Monthly Archives: June 2014

Out of Office

I am heading out on family vacation for about 10 days.  Probably won’t be blogging.

I wanted to throw out a couple of links though:

It was only active for about 3 months, but “Scumbag Hanz” had a pretty amusing blog about his adventures in Ninja Salvaging and Ninja Looting.  I am adding it to the relevant part of my new player exploration guide.

Another blog that is fairly new is Across the Threshold.  I noticed it on the Blog Banter and it is a pretty interesting read.  It is the tales of a fairly new CEO of a fairly new Wormhole corp.  Go check it out.

I already added the Killmail Archivist to my blogroll.  He has only been blogging since May, but he is going to be a phenomenon.  He is already being compared to Jester, and since he is part of Rote Kapelle the connection carries some weight.  If you aren’t reading him already, you will be shortly.

Finally, there is this exploration guide site.  It has lots of ads and it is written to make money for the author (and heavily promoted on Reddit), but it is decently done.  It focuses on the data/relic side of exploration and gives a good overview and some good tips.

 

Learning to Fit Ships – BB57

The latest Blog Banter is up and I am going to participate.

The gist of it is: How can players learn (or be taught) to fit ships correctly – and what exactly does it mean to fit them correctly?

Lots of players and forums and sites get a big kick out of mocking badly fit ships in EVE.  Some corporations will even use this as a reason to boot players (supposedly).

I have flown (and still fly) ships that would probably get me mocked on killboards.  In fact, I tried a fit just a few days ago that was pretty bad.  Not only was it bad, but I even used it on new content at a warpable location in Lowsec.  But I used it because that is all I could cobble together with what I had in the area.

Anyway, I suspect lots of Eve players have used a few suboptimal (or even downright embarrassing) fits over the course of their playing careers.  So the first thing that I want to emphasize is the commonality.

Now I suppose there are different degrees of bad fits.  Some fits are actually fine – if you fly them correctly.  Some fits are correct for certain content, but fail in other content.  And some fits are pretty much bad at everything.

I think that part of the problem is that Eve is very different from other MMO’s when it comes to fitting ships.  For one thing, it is pretty common in other MMO’s to leave slots blank – especially early on.  You might have a sword and breastplate, but you might not be able to use a helmet or perhaps rings or whatever until you reach a certain level.  Or you might not be able to “enchant” your gear until a certain level.  But in Eve, empty slots are pretty much wrong.  You may occasionally leave a high slot open, but mid and low slots should ALWAYS have something.  However, this is not intuitive.  Rigs slots are not intuitive.  Knowing how tanking works and the different types of tanks is not intuitive.  This is further hurt by the fact that the only way to see how a module will perform on your ship is to buy it and equip it.  And if it is an active module, you have to undock and activate it to see how your stats are affected.

Now if you know how/where to find the out of game fitting tools, you can solve some of those problems.  But a new player isn’t going to look for out of game tools so he is automatically at a disadvantage.

And even if you use an out of game fitting tool, you can still get into a bit of trouble.  When I first played Eve, I thought of my weapons as “spells”.  So I thought I wanted to have some long-range “spells” for primary use with a short-range one as back-up.  From the perspective of another MMO, this made sense.  However, in EVE you pretty much never want to mix weapon systems.  You want all of your weapons to be focused on the same range and then fight at that range.

In other MMO’s, choosing talents/abilities/spells occasionally requires some out of game calculator or modeling tool.  But you can rarely make the level of bad choices that you can make in Eve.

None of this is particularly helpful to the new player.  Eve pretty much requires the player to do out of game research and read guides and using fitting tools.  That is fairly common to complex gaming these days and to some degree, that is part of the charm of Eve.  It is a complex game and it rewards those who enjoy learning its complexities.  There are always new things to learn and new ways to apply them.  That is probably what I enjoy most about it and it is one of the things that drew me to the game in the first place.

I also like to read blogs about games.  I like to read guides and learn tips and tricks.  In order for that to happen, the game and the varieties of fitting have to be complex enough to make writing about it worthwhile.  Reading about fits on other blogs – especially the why of the fit is one of my favorite things.  I will definitely miss Jester’s Fit of the Week.

