Wardecs (or how we all stopped worrying and learned to love the pew-pew)

Posted in Gameplay with tags , , , , , , , on June 15, 2012 by Baa

There has been a lot of discussion on EVE-O forums, blogs, and elsewhere about the Inferno wardec system. The thrust of it appears to be that it has had unexpected consequences so now CCP are going to nerf it and forget it for another few years. This is a shame.

The fact that the impact of declaring a war as mutual was unexpected points to a real lack of understanding and testing within CCP. They really should be taking more care and attention over such fundamental changes. This leads me to believe that this wasn’t unexpected, what was unexpected was the reaction by the CSM. Following the WiS and Aurum PR disaster from earlier in the year, and the massive climb-down from CCP, they’ve felt that they couldn’t afford not to listen to the CSM on this measure so rather than toughing it out and see if an in-game solution could be found, they’ve decided to make a knee-jerk change.

I don’t think that the current mechanic is too far out. It needs tweaking rather than gutting. The proposed changes go too far in that they make multiple changes at once. We’ve already seen that CCP are getting adept at rolling changes since Inferno was released. How about coming up with a number of possible solutions to the perceived problem and applying them one at a time?

Here’s what I’d like to see, to make things less fair:

  • Allies should be able to come to the aid of each side in a conflict. These should be managed by an treaty that could be cancelled by either side with 24 hours notice.
  • Ally cost should be based on ally size. CONCORD are keeping track of who can shoot who, this can reasonably be based on number of pilots and logically fit in a sandbox.
  • Logistics corporations blue to any of the combatants should be valid targets. Mutual blue standings should be enough for a corp to become a target.

Now these could all lead to a forever war throughout New Eden, with the exception of the NPC corps. It’s a risk. EVE is a sandbox, let us rattle it for a bit. Things will settle down once people get used to it.

Anyway onto the lolz. The irony of the Goon complaining about a game mechanic warms the cockles of my heart. I’ve come across one of these mercenary corps (Noir) when they were hired to grief us in our pocket. They were pretty useless against any sort of organised opposition. Surely they should be welcoming the chance to justify the fees they charge?

It’s interesting that the CSM is so much in favour of the changes. I think this shows how unbalanced the CSM is (in terms of representing the player base not in any mental sense). There should be a more even split of players from the different constituencies within New Eden. Its far too easy for the null-sec power blocs to get their people elected.

The real worry I have is that after the release of Inferno 1.1 war decs will go back to the same as they were before and the opportunity to extend the sandbox element will have gone.

Wabbit Season

Posted in Chronicle with tags , , , , , , , on June 13, 2012 by Baa

The scanner showed a Gallente industrial within 4 AU. Narrowing down the scan field located it near the second planet in the system.

“Warp to the customs post at planet 2”

The engines roared into life and propelled the interceptor through the void at breakneck speed. The industrial remained firmly on scan directly ahead.

As the warp engines disengaged the industrial could been seen next to the customs office. The bay doors were just beginning to close and the thrusters changing the alignment. The captain of the ship must have been looking at his own scanners.

“Get that industrial stopped”

The warp disruptor flicked into life and killed the industrial’s engines before they had a chance to get going.

“Greetings. What are you prepared to pay in order to keep your cargo? Oh, and your ship.”

It’s currently getting near that time of the year when EVE winds down a little. The colleges kick out for the summer and there is a drop in the number of active players. A consequence of this is a drop in the full scale conflicts. This leads to more bit part roams and the hunting of otherwise unworthy targets.

Since I’ve been back I’ve taken part in a few fleet fights, though most have ended before they have begun due to the issues above, but for the most part I’ve been looking around for targets of opportunity, or wabbits as I like to call them. Its not particularly difficult stuff to kill, lone frigates, cyno ships, the odd larger ship not paying enough attention to D-scan. It does help me get back into things though and improve my use of D-scan.

As with all hunting trips its the tales of the ones that got away that dominate. The hulk that was into structure when the rescue fleet arrived. The cloaky hauler that made it to the gate before destruction. Things would look better if a few more of those had gone pop, but nothing is wasted, it’s all more experience.

