Category Archives: EVE Online

Opportunities… in… SPAAAAACE!!!

Recurring opportunities… the New Eden version of a daily quest, with a 10K skill point reward… went into the game earlier this week.  The plan to introduce them was announced some time back though, and I had considered writing about them at the time, but pushed it off.

In part I pushed it off because my gut reaction contained more than a bit of the bitter vet in the form of, “Back in my day nobody handed you skill points, you logged off and played something else until that skill you really needed finished!  And then you logged the fuck back in as soon as it finished, because there was no skill queue either!  Kid theses days!” and there was more than enough of that to go around.

Instead I decided to see how much 10,000 skill points might matter to a new player.

It has been a long time since I was a new player in New Eden, almost ten years at this point.  I still sort of remember how things were… kind of.  I have a post about running through the 2006 version of the tutorial and still have nightmares about trying to run “Worlds Collide” in a stock fit Ibis because that was what my first agent gave me.

Scratch one frigate!

A Cormorant solved that problem eventually

It was a harsh environment, back then.  Everything was a hazard.

Dammit!

Dammit!

But a lot has changed since then.

Not everything has changed though...

Bait cans though, still a thing I hear…

Of course, one of the things that has changed over that time was me.  The last alt I made for anything but running a cyno in a noob ship I let skill up for almost two months before I bothered undocking.  But even that was back in 2007, and new characters get a lot more skill points to start with these days.  Surely it couldn’t be that bad still, right?

So I logged in with a character I rolled up just before EVE Vegas last year (a female character for my wife, in case CCP wanted a character names on badges, though that turned out to not be an issue) with the intent of seeing if I couldn’t just use all those skills you get now to fit something besides the noob frigate to run a few level 1 missions.

Since the character was Gallente, I decided to go with the Incursus, a frigate with hybrid weapon bonuses that could also carry a light drone and which ought to be armor tanked, as being somewhat representative of the Gallente ship design strengths.

Of course, herein lay part of the problem of me trying to recreate the noob experience; I wasn’t going to be content fitting just anything to the ship and flying off.  While I am in no way a ship fitting grognard, nearly a decade of flying ships fit by other people has at least given me a sense of what I ought to be carrying.

I decided I wanted to put out as much damage as possible… quick kill, best kill… so I fit three small blasters.  Those are short range, so I had to have an afterburner to close with things.  And, just in case a target tried to run away I figured I had better fit a web.  Of course, with an armor tank on missions I needed an armor repper in the lows, along with a Damage Control module, because one low slot ALWAYS has to have a Damage Control module according to chapter 17, paragraph 43, subsection f or the bible on this sort of thing.  Then I probably needed something to help me keep cap, and I couldn’t been seen in public without rigs…

Pretty soon I had a nice little ship, mostly fit, that I totally couldn’t use because I needed one skill or another to use almost everything.  And this was all tech I modules.

I could fire the guns and, if I recall right, I could also run the afterburner, but doing both together would run down my capacitor in about 30 seconds. I couldn’t launch the drone, I couldn’t web anything, and I couldn’t run the armor repper.  They were all in their slots but offline as I lacked the right skill.  And, of course, I couldn’t fit the rigs because I didn’t have any skills in the area.

So I jotted down a list of skills I had to have, then some support skills that I probably should have… things that helped with cap usage being high on the list… and flew off to the nearest school station to buy skill.

It was at about this point that I figured it I had been serious about this I would have just bought a skill injector and made all these problems go away.  But, while I was fine sending this character some cash for skills and to buy a ship, I wasn’t going to go that far.  So I bought and injected the skills I thought I needed and queued them all up.

Then I bought my proposed fit into EFT and checked to see how it looked if Wilhelm was flying it.  With his skills it was a mission running killing machine, fast, hard hitting for its modest fit, and cap stable with everything running.

Then I made an API for the new character, put that into EFT, and checked how things looked, only to realize that I needed a couple more skills just to put everything online and that capacitor was still a possible issue.  A ship doesn’t HAVE to be cap stable, but it is nice for it to be so if you’re going to run missions.

I add in a few more skills, put all that into EVE Mon, and let the queue run for a couple days until I had at least the bare minimum skills to put everything online and at least run it for a bit.  Then I went out and ran a mission, which was “op success.”

