time”) strikes me as a bit cute.  But for WoW it is just a token.

Past versions of PLEX from other companies include:

  • KronoEverQuest & EverQuest II and maybe other titles.
  • CREDDWildStar
  • GRACEAnarchy Online
  • DUELDarkfall
  • REX – Rift
  • APEX – ArcheAge

Avoiding a cuteness however is not the only thing that sets Blizzard apart on the PLEX-like front.

Process diagram

Process diagram

First off, the WoW Tokens are good for one sale and one sale only in-game.  You cannot buy one from another player, then hang onto it until the market price goes up in order to resell. This avoids speculation and investment buyers that have been driving up the price of PLEX in EVE now and again.

Then there is the gold you get for your WoW Token.  As World of Warcraft has over 500 servers outside of China the last time I looked, the market would seem to be fractured in the extreme.  Yes, the more recent server pairings have reduced the effective number of servers by joining them in every way short of a full-on merger, there are still a lot of servers out there.

The Blizzard plan appears to be to join WoW Token sales into unified markets based on regions.  These regions will be:

  • Americas, Australia, and New Zealand
  • Europe
  • Taiwan
  • Korea
  • China

This should prevent the low population server problem, like Daybreak has with their Krono, where prices can vary wildly because of demand on a given server.

Within these markets, you will get a price quote up front when you list your WoW Token for sale.  I find this to be the most interesting bit, as within this special marketplace, it really looks like Blizzard wants to be able to inject gold into transactions to keep the market stable.

Blizzard is setting up a region-wide, cross server, cross faction market, with no fees, promising a specific amount of gold up front, and not necessarily matching up buyers and sellers directly the way it works in the auction house, all with an eye towards stopping illicit RMT.  It does not seem like very much of a stretch for Blizzard to step in now and again and complete outstanding orders now and again when the buy and sell prices get out of alignment.

That makes complete sense if you view this as Blizzard attempting to apply a topical antibiotic to the festering sore that is illicit RMT.  For this service to have any impact, it needs to feel like a viable alternative to the gold sellers.  So I suspect that, when this service goes live, you may end up buying a bit of your gold directly from Blizzard.  I suspect somebody diligent like Gevlon will watch this market and will be able to “prove” at some point that Blizz is kicking in some gold now and again.

All that is left is to set the price of a WoW Token.  Blizzard has left that in the TBD file, but the price has to be more than $14.99 to cover the additional overhead that this program will entail, but I doubt the price can exceed $19.99 per token if Blizzard wants it to succeed.

And then we will have to see what the in-game market will bear.  A quick Google search shows gold sellers going down to fifty cents per 1,000 gold.  Now Blizzard doesn’t have to match that price, since they offer a safe and legitimate method of buying WoW gold, but they can’t be off by a huge factor either.  So I couldn’t see a WoW Token for selling for less than 30K gold given a high estimate price of $19.99 per token.

Which doesn’t seem that bad I guess.  Blizz might not even have to get into the price support business to aggressively at that level of pricing.  But how that will play out in the longer term will be interesting to watch.

Anyway, you can read the sum of all knowledge on the topic over at Blizzard’s site.

And, of course, this being a WoW related topic, lots others have opinions.  It is big enough news that my wife caught it on a Yahoo headline.  A few posts from the local blogesphere you might care to peruse:

February in Review

The Site

I did have my first failure of my current Rube Goldberg MMO blogesphere feed this month when somebody decided that Pinboard, a key player in the chain of events that moves things from my Feedly feed to the sidebar of this blog, was picked to receive a DDoS attack for a couple of days.

FeedDownFortunately things came back together in a couple of days, but for a while there the side bar was back to depending solely on the VirginWorlds feed for links to posts on other blogs.

And then VirginWorlds feed started to have some problems.  I think there is an RSS problem in one of the blogs on Brent’s list, which is causing only a few sites to get picked up.  Plus Massively is no longer updating, long a staple of his feed.  And then another site on his list became a spam site and some odd things started showing up in the feed, so I took it off the side bar and dropped Brent a note.  We’ll see how that plays out.

One Year Ago

A lot of people got their panties in a twist about Steam tags.  It was the literal end of civilization as we knew it… for about 30 minutes.

EA handed over the running of Camelot Unchained and Ultima Online to Broadsword.

