Tuesday, 17 December 2013

New Space

It's been rumoured for while and has finally been confirmed that CCP will be opening new space within New Eden for settlement.
This is excellent news as it gives people a new location to move to or visit along with all the surprises and goodies that will no doubt be available. As if that wasn't enough there is a lot of talk of player created star-gates allowing players to control routes allowing them to lead the expansion and not rely on CCP (read: CONCORD) opening up the space lanes.
Most people I've spoken to or have read blog/forums posts by seem to be very positive to this news. It's hard not to be, it could be quite the expansion should CCP introduce it with new features and ships however there are those people who have quite valid concerns about any new space being "open" for a few minutes until one of the larger alliances suddenly moves a large fleet in and takes over.
I'd urge, strongly, CCP to look at this ability as the perfect opportunity to shake things up and open the game up to new and different playing styles. Remove some of the familiar and replace it with something that requires all players to relearn how things work and to have to adapt rather than fall back to the familiar and 'safe'.
Any new space needs to be open for all, not just large entities that have the people and assets to defend/attack but the small corporations or one-person-bands. We need EVE to embrace these people and give them something rather than allowing the large alliances to vacuum up whatever they want with little to no resistance.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Moving Cargo

Most of my characters can fly freighters and those that cannot are only a few days away from being able to, should I need them to. As a result I do move a lot of cargo myself and with Low-Grade Nomad implants not as slow as it used to be.
That said there are times when I don't want to (read: can't be bothered), cannot or wish to mitigate risk by using a 3rd party service. In the case of the latter I use Red Frog Freight and a very happy customer am I.
Red Frog Freight, for when it absolutely, positively must arrive.
Their rules for use are simple and when I have made a mistake during the setup of the contract I've been contacted by someone very quickly with details of the mistake for me to fix. The Trip Calculator is simple and provides the whole cost of the contract you'll pay, all you have to do is fill in the Courier Contract details with what the calculator states and what collateral you want to secure the cargo.
They say that it may take up to 3 days for any contract to be accepted and then 1 day to complete, I've never had a contract last more than 24 hours. I find setting contracts just before I logout for a night results in my cargo being where I need by the time I wake up, that's service.
I use Red Frog at least six times a week, mostly moving items from my high sec staging system to Jita or vice versa. The benefit, apart from the overnight movement is I don't have to worry about the Niarja pipe (the 0.5 system between Amarr to Jita where a lot of suicide ganking occurs).
Setting collateral to cover any cargo I am moving (I never move more than 1 billion ISK per contract, and insure it for its actual value) will see me still benefit if it is lost but, touch wood, I've not had that happen. Nor have I had a contract stolen by someone within Red Frog. I'm lucky I guess.
So if you're new to EVE and want to move large amounts of cargo around and mitigate some of the risk I'd recommend giving Red Frog Freight a try.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

CCP Fozzie is Quackers - An Update

I had not intended to do an update but I was thinking more about the hint image and I realised that maybe I was reading too much into the image and had gotten it wrong.
Instead of being a "parent" and "child" relationship could it be an indication of lots of small objects shooting a larger object?
Over the my years playing one consistent thing said is that Super Capitals and Titans are too powerful and to effectively kill one you need more of the same. As such this situation has lead to an "arms race" of alliances and corporations who can field these ships and fielding as many as they have pilots for.
Could the new ship or ships we'll be seeing dedicated super/titan killers? Something with a medium to light tank but very heavy firepower vs capital class ships. T3 battle cruisers can do a lot of this now but they are (usually) paper thin and can be overwhelmed by even a small sub-capital fleet.
It's another 'out there' possibility but we won't know until next year.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

One Giant Step for EVE Online, One More Poorly Timed Feature for Everyone

With all the wailing during Walking In Station protests and CCP saying they are refocusing back on spaceships I find it very interesting that out of the blue Twitch TV integration has been announced.
People use it sure and there are some good streams I'm sure but surely the resources used to develop and test this new feature could have been focused on something more relevant to the players rather than the 1%* who do use the service.
I've seen people comment that it's something that will be great for a couple of a weeks and then it will be forgotten or ignored by everyone else. I agree, it really does to me be one of those short life features that people fawn over but will soon forget.
It doesn't help that the implementation that we have been given doesn't even have the basic feature-set that most external casting software provides (the most oft quoted omission is the ability to delay-cast your stream).
The backend changes that were rolled out in the Downtime tonight were of more use to the populous of EVE Online than the twitch.tv integration.
But what do I know, I'm just one voice in space and as everyone knows in space no one can hear you scream...