Shooting things in my wee frigate

Shooting things in my wee frigate

I was actually running a mission for Quafe, which I was surprised to find had agents that gave out security (kill things) missions.  The cola wars are real.  I was also reminded as to how dull mission running can be.  Some of that is the residuals of having run enough missions to get 8+ standing with a range of Caldari and Amarr corporations, which you used to need back in the day to make jump clones in their stations… until CCP broke that and decided to leave it that way.  But there was also a feeling of being overpowered and just shooting sitting ducks because the missions have to be doable by players who have even less fitting sense that I have.

So maybe my fitting plan and skill was overblown.  Or maybe not.  It is hard to tell.

And yet I was still feeling the pinch of not having enough skills.  I could only target two hostiles because I hadn’t trained Target Management yet.  I was close, but not quite, cap stable.  I had a long enough run time to not worry about it.  And I actually had to swap a named tech I web and a named tech I battery to get there and be within the CPU constraints of the hull.

So I was a few days of training into the ship, mostly knowing what I was doing and how to figure out what I needed to train (I had EFT and EVE Mon handy) and I was still looking for skills.  And I hadn’t yet looked into any of the additional skills that improve gunnery or drones.

That was all last week.  I ran a few missions and let the training queue carry on.

The Tuesday hit and the patch to add in Recurring Opportunities hit.

I logged in with my wee frigate pilot to give it a try.  There it was, up on my screen.

The offer...

The offer…

I immediately undocked and warped to an asteroid belt… well, the asteroid belt… in the system where I had last docked up.  I was in luck.  There were a few wrecks in the belt already, but a new NPC had spawned and nobody was about, so I sped in for the kill.

More frigate shooting...

More frigate shooting…

On the kill, it was mission accomplished.

Checked that box

Checked that box

I had my 10K skill points and a 22 hour timer until I could do that again.

I kind of wonder at the choice of time.  20 hours seemed to be the better choice for such things.  For me there tend to be about a four hour window in the evening when I might play, and I hate to have a late session one evening, then an early session the next, only to find I have another hour or so before my opportunity will recur.  I am sure there was some debate about this at CCP, and if it is every 20 hours, that would allow the obsessive amongst us to gain just that many more free skill points over the course of a year.

Perhaps it should CCP should just reset opportunities every down time, though they would then have to account for unscheduled down time as well I suppose.

Anyway, I immediately applied my skill points to a skill I had injected.

Apply skill points now

Apply skill points now

That got me to cap stability.

Notifications

Notifications

I was happy to see that apply skill points was easy and that you didn’t have to stop your skill queue to do it… unless, of course, you wanted to apply skill points to the skill you were currently training.  Then you have to open up the queue window and pause your skill queue.

10K skill points seems to be about enough to get you two levels of a low multiplier skill.  The next day I got another 10K skill points and applied it to the injected, but untrained skill Target Management, and it got me two levels and a fair bite into the third.  I think the estimate was that this would boost you by about 5 hours of training, depending on your attributes and implants and what not.

So, from that perspective, it does look to be something that would be meaningful to a new player.

The objections are, of course, that any player can do this, newbie or bitter vet, and gain nearly 4 million skill points over the course of a year.  Give that skill injectors are a thing now though, I am not sure that this is really all that worrisome.  I certainly haven’t started undocking my main to shoot a belt rat a day, and not just because PL is camping all the belts in Saranen to catch people doing that.  At nearly 160 million skill points, I just don’t feel the compulsion.

Of course, compulsion is the other argument against.  This is a daily quest, something that generates strong feelings in the MMO community.  I know that pain.  You don’t HAVE to do daily quests, but it can feel like you’re leaving money on the table if you don’t.  I don’t mind dailies when I am working towards a goal.  I ran through a whole range of dailies for the factions during the Mists of Pandaria expansion in WoW and enjoyed myself.  But I didn’t run them after I had hit my goal.

But if dailies don’t have a specific end goal, yet provide a good reward, they can lead to compulsion and burn out.  This is what happened with me and garrisons in WoW during Warlords of Draenor.  The follow missions were simply too lucrative to NOT do every day, on every character, so I ended up spending most of my play time servicing the garrison, which wasn’t all that much fun.

