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Monday, February 28, 2011

Lacks Vision #2

Gah, I'm tired.  Just helped deal with an Agony Empire dick-star last night...  By jove! I think I've figured out the current situation with sov warfare.  The current sov system is basically recreating trench warfare.  At it's finest...

Like others I'm not sure how to fix the issue to make it a more engaging endeavor.  But some look at the current situation would probably not be remiss.

1) Trench warfare may be clinically interest but it definitely lacks a certain "fun factor".  There are plenty of WWII games out there.  How many ground WWI games do you know?... That's a lot isn't it?  (your sarcasm meter should need a new fuse now).

2) Fleet engagements are fun, Blockades are not.  Plus we've got the issue that we're a game.  We can't force people to play 24/7 like the poor saps manning the ships on blockade duty in the real world.

3) Raiding is fun, interesting and useful.  But the way things are currently setup the only thing to "raid" are unlucky saps who aren't paying attention to what's going on.  The only damage raiding does is minor and indirect.

There are other issues (it's complex) but those are some statements about the current state of the game that I think hold more than just vapor.  The problem is sov warfare has degenerated into trench warfare.  Now the problem is that the solution to trench warfare (at least on more than the tactical level) turned out to be technological.  CCP controls our technology.  So until we have something that re-introduces maneuver warfare at the sov level back into the game, we'll be stuck with this simulation of world war I that is the current sovereignty system.

Brain still fuzzy, will work on objectives to get out of this situation later.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Sixty Million SP Man

I hit both Logistics V and 60m SP over the weekend.  And much rejoicing was had.  So, my skill breakdown looks like the following:

Skill Breakdown

As you can see Science and Spaceship Command take up the brunt of my skill points.  With gunnery and missile operations a close 3rd and 4th.  I'm still in what I consider to be the "flesh out before getting into capital ships" part of any character development plan.  Being a jack of all trades I figure it'll be about a year before I get into capital ships in any big way.  I still need to get the Shield transfer and energy transfer skills to 5 before I fly a scimitar in anger.  I also need to get up to high sec and get that scimitar hull I've got laying around fit out and ready to rock and roll.

I've also heard rumors that my first post about lack of vision is causing controversy and apparently bitter vet tears over at scrapheap challenge (nope, haven't read it yet).  I am amused.  That would also explain antithaca's answer to the post.  Especially since I had not proposed any specific solutions, just generic objectives to fix up an observed imbalance in the risk reward ratio of certain aspects of industrial operations.

(side note to antithaca: please sink some SP into your blog reading skill to get it beyond level 1)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Slowly getting my PvP on

I'm still having to spend an inordinate amount of time concentrating on ratting and such.  And loosing 2 T2 cruisers is not something that you recover from quickly.  But on the other hand the isk per night is definitely there and I'm getting there.  At this point my objective is to have and maintain a stable of at least 6 PvP BS and various other ships.  Once that stable is established we'll see about branching out and doing other things.  So for the near future future it looks like running anomalies and what not are going to be the order of the day.

On the other hand, just as I log in last night, we get notification in alliance chat that 3 carriers have just been tackled.  So I burn to the staging system, join fleet and comms and then burn 14 jumps to get to the system where the carriers are.  While I'm in transit, a Titan and 2 supercarriers jump in to try to save the carriers.  Then jump out again as our tackle fails to catch them.  Then I finally get in system and help kill the two carriers.  Very nice to be part of a successful scramble response.  I am pleased my stats are starting to look less carebear like (although being part of the NC obviously that will never go away entirely - but that's fine by me).

Then it was back to he corp home system and make some more isk to be able to afford more battleships and cruisers.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Lacks Vision #1

Call it coming off a break.  Call it looking at things from a distance.  Call it madness.  I am finding that EVE is still like no other game out there.  But it's got it's flaws.  And warts.  And maddening idiosyncrasies.  And like most games it ignores some realities of human ingenuity when at war.  It also ignores a whole bunch of possibilities and gradations.

This post is part of a series that going to be a look into some of what I see as issues and some possible ideas of ways to implement changes to the game to resolve said issues.  Vague semblances of possible plans.

Risk vs Reward.

