Monday, August 29, 2016

A New Lore Development Involving The Alliance Tournament

On Friday the Scope published a video commemorating the destruction of the first Keepstar-class citadel in EVE Online. For those who missed the news, the video is embedded below.

One item stood out in the news scroll across the bottom of the report:
"Rumors surface regarding potential purchase of Independent Gaming Commission by newly independent Scope Network amid announcements surrounding Fourteenth Alliance Tournament."
A very interesting development. The Independent Gaming Commission took over control the Alliance Tournament in YC109 (2007) from the Caldari Gaming Commission. The CGC held the first Alliance Tournament, beginning December 28 YC107. Even at the beginning of the AT, capsuleers wanted to gamble on the event, with Eve University and BIG Corporation operating betting services.

The Caldari Gaming Commission had big plans for the Alliance Tournament, announcing a partnership with Boundless Creation in November YC108. The partnership would organize tournaments every six months for five years. The plans came crashing down soon after the third Alliance Tournament as the CGC became embroiled in a tax evasion investigation as the Mercantile Club turned over footage of CGC officials and their accounts to the Caldari Business Tribunal. The Caldari Gaming Commission was found guilty of evading 3.4 billion ISK in taxes in May YC109 and ordered to pay an additional 1.5 billion ISK in penalties. In July YC109, CGC founder Dabel Kaelikohani announced his organization would no longer sponsor the AT.

At the end of July YC109, Woratome Kikawa, a former top executive with the CGC, announced that his newly-formed Independent Gaming Commission would take over the running of the Alliance Tournament. In his announcement, Kikawa announced the IGC brought resources to the task far greater than those of the CGC:
"I'm happy to announce that the Tournament will continue, but it is not longer strictly tied to one empire. To collect the funding needed for the tournament we now instead have investors from all four. From the Caldari State, we welcome members of the Mercantile Club; from the Minmatar Republic we enjoy the expertise of the Leisure Group; the Gallentean Bank of Luminaire will provide us with financial backing; and the Amarr Certified News will cover all news from the Tournament this year."
Over the past nine years, the IGC managed to avoid trouble with the authorities, but the tournament was plagued by irregularities and match fixing. Among the worst blemishes was the collusion between Hydra Reloaded and 0utbreak during AT IX and disqualification of The Camel Empire and Warlords of the Deep from Alliance Tournament XIII. If the rumors are true, fans of the tournament can only hope the Scope will bring greater oversight to one of the greatest annual events in New Eden.

Friday, August 26, 2016

My Idea For Improving EVE

I'm not sure why, but a lot of people are floating ideas on how to improve EVE. The CSM is running town halls and focus groups looking for ideas and feedback to take with them to the upcoming summit in Reykjavik. A lot of people love to spend hours and hours telling CCP how to design their game. I'm not really sure why. I tried once and the experience is something I don't think I'd try again. I think I'll just sit and snipe from the sidelines once I see the changes appear on either Singularity or Tranquility.

I will make one exception. Something extremely obvious is missing from the game. Festival launchers for citadels. Seriously, citadels could look something like this:

Okay, the citadel wouldn't look exactly like this. The art department does not approve of pink in EVE. But we know we need citadel sized festival launchers.

Citadel festival launchers are such an obvious idea that I don't feel out-of-place discussing them. I have the feeling we may see them come out at the end of November or perhaps early December. I do have one desire for a citadel festival launcher. I'd really like to see an area of effect snowball round, kind of like the point defense system AoE. I don't know if an AoE firework is practical. Based on my experience in Signal Cartel Hug Fleets, the amount of fireworks going off could affect people's graphics cards.

So that's my idea for improving EVE. With any luck, we may see them appear in the not so distant future. Now, if we could only get snowball blueprints...

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Supplementing The Nestor

Last night I passed an important milestone in my quest for a Nestor. I now have over 600,000 Sisters of EVE loyalty points on one character. I'm going to continue to grind loyalty points because when I finally buy the pirate battleship, I want to have at least the 348,000 SoE loyalty points I possessed when I began the grind.