At the moment I’m hanging around in a small pocket held by the Sons Of New EVE. I’m not sure that they are overly happy about it as they keep chasing me about the systems. So far I’ve managed to evade them, time will tell who will come out on top.

Back to Brick

Posted in EVE Online with tags , , on June 11, 2012 by Baa

After a six month leave of absence I’m back in the game and back in Brick Squad in Geminate. It feels good to be back.

So far there’s been a little sov grinding, a few fleet roams, a little bit of defence, but in general its been quiet.

A Change Is As Good As A Rest

Posted in Character with tags , , , , , , on December 5, 2011 by Baa

After the initial rush of getting on lots of killmails in Delve things settled down into a pattern; login, join fleet, fight blob, die, logoff. This got boring quick. Yes it padded my killboard, and didn’t bleed the ISK too much due to the corp ship replacement programme, but was it really that much fun? Was it worth paying for two accounts a month?

I thought about it and decided that it wasn’t. So what to do next? I looked around and most of the other people that had left the corp were doing pretty much the same thing. I could head back to Empire, remove my old corp from mothballs, or find someone new to play with. I decided to try the latter and found a smallish corp in a smallish alliance based in and around Syndicate. They were all pretty much in my timezone, most of them are in my country, so it seemed like a good idea.

I moved all of my stuff out of Delve and made the carrier jumps over the new base in the north of Syndicate only for a number of the main corps in the alliance to leave and we ended up on the edge of empire. I’m still not sure about the new corp, early days, but its keeping my interest in EVE alive so that can only be good.

The Sky is Falling (Player Controlled Customs Offices)

Posted in Gameplay with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 19, 2011 by Baa

Having dipped my toe in the waters with my alt I looked at the latest devblog about player customs offices with interest. I’ve also scanned the threadnaught, and read a few blogs on the subject. Rather than just reply on the forums, or on another blog I thought I’d put my thoughts, for what they’re worth, on here.

Once I got past the initial ‘The sky is falling’ comments I can’t see the change having too much impact on the raw and P1 goods. These will be processed on planet and can be launched from the command centre. It’ll take a bit more organisation to get volume off a planet but it should still be possible. The issue I can see for some P2 and all P3/P4 goods where the product of multiple planets is needed. You are going to need access to a customs office to get the materials down to your factory planets.

What are the options?

In 0.0 space things will operate pretty much as they do now. Its a different structure to be shot at, something for the roaming gangs, but other than that there will be little impact. The offices will have enough HP to allow for a defence fleet to be scrambled giving more PVP opportunities.

In low-sec things are more risky. You have more danger than in low-sec, a roaming gang could decide to pick on your offices. They would then presumably be flashy-red to your corp though so more PVP opportunities. You could also open up the customs office and make money from other people that want to make use of it. There is risk and reward for both the player building the office and those using it.

In high-sec things are as now, but with a higher tax. So you could perform your P1, and possibly P2 if you get a suitable planet, in low-sec, and launch using cans. Then ship to a high-sec factory planet to get your finished product. The tax increase will bite a little here but will probably just hit the margins.

In wormhole space Concord run customs offices never made sense anyway. The fact that they would spring up was a bit of stretch. This is rather like 0.0 except the systems are less populated so hit and run attacks on them would be harder to defend from. That said why would anyone bother attacking them?

Its a bit difficult to judge the overall financial impact without knowing where PI is being done now. I suspect that after the initial panic has worn off it won’t be much. The change is a boost for industry outside high-sec, albeit with additional risk added. There will still be the place for solo players to make something from PI, but as with most thing you’ll need to be in a player corp to get the best out of it.

Looking at gameplay impact and the question of why would you attack a customs office, this only seems to make sense to disrupt the flow of materials. Perhaps CCP will allow use of the hacking skill to gain access to the content of the customs office and steal materials. Say once to get into the office itself, and another for each player storage bay within it. The possibility of ninja PI is somewhat appealing.