Yes, I could have NOT done that.  But then, as noted, you feel like you are missing an opportunity.  As that quote from Edward Castronova, which I trot out whenever we speak of such things, goes,

Being an elf doesn’t make you turn off the rational economic calculator part of your brain.

We will tend to do things in order to maximize our progress.  There are always exceptions, but that tends to be the way of things.  Think of Warhammer Online.  Open world PvP and keep battles were where the best fun was in the game, but people overwhelming favored battlegrounds because that was the better choice for player progress.  And you see it in New Eden as well.  People run anomalies for ISK for a reason, it is efficient.

So I suppose the question will have to be whether or not 10K SP is enough for people to feel compulsive about collecting it daily or not.  If I were a new player I would undock every day for this.  But where from where I stand now, I am not sure it is enough to tempt me, though I bet there will now be a race to shoot rats on gates to get the killing blow, which gets you the 10K SP, when we are out on fleet ops now.

I’ll also be interested to see if CCP Quant can come up with some data comparing the number of skill points lost to the game through skill injectors and the number of skill points added to the game through recurring opportunities.

Anyway, I am not wed to the idea, but it feels harmless enough and seems to benefit new players more proportionately than most such plans.  We shall see.

A Murder of Fax Machines

9:22 PM directorbot@goonfleet.com: Why do you spell pandemic legion with all lowercase? Cause they can’t use any caps!

~~~ This was a broadcast from asher_elias to opt-all at 2016-05-25 04:22:07.447156 EVE ~~~

I was having one of those weeks where, on Sunday night, I wondered what I would write about.  I had finished the post for Monday, knew Overwatch would cover me for Tuesday, and and item from Tuesday’s EVE Online patch for Wednesday, if I could make something out of it.  But after that, it seemed to be a quiet week.  We’d lost all our sovereignty and were sitting in our soda warehouse in Saranen fiddling with citadels and towers.

But war will bring opportunity.  We took back a bit of sovereignty last night.  And then, just as I posted that tidbit and was finishing up a post about recurring opportunities, a Jabber ping showed up saying that there were hostiles in system and we needed more Hurricane’s on Thomas Lear.

I almost didn’t go, but the standing defense fleet tends to be easy come, easy go, so I figured I could run off soon enough if nothing was going on.

And it didn’t seem like things were going to go on.  I joined the fleet in my Hurricane, undocked, and anchored up, because the fleet was hanging about the station.  On our overviews we could see the enemy forming up around Pandemic Legion’s Fozitar citadel on grid with the station.

The Fortizar looms

The Fortizar looms still

They were bringing Abaddons, the Amarr battleship which is supposed to be the cure for the artillery fit Hurricane menace that The Imperium has been bringing to bear over the last week.  Meanwhile, we were still stumbling around, trying to get people in fleet, trying to get some boosters, and warping around to find an angle on our foes.

The enemy got off the citadel and we tried to close, got chewed up a bit, looked at the numbers, and warped back to the station where we docked up even as more hostiles were being cyno’d into system.  We were not going to take the fight.

But people were still showing up in fleet and clearly something was going on in the intel channel, as we did not stand down, but undocked and sat on the station for a bit as the fleet filled in more.  Other forces were around to work with us.  White Legion was about, I even saw Talvorian Dex, who still hates us but joined WL to get in on the kills, in local.  Asher had a fleet of his own spun up and was supposed to be off doing something else, but the opportunity was right there in Saranen.

We started trying to take the enemy at the end of our range, warping in at about 70km and aligning out and trying to pick off what we could.  It was a narrow envelope of engagement as we were still lacking boosts so our lock range was less than the falloff of our guns and we kept moving beyond that limit.  We were able to volley off a couple of Abaddons, but we were losing Hurricanes pretty quickly as well.  An Abaddon is worth a little more than two Hurricanes, so we couldn’t exchange too many of ours for theirs and come out ahead.

