Tag Archives: Titan

The Titan Menace Fifteen Years Down the Road

Fifteen years ago today CCP launched the Red Moon Rising expansion for EVE Online.  With it came a host of new ships and changes.  Going back and reading the release notes for the expansion is a good time. (As is going back to the dev blogs covering all the issues the launch brought to the game.)

Launched Dec. 15, 2005

But the big fish in that pond were the super capital ships.  RMR brought motherships, now called supercarriers, and titans into the game.

Or at least the ability to build them.  CCP figured that would take a bit.  And it did, at first.

Somewhere out there, beyond my ability to find via Google, is a quote from CCP about how many titans they figured would eventually end up in the game.  It was a very small number.  Double digits small.

And, of course, today null sec coalitions can generate scenes like this if they need to.

So many titans

A lot of factors over the last decade or so helped make that scene.  Skill injectors, mining efficiency, liberal ISK faucets, and citadels, where you could park your one time space coffin and have it protected, helped put this one-time aspirational achievement within reach of the masses.  Would those be welfare titans?  There is even video on the CCP Twitch channel of Hilmar regretting the decisions that made scenes like this possible.

But back in the distant past of the game titans seemed almost unobtainable.  There was a stretch for several years where spies and industry watchers kept track of individual titans and total population estimates seemed to at least not make a complete mockery of CCP’s early predictions.

Going back to the dev blog about titans and motherships is a reminder as to what they were meant to be.  That post emphasized two aspects of the titan class ships.  The first was the jump portal:

Instead of just activating their jump drive, Titans are able to open a bridge to distant solar systems allowing gang mates to jump through. Opening this wormhole comes at a cost based on every ship that goes through, on the mass of the ships that enter and distance of the jumps. So Frigates will be cheap to send through but Battleships will not be. It won’t cost as much as not as dreads jumping on their own but it will be a number you won’t forget once you’ve tried it out for the first time.

And the second was, of course, the doomsday:

You may have heared rumors of some superweapons that only titans will be capable of using. Some of you have even fallen victim to such a device destroying your ship. These weapons are true and they should not be tested when there are large numbers of friends around, unless you are as cruel as I am. What these weapons do is BIG BAAAAAAAAAADAA BEEEEEEeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeewwn and hurt almost everyone that is in sight, so be careful with your mouse when flying with your friends. These weapons are expensive to use and can not be used frequently (massive reactivation delay, recharge time is 60 minutes). These devices can also be activated on cynosural fields that are created by gang mates, however the field being in the same solar system as the titan for it to work (doubt it will be fun to be the person that opens this field).

Ah yes, the original titan doomsday weapon came with an AOE attack that could be shot through a cyno to a distant system.  Crazy times.  That got changed after not too long, but CCP eventually came back with some area doomsday ideas that couldn’t be shot across systems.

And, of course, titans and motherships were special in another regard; they were never supposed to be able to dock up.

The reason for the special manufacturing need of the Motherships and Titans is related to the fact that these ships can not dock at stations. They are doomed to fly in space for eternity or until they get blown up.

Losing a titan was a big deal.  The loss of the first titan, Steve, which belonged to Ascendant Frontier leader CYVOK, ended up with CCP putting up a memorial in space back in the day.  A decade later they wrote a dev blog to mark the ten year anniversary of the building of that first titan.

Losing a titan remained community level news for a long stretch, and DBRB losing 3 titans at Asakai back in 2013 was a crazy headline worthy event.

TEST propaganda at the time

And then, a year later, came the Bloodbath and B-R5RB which saw 75 titans die.  Pandemic Legion and NDot losing 59 of those was seen as a significant blow to their power at the time.

Wait, what?

I was fortunate enough to be able to slip into that battle with a subcap fleet to see the clash of titans as the long day wore on until downtime.

That battle remains the pinnacle of titan combat, the day when the most titans died.  It a twist of fate, the Guinness World Record that CCP earned for the battle was broken by the Fury at FWST-8 earlier this year, a fight that saw no titans lost.

Individual titan kills remain far more common though.  There are so many in the game now that people use them casually… or jump them places where they ought to go.

But that might change.  CCP’s economic austerity measures this year, which have nerfed ISK earning and mineral extraction, seem likely to make titans more costly and less accessible.  But there are still a lot of them around, a lot of pilots who can fly them, and a lot of places where they can safely dock up.

