Tag Archives: Operation Permafrost

Some Better Luck with Operation Permafrost

Thanks to a tip in the comments from the last post about the event I went looking at the December patch notes… patch notes get updated for follow on fixes… and I did see that CCP ended up doing some tweaks for the Operation Permafrost event, so I thought I might give it another shot.

It is what we have now

Among the fixes listed were missing ore and NPCs podding players.  I was having problems with the former and am glad to have not had to experience the latter.  That can be a nasty surprise.

I was able to get out the Procurer again and actually found some ore beyond the west gate that I was able to harvest.

Procurer mining like it should

I don’t know if the asteroids still only respawn at downtime or not however, since the site I entered was empty of other players.  So the asteroids I found there might have been respawns, but it is possible that the rush to mine was done already.

Here I was finally able to discern deeper differences between this and the Crimson Harvest event.  Again, while similar to a certain degree, CCP sought to change things up some.  During the Crimson Harvest event the tasks from The Agency seemed to be pretty much infinitely redoable.  You mined so many units of the event ore, get the points, then do it again.  Kill so many NPCs, collect the points, do it again.

You can view that as dull or serene depending on how you look at it I suppose, but I gather CCP felt it was more towards the former.  So for the mining side of things it did start off with a series of “mine X amount of ore” followed by “mine X+Y amount of ore.”  But then it started in with some other tasks, like reprocessing a set amount of ore.  I flew back to a station to do that.

Then there was more mining to be done, then a requirement to process a given amount of ore using the structures in the West pocket, which I didn’t know you could do until that came up.

Using the structure

At that point I had to go back to the station where I had stashed a load of the ore to bring back in order to meet the goals for that task.

On the way back I decided to figure out the three tasks asking you to examine each of the three gates.

There is no “examine: option

I had previously used them and looked at the info display for each gate, but that didn’t seem to do anything.  Google didn’t help either, though I did find one guy’s video about the event where he too couldn’t figure out what to do.  Fortunately, in the comments, somebody said to use the “look” command on the gates from the overview.  Doing that got Aura to pop up and explain each gate in turn and let you claim the claim the rewards for the tasks… which were worth one point each.  This is why I wasn’t in a hurry to figure it out I guess.

Aura explains it all

The words about the gas cloud harvester would come into focus shortly.  Once I was done with the next ore refining and harvesting assignments the tasks moved on to gathering Hiemal Tricarboxyl Vapor.  Gas.

More than a dozen years into EVE Online and I had not once harvested gas.  Still, how hard could it be?

Something in the back of my brain knew that the Venture was the choice for gas harvesting.  I had to go get the skill and train it up on my alt, but I had some free skill points hanging about, so I popped that up to level IV right away.

Then there was fitting the Venture.  Being a mining frigate it is small and not very tough.  I recalled Johnny Splunk telling tales of avoiding NPCs while harvesting gas in by speed tanking them.  Signature size also plays into that, so I decided to go that route.

I toughened up the Venture against thermal and kinetic damage to give myself a bit of buffer, fit two gas harvesters to collect the vapor, fit a rig to give me a little more capacitor space, then strapped an oversize prop mod in the form of a 10MN afterburner, something meant for a cruiser hull, onto the ship.  That prop mod would let me go 2km/sec but keep my signature smaller than a 5MN microwarp drive would.  And it all fit.

I headed back out for the site, went through the West gate, and started up the gas harvesters.  I also set myself to orbit the gas cloud at 1km, since the gas harvesters only had a 1,500m range, and lit the afterburner.

150km out from my warp in I realized that the gas cloud was effectively zero distance from anywhere on grid, so set myself to orbit one of the structures at that range, trucking along at 2km a second.

Venture running along

That kept me far away from the Mordu’s Legion NPCs that were spawning.  They would try to lock me up and I could see them firing missiles… you can see some missiles in that screen shot above… but nothing seemed able to touch me.

Blazing away at me with missiles to no effect

I seemed pretty safe.  The harvesting, however, was taking some time.  Each cycle only harvested two units per collector, and I had two tasks set for me, one to harvest 350 units and one to harvest 400 units.  So I left myself in my big orbit slowing gathering up gas.

I also had along a pair of Hornet II drones to take care of anything that might stray into range.   I think they got maybe one frigate.  Otherwise they just flew along with me.

Hornet drones just following along

With nothing happened I was lulled into a false sense of security.  I seemed to be pretty much invincible in my orbit.  So I walked away from the computer as the numbers slowly counted up.

I came back to find myself still in orbit, however I was now just in my pod.  The wreck of my Venture say in space not too far behind me.

