Category Archives: EVE Online

June in Review

The Site

I think I fixed the MMO Blog Feed in the side bar that shows the blog name, though I am keeping the alternate one on hand at the bottom of the side bar in case my changes do not prove resilient.

I also had an odd call back to the past via Twitch this month.

Twitch is Twitch

A bunch of things have been going on around Twitch, including them… Amazon… selling the game mods part of Twitch (which used to be Curse) to another company, their competitor Mixer basically giving up, a Twitch blackout protest, Trump’s Twitch account getting banned (he had a Twitch account?), and Twitch getting sued.

It is that latter that came up here as I noticed a sudden surge in hits on a post about Erik Estavillo, from when he sued Blizzard because World of Warcraft was too difficult.  As it turns out, he is also the person who is suing Twitch because they allow women to use their sexuality to exploit sex addicts like himself.  First WoW was too hard and now he is too hard.

It had been a decade or so since his name popped up and you think that maybe people change and get on with their lives.  But I guess not.  Now I wonder who will pop up next?  Is it time for another Jack Thompson headline?  Who will 2020 inflict upon us next?

One Year Ago

I had declared that there were three problems MMORPGs were never going to solve.  I remain pretty solid on that.

I was also mocking the purity of leveling.  People be mad if you don’t do it right.

After waiting for it to finally drop, the Rise of Azshara update finally hit, bringing the flying unlock to Battle for Azeroth.

Over on the WoW Classic front, Blizzard had a load test that went pretty well.

In EVE Online the CSM14 elections kicked off.  The results were probably not surprising, though the last candidate squeaked into the tenth spot by a mere dozen votes.

New Player retention was very much on CCP’s mind.  I am not sure selling skill points in the Starter Pack was going to fix that, though it looked good to old handsThe June update though was more about shadows and putting repair services in every NPC station.

Actually in the game the Imperium was well into its plan to “glass” Pure Blind, Tribute, and parts of Vale of the Silent and drive PanFam from those regions.  I have a series of posts about that campaign:

We were poised to keep pushing, with The Mittani suggesting we might go as far as Malpais, when there were suddenly reports of Drifters attacking null sec citadels.  The Chaos Era was about to arrive.

The Spring FML season ended and we rolled into the Summer FML blockbuster season with a few new rules.  Remember back when we had movies and theaters and such?

I was also trying to figure out where the Age of Empires II Definitive Edition fit into the scheme of things.

There was a Steam Summer Sale.  There always is.

I had a Friday Bullet Points post about Stadia, Google, esports, and something Blizzard cancelled.

Five Years Ago

There was a cheer for the NBI class of 2015.

I was wondering what Turbine would do after they cancelled Infinite Crisis.  I was also looking for a summer game to play.

After waffling before a live audience, Blizzard finally caved and said there would be flying in Draenor.

Remember that time we killed a Mordus Angels Revenant?  It seems like everybody has killed one by now.

Also in EVE Online we got the Carnyx expansion, which had some of the initial Fozzie Sov features.  So we were out sov-wanding station services, though Dominion sov quirks still ruled the day in our fight at ED-9LT.  We then headed back north thinking maybe our friends in Querious would come visit us some day… *cough*

The coming of Fozzie Sov also meant further consolidation of holdings to make sure we could defend our space.  TNT got pushed out to Tribute to share space with the Circle of Two.  Tensions between the two alliances started almost right away.

And then there was Burn Amarr.  I took some screen shots.  And I splurged on ship skins.

Over at Daybreak they were talking about special servers for EverQuest II at last.  It looked like we might get some sort of progression server, for which there was a poll.  And then another poll, looking for a name.

Meanwhile, over in EverQuest, they were still working on how to deal with raiding on the Ragefire server, and the Ruins of Kunark unlock vote was upon us.

I was playing Neko Atsume on the iPad… back when it was only in Japanese!  I was also going on about 64-bit OS requirements finally coming to video games and an old grievance of mine.

My daughter suddenly wanted to play The Sims.  That lasted for about three days.  This is why I make her wait a week on any sudden new fad she want to follow.

The Steam Summer sale came and went and I bought nothing.  That turned out to be the last sale with the traditional daily specials format.

I brought up the F2P business model yet again based on a quote over at Massively OP which, if nothing else, got a long comment from Brad McQuaid on the subject.

And, finally, I played Minecraft with my daughter for Father’s Day, which led to a whole new adventure in gaming.

Ten Years Ago

Warhammer Online, whose game tips I previously mocked, was out soliciting user written game tips with the most boring video game related video ever.  Really, I was embarrassed for them.

Meanwhile, there were comical tips to be found in another game.

CCP was telling people that the steep learning curve in EVE Online was just part of the game, and Hulkageddon III was on the way.

FrontierVille came along, evoking the whole Oregon Trail thing… for which they recently were sued.  And a good thing to, as they are a bunch of lying bastards there at Zynga.  They never sent me my FarmVille magnet.

There was the big news from Turbine with Lord of the Rings Online going Free to Play.  I wondered is Lifetime Subscribers like myself would get the shaft in this transition.  But Turbine made me a perm VIP instead and put out one of those charts that seems to accompany these multi-level subscription scams structures.  But I was winning LOTRO lotteries, so I was happy for the moment.

In Pokemon SoulSilver I had beat all the gym leaders, but we were having Pokewalker problems.

Then there was Blizzard.  Where to start?

They were selling WoW Gold straight from the main page.  Really.  It just isn’t what you think.

They screwed up the parental controls interface… in my opinion… along with compromising the security of it.

The whole RealID thing was just getting warmed up.

One of the accounts in our guild was compromised and the guild bank was looted.  That has happened so many times to so many people that isn’t news any more.

And during all this, the instance group was working its way through The Burning Crusade content with our Horde alts, but we weren’t really feeling it.  Ennui had set in and our only hope was Cataclysm.  And there were plenty of offers to get us into the beta.