That right there is one of the major problems with EVE online and the cause of it's population distribution.  Specifically it's industrial base in this case.  Let me ask you a few questions:

Is manufacturing something in a station safer than at a POS?  Then why does it cost less than manufacturing at a POS?  When one puts up a POS for any industrial purpose (as opposed to for a tactical or strategic PvP purpose) it represents taking a risk.  You need to invest in the infrastructure and you need to invest in defending said infrastructure and there are ongoing fuel costs or it's just an item sink.  All of this costs.  There are some time savings with POS but in reality that is much less of a consideration than you would think since the time scales are so short and the differences are less than an order of magnitude.  Besides for most things the rate of resource extraction is more of a restriction on rate of manufacture than the strict manufacturing time itself.  As far as I can tell only super capital construction and T2 ammo are scaled at what feels right-ish time scales.

The point here is that CCP seems to want to have a risk vs reward scale on things.  But they fail in a lot of cases to set things up so that riskier stuff has more rewards than safer stuff.  And I'm not talking about mission levels either.  A Level 4 mission is actually LESS risky to a skilled battleship pilot than a level 1 mission is to a newbie in his first Rifter.

My point here is that a) manufacturing (and researching) in stations is WAY to cheap for the level of safety delivered.  The time scales of manufacturing for the most part are too short relative to the materials investment so allow for any change in manufacturing time at the scales that CCP allows to have a significant or even relevant effect.

So, what would I do?  Ideally you want some incentive for those carebears to set manufacturing facilities in places that can be attacked.  Although I would SERIOUSLY like to totally revise POS ...  fuck it while we're on a lets revise things kick let's go all the way. 

So lets look at this:

Desired outcome: 

1) Industrial work in attackable facilities must either be NECESSARY or CHEAPER than industrial work in stations.  This is to provide incentive to industrialist wanting a competitive edge to move out of stations.  Stations should primarily be market locations rather than service locations.

2) Attack-able facilities should have as little impact on the physics engine as possible.  Look, the current situation where a POS is made up of a whole bunch of separate pieces that are individually anchored in space is bad design.  Looks cool, but has a cost since the physics engine must keep track of them all.  This can't but help add to lag.  This is bad

3) The cost of manufacture needs to go higher.  MUCH higher in empire stations.  Heck Dr. E was complaining that the new anomalies in 0.0 have caused the balance to tilt too far in the direction of faucets than sinks.  Increasing the direct isk sink in empire accomplishes 2 things simultaneously.  1st it provides an isk sink in the one spot where it'll not impact the people directly involved (from the spreadsheet point of view it's simply an increase in cost passed on to the customer).  Two it provides incentive for people to get into player corps and put things that PvPers can attack in space.

4) Two the basic station hanger that each pilot gets at each station is currently effectively unlimited in storage space.  Provide a minimum.  Add extra storage for pilots an ongoing fee.  Ditto for docking space.  Make it cheaper for corporations to expand storage in stations but charge them as well.  Make it cost competitive with exposed storage in space.

The whole idea is to make safe spots more restrictive and more expensive than less safe spots.  NOT THE OTHER WAY ARROUND!!!  friggen idiots.

So...  Let's think about this.  How would I change current station/pos/something else design to accomplish this.  Hehe, I'm going to save my ideas that for the next post but I'm going to let people think about what we're trying to accomplish here as a thought exercise.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Manasi's trees

In Manasi's post recently he goes into explaining why he's being bitten by the bitter vet flu that seems to be going around.  You know what?  I'm going to agree with him about his point of view while still not being disappointed that Incarna is finally coming out.

I will argue that the specific analysis of only 4 new pvp ships introduced since 2007 is a little flawed.  There are easily 6-7 functional ship configurations per hull for the 4 strategic cruisers.  Minimum.  I currently have 3 configured (1 PvE, 1 Recon, 1 PvP) and the utility vs cost is astounding.  They are not substantially more expensive than T2 HACs (if you're not faction/officer fitting them they are what? only around twice as expensive).  And you can truly fine tune their functionality to what you envision.  Manasi mentions that he does not yet have SC unlocked and usable and this may be why he only considers them to be 1 hull, those of us who use them consider them to be an entire ship class like say "T2 Cruisers" in and of themselves.

But on the whole he's correct that the release of new ship types is slow.  On the other hand, what functionality ship wise that are not in the current ships would he like to see?  I can think of some functionality that is not currently in the mix but what does he want?

Will the T3 frigates introduce new functionality or will it simply new flavors of existing functionality?  The current T3 ships only introduced a single new functionality to the eve mix that wasn't there before.  The ability to warp out of bubbles.  Any other functionality you'd be able to accomplish using other ships in EVE.  Prober? cheetah or Recon.  Ewar?  Specific ships already.  Combat? duh, command? got command cruisers for that.  So as you can see the only new thing was the ability to warp out of bubbles.  Oh and weird combination of other functionality (scout ship with the DPS of a HAC? T3 can deliver, Firepower of a Hurricane with the long range webs of a Huggin? love that ship).

