Tag Archives: EVE Fitting Tool

Riding the Waves with Oceanus

The next small EVE Online expansion, Oceanus, is set to deploy today/tonight/tomorrow, depending on your time zone.  With one server, it is always happening during somebody’s prime play time, that is for sure.  Named for yet another titan (straight from Uranus, if you want to go for the puerile joke, and I know I do), following on after the Crius and Hyperion expansions, it contains the usual mix of interesting, obscure, and trivial changes.

And some music.  Every expansion must have new music.

Anyway, the patch notes tell all.

For example, the game client will now be available in French.

Vive Nouveau Éden

Vive Nouveau Éden

That only surprises me because I thought it already was in French… probably because of the Gallente.  Plus the client is already in German, Russian, and Japanese, so somebody had to at least metaphorically travel across France to get to these places.

Aur... doesn't translate well

Aurum… doesn’t translate well

Well, if it wasn’t in French before, it will be now.  Bienvenue à mes amis.

On the list of more trivial yet vital, players will now be able to import and export ship fits from the in-game ship fitting tool using the EVE Fitting Tool application format, to which I can only say, “Thank the living stars!”  Being in a corp, alliance, and coalition that combined  a wide variety of doctrine fits, which have been know to change quickly and quietly, I have spend more than my share of time fitting out a ship I had to build up from the hull via the time honored “Look and Paste” method across multiple windows.

There are some UI changes and the ability to opt-in on notifications in game and tweaks to some ships and the usual list of bugs fixed as part of the cycle.  But the big, big item in the patch notes is a change that is just starting with the Oceanus release.  CCP is going to revamp all of the named meta 1-4 modules over time.

The good part is that they are going to go to a standardized naming scheme, so you will be able to tell what the benefit of a given module is.  That has long been an issue… at least for me… as the naming scheme was all over the place.  I basically memorized the “right” module for whatever fit, but couldn’t tell you what any of the other meta modules were or which was better off hand without checking the comparison detail in-game.

The interesting part… or the dangerous part, if you prefer… is that they are pretty much doing away with meta 1-4 modules as they stand today.  Right now, the higher the meta, the better/more powerful the module.  When they are done, everything in the gap between the tech I and tech II modules will be meta 1, but will be specialized in a specific way.

Before and After

Before and After

The naming scheme/specializations have been laid out as such:

  • Upgraded– Used for named modules where no specialization is possible
  • Compact– Used for named modules that specialize in reduced fitting cost
  • Enduring– Used for named modules that specialize in lower cap use or otherwise longer running time
  • Ample– Used for named modules that specialize in extra capacity
  • Scoped– Used for named modules that specialize in longer range
  • Restrained– Used for named modules that specialize in reduced drawbacks

This is going to cause some fitting chaos over a long stretch of time.  CCP cannot do all the modules at once, so with each expansion going forward they will be changing a set of modules.  The first set to get the treat is:

  • Co-Processors
  • Reactor Control Units
  • Micro Auxiliary Power Cores
  • Light Missile Launchers
  • Capacitor Flux Coils
  • Cargo Scanners
  • Ship Scanners
  • Survey Scanners

That is kind of a safe-ish list I suppose.  The “tip of the ice berg” as CCP put it.  The scanners are easy and people will refit or whatever.  The power related items might cause some fit changes.  And light missile launchers will be the first dive into weapons, which is a whole can of worms on its own.

The fun part is going to see how people change up their fits.  A lot of the meta 1-4 modules get used because they often have lower skill/power/CPU requirements than their tech II brethren, so when you are trying to squeeze things into an optimum fit they are the go-to to cover that last 1% of CPU you need to make it all work.  I know that a lot of our doctrine fits depend on meta 1-4 modules to make them work.  There is a reason those meta modules are often pricier than the tech II versions.  Those doctrine fits that depend on meta 1-4 modules to work are all likely going to have to change as modules get updated… and maybe even change over and over with each six week expansion cycle.  All those doctrine logistics fits depend heavily on meta 1-4 modules right now.

So it is a good thing they have that fit import/export feature coming in now.  We are going to need it as we are headed into interesting times when it comes to fitting.  There is a whole long dev blog about the module changes should you want the details.

Anyway, as always, I have some long skills set to train as we wait for Oceanus to drop.  The next stop will be Phoebe a month and a couple weeks down the line.

