Thursday, October 2, 2014

Be Careful What You Ask For

"Preface: this is a big change. Yes, the way you play now is, as it relates to things touched by these changes and to varying degrees, no longer going to be viable. If that wasn't the case, these changes wouldn't be worth making in the first place.

"This isn't a business-as-usual tuning pass, this is redefining what jump drives are *for* in this game."

Yesterday, CCP published one of the most significant dev blogs concerning EVE Online in a long time.  The issue addressed involves force projection.  On 25 September, an article on covering the first episode of CCP's new Twitch show, "o7", briefly described the issue:
"Force projection has been hotly discussed over the last year, and it appears CCP agrees with the most common criticism: that big gangs of capital and supercapital ships can travel too far and too quickly. Smaller groups of players have been afraid to engage, knowing that a supercapital hammer could be dropped on them from a galaxy away. Greyscale and Nullarbor intend to slow down long-distance travel, with nerfs planned for long range use of jump drives (short range use should be relatively unimpacted)."

"Without a dev blog detailing exactly how the long-distance jump drive shift will work, we can only speculate, but it certainly sounds like what many players have been lobbying for."
According to the story, the dev blog was due out the second week of October.  Instead, CCP Greyscale's published the information on the first day of the month instead.  This move caused some consternation from at least one member of the Council of Stellar Management, Sion Kumitomo, who sent the following tweet:
I can't help but wonder if the posting of the dev blog was accelerated in response to the publication of "The Null Deal" on 28 September.  The document, signed by alliance leaders controlling approximately 90% of sovereign null sec, laid out three principles they wanted CCP to incorporate in a null sec revamp.  The principles included some sort of occupancy-based system for determining sovereignty, each region possessing NPC-controlled systems, and the value of null sec systems increased across the board in order to support an increased player density.  That last sounded like the alliance leaders assumed that some sort of force projection nerf would occur.

I found one part of the manifesto particularly alarming.  Nine of the fourteen members of CSM 9 signed the document.  With the summer summit concluding only 9 days previously, did that mean that the Council of Stellar Management was not confident in the plans CCP had devised for revamping null sec?  Perhaps one or more devs felt the same way and accelerated their plans in order to try to minimize the influence of the null sec power brokers and their Null Deal.  Or perhaps because the majority of the CSM signed the document, CCP Greyscale decided to go straight to the player base.
"Decided it was better to get feedback from players as early as possible, rather than trying to spot all the awkward cases ourselves and release a blog at the last minute. So far, it seems to be working."
In the dev blog itself, CCP Greyscale indicated that the systems CCP is looking at some sort of occupancy-based sovereignty system in phase 2 of the null sec revamp.
"It is during this phase that we expect to make greater progress towards smaller and more diverse Nullsec holdings. It is too early to go into great detail about what these changes will contain, but currently most of our conceptual prototyping has loosely fallen into categories that could be described as “occupancy-based” systems and more “freeform” systems that decentralize sov to focus more on control of the individual pieces of infrastructure. As we continue this investigation we will be working closely with the CSM and following all appropriate player feedback."
However, in the comments, CCP Greyscale doesn't come across as a fan of the "NPC systems in every region" plan:
"Staging in hostile space is definitely a thing we want to look at, although not for this release. If we can find a solution that doesn't involve proliferating NPC space that would probably be more optimal, as it would require us to give players the tools to solve this themselves rather than solving it for them."
I haven't included any analysis of the plan in this post because the plans, even in their incomplete state, are too complex to write about on a weekday night.  Any analysis I do perform will have an Empire slant as I don't know very much about null sec.  But with the threadnaught having reached 130 pages and 2589 posts as of 6:10am EVE time, I figure I needed to at least provide a little background on some of the issues we will probably hear about over the next few days.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Modules And Ship Fittings

For some reason, downloading the Oceanus patch took a lot longer than usual.  Maybe something was happening with Comcast as Twitch was also working pretty spotty last night as well.  But whatever the reason, I didn't get to do much more than update my planetary interaction colonies last night.

