Category Archives: Null Sec

Quote of the Day – Cat Ears in Space

My ideal patch would be one where they fix vuln timers on citadels, heavily nerf or remove void bombs on citadels, make sov nodes a damage capped structure not entosis based, make refineries mirror 90% of PoS mechanics, and add cat ears and an option to replace my engine trails with a stream of hundred dollar bills.

CSM 12 member Jin’taan,  Reddit Post

In one blow Jin’taan has hit on quite a few issues I fully support.

The CXM 12 Member from Provi Bloc

And not all of them are strictly null sec focused.  In fact, only ditching entosis is applicable directly to null sec.  The rest are pretty universal.  And cat ears… that could be the back door to getting hats to be a thing in New Eden.  I am glad he was on our ballot.

 

A Fortizar in the Great Wildlands

A Fortizar belonging to Silent Infinity waited for us in the formerly desolate region of the Great Wildlands.

Not AFK that night…

The Great Wildlands, a region of NPC null sec space with only three stations, used to be very empty.  I remember flying through the region for a deployment to Curse back in the day and hitting empty system after empty system.  I mean, a lot of null sec is empty at any given time, but usually not in such great strips.  A lot of space with no place to dock up and hide.

Then came citadels.  You don’t even need fuel for a basic Astrahus, and it is much more annoying to kill one of those, with the vulnerability window and three timers, than a POS.

Suddenly you could make a home amongst the Thukkar Tribe space in the Great Wildlands.  It is still crap space, since you can’t upgrade it with an ihub since it is NPC space, but it is null sec all the same.  There is some value to be found there ratting and mining.  Value enough for somebody to drop a Fortizar out there in the system H-8F5Q along a dead end path, no doubt hoping to escape notice.

It did not escape notice, and while I cannot speak to who did the groundwork for the first two timers, Shadow Cartel invited us out to join in the final battle over the citadel.  We are deployed not too far away and were even given some help getting out to the fight via a titan jump bridge.  It is always a bit dicey letting people you might otherwise shoot sit on your titan, but we were good and just took the bridge.

We showed up in Typhoons with a pair of Apostles to supplement logi support.

Typhoons on the way out, with the yellow Hazard Control SKIN stripes on a pair

I had the second monitor hooked up to dual box for the fleet.  I was in a Typhoon on my alt while flying a Damnation command ship for boosts on my main.

We arrived on grid after the repair timer for the Fortizar was already running, landing and anchoring up to open fire at considerable range.  The idea of the Typhoons is to have max missile skills and boosts so as to be able to hit targets with cruise missiles from beyond the 250km mark.

However we could not quite achieve that mark as the pilot running the relevant boost only had command ships trained up to level 4, and every level you train adds 3% to the effectiveness of the boost.  As it turned out, that last 3% was necessary, so we had to settle in and shoot at closer range, inviting the citadel, gunned and manned, to fire back on us.

We spread out around the Apostles to stay clear of the capacitor emptying void bombs the Fortizar was throwing our way.

The citadel was concentrating on the Apostle flown by Izalis.

Apostle under attack

The Fortizar was able to overwhelm any support we were able to muster for Izalis and her Apostle went down with what I would consider disconcerting speed.

The explosion fades on the wreck of her Apostle

In one of those twists of fate, the kill mail for the fax went to one of us.  RatKnight1, who has achieved fame/notoriety on past deployments, had run his smart bomb with the rest of us to shake some small ships.  He happened to have been in range of the Apostle when he did, applying some damage.  When the Fortizar killed it, due to how EVE Online accounts for these things, he ended up getting credit for the final blow… and top damage.  I thought that the person gunning the citadel would get credit, but I guess not.  And, in a testament to the dysfunction of the system, zKillboard even credits RatKnight1 with a solo kill.

So he was hearing about that for the rest of the fleet, letting Thomas Lear off the hook from hearing about how he jumped his titan rather than bridging earlier in the week.

Losing a fax so soon in the fight was something of a blow, but we carried on, re-positioning to shoot the citadel, leaving Izalis’ first capital wreck behind.

Arrendis in our remaining fax did not get hit and was moved out of range.

We remained focused on the citadel for a while until the defenders undocked a Vexor/Vexor Navy Issue fleet with Basilisk logi support to assist in the defense of the Fortizar.