I spent some time with Warcraft III attempting to discover the pre-history of WoW.

There was Diablo III version 2.0, and the changes looked promising.

On the World of Warcraft front, we were still talking about Warlords of Draenor.  Pre-orders were announced an there was a rumor that the expansion would cost $60, which seemed a bit steep.  Also, insta-90s looked to be coming as a cash shop item.  Would all of that stem the tide on subscription decline?

Meanwhile, I finished the last of the LFR raids, witnessing the downfall of Garrosh Hellscream.  For all of the complaints about LFR, I enjoyed my raid tourism.  The instance group did Grim Batol, then made the jump to Pandaria before returning with slightly better equipment for Heroic Deadmines.

I was wondering why PvP seemed to be a requirement for all MMOs.

I got into The Edler Scrolls Online beta and declared it Skyrim-like enough for me, then never played it again.

Brad McQuaid’s Pantheon: Further Falling of the Fallen Kickstarter campaign was winding down, doomed to failure.  There was talk about what would happen nextPlan B anybody?

I ran another EVE Online screen shot contest to give away some items from the Second Decade Collector’s Edition which I scored for free… after having bought it for myself.  And then there was the monument and drone assist and campaign medals and the repercussions of B-R5RB to talk about.

And I wondered what was going to happen with people being given free reign in Landmark.

Five Years Ago

We learned SynCaine’s dirty secret.

I was invited to go play in the beta for the web based Crown of Byzantus.  It didn’t really stick with me, though I wrote about it a couple of times.

There was another press release or some such for a Wheel of Time MMO.  My call: It isn’t going to happen.

Ten Ton Hammer made a list of their Top Ten PvP MMOs, and there was some chagrin that Ultima Online didn’t make the cut.

For reasons I cannot recall, Conner at MMO Fallout started looking into how MMO companies ranked over at the Better Business Bureau.

There was an announcement for a new game… World of Tanks!

In World of Warcraft, the instance group got as far as Zul’Farrak in our horde adventures, though we were still forgetting we could use the Dungeon Finder.  Otherwise we were running around doing holiday events and the like.

Oh, the Dungeon Finder.  My first runs with that were… not so good.  I seemed to run into some cliche bad groups.

Meanwhile, WoW decided to emulate WebKinz and start selling stuffed animals that had codes for in-game versions.  They are still around.  My daughter wants the Windrider Cub.

The Azeroth Advisor went buh-bye.  Thanks 38 Studios!  I saved all the email tips they sent me, however they are all pretty much worthless post-Cataclysm.

Finally, there was Star Trek Online.  The head start ended, The game went full-live, I was fiddling with my super special pre-order collector’s edition junk, and I gave out some codes in a caption contest.  There was even some new content.  But by month’s end, STO faded for me.

New Linking Blogs

The following blogs have linked this site in their blogrolls, for which they have my thanks.

Please take a moment to visit them in return.

Most Viewed Posts in February

  1. WoW Insider Reborn as Blizzard Watch
  2. The Mighty Insta-90 Question – Which Class to Boost?
  3. The End of Sony Online Entertainment, the Coming of Daybreak
  4. On Departures from Our Corner of the Web
  5. Shot at Daybreak – First Casualties of the Acquisition
  6. A Warning to My Fellow Dummies
  7. Two Paths Forward – Blizzard Watch and Massively Overpowered
  8. Pet Battling Across Azeroth
  9. SWTOR Returning to that Fourth Pillar
  10. Too Late for Torchlight II?
  11. Quote of the Day – Skepticism Blooms
  12. Crowfall Kickstarter Commences

Search Terms of the Month

pirating star wars galaxies for emu
[You mean, for the pirate server?]

eq2 100% weight reduction bags
[I’m pretty sure weight is no longer a thing in EQII]

wow epic dungeon group
[Wow, have you come to the wrong place]

fastest way to get sky golem mount
[The auction house]

EVE Online

I started off somewhat active in New Eden.  There was a reavers operation going on in Period Basis, and those are always good for me because you can drop in at just about any hour of the day and find something going on.  Granted, “something” generally means shooting a structure, but that something is better than nothing.  And I can always tab out and do pet battles in WoW if there is no opposition.  But then that op wrapped up and there hasn’t been much else going on that I have been able to get to.

