Tag Archives: CCP

EVE Online Blazes a New Trail with UI Only Mode

Proving once again that EVE Online is different from most MMORPG’s, CCP announced on the forums on Friday that they had put a new “UI Only” mode option on the test server.

Just to be clear, what this option does is allow players to turn off the 3D rendered EVE Online universe and operate with just the UI elements.  This is the opposite of the “hide UI” option that any game worth its salt has.

You get the overview and chat channels and inventory and controls and brackets and pretty much everything except the pretty view of space and all the ships that occupy it.  You get to be under the hood, go instruments only, fly the overview.

Instead of this:

Space and structures in the view

You get this:

Keep your pretty pictures, I just want the data

I cannot think of another MMORPG where this would not only be a viable feature, but kind of a big deal.  I know people who are stoked for this feature to come into the game.

Because, when you’re in one of those grinding null sec battles with thousands of objects on grid with you and you turn on the in-game system monitor and see how much RAM the client is gobbling up and how hard you are pushing your GPU, having the option to let go of a significant amount of processing the client need to do can be a big win, especially if you’re in with multiple clients.

This will be a boon when it gets pushed to the live client.

Of course, it won’t do anything to help with the underlying problem of the servers struggling to handle those big fights with thousands of objects on grid.  Time dilation will still suck and the server will eventually get way behind, stop responding, or just fall over if too many people land on it.  But your GPU won’t be melting as well, and your system will have resources to keep streaming Netflix or play the other game you have going while you wait for your doomsday to cycle.

Control-shift-F9 will be your new friend.

(Unless you’re like me and out there to take screen shots.)

New Eden Bot Bash in Yulai

It is currently GM Week in EVE Online, where some of the staff come out and mix with the players and run special events.  There is a list of things going on this week.

GM Week 2020 – Times are in UTC… and should be 17:00 if we’re going to be EVE Online

The best item on the list… my opinion… is the whack-a-bot.  It takes place in Yulai at the graveyard beacon… you can read about the Yulai Graveyard here… where CCP teleports in ships of people they have confirmed are botting, flag them as suspects, and lets everybody shoot them.

This has become a popular event since it started, so when I took a break from work to slip over in an interceptor to take a peek, I wasn’t surprised to find a crowd in system and time dilation kicking in.

Ships hanging out waiting

In the middle of all of that were several Praxis battleships… there is one in the top middle of the screen shot above… and they started using smart bombs… area of effect weapons… in the crowd.  Smaller ships started blowing up right away.

The scene now lit by explosions

I was in the midst of this and was taking a bunch of damage.  Looking at what I had fit, I decided to set off the burst jammer just to hit back and maybe get on their kill mails.

Being in high sec space, this was a bad idea.  I was now a suspect as well.  And, while one of the Praxis pilots got the kill mail, 40% of the damage to me was done by CONCORD.

Somehow I managed to get my pod out of the scrum and docked up in the nearest station.  I clicked the “Board my Corvette” button… I still don’t like it, but I know what it does… and undocked, ignoring the warning… the warning that I still had a timer and would be shot if I undocked… which promptly happened.

I had that and a bunch of kill rights on my character.  It was time to log them off and try somebody else.

I grabbed an Alpha Clone character I had in Jita who happened to be in a Tristan.  That seemed good enough, so I took the direct route to Yulai, eleven jumps including a few through low sec, and made it to my destination.

Along the way I set up an overview for just capital ships.  Being in high sec meant that my usual settings, which show everybody not blue, meant that the overview was pages long since most everybody on grid was neutral.  People from null sec often get a little freaked out when they wind up in high sec space again.

Being a little more wary on my arrival, I warped to the graveyard beacon at 30km.

I had missed the early bots, the carriers and the rorquals, but I was there in time for a pair of super carriers, a Nyx and a Hel.  The Nyx was the closer of the two, those still outside of my 48km lock range, so I started to motor in that direction to join in on the kill.

Nyx under fire

Fortunately my Tristan has an eclectic fit.  Generally a drone boat, I had fit guns and a target painter to it at some point.  The target painter was key.  The guns were short range and drones can be slow and vulnerable to smart bombs… you can see a Praxis still in the Nyx screen shot… but a target painter can reach out as far as you can lock a target and counts and ewar, so gets you on the kill mail.

So I happily painted the Nyx as I turned to get in range of the Hel.  The Nyx was not long for this world.

The Nyx begins to brew up

I got within range of the Hel and put my target painted on it, then decided I could spare a drone, so sent one of mine out to do some damage as well.

The Hel getting Hell

The Hel was not long for this world either, but even as it started to come apart, the grand finale appeared on grid with us, to Avatar titans.

Hel in the center, flanked by Avatars

This was what everybody wanted, to be on a titan kill.  After nearly nine years in null sec I have only been on 11 titan kills, seven of them at B-R5RB and another four at Asher’s trap in Okegaiken during the Casino War.  That is just two opportunities over all that time.  So everybody was keen to get on these two.