Just a wreck now

I had gotten pretty far along however, almost half way to 400 units harvested.  I didn’t look at the kill mail, thinking it was likely just a bad luck NPC spawn or maybe one of them had managed to cut me off somehow.

So I went on back to Amarr and fit out another Venture, the same as before.  Then I went back and, thinking maybe I hadn’t gone far enough out in my orbit, I aimed away from the warp in and put a good 300km between me and the nearest NPC, harvesting as I went, and started an even bigger orbit.

Venture venturing out

Once set I tabbed out to look at something else, then tabbed back only to find myself dead again.  Well, clearly I was doing something wrong.  So I grabbed another Venture in Amarr, but didn’t waste time fitting much to it.  Gas harvesters and the prop mod was all I brought with me this time.  I went for an even larger orbit.  In addition, some other people had showed up, so I figured they might give me some cover.

Look at them in the distance

I hung in for a bit, enough to finish the harvesting tasks and get another, when suddenly I was taking damage.  I turned to warp out to one of the local citadels, shutting down the AB, but before I was aligned I was in my capsule yet again.

I saw the damage flash by on screen, but had to go check the logs to be sure about what I had seen.

[ 2018.12.21 19:51:31 ] (mining) You mined 2 units of Hiemal Tricarboxyl Vapor
[ 2018.12.21 19:51:31 ] (mining) You mined 2 units of Hiemal Tricarboxyl Vapor
[ 2018.12.21 19:51:45 ] (combat) 355 from Atmospheric Instabilities - Hits
[ 2018.12.21 19:51:50 ] (combat) 253 from Atmospheric Instabilities - Hits
[ 2018.12.21 19:51:55 ] (combat) 123 from Atmospheric Instabilities - Hits

I went and looked more closely at the kill mail and saw that I had been done in by an “invisible cloud.”  According to zKillboard, invisible clouds are doing in lots of ventures and destroyers.

So I now I knew that the site hits you with damage every so often, enough to blot out my ship in ten seconds from the first hit.  Well that wasn’t going to work out with the Venture.

I hadn’t notice this with the Procurer since it was getting hit by NPCs pretty constantly and is pretty tanky.  But I would have to be quick, aligned out, and, more unlikely, paying attention to the screen to warp off to safety before I was hit.

Meanwhile, I had another task for 350 units of vapor and a new task asking me to refine a bunch of vapor at the structure.  And, of course, I had lot both my ship and all the gas I had harvested.  I was starting to tire of the whole routine again.

But I can see how the pattern of the event changed when compared to the rather more simple Crimson Harvest event of earlier this year.  CCP decided they wanted to go with a more directed experience, setting a selection of different tasks before players to get them doing various things.  I suppose this has some merit.  I did learn a bit about gas harvesting after more than a dozen years playing.  But the whole random invisible cloud attacks on grid put me off the whole thing.  And unlike some events given through The Agency, the tasks do not appear to reset.  I’m still on the hook for harvesting and refining more gas, which isn’t worth the price in Ventures to my mind.

I did manage to get through the second set of rewards and on my way to the third, sitting at 269 points into the event.  And there is still more than a week to go.  Maybe I’ll get out and blow up some Mordu’s Legion ships with medium sized weapons… another rather specific task… to round out the event.  Or maybe I’ll learn to hack.  That is another thing I’ve managed to skip so far in the game.

Operation Frostblind

It might be just me, but it feels like CCP cannot do two good player events in a row in EVE Online.  If they get one that is popular and gets a lot of response, the next one will be… less well received.

That is probably my memory being faulty.  I don’t run every event.  I know the Federation Grand Prix was a bust.  CCP said as much at EVE Vegas.  I am not sure how the Dawn of Liberation event went, but the Secrets of the Abyss event seemed to do well, rewarding people for running Abyssal pockets.

I think the contrast here for me is with the Crimson Harvest event we had a while back and the Operation Permafrost event, which kicked off on Monday.

Now Blinding Capsuleers in New Eden

As I wrote previously, I enjoyed the Crimson Harvest event.  It wasn’t a complete walk over, but if you fit yourself for it you could mine or zap NPCs to your hearts content, earning points towards rewards and collecting items from wrecks.  While I went in for just one SKIN reward, I rediscovered the serenity of mining while listening to a podcast or audio book and ended up going the distance on one character and continuing on with a couple more.

There were a couple of highlights for me when it came to the Crimson Harvest event.

