Tag Archives: CCP

Pondering all these Free Skill Points

When in doubt, give skill points out!

-Unofficial CCP Motto

As I noted earlier in the week, CCP is giving us more skill points as part of their summer event.  The first day out of the gate I was able to claim 275,000 skill points.

First day Omega reward

And while the first day was big, there are still more skill points coming over the next six day.

More skill points coming

The question is what should I do with them?

Bitter vet problems and looking a gift horse in the mouth, I know, but here I am.

Traditionally I have hoarded free skill points, let them accumulate on my main and primary alt, as a buffer or back up in case I suddenly needed a skill one day.

Holding on to them

I am not sure why I might need a skill right away… dreams of running across a capital ship where the pilot has ejected come to mind I suppose.

And given that you can buy most skills remotely now, I guess if I ran across a Nyx sitting idle and abandoned, I could buy the Gallente carrier skill remotely (which auto-injects it as well), apply some skill points, and jump on in to make off with my new found prize.  But even with the profusion of super carriers, and idle Nyx or Wyvern is still an unlikely find.

Furthermore, the skill points necessary to hop aboard one of those are pretty trivial compared to the skill points I have socked away.  Gallente Carrier I, the skill I would need to make off with that imaginary Nyx, is about 2 hours of training time with my current attribute configuration.  But I have easily a month worth of skill points to hand.

The problem is that I don’t have any skills that I really NEED otherwise.  My main is past the 200 million skill point mark and, while I returned him to training to catch up with the Triglavian hulls, so he can keep his “fly all the subcaps” badge, he is otherwise mostly just filling in the corners, getting to level V on some skills that might marginally improve his ability should he, for example, suddenly take up flying a black ops battleship.

The only hill left to conquer, when it comes to being able to fly ships, is titans.  And for titans I need Capital Ships V, which would run me more than two months to train.  I could dump all my horded skill points into that and be just 35 days or so away from flying a titan… but what if I run across that theoretical abandoned Nyx?  Won’t I feel silly if I’ve spent all my skill points then?

So I am unlikely to spend those skill points without need, but I also have more than enough to meet any immediate need or abandoned super carrier.  Where should I put them?

I can always put them on one of the two alts I have on the same account as my main.  But I have always had an odd relationship with alts on a single account.

One of those alts is actually somewhat useful when it comes to skills.  After my main hit 200 million skill points I swapped training over to him, so he is around the 30 million skill point mark and can fly frigates and cruisers and at least one of the doctrine battlecruisers at this point.  He is trained up enough that I got him in our corp and put him in the 1DQ1-2 Keepstar with a couple of doctrine ships so he could be available for homeland defense fleets.

The problem is that you can only have one character actively training at a time, and when the choice is between my maintaining the versatility of my main in a world of the ever changing meta that can see flavor of the month doctrines come and go before I can buy the appropriate ship (or, more commonly, just after I buy the appropriate ship), or work on training up an alt who is about 170 million skill points behind… well, most of the time it is easier to just jump clone (or death clone) myself to where a fleet is happening and be done with it.

This is less of a problem on my primary alt account.  There my primary alt clocks in at close to 150 million skill points and can fly most sub-caps, but hasn’t wasted time with areas like boosting or marauders or black ops battleships, areas I pursued with my main and then never used.  I also have a secondary alt there who has about 40 million skill points and who acts as my high sec ferry pilot.

She… my only female character in EVE Online… can fly most of the subcap hulls, but not active a lot of the modules, so buys and fits ships in Jita, then flies them out to an NPC station near wherever we are deployed to contract them to my main or primary alt, who then pick up the ship.

Between the two of them I can find a use for the extra skill points… or I could, if I didn’t feel the need to hoard them obsessively.  This is a personal failing.  I am one of those people who gets a special potion or something in a game and then never uses it because I might REALLY need it at some later date.  My bank in several MMORPGs have such items, kept until I got so far past when they might actually be useful that I just put them away and forgot about them.

So of all of the gifts we’re going to get over the week of free skill points, the ones I will use immediately are the cerebral accelerators.  Those actually speed up your current training queue, and I have long training queues on every character.  And I won’t even have to worry about which character to use them with, since only one character at a time can be training. (Unless you buy the multi-character training thing, which I did not.)