At the end of the day we need some new functionality to hang a new design on otherwise we end up with new ships that are simply different variations on existing ships.  So Manasi, what functionality would you like to see that we could hang a new ship design on?

But otherwise yea, I would like to see more ship classes in game if only to give even more things for the indy side to make.

TeaDaze's trees

I want to talk some more about the various responses I'm reading on various blogs to the Captain's Quarters, Incarna and the direction CCP is taking EVE.  I've decided to write a series of posts regarding these issues.

After reading a bunch of FUD and what not, I'm slowly coming to the feeling that the CSM lacks vision.  You're going to ask "WTF are you talking about Let?".  This is actually something that CCP itself was complaining about when the CSM started.  CCP has adapted to this reality and is using the CSM interaction to guide it's proofing of certain things.  But the reality is that MOST EVE players tend to concentrate on issues from a very limited point of view.  How can anyone who boasts that they've never put a mining laser in a ship ever have any valid input on various aspects of mining?  The truth is they can't because they are only looking at it from a very limited point of view.  A lot of the CSM feedback is highly valuable on the nuts and bolts mechanics side of things.  Sort of like some strange extension of the QA/Balancing side of things.  However I am becoming convinced it is actually less valuable from the point of view of the expansion of the game into new territory or serious re-balancing of existing mechanics.

Let's take TeaDaze's post explaining his reasoning for quitting EVE online.  Let's take a good look at what he's saying "ccp promised that we would not be forced to interact with avatars".  Umm, unless they promised you something under NDA, I never saw any promise like that I ever read in any publicly available material.  I did see a promise about how the new system would not take any more time to accomplish certain things than the current system takes.  What does this mean to me?  This means the following:  Can I dock up, change ships, refit the new ship and undock in the same amount of time under the new system?  How to test this out?

First we look at the purpose of the maneuver:  To change ships and refit the new ship in anticipation of combat conditions that will be prevalant between the moment one undocks until the next moment one finds oneself docked back up.

Example that covers the current situation:
  • Dock up
  • Switch ships
  • Strip all modules and cargo from new ship
  • Open up fitting tool
  • Refit all modules and fill cargo (including fixing up groupings)
  • Undock
I would suggest someone sets up a specific ship and fit and time themselves a few times on Sisi in an unoccupied system to see what their average time to accomplish the above task is.

Now this operation should be functionally identical once Incarna (more specifically the captains quarters part of it) is in place. According to CCP there will be a new mirror made next week so I expect to see the new CQ up on Sisi within a week or two of that (to make it up before Fanfest).  Once the CQ is on Sisi we can test this out and see if we get the same results time wise.  If not THEN we can say that CCP is not delivering.  If the time is close to the same, then we can say that the interface is irrelevant to the functional objective of the procedure.  The truth is that the current station environment imposes a certain cpu and interface constraint already.  There's a session timer when you get into a station and when you undock.  Cosmetically changing the interior from the ship spin to an avatar with a view up to the ship may not change the functionality or time sink at all.

This is why I say "wait for Sisi".  Now I can respect TeaDaze's decision to stop playing EVE.  I don't have a problem with that.  From his point of view EVE was drifting too far from what his vision of what EVE's mechanics should be.  But that's a personal analysis and decision.  Personally I'm not married to particular mechanics so long as the functionality is there.  For that I'm willing to wait.  My decision to cut short my break was based on a failure to deliver functionality in another game.  Not a failure in mechanics.

You can criticize CPP for breaking the established lore of EVE.  Course you have to ask yourself if that lore is there because of the way the game was designed to get around limitations of not having ambulant avatars from day 1.  But unless they break the functionality I'm willing to wait and see.

I really get the impression though that Mynxee and TeaDaze specifically are disappointed from the lack of progress in improving low-sec traffic for pirates to go after.  I can't say I'm surprised because the current situation (lack of use of lowsec) is a direct result of the ratio between the inexpensiveness of PvP ships vs the lack of defensibility and relative high cost of industrial ships in low sec.  Unless CCP is willing to address that issue (and so far none of the proposals address it) low sec piracy will allways be the victim of it's own successes.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Tempest in a teacup - the CQ

Ah, EVE, you are such a controversial game.  There are a metric tonne of people weighing in (we're in space so microgravity conditions apply - parse my meaning now you semantic dominatrices) on the issues of the Captains Quarters.  From the ecstatic to the horribly, horribly disappointed.  Mostly the later.  From all the breast beating and corset tearing going on you'd think the death of EVE was coming.  Can I have your stuff?