Fifteen Years Ago

In EverQuest II we got the Splitpaw Saga adventure pack.  Those of us with Station Access got it as part of the package, while those without had to pay… ten bucks I think.  I actually ended up playing through that quite a bit.  As early experiment with content that scaled with your levels, it was good from level 20 to level 50.  Unfortunately, it never progressed and now every time I end up in the Thundering Steppes with my newer characters the intro quest pops up.

In EVE Online the Cold War expansion hit, bringing freighters, dreadnoughts, and player owned stations in null sec.  The latter are gone, but remembered via special faction Fortizars.

Twenty Years Ago

Diablo II launched. It enlarged on its predecessor with more classes and a four act storyline that played out over different environments.  A pre-digital distribution title, it was awarded a Guinness Book record as the fastest selling video game ever, having shipped and sold one million boxes over the course of the first month.  For comparison its 2012 successor, Diablo III, sold 3.5 million copies in the first 24 hours, also setting a Guinness Book record.

Shogun: Total War launched, setting down a template that would become the Total War series that is still getting new titles.

[I mistakenly put these two in the May post, but the anniversaries are actually in June.]

Most Viewed Posts in June

  1. SuperData and Wavering WoW Subscriptions
  2. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  3. EQ Aradune Server Remains Over Crowded
  4. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  5. EQ Aradune and Rizlona Servers off to the Usual Rocky Start
  6. Top 25 EVE Online Corporations Graph – The End Number
  7. Darkpaw Announces and Adjusts Plans for the Rizlona and Aradune Time Locked Progression Servers
  8. EQ Aradune Server and Trading One Problem for Another
  9. Why We Had Asset Safety in the First Place
  10. EVE Online Gets New Ships and COVID-19 Research with the June Update
  11. Hints of a Diablo II Remaster
  12. Ruled by Discord

Search Terms of the Month

play eve the way it’s meant to be played “eve online”
[Good luck with that!]

eq full servers wtf
[IKR!]

rizlona vs aradune server
[boxing versus queues]

heritage quests everquest 1
[Not so much]

jintha’alor altar solo run
[Be level 60]

Game Time from ManicTime

WoW Classic turned out to be the game of the month, though it was off to a slow start.  Even two weeks into the month it was in no better than third place.

  • WoW Classic – 37.41%
  • EVE Online – 31.81%
  • Minecraft – 14.62%
  • Minecraft Dungeons – 8.58%
  • EverQuest – 7.07%

EVE Online

The GEF deployment ended as we began ramping up for war in null sec.  The other two blocs, PandaFam and Legacy Coalition, might be coming for us.  Or maybe just Legacy.  We shall see.

We also got those new EDENCOM ships.  I’m training up the skills.  We shall see if the ships are any good.  And CCP finally made it so you can swap characters without exiting the game and logging back in.

EverQuest

I let my Daybreak Access account lapse.  I wasn’t doing anything that required it, except checking to see if the Aradune server still had a queue.  But I have still been logging on to play with the Overseer feature.  It does not require a subscription and I just log in once or twice a day for a bit to check up on missions.  I’d play this as an iPad game I guess.

Minecraft

The month started out strong on Minecraft.  I think in the first week I played much more of that than all things combined.  Then things started to pop a bit in EVE Online and I started getting back into WoW Classic outside of the instance group and Minecraft began to slip.

Minecraft Dungeons

This was the other game I started off strong with early on.  I played through the story and started playing through it again at the harder level… and then I sort of stopped.  As I said, the game isn’t bad, but unless you want to play the same content through over and over, there is only 4-7 hours of game there depending how you play.

Pokemon Go

My wife and I edged ever closer to level 40.  The remote raid pass option has meant we have been able to catch a few Pokemon that we might have otherwise missed out on.  But the social distancing and the hot weather have combined to make our Pokemon walks somewhat rare.  Nobody needs that when it is 95 degrees out.

Level: 39 (38% of the way to level 40)
Pokedex status: 545 (+4) caught, 576 (+7) seen
Pokemon I want: Some of these Unova Pokemon where I only have one
Current buddy: Fraxure

World of Warcraft

I did Darkmoon Faire on my main to get my trade skills up a bit and that was pretty much it.

WoW Classic

Old Azeroth was resurgent this month as the group got back into dungeons once again.  I also started working on alts once more.  After a bit of a break it was nice to get back into the old game again.  There will no doubt be more posts coming on it.

Coming Up

It is going to be a long, hot summer, made agonizing by a presidential election failing presidency and we won’t even have NBC’s Olympics coverage to complain about as a distraction.

So staying home will remain a thing.  Fortunately, we have video games.

We will see if there is to be war in EVE Online between the Imperium and Legacy Coalition.  We still have a few days of prep.

The instance group might actually run a dungeon besides Zul’Farrak.

It remains ever a temptation to go back into WoW and Battle for Azeroth to play through the Horde story while the double xp lasts.  It doesn’t seem likely, but it could happen.

There is another weekend of the Steam Summer Sale.  I might buy something.  It is always a possibility.

The May MER and Mineral Starvation in New Eden

CCP released the Monthly Economic Report for May 2020 so we can see how the mineral starvation plan has progressed.

EVE Online nerds harder

With CCP’s mineral starvation measures all in place for two months now we can see if we’re getting anywhere close to a new normal.  Mineral prices continued to rise.

May 2020 – Economic Indices

The slope of the price climb for ore and minerals isn’t as steep as it has been for the last few months, but it continues to go up.  We are still short of the all time mineral index high, which occurred back in 2012 with the Escalation expansion, when CCP changed the drones in the drone regions to have bounties rather than dropping minerals.

May 2020 – Economic Indices – All Time

However, with a war brewing in null sec, prices might see a boost based on demand alone.