Oceanus doesn't really hold a lot of interest for me.  I don't speak French, so the French localization doesn't affect me, except maybe bring in more people to shoot at me.  I don't normally go into wormholes, so I won't see the new graphics.  And while the new cloaking graphics look really cool, I'm not sure I play with my graphics turned up high enough to really see the effect.  I'll find out when I actually get to undock tonight.


The thing that really has me interested is the beginning of the Module Tiericide effort.  CCP wants to eliminate "vendor trash" and make everything that drops from NPCs useful.  The concept of vendor trash doesn't work well in EVE because the items go on the market and only players, not NPCs, buy the items.  As CCP nerfed the reprocessing of items from 100% of mineral value down to 55%, that means a lot of items would eventually start clogging up the stations.  The clutter might even bring Scotty out to complain about the situation.

In Oceanus, Module Tiericide hit the fitting modules, scanning modules and light missile launchers.  I don't really know much about light missile launchers as I usually fit either torpedoes or festival launchers on my ships, so I won't touch on those.  But looking at the modules I do use, I noticed a trend.  For the meta 1 to meta 4 modules that CCP is consolidating, the CPU requirements don't appear to increase.  So modules should not go off-line due to that.  The modules may go off-line due to reduced effectiveness of the modules themselves, but I think CCP tried to keep any player rework for modules to a minimum.  I hope so, because I really don't want to have to keep checking my ship fits every five weeks.  Then again, I probably should, depending on what I see in the patch notes.

I guess I should add this happy observation I made that will absolutely piss off gankers once they find out.  The meta 1-4 survey scanners got buffed!  That's right, CCP showed the miners some love and increased the range of the modules to 20 km.  I don't think miners will complain that the module duration was increased for most of the modules up to 4.5 seconds.  Tech 2 manufacturers will probably complain about the reduced advantage that the tech 2 module will provide, but that's a different story.

With the constant revision of modules changing fits, CCP needed to find a way to easily import fits from third-party applications like EFT and pyfa into the fitting screen.  Happily, the UI team came through.  I found the steps for importing a fit from pyfa very easy.

1.  With the fit you wish to import showing, select Edit > To Clipboard.
2.  Open the fitting window in EVE and select "Browse".
3.  In the Fitting Management window, click the "Import from clipboard" button.
4.  In the window that appears with your fit, click the "Save" button.

So easy I was able to copy a fit my first attempt.  Part of the reason that people think I'm good with computers and software is that I make every mistake possible when learning, which means I know how to fix things for other people when they make the same mistakes.  But the process for copying my fit was so simple I wasn't able to make a mistake.

I'm sure I missed a few things about Oceanus, like the changes in the notification system, new burner missions, and new items in the cash shop.  But right now, as I begin to really look into theory crafting and fitting my ships properly, Module Tiericide and copying fittings into EVE are what really have me excited about Oceanus.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Digital Dozen: 30 September 2014

The rankings of the top twelve MMORPGs as determined by the players of the Xfire community from play on Sunday, 28 September 2014.  For more details about the methodology, click here.  Historical data can be found here.

RankPrev WeekGameScoreHours Played+/- %
11World of Warcraft45.16,154-8.2
22Guild Wars 212.41,694-1.8
33Star Wars: The Old Republic10.21,386-17.2
56EVE Online5.2714+8.4
65Final Fantasy XIV5.2707-9.6
810Lord of the Rings Online3.3450+32.0
12--APB: Reloaded1.6220-12.0
Total Digital Dozen Hours: 13,654

The recent three week streak of the Xfire community increasing its time spent playing MMORPGs came to an end this weekend.  On Sunday, Xfire members spent 6.8% less time playing its twelve most popular games compared to the week before.  World of Warcraft (-547 hours) led the decline while Lord of the Rings Online (+109 hours) was the only game to post a triple-digit gain in playtime.

Destiny? - I can't tell a reason for this week's decline.  Perhaps Destiny is finally having an effect on Xfire members.  Destiny, as a console game, does not appear on Xfire, but may have an affect on the choice of some members of the Xfire community.