Others talking about Oceanus features:

Steep Learning Curve? We Meant to do That!

We were going to talk about this as part of SUWT #64, but it quickly got trumped by the Lord of the Rings Online going free to play news.  However, I still want to get my two cents in on it, so here it goes.

CCP, in an interview over at Worlds in Motion, spoke about the steep learning curve of EVE Online, calling it a necessary evil.

And I am not in general disagreement with their feeling that a big part of the game’s attraction is that it is more hard core than, say, World of Warcraft, and that they need to maintain that feel.  Making the game easier would not necessarily make it better.

My problem with the whole hard core mentality is that a number of things that make for the legendary “vertical learning curve” shouldn’t be there.

Certainly things like learning to fit and fight your ship effectively should be a long journey with no absolute right answer for every situation.  Being able to effectively make ISK on the market is something that one could spend ages perfecting.  And the meta game, the politics of EVE Online and its corporations and alliances, is something that deserves advance study.

But the steep learning curve kicks in the moment you start playing the game.

Think of the guy in the Ibis

There is a tutorial, and it is has improved greatly over time, but it still does not really prepare you for the game, nor do I think it can ever prepare you due to some poor design decisions that have been around forever.

I will start with one of my favorites, one of my early points of confusion, which is figuring out what a module does and how you should compare one module with another.  And I’ll point specifically to missile launchers, which should be easy to understand.

There are two basic parameters to missile launchers:  How many missiles do they hold and how fast do they spit them out.  That should be easy to figure out.  I should be able to look at the information about any two given missile launchers and know those answers in a snap.

And while I cannot deny the data is there, figuring things out in a snap is not so easy.

Standard Missile Launcher Grid

In my mind, in my ideal world, capacity should be listed as the number of missiles the launcher can hold while rate of fire should be how many missiles launched over a given period of time.

I mean, that is how we do things in the real world.

But in EVE Online you get capacity as a measure of magazine volume and rate of fire as a unit that I think is the time between launches, but I’m still not sure about that. (By the way, the fact that you can get this information displayed as a grid is a huge improvement over the past method of looking at each module information screen individually.)

It would be like listing out the data on an M-16 by giving you the volume of a standard STANAG magazine and telling you that when you pull the trigger, a bullet leaves the barrel every .009 seconds.  Sure, you could figure out the volume of the actual ammunition and get its capacity, or more likely just stuff rounds in it until you figured out that somewhere between 20 and 30 fit, but those just are not the best units of measure to express what the weapon does.

And I might even buy into the capacity expressed as volume if missiles for a given launcher came in different sizes.  But looking through standard missiles, as an example, shows that they are all the same size.

So, ideally, that chart should show the number of missiles a given launcher holds and how many missiles it can launch over the course of a minute.  Those would be numbers people could see, comprehend, and make decisions with.

This applies to all weapon modules.

And, yes, somebody will say, “EVE Fitting Tool” like it is some magic incantation.  The EVE Fitting Tool is awesome, but it shouldn’t be needed for such basic information.  I should be playing with the EFT to hone optimum fittings and ammunition loads for given circumstances.  It is a tool for refinement, not first cases.

And then there is my other favorite question in EVE Online.  It is the topic of the second most popular post on this site of all time.  It is, “How do I find an agent in EVE Online?

I wrote that post almost three years ago and not only is it the second most popular post here of all time, it is in the top ten most viewed posts on this site every single day.

And, the worst part is, three years later, there still isn’t a better way to find an agent.

Yes, this is care bear stuff, and the Hulkageddon heroes will eschew it as worthless.  But it is apparently something people want to know.

EVE Online has the most awe inspiring map in any game I have ever played.  If you want to get somebody who likes outer space interested in the game, just open up that map.  The map is a selling point.

And the map has just gotten better and better over time.  I love all the information it provides.

Every System I Have Visited

But it won’t tell me where the nearest level 4 Amarr Navy agent is.  And it certainly won’t tell me what agents are available to me.

I can find what agents are available, then find the system, then see how many jumps I have to travel, until I have mapped out enough agents to decide which one is really the closest one that fits my needs.  But this is a trial and error approach with me trying to collate game data in my head or on a scratch pad.

And the reason that this burns me is that it is all data the game has and presenting it in usable form is totally in keeping with the spirit of the game.