A sky full of beams

And the show go even better.  They may have both been botters, but one of the Avatar pilots was at least close by his keyboard and realized what was going on.  If he was going to lose his Avatar, he was at least going to get on a titan kill mail while he was there, so he unleashed his doomsday on his fellow victim.

The doomsday hits!

You have to give them points for style and putting on a show as everybody got to see the new Avatar doomsday effect.  (I got to see it on the test server back in April, but it is still pretty cool.)

But the masses were wearing them both down.  First one Avatar exploded. (The doomsday got the other one top damage.)

End of a titan

Then the other one gave up and started to explode as well.

My Tristan flies by as somebody shoots fireworks

And that was the end of the show.  It was some fun, and I am sure some people got to see a few ships they hadn’t run into before… on the field as well as among the botters.

While I had the UI off for a lot of the time, I spotted local getting into the 1,800 player range, which meant that time dilation was in effect for much of the event.  The game slowing down drew a lot of complaints in local chat, which I found pretty amusing.  CCP even posted the CPU usage chart for the event.

A lot of load there

For a big null sec battle, like the fleet fight we had on Sunday or any of the contested Keepstar timers in Fountain, this was nothing.  A mere slow down of the game.  The UI was still responsive and I didn’t feel the need to open up the command queue to see how long it was taking for things to get through.  So my own reaction to local was:

Time dilation is around our necks in every fight in null sec

But if you’ve never been in a null sec fight, I guess this might have seemed pretty bad.

So now I have an Alpha Clone character that I almost never use with two titan kills under their belt.  Oh, and my first alt, the one who got smart bombed and then set off the ECM burst, they will have to stay docked up for a while.  That burst jammer lit up enough people that my alt earned a page full of kill rights against them.  I’ll just have to wait the 30 days for those to expire.

Others at the event:

The Node Crash at KVN-36

After we lost the Keepstar in O-PNSN on Thursday, eyes turned to the next target, the Keepstar in KVN-36.  The armor timer was set to come out a day later, so both sides were ready to form up to contest that.

Again, the battle was going to overlap a bit with work, so I pre-positioned another ECM burst interceptor so that I could join in when time allowed.  I saw pings and people forming up long before I was able to get in.  But Kun’mi had another little ECM burst fleet going, so once I had the time I logged in and undocked to join in.  I caught a warp into the fray almost immediately, landed in some hostiles, and got tackled.  I set off my ECM burst, but couldn’t get away.  My Ares went boom on the first run.

The hostiles were good enough to pod me though, so I was quickly back in 1DQ1-A where I grabbed my back up ship, a Malediction, and headed back to the fight.  As always, since tidi was slowing the fight down, very little happened before I got back.

I made a perch off the Keepstar and rode the warps as Kun’mi launched us into the hostiles fleets.

Aligning out from a run

The hostiles were running the same basic plan as the day before.  They had an Astrahus on grid with the Keepstar where they had tethered up their carriers.  Those carriers disgorged a mass of fighters to attack the Keepstar.

The hostile Astrahus

Meanwhile, the subcap fleets from both sides set to shooting each other, while we zipped in and out trying to avoid getting tackled.  Being hit with the ECM burst is annoying, I know this from having been on the receiving end a few times, and the enemy put a lot of effort into tackling and blowing us up.  No doubt each kill gave them great joy.  But we were close enough to home that the few of us in the fleet would just re-ship and fly quickly back.

There was also a lot of smart bombing going on.  We had some success the day before the a Praxis fleet set up to smart bomb, and the hostiles picked that up as well, so there were smart bombs going off all over it seemed.

The Praxis fleet from the day before

Both sides seemed to using them with impunity.  You can dig though kills and find ships that have smart bomb damage from both sides.  And, of course, some doctrines, like the Feroxes, are not smart bombing platforms, but carry one fit.  So it was a hazard and I had to warp off to repair a few times after flying into smart bombs.

Things seemed to be going with the attackers.  They had quickly stopped the repair timer and had been steadily whittling away at the armor layer of the Keepstar.  We kept doing our runs and our fleets in general tried to slow things down.

Another run in my Malediction

However, the system seemed more laggy than the day before.  Commands were slow, especially when close in with the Keepstar, even though there were not as many people in system as we had seen in O-PNSN.  But both sides persisted.  It is just something you put up with and power through to win the objective.  Then things got really balky and unresponsive and, suddenly, boom!  We were all kicked out of the game.

Connection dropped at 21:31 EVE time

That happened to coincide with Dave Archer’s Jackdaw fleet getting smart bombed by NCDot, which seemed like it was going to wipe them all out.  Kun’mi happened to be describing this action to us and the likely fate of the Jackdaws, and that was the moment when the server died, and so became part of the lore of the battle.