Saturday, 7 December 2013

CCP Fozzie is Quackers

At EVE Down Under 2013 CCP Fozzie announced the name and showed the new SOE battleship (the Nestor) but he also provided a visual hint of an new ship that will be introduced in the 2014 Summer Expansion.
Here is the visual hint that CCP Fozzie gave during his presentation:
Image from www.themittani.com
Firstly, Ducks are cool so credit to CCP Fozzie for the image but it is supposed to be a clue as to what is coming in Summer 2014.
So lets list the possibilities based on what we see from the above image as pertains to EVE Online:

New Ship Transporter

The image could represent a new ship type that allows the moving of large numbers of assembled ships. The Ship Maintenance Hanger provides this functionality but is really limited (in terms of useful space) to ships that exist outside of high sec or cannot use jump gates.
Could we be seeing the introduction of a new freighter type ship that will have a large Ship Maintenance Hanger that can travel through gates. This is something that has been asked for by players before and whilst a freighter can move ships the ability for it to move assembled ships is limited (the smaller the ship the more you can carry).
A very specialised ship for a specific and limited purpose, I think this unlikely is what the picture alludes to.

New Carrier

The use of the ducklings and a single duck could indicate drones and existing capital ships are classed as T1 so could we be seeing a new carrier, T2 class, for each race?  It certainly would be nice, again this is something players have asked for, I think it unlikely as just more drones are just what CCP wants on their nodes and we are still in the midst of the sub-capital rebalancing.
Adding a new capital ship seems an outside chance, it would be nice but I believe it to be most unlikely.

New Transport Mechanic for Player Ships

Ship Maintenance Hangers require that players exit their ships but could the image be showing a new way of moving within EVE Online? This new method could allow ships with SMH to jump and move with player piloted ships and instead of using Jump Bridging players exit the 'mother ship' when they reach their destination.
Really, I must have been smoking something (and I don't smoke) to come up with this. This is so far left field that I'm no longer in the same country, extremely unlikely.

Change to Drone Mechanics

For a long time, should you have the right skills trained and the limitations of drone bandwidth, you could deploy a maximum of 5 active drones. Could the image be alluding to an increase in the current 5 active drones per ship limit?
This is another long shot, drones at the moment are server resource intensive and as we saw recently that enough ships and drones can crash a server node. I really don't think this limit will change upwards because it could both negate the Guardian-Vexor's worth and utility but also add additional strain to server nodes.

Where would I put my money

At this time, selected from my limited list of possibilities I believe that a new carrier is the obvious front runner. However, as with all supposition, this may and probably will change over time as CCP release more information and/or teasers.
Still a new carrier is where I'd have my money at this time.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Increasing Industrial Capacity

Manufacturing and Research Slots

With maximum skills you can only have 11 Research and 11 Manufacturing slots and these can disappear very quickly especially if you move into advanced manufacturing/research (e.g. Capital ships or T3 systems/ships).
The limit is annoying even for T1 items, they consume research/production little time compared to other items that you're usually able to do more with them in a day. Problem is we can't be at the keyboard 23/7 and so slots are lost due to pending jobs or, in public stations, slots are lost to others.
Adding a couple of new skills, much like trade skills, that adds extra slots would be the best way of adding this. Making the skills time intensive and not something that can be trained in a few hours is how I'd implement it.
Industrial Management (6x) - adds additional 2 manufacturing slots per level
Planetary Industrial Management (8x) - adds additional 5 manufacturing slots per level
Research Professor (6x) - adds additional 2 research slots per level
Einstein Fellow (8x) - adds additional 5 research slots per level
Everyone comes out of this better, industry types get more slots to do work in, production (potentially) increases as more can be made/researched and the market gains more product.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Jump Freighter Fuel Economy

Disclaimer and Note:
I'm sorry about the use of the pictures instead of tables within this post. I'm not au fait with HTML so didn't know how to add the tables manually as the WYSIWYG editor didn't have a table insertion function

All values and details were gathered from publically available sources via EVEMon, EVE Central and EVE Online Wiki. Additional information from Glevon Goblin and my own calculations.

You Learn Something New

I was reminded by a post at The Abysmal Aussie that most people know that Jump Freighters use different type of isotope as fuel but very few know that the amount of isotopes consumed per jump is not the same across each racial ship.
The actual isotope usage is (from what I can find) is:

This base consumption is per light year travelled, So a 3ly jump would use three times this value and is then modified by your skills in Jump Fuel Conservation and Jump Freighters, which means the higher you have these skills the more fuel you'll be saving which lowers the cost of each jump.

Fuel Usage Example

I've used the ICSC Jump Planner to plot the fuel usage for each Jump Freighter based on pilots with different levels of the modification skills. I wasn't able to find a system that was 1ly from another so I've used a grouping that I am familiar with and provide, what I think, is a good set of data for differing jump lengths to indicate usage:
You cannot have a 0,0 skilled pilot flying a jump freighter but these values are provided as they are the closest to the base consumption value and confirm that value.
This proves is the better your skills the more substantial your savings will be. Jumping 4.22ly with a JFC I/JF I pilot is (roughly) 3.2 times more expensive in fuel than a JFC V/JF V skilled pilot and this appears uniform over each racial jump freighter.
If you do lots of short jumps then you could get away with a JFC III/JF III skilled character as your pilot but really the minimum is a level IV for both skills. Training to Level V is time intensive (at least 2 months/60 days) but if you do a lot of jumps it is something you really need to invest in.