Anyway, to sum of a rambling blog banter:

1.  We all making fitting mistakes.

2.  The game needs a better in-game fitting tool.

3.  Your perception from other games affects how you try to fit ships in Eve.

4.  Fitting ships is one of the most interesting aspects of Eve and is a great way to discuss and promote the game.

 

 

Exploration Log 22-June-2014

Welcome to the Exploration Log. The semi-regular updates where I report actual exploration game time along with the results.

Game Time: Approx 4 hours

Location(s): Blood Raiders Lowsec, Angels Lowsec

System Count: 9

Sites Run: Combat 3, Relic 1

Ghost sites seen: 0

Ship(s) Used: Tengu, Stratios

Profit: ???

Comments: I am back with my primary Tengu and re-supply area.  Home for now I guess.  I also have a couple of Cyclones (for pvp) and a Stratios at this base.  This area of space is pretty crowded and well trafficked.  My theory was I could hang out here for while, run everything 3/10 to 6/10 and chase away other explorers using the Cyclones.  It hasn’t worked out all that well.  Mostly, I have been too busy to run sites and the site runners I have seen are usually in pairs or threesomes.

Today there was an Angels’s 4/10 in the system – a great way to try out the Stratios!  I have flown it around a few times, but this is the first time I am using in in actual exploration content.

Here is the Stratios Fit that I used:

[Stratios, combat sites – angels]
Drone Damage Amplifier II
Drone Damage Amplifier II
Drone Damage Amplifier II
Nanofiber Internal Structure II
Damage Control II

Pithum C-Type Medium Shield Booster
Pith C-Type Kinetic Deflection Field
Pith C-Type Explosive Deflection Field
Shield Boost Amplifier II
Republic Fleet 10MN Afterburner

Covert Ops Cloaking Device II
425mm Medium ‘Scout’ Autocannon I, Republic Fleet Fusion M
425mm Medium ‘Scout’ Autocannon I, Republic Fleet Fusion M
425mm Medium ‘Scout’ Autocannon I, Republic Fleet Fusion M
425mm Medium ‘Scout’ Autocannon I, Republic Fleet Fusion M

Medium Capacitor Control Circuit II
Medium Capacitor Control Circuit II
Medium Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer I

Valkyrie II x5
Warrior II x5
Salvage Drone I x5

With my skills, it is cap stable and tanks about 370 Angels dps and deals about 380 dps with the Valkyries (with max skills, it would be 450dps).  It costs about 300M ISK for the Stratios and another 300M isk for the fittings.

The fit did fine in the 4/10.  I kept my distance (drone control range is 50km) and pretty much just killed stuff with drones.  I did use the auto-cannons on a few frigates that closed in on me.  In the second room, I took too much damage it I tried to engage the Overseer immediately at close range, but kiting was fine.  For a bit, I thought I didn’t have enough dps to kill him with just the drones, but that was because I was still using Warrior drones.  Once I switched to the larger Valkyrie drones it was fine.  He didn’t drop anything good – I think I picked up maybe 10M in loot for my trouble.  I found that I am not used to using the drone interface and trying to focus fire on ships was more cumbersome than using missiles.  Perhaps I am not cut out for drones.

Overall, the ship performed well.  I know it is supposed to be armor tanked, but my shield skills are better and I wanted to run with 3 DDA’s.  I probably could have done better than a Nanofiber Hull in my last low, but I wasn’t sure what I needed.  I think if I were more used to drones it would have been better.  There is no way it will ever replace my Tengu though.

After I was done with the site, I shipped out with the Tengu to wander around a bit.  I love seeing all the new LS to LS wormholes out there.  In fact, I am setting up to wander from area to area using these wormholes and follow my main with a Blockade Runner full of missiles and back-up equipment.  I found a wormhole to Genesis and I ran a Blood Annex there.  It didn’t escalate and didn’t drop much either.  Maybe another 10M in loot.  Coming back to my wormhole, I saw a pair of Besieged Covert Research Facilities.  Since it was a fairly quiet area, I decided to warp in and engage.  I did learn that they only web out to about 25km so if you can stay farther than that, you at least aren’t webbed.  They still scram out that far though.  I cleared the site and picked up ship skin (Blood Raiders Coercer) and a 10 run BPC for an Experimental Hyperspatial Accelerator.  The BPC was listing on contract for 250M ISK, The modules are listing for 55M at Jita – not sure how long that will last.