Of course, we all tried to log back in, but the server wasn’t having us.

Access denied

CCP tweeted out a link to a forum thread about the server going down.  They were aware and working on the situation.  That was at about 21:33, so they jumped on that pretty quickly.  Meanwhile, both sides were anxious about what was going to be the state of affairs when the server came back up.

In the past, servers going down meant tough luck to one side and a saving grace to the other.  I lived through the null sec era of server killing battles.  I remember back in Fountain War at Z9PP-H when CCP remapped the node incorrectly and dumped everybody out, effectively saving the TEST capital fleet.  I have posts about other crashes, like the one at HED-GP and the one at KW-I6T.

But that was all quite a while back.  And the ability of servers to handle such loads have gotten better over time.  The X47 Keepstar battle kept going despite a ton of ECM burst ships and a DDoS attack in progress.  There were about 6,000 ships involved, with fighters flying all over and all the other usual stuff, during the so-called million dollar battle.

There was also a bit of the Imperium institutional paranoia about the situation, a worry that this time, when a crash would benefit Goons, that CCP might try to roll back the clock on the timer rather than let things ride as they had traditionally done.

We had about a half an hour to think about that.  CCP said the server had been stood back up at 21:55, but by the time I got in and made it back on grid with the Keepstar… everybody had been warped off grid… it was 22:01.  And there I saw the Keepstar timer had just a little over two minutes on the clock.

Just about two minutes left

Given that first screen shot at the top of the post, taken at 20:55, showed 13:37 (leet!) left on the timer, it looked like only 12 minuted had counted down during the approximate half hour that the node had kept us out, though the node was down and presumably not advancing the clock for part of that time.  The downtime didn’t save the Keepstar completely, but the time left was so small that it ran down before the attackers could bring firepower to bear on the structure.  Keepstar saved.

Timers reset

You see a repair timer there, but you’ll notice the damage indicators for the armor and shields were set back to their pristine state.  The objective had been won, with some help from CCP.

We drew the card this time

Of course, recriminations were flying long before the servers came back up.  Everybody was looking for somebody to blame.  In the forum thread about the server outage somebody was trying to pin the blame on those Goon ECM burst interceptors, which made me laugh.  If there were even a dozen operating at once I would have been surprised.  We had about eight going at our peak when I was participating, and that isn’t enough to cause much of a problem.  It certainly didn’t break the server during the last fight.

There were also fingers being pointed about who was running their smart bombs, though both sides had them deployed.  Memes were being thrown around and Cryo, the official Imperium propaganda artist these days, even threw together a special piece for the occasion.

The smug is palpable

Meanwhile some people on /r/eve are claiming that the server crash was deliberately caused by “hundreds” of Goon smart bombing ships or ECM bursts or a Goon DDoS attack (evidence?) or anything else that their vivid imaginations could churn up, because Grrr Goons.  Some things never change.

I personally don’t buy any of the finger pointing about the crash being an intended goal.  We had more load on the server in the fight the day before and it made it, though at times things were marginal.  (Note the problem I mentioned with my UI when I returned to the fight.)  Sometimes things just fail.  We should probably be surprised that this doesn’t happen more often given how much load we put on the servers.  And nobody is going to stop using smart bombs, or ECM bursts, or masses of fighters on either side, so it seems like it will happen again during the war.

Anyway, the battle wasn’t over yet.  Everybody was back on grid and there were people to shoot, so things kept exploding for quite some time.  Kun’mi had lost his probes, so we just warped in on wrecks when we could.

Another run into the mix

I did get a couple of bursts off, but eventually got tackled again.  They put everything on me they could.

A range of effects

From left to right I believe I was neuted, painted, nos’d, webbed, scrammed, tracking disrupted, and pointed.  I like the tracking disruptor.  Some zealous pilot in a Cruicifier hit me with one on a few runs. (So did somebody in an Eagle, though why they didn’t just shoot me…)  Pity it doesn’t do anything to an AOE weapon.  It will get you on the kill mail however, and that is the important part for all of us.  I got my ECM burst off before I blew up, and was then able to warp off in my pod before the parade of effects were able to land on me again.

After that I docked up and waited around for people to clear out.  I didn’t pad my kill board as gratuitously as I did the day before, but I got on my share and didn’t even get on any blue kills.  A rare thing with the indiscriminate ECM burst module.

This time around, with no structure loss weighing us down, the battle report fell in our favor.

Battle Report Header

Plus, we won the objective.  PandaFam has to start over again by setting the first timer again, which they did not bother with.  They will likely want to set it to fall in EUTZ where they are stronger.

So it goes.  They still have four Keepstar kills in the bag and two more left to kill in Fountain before the fun starts in Delve when supers and titans will start being part of the mix.  I think they only have a few dozen there to kill.  At a rate of about one or two a week, this could take some time.