Meanwhile there were also some Hurricane Fleet Issues on the field and some Machariels being cyno’d in to the fight.  We took a couple more runs and had some success.  The arty-caine’s strength is in its high single shot damage.  A sufficiently large fleet of them, all firing at once, can volley a ship off the field even if it is getting repair reps from its logi.  After several miserable attempts to do this, we actually started almost firing as one, letting off ragged volleys into the hostiles that would often destroy a ship in one go, or at least leave them so deep in structure that the next volley would take care of them.

We were still trying to operate at range, warping in, aligning out, picking a few targets while losing some Hurricanes.  We finally got our boosts setup and running after a while, and the fleet kept growing in size as people logged in, while those who lost ships were just warping back to the station to grab another Hurricane and rejoin the fight.

By that point the fight had moved to the tower we had on the station grid.  The enemy was arrayed about it and had six force auxiliaries, fax machines, in support.   By then though we had a full fleet of Hurricanes, other fleets in support, and things rapidly swung in our favor.

Thomas Lear had us load medium range ammunition at that point and we warped in much closer to the enemy and stood toe-to-toe and hit them with everything we had.  Time dilation kicked in, and for a while it was a slow motion fight.  A target would be called, locked up, volley’d off the field, and then the next one would be called.  Abaddon, Machariels, Bhaalgorns were all popped in succession.  We managed to knock off one of the fax machines, then continued killing off battleships.

I ended up on a lot of kill mails… looks like about 60 now that the kill board appears to have caught up… and I could barely keep up with the cycle of lock and shoot.  I did get one final blow, which means that my Hurricane has a kill mark on it… somewhere… I forgot to look after the fight.

At that point the enemy started to bug out and it was a scramble to lock some of them down and hold them on the field to be destroyed.  Most of their sub cap logi got away, but the five remaining fax machines were priority targets and were destroyed in turn.

And then it was over.  Tidi had lifted towards the end as we raced to slaughter the remains.  The tower had been saved and the enemy driven off.

We lost a lot of ships, 40 more than the enemy.  But as noted, Hurricanes are cheaper than Abaddons, much cheaper than Machariels, and you can expend a lot of Hurricanes for each fax machine kill and still come out ahead on the ISK war, which we clearly did according to the battle report.

Battle Report Summary

Battle Report Summary

Curiously missing from the match was Pandemic Horde, which usually provides some bulk in Feroxes to help out.  Of course, there is some speculation on Reddit as to what may have happened there.

As we lolled about on grid looting and laughing, Mittens showed up on coms wondering what was going on.  He had missed the whole show.  A bit of command chat was rebroadcast over Jabber for us, which included this:

(11:25:13 PM) the_mittani: i asked you to kill a tower asher_elias did you kill pl instead
(11:25:25 PM) asher_elias: sorry :(

Apparently Asher was neglecting his duties in order to destroy hostile capital ships.

I did not know it at the time, but this was the second batch of fax machines to go down in Saranen, as PL had lost five earlier in the day in exchange for a few Hurricanes.  We do like bashing fax machines.  At least somebody at TMC actually woke up and posted something about the war, though still no post about us losing all our sov.

On top of that, some intrepid spirits managed to take back another system in Pure Blind, doubling our holdings since my last post, with EWOK-K falling to us.

Asher pinged for his tower busting op, and I was tempted to go along, but it was getting late for me so I passed, logged off, and headed to bed… though not before a flurry of writing.  Asher got his tower kill without my help in any case.  Another op success.

All in all, a pretty good day for The Imperium.  The sort of day that keeps us logging in and joining fleets.  And just before all this kicked off a B-24 from the Collings Foundation (this one), which is out at Moffett Field with a B-17, a B-25, and a P-51 for the week, flew low over our house as I stood on the front lawn.  That certainly put me in the mood for a fight.  A good day indeed.

And, as I noted previously, our prodigious appetite for Hurricanes is probably stimulating the market in Jita.  I haven’t checked, but I wonder if prices are climbing or if production is ramping up, but it seems like an opportunity for a producer out there somewhere.  If you look at some of our Hurricane kill mails (like this one), they will show you the modules we are using, which are also be in demand.