The second site despawned as soon as I completed the first one so I wasn’t able to run it.  I returned via the WH to Angel’s space and called it a day.

 

Milestone: 50 Million Skillpoints

I just crossed over 50 Million skillpoints.  A few months ago at 40 million, I asked the question; Now what? I wasn’t sure what direction to go.  I was pretty much at the point of diminishing returns for training towards my playstyle and preferred ship.

So what did I end up doing?  Well, I added 3M skillpoints to scanning to max out everything but Astrometic Acquisition.  I added 1.6M skillpoints to Navigation maxing out everything but MicroJump Drives and Warp Drive Operation.  I added about 1M skillpoints to Armor.  From there it was a mix-match of other things (a few drone skills, e-war skills, rigging, targeting, etc).

With what I trained I can fly a passable Stratios/Astero and my fitting skills are pretty much maxed out.  So now I can start training other ships and weapons systems.  I remapped to Perception/Willpower at 48M skillpoints (my first remap on this character since my initial remap a few months after creation).  I am focusing on getting an Arty Loki and from there I will probably branch out to other Cruisers and a variety of ships.  I will also pick up Advanced Weapons Upgrades V and possibly take my Heavy Assault Missile Specialization to V.

Here is my current skill breakout (rounded to nearest 100k) with some commentary.

Armor 1 500 000: Up from 400 000.  I maxed out Repair Systems & Hull Upgrades and took the Armor Comp & Layering skills to IV.

Corporation Management 1 000: No change

Drones 1 900 000: Up from 1 400 000.  I took a bunch of skills to IV (including Heavy and Sentry Drones)

Electronic Systems 900 000: Up from 400,000.  I added a few E-war skills and took a couple of skills to IV.

Engineering 3 400 000: No change

Gunnery 1 200 000: Up from 500 000. I took Gunnery to V and and working on Medium Projectile Turret V.

Missiles 9 700 000: No Change.

Navigation 3 900 000: Up from 2 300 000I was nicely mapped to support Nav skills so I took advantage before remapping. I maxed everything but MicroJump Drives and Warp Drive Operation.

Neural Enhancement 200 000: No Change

Planet Management 400 000: No Change

Production 1 100 000: No Change

Resource Processing 800 000: No Change

Rigging 660 000: Up from 400 000.  Picked up Shield Rigging IV and something else.

Scanning 5 900 000: Up from 2 900 000.  I now am maxed out on strength and deviation with Astrometic Pinpointing and Rangefinding to V.  I only took Acquisition to IV, I just couldn’t justify the days required to save a second.

Science 1 100 000:  No Change.

Shields 1 500 000:  Up from 1 400 000.  Improved a couple of passive compensation skills.

Social 200 000: No Change

Spaceship Command 12 100 000:   Up from 11 800 000. 

Subsystems 2 000 000: Up from 1 300 000.  I picked up the Minnmatar subsystems that didn’t require Perception.

Targeting 500 000: Up from 200 000.  I took Signature Analysis to V and Gravimetic Sensor Comp to IV. 

Trade 66 000: No Change.

 

Pilgrim’s Adventures: 19-June-2014

“Scotty!  We need more Power”

Pilgrim was lounging in his captains quarters in Amarr when the threat came in over secure comms.  Apparently the planet bound scrubs that he had contracted to manage his colonies were about to revolt.  Per the terms of the contract (and a generous one at that), they only got paid upon delivery of goods to the customs station.  According to the contract managers, it had been nearly 6 weeks since any deliveries were taken and the workers were not getting paid.  They were also on the verge of partially shutting down operations to divert power to more storage containers – but doing this would significantly reduce overall productivity (and incomes).