The Primary Producers Price Index (PPPI) did not rise as sharply.  Though ore and minerals make up part of that index, so does Planetary Interaction materials, and the market for that has been flooded lately as it turns out Upwell structures provide those when salvaged, and a whole bunch of Upwell structures have died since CCP introduced the “abandoned” state with the Forsaken Fortress update and turned them into a loot pinata free for all.  So that probably help keep the PPPI from rising.

The Secondary Producers Price Index (SPPI) though, that is made up largely of PI items, and you can see that it just kept on falling.  Hope you weren’t trying to make some money on PI the way I was.

And the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which is made up of finished goods, remained flat.  Again, we shall see if war has any impact on that.

As for where mining is happening, the top ten regions for May were:

  1. Delve – 1.78 trillion  (Imperium)
  2. Domain – 1.44 trillion (High Sec)
  3. The Forge – 1.39 trillion (High Sec)
  4. Sinq Laison – 1.34 trillion (High Sec)
  5. Lonetrek – 1.13 trillion (High Sec)
  6. Oasa – 1.07 trillion (PandaFam)
  7. Metropolis – 919 billion (High Sec)
  8. Fountain – 864 billion (Imperium)
  9. Malpais – 857 billion (PandaFam)
  10. Perrigen Falls – 832 billion (PandaFam)

I decided to just mark each region with its owner.  PandaFam is the name coined by Jin’taan to cover the coalition that includes Pandemic Horde, Pandemic Legion, NCDot, and Fraternity as its major players.

There was 29.54 trillion ISK mined all told in May, down from 31.58 trillion mined in April.  This probably means less was mined in May as the price, on which these numbers pivot, were up.  Last month the top ten was:

  1. Delve – 1.81 trillion (Imperium)
  2. Domain – 1.64 trillion (High Sec)
  3. The Forge – 1.59 trillion (High Sec)
  4. Oasa – 1.35 trillion (PandaFam)
  5. Sinq Laison – 1.34 trillion (High Sec)
  6. Lonetrek – 1.15 trillion (High Sec)
  7. Fountain – 911 billion (Imperium)
  8. Metropolis – 888 billion (High Sec)
  9. Genesis – 878 billion (High Sec)
  10. Tash-Murkon – 869 billion (High Sec)

Null sec has upped its game somewhat since May, or at least PandaFam has.  They must be planning for a war or something.

And then there is the bounties front.

May 2020 – Top Sinks and Faucets Over Time

We saw a dip in bounties when the Surgical Strike update hit the game and nerfed damage resistance modules.  That looks to have bounced back once people adjusted their fits.  It is still down from where it was earlier this year though.

A total of 47 trillion ISK in bounties was paid out, with the top ten regions being:

  1. Oasa – 4.06 trillion (PandaFam)
  2. Delve – 3.75 trillion (Imperium)
  3. Cobalt Edge – 2.92 trillion (PandaFam)
  4. Fountain – 2.71 trillion (Imperium)
  5. Perrigen Falls – 2.69 trillion (PandaFam)
  6. Branch – 1.88 trillion (PandaFam)
  7. The Kalevala Expanse – 1.73 trillion (PandaFam)
  8. Esoteria – 1.66 trillion (Legacy)
  9. Feythabolis – 1.59 trillion (Legacy)
  10. Insmother – 1.58 trillion (Legacy)

The big three null sec blocs did most of the ratting, with Oasa topping the list.  Last month Delve was at the top:

  1. Delve – 5.79 trillion (Imperium)
  2. Oasa – 4.47 trillion (PandaFam)
  3. Perrigen Falls – 3.02 trillion (PandaFam)
  4. Fountain – 2.54 trillion (Imperium)
  5. Cobalt Edge – 2.50 trillion (PandaFam)
  6. Branch – 1.91 trillion (PandaFam)
  7. Esoteria – 1.90 trillion (Legacy)
  8. Omist – 1.87 trillion (Legacy)
  9. Tenal – 1.62 trillion (PandaFam)
  10. Malpais – 1.58 trillion (PandaFam)

There was a general order against super carrier ratting in Delve when the Surgical Strikes update hit, and that remains in place.

So it goes.

Next month, when we seen the June MER, we will get a glimpse of post-change stability again, plus a look at the economy before the big war starts on July 5.  We will have to wait until August to see what impact that really has, though the focus on ADMs in the Imperium might see bounties jump some all the same.

In addition to the MER, CCP put out a look at the Q1 2020 New Eden economy, which covers what is important to their point of view, including things not covered by the MER, like the PLEX price trend.  CCP seems to be happy that the price is going down for PLEX, though that also means people buying PLEX to get ISK are getting less for their real world cash.  I suppose there is a happy medium in there.

Anyway, the MER and all of the data is available at the usual location.

The Last Keepstar out of Cloud Ring

Yesterday the Imperium formed up again to cover the removal of the last of our Keepstars from Cloud Ring.  It was another big form up, a display of strength, a “filthy blob,” as streamer EVELog called it back when we dropped a huge force to cover the Keepstar deployment to 6RCQ-V two years ago.  I wish that clip was still available.

It wasn’t quite that big of a blob, but there were still a lot of big ships on grid and over 2,000 of us logged in and moving to cover the operation.  Fortunately the last Keepstar was only in B-DBYQ, on the other side of the gate from our staging in J5A-IX, so the move to get there was the least painful of the three operations.  The Mittani was even spotted undocked in a Revelation.

Over the Keepstar logo

He had to have chosen that spot on purpose.

The movement of the fleets followed the usual plan, with subcap fleets warping ahead to cover both sides of the gate, then capital ships gating through by fleet, aligning to the Keepstar, the warping off to tether up on it.

There was word that PanFam might make a move to interfere with this last Keepstar removal, but that apparently meant a small interceptor gang hanging around for a bit before being chased off once the subcaps were stationed around the gate.