Titans pre-date my starting to play EVE Online by about 9 months, so they have always been a thing while I’ve been playing.  I’d been barely playing a month when that first titan died.  But in all my time I’ve only ever flown one one, and it was on the test server.

I Fly a Titan At Last

Back in November my main crossed over to 210 million skill points in EVE Online.  I had been training an alt up for some time, but went back to Wilhelm to cover a couple of bases and indulge myself in a bit of fantasy.  I went and trained up Capital Ships V, my last prerequisite before I could fly a titan.  My dream was to run across an empty one somewhere in space, buy the skill from the character screen, use my unused skill points to train up the skill, then hop in and fly off in glory.

That was unlikely to ever happen, but if it did I was going to be prepared.

That done, I thought no more about it until the mass test on Singularity last week.  The purpose was to test out the Avatar titan model and if you logged in for the test they just gave you one to try out.  You just needed the skills to fly one… and what had I so recently set myself up to do?

So of course I logged in and got myself a titan!  I bought the skill, applied skill points and hopped on in.

The new Avatar model in the hangar

I really should have thought this through however.

The problem was that I was in the Keepstar in 1DQ1-A, our home base.  That is fine and dandy so far as it goes, but now I had a ship to fit… along with a bunch of other people there… and on the test server you can buy most things for just 100 ISK a unit. (No titans or super carriers, but most every other hull.)  But to buy them you have to be in one of the designated NPC stations, and the nearest one in Delve was eight gates away.

That doesn’t seem far, until you’re going to gate in an unfit titan in a system full of people hungry for some fun.  Fortunately you can use the /moveme command on the test server (command list here) to jump yourself to one of a few designated systems.

But which system to go to?

I foolishly jumped to Jita, only realizing once I got there that I needed a Keepstar to dock a titan in.  Did any of these systems have a Keepstar handy for that?  A couple of them, M-OEE8 and FD-MLJ were at least in null sec, so I jumped to the latter.

A new SKIN up

There stood a Keepstar for use during mass tests, so I docked up there.  But the market was in an NPC station across the system.  And, as I had reminded myself in Jita, you can’t park a titan in an NPC station.

But I could fly out and bring back supplies.  So I undocked in my pod and warped over to the NPC station.  There, I went to the forums to find a titan fit.  That got me a shopping list.  I bought all that, but needed to haul it back to the Keepstar.  Everything is just 100 ISK, so I bought a Charon freighter (and a SKIN to go with it… all SKINs are also 100 ISK, so if you want to play ship SKIN dress up the test server is the place to be) and flew it on back.

Brightly SKIN’d Charon

At the Keepstar I fitted the Avatar.  I discovered that I needed another skill to use the doomsday.  Why would you bother with a titan if you didn’t have that skill?  So I bought that too, filled up the fuel bay with helium isotopes, and undocked.

Of course, once you have a titan fitted out and ready to go you want to do something with it.  So I asked in local is there was anybody I could shoot.

I am too nice sometimes.  I spotted a few people I probably could have shot, but I wanted a volunteer.  And I got one.  A person in a Chimera, the Caldari carrier, fleeted up with me and warped on over.  I locked him up and unleashed the doomsday.

Over the left shoulder shot!

He exploded on the hit.

Chimera goes boom!

I almost did not get a picture of that.  The problem is that almost every time I see a doomsday going off, it is part of a huge operation and we’re at 10% TiDi, so I have minutes to capture a shot from just the right angle.  But here there was no TiDi at all, so it just went Zap! Boom! and done.  I had to scramble.

The other person, whose name I forgot because I have a brain like a sieve at times, flew off to go get another Chimera, so I hung around the Keepstart waiting for the timer to go down on the doomsday.  You only get a shot every five minutes.  You also cannot dock during that time.  And there is even a brief time after the shot where you cannot warp or jump.

Other people got in on the act and I took a doomsday hit of my own.

Zipped right through me

I think he was using a different flavor of doomsday.  It didn’t impact by caught me in the blast.  It blew through my shields and 4% of my armor.  I could eat a few more of those.

Meanwhile my friend was back with another Chimera.  This time I wanted to line up for the shot.

Aimed right at him

I let fly with the doomsday, but when the blast cleared he was still there.

