Tuesday, November 6, 2018

The Crimson Harvest 2018 (aka EVE Online Halloween)

This year, EVE Vegas fell during the period I normally would research live events on the Singularity, so no warning post about how much the Crimson Harvest changed from last year.  The third iteration of EVE Online's Halloween event will go down in history as the event in which players first could manufacture cerebral accelerators. For those unfamiliar with EVE, think experience potions. In other games, XP potions are either found as drops, or more commonly, purchased from the cash shop. The idea of craftable items isn't new, though. Black Desert Online, for example, allows players to make food and drink that grants XP boosts.

CCP divided the content into two types of instances, Crimson Gauntlets and Crimson Harvest Fields. The Crimson Gauntlets were the combat instances that dropped the good loot. I only ran the sites in high sec because I didn't really have a lot of time to play until Sunday and didn't have time for the interruptions I'd have running the content in low sec.

Under fire
I wish I had run the sites in low sec, as the drops even in high security space were pretty nice. I picked up a lot of faction crystals, which flying mainly Minmatar ships I don't use a lot. But I do fly the Stratios and Nestor, with an Astero in a hangar somewhere, so I will use them someday. I also picked up a couple of Blood Raider faction modules. But the main prizes were the cerebral accelerator blueprint copies.

I found three types of BPCs: Basic, Standard, and Advanced. The Basic flavor of accelerators grants +6 to all learning attributes for 24 hours and each BPC had 5 runs. The 3-run Standard BPCs create accelerators that increase learning attributes by 10 for 24 hours. The Advanced, of which I only had one drop, was a 2-run BPC that grants +12 to all learning attributes for 24 hours. The accelerators, like all drugs, is affected by the Biology skill, with Biology V doubling the duration of the accelerators.

Running the Crimson Gauntlet sites was rather simple. I took the Vagabond I use to run tier 3 Abyssal sites, dropped a mobile tractor unit down, and orbited the MTU at 2,500 meters. After destroying all the NPCs present, I would destroy one of the field generators which resulted in two additional waves of Blood Raiders dropping in. Warning for players. The Blood Raiders applied significant neuting pressure, which is why I used my Vagabond. My ship is able to handle the neut pressure from multiple Triglavian ships in a tier 3 Abyssal site. The neut pressure from the Blood Raiders wasn't that heavy.

I decided that since the MTU was gathering up the wrecks anyway, I might as well salvage the wrecks. The most efficient way was to run 3-4 sites, then hop in a Noctis and salvage them all up in one run. Each site brought in 1.5-2 million ISK per site.

For those looking to produce their own accelerators, running the Crimson Harvest Fields came next. In keeping with the spirit of the season, the layout of the site resembled a pumpkin patch. Asteroids were clustered in five areas, kind of like they are in the Resource Wars sites. Players received 10 event points for every 500 units of the special ore mined. The ore could then be processed to get the minerals needed to make the accelerators.

I decided to triple-box the sites, with two characters getting the points for mining and the third character providing Orca support. I discovered I could safely mine three of the five areas, but the last two areas were protected by a rather large fleet that almost put my Orca into structure. I came back with my Vagabond and had to warp off bleeding armor. It wouldn't be until Sunday that I finally got my revenge.

I needed a lot of ore, and since I finally had a few hours to play I decided to mine all the ore from a site. I cleared the first three groups of asteroids, then switched over to my mission running duo-boxing combination of a Maelstrom and a Claymore. The Maelstrom dropped a mobile tractor unit to scoop up all the loot and the Claymore drove in to trigger the Blood Raider fleet. Once they started warping in, the Claymore dashed off to rejoin the Minmatar battleship, which in turn was aligning to an asteroid belt, just in case the fleet proved too tough.

Harvesting in the pumpkin patch
With the Claymore picking off frigates, the 1400mm howitzers fof the Maelstrom first shredded the neuting curisers, then went to work on the battleships. The frigates that survived the efforts of the Claymore then ran into the Acolyte IIs of the Maelstrom. But it does no good to tackle a ship if the big guns don't survive long enough to apply damage. With the main threat taken care of, I then destroyed the three Blood Raider structures one at a time, destroying the resulting NPCs piecemeal.

Once I eliminated the threats to my mining ships, I carefully gathered my fleet back into the site. Keeping two ships in the site at all times, I would warp the third ship of my little gang to the bookmark I placed on the MTU instead of the site beacon. I noticed something strange. In the middle of warp, my screen would go blank for a second or two, then my ship would continue on. Happened for all three ships. I think the cause is that the beacon despawned, a new site spawned, but because I kept ships inside the original site at all times, the game needed to recreate the gate into the original site. Whatever the explanation, I mined the rest of the ore.

I shouldn't forget the basic rewards for the event. The long duration accelerator giving +10 to learning stats was available at 50 points, with SKINs for the Astero, Gila, Macharial, and Avatar available at 150, 300, 650, and 1000 points respectively. I had one character get all four, a second get up to the Macharial, and the third the Astero and Gila SKINs.

Overall, I'm not sure how much I liked the event. The requirement to mine for hours in order to get the materials to keep my characters in cerebral accelerators was a pain. But the mechanics were interesting and a change of pace. Now on to the next event.

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