The final Keepstar from the J5A gate

A few other people did show up, either by accident or in order to watch the spectacle.  Those that got too close were shot pretty quickly.  A rather surprised Tengu pilot managed to get shot by a titan… op success maybe?  They were carrying a covert cyno though, so they were up to no good.  I managed to get paints on a Stiletto that wasn’t quite fast enough to get away.  Nothing slowed us down and the pile on the Keepstar began.

There we are

There were some stragglers who missed previous withdrawal ops who jumped their capitals into the system, but before the Keepstar removal began the cyno jammers were turned on to keep any hostile capitals from showing up.

Getting our jam on in 1 second

And then, once things settled down and everybody was on the Keepstar, we sat and waited for a bit.  I put my camera at a set angle and managed to get a before and after shot.

Keepstar is there

Keepstar is gone

So it goes.  I even managed to slip into a fleet with my alt Claude Ring, which I created about four years ago and held onto for just such an opportunity.  He asked in Local why the Imperium was leaving him.  Then, when he spoke up back in J5A, people said they thought they were done with him.

That was pretty much all I created that character to do.  He has barely enough skills to fly T1 logi in newbie fleets, just so he could be there.

Meanwhile, we started running the whole op in reverse, with subcaps on the gate and capitals aligning back out.

Capitals aligning to the J5A gate

Some warps and a lot of tidi later, everybody was back at the Keepstar in J5A.  After that, there were move ops to reposition forces.

Flight of the Faxes

Later on today, at the regular Saturday fireside, The Mittani will be giving us a war planning update and is expected to announce some new ops coming up.  We still have a week to go before the NIP between the Imperium and Legacy Coalition expires.  We are still working on bring up ADMs and getting supplies laid in.  If nothing else happens it will be a long week of waiting.

Consolidation and Preparations for World War Bee

The official Imperium line is that the upcoming conflict, should it come to pass, is going to be called “World War Bee” in order to distinguish it/blur it with the “Casino War” of 2016.  A write up of the Imperium’s narrative is over at INN.  There is even a video.

Propaganda is always a big part of these wars, and r/eve is filling up with entries.

Meanwhile, out in null sec, things are in motion.  As I mentioned on Monday, the weekend saw capital ships moving north.

That was in preparation for covering the unanchoring of several Keepstars that north of our Fountain frontier.  Two in Pure Blind had already been taken down, with one destroyed along the way.  This week the pull back has focused on the Keepstars in Cloud Ring.  Those were timed to get the furthest, the one out in 6RCQ-V, first, then work back towards J5A-IX.

Kirkland Protein Star unanchoring

While the Pure Blind removals were attempts to slip in and yank the structures without raising any fuss, the Cloud Ring operations were to be marked with a complete lack of subtlety.  These were to be maximum ship efforts, displays of power, so of course I had to go along for the ride.  I am all about seeing the game at its extremes, and more than 2,000 ships in motion and sitting on a Keepstar certainly qualifies.

Fleets hanging on the Keepstar

I was also interested to see what happens when you take down a structure.  I had never seen that before, so I tried to keep a close eye on things.  However, it turns out that the structure just goes away without much in the way of fanfare.  One moment it is there, the next it is gone.

And then we’re all just hanging in space

The only notice was a notification that popped up announcing that the Keepstar had been moved to asset safety, no doubt the quickest way to whisk it away.

That was all

So most of what I got to watch was the effort it takes to move 2,000 ships safely from J5A-IX to 6RCQ-V and back, which took about three hours to make the journey.  It would probably take five minutes in an interceptor, but an interceptor doesn’t generate 10% tidi simply by taking a gate.  It is an elaborate dance with subcaps going ahead a bit to shepherd the capitals through a gate, then the caps jumping by type, then the subcaps repositioning while the jump timer runs down for the caps so we can do it all again.

Kind of a pain in the butt, and all the more so when you have to count on at least 5% of the operation being distracted by something in real life at any given moment, so ships just sit there when told to jump or take a gate or align.  And it is all the more comical when we are all in the same voice coms channel.  It was a good day to be in the No Chatter sub-channel, where you can only hear FC commands… and swears when people aren’t paying attention at the wrong moment.

That was the longest of the ops.

Pulling the Keepstar from F7C-H0 went much more quickly, it being just a gate and a jump away from our staging, so there was no downtime during the trip, just lots of big ships moving in the same direction.

Colorful titans

That led again to a mass of ships sitting on the Keepstar while we waited for it to disappear and get carted off to safety.

Waiting on another Keepstar

Once it went away… and it belong to The Initiative, so if they used asset safety there was no notification for me… it was time to jump back.  This time there were only 1,700 ships on grid for the final watch, more than a fleet less, which made things a little easier for somebody I am sure.  Still, it was a lot of ships.

Faxes and dreads moving

That op only took about an hour to get through.  Now only one Keepstar remains in Cloud Ring, and that will be going away soon.  We shall see if it is another quiet op or if somebody tries to snatch it.

Meanwhile, back inside the perimeter, a different set of ops has been going on.  In order to prepare for invasion the coalition has been working to raise the ADMs for systems up to level 4, which will prevent hostiles from dropping anything smaller than a Fortizar.  The usual plan is to drop a bunch of small structures, Raitarus usually, to give your fleets a safe spot in the midst of enemy territory.

You do that by ratting and mining, so PvE fleets have been a thing.  A gaggle of ratting and mining ships with some cover will blitz through a constellation taking down the anomalies in order to try and boost the ADMs.  I’ve been out trying to do my part on that front.

Fighting the Blood Raider menace in my Myrmidon

It has been over a year since I last went out and ratted, but the fundamentals haven’t changed all that much.  A fit Myrmidon with platinum insurance ran me just shy of 95 million ISK and I have collected 250 million ISK in bounties so far, so it will be a profitable venture for me at least when I eventually get caught and blown up.  I haven’t joined in on the ADM fleets, even though they count as strategic ops for PAP credit.  I have been just tooling around on my own in pipe systems that are often ignored, watching people come and go.