Other coverage:

Metaliminal Storms Arrive in New Eden

With the Thursday morning update, the patch notes indicated that the previously announced metaliminal storms were now on the scene.

Unusual subspace distortions have begun to be detected in nullsec space. The first Metaliminal storms will arrive soon.

For once in game development “soon” meant “now.”

They’re here

They were coy in the patch notes and the news piece they posted, but when you logged into New Eden there was already a storm brewing in Providence.  Like most in the Imperium, I had money on Delve being the first location, just to go along with CCP tradition, but I guess the rotting carcass of ProviBloc gets the first storm raining on it.  The storm started centered on KBP7-G, which is adjacent to high sec, so high sec systems get a bit of the new weather as well.

The good news is that nobody has to build a New Eden Weather site, because CCP actually took the time to add storms to the map.

Storm option on the map interface

They actually put it on both maps, the old map above, which is still the better of the two, and the new map, as shown below.

The storm option on the years old “new” map

I have to say that the storm shows up marginally more visible on the new map.

The new map shows the storm

While the old map is not quite as clear.

The old map shows the storm

Though, honestly, neither is as clear or useful as the logical map view that DOTLAN gives you of space or than more “shape of space” view that GARPA displays.  Again, how CCP can have gone 17 years and still not produced a clear and useful in-game map remains a mystery to me.

The map doesn’t tell you what type of storm however… so maybe we do new NewEdenWeather.com.  So I flew an alt out to take a look.  As it turns out, the center of the first storm is very close to Amarr, being just 10 jumps out.  When I got into the outlying systems of the storm, I discovered it was an electrical storm. (I wrote about all the storm types previously, and the stats do not appear to have changed.)  You get an indication of the weather above your capacitor display, just like in Abyssal space.

The storm is weak in outlying systems

Naturally, the first storm was an electrical storm, because that is the one that prevents cloaking, which is the only big deal about the storms so far.

Closer in, you get stronger storm conditions.

Towards the center, the effects get stronger

As I said previously, the knock to cloaking feels like CCP playing towards those who don’t like cloaky camping, throwing them a bone without really doing anything one way or the other about the issue.

I also don’t think people get how long these storms could potentially linger.  I seen some HTFU attitude on this front, but I will be interested to see how those same people will feel when a storm comes to their part of space and lingers for days, moving one system a day, with the effects out to five gates.  Wait until a storm gets caught up in your region in a dead end path and the RNG keeps pushing it back and forth.  It is all fun and games until the turd is on your doorstep.

CCP said there would be eight storms running, so seven more will likely be spawning as time runs along, with two of each of the four flavors in play at any one time.

And, as often happens, it feels like CCP has missed the risk vs reward when it comes to these storms.  The incentives are so paltry, and the penalties so annoying, that my bet is that most people will avoid the storms if at all possible.

They do have a nice storm effect in space though.

My Ares in the electrical storm

We shall see if that is enough of an attraction.

The Fall of Niarja and the Shape of High Sec

Surprise!  Niarja became low security space last night!

Things have changed here

I had not been paying much attention to the Triglavian invasion event.  New Eden is a big enough sandbox that I can play in my own area and not care about what was going on in high sec.  Delve is many gates from the nearest high sec system.  Also, the war.

And then Niarja became the next Triglavian target and everybody lost their minds.

Niarja is a 0.5 high sec system known primarily for two things; being a prime spot for suicide gankers and being on the direct trade route when traveling between Caldari and Amarr space in general and the trade hubs of Jita and Amarr specifically.

When the Triglavians take a system, the security status of that system drops by 0.1.  That change would drop Niarja to 0.4, making it low sec and turning it from a place to suicide gank to a place to simply gank people passing through as CONCORD responses would no longer occur.

Meanwhile, the “safe” route from Jita to Amarr would go from 10 gates to 46.  I am not sure how much trade is specifically between those two points and how much of the traffic is from Jita to points beyond Amarr, but either way Niarja looked to become another low sec danger spot on the shortest route between regions.

The forces of chaos, in which I include CCP, seemed quite eager to see Niarja fall.  Others seemed quite angry at the prospect.  At least one group was sending out mail messages in game warning people that they had better not get caught supporting the Triglavians.

Signed, a friend

I am sure that was just some fun role play.

And this was all a high sec affair… until it wasn’t

Early yesterday Legacy Coalition declared that they were going to protect high sec by siding with EDENCOM to make sure the Triglavians didn’t take the system.  Dunk Dinkle of Brave posted a truncated image from what looks to be a Discord message that said:

THE COALITION DIRECTIVE IS TO SECURE NIARJA

Addendum: The Discord message in full:

Brave ping on Niarja

[This message is apparently what set the Imperium in motion, the opportunity to harm the people attacking us.]