Reality check time people.  A few observations:

1) WAIT FOR IT TO HIT SISI YOU IDIOTS.  At this point in time there is so much F.U.D. floating around there's no way anyone can get a clear picture of how this will turn out. 

2) The EVE mob's passions have been inflamed.  This alone tells me things will turn out better than the doomsayers have predicted.  The previous times we've had these levels of reaction have been:  The "need for speed" adjustment (a.k.a. the nano nerf), The supercarrier nerf (that ended up being a boost).  The ECM changes.  The "go vote for us" incident (CCP refocuses on lag).

3) The truth of the matter is that for the true attack on lag CCP needs to work on distributing the physics engine of a solar system between multiple nodes.  Until that technical hurdle is overcome, we won't see a true attack on lag past incremental improvements here and there.  Incidentally the problems they need to resolve to accomplish this is NOT FRIGGEN TRIVIAL!  The type of programmers that need to be thrown at this problem however are not the run of the mill programmer.  They need to throw some eggheads of the programming world at this problem.  Just throwing more bodies won't do it.

4) Growth pains.  CCP is well on he way to becoming a larger developer.  But they are no where near there yet.  They also need to overcome their rapid growth pains.  It looks like they are getting there but there is still a ways to go.

5) Think long term people.  we will be at the 2003 level in terms of content once the next 2 releases of Incarna happen.  Not in terms of quality, but in terms of scope.  It took years of development for the space ship side of things to get where it is.  Also CCP is THE ONLY major developer that does not charge extra for expansions.  Sure you can bitch that they don't put out as much content as WoW does on each expansion but I'd like to point out:  a) they don't charge you for the expansion and b) they are 1/10th the size of blizzard.

The above are the major reasons why I think the current hubaloo about a single feature of Incarna is much ado about nothing.  Seriously, we're going to get a balcony view instead of an overhead view.  We currently have a session change when we dock up, we'll have a session change after incarna comes out when we dock up.  So long as you can do all your interaction from the balcony, not much except the decor will have changed as far as functionality goes.  We'll see once it hits Sisi.  Until then, everyone needs to take a chill pill.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Kept busy

Well with things running "warmish" in Geminate, I've been kept busy answering the CTAs (Call to Arms).  On one side was the lost of my Rapier in O2O-2X which was kinda of sad but predictable (must rat to replace it).  This was my first personal experience with fighting under serious lag conditions.  On the other hand there was the excellent fight in VSJ-PP.

From what I could tell it looked like we managed to frustrate the DRF (Drone Russian Forces) or trick them into jumping in to us.  At which point lag conditions took over.  From what I remember the local count, once again, peaked over 1k ships in local (and mostly on the same grid).  Lag is survivable at 600-800 in system.  But it really sets in once the local count hits upwards of 1k.  Also observable was the recovery from lag (once it sets in) can take quite a while and the ship count needs to drop below 300 before things feel "workable" again.  I'm not sure this node was reinforced.  This particular fight was a movement until engagement style of fight.  We were headed in one direction then reversed course and the DRF jumped in on us as if they were chasing us.  Planned or spur of the moment call by the FC?  No way to tell.  Either way it worked.  Also I don't think this was a reinforced node.

On the other side of things (my high sec alts) well it's Hulkageddon.  I've basically put all extractors on long ass cycles and will be resuming things once it's over.  No reason to loose ships stupidly.  Alt # 2-3 is currently training PI and will be training some low level hauling skills once that's hit 4/4/4/4/4.   We'll see how it goes.  I will note that in high sec there is very little difference between a 5 and a 4, you get a teeny bit more resource but not as much as you think.  And you still need to make sure you have enough basic processors to cover your extraction.  Long term (once Hulkageddon is finished), I think I will switch to pure extraction on most planets and one or two industrial planets (between the 3 alts) to make P2 and P3s.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A foot soldiers view

I finally got my PvE ship down to the 0.0 base.  So things look set to actually get some isk to make some pew pew ships for use on CTAs.  And it looks like there will be a lot of CTAs in the near future.  Solar wing looks serious in their attempt to move into Geminate.  All of last night was spent on ops.  Course in the NA time zone this means a lot of "putting stuff into reinforced".  We'll see how this plays out.