World of Warcraft

There are days when I feel like I am stuck in my garrison.  With five garrisons running, there are evenings when my play time is just about exhausted when I have finally done every little thing in every garrison and whatever daily quest and the daily pet battles and checking the auction house.

Coming Up

I actually have a couple of outstanding posts I haven’t gotten to yet.  That is “outstanding” as in “on my list of things to do” and not a measure of their quality.  The instance group went and ran the Iron Docks… like four times.  I just haven’t gotten around to putting that post together.

I also have a list of things to write about when it comes to WoW Patch 6.1.

There is another EVE Online expansion coming along, because every five weeks is the way they roll.

A couple of Kickstarter campaigns will be wrapping up, so there will be some dollar totals to write about.  And I am sure there will be something new on Daybreak front to talk about.

I am also waiting for Raptr to send out their 2014 game play summaries, so I can see where I wasted my time last year.  It is, frankly, one of the few reasons I still run Raptr.

Otherwise it will be March and something about a salt marsh harvest mouse.  There was so much going on in February, maybe things will just take it easy in March.

Choosing the Tenth Galactic Student Council

I went with the Galactic Student Council metaphor just about seven years ago when the EVE Online Council of Stellar Management ran its first election.   And here we are today with the election of the 10th council kicking off.  (The whole thing started off with six month terms, which is how we got ten in seven years.)

CSM10There are 75 candidates out there vying for 14 spots and several bloggers have attempted to cover the candidates in order to give us some insight as to who stands for what as well as broader stroke views of the election itself.  Now, as polls have opened, people are posting their endorsements.

And I am still sticking with the Galactic Student Council metaphor.

That metaphor isn’t meant to denigrate any of the effort that those elected have put in during the past or plan to put in during the future.  Those that get elected are for the most part honest, forthright, and hard working, and CCP ought to feel lucky to have them.

And it doesn’t mean that I won’t vote.  I will likely vote the straight CFC party ticket, though I’d vote for Sion and Endie regardless.  Frankly I can’t wait for Endie on the CSM.  He wields metaphor like somebody wielding… a thingy… very deftly… or something.  I envy his way with words.  And people like Sugar Kyle and Steve Ronuken are on the CFC ticket, though I might bump them up the list.   And I want competent people around so when CCP deigns to ask their advice, so they get a good response.

No, that metaphor is a poke at CCP.  The CSM is a creature of CCP’s own making.  They control it and within the bounds of its work the CSM only has exactly as much power and influence as CCP allows it.  CSM members can have real power, but that power really only exists when they take things out of school, as happened with Incarna or the bonus room, neither of which were happy, comfortable moments for CCP.  That is clearly not the CSM CCP dreams of.  And the stink coming from behind the curtains of CSM9, where CCP basically refused to deal with an elected candidate, but wouldn’t remove him or own up to the situation, just makes me roll my eyes.  If you want to pick and choose who you deal with, then don’t go through the pretense of elections.

Anyway, like a minority of EVE Online players out there, I will go cast my vote.  I will also happily collect my “so you’re still subscribed” free blueprints for a special shuttle and my “please vote, we’ll give you some goodies” collectables.  All the details are here on how and when to vote and what prizes you get.

Diplomatic Shuttle... Caroline's Star not included.

Diplomatic Shuttle… Caroline’s Star not included.

And then the election will be over, the new CSM will be announced, and the whole thing will go into the background… or even more so into the background… for most players.

I sort of pay attention to what is going on and I would find it hard to pick out the right candidates out of a list of 75… how can we be sure all these people are running for the right reasons… and as amusing as I would find it to inflict former CFC member (elapsed time as in GSF, ~8 minutes) Xenuria on CCP for a year, I do want somebody I think I can trust around when the time comes.

So if you want help figuring out who to vote for, there are plenty of suggested ballots out there, often with detailed reasons why you should select a given candidate.  Here are a few:

Anyway, go vote when you’re ready.

To All The Ships I’ve Flown Before…

BattleClinic.com, which you may know from their involvement with the EVE Mon utility, has been undergoing a serious revamp of their site.  It has been under way for a while now.  I got a note from them months back asking if they could use screen shots from EVE Online Pictures, to which I answered in the affirmative.