Chimera shields flaring

Not only was he still there, but he was barely scratched.  He had fit for maximum EM resistance, since the doomsday I had was an all EM weapon, putting out 1.3 million points of EM damage.  But if you tank for that it isn’t an issue.

Meanwhile, somebody in a Hel was asking for a turn, to I lumbered in their direction while I waited for the timer to go down.  Once I was ready, it was time to shoot again.

Targeting the Hel

They too had tanked for EM, so I did very little damage there.  Not exactly the Deathstar I guess, but it was fun to actually try it out.  I might go back and play around some more, maybe try one of the other doomsday weapons.  But at some point they will wipe the server and mirror Tranquility again and my Avatar will be gone.  I likely won’t ever have one on the live server as I get tired and bored even thinking about the effort it takes to earn that much ISK.  Ah well.

As it turns out, while I was doing that, over in M-OEE8 was where the big test was going on.  I probably should have jumped over to check that out.

And if you want to see what the new Avatar model looks like firing the doomsday, Jay Amazingness put up a video of one firing.

Another day in New Eden.

The Power of Being Able to Say No

The big news in the cycle yesterday was Blizzard canceling the Titan project, their work-in-progress next generation MMO.  We don’t know what it was, only that it was delayed at one point and now it has been cancelled.

It probably wasn't this

It probably wasn’t this

(Picture from the iOS game Giant Realms and the breeding guide site)

This has led to any number of people to say, “Ha ha! Blizzard sucks!” or other equally inane things.

Let me tell you about what really sucks in the real world.

What really sucks is being in a company where you have to ship your product, whether it good or not, because otherwise the place will go out of business.  When you have to release work you know isn’t quite ready or needed another design pass or just should have been shelved at some point, that sucks.  Or when your product hits the market after a year of crunch only to find that the customers interested in it only want some small feature that got tacked on because it was easy… and they aren’t willing to wait for version 2.0, much less pay for it… that sucks.

But being in a company with enough financial independence to be able to say, “No, that’s not good enough,  we’re not going to ship that,” that totally does not suck.

It is not easy.  Every project gets a life of its own, and if the company has invested in the project and talk about it outside the company, turning things off can be, as Chris Metzen said, “excruciating.”  And you have to be willing to ignore the whole sunk costs thing, because money has been spent. I have worked at a couple of companies that should have said no to bad projects, that would have been better off if they had, but couldn’t bring themselves to do it.

So seeing a company that is both secure enough in its market and knows what it is about enough to drop projects, that makes me envious more than anything.  That is what I was told “real” companies do back in college.

So Blizzard will just have to carry on with its streak of best-selling, money making games by not shipping something they didn’t feel worked.

I am hoping to see something deeper on the subject once people get past mocking the market leader for an alleged failure.

For example, what does it mean for the MMO market that Blizzard doesn’t necessarily want to make another MMO?  Is this opportunity for others, or just something that will scare off more investors?

And, of course, what does that mean for World of Warcraft in the long term?  The billion dollar a year cash cow that is WoW is part of the reason that Blizzard has the flexibility to say no at this time.  I expect that we will see even more focus on Azeroth to keep that revenue stream active.  Let it go?  How about never?  Is never good for you?

Azeroth Needs to Stay Strong Until at Least 2016

According to Venture Beat, the Blizzard project code named Titan, the potential next big thing from the company, has been sent back to the drawing board and is now unlikely to see the light of day before 2016.

ActiBlizz450

Developers have been diverted to other projects while the core team starts over.

So, World of Warcraft will be paying most of the bills at least until then, which puts a little bit of pressure on the franchise after it dropped another 1.3 million subscribers last quarter.  Still insanely profitable, but that line is headed in the wrong direction.

Meanwhile, no Diablo III expansion has been announced yet.  StarCraft II just got an expansion, so the next one is probably two years off.  And Blizzard All-Stars, a free-to-play MOBA is reported to be coming along, but I cannot imagine that will be live before the end of the year.

More Than 2,500 Ships Clash in Asakai

And I missed it.

I was eating dinner when the op got called, but my pal Gaff was along for the ride and gave me some updates as the evening progressed.

A snapsnot (broken out by alliances) showed as many as 2,667 players in the low sec system of Asakai, which sits in the Black Rise region of Caldari space.  Gaff linked me this picture of the operation, which seemed to be going around. (More battle images here.)