On the PI side, my 2 alts finally broke the 100mil barrier (made after recouping initial investment).  This is what's known as "good".  My other alt has started on the road to getting his PI skills.  I will need to follow those by some hauling skills (sufficient to fit a specific type and fit of hauler).  I will also need to invest in getting him outfit with said hauler loadout.

This weekend also marks the start of hulkageddon.  With it's concentration on all industrials this time, I think it's time to simply batten down the hatches and wait out the storm.  This might impact my bottom line but prices should shoot up on a lot of goods that depend on stuff being moved around.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Lots of scouting

Null sec

I'm still in the process of settling in.  My PvE stable is currently sadly lacking and I'm waiting for some ships to make it down to the operating area in order to increase my income to afford the ships I'll be blowing up as I get my PvP rust knocked off.  In the meanwhile I scout.  Some times as part of a fleet, sometimes solo to get to know the area.

And it looks like there will be some fights.  It looks like various drone russian forces have decided they wanted to move into Geminate.  This has actually been a boon for me since I know the layout of Geminate quite well from my days in UFA (as much as that fail cascaded).

As can now be surmised, there seems to have been a coordinated metagaming/ingame offensive to occupy parts of Geminate by the Drone Russian Forces (apparently that's what they are called).  The move to disband/occupy the Rebellion Alliance space seems to have been well organized by Solar Fleet.  I had also observed some Intrepid Crossing ships operating in the area as part of the Rage operation to counter the DRF incursion.  So I find with no surprise that they've occupied my old home in K25-XD this morning.  So it looks like there will be plenty of fighting in Geminate for the next little while.  I can't really comment on the fight in Uemon but ouch.

So it looks like I picked an "interesting" time to settle into null sec.  Looks like it won't be boring at least.

High sec

Meanwhile my alts continue to supply PI goods to the high sec market, which is trending down a bit so I'm going to say that supply is up, we'll see how long that lasts.  On the other side of things, it only takes 15 min on the non-selling alt to harvest the PI goods every 2nd night.  and 30min for the one who ships everything to market.  I should be able to upgrade Zindal's PI installations tonight and start on alt 2-3's PI training plan.  I also need to run some numbers on P1 vs P2 vs P3 profitability and decide whether to make some changes in what I'm extracting.  We'll see.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Settling in

I'm settling in slowly.  Managed to get in a home defense fleet.  Managed to get my ship blown up doing something stupid.  Ah well, such is life.  It's been a while since I've been in big fleets.  I really need to get myself some Hurricanes.  Note to self: build hulls and guns in HQ base and ship em down.  In bulk.  This will actually take a bit of planning since most of the movements of stuff will need to be done by the hauling alt.  And I will want to be able to plan a build sequence that will get stuff manufactured within 24h with the idea of popping some long term jobs in the oven just before I jump back to 0.0 when the 24h is up.  Going to need to plan some.  Since I'm now living in 0.0 jumping up to take car of stuff in high sec (jump clone wise) means I need to plan stuff in 24h chunks of manufacturing.

We'll see how things progress.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Strategic Mobility in EVE

Having recently made use of Jump Bridges to move some combat assets to my new home in R.H.I, I've been given a nice lesson in how they work.  What follows are my thoughts to their impact on null sec politics and the discussions that are happening withing CCP and with the CSM.

What are jump bridges?  Basically they are like player owned and operated stargates.  The thing is that they have a rather significant range compared to the normal stargate network (what you see when you peruse Dotlan).  This allows an alliance to setup "shortcuts" around their controlled systems.  Which is useful but not in and of itself game breaking.

Now as has been noted by CCP they consider the current strategic mobility of forces around null sec to be an issue since it lends itself to "supper blobs".  It allows the sky marshals of EVE to concentrate forces in a rather easy and convenient fashion.  The main reason for this is that allied forces can use each others networks if they set up their standings correctly.  This means that a sub-capital force can zip from one end of EVE to another so long as they have allies along the way.  Something that would normally take 50 to 70 jumps can take less than 10.

I suspect that jump bridges were originally designed to facilitate internal defenses of a territory.  The use that we the players have been putting them to seem to be having the usual law of unintended consequences.  Now I note that CCP is considering design changes to limit strategic mobility.  They've even requested that the removal of jump bridges entire remain on the table and the CSM agreed.

Now the individual pilot will be horrified by the removal of what they, rightfully, see as a major convenience.  Strategically however it would make things tougher to coordinate long distance operations.  Which is what CCP wants.  One way they could do this without destroying the existing infrastructure outright would be to simply not allow jump bridge usage outside an alliance.  This would allow for rapid deployment of forces withing ones own territory to respond to a threat without leading to the strategic mobility for entire power-blocks that we now see in null sec warfare.