The war itself is not supposed to start until July 5th, the date that the non-invasion pact between Legacy Coalition and the Imperium is set to expire.  With more than a week left to prepare, it seems to me that there is a distinct possibility that no war will come to us.  We shall see if it comes to pass and what we will end up doing should it not.

Character Log Off Comes to EVE Online at Long Last

Players can now log out to the Character Selection screen instead of exiting the game when changing characters.

June 23 Patch Notes Update

Hallelujah the day has finally come!   If you have two characters on your account you can now swap between them without exiting the game and logging back in.  Now when you hit escape to get the settings and options window, there is a new choice down in the lower right, “Log Off.”

The middle one

When you click that for the first time you get a dialog asking if you want to return to the character select screen.

Why yes, please!

It is like a new day has dawned.  People have been asking for this for years.

Okay, I have to admit that logging out and exiting and logging back in are probably not that far apart when you look at the time it takes.  But it feels better at some level to just be able to log out.

And I am not sure how much of the EVE Online audience this will really affect.  The way skill training works, with one character training at a time (unless you buy multi-character training), there was a long stretch where this feature would have meant nothing to me.  I had the most basic of alts and never used them for anything.  Everything  was focused on my main, so swapping characters wasn’t something I did ever.

I had a second account… and a third… long before this would have ever been all that meaningful to me.

But nearly 14 years into playing this game, my two main accounts have alts with 50-70 million skill points on them that I often use for side tasks or high sec things.  I contract them things, or swap the training over to them now and then, and those actions always felt burdensome due to having to log out then click the launcher to log back in.

So now we have it.  I honestly didn’t think the day would come.

Consolidating for Casino War II

The word is out that war may be coming to us again.

In the middle of last week there was a special weekday fireside chat in the Imperium where The Mittani told us that, based on intel received, a chunk of New Eden might be forming up to take another shot at us.  For the first time since we were driven out of the north and started our move to Delve war will be coming to find us.

This past weekend the regular weekly fireside repeated this message and the weekend was spent on preparations for a possible war.  If was was coming, we needed to tighten up out lines of defense and be ready.

Since we set up shop in Delve back in 2016 most of our time fighting has been part of deployments to other regions.  From our foray to Hakonen three years back to the current Cloud Ring deployment, we had been on the road a lot.  The Eye of Terror Jump bridge network extends all the way up into Pure Blind.  We had a staging Keepstar for a while in KQK1-2, on the edge of Tribute, far from home, left over from driving PanFam out of Tribute and Vale.  That one got killed when we tried to remove it via stealth.  The rest of them will be taken down with fleets watching over them as we prepare.

And so I spent some time over the weekend shepherding fleets here and there, keeping capitals safe and hostiles at bay.

Watching big stuff jump and gate

The Goonswarm Expeditionary Force deployment was pulled back from Cloud Ring to Fountain… basically two jumps… to put fleets within the perimeter of the Imperium.  I managed to get all three ships I had there back on the first try.

Mostly though it was watching capital blobs move here and there, getting ready for operations in the coming week to cover structure removal.

Capital will blob up

After that we will be back to our core areas, which are Delve, Fountain, Period Basis, and a little bit of Querious.

The thought of war, of hostiles coming for us, did spur some enthusiasm in those of us who were around through the time in Saranen, when hostile fleets were on the station undock most hours of the day.  Despite the loss and the retreat, it is a time looked back on fondly by many of us for the pretty much non-stop action.  We would form up, undock, fight, dock up, and then do it again.  I probably went on more ops during that time than I have done in any comparable time frame.

Then the situation became untenable as our ISK balance ran down while the hostiles enjoyed essentially unlimited ISK from the now banned casinos.

Things are, of course, much different now.  Delve is much more of a fortress than Deklein ever was.  We won’t be as concentrated as we were in Saranen, as our space is still a lot of ground to cover.

Part of me felt during the fireside on Saturday that this might be all too much to hope for.  With Guardians of the Galaxy/Dead Coalition actually dead and gone, we are back to a tri-polar set of super powers in null sec.  There is PanFam and its allies in the northeast, Legacy Coalition in the southeast, and the Imperium in the southwest.  It isn’t unlikely that two of those powers would join forces against the third.  Certainly Legacy and the Imperium have joined up a few times to go after PanFam.

But PanFam isn’t that close to us now, with a few regions laying between the and Fountain, and they have not shown an inclination to deploy that far from home.  Legacy Coalition butts right up against us, but we have a non-invasion pact, the NIP, with them.  We are not blue with them and we shoot each other freely and roam each other’s space, but the NIP keeps it to that.  We don’t shoot each others structures in the home spaces of the others and we don’t mess with sovereignty.

So one of the questions at the fireside on Saturday was, “What about the NIP?”  It was, at that time, still in place and The Mittani said that if Legacy broke it without warning there would never be another agreement between the two coalitions again.  And without breaking it, an invasion seemed unlikely.

But all this intel could have been wrong.  Intel often gets interpreted with more hope than reality.  People might be seeing shadows.  And Goons have a certain level of institutional paranoia built into their mind set about the galaxy being out to get them.

But it is probably still a good thing to clean up our forward outposts and be ready just in case.  And, since the even the most basic spy has access to the firesides, the word quickly spread.  Over on r/eve the attitude seems mostly dismissive of the idea and was viewed as a chance to mock The Mittani.

And then yesterday an announcement came up on Reddit.  Legacy Coalition announced that the NIP between them and the Imperium would expire on July 5, 2020, basically giving two weeks notice, with a strong indication that war would come then.  The tone on r/eve changed some.  Skepticism remains, but there is also some hope for a big war and the propaganda machines are starting to roll out fresh memes.  Look at all those pink “propaganda” tags in the subreddit today.