All of which is a lot of tsuris over what is probably a non-issue for most EVE Online players.  But I accidentally let the post I had planned for today go live a day early, so to fill the empty day you get to hear about my skill point angst and how I over think these things.

I am usually much better when CCP gives us SKINs.  But if they just GIVE us SKINs, then we won’t buy SKINs.

So what do you do with your free skill points?  Do you save them like I do?  Spend them on things already in your queue?  Find some special skill you might otherwise ignore on which to lavish some skill point attention?

CCP Should Build its Own EVE Online Kill Board

Over the weekend we were once again reminded about how much CCP and the EVE Online community depend on unpaid third party developers for much of the game’s knowledge infrastructure.  As part of the null sec blackout both ZKillboard and DOTLAN EVE Maps hid data that we have grown accustomed to having, with ZKillboard going completely dark for the weekend.  This led to glee, annoyance, and reactive behavior by various parties.

Forget ZKill, welcome to GKill!

When Monday morning rolled around the data blackout was removed and the sites returned to normal and, while it was a cute stunt to hype the blackout idea, it also made the point that information we have grown very used to accessing depends on the goodwill of people neither beholding to us nor CCP.

Squizz of ZKillboard and Wollari of DOTLAN both deserve our gratitude and respect for what they have contributed to the EVE Online community, but part of me has long felt that their stepping up largely came about due to CCP’s failure to do so.

EVE Online is past its 16th birthday and CCP has yet to create an in-game map that is half as useful as DOTLAN. (Or, for that matter, GARPA or the PDF maps that one guy made back in the day or even the old book of maps from EON Magazine, errors therein included.)  In fact, they managed to create a new in-game map that was even less useful than the original one.

How do you manage that?  Seriously, WTF CCP?

So you can see why third parties step in and end up filling an important role for the New Eden community.

Still, the blackout behavior was, as I started with, a reminder of how much we depend on these third parties and how much things would hurt if they got tired of their mostly thankless tasks and decided to move on.  And, while I hate to get all “EVE is dying!” the game is old and has seen better days and higher PCUs.  So I think it might be time for CCP to step up and start owning some of the services to which we’ve grown accustomed.

And my proposal is that they start with an official kill board.

Why a kill board?

Well, for openers, they have demonstrated that they cannot create a useful map… or, Lord help us… a UI comprehensible by mere mortals.  But a kill board is just a web site… they can do those, I’ve seen them… which displays data drawn from a database.

Then there is the fact that we’re pretty much down to one community-wide kill board.  EVE Kill is long gone… remembered via some dead links here on the blog… and Battle Clinic likewise shut down back in 2016.

Also, the software used for ZKillboard is open source, so they could start with that.

The whole thing could be setup at the data center in the UK, so it would have direct access to all the information needed to populate it.  And, after a modest start CCP could expand upon it, adding features and reports.

The upside would be a single reliable source for kill information as well an opening to perhaps a more advanced version of a kill board.  There has long been talk about getting support ships like logi on kill mails.  I am a logi pilot and I am against CCP wasting time trying to get logi on kill mails.  If CCP ran the one true kill board, it might end up being easier for them to pull data in order to create battle reports that would list out all participants, including logi, boosters, and whoever.  And, if CCP ran it they could also tune the amount and type of data that gets posted.

The downsides though… well, it would likely take up a dev resource that might otherwise be working on something else, and they would have to maintain it over time.  As a company they couldn’t even maintain the wiki they used to have.  A lot of people don’t like kill boards for a variety of reasons.  And, as attractive as a single source of truth kill board and battle report tool might sound, the flip side is that it also becomes a an intel tool with perfect recall.  None of the kill boards have ever come close to 100% coverage, and when there were three big kill boards running they were at times comically at odds with each other.  But with CCP holding all the data, they could lay bare every kill whether you wanted or not.

I don’t want to put Squizz out of business.  But I also don’t want to be left with the anarchy of no community kill board if he tires of the work or the lack of gratitude from the community.

Does this seem reasonable?  Or should CCP tackle something else, or maybe just leave well enough alone for now?

EVE Online Summer Season of Skill Points

CCP once again proves they think we’re all about our skill points… and they are probably not wrong.

Login rewards in the form of skill points return to New Eden as CCP announces the Season of Skills event.

Things capsuleers do to themselves…

Unlike the 16th Anniversary event earlier this year, where you had to log in for 16 days during the event to claim all your skill points and other goodies, the Season of Skills event will be broken up into three parts.  But each part will reward you with skill points, and an Omega character can come up with at least a million it seems if they actively peruse things.