In my opinion, WoW telling me the DPS on a weapon is completely immersion breaking. (Hell, two swords having such widely different damages as a level 1 and a level 85 sword should be a total immersion breaker.)  But EVE Online takes place in the future, in a time when the information age has had a chance to advance and mature.  Are you trying to tell me that data presentation is going to get worse in the future?  Is Google Maps the pinnacle of the art and it is all going to get worse as time goes on?

So these are my two poster children for reasonably smoothing out some of the unnecessary bumps in the learning curve in EVE Online.  Truly, the only excuses I can think for not addressing these two are:

  • Nobody cares (a lie)
  • Current players are used to the way things are (elitism)
  • CCP has more important things to work on (maybe, but you’d have a new guy or an intern do some of this sort of thing in my experience)

And yes, these are fiddly little detail items, but they are things that new players run into, things that, if they could grasp easily, they might feel more secure moving deeper into the game while not changing the hard core nature that EVE has.

What other items in EVE do you feel are similarly unnecessarily obscure?

Or must everything in EVE Online be difficult to understand in order to keep the feel of the game?

Whiskey Tengu Foxtrot?

What to do with all that ISK I have in my wallet?

A few weeks back I was sitting in EVE Online.  Star Trek Online was down and I had had all of the WoW I could take for the day.  So there I was in New Eden wondering what to do.

I started thinking about one of my predictions for 2010, that strategic cruisers would become a common sight.  Of course, some people objected to that right away, saying that they were already a common sight in their neck of the woods.  That area is usually called 0.0 space, and my friend Meclin did confirm that the tech 3 ships were in fact not a unique sight out there.

I had never seen one however.  But then I, like a majority of EVE players, never go into 0.0 space, so I would dispute that they are a common sight.  I see most every ship hovering around Amarr station, so that is my measure for what is a common sight and what is not.

Of course, sitting there with no real plan and a bunch of ISK, I figured that I could make my prediction come true by buying my own strategic cruiser.  Money + boredom = expensive new experiment!

The first thing I needed was the basic skill. Easy and not too expensive:

Caldari Strategic Cruiser – 1,350,000 ISK

You only need the first level of skill to qualify for the ship.  That takes just a few minutes.

And then there was the ship itself.  The Caldari strategic cruiser is called the Tengu, which is what lead to the title of the post.

Tengu: 207,000,000 ISK

So I rushed off to assemble the new ship to see what it looked like.  Only there was a problem.

You can’t just fly the ship without its subsystems.  Heck, you cannot even assemble the ship.  You get this message.

There were subsystems available, but of course that requires more skills.

I had to run off and buy those.  They were 4,500,000 ISK each, and I needed five.

  • Caldari Defensive Subsystem
  • Caldari Electronics Subsystem
  • Caldari Engineering Subsystem
  • Caldari Offensive Subsystem
  • Caldari Propulsion Subsystem

This is how it goes with me and EVE.  Every impulse buy inevitably requires me to come up with at least another skill and some additional equipment to support the purchase.

The skills were quick.  I injected all five and queued up the first level for each, then went to Amarr to look for subsystems.  All the subsystems for the Tengu were available, but which to choose?

Fortunately in EVE most buying decisions are not irreversible.  Very few items are “bind on equip” if you will.  Ships, ship fittings, and the like can be repackaged and resold on the market.  So I picked five likely looking fittings without much in the way of research, dropping about 120,000,000 ISK in the process.

I was then able to assemble the ship.


Now I just had to activate the ship and take her out for a spin.  But when moving my pod to the ship I got one last warning.

Oh yeah, if the ship gets blown up, you lose some of your subsystem skill points.  Something of a dis-incentive to train them to level five I suppose.

But, at last, I was able to get into space with the Tengu.

Ship Name: Whiskey Tengu Foxtrt

Like a lot of Caldari ships, her beauty is more in her technical specifications than in her appearance.

Only then did I start looking at possible fittings for the Tengu.  It looks like I’ll need to work on my heavy missiles skills so I can mount tech II launchers, since the Tengu is limited to cruiser/battlecruiser modules.

Another hobby ship with which to tinker.  Time to get out EVEMon and the EVE Fitting Tool to plot out a possible level 4 mission runner fit.

Hulkapocalypse?

Things may be warming up a bit for us in New Eden.  Gaff has reactivated an account or three.  I am coming to the end of a training cycle that will let him fly a Hulk at last.  It might be time to leave the hanger and earn some ISK.