Asher took the opportunity to warp in on them and we ended up wrecking quite a few of their ships.  At one point a command destroyer from the enemy fleet slipped in and used its area affect micro jump drive to boosh a few of us 100km off the fight.  However, the jump was not well planned as it dropped us on top of the bulk of the sentry drones that the Vexor fleet had deployed.  It was easy enough for us to activate the aforementioned smart bombs on our ships to clear away a great chunk of their supporting fire.

I was slow boating back in my Typhoon when we decided to move again and resume shooting the citadel.  We warped off and got ourselves pointed towards the dying citadel.

Timer still paused

It was at this point that we discovered the whole lock 250km lock range issue.  So we left Arrendis in his Apostle and warped into range of the Fortizar again more to make sure we got on the kill mail than because our DPS was needed.  With the enemy cleared from the field and some more firepower having arrived, the end was now a foregone conclusion.

We warped in, took some shots, then warped off.  Asher turned us around and warped us in again, but accidentally warped at zero, landing us in the the midst of the point defense system.  We left again in a hurry then warped back in at a more prudent range to get in a last few shots before the Fortizar started coming apart.

Explosions begin to erupt

You can see the ball that is our fleet hanging there in front of the citadel.  From that point we were about done.  There were some MTUs on the field, and Asher has declared war on all MTUs, friendly or not, so they got blown up.  Then we were off for home, Arrendis tagging along until he got within range to make a jump to cut a decent number of gates off of his trip.  That also allowed us to speed along.

The kill mail shows 141 capsuleers involved.  I tried to do a battle report, however there were so many groups represented on the field… often by just one or two pilots… that in many cases I couldn’t declare somebody for, against, or a third party.  The main thing that it showed was that there were fewer than 300 pilots recorded as involved in the battle.

Basically, a battle of an objective where the forces were not totally lopsided and both sides drew blood.  EVE Online working pretty well.

Pictures from the battle.

Delve – We Mine Things and We Rat a Little Less

The monthly economic report for June 2017 is out already and the first thing I went to see was whether or not the reduced carrier nerfs that came in with the June update had any effect on bounty payouts.

There is, as they say, a chart for that…. specifically the chart showing the top eight ISK sinks and faucets.

June 2017 – Top 8 ISK Sinks and Faucets over time

It looks like the nerf was a palpable hit, dropping bounties back to January levels as well as proving again how much carrier and super carrier ratting was contributing to the number.  Even in Fortress Delve the number was down.

June 2017 – Bounties per Region

CCP Quant did not include the bounties per region chart previously, but Delve’s bounties were part of the region summary chart for May where they were listed at 8.8 trillion ISK.  The June chart above shows just over 8 trillion ISK in bounties for June, so about a 10% hit to the bounty ISK faucet in Delve.  That is actually a marginally bigger hit than in the game overall, where bounties fell from 69 trillion ISK to 63 trillion ISK total, about a 9% reduction.

Of course, that likely isn’t enough and even CCP has said they are not done yet, as I noted in my post about the June update, another blow against carrier and super carrier ratting is planned:

We are working on changes to Anomalies that will reduce the effectiveness of Carriers and Supercarriers. These changes will be announced at a later date.

At least one chronic complainer will cry about CCP never fulfilling their promises… and the company have an admittedly shaky reputation on that front, at least if you take every visionary statement as a promise… but they have been serious about the economy before, and I expect them to continue to be serious.  We shall see.

Meanwhile, there was yet another nerf to Rorqual mining as part of the June patch as well.  Using Delve as the benchmark again, back in May there was almost 9 trillion ISK worth or ore extracted in the region.

June 2017 – Mining Value by Region

In June, with half the month after the latest nerf, the number shy of 8.5 trillion ISK worth of mining done, making for a hit of just over 5%.  Not as big of an impact as bounties.

But then, mining is not like bounties.  Mining does not generate ISK out of thin air, so while it might impact the velocity of ISK, it does not change the money supply.  It is also measures via the market price, so a shift in price can shift that number.