At some later point Vily posted elsewhere that the coalition had just decided to fight the Triglavians because the Imperium had sided with them.  World War Bee was coming to high sec.

To my knowledge, up until then, there had been no official effort by the Imperium to influence the events in Niarja either way.  Word later came out that incursion squad had gone there on the down low to push things in favor of the Triglavians.  But once Vily reacted it became an official Imperium operation.  Pings went out to get people to pile on for the Trigs. [TEST never did show up for the event despite Vily’s post.]

Once I saw that was going on, I logged in a high sec alt just to see what I could see.  The gate to Niarja was suitably adorned with the Triglavian logo.

A new sheriff is in town

Inside the system, the battle was tilted towards the Triglavian side.

77% in favor of the Triglavians

Ashterothi, who was providing status updates on Twitter, reported that the Trigs had been as high as 85% at one point, but EDENCOM had slowly worked that down into the 70s.

The fighting is done by blowing up NPCs that spawn at sites in the system.  If you want the Triglavians to win, you go to the EDENCOM sites and shoot the spawns, and if you support EDENCOM you warp to the emerging conduit sites and shoot the Trigs.

Some sites from the probe scanner window

I was not on as an Imperium character so couldn’t join their fleet, but I spotted them and watched them take down a couple of the EDENCOM sites.  (I also saw a Brave group shooting up an EDENCOM site, and I am not sure what was going on there.)

It was already late for me and I wasn’t going to be able to join in so I docked up at one of the Raitarus in the system.  The Triglavians seemed to be edging up every so slightly as time went along, but it was going to take some time.

When I work up this morning however, I logged in to check and found I was in a low sec system.

The Triglavian sky is strange

The Mittani was smugging about having cut the high sec travel route as it apparently impacts Legacy and their own ability to resupply.

Meanwhile, the battle for the system carried on and the Triglavian side hit the final luminality.

EDECOM gives up at this point

Niarja is effectively a null sec or wormhole space system now in terms of security status.  That doesn’t make much difference to haulers, as low sec status was going to keep them away in any case.

In the short term I will be interested to see what this does to trade.  Does making Jita 30+ jumps further away make Amarr more valuable?  Does it grow as a trade hub out of Jita’s shadow?  Or was its proximity to Jita what made it the second trade hub?  Does Jita shrink?  Does this help Hek, Rens, and Dodixie, the lesser trade hubs?  What happens to the market?  What happens to shipping charges?  There is a lot there to unpack.

For the longer term I am back to wondering what CCP’s end game plan is for the Triglavian invasion.  It was a happy fun PvE event for quite a while, but now with more and more high sec systems falling to the Trigs (The Agency says 16 systems are now in final luminality) what is going to happen?  Will the Trigs remain and their systems be changed for good?  Will they reach some accord with the empires and become the fifth Beatle empire?  If there is a fifth empire will Max Singularity and the Sixth Empire demand some high sec space of their own?

CCP has never run an event like this in high sec.  In the past high sec followed the rules of TV sitcoms, where things can go crazy for a bit, but at the end of the episode the status quo must be restored.  It will be interesting to see if they want to return to the way things were or have a new long term state of affairs in mind for high sec space.

Other coverage:

EVE Echoes Launches Giving Players a New Beginning

Today sees the launch of EVE Echoes, the NetEase built mobile version of EVE Online.  CCP has a press release out announcing that the game has gone live.

EVE Echoes

This launch brings EVE Online, or a facsimile thereof, to your iOS or Android phone or tablet.

The launch video promises a new way to experience New Eden, which is no doubt true.  (Also, is that Hilmar’s ‘rona hair or is he growing it out for a 70s revival?)

I signed up for the Alpha test early on and got to try it out.  My summary:  It is not for me.

I am not a big phone/tablet gamer to start with.  And a game as complicated as EVE Online, which is tough enough to play with a keyboard and mouse, does not lend itself to a mobile interface.  Or such is my opinion in any case.

I am sure that it will suit some people.  Lots of people apparently, as they are saying they have over five million registrations in advance of the launch.

Big number is big

Of course, it is a free to play mobile MMO based on an mildly famous/infamous IP, so there are no doubt a lot of people who simply want to kick the tires… and no doubt more than a few botters looking to get in early to start an illicit RMT business.

More interesting to me though is the thought of starting with a reset version of New Eden.  People have long be asking for a reboot of the game, a new server where everybody starts fresh.

CCP will never do this.  It would kill the game.

Unlike EverQuest or World of Warcraft, being on a single server is the life blood of the New Eden, and splitting that population could lead to the player world falling below a critical mass of sustainability.  There is a threshold below which the game fails to be able to support the specialization of roles we now enjoy.  Or so the theory goes.