All date ranges are from downtime to downtime, which means they start on the first date after 11:00 UTC and end on the second date before 11:00 UTC.

Bonus Skill Point Week – July 17-25

Log in every day throughout Bonus Skill Point Week and get free Skill Points.  The traditional split between free and subscribing players will be in force.  Alpha pilots can claim up to 200k skill points over the week, while Omega will get up to 650k skill points.  Cerebral accelerators, which speed up skill training will also be awarded.  I hope we get a SKIN or two along the way as well.  Some SKINs will be on sale, but I want more.

Skilling Spree – July 24-August 21

Get rewards ranging from 10,000 to 50,000 skill points for killing Triglavian invaders.  A single kill each day is worth 10K skill points.

Bonus Skill Points Weekend – August 23-26

Log in each day over the weekend for even more skill points.  Alpha clones will get 75,000 skill points  while Omega clones will get 250,000 skill points if they log in all three days.

What Does It All Mean?

I guess it means that we love it when CCP generates skill points out of thin air and simply gives them away, but hate when they generate skill points out of thin air and sell them.

At least we hate it in the short term.  Three weeks later and CCP is still selling that starter pack that got so many people so bent out of shape, but it doesn’t seem to bother anybody now.

Anyway, I won’t say “no” to most of these free skill points, though I doubt I’ll be killing Triglavians for the middle segment of the event.  I honestly have no insight nor idea what is going on with the high sec end of the invasion event.

Meanwhile, in an attempt to draw a constraining circle around a few things, it sounds like the invasion events might be resolving towards the end of August, so that might also be the point when we hear what CCP has become definite about the null sec blackout as well.

Other coverage:

Null Sec Blackout to be Maintained Indefinitely

CCP has not given any direction as to how long the blackout of local chat in null sec will last, but today they gave us something of a hint.

CCP says Blackout

On the lore focused World News section of the CCP site, a post went up earlier today from Ret Gloriaxx of The Scope’s Galactic Hour with this bulletin as the lead item:

SCC Confirms Limits on Nullsec Bandwidth to be “Maintained Indefinitely” Despite Fall in Drifter Assaults

Yulai, Genesis – Following its imposition of bandwidth and usage limits on nullsec FTL communications via the New Eden liquid router network, the Secure Commerce Commission has confirmed that the limitation on communications will be “maintained indefinitely due to the effects of both Drifter attacks and the ongoing Triglavian invasions on the security of supplies of Quantum-Entangled 4-Helium.” The possible impact of both Drifter and Triglavian attacks on the supply of QE 4-He has been extensively reported on by the Scope’s Galactic News Network.

The SCC has reiterated that its primary concern is to maintain the “integrity and sustainability of the liquid router network for strategic and essential communications” and noted QE 4-He resupply logistics have been put under serious and continuous strain by the Triglavian invasions. Sources within the SCC have revealed that the Triglavian attacks began to seriously affect resupply missions once the so-called “major conduits” phase of the invasion campaign began. Since the Triglavian World Arks began to spearhead the assaults, there have even been attacks on stockpiles of QE 4-Helium.

“The Drifter attacks in nullsec came close to being the tipping point for the imposition of bandwidth limits but it wasn’t until we lost an entire QE 4-He production facility to a Triglavian assault that the SCC decided to act. We’ve since lost some other stockpiles but the DED have stepped up fleet presence at all the critical locations,” said one source in conversation with Ret Gloriaxx of the Scope’s Galactic Hour with Ret Gloriaxx.

CCP has handled the events of the Invasion expansion as in-game lore and has, for the most part, declined to comment in any “out of character” way about what has been going on with the Triglavian and Drifter attack.

The one exception preceded the imposition of “delayed mode” local chat… the blackout… when CCP officially announced that it was coming, promised then gave 48 hours notice of its imposition, and started a thread on the official forums to discuss the idea.  That thread is past the 9,000 post mark as of this writing, while over the weekend much of the discussion on the /r/eve subreddit was around the blackout and its pros and cons.  Meanwhile, over at INN, Arrendis tells us that the blackout won’t fix EVE.  I never thought it would, but some people clearly have that in mind.