And what is mined is used to produce ships and modules in New Eden, something especially so in Delve.  Aryth, CSM member and economic director in GSF, said on Talking in Stations The Meta Show [edit: was thinking of the wrong Aryth interview] that Delve doesn’t export minerals or ore but actually has to import them in order to feed the engines of production in the region.  I can speak from personal observation that buy orders in the region would keep you from ever bothering to export to Jita, while the production of the region is visible on another chart.

June 2017 – Production Values by Region

Production was actually down most places for June, including Delve, where it was off about 10% from May.  I wonder if that is the Rorqual nerf throttling production or something else.

Mining is, after all, a double balance.  The price of minerals has to be high enough to make mining a worthwhile venture.  However, when the price of minerals goes up, so does the price of everything else.  I’ll let economists argue over which side of that equation is more important.

Overall, the money supply in New Eden went down.

June 2017 – ISK Sinks and Faucets and Total Money Supply

One hundred trillion ISK came into the economy via faucets in June, most of it via NPC bounties.

sixty trillion ISK came out of New Eden via a variety of sinks, mostly NPC transaction taxes, while another 57 trillion ISK came out through player account activity (not sure how that works with Alpha clones now) and GM activity (we all know how that one works, the GM takes your stuff because you got caught breaking the terms of service), for a net reduction of about 17 trillion ISK.

At least the upward trend of the money supply was throttled a bit.  I would like to know how much of that 57 trillion ISK was from GMs taking money from those who exploited the ghost training bug.

Anyway, so it goes.  I still remain slightly amazed that CCP shares so many numbers with us, but EVE Online remains a very different game from its competitors.

Dual Monitor

While my last few video cards have been perfectly capable of supporting multiple monitors, I’ve not bothered to hook a second monitor up to any of them.

That is mostly because I don’t have a second monitor lying around to hook up.  My main monitor is still the same 1600×1200 Dell unit I have been using for more than a dozen years now.  It certainly wasn’t very new when I posted a picture of it as part of a post back in 2007.

The table is unusually clear in this picture, but most everything is the same a decade later

A new monitor is on my wish list, but the combination of price for what I would want, uncertainty over what to get, and the fact that my old monitor is still chugging along without issue has kept me from pulling the trigger on a new one.  And, of course, we always have other things to spend money on.

However, a second monitor has become available of late.  At work our office moved annoyingly far from home.  My commute, which was once five miles over surface streets, is now 20 miles over a mountain highway that has to close any time we get a hard rain because the mountain decides to roll onto the road.

To help with that the company gave me a dock for my laptop and a monitor to hook up to it to give me a little more screen area.  It is a crap monitor.  You can tell what your company thinks of you by the equipment they give you.  This is a 1600×900 monitor in an age when full HD 1920×1080 monitors are dirt cheap.  Not exec at our HQ would put up with this for a moment, but somebody not in management in a satellite office a couple thousand miles away gets their choice of leftovers in a closet.  It is basically my old monitor with 25% of the vertical cut off.  But it is still bigger than the laptop monitor, so it is better than nothing, which was the alternative.

When not using it for work I found that I could plug it in to my current nVidia GeForce GTX 960 video card just fine.  Most of what I play at home doesn’t really benefit that much from the second monitor.  I generally play games full screen and the second monitor sitting there tends to be distracting.

But for EVE Online and multi-boxing it is quite the boon.

I have multi-boxed with a single monitor on fleets before, alt-tabbing between clients.  For a travel op or when the enemy doesn’t show up, that works.  But when it is time for combat I tend to forget the client in the background for long stretches, only to find that account is sitting in its pod in a station having been blown up while I was busy elsewhere.

But with the second monitor hooked up and a client running on it I seem to be able to keep track of both and at least keep them alive.

Two clients running… same desk, keyboard, etc.

It can still be a challenge in combat to keep both clients active.  We were in a fight a couple of weeks back and my main was in the DPS ship for the doctrine while my alt was target painting (which improves damage application) and in comparing the kill mails after the fight, there was quite a bit of variation as to which targets got hit.  The alt was on a lot more kill mails as well, due to locking and activating faster (and splitting two painters).

My daughter, walking in while I was playing was taken aback at the sight of two monitors.  She has a 27″ iMac and has all the video real estate she needs for drawing and games, even if it won’t play Overwatch.  She wanted to know how two monitors on one computer would even work.  I had to show her the cursor moving between the monitors and clicking to change focus before she got it.