But now there is a fresh version of New Eden being rolled out, one where everybody is going to start equal and new, with no huge skill point advantage, no piles of ISK, no T2 blueprint originals to give a production advantage, and no alliance tournament ships rattling around in hangars.

This is the reboot many have asked for.  Will they use it?

Will the game take off?  Will it draw players away from the original?

I know, it isn’t an exact duplicate of the PC version of the game.  It is quite different in many ways.  But it is still basically the same premise.  We shall see.

I will say that EVE Echoes certainly seems to have gotten to market more quickly than another NetEase mobile partnership, Diablo: Immortal, the status of which still seems vague.

Other Blogger Coverage:

The Coming Metaliminal Storms May Decloak You in Null Sec

CCP announced today that Metaliminal Storms will soon be coming to null sec, imparting “weather effects” where ever they go.

Metaliminal Storms

Per the announcement:

Chaotic storms of Abyssal energy – called Metaliminal Storms – will begin appearing randomly in nullsec space this August when the Metaliminal Storms update goes live, as an unexpected side effect of the Triglavian invasion! These roaming storms will move slowly between star systems via the gate network.

The forum thread with the current details indicates that these storms will move at a rate of one system every 24-48 hours, giving at least some level of warning if a storm is close by.

There are currently four different storm types planned, with two levels of intensity (strong and weak), each of which brings with them a variety of effects on space, some beneficial some detrimental.  The storms will be akin to hurricanes, with a central system as the “eye” of the storm with strong effects being felt there and adjacent systems, while weak effects will be felts in systems two or three jumps away.

The way the describe storm movement, they appear to be effectively taking gates, so they follow what I might call DOTLAN map logic, where the distance between systems connected by a jump gate is effectively a constant, and a very small one at that, as opposed to what the in-game map shows, where the distance between systems can vary greatly, especially when it comes to gates between regions.  This may lead to some odd situations.

For example, since I have been marking up maps of Fountain lately due to the war, if the “eye” of a storm is in KVN-36 or C-N4OD, the storm effects will ripple out to the northern and southern ends of the region without touching anything in the middle thanks to the long gate jump between the two systems.

And outdated map used to show the distance between some key gates

Likewise, if the “eye” is in D4KU-5 in Fountain, the effects will ripple into Aridia despite the two regions being too far apart for a capital to jump between them.

Storm magic I guess.

The plan right now is to have eight such storms, two of each type, wandering null sec.  The “eye” of the storm will always be in null sec, but the effects can reach into low and high sec systems if the storm travels in that direction.

Of particular note to almost everybody reading the effects is that electrical storms will disable the ability to use a cloak in systems affected.

Gamma

  • Weak Metaliminal Gamma Ray Storm
    • -10% Explosive Resists
    • +10% Shield HP
    • -50% Remote Shield/Armor Rep Amount
    • +40% Warp Disruption/Scrambler Range
    • -10% Signature Radius
    • No change to site spawning
  • Strong Metaliminal Gamma Ray Storm
    • -25% Explosive Resists
    • +25% Shield HP
    • -90% Remote Shield/Armor Rep Amount
    • +100% Warp Disruption/Scrambler Range
    • -25% Signature Radius
    • Spawning extra Rogue Drone combat sites

Plasma

  • Weak Metaliminal Plasma Firestorm
    • -10% Thermal Resists
    • +10% Armor HP
    • +20% Weapon Damage
    • -20% Turret/Drone Tracking Speed
    • +20% Missile/Fighter Explosion Radius
    • No change to site spawning
  • Strong Metaliminal Plasma Firestorm
    • -25% Thermal Resists
    • +25% Armor HP
    • +50% Weapon Damage
    • -50% Turret/Drone Tracking Speed
    • +50% Missile/Fighter Explosion Radius
    • Spawning Triglavian combat sites

Exotic

  • Weak Metaliminal Exotic Matter Storm
    • -10% Kinetic Resists
    • +20% Scan Resolution
    • -10% Mining Laser Cycle Time
    • +40% Warp Speed
    • -10% Local Armor/Shield repairer cycle time
    • No change to site spawning
  • Strong Metaliminal Exotic Matter Storm
    • -25% Kinetic Resists
    • +50% Scan Resolution
    • -25% Mining Laser Cycle Time
    • +100% Warp Speed
    • -25% Local Armor/Shield repairer cycle time
    • Spawning extra ore anomalies

Electrical

  • Weak Metaliminal Electrical Storm
    • -10% EM Resists
    • -10% Capacitor Recharge Time
    • +10 Virus Coherence
    • +20% Probe Strength
    • No Cloaking
    • No change to site spawning
  • Strong Metaliminal Electrical Storm
    • -25% EM Resists
    • -25% Capacitor Recharge Time
    • +25 Virus Coherence
    • +50% Probe Strength
    • No Cloaking
    • Spawning extra relic sites

As with all things from CCP, this is likely subject to change before it hits Tranquility.  It has not yet been put onto the test server, Singularity, but the company plans to test it out there before it goes live.