But the big site changes have finally been revealed… which I didn’t notice until Rixx Javix did a post about a new feature, ships used.

I actually think that the “ships used” information was in the old version of the site.  Something in the back of my brain believes that it was there.  But it wasn’t as accessible and I do not think it showed as much detail.  Or maybe I am totally wrong.  Memory.

And technically it is not ships you’ve flow, just ships you were flying that were involved in combat where they appeared on a kill mail, either having contributed to a kill or having been the victim.  I’d like to see a stat on which ships I have spent the most time flying in space, especially since I fly in the “space priest” logistics role a lot of the time.  But a list is a list and any long time reader knows I love me a list.

So what ships have I been flying while whoring on kill mails by pressing F1 in CFC blob fleets since December 2011?  Here are the top 10, plus one.

1. Drake – 395 kills / 12 losses

Oh my trusty old Drake.  I have half a dozen of them sitting around still in various null sec stations just waiting for my old favorite ship to return to its place in the sun.

Me and my lag causing friends at 319-3D

Unleash the Drake-en!

It was a fortuitous set of circumstances that made Drake Fleet a prime CFC doctrine shortly after I arrived in null sec.  I couldn’t shoot guns or lasers for shit, but I have max shield and missiles skills and Battlecruiser V when it came time for Drake Fleet.

Those were happy times.  Null sec combat was all new to me and scooting about the battlefield in a swarm of MWD Drakes like a school of fish, Scimitars weaving around us while we spewed missiles and dodged foes was a real highlight in my career.  The first big fleet engagement where I kind of knew what was going on was in a Drake at EWN-2U back in 2012.  Time dilation was a new thing back then.

2. Megathron – 166 Kills / 2 Losses

Mainstay of the war in Fountain, the primay weapon of Baltec Fleet, one of the two doctrines that got rolled up once we found that the doctrines we started the war with were not working out.  This was the ship I flew into some of the more memorable fights of the war, including Z9PP-H, 3WE-KY, and 6VDT-H.

The "How To" of Baltec Fleet

The “How To” of Baltec Fleet

The Megathron hasn’t seen as much action since Fountain.  First it was replaced by the Dominix to exploit drone assist, then the Apocalypse came along and the Megathron was phased out.  Still, the ship was immortalized in the Boat’s Oddity video, and I bet Baltec1 is still flying one in every fleet no matter what the actual doctrine.  Never not Mega.

3. Harpy – 143 Kills / 2 Losses

Harpy fleet has been an ongoing frigate doctrine in the CFC for a while.  I tend to resist flying frigates.  It used to be a matter of not wanting to lose a 40 million ISK clone in a 20 million ISK ship, but now CCP has fixed that.  But I found Harpy roams to be enjoyable.

EVE Online Curse Deployment

A Harpy down in Curse

The doctrine started when we were deployed on and off to Curse.  I probably have more Harpies sitting around in hangars than any other ship besides the Drake.  I need to go on more Harpy fleets.

4. Apocalypse – 93 Kills / 1 Loss

After drone assist was scaled back from “game breaking” to merely “overwhelming” we moved back to the Baltec Fleet doctrine.  However, while you could still fly Megathrons, we were all encouraged to pick up an Apocalypse.  I did not need more than a small push in that direction.  I had been training up lasers in the hope that one day they would be useful, so once I wrapped that up I immediately moved into the Apoc.  I wanted to shoot colored beams of light dammit!

Long range beams

Apocs with lasers hot

I used to carry every damn crystal type I could find and I pretty quickly became “that guy” in Baltec fleet firing a different color laser from everybody else (I am pretty sure the red beams in that picture above is me) or multiple colors because what the hell.  Red and green on Christmas, mustard and ketchup because I was eating a hamburger.  I had a good time with that.  The doctrine has since fallen into disuse, but I still have a couple Apocs, and a large supply of crystals, sitting around.

5. Ishtar – 64 Kills / 0 Losses

Drones are still pretty strong, so Ishtars and Dominixes are back in fashion, to the point that the game is mockingly called Ishtars Online some nights of the week.  This is also a Reaver doctrine fit, which is where I have flown it.  Most of my kills are towers, though there was that carrier we got at the end of our first deployment.  Due to a general shortage of logi pilots, I only flew the Ishtar on that one deployment, swapping out for a Basilisk since then.