We shall see where this ends up.  There is work to be done all around between now and then.

Other coverage:

Addendum: I am reliably informed that the Imperium plans to call this war, should it come to pass, “World War Bee” because “screw you narrative.”  So I guess I can get that tag going for real now.

EVE Online Gets New Ships and COVID-19 Research with the June Update

CCP continued on with the Quadrant 2 of 2020 plan with a content filled patch today.

That somehow translates to June 2020

The big items from this update are three new ships being introduced to the game.  These are three EDENCOM ships.  EDENCOM is a military command setup by CONCORD and the four empires to combat the Triglavian invasion. (See the video from The Scope for the tale.)

Sourced from Upwell, the new ships also feature a new weapon system, the Vorton Projector, similar to the Arcing Vorton Projector that Keepstars can mount, which reaches out to hit multiple targets.

A Keepstar reaching out with its lightning

The first ship is the Skybreaker Frigate.

EDENCOM Skybreaker

Its stats are:

EDENCOM Frigate bonuses (per skill level):

  • 6% bonus to all shield resistances
  • 5% bonus to Small Vorton Projector damage

Slot layout:

  • 1 High Slot
  • 4 Mid Slots
  • 3 Low Slots
  • 1 Turret Hardpoint
  • 0 Launcher Hardpoints
  • 3 Rig Slots
  • 400 Calibration

Fittings:

  • 44 PWG, 235 CPU
  • Defense (Shield / Armor / Structure) : 800 / 210 / 320
  • Base shield resistances (EM/Thermal/Kinetic/Explosive): 20% / 20% / 50% / 50%
  • Base armor resistances (EM/Thermal/Kinetic/Explosive): 50% / 45% / 25% / 10%
  • Base structure resistances (EM/Thermal/Kinetic/Explosive): 33% / 33% / 33% / 33%
  • Capacitor (amount / recharge rate) : 425/ 157.50s
  • Mobility (max velocity / agility / mass): 330 / 3.6 / 967,090
  • Warp Speed: 5 AU/s
  • Drones (bandwidth / bay): 0 / 0
  • Targeting (max targeting range / Scan Resolution / Max Locked targets): 55km / 609 / 5
  • Sensor strength: 12 Gravimetric
  • Signature radius: 37m
  • Cargo capacity: 158m3

The second is the Stormbringer Cruiser.

EDENCOM Stormbringer

Its stats are:

EDENCOM Cruiser bonuses (per skill level):

  • 6% bonus to all shield resistances
  • 5% bonus to Medium Vorton Projector optimal range

Slot layout:

  • 1 High Slot
  • 6 Mid Slots
  • 3 Low Slots
  • 1 Turret Hardpoint
  • 0 Launcher Hardpoints
  • 3 Rig Slots
  • 400 Calibration

Fittings:

  • 970 PWG, 390 CPU
  • Defense (Shield / Armor / Structure) : 4,000 / 600 / 1,200
  • Base shield resistances (EM/Thermal/Kinetic/Explosive): 20% / 20% / 50% / 50%
  • Base armor resistances (EM/Thermal/Kinetic/Explosive): 50% / 45% / 25% / 10%
  • Base structure resistances (EM/Thermal/Kinetic/Explosive): 33% / 33% / 33% / 33%
  • Capacitor (amount / recharge rate) : 1,860 / 441s
  • Mobility (max velocity / agility / mass): 200 / 0.52 / 11,640,000
  • Warp Speed: 4 AU/s
  • Drones (bandwidth / bay): 0 / 0
  • Targeting (max targeting range / Scan Resolution / Max Locked targets): 75km / 273 / 7
  • Sensor strength: 19 Gravimetric
  • Signature radius: 130m
  • Cargo capacity: 473m3

And, finally, there is the Thunderchild Battleship.

EDENCOM Thunderchild

Its stats are:

EDENCOM Battleship bonuses (per skill level):

  • 5% bonus to Large Vorton Projector damage
  • 5% bonus to Large Vorton Projector rate of fire

Slot layout:

  • 2 High Slots
  • 7 Mid Slots
  • 5 Low Slots
  • 1 Turret Hardpoint
  • 0 Launcher Hardpoints
  • 3 Rig Slots
  • 400 Calibration

Fittings:

  • 16,500 PWG, 880 CPU
  • Defense (Shield / Armor / Structure) : 13,500 / 4,620 / 6,600
  • Base shield resistances (EM/Thermal/Kinetic/Explosive): 20% / 20% / 50% / 50%
  • Base armor resistances (EM/Thermal/Kinetic/Explosive): 50% / 45% / 25% / 10%
  • Base structure resistances (EM/Thermal/Kinetic/Explosive): 33% / 33% / 33% / 33%
  • Capacitor (amount / recharge rate) : 7200 / 1125s
  • Mobility (max velocity / agility / mass): 95 / 0.136 / 102,141,000
  • Warp Speed: 3 AU/s
  • Drones (bandwidth / bay): 25 / 25
  • Targeting (max targeting range / Scan Resolution / Max Locked targets): 118km / 103 / 7
  • Sensor strength: 26 Gravimetric
  • Signature radius: 485m
  • Cargo capacity: 861m3
  • Frigate Escape Bay: 1 Unit

As with all battleships now, the Thunderchild has a frigate escape bay, so you can put a Skybreaker frigate in there if you want to keep to the theme.

There are fifteen variations of the Vorton projector weapons being introduced for these ships, five for each of the hull sizes.  So there will be small, medium, and large versions in Tech I, Compact, Scoped, Tech II, and Faction flavors.  The ammunition varies in range and emphasis on kinetic or electromagnetic damage, with tech II versions available as well.