CCP is soliciting feedback in the forum thread linked.

Many people are wetting themselves at the idea of cloaking being disabled.  And the boost to probe strength will really make it tough to hide.  I always felt cloaky camping was one of the prices of playing in null sec, so expect this will end up being a mixed blessing.

Storms also hit remote reps, local reps, and various resistance types, no doubt giving some a secondary jolt of pleasure after the cloaking effect hit wears off.

I am only surprised that there isn’t a storm effect that removes interdiction nullification and puts logi on kill mails if CCP really wanted to play to capsuleer requests.  Maybe they are holding those for round two.

EVE Online Command Ships Get a Small Update

CCP announced today that they had deployed the Combat Command update, part of the Zenith Quadrant plan, to give a bit of a buff to command ships.

Command ship love

The changes, listed out in an update to the patch notes, are as follows:

Attack Command Ships (Absolution, Astarte, Nighthawk, Sleipnir):

  • 3% bonus to command burst strength changed to 4% bonus to command burst strength
  • 100% bonus to command burst range removed

Absolution:

  • Mass decreased from 13,300,000 to 12,300,000
  • Max velocity increased from 150 to 158
  • CPU increased from 400 to 420
  • PG from increased 1500 to 1550
  • Scan resolution increased from 210 to 252

Astarte:

  • Max velocity increased from 155 to 165
  • CPU increased from 440 to 450
  • Scan resolution increased from 200 to 240

Claymore:

  • 5% bonus to missile explosion velocity increased to 10% bonus to missile velocity
  • 7.5% bonus to shield boost amount changed to 4% per level bonus to shield resistances
  • max targeting range increased from 65km to 75km
  • Scan resolution increased from 220 to 264

Damnation:

  • Scan resolution increased from 210 to 252

Eos:

  • Command Ships bonuses (per skill level):
    • 7.5% bonus to Drone Tracking speed
    • 10% bonus to Drone Optimal range
    • 3% bonus to Armored Command and Skirmish Command burst strength and duration
  • Gallente Battlecruiser bonuses (per skill level):
    • 10% bonus to Drone hitpoints and damage
    • 4% bonus to Armor resistances
  • Max targeting range increased from 65km to 75km
  • Max velocity increased from 145 to 150
  • Mass decreased from 13,000,000 to 12,500,000
  • Drone bay increased from 250m3 to 300m3
  • High slots decreased from 6 to 5
  • Low slots increased from 6 to 7
  • Scan resolution increased from 200 to 240

Nighthawk:

  • 7.5% bonus to missile rate of fire increased to 10% bonus to missile rate of fire
  • max velocity increased from 140 to 150
  • mass decreased from 14,810,000 to 13,200,000
  • mid slots increased from 5 to 6
  • low slots decreased from 5 to 4
  • Scan resolution increased from 195 to 234

Sleipnir:

  • Scan resolution increased from 220 to 264

Vulture:

  • Command ship skill bonus to hybrid optimal range changed to 10% shield hp per level
  • Scan resolution increased from 195 to 234

After a few bad experiences I stay away from boosting and command ships, so can’t really say if these changes will make much of a difference.  The Eos looks like it got the most changes.  We will see if the state of the Nighthawk gets any better.  The next time I see one in space will likely be the first time.

The update also marked the end of the 2v2 cruiser brawl proving ground event.  A destroyer event will be starting on Friday.

A New Monument in Molea

Out in the Khanid region, in the Amdimmah constellation, is the system of Molea.

On the route from Amarr to the null sec regions of Catch and Querious, many capsuleers no doubt pass through the system every day, warping from gate to gate on their journey.

But in the system, at the second planets only moon, there is a POS tower anchored.  Around it are many small secure containers within the sphere of where the force field would be, if the tower was fueled.

You might have to use the right overview setting to see them, but they are there.

Containers revealed

That is the Molea Cemetary.

Each container has an inscription, the name of a fallen capsuleer.

Some inscriptions

Some have fallen in game, others in real life.  If you wish to read them, it is probably easiest just to get on grid with the tower by warping to planet II, moon 1 and doing a minimum range directional scan.

Easier to read in the dscan window

Started by capsuleer Azia Burgi more than a decade back, it is another example of a player initiative that gained a life of its own.  The POS tower became necessary when a game update made it possible for the dead to despawn.  Being within the POS force field radius prevents that, a solution that served for many years.

And then came the Onslaught expansion in November of 2018, which moved the final remaining functions from POS modules to Upwell structures.  The days of the POS, the Player Owned Startbase, seemed numbered and there was talk of giving the troublesome code base a viking funeral.