6. Caracal – 39 Kills / 6 Losses

There have been a number of tries to get a good Caracal doctrine going from time to time.  I always join in because they aren’t too expensive and I have all the skills.  Caracals were a doctrine at the start of the war in Fountain and we lost them in droves until we stopped using them.  I think I have lost every single one I ever owned in null.

7. Dominix – 27 Kills / 1 Loss

The post Fountain doctrine with drone assist.  I was in something of a slack period when Domis were the main thing.  I went on a few ops with a Domi, but it isn’t really a special ship to me.  Or it wouldn’t be if it weren’t for the fact that I am on six titan kill mails with a Domi from the fight at B-R5RB.  I still have that particular neut fit Domi, still parked in the station in that system with a jump clone should I ever wish to retrieve it.  A pity that N3 owns the system again.  I have a Basilisk stranded out there as well.

8. Hurricane – 25 Kills / 1 Loss

One of the ships I bought early on when I was trying to be a good soldier and follow orders to have one ship for every doctrine on hand at all times or some such.  It was a “Digi-cane,” which belonged to a doctrine that was already out by the time I bought it.  I used to use in for Homeland Defense ops and I flew it to BWF-ZZ in a Boat fleet that bagged a dozen Raiden capital ships.  I think I have an “insta-cane” in a hangar somewhere, which I bought seconds before they got nerfed.

9. Maelstrom – 21 Kills / 0 Losses

This was the prime doctrine when I joined the CFC, just before Drake Fleet showed up.  Big, slow to move, slow to align, and slow to shoot, the key to the doctrine was to have everybody fire at once to cause an overwhelming spike in damage that would blow the hostile ship off the field with a single volley.

10. Scimitar – 18 Kills / 2 Losses

Given how many times I have flow logi, I am actually surprised to see that I have only lost two Scimitars.  I guess a debt is owed to our logi anchors who appear to have kept us out of the line of fire and aligned to get the hell out of Dodge when things go wrong.  Plus it is a swift ship.  And, as you can see, even a space priest isn’t above loading a couple of combat drones in order to whore on kills.

Special Mention – Basilisk – 13 Kills / 3 Losses

The ship in 11th place and the one I have been flying for the most part for the last six months.  Ugly and awkward in that way that only Caldari ships can manage, it is once again proof that logi isn’t above carrying a combat drone or two in order to get a few hits in.  I don’t mind playing logi.  It is what I mostly do these days.  But I like to get something on the kill board at least once a month just some my corp knows I’m still alive.  Lord knows I barely talk to them and I almost never fly with them, so I try to keep up my end by paying my monthly dues, getting a few kills, and clicking on participation links.

Cap chaining in Immensea... Caroline's Star visible

It is all about the Basi… and cap chaining

So that is the list, my top 10+1.  Of course, the kills and losses are in no way an indicator of any capability on my own part.  Even a scrub like me can keep a “green” kill board because of the way kills and losses are counted.

And, of course, this is just the BattleClinic accounting of my ships and kills.  My totals at ZKillboard and EVE-Kill are different, though I do wonder why my BattleClinic totals are as far off as they are from the other two.  ZKillboard and EVE-Kill differ by a mere dozen kills while BattleClinic is a good 20% shy of those total.

Behold Tiamat!

This is not a TorilMUD or Forgotten Realms post.

This post goes nowhere near Baator, just a couple exits past the Astral Plane, home of the five headed queen of evil dragons and eternal foe of Bahamut.

No, this is about EVE Online.  Today CCP is launching their second EVE expansion of 2015 and… I am not sure I have digested what we got from Proteus just five weeks back.  But hey, more stuffs!  So welcome Tiamat!

Tiamat in a picture

Tiamat in a picture

And what does Tiamat hold for us?  Well, we have a new ship, the second of the Tech III destroyers announced way back at EVE Vegas.  This is the Minmatar version, the Svipul, a ship that has had an interesting life.

Fuck center of gravity!

Fuck your archaic center of gravity notions!

The first thing people wanted to know was how to pronounce that name.  I think it got settled down to something like “Swee-pull,” which almost rhymes with “Weeble,” which is amusing because it looks like the drive placement on that ship will make it wobble.  As to HOW people will actually say it on coms… well, people can’t get Scimitar or Rokh or Chimera right most of the time, so I expect to hear some interesting variations.  Or I expect it once the ship becomes more than just an expensive new shiny and finds its role in New Eden.  Call it 18 months before the ship’s name is being regularly mangled in voice coms.