The Hurricane op was pretty busy, but I did managed to get a few screen shots along the way.  I guess I can save that recurring opportunities post until tomorrow.  The week seems to be filling up on its own.

 

And We’re Back in Null Sec… For The Moment

Is this a real war?
Is this just fantasy?
Caught in a fleet op
No escape from enotsising
Open your eyes
Look up to the skies and see
I’m just a poor boy, I need no sovereignty
Because it’s easy come, easy go
index high, index low
Any place the FC goes, doesn’t really matter to me
to me

-Opening lyrics, Fozzie Sov Rhapsody

So this just happened, two jumps from Pandemic Legion’s main staging system, 93PI-4, in the cross over between EU and US prime time, which is basically the peak of activity on any give day in New Eden.

Goons own sov again

Goons own sov again

Somehow we took a system back.  Maybe PL was all off playing Overwatch today?

EC-P8R is actually kind of an important system, being a gate between null sec and low high sec.  I know our foes made a big deal out of capturing it from us the first time.  But it has changed hands a couple of times now.  Being such a gateway probably makes it harder to hold.

Who will own it tomorrow

Popular place

Of course, we’ll probably lose it tomorrow, or the next day, or this weekend, and will probably retake it again at some date after that.

I don’t want to diminish the achievements of the coalition that formed to chase us out of null sec, but this is a reminder that Fozzie Sov, and its changing from favoring defense to favoring offense, was one of their allies.

Also, we clearly haven’t given up yet.  The war goes on.

Citadels in Saranen

Last week The Imperium changed its sovereignty timers to run in EUTZ.  Previously they had been running in AUS TZ, where we had had considerable success on defense for a while.  The changes to EUTZ was billed as a way to catch hostiles running entosis links during a time when we could put more pilots on the field.

I supposed this worked to a certain extent.  The primary bit of evidence is the kill boards, and Pandemic Legion’s stats in particular, whose killboard ISK efficiency is lower this month than even January 2014, when the battle at B-R5RB took place. (They were at 68% efficiency for that month, though the amount destroyed, as measured in ISK, was much, much larger.)

Efficiency down for May

Efficiency down for May

The flip side of this is that our foes are also strong in EUTZ and still out number us.  So this strategy lasted for about a week after which we were fresh out of sovereignty to attract targets.  Last night the few remaining systems in the constellation around D2-HOS fell and that was that.

The last corner of Pure Blind falls

The last corner of Pure Blind falls

We have now reached one of those possible victory conditions I mentioned previously.  The Imperium holds no sovereignty, so we’ve lost.  Right?

GSF sovereignty now officially zero

GSF sovereignty now officially zero

Reddit, the official forum of the MBC, is certainly celebrating victory right now.

But are we defeated?

Judging from pings and ops going out and systems being reinforced and numbers showing up for fleets, it certainly does not look like it.  We are currently dug into Saranen and even managed to drop a citadel on grid with our station the other night.

In response to this PL dropped a large citadel, a Fortizar, on the same grid as our home station in Saranen.

The Fortizar looms

The Fortizar looms

We are in a state where the game as a whole is still figuring out what to do with citadels.  At first glance, and this is my guess as to motivation, this gives PL a station that overlooks our undock.  PL even declared war on all of the remaining Imperium alliances, so that NPC station and gate guns in low sec space wouldn’t fire on them any more when they shot at us.

However, this turned into one of those “tracers work in both directions” sort of things, where the fact that they could sit and watch our undock meant that we could also sit and watch them, either by undocking or by sitting on our of medium citadel, safely tethered and waiting for something to happen.

Hurricanes tethered

Hurricanes tethered

Meanwhile, our response to actually getting a citadel anchored and running was to immediately drop another citadel on the station grid in hopes of drawing more hostile fax machines into the system to kill with Hurricanes.

SACCitadel3

Another medium citadel freshly dropped and spinning up