But I hear from other sources associated with our nominal confederation that the current favorite sport in empire space is Hulk busting.

Prey2

Prey Yet Again?

Gangs of suicide gankers in destroyers have been roving the asteroid belts hunting Hulks for sport.  We just can’t seem to get away from suicide gankers in EVE, no matter what anybody says.  Some people just find it too much fun.

I haven’t been paying close attention to EVE, but I do tend to scan the headlines and have not seen anything about this.  Has anybody else noticed this phenomena?  Not that I don’t believe.  After all, it the Goons had their own Hulk busting campaign a while back.  But it would be interesting to know how wide spread this is.

Busting rocks in empire space may be a hazardous profession these days.

Still, I have to wonder.  Wilhelm, my main, has his shield skills pretty much at level 5 across the board.  I am going to guess that most miners, especially mining alts, do not have the same skill set.

Could I fit out a Hulk so that it could survive long enough for CONCORD to step in and save the day?

What is a good tank fit for a Hulk?

Time to see if my copy of EVE Fitting Tool is up to date.

The Age of Cerberus?

I was playing the EVEMon “what if” game the other day with my alt, just to see how much training he would need to get into different ships when I hit the Heavy Assault Ship section and found out that he was less than a day from flying one of those nasty cruiser-class killers.

So I started playing around with configurations in EVE Fitting Tool.  The missile oriented Caldari Heavy Assault Ship, the Cerberus, certainly has a lot going for it.  With his skills, my alt can put together a pretty fearsome setup in a Cerberus, including one where I could leave a Medium Shield Booster II running all the time with a stable capacitor.  With large pools of CPU and power to draw on I was also able to fill all five launcher slots with Heavy Missile Launcher II modules.

All very interesting.

And then I brought up my alt’s Drake in EFT and started to compare.

The Cerberus can lock targets further out (100km vs. 75km), locks those targets faster, moves a little bit faster (not unimportant when facing ships with turrets), and, surprisingly, has a much bigger cargo hold.

The Drake, on the other hand, can mount those same five tech II launchers, plus two more tech I launchers, and can also throw five light drones into the fray, all of which puts the Drake ahead in sheer damage output.

Then there is the mighty-mighty Drake tank.  Sometimes, when running level 4 missions with my main and my alt, I just throw my alt in to grab aggro with his Drake.  I know the Drake’s shield will hold up long enough for me to whittle down the bad guys and since it is completely passive I do not have to fiddle with anything. (Whittle & fiddle?)

And finally there is the price.  In my region I calculate that I can buy and fit three Drake hulls for the same amount of ISK it would take to acquire the Cerberus and its fittings.  I recognize that there is a certain amount of “cool” factor with the Cerberus, but is it worth three Drakes?

So I have to conclude that the Cerberus might not be the best choice for somebody who primarily runs missions.

Not that I won’t buy one and try it, just to see.  One of the joys of EVE is that little is “bind on equip” if you will, so if I don’t like it, I can always put it up for sale if I don’t like it.  But I wonder if I should bother.

Sizing Up a Vulture

The wonder of EVE is not only figuring out what you want to do, but then figuring out how you get there, how much it will cost, and how long it is going to take.

So when I noted that my mining alt had evolved into a decent combat alt, it was suggested by Andreaz that I look into Command Ships as a possible path forward for him.

That meant it was time to crank up everybody’s favorite EVE Online toys utilities, EVEMon and the EVE Fitting Tool.  Some days I am in those two more than I am in the game.

There are two Caldari Command Ships, the Vulture and the Nighthawk.  I picked the Vulture to work with.

A quick mock up of a Vulture with the fittings currently on my Drake showed a good 45% boost in effective shield strength.  Granted, I lose two missile launcher hard points, but that much of a boost over an already awesome low maintenance shield tank makes it all worth it.  This is a ship worth having.

Then I had to look into the cost.  Being a tech II ship, I gave up on any idea of building it myself.  I would need a couple of long skills to manage that, so I started pricing Vultures on the market and available via contracts.  From that it looks like a Vulture is somewhere between 105 and 130 million ISK.  More expensive than, say, a Raven, but on par with a Rokh both in price and coolness.

Finally, I made it to the usual EVE back-hand slap.  I want it today, I can afford it today, but when can I fly the damn thing?