Then there are the Drifters who, if there were any musical justice in New Eden, would fly around in rifters.

Say "Borg." Go on, I dare you.  Say it to my face.

Say “Borg.” Go on, I dare you. Say it to my face.

But they don’t.  They appear to fly ominously smooth ships with a hint of manta ray in their design philosophy.   They join the Circadian Seekers in wandering New Eden… I think… I have to admit I really wasn’t paying attention when they got announced.  Anyway, there are also mysterious structures involved that continue the CCP belief that such encounters in space should be called “dungeons.”  Seriously, I thought they got over that a few years back.  But no, it is right there in the patch notes.  Anyway, the Drifters have arrived and they have already killed a carrier.

CCP is also revamping corporation tools which is one of those “why has it taken you this long to get around to this?” sorts of things.  If you have ever formed and run a guild in any MMO, doing the same thing in EVE by starting a corporation… will possibly drive you insane.

I know, I know, you don’t really need a degree in systems analysis and organizational management to configure a corp in EVE, but it sure feels like it the first time you open up that window and try to configure roles.

Possibly the most sensible role set I have ever seen

Possibly the most sensible role set I have ever seen

It is like so many things in EVE, mind boggling when you first look at it, not so bad once you have figured out how it works and the odd idiosyncrasies.

And, if I read things right, NONE of that is changing.  The learning curve remains intact.  But you can now have 5,000 people in mailing lists and “Add rich, colorful text and hyperlinking to your corporation details.”  So go team!

There are some updates to graphics and lighting.  Structures got an update pass.  Light will now reflect off of things, so if you’re near a large, well lit gas giant, your ship should be lit from the reflection.  That should make for some better lit screen shots out in the dark depths of null sec.  Also, there is now a lens flare slide, so you can set just how much New Eden should feel like a J.J. Abrams movie.

There is also a pass at projectile weapon balancing, another round of module tiericide to confuse me, and upgrades to sound.  EVE has sound!  Well, it has music at least, and no expansion would be complete without its own theme.  It feels a little generic techno, but it works as part of the New Eden mix I guess.

Anyway, CCP has announced that Tiamat has been successfully deployed.  Thanks to my location, updates generally happen while I am asleep.  Here are the various posts related to the release which, if true to CCPs current plans, don’t tell you everything.

Coming up next, Scylla on March 24th.

Changing My Clothes in Space

Way back when, I bought the EVE Online Second Decade Collector’s Edition… and then CCP gave me a copy about a month later.  Comedy always finds me.

One of the items that was part of the whole big box of stuff was the Mystery Code, printed on the back of a piece of black plastic.

The Mystery Code Card

The Mystery Code Card

The Mystery Code, when entered, gave you a PLEX, a few special items, and the promise of more special items in the future.  Free stuff… for only $99… or free if they gave you a copy… or if I gave you my extra code as part of a contest.

Just this past week, CCP put up a note saying that there was some new special stuff for Mystery Code holders.  So I immediately went and tried to figure this out.  But since this is CCP, the process was somewhat… Icelandic?

Okay, the first thing you have to do is go to account management and claim your items, which is done by logging in and going to the “Vouchers” option under the “Services” menu, despite the fact that no vouchers of any kind are involved.

There you can pick your items to claim.  As it turned out, I had several items as I had never been to that option in in account management before, nor did I even know that it existed.

The new gifts for Mystery Code holders consisted mostly of clothes, something that disappoints children at Christmas and the perennially grumpy the rest of the year, but which was fine by me.  I am against CCP spending resources on walking in stations, but I still believe that your in-game avatar is important.  And while I would prefer hats, which you could actually SEE on people rather than, say, shoes, where you have to click, and click again, and then click a third time, and then resize a window, and zoom and rotate in order to even recognize that a shoe was even present, much less updated, I refuse to get too bent out of shape at CCP working apparel that is off screen 99.9% of the time.  More pants, more shoes, more whatever.  The people doing that probably are not working on null sec sovereignty fixes in any case.

So, new clothes redeemed at account management.