Pilgrim sighed.  All this fuss over a few million ISK.  What would it be like to be confined to a planet where a hundred thousand ISK was considered a good salary?  He shuddered at the thought.  Immortality had its benefits and extreme wealth was certainly one of them.

Well, he might as well do what he could for them.  The planetary colonies were a long way away, but he had left a jump clone in the area.  And maybe a Tengu?  He was pretty sure he had a Tengu there.  Maybe he could find a convenient wormhole out and move the planetary goods to a nice high sec station where a contract hauler could carry it the rest of the way to Jita or Amarr.

After taking a nice swig of Gallentean bourbon, Pilgrim entered the cloning station and jumped.

Amazing.  And dreadful.  He opened his eyes and immediately felt that something was missing.  A lack of clarity, slower reactions…  Pilgrim shook off the effects of the clone jump and immediately wished he could have brought the bourbon with him.  The quick orientation program reminded him where he was – and that this was an older clone with lower grade augmentations.  Well, that explains the loss of clarity.  Again Pilgrim shuddered, this time at the thought of living without the augmentations that capsuleers were so accustomed to using.

Getting down to business, he boarded his Epithal transport ship and headed out to the various customs offices in the system.  As he visited each planet, he was impressed by the quality and the quantity of the products that had been produced.  In fact, it took him two trips to empty out the launch pads and storage silos of the five planetary centers that he contracted with.  No wonder the workers were getting agitated.  There was nearly 500 hundred million ISK worth of goods.  Pilgrim paid out the agreed upon bonuses and transferred the goods the the corporate hanger he had rented in this system.  Speaking with the station manager, it turns out there was nearly a billion ISK worth of planetary goods, specialized ship riggings and other materials in the “Export for Sale” hangar.

Since 1 billion is the perfect number for export, Pilgrim decided to scout around for wormholes.  They were the preferred mechanism for getting product out of this far away corner of the universe.  Shipping it out conventionally would be risky, time-consuming, and expensive.  A quick survey of the ship hangar revealed that there was in fact a Tengu here.  Pilgrim called for standard covert scanning assembly and went to find some refreshment.  He had heard good things about the spiced rum in this area (the local pirates were quite good about things like that).

“Sir, we have a problem” popped up on his display.  Pilgrim read the details and his blood started to boil.  In a few minutes, the station manager and engineering chief were rushing to his quarters.

“WHAT DO YOU MEAN WE DON’T HAVE ANY TENGU ENGINEERING SYSTEMS!”

The station manager calmly explained that they had a Tengu hull and 10 different subsystems, but none of them were the critical power systems that were required to make the strategic cruiser usable.

 “HOW COULD YOU LET THIS HAPPEN?”

The engineering chief stammered a bit, but reminded Pilgrim that on his last trip through the system he had borrowed one of the engineering systems for an emergency use and had not returned it.

Frustrated, angry, and feeling a bit foolish, Pilgrim dismissed both of them.  Now what?  This part of the universe was not exactly a hub for high-tech modules and the regional market scanner confirmed as much.  Well, since all he really needed was to do some wormhole scouting, a standard covert ops ship would do.  Fortunately there was one for sale about 3 jumps away.  Pilgrim boarded a shuttle and was soon the proud new owner of a Cheetah.  Pilgrim laughed at the name.  Yes, it was fairly fast.  But there was no way it was going to kill anything.

Pilgrim fitted it up with the scanning equipment from the Tengu.  And he found another power problem.  All of the propulsion modules in the hanger were designed for bigger ships.  He was going to have to fly this with no microwarp drive or afterburner.  Oh well.  At least it was fairly fast without them.

It was a bit fun zipping around at the high warp speeds the little ship was capable of, but Pilgrim had to pass on the Covert sites he found.  This ship just wasn’t capable of handling them.  Pilgrim scanned down 7 different wormholes in the systems surrounding his base.  One went to nullsec and the rest of the were all dead ends into wormholes with no other connections.  Amazing and disappointing.  Actually the whole trip to this region was a bit disappointing.  There was so much he could have done here today – all for the lack of an engineering power system.

Wealthy, immortal, but not all-powerful.  Perhaps it was a good reminder.