The Dead Marshes - Lord of the Rings Online saw a 32% increase in playtime over last week.  The surprising fact is that Update 14.2, The Dead Marches, was released on 15 September.  Usually a game will spike the Sunday following the release of an update and not wait two weeks.  Perhaps the lag is another indication that Xfire is not proving itself such a reliable indicator of player behavior anymore.  Either that, or a lot of Xfire members tried out the launch of ArcheAge and returned to LotRO this weekend.

As The DDoS Turns - EVE Online experienced an 8.4% increase in playtime on Sunday.  Normally I would attribute that to excitement for the next release, Oceanus, which deployed today.  But this week I'll attribute the increase to a slackening of the DDoS attacks that have plagued the Icelandic developer over the past few weeks.  While at time slow, I did not hear of any attacks that kept players from logging into the game.

Monday, September 29, 2014

A Weekend Or No Importance

Sometimes I just want to play games.  No worrying about how others are treating each other.  No parsing the EULA to determine if someone is breaking the rules.  Not even looking at games journalism.  No, after running all my errands and cleaning up around the house this weekend, I just played games.

On Saturday, I played a little Tropico 5 and spent an hour or so with a chess program.  I haven't played in a few years and thought I'd brush up and start practicing again.  But, as usual, I wound up logging into EVE Online.

I don't think that people will think what I did was very exciting.  First, I did a little theory crafting.  I lost my Hound recently trying to kill a clone soldier.  Yes, the clone soldiers really are tougher.  So I spent some time revising the fit.  I think I have something that will work for ratting in Angel space, but I maybe should look into another bomber.  Then I spent the rest of the night bookmarking a system I plan to mine in. 

Sunday I spent the day doing something different.  I was moving materials to my factory station and took fire as I docked.  Considering one of the ships sitting at the undock was a Broadsword, I decided that maybe I'd stay docked for awhile.  So instead of flying around, I decided to start making tech 2 mining crystals.

The invention process can get a bit addictive.  I had a 48% chance of success on each invention attempt. With each attempt taking 46 minutes,  I wound up going through my entire stock of Laser Physics data cores.  I now have tech 2 blueprint copies for almost every type of mining crystal.

Of course, having the blueprints doesn't do any good unless I actually use them.  So I started making tech 1 crystals for use when the invention attempts ended.  After figuring out how many hypersynaptic fibers I would need to build 5 tech 2 crystals for each ore, I headed out to Dodixie.

I have to say that making the trip was pretty fast in a Prowler.  The only thing more impressive was when one batch of blueprints I was inventing finished.  I was able to take delivery of the finished products and put a new batch in from a station in Dodixie.  The concept of setting up industry jobs in a station in Metropolis while sitting in a system in Sinq Laison is still pretty new.

Once I got the tech 2 materials back to Metropolis, I started moving my mining ships around.  I moved both the Procurer and the Prospect packaged in my blockade runner.  I did make two trips because I didn't want to take a chance of losing both ships in case I ran into a gate camp I couldn't bust through.  My area of Metropolis is a lot busier lately, so I'm a lot more cautious.  But I eventually got all of my ships positioned with all the necessary modules and rigs in my staging station.  Now all I have to do is actually assemble the ships and I can start doing a little low sec mining again.

Like I mentioned above, nothing exciting happened.  But sometimes, a little normalcy is a good thing.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

I Need A New Type Of Post

The issue of the legality of the use of ISBoxer in EVE Online is one of those running sores that creates conflict among EVE players.  CCP's position on the software doesn't help any.
"We do not endorse or condone the use of any third party applications or other software that modifies the client or otherwise confers an unfair benefit to players. We may, in our discretion, tolerate the use of applications or other software that simply enhance player enjoyment in a way that maintains fair gameplay. For instance, the use of programs that provide in-game overlays (Mumble, Teamspeak) and the multiboxing application is not something we plan to actively police at this time. However, if any third party application or other software is used to gain any unfair advantage, or for purposes beyond its intended use, or if the application or other software violates other parts of the EULA, we may fully enforce our rights to prohibit such use, including player bans. Please use such third party applications or other software at your own risk." [emphasis mine]
CCP also has a clear statement about botting software, "This is NOT allowed under any circumstances."  So clearly, CCP does not consider ISBoxer botting software.  Neither do I.  But I continue to hear ISBoxer referred to as botting software from voices as diverse as EVE Radio's DJ Big Country to one of the dean's of EVE blogging, Kirith Kodachi.