From there I had to log into EVE Online and, at the character select screen, redeem the items by dragging them from the bottom of the screen onto the character to which I wanted them to go.  After that I logged into the game and saw that I had a bunch of clothing items in my hangar in the station.

And I did not have a clue what to do with them.

Seriously, the EVE Online interface strikes again.  You can see these items of apparel in your hangar, but no amount of clicking on them, dragging them around, or getting info on them will tell you what to do with them.  Seriously, they tell you the amount of physical space they take up, but nobody could take a minute to paste in some text that says “Go to the character editor to use this!”

Where CCP fails, Google provides.  A quick search pointed me at several forum threads where people had asked the same “what do I DO with these clothes” question, which sent me to the character editor.

In the game.

Somewhere along the line I missed when this button showed up amongst the station services.

Of course, all the buttons look different now

Of course, all the buttons look different now

But there it was, and it brought up the full fledged, create your character editor.  That, in turn, allowed me to change all manner of aspects of my avatar, something I thought they were charging for at one time.  The character editor also told me I was owed a “resculpt,” which I am going to guess is the “start from scratch” option when it comes to your avatar.  Maybe that is was CCP was charging for… only they seem to be giving me one… because the first one is always free?  I don’t know.

Anyway, when you are in a station and in the character editor, then clothing items that are in the hangar of that station show up as choices amongst all of the standard selections.  I went through and picked out what looked to be “new” items and selected them to be added to my avatar.

After that I had to go and take a new portrait so that my change of clothes would show up in-game.

Wilhelm, before and after

Wilhelm, before and after

I am not sure that is much of an improvement.  But for most people my avatar will only show up as a tiny little square in a station list or chat channel. (One of the bigger shocks of watching people stream EVE Online is seeing how many people leave avatars on in chat.  The first thing I do when I open a new channel is turn off the avatars and set compact members list.  Maybe it is years of playing MUDs, but I do not need a tiny, indistinguishable picture next to somebody’s name in order to recognize them… I recognize the name.  Also, so many blinking chat tabs… you know you can turn that off, right?)

Of course, it turned out that these were not the new clothes I was looking for.  This was another set we got handed at some point for some reason… I don’t know… they were in my hangar as well.  The new set we had been given were dark, padded psuedo-combat armor style.  Oh well.  I might go back and change all that later.  And now I need a hat for the new avatar if I am going to use it elsewhere.  That requires old school Photoshop capabilities rather than anything in the game.

But having gone through all of that just to put on some new clothes… and you cannot even see my pants… a few thoughts jump out at me that might smooth out the process should CCP be taking this whole dress up thing seriously.

  • In the description on clothing items, tell us how to use them.
  • In the character editor, highlight in some way items of clothing that are not part of the standard load-out.
  • Give items from a matched set the same name please.  The new set had a jacket called “Impact” and pants called “Strider.”
  • Don’t just dump clothing items into the station hangar, to be lost amongst all of the other junk we accumulate.
  • Don’t make me be in the same station as an apparel item in order to use it.

The last two I think are especially key if CCP has some plans to make money selling people clothing so they can dress up their avatar.

I know that the last one breaks the “rules.”  In EVE Online, the fact that things have to be moved around, that there is no magic in-game bank or mailbox to deliver ships or modules or ammo to me no matter where I am is an important part of the game.  If nothing else, anybody who does a region-wide buy order in Domain should be made to feel the same pain I did a few years back.  I still haven’t picked up all those light missiles.

But I don’t think clothes really play into that.  What hat my avatar is wearing on a given day has no impact on the core game play in EVE, be it combat, hauling, mining, production, or playing the market.

So I think CCP ought to round up all that clothing I have left strewn about space and put it together in a nice little wardrobe tab as part of the character editor, so if I feel like wearing my Quafe T-Shirt when I am out in Immensea I don’t have to worry that I might have left it behind in Deklein or Jita or Amarr.

Of course, ideally I should just be able to go to the New Eden Store, buy a new hat, and be able to apply it immediately without having to go through the rigamarole of playing with the full character editor and all the positioning choices and what not.

I see that CCP is giving this some thought on the whole ship skins front, which says to me that the process is more convoluted that people are willing to work with.  We shall see if that gets translated over to the apparel side of things, because I would still like to be able to buy me a decent hat.