Now admittedly, this is crystal ball gazing.  CCP will do what CCP will do, and the CSM will provide feed back on their plans.  I suspect that the long term effect of this would not be the balkanization of null sec CCP seems to want.  For that you would really need to kill the jump bridges entirely.

That takes care of the strategic mobility of regular forces, what about the capitals?  Well they depend on cyno beacons and cyno ships.  I don't know if the beacons have the same issues as jump bridges or not (usable by allies) but if they do, the same thing would probably need to be done to them.  Either way, logged out and then cloaked cyno ships represent the pre-planned emplacement of future mobility.  The day when we can hunt down cloaked ships is the day when we can realistically limit strategic mobility of capitals.  Until then, not really.  We need some form of not necessarily accurate detection - i.e. long range detection only accurate enough to land you within 150-250km followed by some form range pinging and of depth charging (hey look ma, something a destroyer or destroyer derived T2 hull could be tasked to do as a specialist ship).  Some mechanism like this would remove the strategic effect of cloaked cyno ships without necessarily removing their tactical usefulness.

That's my 2isk on the issue.

Monday, February 7, 2011

And I move to Vale of the Silent

Since I'm now in, it should be obvious (to anyone able to use the people and places window) I have joined Red Horizon Inc [R.H.I].  And the first evening was spent... Moving stuff...  It's just like being in my 20's again...  Scuse me while I go get the pizza and the beer.

Moving and a shaking

After accomplishing my objective of getting 0% tax at my main base in high sec, and shaking loose of any PI operations, I decided it was time to go hunting for an alliance to join.  I spent a good portion of Sunday morning scouting out the influence map and looking at potential homes.  You may think that this may or may not be the right time to go hunting for a new home with the current IT implosion and the implied chaos that could lead to.  I think its a great time to look.  So the morning was spent cogitating about where to find a home.  I will say I appreciate all the pilots that did say "come join our corp".  But this being EVE I decided to set myself some parameters regarding future homes and once something that at least vaguely looked like it might work out, go actively knocking on recruiters doors.  Side note:  If you're a main line corp and you want recruit, make sure an active recruiter is linked in your corp info.  Even better list your minimum requirements.  You'd be surprised at the number of corps that don't do either of the above - and yes I can tell the difference between a specific purpose corp and a mainline (whether specialist or general) corp.

So my general parameters:
1) Larger sov holding entity.  I've run a small to mid size alliance.  I'm not looking to experience that another time.  Been there, done that.  So a minimum of 2 constellations under their control.
2) Not a renter.  Do I really need to explain that one?  Lucky the alliance choices available thanks to requirement #1 generally preclude renters.
3) Not currently imploding.  Well that strikes IT out.
4) Not Goonswarm.  Their griefer philosophy just doesn't do it for me.
5) Not a pure PvP entity in NPC null sec.  Got plenty of friends who like that life style.  Not my thing.

So let's take a look at the broad picture as it currently is.  In the north west you have the Deklin Coalition.  Goon lead and going strong into fountain.  In the west and south west you have IT and their pets and friends.  Currently fail cascading.  In the south southeast and east you have an entire swath of Russian and Russian core alliances holding vast territories.  Then in the north you have the Northern Coalition.
I did note that a good chunk of space seems to be "Russian".  I actually considered checking out those areas for a potential home, but the time zone issue of probably being in a minority corp in an alliances "off" time zone mitigated against seriously considering joining the "deep" Russian areas.  They do control a lot of systems though.  Looking at all of that I narrowed my search down to the alliances in the Northern Coalition as being most likely to be the sort of place I could call home.

I will admit that that did narrow the possibilities.  I spent the later half of the day knocking on doors and managed to snag an interview early.  One good thing about my blog for any prospective corp, it does lessen the odds that I'm a spy for some other null sec entity.  That and being 59mil SP pilot that can fly HAC/Recon/SC/T2 equipped BS definitely help.  Should all go well I'll be joining my new corp some time this evening (dropping roles on my high sec corp takes the usual 24h).

So, once again into 0.0 I go.  This time, with a larger 0.0 entity and with a lot more experience under my belt.  This should turn out better than the UFA adventure of a while ago.  So prepare for some JOAT foot soldier posting from null sec.  And high sec alt shenanigans for when I can't post about what I'm doing in null sec.