Anyway, I have that going for me.  I just have to pick the right fleet roles.  Two clients that both have to actively target is a bit of a chore.  But scouting or fleet boosting might be a role complimentary to DPS or logi.

Tower Repair in Fountain

Before I was done with work on Tuesday a ping had gone out for an op to defend assets from our neighbors to the east.  That actually ended up being three fleets worth of people heading out to defend a timer… enough people that nobody showed up to oppose if I heard right.

There was a follow-up ping from Asher indicating that there would be another USTZ fleet going out later for those of us who were busy or lived on the wrong coast.  That seemed to mean me, so when that ping showed up later I was ready to go in the coalition staging Keepstar.  The call was for Cerberus fleet.

Once we had formed up a good enough composition… with three fleets already out we were not likely to get an ideal form up… we undocked and flew north to meet up with a titan to get a bridge.

Getting in range for the bridge

We were heading into Fountain where The Culture had put three of our towers into a reinforced state.  We were there to fly cover and counter The Culture if they showed up to try to finish off the towers once they came out.

Cerbs over the POS shield

There we met up with a couple of force auxiliaries who proceeded into siege mode to repair the tower shields once it had exited reinforcement.

A Lif in the foreground, a Minokawa behind

They went about their slow work while we waited to see if The Culture would respond.  Scouts out reported nobody coming our way, so we flew in a lazy formation following Asher in his dirty Phantasm. (It seemed much shinier back in Saranen, though that might not be the same ship.)

Does not use the “clean ship” button

I have been on any number of such operations over the last five years.  You go out to the tower and see if there is going to be a fight.  If not, you just wait until the tower’s shields are repaired back up to 50%, at which point the tower can be refueled with strontium clathrates, which enables the tower to go into reinforcement mode.

With two faxes and our own logi the tower took a while to get back to 50%.  But once there GSOL showed up to get things into shape.

GSOL rides in Rorquals

That was one tower down.  However, there were three in the system, all of which had come out of reinforce and needed to be repaired and refueled.

Fortunately a few more faxes ended up joining us so the second and third towers ended up going by much more quickly.

Minokawas join us at the tower

Once the last tower was finished we were set to head home.  Nobody showed up to oppose us, so it was more of a “cost of doing business” sort of op.  We got our participation credit to show our service to the coalition.

These specific sorts of ops will be coming to an end at some point.  All three of these were moon mining towers.  Those are fairly passive operations, just needing to be fueled regularly and have the output collected now and again.

Come the winter however, CCP is suppose to implement refineries.  Mentioned back in March, these will act as moon mining platforms while will be much more hands on when it comes to harvesting the output.  These platforms are supposed blow chunks of moons into orbit where they will need to be harvested by mining ships.

CCP’s image of a moon chunk

At that point it will be an Upwell Consortium structure running the operation, which will no doubt be more akin to the Citadels and Engineering Complexes already available in its mechanics.  The somewhat strange mechanics of POS towers will be a thing of the past.

Currently we hold a moon mining towers outside of our home region.  We shall see how that works out when moon mining becomes a more active operation.

The June 2017 Update Brings Null Sec Nerfs to New Eden

Again, I do wish that CCP would pick a naming convention for these updates and stick with it.  This should be YC119.6, or maybe YC119.5, except that was last month, but now we’re just going to toss that and go with the month and year.  Points for clarity, but it took a while to get here and I have my doubts that they will stick to it at this point.

YC119.6 if you prefer

I mean, look at the list of the updates so far in 2017 and tell me what the pattern is.

No more than two in a row alike

That minor gripe aside, now to the things in the update that are setting Reddit on fire.

First there is the next round of Rorqual and mining nerfs which came up back on the first of the month.  Excavator drones for Rorquals will be hit as follows:

  • About 9% less yield for Ore Excavators
  • 12.5% lower speed for Ore Excavators
  • About 11% longer cycle time for Ice Excavators
  • 10% lower speed for Ice Excavators

Meanwhile, the mining anomalies, where Rorquals harvest, will now have respawn delays as follows:

  • 20 minutes for the Small Asteroid Cluster
  • 1 hour for the Medium Asteroid Cluster
  • 2 hours for the Large Asteroid Cluster variants
  • 4 hours for the Enormous Asteroid Cluster variants
  • 5 hours for the Colossal Asteroid Cluster variants

The anom changes will keep Rorquals from being able to continually harvest in colossal clusters in a single system without interruption.  It will also mean that people in later time zones might be left in the lurch waiting for respawns.