57 Days.

If I keep on the true path of training, let not a minute got to waste between skills, and do not get distracted by other wants and desires, I can fly a Vulture on January 21st, 2009.

That’s the way things go in EVE.

At least I was already well into one of the two long skills in the training plan.  In fact, I just wrapped up Battlecruisers V this morning and started on Caldari Cruiser V, a 21 day skill to overcome.   The next longest skill on the list is Long Range Targeting V, which comes in just over 8 days, and then skills fall into a pile of four days or less cycles.

And, of course, if I am going to bother with a command ship, I should go all out and get the warfare link modules going along with the associate implants.  I can get the first one fully up and running by some time in March of 2009.

EVE is a game of long term goals, and I had no other plans for my alt in any case.

Empyrean Age 1.1

A new patch is upon us in the universe of New Eden.

EVE Online’s Epyrean Age has turned 1.1.

And, aside from resizing all my damn windows down to some ridiculously tiny default size, what has this new version of the age brought us?

CCP has provided us a list of “Ten Changes of Interest.”

#1 CONCORD have gone through multiple changes in organization and effectiveness. The spawn sizes have been reduced to one battleship and two cruisers, however, these ships have increased damage output and a broad range of electronic warfare to prevent escape. In addition the Energy Neutralizing batteries will completely drain a ships capacitor almost instantly. CONCORD will also proceed to eliminate any discarded player Drones. CONCORD response times for aggressing a neutral player in High Security space have also been significantly reduced.

#2 Multiple changes have been made in standing hits for players who aggress a neutral player in High Security space. In addition to a significantly increased CONCORD response time, players will receive a standings hit based on the security rating of a system in which the attack takes place. The base value for aggression is now increased by a factor of 3. Base values are Aggression of 1.5%, Ship kill is 6% and a pod kill is 37.5%

#3 Over 70 new rookie missions and around 100 new missions for all levels and Empire factions have been added.

#4  8 Militia stations now have working Science and Industry tabs. The stations can be found at:

-Iesa IV – 24th Imperial Crusade Testing Facilities 13
-Asakai II – State Protectorate Testing Facilities 13
-Ostingele IV – Federal Defence Union Testing Facilities
-Ebolfer V – Tribal Liberation Force Testing Facilities
-Halmah IV – 24th Imperial Crusade Assembly Plant
-Enaluri V – State Protectorate Assembly Plant
-Eugales V – Federal Defence Union Assembly Plant
-Eszur III – Tribal Liberation Force Assembly Plant

#5 A bug that wouldn’t allow Rorqual pilots to select their cargo hold as the input/output location on installing a job when right-clicking on the blueprint has been fixed.

#6 Drones are now affected by all forms of ECM jamming.

#7 Multiple Control Towers within the same system will now display properly in the “Structures”->”Control Tower” tab on the POS management screen.

#8 When using “Look at” on an exploding ship or structure, the camera will no longer reset back to your ship until the explosion is complete.

#9 Multiple UI upgrades and streamlining of some industrial interfaces to optimize performance.

#10 Killmails are now being generated for POS structures and sent to the player’s combat log. Killmails also show up in the Corp combat log for both kills and losses.

Numbers 1 & 2 are probably the most controversial as they move CONCORD closer to a protective role in high security space.  This will, for a while at least, probably keep systems like Niarja from turning into shooting galleries at peak hours.

Not that I am opposed to highway robbery being a gainful occupation in a game like EVE, but when a corp can set up at a gate in full view of CONCORD and knock off people as they fly by, trading a few frigates and some standing for cargo, it does stretch credibility a bit.  I mean, CONCORD never noticed that freighter harvesting each wreck after they knocked off the attackers?

Still, this is EVE, and I have no doubt that the really sharp operators out there will find a new angle soon enough.  Their old operation just attracted too many copy cats and, as in real life, when something like that gets too much attention, things have to change.

Number 3 is good news for me at least.  I wonder how many level 4 missions are in that bundle?

For number 8 all I can say is, “Yeah!”  More cool screenshots!

And, for number 9, they seem to have added a mystery button.

Services?

Services?

It does not appear to do anything.  It may be a location specific function and I have not been in that location. (i.e. in an NPC station or in space)

And, on top of all of that, EVE[geek] reports that version 2.8 of the EVE Fitting Tool is now available.