Regular readers know I'm weary of reading the same, tired arguments that CCP has already rejected.  Instead of reading how ISBoxer is botting, I'd like to hear the answers to questions about how ISBoxer has the same effects on EVE as botting.

I'm beginning to think I need to come up with a different type of post.  One with just answers to questions I see popping up.  That way, if the subject comes up on Twitter, I can just copy and paste the link into a tweet and just answer questions that way.  Maybe even come up with a catchy name for a tag.  But I was writing about the ISBoxer issue 18 months ago and the uproar in the community then led to the language in the Third Pary Policies page that exists today.  Considering that CCP just fixed an ISBoxer-specific bug in the EVE client, I don't foresee any changes in the policy.  And as I've already stated, I'm pretty tired of the subject.

UPDATE: CCP Masterplan has stated that the bug was not ISBoxer specific.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Refining My Prospect Fit

On Monday I posted my initial thoughts on how to fit the Prospect, the tech 2 Expedition-class mining frigate built on the Venture hull.  I was pretty sure a couple of smart readers would come along and leave comments telling me how I was wrong.  I was not disappointed.  Based on their feedback, I've revised my fits.

Samsara Toldya pointed out a flaw that, in hindsight, was obvious.  I had equipped a Small Anti-EM Reinforcer I.  CCP Fozzie, in his dev blog, specifically made a point of stating that, "Blessed with a small signature radius and extra hitpoints, a Prospect equipped with a Medium Shield Extender and a 1MN Afterburner can easily tank nullsec asteroid belt NPCs."  And what did I do?  I installed a rig that increased the ship's signature.  What a noob!

Given that hint, I looked at how I could decrease the signature radius as much as possible.  I decided to replace the EM rig with a Small Low Friction Nozzle Joints I as Samsara suggested.  That meant I only needed to fit 1 Nanofiber Structure II in order to get a sub-3 second align time without the afterburner turned on and a sub-4 second align time even with the afterburner running.  That one change gave me more flexibility with fitting the low slots.

But I wasn't finished.  I decided to see how else I could reduce the signature radius.  I chose to swap out the Medium Shield Extender II for a Medium Azeotropic Ward Salubrity I.  I chose that shield extender instead of the Medium F-S9 Regolith Shield Induction based strictly on price.  I didn't consider the extra 37 hit points worth 2.5-3 million ISK.  With the changes in rigs and choice of shield extender, at max level skills the signature for my base fit is 33.8.  Considering the signature of an unfit Stilletto is 31 and that of an unfit Crow is 35, I think I did okay.

Also, with the changes to the shield extender, I freed up enough CPU to have a variety of fits.  The first one is a tanky version that I think should handle the DPS of null sec rats as CCP Fozzie suggested.

A tankier version of my original fit
The resist profile is much better than my original fit from two days ago.  My EM resist drops 9.5%, but as the local low sec rats I have to worry about are the Angel Cartel (explosive & kinetic) and Mordu's Legion (thermal & kinetic), that's not a major concern.  What I am happy with is that my explosive resist increases 4.4%, kinetic resist increases 5.3%, and thermal resist increases 7%.  I have a much stronger tank for less than 1 million ISK more.

One objection to using the Prospect is that the ship does not have the Venture's built-in +2 warp core strength.  My fit above does not use warp core stabilizers.  What would the fit look like with one WCS?