There are also modules to improve rate of fire and damage for the new weapon systems.  They are:

  • Vorton Tuning System I
  • Compact Vorton Tuning System I
  • Vorton Tuning System II

And there are, naturally enough, skills to go with all of this.  The new skill list is:

  • EDENCOM Frigate
  • EDENCOM Cruiser
  • EDENCOM Battleship
  • Vorton Projector Operation
  • Small Vorton Projector
  • Medium Vorton Projector
  • Large Vorton Projector
  • Small Vorton Specialization
  • Medium Vorton Specialization
  • Large Vorton Specialization
  • Vorton Power Amplification
  • Vorton Arc Guidance
  • Upwell Encryption Methods

We got a few of those skills with last week’s Gathering Storm login campaign.  A new event, the Lighning Strikes event, has now gone live.

Lightning Strikes is live

Running from now until June 29th, it allows players to find Upwell Covert Research Facilities in the Anomaly Scanner in Low-Sec and Upwell Connected Null-Sec.  Running those sites will reward players with Skillbooks and Materials for the new EDENCOM ships.

All of which would make for a pretty big patch day, but that is not all we get.

Also coming today is Project Discover Phase 3.

More Project Discover

The new focus for Project Discovery is the coronavirus.

In collaboration with scientists from McGill University, BC Cancer and front-line COVID-19 clinicians including Dr Andrea Cossarizza, a Professor of Immunology at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia School of Medicine in Italy, players will be able to contribute to the fight against COVID-19 by analyzing data produced by flow cytometers. Flow cytometry is a technique used to detect and measure physical and chemical characteristics of cells, especially those of the immune system that are important in the body’s response to infection with SARS-CoV-2, the strain of coronavirus that causes COVID-19

That looks huge and there will be an intro stream on Twitch at 19:00 today to help launch the project.

And, in addition to all of that, another round of module tiericide has hit with this patch.  CCP even did a new dev blog about tiericide, just to remind us all what the intent was and how to interpret what they are doing.

This time the pass is for Shield Resistance Amplifiers, the passive shield resist modules.  The list of module changes is quite lengthy.  However, at its roots there is a normalization of names following these rules:

  • EM Ward Amplifier to EM Shield Amplifier
  • Explosive Deflection Amplifier to Explosive Shield Amplifier
  • Kinetic Deflection Amplifier to Kinetic Shield Amplifier
  • Thermal Dissipation Amplifier to Thermal Shield Amplifier

All of which appears to me to be the core of the patch.  There are still the usual fixes and updates, but the above are the big bits.

CCP has announced that the patch has gone live.  The extended downtime was barely that long at all.

For all the details CCP cared to share you can read the patch notes.  In addition there are the usual General Feeback and Known Issue threads in the forums related to the release.

Introducing Your CSM15 Representatives

The votes have been counted and the results are in.  The CSM15 election is over.

Now we’re… uh… done

A total of 36,120 ballots were cast, up about 4K from the CSM14 election.

In about a half an hour dissection of the votes, CCP Dopamine and CCP Aurora went through the election round by round. (video here)  But when the final round was done these were the ten candidates left standing.

The CSM15 Slate

Alphabetically, they are:

  • Brisc Rubal – The Initiative
  • Gobbins – Pandemic Horde
  • Innominate – Goonswarm Federation
  • Kenneth Feld – Pandemic Legion
  • Maria Taylor – Fraternity
  • Merkelchen – Goonswarm Federation
  • Mike Azariah – The Scope
  • Phantomite – Same Great Taste
  • Torvald Uruz – Abyssal Lurkers
  • Vily – TEST Alliance Please Ignore

I was off a some from the guesses I made when voting opened, but out of a bag of 13 I thought were likely, eight of them made it.  Out of the winners there are 7 null sec candidates, 1 low sec, 1 streamer, and 1 high sec newbie helper.

Gobbins and Merkelchen were the first two candidates to meet quote to be elected, making it in the first round.

The Imperium ballot again proved to be about three candidates deep in influence.  It was able to get Merkelchen and Innominate in, passing a few votes on to Brisc, but otherwise failing to lift anybody else down ballot who didn’t have a voter base of their own on which to depend. (The ballot is in the comments of this post if you are interested.)

Congrats to all the winners.  I will link the dev blog with the voting data once it is posted.

Addendum: Dev blog with the voting data is now available.

Quote of the Day – The Button Label is Bad

Alright then, I think to myself. I’ll just repurchase another Ibis. They appear to be cheap, and I had made a whole big chunk of ISK from tutorials…

-Massively OP, Choose My Adventure Column

Chris at Massively OP headed into EVE Online for the latest round of Choose My Adventure and, unsurprisingly, it has been a tough time.  Welcome to New Eden, same as it ever was.  The new player experience remains… challenged.

But what struck me out of post of familiar woes was the line quoted above, because there is literally a button in the station/structure UI that will give you a brand new rookie ship… or “corvette” as they are now styled… on demand.  It isn’t even hidden away, being located right under the undock button.

The button and the hover help

Back in the day the game used to just give you a rookie ship if you docked up in a capsule.  It was changed to a button a while back.  I am going to guess they did that because somebody did a database query on “Ibis” and found there were more sitting in stations than there were total user accounts ever created.  I went on a cleaning up campaign a few years back to destroy all the ones I had cluttering up my hangars and when I searched today I have 26 still hanging around on my main.

Ibis results…

I was going to show the whole list, but I thought that one in 6RCQ, which I repackaged for some reason, like I was going to move it somewhere, was more amusing.  It isn’t like I couldn’t get one where ever I went.

Anyway, looking at that button I realized that the label on it isn’t as helpful as one my think.  *I* know what it means, but I know because I read the patch notes at some past date about the change.

But is it descriptive enough to somebody who wasn’t there when this change went into effect?  To somebody new to the game?  You know, the people who might actually need a new Ibis or other rookie ship?

The button says, “Board my Corvette,” which sounds a lot like simply “get in my ship.”

