Friday, October 27, 2017

Crimson Harvest - Lifeblood Edition

I took some time out from scanning moons last night to run the Crimson Harvest sites. The Crimson Harvest is CCP's annual two-week Halloween event that began yesterday. To explain why the Crimson Harvest features the Blood Raiders, here's a video from 2015.

The event uses The Agency to give a series of tasks players can earn points for completing. Unlike past Agency events, these are not tasks that players can only perform once a day. Once one event is complete, another event with the same general goals is offered, just with a higher target to reach. The four types of tasks are:

  1. Completing Blood Raider Gauntlet sites
  2. Completing Mining Expedition sites
  3. Collecting bounties
  4. Mining ore

The scaling is pretty basic. While I don't have information on the mining scaling, I assume it follows the scaling for bounties:

  • Part 1 - 100,000 ISK - 10 points
  • Part 2 - 1,000,000 ISK - 11 points
  • Part 3 - 5,000,000 ISK - 12 points
  • Part 4 - 10,000,000 ISK - 13 points

The site tasks have the following scaling:

  • Part 1 - 1 site - 10 points
  • Part 2 - 2 sites - 11 points
  • Part 3 - 3 sites - 12 points

With the reward structure, players don't even need to run the event content to get the event prices. If a player receives 16,100,000 ISK in bounties while either running missions or ratting, the player will receive all the rewards in 9 days.

What are the rewards: The overall rewards from The Agency are:

110 points - A random booster from the following list:

  • Agency Damage Booster I
  • Agency Damage Booster II
  • Agency Damage Booster III
  • Agency Tank Booster I
  • Agency Tank Booster II
  • Agency Tank Booster III
  • Agency Speed Booster I
  • Agency Speed Booster II
  • Agency Speed Booster III

220 points - A Crimson Harvest Cerebral Accelerator. The accelerator gives a temporary boost of +10 to all attributes. The standard time of effect is 24 hours, but training Biology V increases the time to 48 hours.

330 points - A Crimson Harvest Cerebral Accelerator.

400 points - A random SKIN from the following list:

  • Magnate Headhunter SKIN (Permanent)
  • Omen Headhunter SKIN (Permanent)
  • Merlin Headhunter SKIN (Permanent)
  • Caracal Headhunter SKIN (Permanent)
  • Tristan Headhunter SKIN (Permanent)
  • Vexor Headhunter SKIN (Permanent)
  • Slasher Headhunter SKIN (Permanent)
  • Rupture Headhunter SKIN (Permanent)

The real prizes come from running the Blood Raider Gauntlet sites. In the 4 sites I ran last night, each prize ship (the battlecruisers and battleships) dropped at least one Crimson Harvest Cerebral Accelerator and one Agency booster. The really good drops come from the NPC battleships, which do not appear in high sec. Running 3 Blood Raider Gauntlet sites in low sec netted me 2 SKINs and assorted clothing as well as 54 Agency points. I ran one high sec site on a different character and only received an accelerator, a booster, and 31 Agency points. Running 3 sites a day will ensure getting the 400 point random SKIN, but doing the event in low sec is more profitable. I don't know about null sec as I did not venture into one of the null sec areas.

The Blood Raider Gauntlet sites are fairly simple. Consisting of two dungeons, the initial warp-in sees the player facing an initial wave of 5 Blood Raider frigates, followed by two waves of 1 NPC cruiser and 4 frigates.

Whether during my testing on the Singularity test shard or on Tranquility, the first wave always gave me the most problems. Last night, the only ship I had available on Tranquility was a pre-Lifeblood Bellicose fit with heavy missile launchers, so that's what I used. The additional 75 powergrid and 40 CPU the ship received in the Lifeblood balance pass would have allowed me to fit a large shield booster instead of the medium I used last night. EVE isn't always about having min/maxxed fits, and some smart flying allowed me to waltz through the site, never going below 25% shields.

I should add one other point about my ship fitting. I only had Hobgoblin Is aboard, which made sense. After all, abandoning tech 1 light drones in case someone drops in is pretty painless. Also, since Blood Raider NPCs are vulnerable to both EM and thermal damage almost equally, the combination of Mjolnir Heavy Missiles and Hobgoblin Is worked surprisingly well.

For the first dungeon, I warped in at 0, although the smart play would have involved warping in at a range of perhaps 20 km or 30 km. From there I flew to the acceleration gate and orbited at 2500 meters. By doing so, the next two waves warp in at a distance and I picked them off at my leasure. At this point I should add that the additional 20 km lock range boost the Bellicose received in the balance pass came in handy.

In the second dungeon, players have to fight through two waves of 5 Blood Raider cruisers before getting to the prize ships. I found orbiting the structure and shooting the NPCs one by one worked well. The final wave in high sec is a battlecruiser supported by a cruiser and a frigate. Orbit the battlecruiser at 2500 meters, not only to speed tank the battlecruisers guns, but to pick up the loot from the ship as fast as possible. In low sec sites, a final wave of 1 battleship and 3-4 cruisers appears. Again, I orbited the battleship at 2500 meters and picked off the cruisers first, finishing up with the battleship. One warning about the battleship. The battleship neuted out my capacitor, but by the time it shut off my afterburner and hardeners, I had killed off the cruisers and the battleship couldn't track me, even at the reduced speed.

An afterburner-fit Bellicose can pretty much signature tank all of the NPCs in this dungeon, so I never had to activate my shield booster. I don't know how a ship that requires cap to fire would fair, although testing a Vexor fit with railguns did work on Singularity. In fact, the Vexor never ran out of cap, but on Singularity, the battleship didn't have cruiser support either.

One final note about the sites themselves. Upon completion in low sec, a new one spawned immediately. Also, when I flew to Rens to pick up new gear to outfit my Arbitrator to take advantage of the third missile launch point it received in Lifeblood, I noticed every system had at least one Blood Raider Gauntlet site. No more wandering around the universe looking for sites, which should mean a greater usage rate. The searching for sites was always the pain point that made me decide whether to do event content or not. With the increased spawn rates, I may wind up doing the content more often.

Overall last night, I accomplished my main goal of getting cerebral accelerators for the three characters I have training. I exceeded my goal of 3 because I ran the sites in low sec. Not only did I get the three, I received 7, which means I will have advanced training until sometime on the 30th. My goal is now to gather enough accelerators to keep the boosted training continuing until the boosters expiration date of 28 November. That's 45 more accelerators. Now, I just need to fit that within all the moon surveying I want to do.

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