A concern that came up, back when talk of the end of the POS was being discussed, was what would happen with Molea.  Without the POS tower in place all the markers would eventually disappear.  CCP promised to look into that.  Since then, we had not heard much, though the venerable POS remains in the game, even becoming an aspect of the current war in the southwest of null sec.

Then, earlier this week, CCP unveiled their plan.

After downtime on Tuesday a monument appeared in Molea, the Fallen Capsuleer Memorial.

Anchored below the POS tower, it features three bassalt wings centered on what appears to be a golden cyno beacon.

The new memorial in Molea

A light shines up from the beacon towards the POS tower, illuminating a capsule which features two capsuleers, freed from its embrace, yet still attached, able to gaze out upon the stars with their own eyes.

Atop the memorial

The new memorial has the effect of keeping anything within 200km of it from despawning, so even if the POS tower goes away the containers and their messages will remain floating in space so long as the servers remain up.

Related coverage:

CCP is Just Going to Keep Selling Skill Points for Cash

Just over a year ago there was some controversy and push back from the community over CCP introducing a Starter Pack that was effectively selling skill points to players, something that seemed very much against the grain of past statements from the company used to justify the introduction of skill injectors about the importance of skill points in the game coming only from training.

It’s very important to note here that this means all the skillpoints available to buy on the market in EVE will have originated on other characters where they were trained at the normal rate.  Player driven economies are key to EVE design and we want you to decide the value of traded skillpoints while we make sure there is one single mechanism that brings new skillpoints in to the system – training.

CCP was apologetic and promised to change that (and, many months later new packs came out), but did point out that this was aimed at new players and that the starter pack could only be applied once to any account.  But it could still be purchased and applied to any account and, doing the math, spending five dollars on a million skill points seemed like a pretty good deal, so I am sure that CCP dragging its feet on removing that starter pack was in no small part influence by the fact that it was selling pretty well.

But the story so far has always included some rationalization.

Skill injectors were rationalized because the skills were all created in the game via normal training along with the fact that you could always buy characters in the bazaar.

Alpha skill injectors, daily skill point boosts for free accounts, were rationalized as they only added as many skill points as they player would have received in a day had they been subscribed, making it a mini, daily subscription.

Starter packs were rationalized as being for new players and being once per account.  Sure, you got some cheap skill points, but it wasn’t an unlimited deal.

Which brings us to today, when CCP announced their new Training Boost Bundle.

Training Boost Bundle

You get, straight up, 1.5 million skill points and an Expert Cerebral Accelerator, which gives you a +8 stat boost to speed up your training for 12.5 days (1,080,000 seconds).

The accelerator in game

I guess the rationalization here might be… um… at least these skill points aren’t as cheap as they were in the starter pack?

But it is still a deal if you simply want to straight up pay cash for skill points, especially for older characters.

My back of the envelope, rounded numbers for easy mental math, calculations are that in Jita/Perimeter you can find PLEX for about 2.6 ISK million per and Large Skill Injectors for around 725 million ISK per.

When purchased in lots of 500 PLEX is about 4 cents per unit and you need to sell about 300 to buy a Large Skill Injector, taking into account taxes.

That makes a Large Skill Injector about $12.

To get 1.5 million skill points you need to buy three injectors, which is $36.  You have to decide if the cerebral accelerator is worth the extra four bucks, though I imagine it is.

But that is only if you have a relatively unskilled character.  You get less skill points per injector the more skill points you have.  If, like me, you have characters with more than 80 million skill points, then you only get 150K skill points per injector.

That means you need to buy 10 Large Skill Injectors, which will run you about $120 in PLEX, or three times the $40 asking price.

So, for old hands, the Training Boost Bundle might not be a bad deal… though even that assumes you aren’t earning enough ISK in game to buy your injectors without having to spend any real world cash.  I’m not going to spend the money, but somebody will.

Skill points are now well and truly available for sale in unlimited quantities.  No need to go through the PLEX to ISK to injectors rigamarole, just buy the skill points directly.  It is likely cheaper and clearly easier.

Welcome to free to play, where the inevitable result is pay to win and where whales keep the game running so the cash shop needs to cater to them.

Are you going to quit?  Are you going to give up all the effort you have invested in the game over this?  Is this the step too far, the line crossed?

Probably not.  I think most people will bitch about it… /r/eve is in an uproar as expected… and then carry on.  I am not going to quit.  Hell, there is finally a war on, the game is good for me for a bit.

So what then?

I suppose we need to mark it up as a life lesson, a reminder that what companies say in a specific moment in a given context will be ignored or forgotten the moment it no longer directly serves their interest.  A company’s promise is an empty and worthless thing.

Just remember, when CCP says something to reassure you, like that it is important that skill points in the game should be earned or that asset safety is important because otherwise nobody will keep their stuff in citadels, if they are not actively lying to you in that moment, they will go back on their word the moment it suits them.

Welcome to EVE Online.  Know the risks.