My Situation

I have two characters trained to fly Jump Freighters, with a third finishing Jump Drive Calibration V in about two weeks, and since training JFC V/JF V on one character the other hasn't done a single jump.
The drop in fuel usage has meant that I buy fuel once a week and still have some left over at the end of each week, the result of which is I'm slowly stockpiling through the excess. By lowering my fuel usage I've actually increased the value of what I do move.
I charge 200isk/m3 to move cargo now, when I started I was charging 300isk/m3 and that was spent on fuel with anything left over counted as profit. Now I'm running a consistent profit after fuel costs and this allows me to reinvest in more fuel so I always have enough on hand at my jump locations (not to mention Liquid Ozone for lighting cyno's)

Why Should You Care

You should care because of the price of isotopes and how they can be easily manipulated.
Average price of isotopes in Jita over a one year period (spikes indicate ice interdiction by Goons) - Graph by Glevon Goblin 
As we saw with the Goon Ice Interdictions over the past eighteen months the price of Nitrogen isotopes doubled overnight with a high being almost four times the original price within a couple of days. This made using the Rhea much more expensive and a risky gambit as gankers would and did go after ships carrying Nitrogen isotopes.
Each m3 of the Jump Freighter has a cost, jumping an empty freighter is a waste, all you're doing is burning ISK so it pays to know how much your costs are and EVE doesn't tell you in a simple manner.

Fine, but which should I buy

That's a question only you can answer, it really depends on:
  • your pilot(s) skills and what they are racially specialised in. If you can fly more than one then that opens up your options but most likely you'll be fixed to one type and the earlier.
  • isotope prices
If you have the ability to mine an isotope, or at least buy from a null sec source, then that may affect what you go for.

I have two Ark's because my characters are Amarrian however I also now have access to Hydrogen Isotopes in a couple of systems I jump too. As a result when my new character is trained he will be getting a Nomad. It isn't free to mine but it is certainly, with good mining skills, cheaper than buying in Jita.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

"It's just pixels"

I still cringe when I see loss mails of people ganked in high sec in their officer/faction fit ships or the freighter with their worldly possessions lost because they auto piloted through the wrong system at the wrong time. Let us not forget the people who just want to play by themselves or in a small group with as little interaction with the rest of the universe.
These things remind us that EVE Online is a hard, unforgiving place.
I can remember each ship I've lost and story attached to it (most were lost due to mistakes I made), the effort I went to earn the money to buy the ship and fit it not to mention each skill to make the most of the ship I had to train.
The subject of this post is the most often quoted response when someone in EVE shows a little bit of sentimentality or is perceived to be getting too serious within the game. I've (to my disgust) used it previously, I've had it used in responses to me and I've certainly seen other people use it when arguing or discussing things with others.
Yes, it may just be pixels but they are MY pixels and I've invested time and effort into them, it's not your place to judge or insult me because I've spent time and money in doing something only to have it lost or done something you had no control over.
So you, the person judging me and telling me I'm wrong in everything I'm doing, please shut up because they are my pixels and I'll do whatever I want with them.

Distribution Missions - a waste of time?

One of my characters has a 9.9 standing with Sisters of EVE that he achieved via Security missions. However I don't like to multi-box missions (I've failed badly before at that) and as a result I don't want to run two Security missions at the same time.
So I decided that a Distribution mission I could do with a Security mission at the same time because of the autopilot (not into Low Sec obviously). And having a Level 4 agent means I should get good rewards.
How wrong I was.
My character has Distribution Connections V and the first mission I got asked me to move some Dolls five systems for a few hundred thousand ISK and 512 LP.

Whisky. Tango. Foxtrot.

512 LP for a single Level 4 Distribution mission, I'm used to getting a couple of thousand LP for security missions and last time I did Distribution missions I know I got a couple of thousand per mission not a paltry couple of hundred.
Have Distribution missions changed in their rewards or have I gotten things so totally wrong. I asked in a channel with some more knowledgeable people. Their consensus was that Distribution missions pay poorly and this reward was right.
I checked my standings with the Agent and I'm wondering if it's the agent standings that caused this. The faction and corporation I have 9.9 standings with but the agent I had only 1.46.
Does anyone know if the standings between your character and an agent have an effect on the rewards you get?