I don't have time for your e-Honor
The Damage Control II has the same CPU and power grid requirements as a Warp Core Stabilizer I so I can interchange them easily.  The penalty for using one WCS is not terrible, as the targeting range is reduced down to 12.5 km, which is still greater than the 10 km range of the Modulated Deep Core Miner II or, if you choose to downgrade, the 12 km range of the Miner II.  I should point out that rats have pointed me while I was ice mining in low sec in my Procurer, so the module isn't just for use against players.

The next fit is for those who's primary concern is maximizing ore yield.  I personally would not feel comfortable flying around in the fit, but I include it as a possibility.

A carebear's version of a max gank fit
By replacing the Warp Core Stabilizer I and Nanofiber Structure II from the second fit in this post, I'm able to fit 3 Mining Laser Upgrade IIs, increasing the mining yield from 852 m3/minute to 930 m3/minute.  The trade-off is that the ship will align 1 second slower and lose the +1 warp core strength bonus.

Easy Esky isn't a fan of the Modulated Deep Core Miner II.  He'd prefer to use the Miner II.  The Miner II does require a lot less training time, but that's not what caught my attention.  If he goes wandering around exploring, he doesn't want to pass up anything interesting due to his fit.  So what have I neglected so far?  Gas harvesting.

With the advent of the mobile depot, players have the ability to make long voyages and refit at the destination.  But if a player wants to use a mobile depot in order to swap out ore mining equipment for gas harvesting equipment, that leaves very little room for mining crystals.  So in that situation, the best choice is the Miner II.

Ready to harvest gas
The above fit just takes my first fit and replaces the ore harvesting modules with Gas Cloud Harvester IIs and Warp Core Stabilizer Is.  The addition of two warp core stabilizers does reduce the lock range down to 7 km, but that doesn't matter as the range of a Gas Cloud Harvester II is only 1.5 km.

Perhaps the most important part of the fit is that, using Miner IIs, a pilot is ready to mine anything found while exploring except mercoxit.  If the above is used as the travel fit, and the pilot is transporting either a Mobile Depot or a 'Yurt' Mobile Depot, the following equipment fits comfortably in the cargo hold:
2 x Miner II
2 x Modulated Deep Core Miner II
2 x Mercoxit Mining Crystal II
3 x Mining Laser Upgrade II
1 x Co-Processor II
1 x Sisters' Expanded Probe Launcher
8 x Sisters' Core Scanner Probes
The list includes the equipment to mine mercoxit as well as a probe launcher and probes necessary for operating in wormholes.  As the list requires 73 m3 of space, some trimming is required to carry around a 'Wetu' Mobile Depot.  I'd have to ask someone who actually lives in a wormhole if a mobile depot is a practical option.  If not, I'd need to come up with a wormhole fit.

I think I'll stop posting about Prospect fits for now.  I'm pretty sure a lot of readers either already know this information or aren't interested in anything that just shoots rocks.  Hopefully by explaining the reasoning behind the decisions, someone might learn why I fit my ships the way I do instead of just how.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Digital Dozen: 23 September 2014

The rankings of the top twelve MMORPGs as determined by the players of the Xfire community from play on Sunday, 21 September 2014.  For more details about the methodology, click here.  Historical data can be found here.

RankPrev WeekGameScoreHours Played+/- %
11World of Warcraft45.76,701-0.5
22Guild Wars 211.81,725-6.0
33Star Wars: The Old Republic11.41,674+6.5
55Final Fantasy XIV5.3782+11.7
64EVE Online4.5659-13.4
109Lord of the Rings Online2.3341-9.3
1111Planetside 21.8271+3.0
12--Elder Scrolls Online1.8 259+43.1
Total Digital Dozen Hours: 14,647

Sunday saw another slight increase in the amount of time the Xfire community spent playing its favorite MMORPGs.  This weekend's 2.5% increase in hours playing games was lead by ArcheAge (+621 hours) while the games facing the biggest drop in interest were Guild Wars 2 (-110 hours) and EVE Online (-102 hours).  Elder Scrolls Online returns to the list after a three week absence, replacing Neverwinter.