Another reason is I want to maximize the skills to fly such an expensive ship before I undock. The next 10 skills in my queue are:

  • Large Beam Laser Specialization IV
  • Large Pulse Laser Specialization III
  • Large Pulse Laser Specialization IV
  • Gallente Drone Specialization V
  • Minmatar Drone Specialization V
  • Amarr Drone Specialization V
  • Caldari Drone Specialization V
  • Advanced Drone Avionics V
  • Gallente Battleship V
  • Amarr Battleship V

With +4 implants and my current neural mapping, I'll finish those skills sometime in the first week in February. I placed the drone skills before the battleship skills because they will help with so many other ships than the Nestor. In fact, I set up my skill queue with the goal of learning skills that will help with a lot of ships first, then I narrow down to more ship specific skills. I did do a little rearranging to max out my relevant Nestor skills first, but learning the drone skills at this point of my EVE career is pretty much mandatory.

I also want to pick up a little bling for the battleship. Syndication, the Gallente Level 4 epic arc, gives a Black Eagle Drone Link Augmentor as one of the rewards at the end of the series. The faction module gives 2,000 m greater drone control range bonus over the tech 2 variant. If I don't use the module myself, I understand I can make some good ISK by placing it on the market for sale. The average sale price in Jita yesterday was 146 million ISK.

As a final move, I may pick up an Armageddon to simulate flying a Nestor. I still need work figuring out which crystals to use. I also think that I need more practice with an armor tank and cap management, which is why I'd pick using an Amarr ship over a Gallente one.

My goal turns out not to just acquire a Nestor. I want to fly the ship well. Flying the ship well not only includes building up the skill points, but getting the practice required to not make dumb mistakes. As the most expensive ship, when fittings are included, in my personal fleet, I don't want to do something silly to lose it.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Maybe I'll Buy A SKIN After All

I have to say I am not impressed with the offerings out of the EVE Online cash shop. As in, I still have the 5000 aurum I received from CCP back in 2011 when clothing and monocols were all the rage. More accurately, what all the players raged about.

I've spent a lot of time on the Singularity test shard over the past week or so testing burner mission fits and looking at the new mining barge artwork. I'm not really a fan of the SKINs. If the offer is still available when I get a Nestor, I may pick up the Sanctuary SKINs collection for the Sisters of EVE ships. But I don't think the skins for Minmatar ships look that good.

Claymore Justice SKIN
For example, I fly Claymores, so I started looking at the SKINs available for the command ship. The one I like the best is the Justice SKIN, but then I'd own a green ship. I associate green with the Gallente. I guess the Gallente are okay, but do I really want to imitate them?

Then I decided to see the selection available for Procurer hulls. The ORE Development SKIN for the Skiff looks pretty good.

Skiff Ore Development SKIN
More importantly, the SKIN is also available for the Orca. Color coordinated mining fleets? I could go for that.

I see three other SKINs on Singularity, but none available for purchase on the market. They are the Digmaster Blazon, Morphite Shine, and Paydirt Prospector. I like the Morphite Shine the best of the three.

I think the colors harken back to the good old days when Minmatar ships were rust-colored. I love the look on the Procurer and Skiff, but not so much on the Orca. Still, having a little fleet sitting in a belt all with the same paint scheme would look pretty cool.

I'm still not sure about purchasing anything from the New Eden Store. The selection is improving, although I still get the sense the SKINs are overpriced. I thought so last year and I'm not sure I'm willing to buy an Orca SKIN. Sure, I still have a lot over $50 worth of aurum on two of my accounts, but I still want to wait to see if anything new comes around that really impresses me. For now, I can control the impulse to splurge.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

A Procurer Pilot's View Of September's Mining Barge Changes

Yesterday CCP Fozzie posted the upcoming changes to mining barges and exhumers to the EVE Online forums. I know that many people are deathly allergic to the forums, so I'll post the ship and module changes below:

Monday, August 22, 2016

Looking At Tags

A quick post because I spent a lot of time playing EVE this weekend. I am now up to 250,000 Sisters of EVE loyalty points on my grind up to getting a Nestor. What surprises me, though, is the amount of wealth I've accumulated over the past two weeks. Even after paying for drones, manufacturing and research costs, and a second fully-fitted Hound for my second low sec mining base, my wallets are still up a combined 250 million ISK. The thing that stunned me, however, was the amount of drops and salvage I collected. The price estimator in my inventory in the station states I collected over 500 million ISK in modules and salvage.