Speaking of said alts.  Whoo! are P1s more voluminous than P2s  I got thru the first cycle of my 2nd accounts 2nd alt (hereafter referred to as alt 2.2) and contracted over the goods to Zindal (technically alt 2.1 but I've referred to him by name so...) for eventual movement to market.  The move to Electrolytes was a good decision.  Income is up on Zindal because of it.  Also it was very convenient to move a batch of cruisers over to a staging system using Zindal's Orca while I moved some battleships with my main.

I do have some stuff "in the oven" T2 manufacture wise on my main but I don't really expect to need those skills any time soon.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Back in the blog pack again...

Apparently someone has noticed I've been on more often lately...  So, my attempt to remain under the radar has once again failed miserably.  Mind you it's been a while since I've checked out the blog pack.  Mainly because I've been doing other things.  The thing to remember about EVE is that it's a game for the long haul.  It's not a sprint to the end like WoW is.  Heck technically you're in the "end game" from day 1.  No tedious leveling grind. Isk grind on the other hand? oh yea that's there.  So, every so often we need to take a break from it.  The trick I've discovered is to take the break BEFORE you burn out.

I was intending to stay away a bit longer.  But the game I took a break with turned out to be a bit disappointing. Ah well, them's the breaks.  So, I'm back.  Still firming up my plans and figuring out what I want to do.  For the moment I've decided not to go back to AMC.  Mainly because I want to go to Sovereign 0.0.  What I'm looking for: sovereign 0.0 entity that's relatively stable and not a renter that's recruiting 60mil +sp pilots.  Oh and doesn't mind that like Manasi and Kirith, I'll be blogging about my experiences.

As far as what I've been doing lately.  It's been an amusingly eventful weekend so far.  I finally managed to get above 6.7 standing with the corp where I'm currently based (simplifies refining enormously).  Darn agents, I had to decline twice in a row before I could finish the last mission necessary and they still gave me a storyline to polish off afterwards.  I have also managed to shut down the last PI planet my main was tending.  This should free him up to go hunting for a new home.

On the alts front, the 2nd alt on the 2nd account has started his PI work and has all 5 planets up and running.  Due to the fact that the 1st alt on that account has more trade skills - he'll be funneling his goods to that alt for shipment to the market.  Speaking of that alt, still 8 days to go before I get the Command Center Upgrade V skill.  Ah well.  8 more days before I can get the 3rd alt on that account skilling up his PI.

Over Saturday night, I got another ice mining op done.  This time in conjunction with my old friends from AMC. Things were going as usual when suddenly we were rudely interrupted by a Amarr BS that decided to smartbomb us.  Unsuccessfully may I add.  It seems that various gankers are taking the opportunity to fine tune their suicide gank tactics.  This fine fellow's tactics and fits need a bit of work.  Or team work.  Either way, we didn't lose anything and actually made isk thanks to some salvage and modules.  Thanks dude.

So warning it's still over a week away from hulkageddon but things are getting a little dangerous out there as the various gankers fine tune their tactics.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Switching things over.

Interesting session last night.  Did some planning.  And some work pursuant to the planning.

The main:  I've decided to stop the PI activities on my main in prep for a move.  The problem with PI is that it keeps you pinned to a single spot.  Now if I was living in wormhole space or was not wanting to be mobile (like if I'm an alt running a research tower), then PI makes a lot of sense.  If you want to remain mobile however it's best not to have anything tying you down.  So I'm draining the pipelines and I'll be closing down my main's PI operation.  He's made back his investment so it's not like it cost me anything at least.

The alt account:  This on the other hand took some planning.  I don't plan on bringing my hauler alt down to 0.0 with me, so he can stay resident in high sec and between himself and the 2 research alts on the same account, they may be able to generate enough PI sourced revenue to almost or entirely pay for a plex a month.  Which would allow them to continue to skill up without costing me much other than isk.

So.  The skill plan:  Finish Zindal's Command Center Upgrade 5.  Get alt #2 skilled up to 4/4/4/4/4 with his PI skills and enough other skills to fly a hauler.  Then switch back to Zindal and get the rest of the PI skills up to 5.  Followed by Alt #1 and Alt #2.

I'm having Zindal try out Electrolytes instead of Oxygen.  I may try that for a while then switch to the Basic Metals derivative instead.  It's a question of quanity vs price.  There's more Basic Metals than Ionic Solution in this gas planet.  It may be more profitable to make and sell the metal at a lower price but in larger quantities than it would be to sell smaller quantities of the higher value electrolytes.  We'll see.  We'll also need to keep an eye out on market fluctuations.  It only costs 45k to delete and reposition an ECU.  So long as I don't need to move too far from the rest of the setup, switching products isn't too expensive.