Too Popular - ArcheAge has had a rocky start, with server issues and extremely long queues to enter the game.  Still, the Asian import published by Trion in the west rose up to fourth on the list this week.  The game may wind up having some staying power, if only because people will finally have a chance to log in once the queues go down.

Attracting The Wrong Type Of Attention - Yesterday CCP published a statement on their official forums acknowledging that for the past few weeks that EVE Online has experienced a series of DDoS attacks.  One of those attacks hit on Sunday during a time that traditionally has the highest number of players logged in.  That is most likely the reason for EVE's drop in hours played this week.

Back On The List - Elder Scrolls Online is back on the list after a three week absence.  On 16 September, Zenimax released Update 4, which introduced a new area, a new trial, and ten arenas in both Normal and Veteran Mode.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Preparing To Prospect In Low Sec

The Prospect-class expedition frigate was introduced in the Kronos release in early June, but I was too busy training all of the ore processing skills to five to really even think about training to fly the new mining ship.  Doing further research led me down the road to training Deep Core Mining in order to use Modulated Deep Core Miner IIs once I finally did get a Prospect.  And if I was going to train Deep Core Mining, I decided to train the skill to five just in case I decided to take a null sec roam.  I'm still three weeks away from having the Expedition Frigates skill trained to five, but I'm starting to do the theory crafting and planning needed to take off gallivanting around low sec looking for ore.

Why do I want to wait until I have the skill trained as high as possible?  Partly because of the drop in mining output.

Procurer Low Sec Concept Fit - Hyperion
A variation of my old Procurer fit, I swapped out a nano for an inertia stabilizer for agility and added a +5% mining implant to make up for the loss of yield after the Procurer nerf.  High sec miners might scoff at a Procurer with only a 960 m3/minute unmodified mining yield, but the fit suits me and the way I use the ship in low sec.  However, my neighborhood is getting pretty dangerous and I don't really like losing ships.  So I want to change ships.

I realize that dropping down from a cruiser to a frigate-sized hull means losing mining yield.  But that doesn't mean I'm not going to make every reasonable effort to make the drop in production as small as possible.  I think I came up with a half-way decent fit.

Prospect Concept Fit - Hyperion
The graphic above shows an "All 5" fit because Wandering Rose lacks Expedition Frigates 5 and I wanted to show the mining yield after she finishes training the final skill.  I think I did fairly well.  My fit has an unaided mining yield of 852 m3/minute with a 3 second align time and, according to Pyfa, 6597 EHP.  That means I only lost 11.25% in yield while gaining greater survival capabilities for dealing with the hazards of low sec.

The high slots are interesting.  The Covert Ops Cloaking Device II is mandatory on this ship.  The Prospect is designed to sneak past other players, not try to fight them.  Don't fly the ship unless you can fit the advanced cloaking device.

The one item I didn't know about was the Modulated Deep Core Miner IIs.  The tech 2 version of the Deep Core Miner I, this module uses mining crystals like the Modulated Strip Miner II designed for use on mining barges and exhumers.  The one additional advantage is that the Modulated Deep Core Miner II can fit mercoxit mining crystals.  I've read comments that I should not bother with the Modulated Deep Core Miner II and instead just use the regular Miner II.  But the Modulated Deep Core Miner II gives 16.6% more yield (852 m3/sec vs. 731 m3/sec) in this fit for no fitting advantage.  The one big advantage the Miner II has over the Modulated Deep Core Miner II is training requirements.  The Miner II only requires Mining 4 while the Modulated Deep Core Miner II requires Mining 5, Science 5, Astrogeology 5, and Deep Core Mining 2.

The mid slots were influenced by CCP Fozzie's dev blog that introduced the Prospect.  He wrote, "Blessed with a small signature radius and extra hitpoints, a Prospect equipped with a Medium Shield Extender and a 1MN Afterburner can easily tank nullsec asteroid belt NPCs."  So I decided to base the ship's defenses around the concept.  I included the Medium Shield Extender II and Adaptive Invulnerability Field II to give the ship a stout shield tank and the suggested afterburner for increased speed.  The only thing I don't know is whether the tank will work against low sec rats.  I still have over two weeks to visit the Singularity test server and experiment.