Breaking down the value of the drops, I gathered over 250 million ISK in Caldari and Amarr Navy tags. Wow! Back when I started playing EVE, I never considered the tags as worth anything. Okay, that was sheer laziness. Seven years ago the estimated worth of your belongings didn't exist. If I wanted to know how much things cost, I had to look them up one at a time in the market display. Who had time for that?

I'm not really sure tags are really that attractive. I took a look at the Brutor Tribe loyalty point store and I didn't see anything I really wanted. Or, nothing I wanted that required tags.

I see an awful amount of tags required to get a lot of items. Perhaps some of these items are better than tech 2, but I'm not so sure. Then again, I have a lot of skill points, so perhaps newer players would see these items as replacements until they get the skill points for a higher level of tech.

Something tells me the true value of the tags in my inventory is greatly exaggerated. I probably should just gather them all up in one place and watch for when desperate people are willing to overpay for the things and then sell to the buy orders. If I really want faction gear, I just want to pay the loyalty points and some ISK. Trying to collect tags doesn't seem worth the effort.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Watching My Standings

One of the dangers of running missions in high sec is running afoul of one of the empires. On my current quest for the Nestor, I need to worry about my Amarr standings. Currently Wandering Rose is sitting at -2.81 and Rosewalker is at -4.5. If I hit -5.0, the Amarr Navy starts shooting at me in high sec.

My standings with the Amarr are improved considerably due to a skill called Diplomacy. The skill grants a +4% modifier per level to the effective standings toward every NPC faction with which I have negative standings. Both Wandering Rose and Rosewalker have the skill trained to 5. Without Diplomacy, my characters would have Amarr standings of -6.01 and -8.12 respectively. Did I mention I like to shoot at Amarr ships?

The formula for calculating standings isn't found in CCP's Help Desk article on standings, so I thought I would include the algorithm below:

Effective Standing = Unadjusted Standing + (10 - Unadjusted Standing) * (4% * Skill Level)

Of course, my standings are so bad that just a couple of storyline missions would free me from fear of the faction police wanting to separate me from my ship.

On the flip side, if I started working to improve Wandering Rose's Amarr standings, her Minmatar standings would drop like a rock. Her standings are 9.91, and I'm not sure I really want to lower them. Then again, the development trend in EVE is to not value high standings like I have with the Minmatar anymore. I think the only reason I am reluctant to do so is that her standings show she is a staunch supporter of the Republic and doing anything to reduce that feels like a betrayal of the character.

I should add that I could gather up the loyalty points I need without ruining my Amarr standings. I know of a level 4 distribution agent in low sec I can get a lot of loyalty points from. But part of the exercise I am engaged in with my current grind is to become familiar with running high sec security missions after a very long time of not doing them. Besides, ruining my Amarr and Caldari standings would give me additional goals in the game. A kind of perverse way at looking at the situation, but if I want to talk about repairing standings, I may need to ruin some first.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

In The Midst Of Deadspace

Sometimes logistics get a little confused. After using some sub-optimal ammunition over the previous few days, Wandering Rose watched as the hanger crew unloaded some sorely needed Scourge and Mjolnir missles for her Claymore and crates of large EMP rounds for the 1400mm howitzers on Rosewalker's Maelstrom. Finally, she could relax until the next scheduled shipment arrived two days hence.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Station Lockouts And Derived Standings

Every so often I read or hear someone bring up the idea of locking people out of stations based on their faction standings. A very old idea, we saw the feature implemented in factional warfare in the Inferno expansion in 2012. With CCP working on new PvE content that may come out sooner rather than later, I figured now is as good a time as any to take a closer look at the concept.