Supercaps at Asakai

Supercaps at Asakai

Of course, so many players in a single system was a bit of a change.  The system stats from DOTLAN show a big spike in everything but NPC kills.

Jumps and Kills

Jumps and Kills

This is another example of both the strength and weakness in EVE Online.

The game let more than 2,500 players converge on a single system and engage in battle.

The game was also bogged down with that unexpected load to the point that the time dilation feature, which slows everything down on the impacted node so the servers can keep up with the action , was itself not enough to keep things going slowly but smoothly.  Extra lag, disconnects, and problems loading the grid were reported.  And this affected people not in the system but in systems on the same node, which probably covers the whole of Black Rise.

As is often the case, news of such a big even spread quickly, and both The Mittani and EVE News 24 had live reporting about the battle in progress, while a thread about the battle made it to the top of posts on Reddit. (Though TEST is from Reddit, so go figure.)  Included in the reporting was a count of over 3,000 ships in system at the very peak of the battle.

Of course, this all comes immediately after a week of escalating tensions between TEST and Goonswarm over a long simmering conflict between TEST and Goonswarm ally and CFC member Fatal Ascension.  While a devastating sovereignty war was averted, there was a mutual reset between the two sides and shooting has been encouraged.  TEST appears to have put the FA angle into their post battle propaganda.

Is FA Really Worth It?

Are FA Really Worth It?

The Mittani himself was a little more subdued about the battle results.

And now the post-battle analysis is under way, and no doubt will include everything from portents of doom for the Goons, to calls of fakery, to simple jibes at Goon FC Dabigredboat, to awe at the simple fact that such a huge battle even took place, to the ongoing discussion about whether or not null sec is dead.

Because, of course, this is EVE Online, where just because the shooting is over doesn’t mean the battle is done.

Addendum: And because it is EVE, it makes the mainstream media.  Gotta love this game.

Addendum 2: Now CCP has a Dev Blog about the battle.

Addendum 3: Okay, two Dev Blogs about the battle. This one has the numbers.

In Which I Stoop to Gevlon’s Level…

Or, perhaps, in which EVE News 24 hits a new low point.

Because there I am on the site, a few posts up from Gevlon.  One of my blog entries has been syndicated and posted over there for all to read, set free from its safe little home here at TAGN.

Of course, I had just been bitching to somebody somewhere that EVE News 24 was really dropping the ball when it came to covering events in the north end of null sec.  So when Riverini asked if he could syndicate some of my reports from that end of space, it seemed a little hypocritical to say no this time around. (He asked me once before, back in February.)

And so, there is a post of mine up on the site.

Six Fleets in Venal re-purposed

Of course I cannot go look at it, because then I might read the comments.

I am not ready to read the comments.

I did get to write my own tag line, which I did off the cuff in about 20 seconds, and it shows.

Wilhelm Arcturus, he’s played internet spaceship related games since the early days of MegaWars III, and expects to get the hang of things any day now. He reports on EVE from an individual capsuleer’s point of view at TAGN.

Ah well, I will just have to console myself with the ISK I will get for each item they choose to syndicate over there.  Each is worth at least two Guristas forsaken hubs, which is about all the ratting I can bring myself to do on any given night.

Speaking of Gevlon, he seems to want to join the Goons as part of his Titan plans.  I suspect a Goonswarm recruiting officer will be contacting him in-game very soon.  In fact, such officers are probably stepping over each other to get to him first.  They can hear the jingle of ISK in a player’s wallet at least three regions away.

But should he find his way into Goonswarm… or into one of the alliances in the CFC up in Deklein and Branch, which is probably a better bet… he will find that the Goons have a capital ship building group that will build any ship he has the ISK to pay for.  Like the delivery system, there is an order status page and everything.  Or so I am told.  I am not really in the market for a capital ship at this time.

I did dream at one point of flying a titan.  I think they were a little more awesome back then, with the area effect doomsday weapon and all that.

Still, Gevlon has the most important thing you can get in EVE Online: A goal and a plan to get there.

Everything else is just details.

A Titanic Proposal

In which the author takes complete leave of reality, virtual or otherwise, and then puts a lot of random things in bold type.

Krones over at Plaguelands has been playing one of my favorite EVEMon games, which is:

HOW SOON CAN I FLY A TITAN?

Actually, he was writing about a bit more than that in his post, but he mentions doing this in there, I swear.