I faced a bit of a dilemma when fitting the low slots.  I normally include a Damage Control II in the low slots, but the module didn't feel like it fit in with my vision of the ship.  The ship relies on agility and speed to get out of harm's way, so that's how I approached the low slots.  First, I included two Nanofiber Internal Structure IIs in order to get the align time down under 3 seconds.  Including the nanos also increased the ship's velocity while the afterburner is running up to 1311 meters/second.  I fit two Mining Laser Upgrade IIs not only because I wanted a higher mining yield, but to reduce the amount of time I spend uncloaked as well.  I may have to change that theory if I find out I need the DCII to help with the shield tank.

The rig slots are pretty basic thinking.  The Small Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer I is present to plug up the EM hole in the shields.  The Small Processor Overclocking Unit I rig was necessary to provide the CPU required to fit the shield tank.  I played around with the idea of going with a small shield extender, but that could lead to other problems.

Finally, I have two implants I think are required for my concept of this fit.  The first was the WS-615 warp drive speed implant.  I love speed and the implant increases the warp drive speed from 5.5 AU/sec up to 6.32 AU/sec.  That will allow me to outrun almost any ship except an interceptor that decides to give chase.  The other is the MX-1005 implant that grants a 5% increase to mining yield.

When I get home from work today I'll have a newly built Prospect waiting for me to take delivery.  Did I mention I built my own ship?  I also plan on making my own tech 2 mining crystals.  Why not?  If all goes according to plan, I'll have the materials needed to make more.  Besides, I'm tired of going to Rens and Hek for stuff like this.  I'd like to make and possibly sell my own.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Master Space Priest?

Today is "Talk Like A Pirate Day," but I'm not a pirate, I'm a carebear.  Admittedly a low sec carebear, but still a carebear.  Since I'm not very good at making space pixels controlled by other players explode, I'll just point out that I have the potential to act like a pretty good space priest.

Minmatar Space Priest V

A few weeks ago I finished training Repair Drone Operation V, which allows me to use tech 2 maintenance drones.  With that, I completed Mastery V according to the Interbus Ship Identification System (ISIS) for all frigate- and cruiser-class logistics ships in EVE.  For those who don't play EVE, CCP sometimes gives different things the same name, which in this case is a bit confusing.  In this case, logistics doesn't refer to the movement of supplies, but the repairing of ships in combat.

I should point out that just because I have the skills trained doesn't mean I'm any good at acting as a space healer.  In fact, the closest I've ever come to flying a logistics ship is when I flew a Scythe back when it served as the Minmatar mining cruiser.  In EVE, knowing what to do is oftentimes more important than having the skills.  I've watched enough Alliance Tournaments over the years to understand some of the basics.

For example, always pre-lock the ships you are responsible for keeping alive.  Also, when remote repairing shields, the effects take effect at the start of the module's cycle while remote repairing armor is slower because the repairs occur at the end of the cycle.  Also, electronic warfare like sensor dampeners and electronic counter measures (ECM) can really make a logistics pilot's life unpleasant.

General Targeting Skills

I intended to write a post about the ISIS system and the skills required to have Mastery V of a logistics ship, but quickly realized I didn't even know enough about the skills I had trained to write about the subject.  Take, for example, the Advanced Target Management sub-category.  Just by glancing at the list I knew that Target Management Level V and Advanced Target Management Level V would allow me to lock more targets.  Pre-locking as many targets as possible is good.  But why was CPU Management Level I required in this group?  Looking at the skill showed that the skill is required to fit electronic counter-counter measure (ECCM) modules.  Oh.  Kind of important for a logistics pilot.

But wait, what about the sensor compensation skills that also counter ECM?  If I'm flying a Scimitar, I need Ladar Sensor Compensation trained to V, right?  That's found in a different, faction-specific skills group called Minmatar Target Management.