Tonight I'll be setting up Alt #1 as a pure metals producer.  We'll see what that's like.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

And the alt breaks even.

As you guys know, I've been tracking all PI related expenses and income on my alt who's making PI "for the market".  Even with his miserable trade skills he's managed to break even in 8 days from his initial investment.  In Hi-sec space.  The plan was: manufacture Robotics, Mechanical Parts and Oxygen for sale in the Dodixie market.  Track everything related to the project.  See how long it takes to break even and start making isk in high sec.

The answer? 8 days.

I started operations on the 25th of January.  The net isk for the project hit positive numbers on the 2nd of February.  Due to one of my planets having depletion issues I also ended up selling some Precious Metals on the open market.  The price difference between those and Oxygen leads me to believe that I would be better looking at the other P1 items that are on my gas planet and possibly switching over to something else.  The oxygen was simply taken since it's an obvious POS fuel.  It's low price however would seem to indicate that it's a popular product and there is plenty on the market.  Since I don't want to incur the 6mil isk "move to another planet" costs at this point in time, I will simply investigate what the other 4 resources are like price wise.

Consumer Electronics Planet

As you can see I do not have 20 extraction heads going.  This is due to the fact I don't have the level 5 upgrade yet.  Ideally I would have 20 extraction heads and 2 more basic processors.  If I could fit it also a last advanced processor.  Then all extracted items would be processed and I'd use the Consumer electronics and sell the excess Toxic metals on the market.  No worries about balancing things and over extraction.

In 12 days my alt will get Command Center Upgrade V.  This will allow me to adjust all my existing planets accordingly (for a price obviously), so I will continue to track income and what not.  I'll let you guys know how the extra level works out.  But 30mil investment to break even in 8 days is very nice.  This also projects well for when I upgrade the planets and for a decent monthly income of around 100mil for the month - if prices hold of course.  If I remember correctly of the two other alts on that account, one has PI to the same levels and the other has the skill books on hand to learn.  I think I will get the 2nd alt rocking and once the skill dings, switch to the 3rd alt and get:

  • Advanced Planetology 4
  • Command Center Upgrades 4
  • Interplanetary Consolidation 4
  • Planetology 4
  • Remote Sensing 4

Along with enough skills to operate a small hauler with appropriate fittings.  This should allow me to rock similar setups on all 3 alts and boost the account income into the 300mil per month level.  At which point this account should be close to self sustaining (with a 2 day PI cycle).  More market analysis is necessary to pinpoint appropriate P1 and P2 materials for manufacture.  I may also want to play with trying to optimize a planet for P1 extraction or P2 and see which is better based on market value.  Still basing myself on a 2 day extraction program.  That seems, in the absence of other people on my hot spots, to give me an acceptable equilibrium between extraction and depletion.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Incursion and PI

This weekend I got together with a few pilots to try out this incursion thing.  Things did not go well.  5 pilots showed up with RRBS as requested.  A sixth discovered that he did not have enough skills to run an RRBS scorpion properly.  We eventually figured out that the beachhead system area where the 5 man sites are...  It turned out that we were over powered for those sites.  And because of targeting issues we were not getting in on the sansha kills (the cruisers in the sites were killing them before us).  So we tried a vanguard site... That did not go well, and we lost 2 BS.  We're going to need more pilots for vanguard sites.  Though it is true that the sites are more available (and not over crowded like the scout sites were).

Also doing a site with a pilot who hates PvE?  Not enjoyable.  I may try some of these things on my own and just X up and see what happens (at least until the RRBS blows up) and see if it's any better.  Or I might just say fuck it and start shopping around for where to join up 0.0 wise.  I probably won't get serious about that until I get Fed Customs to 0% tax though since I'm so close to that.  We will see.

Meanwhile my PI stuff is progressing.  Realistically I need two more basic processors on my extraction planets so that last level of upgrade would be useful for high sec setups.  I'm getting it on my alt but leaving it alone on my main since when I decide to head to 0.0 having PI in high sec on my main will be useless.  My alt's alts however will be getting PI worked up - including to 6 planets and level 5 upgrades in order to get serious about fuel production.  When my 3rd account gets reactivated - one of the scientists is probably going into ice mining since my main alt is capable of max Orca boosting (very nice that).