Why no personal POS

Posted in Gameplay with tags , , on September 20, 2011 by Baa

Can you tell that I’m not getting a huge amount of game time at the moment? I keep thinking about stuff that bugs me. This one is about POS. When you deploy a POS you do so for your corporation, even if you fund and fuel it yourself, its a corporation POS. In order to do so you need to have specific corp roles assigned. Some corps are reluctant to allow new members these privileges as it would allow the newbie access to fuel stores etc on all corp POS. A spy could make use of this to strip fuel from the corp POS and have them offline.

I understand the historic reason for the corp control of POS. Prior to Dominion it was the determinator of sov in 0.0 space. We have other sov mechanics now, isn’t it worth looking a POS and being able to launch them, like other deployables, either for corp or for self?

What to do about AFK cloakies?

Posted in Gameplay with tags , , , , , , , , on September 19, 2011 by Baa

Picture the scene:

You’ve spent a couple of months taking a system, building up its military index to 5, shipped and installed upgrades to your infrastructure hub, and are now ready to take advantage and finally make back your ISK. What’s that? A red has appeared in system.

You dash over to the gate, pinging the D-scan for all its worth. Nothing.

You check the next system. Still nothing. The red is still there when you jump back.

You get back to your safe POS and sit. Waiting for it the red to leave. You’re tempted to risk it. There’s only one red in system, and a few corp mates. Then again, the red is from an alliance that is known to hotdrop ratters. Is it worth the risk. You decide to bait them.

A solo ship starts ratting. It runs the belts. It clears a couple of anomaly sites. No sign of the hostile ship. You log out and come back later … The red is still there. You wait for downtime and log straight in and head for the gate. Within a few minutes the red returns. No gate fire, nothing on scan. Its cloaked and staying there.

This is probably familiar to anyone in a sov holding alliance. The question is what can you do about it?

The only chance you really have is to bubble the in-gate and sit on it with a number of fast ships and pop anything you can. If you miss them at this point, which given that you aren’t going to get many volunteers to sit on a gate waiting for incoming cov ops ships, is pretty likely, there is nothing you can do. Once in system the afk cloaky has you at their mercy.

You can only really rat, or do sites, if you’ve sufficient firepower to insta-pop it and escape before any fleet can get through the lit cyno field and gank you. The fear of a single cov ops pilot stops you exploiting the system resources. What’s the point of taking your ship out of the POS shields if you could spend an hour collecting ISK only to see it all lost when you are jumped.

This has to impact people being able to make the most of the Dominion changes. They definitately impact the null-sec population density. At first look it does seem contrary to CCP’s objectives for nullsec. I don’t think it made their list of things to look at though. What could they do?

I’ve seen suggestions to make cloaks have a duration, rather than being infinite. It would be a simple change, a tweak to the cloak modules. I’m not sure it would serve the purpose on it’s own though. If people can automate ratting and mining, it would be fairly simple to automate toggling the cloak back on. You could add fuel, similar to how a cyno operates. Operating the cloak could consume X amount of some ice or PI product to keep it running. That would sort of work, ships couldn’t stay in 23.5/7 without needing to re-supply. It would improve the chance of catching them.

The other proposal I’ve seen is the exhaust gasses one. This is a Star Trek influence. The ship might be invisible to normal detection, but some energy has to escape. If some escapes then it can be detected. At this point you’ve a whole bunch of things open to you. Is it a special probe type. Very short range, and the signature from the cloaky should be very small. This would allow the cloaky to move to get away from the probes, only penalising the genuine afk cloaky. The probes would get you in the area then it would be the normal orbit with probes out to try and get a de-cloak. Not perfect, but better than at present.

I guess the final thing would be some sort of security improvement that affects cloaks. It would have to require considerable development, and cost a bit to run, but in return allow cloaks to be disabled in the system. Perhaps this could just aid the above probe solution, or affect duration, or fuel usage, from the earlier first option.

Of course we could just leave things as they are and allow an afk alt to stop people playing.