First was the lack of scarcity.  When CCP does events based on sites spawning, they tend to be competitive.  You race around looking for sites.  Then when you find one, you warp in hoping it isn’t in progress yet.  And even if you get there first you have to hope somebody won’t warp in and get the last kill and loot the rewards.  All of that becomes frustrating if you play during peak hours, and even off peak there always seems to be somebody warping into your site to try and take the big prize.  That their bio is always in Russian is probably just a coincidence.

So for Crimson Harvest CCP put two sites in almost every system in New Eden.  I think they skipped Jita, though I saw the two in Amarr.  So if the site in your system was overrun, you could just move over one and find another.  One site in each system was for mining, the other was for fighting NPCs.  Each was fairly clearly marked.  And, when either site had been run out it would disappear off of the overview and a new one would spawn.

This meant that I could move a half a dozen systems out of Amarr and find a quiet site to mine.  The lack of competitiveness also seemed to make people relax and even cooperate on occasion.  Other players would mine happily or would chat as they dropped in to knock off any NPCs that happened to be hanging around.  It was quite pleasant in a way that events in EVE Online often are not.

The other was how nice the sites looked.  CCP, fresh from making all that pretty Abyssal space, went all out to make an autumnal space wonderland, with pumpkin-esque asteroids and bright orange nebulae.  I took way too many screen shots.

A Venture in the Crimson Harvest event

So the Crimson Harvest event set a quality baseline for me which carried over to the Operation Permafrost event.  That was probably my mistake.

But CCP did make it seem like the events would be similar.  There was to be the usual tasks to accumulate in The Agency for some prizes.  There was a promise of mining… both gas and ore this time… as well as NPCs to tackle and sites to hack.  And it was all going in another wonderfully done up skybox with a holiday theme.

The first sign of trouble was how the sites would be distributed.  This time around there wouldn’t be one per system, but just on per constellation.  Constellations vary in size, but they are rarely smaller than four star systems, so calling it five to be generous, you end up with only 20% of the sites to run that Crimson Harvest had.

Fine, whatever.  Crimson Harvest probably had too many sites.  One per constellation wasn’t going to be that bad, right?

I got together my Procurer, still knocking about in Amarr space after the Crimson Harvest event, and updated its fit a bit.

I even found an Amarr skin for it for cheap… screen shot taken later in Jita

Since the NPCs were from Mordus Legion, I made sure I was good versus thermal and kinetic damage and traded out my Acolyte drones for Hornets, the latter dealing kinetic damage.  Setup for things, I headed out to find a place to mine.

Once I found a site… The Agency tells me many things, but which system in a constellation has the event site is not one of those things… I warped to it and found three gates.

Hanging around the gates

The gates were labeled North, East, and West.  I knew that they aligned to mining, hacking, and combat focused areas, but which was which wasn’t clear to me and, once again, The Agency wasn’t helping me out.  So I chose a gate… the North gate, since it was closest, and took it.

I was accelerated into warp, through a white out of my screen, and into a very bright white atmospheric setting.

And while I am not going to complain about that as much as people were on the forums, it is a bit of a change for those were are used to the dark of space.  It is not the mellow black and orange of the Crimson Harvest.

On arriving after the north gate I found my overview loaded with NPCs.  This was clearly the PvE slaughter house.

A Mordu’s Legion ship laying in wait

I warped back to the marker and took the East gate.  That dropped me in the midst of a bunch of hackable structures.  There were also some NPCs to keep people on their toes, but the theme here was clear.

Back to the marker once more and then into the West gate.  That took me to what appeared to be mostly empty space.  There were a few NPCs around that immediately sent some missiles my way, but the site was otherwise empty.

Procurer in the bright empty sky

I sent my drones off to take them out, which wasn’t too tough.  The Procurer was able to tank the incoming damage well enough.

But I hadn’t come out to zap NPCs with my drones.  I didn’t mind doing that as a side task, but I came out to get in some meditative mining time.  So I left that constellation and moved on to the next.  There I found pretty much the same situation.  So I moved on again… and then again… and once more before I finally found a single unmined asteroid in an event site.  It was hanging in space about 300km from my warp in and my heavy tanked Procurer didn’t have a propulsion module to help scoot it along.

At that point I started looking online to see what was up with the mining aspect of the event.  Was I trailing behind some fleet of locusts?  Should I look elsewhere or just hang about hoping for a respawn.

As it turned out, the mining segment of the event only respawns at downtime.  That mean that while I am still asleep the server repopulates all the mining sites.  Then I get up, go to work, have lunch, work some more, come home, talk with my wife, listen to my daughter complain about school, have dinner, maybe watch a bit of TV, all before finally logging in about 18 hours after downtime.  During that interval pretty much everybody living in time zones to the east of me has had the opportunity to mine out all the sites, so that by the time I show up there are just the leftover asteroid or two, too far away from the warp in to even bother with.