The Hurricane has become the backbone of our defense and any time hostiles show up in force in capitals or T3s or other expensive ships, we undocked in them in order to trade cheap, well insured T1 battlecruisers for whatever they choose to bring.

Saturday, when that second citadel was coming online we formed up in Hurricanes again to see if there would be another brawl like the ones we saw last week.  As the citadel finishes building there is a period of vulnerability during which it has no defenses of its own, so anybody can show up and pop it if you do not defend it.

Citadel vulnerability as it deploys

Citadel vulnerability as it deploys… it kept getting renamed

We were again up in Hurricanes and trolling around the station grid as the time counted down to the vulnerability window.  However, aside from some hostiles playing station undock games with us… which included a PL Nidhoggur that managed to aggro and get caught by us, which was a surprise as we expected him to dock up pretty much right until he exploded… all was pretty much quiet.

Hurricanes cruising the station grid

Hurricanes cruising the station grid

Our foes decided to try something different.  They had some carriers sitting off their citadel. When the vulnerability window hit, those carriers launched fighter squadrons to attack the citadel.

PL Thanatos tethered on the Fortizar

PL Thanatos tethered on the Fortizar

The big grid meant that we could see the carriers launch and the fighters on their way.  (Also, the new camera nicely lets you look at anything on grid now, the 100km limit having been removed.)

We warped over to the citadel and destroyed most of the fighter squadrons as they arrived.  Out of about 30 squadrons sent against the citadel, 26 were destroyed completely… something that, unlike drones, generates a kill mail, which might be helping to weigh down PL’s efficiency this month… with the remaining ones withdrawing before the citadel finished its cycle.  That was the extent of the operation.  We won another minor economic victory.

The response to getting a second citadel anchored and running on the station grid was to… deploy a third one.  I suppose we will have a set of safe spots on grid now, because as long are you aren’t aggro’d you can get within range of these citadels and be safe as well as getting repaired while you wait.

Then on Sunday there was a ping for a fast form as PL had destroyed an allied POS that was on the station grid and then dropped their own tower there to replace it.  However, they did not hang around to defend the stick as it went online, so we ended up forming more than 400 people in two Hurricane fleets to shoot that.

Shooting the PL tower

Shooting the PL tower

Nobody showed up to get in the way of that and so the tower went boom.

A tower kill

A tower kill

Then GSF dropped their own tower back in the location of the original tower and we hung about making sure that it anchored, went online, and got fully fueled.

Tower onlining

Tower Anchoring

Meanwhile, that third citadel kept on moving through its deployment cycle.  The model fills in as the timer gets closer to the end of its count down.

Citadel 3 in Saranen

Citadel three in Saranen

I wasn’t around when that third citadel went live.  However, in scrolling back through Jabber, I do not see a defense fleet being called for it and there were no citadel kills reported in Saranen, so I am going to take a guess that it went online and is now on grid with its two siblings. [Edit: Or maybe not.]

I suppose the question is now “Where does the war go from here?”  We’ve been removed from sov null, but still form up to harass our foes nightly and to fight when the odds aren’t stacked against us.  Meanwhile, PL and NCDot, who have been sovless for quite a while, now hold sovereignty within easy reach of our staging station.  A modest role swap there.  Who will tire of this state of affairs first?

Dread Goonristas Hiding Point

More than a thousand hostiles in Saranen with us… local was up to 2,600… and somehow the citadel survived and went online.  Unlike the previous night, no capitals were to be seen.

Now available in Saranen

Now available in Saranen

Yes, we lost the ISK war, including some other citadels set to go, but we got our new toy online.  Among the benefits is the ability to swap jump clones… if you want to move between implants… without a timer.

I arrived on scene just in time to experience the 10% time dilation and watch a bit of the fighting before we docked up.

Crucifier on the scene

Crucifier on the scene

Now when it hits its next vulnerability window the citadel will have guns on it to help with the defense.

Hurricanes and Fax Machines at Saranen

directorbot@goonfleet.com:

saranen importers: better restock hurricanes
93pi importers: better restock caps