First, let's examine the mechanics at a relatively zoomed out level. Players currently require standings with a corporation in order to run missions for that corporation's agents. Faction standings can modify the level of agent the player can access. For example, a character with standing of 5.0 with the Caldari State, for example, can work for every level 1 thru 4 Caldari agent in New Eden. On the flip side, a character can have perfect 10.0 standings with an NPC corp, but if the pilot's standings with that faction are below -2.0, then a pilot can only access level 1 agents belonging to that corporation.

I should add that the level one restriction did not always exist. When I began playing, one could not run any missions for a corporation with which one had faction standings below -2.0. Recovering from bad standings was, in polite terms, painful. In order to gain standings, one had to do missions with a faction allied with the faction the player wanted to gain standings with. The derived standings gains are smaller than directly running missions for the NPC faction. Even with access to The Plan, I don't think anyone wants to return to the days where players could lock themselves out of access with a faction's agents.

Now, can anyone see where locking players out of stations for having low faction standings could cause a problem? Locking players out of stations would lead to locking them away from agents that could allow them to directly gain the standings needed to get back into the stations. Then we're back to the derived standings game if one has already utilized all the one-time use agents that reside in space.

The second complaint is about realism. Some may argue that the Amarr would not deal with someone with bad standings. Putting aside the theory that sometimes playability is more important than realism, I think the current situation has that covered. Let's use the Amarr Empire as an example of how things work today.

Let's say someone like me, who likes to shoot Amarr, shows up in the Empire looking for work. With standings of -4.3, all of the good paying jobs are closed to me, unless I seek work at a non-Amarr station. I'm stuck with low paying work from level 1 agents. And if I keep up my Amarr-bashing ways and my standings fall below -5.0, the faction police will chase me out of the high security sections of the Empire.

Outside the Empire, the lucrative Amarrian agents will still shun me. As for the level 1 agents? They seem pretty desperate to me. Let's take Chadla Herorad as an example. Chadla is a level 1 distribution agent for Nurtura, a large Amarrian agricultural company with interests throughout New Eden. Chadla is stuck in Aldik, a system in the Minmatar Republic region of Metropolis, two jumps out of Geminate. Does anyone really think Chadla cares who hauls the fertilizer out of the station as long as the smell goes away? Any warm body who can fly a hauler will do.

Now, I have to stipulate, the above is based on the current situation in EVE today. As I mentioned above, CCP is working on changes to PvE that could upend everything we know. But as long as we have the current standings system, I hope CCP doesn't make recovering from a mistake, or even sheer ignorance, too onerous an undertaking.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Ammo Issues

After 10 days of running missions, I'm a little over one-quarter of the way to obtaining a Nestor. In addition to picking up 150,000 Sisters of EVE loyalty points, I've looted 180 million ISK off the field and picked up over 200 million ISK in bounties and mission rewards.

One thing I didn't count on was the type of damage I would need to deal. I figured the Ani constellation is in Angel Cartel space, so if I brought explosive ammo, with thermal as backup, I would do okay. Ha! I think I've used explosive damage the least. I need to use all damage types, although thermal is the most used so far.

I have ammunition stashed away throughout Minmatar space, so I had a cache close by to meet immediate needs. But my ammunition usage is higher than I expected, so I've moved into high gear producing my own. Why don't I just hop over to Hek? Because I'm saving my liquid cash not only to buy the Nestor blueprint (150 million ISK) and fit the ship, but I still need to purchase and outfit a Damnation. I'd rather convert the stockpile of minerals I have into ammunition. Besides, I like making my own ammunition.

One slight oversight I made with my blueprint collection was failing to do time efficiency research on most of them. Given that I not only need to meet my current consumption rate, but replenish the one cache I borrowed from as well as establish a new cache in the Gallente COSMOS constellation, the faster I can manufacture what I need, the better.

One trick I'm using is producing blueprint copies and then manufacturing items using the copies while I continue to perform the time efficiency research. Because I can only run one or two missions a night during the week, I have time to make the copies. Coming home and finding 30,000 rounds of EMP L waiting for me when I log in after dinner is a nice feeling, as don't use that much in a full week.

Maybe one of these days I'll get back into the business of selling faction ammunition and missiles. For now, though, I'm just happy having the proper ammunition to shoot at NPCs.