So I set a course back to Jita.  I didn’t have any combat ships out in Amarr space for my alt so I figured I would head back there to put something together.  That Drake I use for events sometimes was there.

Hinging the event, or at least the mining aspect of the event, on downtime feels like a bit of a mistake to me.  That gave me a flavor of my old high sec mining days when several European corps used to mine out several whole systems every day before I got home, so I ended up having to move out to the hinterlands in order to find a ready supply of rocks.

I might try the combat aspect of the whole thing, but the mining portion of the event turned out to be a bust for me.  And I know I’ll be able to pick up the SKINs on the market soon enough anyway, so I might just leave it at that.

Further early opinions about the event are available over at The Nosy Gamer.

The December Update for EVE Online brings War Dec Changes, New Ships, and the Start of the Holiday Event

It is time for the December update for EVE Online.  One of the key things up front for this update are changes to the War Dec system.  CCP put out a dev blog on these initial changes, but the key is eligibility.  As was discussed previously, this change will not allow players to war dec a corporation unless it owns a structure.  The following structures count:

  • All Upwell Structures (including Upwell FLEX structures)
  • Starbase Control Towers
  • Player-owned Customs Offices
  • Sovereignty Structures (Infrastructure Hubs and Territorial Control Units)

If your corp does not own one of those structures then you should be immune to war declarations.

And, to close a glaring loophole, the second change is to add a setting to disallow structure transfers.  At least CCP could foresee that war dec corps would seek to bypass the structure rule by simply transferring a structure to their prospective victim and then declare war.  There is now a setting in the corporation details tab that allows automatic rejection of structure transfers, and the default setting for that will be true.

That is expected to be the first round of changed for war decs as CCP tries to figure out how to deal with this issue.

Also coming with the December update are two new Triglavian ships, the Rodiva and the Zarmazd.  These are the previously mentioned Triglavian logi cruisers.

Logi cruiser hull model

Unlike other Triglavian ships, this one comes as both tech I and tech II, aligning to the logi cruisers from the empires.  Only the blueprint for the Rodiva will drop and you must go through and do invention on the copy to get a Zarmazd blueprint.

There are also armor rep blueprints going in to match the two new ships, available as Abyssal drops.

The niche for these new logi ships is that their reps get stronger the longer they stay on their target.

Also coming to Abyssal space is a set period of invulnerability when transitioning through Abyssal gates.

The update also introduces the 2018 holiday even for EVE Online.

Thirteen Days Only

Called the Thirteen Days of EVE, you need to log your account in daily to claim prizes… like an advent calendar… but you have 17 days, so you could miss a couple days and still get all the presents.  The prizes include some new things EVE, including a standings booster, new Candy Chromatic SKINs, straight up skill points, and, for Omegas only, a booster with three uses that will allow the pilot to use skill injectors without the diminishing returns penalty.  That means people like me, with over 80 million SP on a character, could get the full 500K of skill points from an injector rather than the 150K one gets normally in that situation.

A sample of the rewards

That last item requires you to log in for the full thirteen days.  But that is easy enough and there is no reason not too.  Details are available at the event site.

The update also lays down the groundwork for the next in-game event, Operation Permafrost.

Coming soon

As usual, the event will come to you via The Agency and will require you to accumulate points for rewards.  At EVE Vegas is was mentioned that this event will bring your ship down into the atmosphere of a planet, giving the art team at CCP a chance to show off some more fancy new environments.  Details are currently up on the live event page.

Also on the graphics front, CCP has added atmospheric auroras to planets.  They only show up at random times though, so you have to be there at the right moment to catch them.

A Megathron spotting an aurora

Another possible background for screen shots.

A lot of the rest is just the usual tweaks and minor fixes that accompany any update for the game.  However, there is one innocuous one in the mix that I want to call out.  This one:

Adjustments have been made to the respawn rates of certain nullsec anomalies. These adjustments are part of a gradual ongoing process that will see further tweaks for this type of content.

As rumors have it, the “certain nullsec anomalies” are havens and that this is a direct poke at titan ratting.  Yes, titan ratting is a thing.  The alleged reason is that at the current respawn rate a titan can can use its boson doomsday, clear a haven, and another one will have spawned by the time the titan has recovered and is ready to keep rolling.  We will see if there is a corresponding dip in the NPC bounties with the coming of the December MER.

So that is it.  CCP has already announced that the update has been deployed successfully.  Information about it is available via the patch notes and the updates page.