~~~ This was a broadcast from kcolor to all at 2016-05-17 01:33:38.817622 EVE~~~

It was actually a busy day on the front porch of the Quafe Company Warehouse at Saranen V, moon 9.  But then, it has been a month of busy days despite our foes continuing to harp on the empty propaganda about us never undocking.  Again, another week and the top alliance at zKillboard remains unchanged. (Charts from May 6 and April 24 previously posted, rankings explained here.)

zKillboard Top Alliances and Corporations - May 17, 2016

zKillboard Top Alliances and Corporations – May 17, 2016

Pandemic Legion has picked up the pace and climbed the rankings, but Pandemic Horde, almost 9,000 strong these days, has been sliding down at the same time, to the point that it is in danger of falling off the list, ending up behind even my own alliance of 1,200 pilots.

I actually managed to undock three times yesterday and get on a few kill mails each time.

The first time was around mid-afternoon when Asher called up a fleet to chase off some NCDot Phantasms that were camping the undock.  This is why a some Imperium pilots like myself are pretty upbeat on the current situation.  Our foes come hang out on our doorstep until we’re ready to come out and play.  No roaming for content, it gets delivered.

We undocked in Hurricanes, The Imperium flavor of the day as it turned out, and chased them off, killing a few.  I happened to be doing a large file transfer in the background during the fight, which probably didn’t help my already slow reflexes, so I only ended up on a single Phantasm kill mail.  I was probably shooting the secondary by mistake if I got in a hit.

It was a nice quick op that wrapped up with us flying cover for some jump freighters bringing in more materiel to keep the war going before we docked up and stood down.

Most days that is all I can ask for out of an op.

After that the day went on, we had dinner, cleaned up afterwards, and were settling in for the evening when I sat back down at my desk and saw a series of frantic pings to get logged into Saranen to kill fax machines, the unfortunate yet immediately applied nickname for the new force auxiliary capital ships that came in with the Citadel expansion.

Again, it was Hurricanes and, while I was late to the party, I still logged in, got into Pittsburgh2989’s fleet, and undocked… to find there were indeed capitals and super caps on the undock.

Undocking alone into the middle of fun...

Undocking alone into the middle of fun…

The fleet was more than 100km away, too close to warp to but too far to burn to with caps hanging around and likely armed with the new high angle weapons for blapping subcaps like myself.  I aligned out to a celestial to bounce and warp back from.  Even as I was aligning out, more capital ships were jumping into the system.  But I could hear Pittsburgh2989 calling targets and fax machines going down, so my timing didn’t seem too bad.

I did the bounce, landed with the fleet, and anchored up.  Tidi was up and that transition out of warp so I could lock up and shoot felt like it took forever, but eventually was was on a target and shooting.  During a brief flurry of activity I managed to get on five Apostle kills, the Amarrian flavor of fax machine, along with one of the Talwars from a Pandemic Horde support fleet that showed up, a Cormorant that happened to stray into range between targets, and BlueMajere’s Apocalypse that was pissing Pittsburgh off for having survived through the fight right in the middle of things.

As we were doing this, more and more capital ships were jumping into the system off the undock.  The critical mass of the fight soon favored them as their fax machine logi increased as our Hurricanes were steadily popped.  Our fleets aligned to warp off, then warped back to the station to dock up.  That is the general plan, according to The Mittani on Sunday’s fireside chat; when our foes drop overwhelming numbers of capitals ships, we dock up and let them stare at the Quafe logo.

The battle reports floating about at that point showed us losing a lot of Hurricanes, but winning the ISK war with about half as much in losses as our foes.  Op success.  Participation links were generated, fleets stood down, and that seemed to be that for the evening.  We would leave the enemy to stew on our doorstep with no more kills to be had.

I walked away from my desk again, sat down and watched a bit of the Warriors game on TV, then went back to my computer to look through the screen shots I got during the fight and started putting together this post.

As I was doing that, another set of pings started popping up.  The enemy had started leaving Saranen, but in bits and pieces so that their numbers became assailable yet again.  Hurricanes were called for once more and people logged back in and filled up the first fleet, so that I ended up in the second fleet under Cainun.  Again, tidi was hitting hard to the point that we didn’t undock in a ball but in a chain of individual ships like the station was spitting us out in a stream.

We aligned and warped off, then back onto a spot to join in on the developing brawl,  There was a T3 cruiser fleet and some carriers and a some Pandemic Horde Feroxes on the field and even a few more fax machines to hit.  There was a rush to get points on the capitals, the high value targets, to keep them from getting away.

Our fleet was popping away at the T3s for a bit, though their logi seemed to be on the ball so our targets were catching reps.  We still managed to knock off a few as we closed with the capitals.  From there it was shoot and neut, as we had refit to carry energy neutralizers in order to deplete their capacitors.

While we were out a call when out for a Grinder fleet, which is Megathrons and Apocalypses, in order to blap stuff off the field.  Even Fearless Leader, The Mittani, got in a ship and undocked to shoot people.

The Mittani's Apocalypse

The Mittani’s Apocalypse

If you look at his kills, it is mostly Pandemic Horde Feroxes, so I am probably not zoomed in close enough to see the “Free Candy” sign on the side of the white, windowless Amarrian space van that he used to lure them in.