And the tool tip/hover help text is an example of the classic mistake for that medium, as it just adds three unhelpful words to what the button already told you, which fails to clarify anything if you didn’t understand what the button meant in the first place.  This is the equivalent of finding out that somebody is deaf and then just speaking louder.

The tool tip ought to say “Get a replacement starter ship for free!” or something else more instructive.

I am reminded of CCP Burger’s priority list from the first CSM14 summit minutes:

1. Stop the bleeding
2. Fix the stupid
3. Excite and teach
4. Incentivize return

-CCP Burger on CCP’s focus, CSM summit minutes page 6

I think we may still be in the “Fix the stupid” stage.

Shooting Our Own Structures in Delve

As I posted last Friday, the Forsaken Fortress update has led to a plethora of structures ending up in the new “abandoned” state, which means that they can be killed without any intervening timers and there is no asset safety, so all the stuff inside drops into space and can be looted.

The latter represented a considerable shift in policy for CCP, which had previously said that nobody would trust Upwell structures if you could lose all your stuff from them.  Times change.

So there were suddenly structures in the “abandoned” state all over New Eden, including down in Delve.  While alliance structures are maintained by GSOL, and active corps maintain their own, there were apparently some alt corp structures about that had been left untended and unfueled, which left the coalition with a choice.

They could leave them be, which would be an invitation to outsiders and random passers by to try and kill them and carry off the loot, or we could kill them and loot them ourselves.

I suppose the post title gives away which option was selected.

The Mittani announced on the Saturday Fireside that we would be purging abandoned structures in our territory.  Attempts had been made to contact the various owners, and shooting blues wasn’t anybody’s first choice, but letting somebody else get the kills and the drops was declared to be worse, so we would be blowing them up.

The announced plan was to nationalize the loot.  We would go from structure to structure, blowing them up, while GSOL followed behind to haul off the drops to be processed, re-used, or sold off, with proceeds going into the SRP fund.

After the Fireside a fleet went up to start in on the job.  It was a Muninn fleet, and all I had handy for that was a Scimitar, but you can always throw some combat drones in the drone bay, so I went along with that.  We shoved off to the first shoot.

Being bridged off to our first targets

The targets were an Azbel and a couple of Raitarus.

Abandoned Azbel

And Azbel is a large structure, so it took us a while, though we were able to hit the damage cap and still get some people to start on the other two structures.  With no opposition… nobody was going to jump into the gunner’s seat or rush to the defense… I even drove an alt out there in an Ibis just to get him on one of the kill mails.

An Ibis at a Raitaru destruction

Once the three were down came the dull bit, as we had to fly cover for GSOL to pick through the station hangars and pull out the good stuff.  Everybody’s individual station hangar gets kicked out with the destruction and is floating around in space.

A station hangar in the wild

We also had to listen to the FC warn people time and again not to go start grabbing loot for themselves.  Fortunately there were not too many hangars to go through, though it still took time.

The hangar containers around the Azbel as it explodes

After that was done we were off to a Fortizar a few systems over.  This was a different story.

The shoot went as expected and the whole thing blew up nicely.

I never get tired of these explosions

But this Fortizar was one of the early ones set down in Delve, which meant that a bunch of people had ended up using it over the years.  It was owned by an alt corp with one person in it, and that person, who apparently had gone missing.  It kicked out a lot of station hangars.

The hangar ball from the Fortizar

That is not nearly as many as the Hard Knocks Keepstar we blew up in wormhole space about a year and a half back, but it is still a sizable number of cans floating in the aftermath.

You might be able to spot the icons of ships… including freighters… checking through the containers.  All those yellow cans needed to be gone through.  And, as before the FCs had to warn off… and blow up in a few cases… people who just could not keep their hands off the loot.

Meanwhile, we sat there and watched.  Without much to occupy us, attention was on the loot spotted and the ships being ejected from the hangars.  I had to go into the “no chatter” channel to avoid that, after which I could only hear the command channel broadcasts to us, which were often asking people to stop talking about every ship that showed up on the overview.

To get at ships people had stored away, they have to be ejected into space… and there were a bunch of ships.

Ejected ships on the overview

You can tell they are unoccupied as the pilot name is the type of ship on the overview.  Also, being unpiloted, they show up as neutrals in space.  Some very big toys were discovered that way.

A Nomad jump freighter somebody left behind

And there were a few strange ones as well.

Wait, what?

I am not sure how you get an unoccupied capsule, but there it was floating in space.

We were occasionally tasked to warp out and blow up some of the ships that were not worth flying off.  This also became something of a fiasco.  People were quick to lock and shoot, so I didn’t bother launching drones, but some pilots couldn’t resist just shooting at whatever ship was on their overview despite.  Over and over voices from the command channel would tell people to only shoot broadcasted targets and then would start calling people out for shooting things that had not been broadcast.

The kill mails for these ships showed whose hangar they came from, which was another odd element as I saw a couple from people who I know are active.  I guess they didn’t get the in gaming warning about the impending destruction.  That seems about on par for this.

All in all it was quite trying and I ended up just docking up in another structure and playing Minecraft, still listening to FC coms in case something was needed, but otherwise unenthused by the op.  The FCs eventually stopped letting people shoot ships because a few people couldn’t follow instructions.  It was painful to listen to.

I feel for the GSOL team, who had to slowly pick through all of those cans in space.  The haul was said to be impressive, but it is dull work… though not as dull as having to just sit and watch it.  After the three hour mark we got a PAP.  The fleet was going to carry on in a semi-permanent state until they had hit all the structures on the abandoned list, but I was done with that for the day.  I flew back home.

The work carried on.  There were more structures to take care of, though not as many as in high sec space, where the big stories about this have been focused. I hope there were not too many more as full as that Fortizar.  GSOL was being worked hard to take care of just one structure like that.

And it is all a side effect of the changes CCP made with the Forsaken Fortress patch.