CCP’s return to using the in-game lore to continue the narrative seems to signal that they are satisfied with how the event went over the weekend, while the statement itself seems to indicate that we will not see an end to the blackout in null sec any time soon, at least not until the Triglavian invasion has been resolved.

Furthermore, in a mailing to promote their current multi-training certificate offer (available until downtime on the 17th), CCP uses the phrase “events going on all summer.”

Also, buy our stuff please

While this is far from a hard promise… and who knows how long summer actually lasts from the Icelandic perspective…  it does seem like we might see local blacked out in null sec into September.

Null Sec Local Blackout is in Effect

As promised, with the passing of downtime today, CCP switched the the null sec local channel from immediate to delayed mode, meaning that people only appear in the list when they speak rather than as soon as they enter the current system.  The duration of this “undetermined” according to CCP.

Local is now delayed in null sec

Basically, they want to leave their options open as they see how this turns out.

Of course, there is always somebody who wants to talk.

Quiet local, and then…

In the run up to this various groups have been planning and trying to get their members on board with the new reality.  Classes on how to use the directional scanner effectively have been running (here is a quick video if you are interested), suggestions on what to do if you are going to rat or mine (be aligned, use d-scan, watch intel channels) have been put into an infographic, and optimum gates to camp if you want to help shoot the expected deluge of hunts have been broadcast repeatedly.

Even the /r/eve Reddit community mods set the subreddit to private for a bit with a message about the change to null sec local in the hope of getting the news out as far and wide as possible.

But somebody won’t get the word, and comedy will ensue as they blithely fly around a seemingly empty null sec.

The change is imperfect.  You can still go to DOTLAN EVE Maps to see kill statistics or look at the in-game map to see where things might be hot.  Intel is still available. (Though ZKillboard appears to be blacked out for the blackout.)

Something happened over here

But it is nothing like the immediate warning you get when a hostile shows up in local.

And now we wait to see what happens.  Will this usher in an exciting new era of null sec?  Or will people stop ratting and mining except in protected groups, leading to more complaints about how difficult it is to hunt in 0.0. space?

Meanwhile, conspiracy theories and fantasies about the change persist.  My favorite so far is that this is CCP trying to hide the fact that null sec is empty and that EVE Online is dying.  There should be an EVE Online version of Godwin’s Law for EVE Online.  Something like:

As an EVE discussion grows longer, the probability of somebody saying that EVE Online is dying approaches 1.

And so it goes.

Local Blackout Coming after Downtime on Friday

CCP has given its promised 48 hours of notice.  Last Friday the company said they would give warning before this happened, and here it is.

Notice has been served

Come Friday after downtime, the local channel in null sec will change from showing everybody in the system to what CCP calls “delayed mode local,” which will work the way local channel do in wormhole space, where people only appear in the channel list if they broadcast in that channel.

This has caused quite a stir, and the forum thread on the topic is closing in on 5,000 posts.

Those very much in favor of this idea see a happy time of uninterrupted destruction in their future.  Skeptics wonder if the change will simply make targets more scarce.  And, of course, the hunted have their own view, some threatening to unsubscribe with the change.

We shall see come Friday and over the weekend I suppose.  I am sure there will be a surge in kills pretty quickly, as those who don’t pay attention to the news find out about the change the hard way.  After that things will likely settle down.

The duration of the blackout is listed as “undetermined.”  It could be short.  It could be the new reality in null sec.

Other coverage:

CCP Should SKIN All The Things

I suppose it is a bit odd to being doing a post about monetizing EVE Online in the shadow of all the various controversies going on, but I haven’t got anything else queued up for today, so why not?

Cosmetics items, especially SKINs, seem to be non-controversial as a cash shop item in EVE Online.  Yes, there are people who hate them and that wish CCP wouldn’t bother, but I don’t think anybody finds them game breaking.

CCP also seems to have some problems of its own keeping the SKIN gaming going.  We had those Ghostbird SKINs up in the shop for close to a year, giving  Caldari pilots some nice choices while the other empires were left mostly wanting.  The Ghostbird SKINs are gone now, but the holiday weekend did bring back some old SKINs that had been retired from the store.  But once the time runs out on that we may be back to a dearth of options.

So leaving aside current convulsions and CCP’s famine and feast cycle with SKINs, what else could CCP apply their SKIN talents with?

Most of these are ideas I have heard elsewhere, so I make no claim to originality even if I cannot remember where I heard them first.