Playing this was something I started doing as soon as I found out what a Titan was.

At first I thought a Titan was some sort of giant, armored, space Trojan, but it turned out I was just looking at the Amarr version.

Side Note: All non-authoritative posts about Titans, and you don’t get much further from authoritative than you do around here, must, by custom, make reference to the phallic shape of the Amarr Titan.  There is a good shot of its shape linked to this post.  The Amarr Titan is actually called an Avatar, a name that would certainly fit if it showed up in Second Life, where phallic Avatars are quite common.

Anyway, how do you play?

You open up EVEMon… you have EVEMon, right?  If not, go get it here and set it up for your character already. (You need a character in EVE Online as well, so if you don’t, don’t bother grabbing EVEMon.)

Anyway, open up EVE Mon, create a new plan, go to the ship browser, select the Titan of your choice (Caldari Leviathan for me, please), and click the “Add Skills to Plan” button.

It is likely that you will get a “Suggestion” at the bottom the window that will help bring in the date a little bit.  Go ahead and add that to the plan as well.

For Wilhelm, my main, the answer consists of 22 skills with a total training time of:

168 Days, 15 hours, 14 minutes, and 19 seconds.

That assumes perfect end-to-end skill training, something that even I am not obsessive-compulsive enough to accomplish.

With some time slippage between skills, I could still reasonably be capable of flying a Leviathan by April Fool’s Day, 2008, if I start on the plan this week.

Even my miner, who is considerably behind Wilhelm in skill points, could been guiding that Leviathan around in EVE by June 1st, 2008.

Both plans are dominated by a few long duration skills:

Advance Spaceship Command V: 27 Days
Caldari Battleships V: 43 Days
Capital Ships V: 76 Days

Three skills, 143 days of training.

Of course, this plan assumes a few other things as well.

The first is that I have the attention span to fulfill the plan.  I have 18 days to go before my miner can fly a Hulk and I can barely stand it.  It is far more likely that around day 40 I would suddenly decided I wanted to be capable of building a player owed space station and veer off on some other training plan.

The second is that I could somehow afford it.  These skills cost money.  The total estimated cost for the skills is 5.5 billion ISK, a number I am about 5.498 billion ISK shy of at the moment.

The most expensive one is the Caldari Titan skill, which is 5 billion ISK alone.

That pretty much dwarfs the second in line, Capital Ships, which is a mere 400 million ISK.

And the third and final assumption is that I could actually do something with this skill if I actually overcame the previous assumptions.

EVE Mon tells me that a Titan is worth about 50 billion ISK.  That is a lot of dough, Jack.

The problem is, I cannot just go out and buy one, even if I had 50 billion ISK jangling around in my pocket.  This isn’t a Caracal, a ship I now have experience buying.

I have to build the damn thing.

Building a Titan requires skills in and of itself, dominated primarily by the 67 days for Capital Ship Construction V.  At least that skill is only 75 million ISK to purchase.

So skills to build and fly put me out to August 1st, 2008.

And while I am out picking up those skills, I might as well buy the blueprint I will need for the final assembly of the ship, which runs a steep 63 billion ISK, but which is at least readily available.

And then we get to the bill of materials for the Titan.

Oh boy!  Look, we don’t even want to start listing this out, do we?  Go in game, find the blueprint on the market and look at the bill of materials.  I need over 6700 parts of 16 different types to assemble this dream ship.  Alliances spend a lot of time building these pieces.  But let’s assume we can buy them readily on the market.  A cursory look at the price of parts shows them between 5 and 9 million ISK a piece, so that is where the 50 billion ISK price comes in.

Then, with my skills all set, the parts on hand, and the blueprint ready, I just put it all in the oven for 8 weeks and, boom, my very own Titan!

I just have to have 120 billion ISK sitting around and about a year of training and construction time.  I would actually only need about 55 billion up front to get the skills rolling and to start buying up the parts, and could hold off on the 63 million blueprint until near the end.  That gives me plenty of time to earn the money for it!

And I had best earn a little extra money, since I probably want to equip the ship when I am done.

Then, within a few days of being done, somebody will come by and blow it up I am sure.

The one thing I do wonder, after the all of the silliness above, is whether it is worth it to skill up Capital Ship Construction and start building parts that could be used for a Titan.  Is there any market there, or are alliances pretty much self-sufficient when it comes to production?