Meanwhile, in an effort to put a lid on the expansion of the money supply, Friday CCP announced they would be nerfing fighters in order to reduce the efficiency of super ratting.

This is the one that really lit up Reddit and required the moderators to create a single threadnought as new threads were spawning repeatedly.  There the threats to rage quit were rife while the only CCP response came from CCP Quant, who does the monthly economic reports, who seemed keen to follow the CCP strategy of increasing overall drama by opening with this:

What we have here is literally the top 1% of the top 1% screaming their lungs out over these nerfs, while trying to convince the rest of the player-base to think that CCP is ruining the game for everyone. What we are really doing is keeping it from becoming yet another hyper inflated virtual economy at the cost of pissing off a particular group of players. Prior to this patch, a relatively small group of players were making the same amount of isk in npc bounties as the entire player-base did a year ago.

His statement proved the danger of carelessly throwing around numbers in front of an audience of internet spaceship nerds.  He had to back away from his claim that people were making 260 million ISK ticks (a tick is 20 minutes of time) while the “top 1% of the top 1%” has to be such a vanishingly small number… maybe 50 people if you think half a million play on Tranquility, and it would amaze me to find that there were that many people playing… that he was wrecking what I believe was his point… /r/eve doesn’t represent the whole population of New Eden… with a distracting statement.

This surge of push back on the plans… some of which coalesced around the idea of balancing PvE on the back of PvP, ever a hot button topic… caused CCP to spend the weekend reflecting on the whole thing.  They came back yesterday with some revised changes.  The plan is:

  • Light Fighters (Space Superiority): No Change
  • Light Fighters (Attack): 10% reduction to Basic Attack and Heavy Rocket Salvo damage (was 20%)
  • Support Fighters: No Change
  • Heavy Fighters (Heavy Attack): No Change (was 10% reduction to Basic Attack and Torpedo Salvo damage)
  • Heavy Fighters (Long Range Attack): 20% reduction to Basic Attack damage (was 30%)
  • Heavy Fighters (Shadow): No Change
  • NPC Fighter Aggression: No Change (was +15%)
  • We are working on changes to Anomalies that will reduce the effectiveness of Carriers and Supercarriers. These changes will be announced at a later date.

They also added in some data, which people had been asking for, to support these nerfs.  For the first five days in June 10.6 trillion ISK was rewarded from bounties, with the top three recipient classes being:

  • 22.3% (2.3T) of the ISK was generated by 1.4% of characters earning bounties, using Supercarriers
  • 24.2% (2.6T) of the ISK was generated by 4.8% of characters earning bounties, using Carriers
  • 19.1% (2T) of the ISK was generated by 16.6% of characters earning bounties, using T1 Cruisers

So 46.5% of the bounties paid out went to just 6.2% of the players awarded bounties.

That certainly sounds out of balance to me.  But I didn’t put down 20 billion ISK to buy a supercarrier when it became clear that running anomalies in them was the most efficient way to collect bounties… something that was pretty clear about six months back.  I still potter about in my Ishtar making the same amount of ISK per tick as I was five years ago.

Anyway, we shall see if this puts any sort of damper on the ever increasing money supply in New Eden or if CCP has to go further.

And then the third nerf, pirate faction battleship blue prints will drop less frequently now as part of an effort to reign in the proliferation of these hulls in New Eden.

I guess when a cheapskate like me who only rats in an Ishtar, thus deprived of dank super ticks, has a Machariel for fleet ops, it might be a sign.  Once such hulls were reserved for big spenders and the elite who would fit them with officer mods and fly them with expensive implants.  Now even the Imperium, ever conscious of the budget constraints of their rank and file, has a Machariel doctrine with Bhalgorns in the mix, several groups run Nightmare doctrines, and ratters everywhere… if not in supercarriers… use Rattlesnakes.