Structures

Here is a big obvious one that people have been asking for, structure SKINs.  This one seems like a gimme.  Yes, we got corp and alliance logos floating around structures, but these place are just begging for giant splashes of color.   Do you think Goons would pass up something like a Hazard Control SKIN, with bright yellow bee stripes?  They most certainly would not.

Who doesn’t want to paint on that canvas?

The catch here is that, unlike ships, structures don’t have a single person controlling them the whole time they are in space.  There would have to be some mechanism for the owning organization to apply a SKIN.  Also, how do you sell and manage such SKINs?  If you buy one, do you get to apply it to all structures you own, or just one?  If so, they probably have to expensive.  If not, if they attach to only one structure, then they can be cheap and make up the difference with volume.

Corp/Alliance SKINs

There was at least an implication that we would be getting something like this back at EVE Vegas 2016 when they were showing off the new, easy to use, SKIN creation tech.  We saw them run with an Apocalypse with all sorts of SKIN options created off the cuff.  (A gallery of them here.)

Apocalypse battleship with some pattern and color variations

Some of us walked away thinking that custom SKINs for corps or alliances could be a thing, maybe via an interface like the one for corp logos.  Now, nearly three years later, CCP seems somewhat indifferent to the SKIN store.  Still, we live in hope.

As with structure SKINs, this would most likely require some code to go with it.  When you join a corp or alliance with a custom SKIN, you then get access to it for the appropriate ships.  Maybe.  The big stumbling block is making a corp/alliance SKIN that can be applied to all ships.  Still, people have asked for this before.

Fleet SKINs

And idea I have seen come up once or twice, the idea of a SKIN that the fleet boss could apply to all the ships in the fleet.  This suffers from similar issues mentioned above, like having SKINs that could be applied across a variety of dissimilar ships.  In addition, there is the possible issue of people getting annoyed at having somebody else apply a look to their ship.  This wouldn’t be a problem in a group like Reavers, where we like to play dress-up, but on main fleet I could imagine some complaints.

Gates

Going on down the list of things you could sell to null sec alliances, special decor for gates comes pretty easily to mind.  I know that gates now have flags and logos, but what if you could make them extra special?  Like so much, there would have to be an alliance interface for this no doubt, but it seems doable otherwise… at least in Delve where we have Amarr gates that look like they were made with leftover Apocalypse hulls.

Cynos

I was thinking about maybe SKIN-like kits for lasers… you could have a Pride month Abbadon rainbow laser pack… but the color of lasers actually tell you what the enemy has loaded, so that is probably a no go.

But a cyno… you just have to sit and look at that thing for minutes at a stretch after you light it up.

Normal and covert cynos burning

So why not a pack of pretty cynos SKINs of different colors, just for variety?  Again, there is the question of creating a UI for this and, of course, if this would even be worth the effort.  There would probably be a pretty limited market for this.

Explosions

Now exiting what we might consider SKINs and heading into something only slightly related, but why not?

Ships have two sorts of explosions, the orange one and the blue electric one.  What if you could buy something that would give your ship a different or more spectacular explosion.  I know, that might be somewhat defeatist, but it could still be fun.  We all get blown up once in a while, why not go out with a bang?

And the upside of this is that, unlike some of the other ideas, I think you could do this without any UI work.  Just sell an item in the New Eden Store that, when present in your cargo hold, triggers a special explosion when your ship goes up.  Seems doable… once the art team creates some new explosions.

Cat Ears

And, just to go completely off the reservation, let me just put in another word for hats.  Things are better since I last complained about the lack of hats.  We now have hats.  We have baseball caps and berets.  They aren’t very good, but they are better than nothing I suppose.  Still no Viking horned helms or, for Jin’taan, cat ears.

Of course, having seen how the hats we have now work, I am pretty sure Jin’taan is going to remain unfulfilled in his desire for cat ears.  CCP went the easy(-ish) route for hats where, like in many games, you can have a hat or you can have hair, but not both.  I tried this on a female avatar with long hair and, as soon as she has that Permaband hat on she has a shaved scalp.

Still, we could get better head covering hats.  Just no cat ears I guess.

What Else?

Anyway, those are some ideas.  Not all of them are worthwhile, but there has to be some money in it for CCP for a couple of them, enough to be worth the effort.

What else should CCP SKIN that won’t break the game or be more work that it is worth?