Being in Battle

I make sure I've logged into TeamSpeak am in the correct channel and alter my input/output volumes so that I can be heard clearly and hear what I said clearly. When there is a break in the conversation and no intel is being given, I ask what ship type is needed and where rally point is.
Given this information I finish the logging in to the game. I appear in station and I open my ship hanger and select one of my Malediction's. I have four ready to fly that are equipped for the role of fast tackle.
I focus on my ship and it's role, I made sure that I have the right fit and ammunition. I can feel my level of concentration increasing, clearing my thoughts and increasing my heart rate.
I undock and alter my view from a zoom in of the ship to something further out giving me more of a 360 degree view around my ship. I warp to the rally point (a POS in system) and en-route double check my HUD.
On the overview I have the PvP tab selected and verify that all ship types are selected with brackets off and I move the game HUD (with all my modules) to be at the top right of my screen next to the overview with targets underneath in a vertical arrangement of two columns.
I'm still listening to TeamSpeak and reading the Intel channels, our quarry is being reported and cloaked ships are watching them. More people are joining fleet, shield battlecruisers are arrayed around the POS tower as I land, mixed with some Scimitar's who will provide logistics assistance.
The sight of our fleet causes me to feel a tightening of my chest and I filter all localised noises out. I am listening to TeamSpeak and only TeamSpeak now.
Fleet is ready, the quarry are two systems out and moving towards us as a group. Their fast tackle is next door to use already sniffing out the path and looking for targets, fortunately none exist they are being guided by an unseen hand towards us.
FC starts giving orders of how this will play out, my mouth is dry so I take a sip of my drink, we have orders to get amongst the enemy and grab any fast tackle ships attempting to burn out of the engagement area or any other ships attempting to flee.
I see why, we have two Sabre's arrive at the POS, we will be engaging at brawling ranges with bubbles pulling our fleet on top of theirs.
I can feel my heart beating faster still, combat is imminent.
The enemy fleet is reported to have jumped into the system next to ours, their fast tackle is on the gate to our system. I check my modules, all active modules are bound to the F1 to F8 keys for easy activation.
I activate my Damage Control and check the modules are at the correct keys:
My rockets are grouped at F1, my point at F2, second point at F3, micro warp drive at F4 and my repair module is there at F5, loaded with nanite paste and pre-overheated.
I can feel my heart racing now, beating faster and faster. I can hear it in my chest as I try to clam myself down by breathing slower and with large breaths.
"Ready to go" I reply in TeamSpeak when asked by the FC if I'm ready.
The order to align is given, I align and give a burst of my micro warp drive to get ahead of the fleet, our quarry have landed on the gate to our system and their fast tackle has just jumped to us.
"Tackle go" is the order from FC
I click the warp button and instantly enter warp. Four interceptors and two Sabre's enter warp.
My heart is as fast as it can, my mouth is dry again and it seems as if I'm watching what is happening in slow motion. 
"fleet warp to gate" is the next words spoken on TeamSpeak.
It's only a couple of AU's to the gate and we make it there just as the enemy fast tackle is decloaking, bubbles appear around me as I exit warp.
The enemy fleet has jumped, I am surrounded. I pick my targets and start moving.
Our fleet lands as theirs uncloaks. Battle commences...
I'm breathing as fast as I can, I can feel the tightness in my chest and I am focused, listening to orders and watching the battlefield for targets.
This is why I play EVE Online, I love this game.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Unexpected Loot

I've continued my L4 mission running, aside from the fact that the LP is reasonable and the items in the store are very profitable I've actually found myself enjoying them again.

No more running to EVE Survival and reading on the blitz and then following the instructions I actually warp in, drop in a Mobile Tractor Unit and start shooting. I do wish the MTU had an extra tractor beam and/or was faster to pull stuff in but what it does is fine and if I pace myself all is good.
This process is what I've followed and salvage and loot have been reasonable, nothing to go WOW over but I get a nice amount of T1 salvage and the modules I sort and reprocess what isn't worth reselling.
This all changed a couple of days ago, I got a faction mission that sent me to retrieve a Special Delivery item from some 'bad guys'. I warped in and there were no more than a dozen ships, a couple of frigates, cruisers and a battleship in the form of the 'head bad guy'.
I dropped the MTU and then MJD'ed out of the initial spawn area and started Bastion mode. Less than 5 minutes later I'd killed everything but the battleship of the 'head bad guy'. I focused on this with Imperial Navy Multifrequency and some Range scripts in my tracking computers. He was dead within two minutes and at 47km from me within my ship tractor beam range.
So I locked the wreck and pulled it in and what I saw was this:

A Dread Guristas Cloaking Device, not an officer spawn but still this one module is worth five or six standard missions in ISK (~20million). I've never had a drop like this outside of an officer spawn (I've only ever had one of those and it was a bitch) and/or faction ship in null sec.
The module has been added to the faction items I have and may or may not be sold at a later date. Regardless what a nice reward it was.