So this month CCP is trying to throttle the supply of blueprints, though the stockpiles of them in New Eden are huge, while next month they will be increasing the material requirements of the blueprints in order to make them more expensive.

None of which bothers me all that much.  I tend to be a fatalist, taking the game as it comes as opposed to wanting it to be something that it no longer is.  But all the more so, I fly for the Imperium, which tends to be the very pragmatic in its approach to the game, optimizing the mechanics as they change.  This will mean changes for us, but since it will mean changes for everybody else in null sec as well, we just have to handle them more efficiently than our foes.

Controversies aside, there are some other things in today’s update.

There is a new Rogue Swarm event going on from now through the 27th of the month.  Akin to past such events, rogue drone sites will be all over New Eden and will drop a variety of prizes including skill training accelerators and PLEX.

The defenders of the Blood Raiders Shipyards have been changed, presumably to plug the hole in their defense exposed by a force of T1 Punisher frigates. (Also exploitable by fighters, which are frigate sized.)

In addition, the drops from a destroyed Blood Raiders Shipyard will now come in an armored cache that will require an industrial ship to haul off to a station or citadel before it can be opened.  This will keep unstoppable interceptors from dashing in at the kill and stealing the loot.  The tale of this is over at INN.

There is a new color blind mode that allows players to adjust the UI to make things more visible relative to their own needs.

The Sin black ops battleship along with the Vexor and Ishtar are getting graphical updates.

The Vexor doesn’t actually look that different to me…

How fleets can be structured has changed.  While the same total cap applies, squads and wings are now flexible in size.  Additionally, who gets to be fleet boss when the FC dies should now be more consistent.  The watchlist will now show ship icons and double-clicking on people in your watchlist will no longer bring up their character info screen.

There are some additional update along with the usual array of tweaks and bug fixes, most of which can be found in the Patch Notes and on the Updates page.  Otherwise the update has been deployed.

One thing that is missing from this update however is music.  The tradition of a song to accompany ever single expansion or update has been broken.  If you want to be outraged and start an angry thread on Reddit and shoot the monument in Jita, do it because you want more music!

We will have to make due with the sound track from the Birth of a Capsuleer video instead.

 

Delve – We Build and We Sell a Few Things

We are a week into June, so the time was right for the May 2017 economic report for EVE Online to show up.

As expected, dipping into the data shows Delve still at the top when it comes to ratting and mining.  The Imperium still care bears the hell out of its systems. It is a selling point for the coalition.

May 2017 – Stats for Top 20 Regions

We shall if the Rorqual and anomaly changes coming on Tuesday will put a dent in the mining side of that.

For other economic indicators however, The Forge region, with Jita in the role of central trade hub of New Eden, still ranks supreme.

All Road lead to Jita

For the market size The Forge has no competition, ringing it at 600 trillion ISK for May.

May 2017 – Total Market Trade Value by Region

Domain, the region with the next highest numbers, hosting the trade hub of Amarr, only showed 75 trillion ISK for May.  Surprisingly though, third place doesn’t fall to the regions that are home to the tertiary trade hubs of Hek or Dodixie.  Instead, Delve is in third place with 24 trillion ISK for May.  Not bad for a region held by a single coalition.  We sell a lot of stuff to ourselves.  Certainly the market in the Keepstar in 1DQ1-A seems to have most things I need.

A lot of what appears on our market is shipped in from Jita.  The groups running the shipping services run the Jita to Delve route frequently.  But we do build some of our own stuff as well.

May 2017 – Total Production Value by Region

The Forge is out in front again with 26 trillion ISK in value manufactured.  With Jita being what it is, people want to produce close to market, so The Forge at the top of the list, with adjacent regions of Lonetrek and The Citadel putting up solid numbers as well due to proximity.

But second place goes to Delve which manufactured 20 trillion ISK in goods.  I am sure capital and supercaps figure heavily in the mix.  But there are engineering complexes all over key systems in Delve building things.  You could see a couple in my post about the TNT Keepstar, and when you go into KarmaFleet’s home system your overview is pretty much overwhelmed by citadels and engineering complexes.

So I guess if ratting and mining numbers are seen as selling points for the Imperium, then we might also have a line there for manufacturers as well.