Faction Specific Targeting Skills
I understand Long Range Targeting for longer targeting ranges, Target Management to increase the number of targets a ship can lock, and Signature Analysis for increased targeting speed.  All of those are important for the ability to target a ship to provide remote repairing.  But why is CPU Management Level IV required?  Because the skill is required to begin training Ladar Sensor Compensation.

Just a brief look at the skills in ISIS showed I still have a lot to learn after five years of playing EVE Online.  I also see why some players don't like ISIS.  As in the examples I've used, one skill group requires CPU Management trained to I while another requires the skill trained to IV.  Why not just have a total listing that just shows the skills needed for each level?  Why have duplicate entries for some skills?

This post is an example of why having the skills separated into groups is a good idea.  By working my way through the skills, I learned that CPU Management is needed both to fit ECCM modules and train the racial sensor compensation skills.  I'm also pretty sure if I keep looking that another skill group will require training CPU Management to V.

I'll write that post about the skills needed for Mastery V in tech 2 logistics ships one of these days.  But I'm learning that to truly understand what I'm doing in game, I need to do more than just put the skills in the skills queue.  I don't even understand all of the skills yet.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

GamerGate: Yes, It's Still Going

All is going as I have foreseen.  Which is, the internecine war between a subset of "gamers" and a subset of games journalists is slowly seeing itself escalate to becoming another front in the greater culture war.

I'll ask for your forgiveness in advance for not properly documenting this post with hyperlinks to show I'm not high on crack cocaine.  I just want to get my view of the events on the record so I can link to them later.  Assuming, of course, that I write about this story anymore.  Unfortunately, I think I probably will.

Apparently, left-leaning elements of the games journalism community and people aligned with 4chan have skirmished for years about the content of video games.  That skirmishing erupted like a volcano in Iceland when a jilted lover decided to spill the beans on how his girlfriend, an indie game developer, slept around with other game developers and a member of the gaming press.  This brought out an outcry about how the indie game developer was using sex to further her career.

That story would have fizzled out with no result, except that members of the gaming press decided to strike back.  In EVE terms, they saw total victory in their grasps and attempted to do to 4chan what Darius JOHNSON and The Mittani did to Band of Brothers: not only kick them out of their prominent space and onto the fringe, but take their identity away at the same time.  Needless to say, the games journalists in question don't have the collective wisdom, intelligence, or judgment of the Goonswarm leadership.  Imagine a boy scout troop playing paintball against a SEAL team.  Yes, the difference is that great.

So the games journalists got together and came out with a series of posts about how "Gamers are over".  A real dumb move.  The backlash not only caused people sitting on the fence to side with 4chan, but resulted in some sites tightening up their ethical rules for their writers.  And, as I expected, sent up a flare for elements fighting the greater culture war to intervene.

The first was Adam Baldwin, who coined the term GamerGate.  His involvement resulted in the issue appearing on the radar of former members of the pajamahadeen Professor Glenn Reynolds, who runs Instapundit, and Ed Morrissey, who, EVE readers might find amusing, wrote a blog called The Captain's Quarters before moving over to write for Hot Air.  Professor Reynolds is key, not just because of his prominence, but because he likes video games.  If he starts posting about a subject, others take an interest.

The issue has reached the wider culture, with the controversy hitting publications like The Guardian, Forbes, and Time.  Perhaps notably, though, a writer for and feminist Christina Hoff Sommers are now involved.  Interestingly enough, the games journalists have once again apparently gotten together to come up with a united message to attack Sommers.  Four articles were posted with extremely similar titles.  Which is really bad timing as Breitbart is currently running a story about how some games journalists are running a version of Erza Klein's Journolist.  That is sure to interest more conservative activists to take a look around at the gaming community.  Well, to do more than blame video games for violence (yes, I'm looking at you NRA!).

That's my off the top of my head review of GamerGate so far.  Do I really want to write about this more?  No.  But if people keep acting stupidly, I may have to.