Then we hit the point where people were trying to hold down the last few foes as they warped off before the field around the undock was ours.  Cainun got popped along the way, but we had Pittsburgh2989 along with us, so he took over and kept us going.  People looted the field, there were high fives all around, more participation links were generated, and we then docked back up again.

The combined battle report I saw for both engagements combined put the ISK war well in our favor.

Saranen May 17 Battle Report Summary

Saranen May 17 Battle Report Summary

We lost a lot more ships… Hurricanes were dropping like flies at some points… but our ships were cheap relative to our foes.  We lost so many Hurricanes though that there was some worry about resupply.  The supply in Jita was way down, so I guess your economic tip of the day is to get some Hurricane hulls on the market.  With Welpcaines back as a doctrine, demand will likely remain strong.

So that was Monday in space, a good brawl where we got to blow up nineteen hostile capital ships.  No supers though.  Maybe next time.

Here are some screen shots I took along the way.

 

BB75 – Shooting in Stations

This month’s Blog Banter, number 75 in the series, asks the following:

What Does Project Nova Need to Be Successful?
At Fanfest CCP showcased their current iteration of the FPS set in the Eve Universe. Following on from DUST514 and Project Legion, Project Nova is shaping up to be a solid FPS with CCP taking the decision to get the game mechanics right first. However with so many FPS out there what will Nova need in order to stand out from a very large crowd and be successful? What are the opportunities and perhaps more importantly, the dangers for CCP? How can Nova compete against CoD, Battlefront and Titanfall to name a few?

And the topic of the month certainly hits the nail on the head.

EVE Online Forever

EVE Online Universe Forever

CCP has certainly found success with spaceships.  EVE Online is an enduring money maker, having just turned 13, and while the jury is still out on EVE Valkyrie in the long term, it certainly happened to be the right title at the right moment for VR and so will likely pay off the investment in the title.  But those two, and the board game Hættuspil, are about the limit of success for CCP.  Certainly DUST 514 didn’t pass that bar.

But at least CCP has some experience in that area now.  And they corrected one of the DUST 514 problems already by putting Project Nova on Windows, where most of its fan base resides.   But Project Nova still faces huge competition.

A prophecy?

A prophecy?

I think the last line in this month’s question undersells the market.

That last one is they key here.  According to Steam we’ve already had 30 titles released so far this year that match both “FPS” and “multiplayer” as keywords.  And while they are not all stars or even good or likely direct competitors, they are mucking up the market.

So many titles...

So many titles…

So we have a crowded market where the big players toss out a new, big budget, best selling titles at least once a year (along with a retro title now and again), and only a few titles endure and remain popular over time.  Given that, CCP has some options:

Play to your base – Give it an off-planet, space theme and put it in the EVE Online universe.  I only saw a bit of the footage from Fanfest, but it looked like fighting in stations or citadels was already on the list.  It felt a bit like Marathon updated to me.  Maybe give people a bit of the in-station experience that a small part of the player base craves.

Link with EVE Online – This is a bit more risky.  While a given, and something that would get EVE players interested, CCP should not make anything in one game depend on the other.  We were promised orbital bombardment with DUST 514, but I never ended up dropping rocks on anybody.  On the flip side, links with New Eden could make for a more enduring title, which I think might suit CCP better.  I do not think of them as a studio able to crank out a new title yearly.

VR perspective – CCP already has work invested in VR, so their claim to fame could be in bringing the first space themes FPS to market.  Granted, that would limit, rather than increase, their audience at this point, but it plays to a potential strength that CCP is trying to establish.

I am not sure that any of those would guarantee success even if Project Nova is good.  I am not convinced that being good is enough in a market where being the latest Call of Duty seems to be the key to financial success.  I think the best that CCP can shoot for is to be enduring, like EVE Online itself, to make something that has a solid and interesting base which can improve and evolve over time.  What that looks like though… I do not know.

Of course, my FPS days are long behind me.  I haven’t been any sort of good at the genre since the days of Desert Combat.  I don’t wish Project Nova anything but success, but I am not sure how you get there from here.

And just a couple blog banters ago the topic was what other games set in New Eden should CCP pursue, and my own entry was about as far from an FPS as one could get.

Anyway, that is my submission for Blog Banter 75.  Others answering the call: