Thursday, May 28, 2015

To PvP or Not to PvP... That is Not The Question…

~or “Players Engaging Players…”

Graphic shamelessly borrowed without permission from Rote Kapelle

This one stems from Lowsec Lifestyle the pulpit of the Right Honorable CSM Sugar Kyle… her post, Rambling: What May Be, prompted some interesting, and IMHO some very quotable, commentary on the definition of EVE…

Sugar Kyle
I think building things is just as much a part of the game as destroying them.
…I believe that Eve thrives on production and destruction.

Kaeda Maxwell
EVE is a ‘space ship game’ with the 'PvP always on' option ticked…

Chanina
The phrase “eve is a PvP” game doesn't catch the real essence of the game. It isn't ‘versus’ every time.
…it’s a PeP or Players engaging Players game. Be it with guns or markets or hard working mineral collection.

Anon noob
Do I feel entitled? Yes, to play the game how I want to play it. To play without having interaction or interference from other’s, No.

As an avid EVE player and blogger I follow the goings on in the blogsphere and the metagame. I read hundreds of articles and posts and forum threads and comments which have kicked off replies, comments and many ideas for posts in my mind but occasionally it all kicks off something else... despair. As I read through the words of EVE pundits, savants and lay EVE players I sometimes reach a point of mental critical failure.

I sit back, sigh and realize once again that it is a trap. We are trapped forever in a diametrically opposed situation. All of EVE is RvB. The Griefer versus the Carebear, the PvPer verus the PvEer, those addicted to the adrenaline rush of destruction versus those addicted to the pursuit of ‘perfect’ min/max of creation…

“EVE is a PvP game!” “EVE is a Sandbox!!” “EVE is whatever I want it to be!!!” “You play EVE Wrong!” “No, YOU do!” The arguments fly back and forth as thick as the laser beams, bullets and missiles did in B-R, but unlike that epic battle… there is not, and never can be, a winning dog in this fight.

This gets frustrating for me at times… I try to get my point across, I try to add to the discourse and I get very excited about the game and I feel strongly about the stuff I feel strongly about ‘n all, but sometimes I just get all “Oh hell, why bother.” about it all.

But… at the same time I recognize that this is also the ‘key’ to EVE. The RvB like permanent war between the PvPbears and the PvEbears, diametrically opposed in their playstyles of both Creation and Destruction… Because human beings derive great satisfaction from both creative and destructive activities… and that duality is at the core of what EVE “IS”.

Take a good look at that pic at the top of this post… that is a very real human thing. The child building the sandcastle gets a feeling of satisfaction and fulfilled from the end product of her efforts… and the child bounding in to destroy all of that will receive a very real rush of adrenaline and excitement from his actions, both very very different feelings, but both are equally as fulfilling and satisfying for each of those kids.

Now there are those who will say the child who wants to destroy only desires to create pain and hurt (IE ‘tears’) in the creative child. While there are those who play from that motivation, I believe that is not the whole truth for all, nor do I believe it is true even for the majority of the playerbase... I know it is not the truth for me. For many like me it is the adrenaline rush of power and the “win”… and destruction is power and winning just quite simply feels good to human beings.

CCP set out 13 years ago to permanently pit these two diametrically opposed playstyles, Creation and Destruction, against each other… and in the doing they have to constantly balance these two forces with and against each other… their job is to keep the strain high yet even between them. That is real the magic of EVE.

This post derived from Chanina’s comments… It crystallized for me my feeling that EVE is actually not a ‘PvP’ game… it is also not a ‘PvE’ game…

EVE is a PEP game. Players Engaging Players in the never ending cycle of Creation and Destruction. With these powerful forces held in constant and careful balance by the amazing people at CCP.

Players Engaging Players

Helping each other in corps and Alliances and even in the metagame in Coalitions… PEP to mine more efficiently, to haul more efficiently, to run missions more efficiently, to explore more efficiently, to create more efficiently and to do all this and more with friends.

Working together in corps, Alliances and Coalitions in fleets to gank more efficiently, to fight more efficiently, to war more efficiently, to roam more efficiently, to destroy more efficiently, to hold space together… and to do all this and more with friends.

PEP of that 'other' kind, the 'in-your-face-kind', with DPS... in the asteroid belts, in the battlefields, at the sun, at the Jita 4-4 dock, in the market, in 10-v-1s and in honorable duels, in Hulkageddon and Burn Jita and in the anoms and sigs throughout New Eden and in deepest wormhole space…

PEP on TS, Mumble, Jabber, on the internet, in blogs by the hundreds, the E-zines and forums, on Reddit, Something Awful, TMC, EN24, Dev Blogs, the EVEO Forum and all the comment threads… and in EVE Meets around the globe… EVEsterdam, EVE New England, EVE Vegas, EVE Glasgow, EVE Down Under... and in Reykjavik, Iceland thousands of EVE Players Engage with Players from all over the world at Fanfest every year.

And yes, the solo players, the casual players, the Hermits of EVE... the over 50% of us... Yes they are as engaged in the game as the rest of us directly or indirectly through their actions... missions, mining , industry, buying, selling, exploration and solo PvP... They are engaged in their reactions to gankers and gate camps and wars and the ebb and flow of the players... They are engaged because we all, every single one of us, fly and live and die in the same space, in the same game, on the same server.

Oh yes, EVE is a PEP game… and it is the only one of its kind in the 'verse.  And I live there.  =]


Fly reckless and see you in the Sky =/|)=

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Socialbears…

~or “Who Should Play EVE?”


Over on Lowsec Lifstyle, CSM Sugar Kyle has posed a question regarding NPC gameplay and PvE in general in EVE, Non Player Characters… It’s an interesting read. It talks about a suggestion made by Wex and Dire to have NPC escorts for freighters.

This kinda ties in with some suggestions floated by CCP in the ongoing comments discussion surrounding the New Player Structures where it was said;

[link] We have been discussing the idea of a module that recruits pirate spawns to defend against people entosis linking your structure, but ultimately how customizable the timezone mechanics are will be the key here.

[link] You would not rely in NPC defense at all, it would be a mild deterrent against a lone ship at best, the point is to show up for your timers and defend.

And I feel this also ties in with the latest changes and new NPC activity in EVE. The Seekers and Drifters and the new vastly improved NPC gameplay that CCP has brought us. NPCs that actually chase you down through a system and even through gates, NPCs that station camp you, though not as dedicatedly or as long as players will, NPCs that actively engage and while not ‘creative’ like live players, they are an immeasurable improvement over the dull-lackluster-rote-mechanic gameplay that is standard EVE NPC fare. I have greatly enjoyed the last few weeks chasing down Seekers and running from Drifters… in Hisec FFS! For me to ‘enjoy’ gameplay in hisuc means CCP has upped the NPC game immensely.

That all said I am as much on-the-fence on us 'hiring' NPCs as Sugar is, but my concerns are all about balance and player exploitation. But as in all things EVE, these are the preeminent concerns when CCP goes to ‘messing ‘bout with the game… so it’s either accept the potential negative issues from player exploits or never make any changes at all, and I guess we know the answer to that one…

You know, there are times I love the EVE playerbase… and then there’s the rest of the time.  =P

Anyway… what I took away from this rather interesting post and idea is this. Why is solo gameplay in EVE such a Horribad Thing ™? Seriously, why? I mean look at the chart at the top of the post again… That is from the EVE PLAYING BEHAVIOUR entry on Evelopedia from an online survey taken on 10.05.12.

55% of the playerbase played a solo game. 16% exclusively solo and 39% primarily solo. More than half of the playerbase played a primarily solo game in 2012 and I would bet every ISK I have that this is basically still true today. So WHY is solo play so maligned?

I know the argument is that players who are engaged in social gameplay have better long term retention. This appeared to be ‘proven’ by CCP Rise back during Fanfest 2014 with the “New Player Experience Vision” presentation. To sum it up it seems that at best EVE retains about 10% of the new players who actually subscribe.

That’s right only 10%...


I was… I was floored by this and responded with a post, For Once, a Simple Sales Problem…. in which I posited the following…

If 80 to 90% of the people who try out your game leave, and they seem to be looking for good solo PvE gameplay, GIVE IT TO THEM! Why is this so gods damned hard to understand??

The vast majority of MMO players out there have played themeparks for YEARS and therefore only know themepark gameplay... OK, so give them what they want... really top notch PvE... then once they are here, you have a shot at them 'discovering' sandbox social gameplay… IE a chance for us to show them what real sandbox social gameplay is and how it can be soooo much MORE than Themepark solo PvE gameplay... But we can’t do that if they leave.

Why is this hard to understand? If 80 to90% of your potential customers are walking in, looking around for 15 minutes and leaving... the only possible  reason is that you are not selling something they want… IE, they are not the problem... YOU are.

What CCP Rise ended up with anyway was that we have to push new players into social and interactive gameplay. Then we will see better long term player retention in EVE and this is how to best grow the games playerbase.

I called bullshit then and I still call Bullshit.

I say only those players who WANT social gameplay are better retained by social gameplay. And we are limiting ourselves and the game by denying that solo players and solo gameplay has real merit in EVE Online.

EVE is such an immense verse, with a truly amazing variety of gameplay and NO end game. We can, and should, accommodate ALL possible playstyles. I have and will never stop arguing that we (and CCP) should always be looking for New Gameplay that can be brought to EVE. I still think WiS was the greatest lost opportunity in EVE’s history.

Walking in Stations as it was being worked on would have opened up the game to the hundreds of thousands of FPS gamers worldwide besides bring a whole new way to play EVE for the rest of us. And while I believe Dust 415 is a good game and it does connect to EVE, it is not really ‘in’ EVE, not on the PC in the same client. The potential of flying your ship to an abandoned Sleeper Station, or now an abandoned Jove Observatory hmm?, and hacking your way in to explore and fight ON FOOT… well, we and CCP lost out massively when CCP caved to the whiners and FiStards during the Summer of Rage.

So, here is my point.

We need to look at every potential addition to EVE’s gameplay from the standpoint of its potential to add to the playerbase. We and CCP should never limit the potential to add to the playerbase by limiting gameplay options.

Solo, causal, small gang, large gang and meta-gang (for want of a better term)… social, solo and even anti-social players should all be welcome and ALL should find an amazing ‘verse of experience out there in the black…

With this caveat: Never change the Open World Sandbox Open PvP gameplay in EVE. The ONLY thing CCP should be actively limiting is any movement away from Sandbox gameplay to Themepark gameplay.

Or, to put it more succinctly, The ONLY thing CCP should be actively limiting is any movement away from No Safety to Safety. IE EVE must never lose the Risk and Loss Are Real aspects… that would kill EVE as we know it.

So let’s look at hiring NPC Mercs from this standpoint.

==============================================================
NOTE:
To all those who will whine and gnash their teeth that we are robbing from the real Mercs in EVE and ruining their gameplay, to them I say this… If the people who need Merc services the most (IE noobs) can’t afford you, then cater to your customers or screw your whining.
==============================================================

OK so let’s say you are an OMC solo Industry player who simply does not have the time or ability to play effectively in a group or even yes, a player who does not have the desire to play with others... you prefer the Lone Wolf game, and you always have. You have a freighter op to run, say 10 hops total with 3 lowsec hops so you go to the Market and open the NPC Merc Hiring 'board' and look over the available contracts. You hire an NPC 5-ship freelance pirate gang for Transport Defense Escort... the support you bought in this case is 2 Rep Cruisers and 3 Ewar Cruisers.

The gangs ships, fits and compositions are based on the available contracts and prices, Want armed ships capable of potentially destroying an attacker? Want Battlecruiser escort? Battleship escort? Each of these comes at a significantly higher cost, scaling upwards by ship/class/fit and gang comp.

If you are attacked en route they start repping you and the Ewar ships damp (or jam/neut/etc.) either reactively or based on the targets you call. What this does is add, at a cost, to your defenses as a solo player... that's all. The support NPCs can be attacked and destroyed, probably have to be, so you can be attacked and destroyed... this just adds gameplay on a Risk vs Reward basis. Your have increased your costs for better defenses and the attackers have to factor in dealing with them.

Now most will say "get more friends" or “join a corp, EVE is a social game” Dire’s concern was that this type of gameplay might "increase isolation and disengagement" for solo players. I disagree. If a player has, due to work schedules, travel, etc. no workable option but to play solo or if a player simply has no desire to play socially, I’m ok with that. If that same player finds fulfilling game play even through he/she has to or wants to play solo, then the option to hire NPC’s to help with this or that may actually ADD to their gameplay, and increase their retention.

The argument that hiring NPCs might "increase isolation and disengagement"` smacks a little too close to the old “Internet friends are not REAL friends” and “the internet is isolating you from real contact with others” again, bullshit. Think on that a bit…

No one should ever have to do anything in EVE other than cope with the environment and mechanics in order to do whatever they want to do. I consider coping with the open PvP and non-consensual player interactions, IE gankers, scammers, war dec’ers, et al as part of the whole ‘environment and mechanics’ thing. If you fly in EVE, you accept that it is a dangerous verse and even if you fly solo, you will never really be alone. I just don’t feel you HAVE to play in a group to really enjoy or be a part of EVE.

CCP Rise said upwards of 40% of new players were just, you know Leveling up Their Raven... So? Who cares? Seriously... why do we care?? As long as ALL the players are enjoying the game and paying for their time (IE CCP making more money so we ALL get a better game) then who cares if there are players who prefer solo?? I mean seriously, how is it a BAD thing for the game as a whole?

Oh I realize it may not be a good thing for YOU, or HIM or HER or THEM… it may not make Rixx Javix or Talvorian Dex very happy… (not a dis to either Rixx or Tal, just an ongoing difference of opinion…) So what? Are we here to ‘provide content’ for each other? To improve each other’s gameplay? Or are we each here for our own game? I don’t know about you tovarishch, but I am here to play my game, my way, period. If you get something outta that, cool, if not, that’s cool by me too. I care not either way as I am here to enjoy myself.

So what is it then that makes the socialbears so loudly proclaim that all players must be actively engaged in a group? Are they not out there in space like the rest of us? Do they not also explode? Do they not also scan down sites? Run plexes? Run missions? Haul shit all over space? Do they not put stuff on the market and buy stuff from the market? Is it that a solo player’s money no good? They pay for each month whether via PLEX or CC or Paypal or Steam, same as everybody. I say that alone is merit enough. We need MORE players, not more of just THIS or THAT kind of player.

Let’s go back to the EVE PLAYING BEHAVIOUR online survey mentioned earlier. When asked, “Who do you usually play EVE Online with?” the response was interesting…


The top entry, “Friends I met in EVE Online”, 68% is very interesting when looking at New Player Retention because some are (1) Forum Born players coming into the game and immediately blood jumping into deepest null to join Goonfleet or such, so, well, retention is not really an issue in that case now is it? But the rest are (2) talking about a group they met later… but how much later? Sadly this graph does not say.

I am sure some are getting involved with corps early on. In HELPeR we have a tendency of carefully collecting noobs. But I have a corpmate who played totally solo for a year before we met at work and he joined us. But we didn’t ‘save him’ from increased isolation, depression and disengagement due to playing solo. He was enjoying the game, he is just enjoying it with us now is all.

But most interesting of all is of course, the second highest response to ‘Who do you play EVE with?’… 36% replied they play solo, a substantially higher number than the 16% given in the ‘What is your playstyle?’ chart at the top of this post.

So I say give solo players great solo content... as long as we don't change the PvP Open World Sandbox rules in EVE, good Solo PvE gameplay will never kill EVE nor make it "safe" nor turn it into a WoW in Space Themepark, no, quite the converse… Good PvE and support for solo gameplay will bring in MORE players period. If we actually do support and respect all playstyles, why not work on retaining ALL playstyles?

There are enough players in the world who will never play EVE because of the PvP and the Sandbox Open World Rules that we need to seriously consider attracting and retaining ALL players and playstyles that are willing to play in such an environment... not additionally limit ourselves even more by saying ONLY Social Gamers are worth retaining in EVE.

I say make EVE more not less for everyone... as long as they want to play in an Open World PvP Sandbox. You wanna play as one of hundreds? thousands? cool, we gotcha covered. You wanna play solo?... cool we got that too, and you will be in the majority and I know you will have an amazing experience 'cause you are playing EVE and yes, you are adding to the game as a whole, no matter what the 'socialbears' say.

Fly reckless and see you all in the Sky =/|)=

Saturday, May 16, 2015

What ‘He’ Said….

~or “A Gathering of Blathering…”

I rarely visit the EVE Forums… if you ever want to find a reason to stop playing EVE, spend a few hours reading the forums… you will find enough pure puerile crap there to put you off the EVE playerbase forever.

But… one must keep in mind the forums are not representative of all the players. They, for the most part... not all... attract a certain kind of player. The whiner, the crybaby… those who don’t want to DO anything they just sit around and backseat-drive-CCP ‘cause they sooooo much smarter than ervybody else… and cannot wait to tell you all about how they are. Yuch.

However, if one is willing to wade hip deep through the mental swill you will find a few nuggets of real thought, an occasional post made by someone who is intelligent (not just thinks he is) and who actually cares about the game and realizes that the vast cesspool of :words: in the forums are at least skimmed by CCP Devs and it is one fairly effective way to reach them with a thought you had that actually makes sense.

In that light, for the very first time I read, or at least skimmed (due to the occasional ‘I threw up in my mouth a little at that one’) all of the current 31 pages of the Comments for the recent Dev Blog on the New Structures… SHAKE MY CITADEL 2015-05-12 17:50 By CCP Ytterbium.

I was looking for those gems, those rare nuggets of wisdom and insight… and I gave up. One can swallow but so much sewage before thowing up… turns out our minds work the same way…  one can read but so much crap until you just fukkin can’t bear it anymore… at least I can’t. But I did find something I had not expected which was to be my, and this posts, salvation… screw what the assholes who post on the forums say… what do the Devs say? Now THAT was a cat of a different color!

So from that point on I skimmed blithely through the pages and pages of posts… ignoring most of the bile easily… and in the end actually finding a post or two worth a read… and lo and behold most of them, the good, well written and well thought out posts were also noticed by CCP and that was where I found the Dev replies… kinda makes sense huh?

It was fun and informative. I simply skimmed until I hit a Dev post, read it, read back to see what prompted it and I found myself enjoying the forums for a change… will miracles never cease? I may have to make this a ‘thing’ I do here from time to time.

So… I have collected for your edification gentle reader, a snippet here and a quote in whole there of about 99% of the Dev responses in the comments thread on the Citadel Structure Dev Blog… a lot of very cool tidbits it too… makes for some interesting reading if I do say so myself…

First let me say that CCP Ytterbium seems really fond of bulleted or numbered lists of quick, to the point questions. If you are really interested in getting answers, try a clear list of questions, but…

1) don’t ask anything already asked-n-answered and
2) make your questions something that can BE answered… not “WAA! WAA!  Why You Suck at EVE??

So I basically grabbed every list of questions and his list of answers… they are all the end of this post… That said, here is what I found…

FORCEFIELD:
…creating a replacement for force fields which works better (tm) and looks cooler. You will have a lot of the same benefits that the force field provides.

...docking puts you inside and safe, but you still see the grid outside the station.

The invulnerability link (we need a new name for this, taking suggestions) provides security while you are undocked and mobile around the structure.

Also yes docking games suck, so do force field games. We're accepting input on how we can setup the docking / invuln link to improve this, for all of space not just WH.

…it's going to be a new docked state, like a cross between docking in a station and sitting inside a POS shield.


ANCHORING/PERSONAL/CORP/DEPLOYMENT/ETC:
… we plan on allowing personal anchoring but you must be a player corporation, not NPC (so you can be wardecced).

We aware of the concern of invaders setting up a beach head, and are discussing with the CSM various options for changing anchoring behavior in wormholes to help with this.

…want most of those structures to be available in W-space, but with some special restrictions if need be.

There will be deployment restrictions, yes.
Mainly to avoid people to be insta-omg-BBQ-blapped when coming out of warp / stations, to avoid having space where structure defenses overlap or have them hidden inside landmarks or other anomaly sites.

STRUCTURES:
No definite price checks yet, but building an XL should have the same level of commitment as an outpost.

However, upgrading the thing with rigs is going to cost much more, since they're going to take over outpost upgrades / improvements.

Building and upgrading smaller structures will require far much less commitment and resources.

Small structures are going to be the old deployables (like containers, mobile tractor unit, bubbles etc...). But they won't be able to be fitted and won't have most of the advanced mechanics tied with M, L, X-L. They're deployables after all and are supposed to be very entry level to use.

So, technically, your "small citadel" would be a mobile depot, even if it doesn't really earn that title to be honest.

Storage, security and fitting service will be on the hull.
Corp offices, market, industry, clones etc will all be modules that have to be added and fueled.

the amount of fuel will depend on the fittings, and they will remain online without fuel (the services will go offline though).

Ideally we want the structures to have the same SKIN system than ships.

Ultimately, it will depend on which kind of Service Module you fit on those structures. Want to do reactions? Fit the reactor module. May not be the best use of a Citadel though, since structures will have bonuses to specific fields, like ships, and Citadels will be bonuses towards defense, office and markets.

As mentioned in the previous blog and Fanfest presentation, we will most likely not replace outposts with those new structures. We will most likely reimburse outpost improvements and upgrades though

new structures will use a completely new set of blueprints. We'll get rid of the old starbase structure modules (and reimburse them somehow) otherwise it's going to be a mess.

We thought about upgrading smaller sizes into bigger ones, but it adds extra complexity and doesn't really make sense. Should you be able to upgrade a frigate into a battleship if you put enough money into it? :P Both are built for different needs and purposes.

No factional variation. You won't have an Amarr, Caldari, Gallente or Minmatar variations. We want types to exist if they have a good role by themselves, not to fit some factional flavor. That doesn't mean they won't be influenced by some specific NPC corporation or faction, but they will not mandate structure number themselves.

Our current plan is to have a maximum limit of 8 high, 8 medium, 8 low, 8 service and 3 rig slots yes. That doesn't mean all of them will available at once (just like on ships) though.

Yes our current thinking is that you can access personal storage from the structure by being within docking range, same as POS.

Yes all these structures will get personal hangars.

DEFENSES/ENTOSIS/ETC.:
We are considering showing all structures on the on board scanner / sensor overlay allowing you to either warp directly to them or at least show you that structures are anchored in system so you can probe them down.

We are leaning towards just showing everything on the system overlay / onboard scanner with the ability to warp to them, or at the very least showing you how many structures of each size exist in system. They will show on the overview if you have access to them.

Unlike existing Starbases, you won't need multiple guys to operate the weapons. Those structures will be like ships, so you will only need one guy to control them all. The Starbase Defense Management skill will be reworked into something else or refunded when Starbases are removed.

We have been discussing the idea of a module that recruits pirate spawns to defend against people entosis linking your structure, but ultimately how customizable the timezone mechanics are will be the key here.

You would not rely in NPC defense at all, it would be a mild deterrent against a lone ship at best, the point is to show up for your timers and defend.

Like I said, it depends a lot on the timers and I'm assuming if you're solo you are in high sec, so in part wardec mechanics too. Fortunately the asset safety means although you lose your structure, you won't lose everything inside it.

If you cannot defend your structure though, you won't be able to keep it, but we want to give you every reasonable chance to defend it including the more casual players.

Vulnerability windows for structures will not necessarily be everyday, and the time to capture will vary depending on the structure and where it is anchored. We are very aware of the concerns of small groups having fewer people online to defend.

We're considering letting you scan who is docked inside these structures.

You won't be required to defend these everyday like sov, and the structure will drop fittings, fuel maybe in progress industry jobs etc.

You would protect a structure by using the Entosis module to prevent the opposing party to attack it during its vulnerability window. Or you would use the defenses fitted to kill them all while laughing like a maniac.

Accidental killings are a tricky business. We may either want to forbid you from locking and shooting neutrals in high-sec (permanent safety mechanic), or, if we can do it, allow you to do so but have CONCORD show up and destroy your structure if you commit an act of aggression. Depends on technical and design difficulties, too early to say so far. In all cases AoE weapons will not be allowed in high-sec for obvious reasons.

It's too early to say how NPC stations will be affected. We want those structures to be more efficient than NPC stations though, which either means boosting them or nerfing NPC stations.


Q’s and A’s

A FEW Q’s:
1. Larges; if we can’t dock caps in them then how will we keep them in WH space especially since it seems that XL's are going to replace stations and hence won’t really be allowed in WH's, plus they are supposed to be very expensive.

2. Vulnerability window; how will that work in WH space where we can’t claim SOV to boost our indices to reduce our vulnerability timer.

3. Will the office, cloning, and market functions work in WH space.

4. How will these structures accommodate or replace the current practice in WH's to have Squad POS's with members of each POS having a specific corp hanger division assigned to them and their alts.

EX: 10 members are living in a WH, each with multiple alts, there are two towers with 5 members assigned to each with secret passwords to restrict access to those assigned. In tower 1 Scott is assigned division 5 and the other members are assigned the remainder. Scott has 4 alts and each of them have the same hanger division assigned allowing for easy consolidation of modules and items such as PI and minerals/Ore. Will this functionality be preserved?

5. How will ship storage be maintained, will it be similar to the current SMA mechanics or will it be more like stations with hangers divided restricted to each character. Maybe a combination of each allow you the option to set up shared hangers?

A FEW A’s:
1. You would still have the invulnerability link, but yes, you are right, that's one of the arguments in favor to allow capitals in the Large Citadels.

2. What we are thinking so far is to have high-sec and W-space have higher indices that null-sec by default. So they will be naturally less vulnerable there. We are also thinking about modules, rigs and gameplay options to affect the vulnerability window, but at a price.

3. It depends on which kind of gameplay we want to have in W-space. So far, office and market functions look fine, cloning does not. Again, not set in stone at this point.

Sounds so complicated… How about we give you guys personal hangers instead, just like in NPC stations / outposts? And then, if you don't want people to dock in a specific structure you can set restrictions to do so.

MOAR Q’s: (only quoted questions that were answered)
1. Can I anchor them anywhere (apart from some proximity restrictions). Does it have to be moons or can I put them at any spot in space. Can I have more than one on one grid?

6. Will citadel be able to shot without anyone piloting the guns?

7. Will there be fuel requirement. And if yes how will it work when structure go offline in terms of destroying it with Entosis link? Today if I forgot to fuel my pos and some start to shoot it will give me still some time to log back, fuel and online it (risking being killed ofc). How this will work with Entosis link and offline structures?

8. Will there be a way for attacker to know how many people are inside structure docked and in what ships? (i.e. warping to a pos and assessing defense forces)

9. When docked will I be able to see space or will I have some sort of station interior? (HINT: We want to be able to see our surrounding, even if optionally)

10. X-L structures in WH?

11. How will refitting work for structures? If I'm under attack or about to be attacked can I swap my guns or something? Will there be a delay before new setup will take effect?

Pls add some loot drop. Wormholers don’t attack poses for "production materials" and can’t stay in system for weeks waiting for defenders to scoop loot.

MOAR A’s:
1.  So far, our plan is to have them anywhere yes, as long as proximity restrictions are respected.

6. Structures won't be able to shoot without someone manning the guns. As CCP Nullarbor mentioned, we have options under our sleeves to mitigate the risk from this change. Like having a reduced vulnerability window in specific areas, and / or be able to have NPCs spawn.

7. Fuel is so far only going to be needed to activate the service modules, those structure shouldn't use fuel on their own, please refer to our previous blog for more details.

8. Not sure about being able to know docked people, may be part of scanning mechanics, but open to discussion.

9. When docked you will see surrounding space.

10. Yes, ideally we want all structure sizes and types everywhere. There may be gampeplay restrictions on them and / or their respective modules if needed however.

11. Refitting will most likely drain capacitor (like on ships) so while you could do it in combat, this would not be advisable.

EVEN MOAR Q’s:
1) However, will destroying these new M-XL class structures generate killmails?

2) When it comes to finding them in space, I agree with other posters that they should not necessarily need probes to scan down. However, maybe make this dependent on a fitted module or rig, where by default you can find the structure via dscan and directly warping to it, but players can customize them to require probes to find--for a cost. Say, a "dscan inhibitor rig" which has relevant drawbacks (e.g., maybe weakens the defenses or reduces the benefits the citadel gives) but then adds the requirement of combat probes to find the structure?

3) When it comes to giving player citadels benefits for trading above NPC stations, I would suggest (as a trader myself) raising the default NPC tax rate on stations. I think something this harsh is needed because it would be the only thing that would--personally--get a player like myself to trade in a player-run market, or start my own. However, how will it work in the market itself? Will public citadels in the region with sell orders--say, seeing nanite paste--appear on the market search, where I can then set destination to this public citadel?

4) Would it be possible to anchor two citadels close enough to one another so that they can fight each other? Citadel versus Citadel pvp??! That would be pretty fun and would open up a lot of gameplay options, especially in WH evictions.

5) Any thoughts yet about how the market will be seeded with the relevant structures and modules? Regular blueprint sales in NPC stations, for instance, or will there also be any BPCs that drop, say, for a Serpentis L Citadel which, like faction towers currently, give certain bonuses above the regular towers etc.?

EVEN MOAR A’s:
1. Yes  (…destroying these new M-XL class structures generate killmails)

2. I think we will show them on the onboard scanner to warp to.

3. Market will come a bit later and we'll have a detailed blog about how that will work but yes we reduced market tax will be a good incentive to use a player built market over the NPC ones.

4. No, because of so many reasons…  (Citadel versus Citadel pvp??!)

5. That's a bit early to say, we have a lot of options for new industry here building the structures and all the modules.

AGAIN WITH THE Q’s:
1) However, will destroying these new M-XL class structures generate killmails?

2) When it comes to finding them in space, I agree with other posters that they should not necessarily need probes to scan down. However, maybe make this dependent on a fitted module or rig, where by default you can find the structure via dscan and directly warping to it, but players can customize them to require probes to find--for a cost. Say, a "dscan inhibitor rig" which has relevant drawbacks (e.g., maybe weakens the defenses or reduces the benefits the citadel gives) but then adds the requirement of combat probes to find the structure?

3) When it comes to giving player citadels benefits for trading above NPC stations, I would suggest (as a trader myself) raising the default NPC tax rate on stations. I think something this harsh is needed because it would be the only thing that would--personally--get a player like myself to trade in a player-run market, or start my own. However, how will it work in the market itself? Will public citadels in the region with sell orders--say, seeing nanite paste--appear on the market search, where I can then set destination to this public citadel?

4) Would it be possible to anchor two citadels close enough to one another so that they can fight each other? Citadel versus Citadel pvp??! That would be pretty fun and would open up a lot of gameplay options, especially in WH evictions.

5) Any thoughts yet about how the market will be seeded with the relevant structures and modules? Regular blueprint sales in NPC stations, for instance, or will there also be any BPCs that drop, say, for a Serpentis L Citadel which, like faction towers currently, give certain bonuses above the regular towers etc.?

HENCE MOAR OF THE A’s:
1. Why shouldn't they generate killmails? We know how much you guys like your killmail states.

2. Been answered before.

3. You've heard it first here guys! If we end up raising taxing on NPC stations, you will have Sven Viko VIkolander to thank for it! Twisted More seriously, player structures should be treated exactly like NPC stations if they're set as public, or if you have personal access to them.

4. Short answer: no. Long answer: noooooooooooooooooo. Because those don't use HP mechanics to be taken down, thanks to the Entosis module, what would you achieve by having them shoot each other? They will not be affected by raw damage.

5. We will most likely seed blueprints for Tech I versions from the NPC market. Faction variants will drop as loot and LP stores. Tech II variants can be invented. Those act as ships remember, thus they should be acquired in a similar way.

Lastly…

CCP Lebowski wrote:
Soldarius wrote:
“w-space was never meant to be occupied. You should not be living there.”
Obil Que wrote:
“I'll let you read CCPs thoughts on wormhole occupation yourself”


I was going to post this myself!
Here’s the important part:

Quote:
“We are absolutely happy with how players have taken the wormhole feature and run with it over the last five years and we look forward to many more years of watching the adventures of the wormhole community with joy and awe. Anyone telling you otherwise is woefully mistaken.”

Personally I love wormhole space, and try to make sure all those crazy bob worshippers are always considered :)


Fly Reckless and see you in the Sky…  =/|)=

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Adrift in the Calm Before the Storm…

~or “It Feels so Wrong Enjoying Empire space…”


I am still in Hisec… I have not left yet… and I am still enjoying myself immensely… something is terribly truly terribly wrong here.  =\

I have started a BM Folder for Jove Spikes. I BM any and all Jove Observatories I see when I am out-n-about making store runs or some such. I have 3 systems now between Mormoen, Amarr and Dodixie with Jove Spikes in em. You see it is my experience that the Seekers don’t ‘always’ spawn just cause you warp in. I have warped to a Spike and orbited and sat at ‘0’ for 5, 10 minutes and seen nada… zip, no Seekers.

Other times they have spawned as I land, or seconds after I land or as I warp out disgusted that they are not going to spawn… had that happen more-n-once. I have landed only to have them warp out past me. I have been chased by them, ignore by them, killed by them and made some very decent ISK off them… well, off the Seekers at least… I’m quite literally scared to clonedeath of the Drifters.


I also heard/read that if you Entosify (Ento? Entosif? Entosing?) IE target and run an Entosis Link on a Jove Observatory you get bacon. Hrm… OK, so I made a store run to Dodi, bought both E-Link I and II AND (for the very first time in my EVElife) I bought a BPO, an Entosis Link BPO. Keep in mind at the time we are taking 100m ISK for the E-link I and 250m ISK for the E-Link II and 250m ISK for the BPO… sheesh. That took me wallet under a bil for the first time in months.

 Anyhoo… now I took a hard look at what to put it on. You see the way these things work is (1) a cycle time of 120 seconds… 2 full minutes… during which you cannot warp. (2) they take fuel, Stront, (Strontium Clathrates to be exact) 1 unit of Stront per cycle. (3) the T1 has a range of 25km and the T2 has a range of 250km… this means you are self-disrupted for 2 minutes within 25km (T1), or up to 250km (T2) depending, of a Jove Observation Tower… you know, the place where Drifter BSes spawn… oh yeah, there.

[Note: this post was started before Fozzie changed the E-Links… and I am too tired to go a dig up the new specs… =P  ]


So? So. So… LOLCeptor FTW. Yup… these things do fit on ‘ceptors and yes that is exactly what I am using. You see if/when the Drifters spawn I want OUT. And as I can’t warp away I will take the next best thing… speed tank as best I can while I hopefully get out of trubble faster than I got into it. This has, so far at least, worked with Seekers.

I landed on the Spike in Mormoen and started orbiting at 24km at near 5k m/s, I had made 2 BMs directly opposite the Spike Beacon where the Sleepers most often spawn, one at 200km and one at 400km. Once orbiting target and start the E-Link on the tower and select the 400km BM… now all I have to do is run n like hell if/when Seekers or Drifters spawn and hope 5000 m/s is fast enough, and my angle to the Sleepers is good enough so I have some transversal and can GTFO safely. So far this has worked twice with Seekers… haven’t had a Drifter spawn on me while Entosing (yes, I have settled on ‘Entosing’ as the verb form…) the tower yet.

So, what I have gotten while Enotsing the tower is one (1) Antikythera Element per cycle… One approx 10 mil ISK piece of bacon every 2 minutes… not too shabby. Plus you also get 1 unit of “Gleaned Information”. This is basically a data unit with some of the Jove Observation logs, these are the 4 I have collected so far…


Interesting… as Spock might say.

I am curious how all this is going to play out… you see the Drifters ‘seem’ to be disassembling the Jove Towers… I watched a Drifter and a Seeker working on one a few nights ago… and later the same Drifter was joined by another and they both were doing something to the spike. Not shooting or scanning it… but some form of energy ‘beam’ was being ‘fired’ or ‘played’ on the structure. One of my corpmates said he heard/read they were taking them down… hmm.

Now we have the Entosis Link, and it requires 1 unit of Antikythera Element per E-link, T1 or T2, so we will have to have some way to continue to gather these. Right now it is Seekers and ‘tosing (howz that for a quick slide to a slang verb form?) a Jove Spike… yet the Drifters seem to be taking the Spikes down and no one knows what they are going to do next…


Newz Flash!!! A disturbing broadcast from Hilen Tukoss has been released by The Scope… This creates more questions than it answers… Here is my attempt at a transliteration of what was said by Tukoss…


This is Hilen Tukoss aboard the Scout vessel (static), Scout vessel Arek’Jaalan. This is an emergency broadcast. We have succeeded (static) into an unidentified wormhole(??). (static) I can see Hundreds of these (static). We have a (low??) signal but we are (holding it??) as long as we can. Notify (DED??) Notify the DED. We may be facing a possible major (invasion??). More and More ships have been arriving at this enormous structure [Defense Alarm]… Detected at (static)-(en??) it is pos(ible??) that (static) (undecipherable) (static) [Defense Alarm]…

In the video we see a structure I have never seen before, a cloaked Buzzard Cov Ops scout ship assumed to be the Scout vessel “Arek’Jaalan”, an impressive force of Drifter Battleships and Circadian Seekers; the Buzzard gets decloaked and we hear the Defense Alarms go off… all through this Tukoss is attempting to transmit his dire warning. We can, I am afraid, safely assume the Scout vessel “Arek’Jaalan” and its crew were lost. I do not know if Hilen Tukoss was an Empyrean, I do not believe he is… and if he isn’t, then he too is lost to us now.

So… it does seem that interesting times just are around the corner in New Eden my friends… interesting times indeed. For me, I think for now I’ll stay in Empire… I joined EVE back in the heady days of Incursion… I saw one of the first Incursions, and lived to tell the tale… now it looks as though we may have another “incursion” into new Eden from a different enemy with far different goals… and this time, it’s an enemy I have spent my lives fighting already…
I'm here...
I'm ready.



Fly reckless and see you in the Sky =/|)=

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Antikythera Elements for Sale… 1 ISK Only!!!

~or “Runnin Sleepers in Hisec, Who'da Ever Thunk It?…”



I have been having a ball in Hisec… bet those of you who know me, or actually read the stuff what comes from my brain, never thought you’d hear that from me, but it’s true…

You see I base out of Amarr when in Empire and last weekend I was in the hole solo and I scanned a hellishly long pipe out to Empire and made a store run to Amarr to sell my PI wares. I had thousands of Supercomputers, Robotics, Consumer Electronics and a smattering of over produced P2s to sell… enough to fill a fully canned and Cargo fit Prowler… vurry nice semi passive income to say the least.

Anyhoo, so while in Empire I decided to see to rounding up some of the last of my ships and goods as were still strewn here and there around the ‘verse and try to get them in the hole. These are all the leftovers from the Big Move into our new C4 homehole. Over in Mormoen I had a Mastodon and a shit tonne of GSC’s (Giant Secure Cans) full of PI and a crap load of mods plus a couple of ships so I trundled on out that way inna Prowler as I knew I had some high value stuffs and wanted to get them in to market too.

So I get out there and I’m gettin’ the Mast and Prowler loaded up and squared away when I discover a very particular SSC, Small Secure Can… one that has, well let’s just say it’s worth more than the ships and all the other CAN’s combined shall we? Hrm… Now while Prowlers cannot be cargo scanned, or because Prowlers cannot be cargo scanned, they sometimes fall prey to ganks on the off chance they are hauling something really valuable… like a SSC worth its weight in PLEX, and no, that is not what I had in the SSC… I don’t ever EVER transport PLEX… I am amazed that anyone ever does, no matter the reason.

That said, so I have this really godsawful expensive SSC I need to safely move to Amarr… so I bought a Crusader ‘ceptor and fitted it for SlipperySpeed… IE fast to warp plus just fast. But I lost the lows to the x3 Cargo Expander IIs needed to carry the 100m3 CAN… that cost me some slippery an’ some fast but not too much as she worked just fine when I finally made the trip safely to Amarr… Yes ‘made’ as in past tense so no one needs to waste time camping the route.  =P

Anyhoo, while I am doing all of this I am also as usual following them as I follow in the blogshere and Neville Smit, of NevilleSmit.com (go figger) recently posted a nice little write up, Bits and Pieces: April 2015, in which he gave us this…

The lore also makes me want to try some new - and possibly very stupid - things. For example, I'm off to hunt Circadian Seeker cruisers today, to see if I can collect some Antikythera Elements without getting zapped by a Drifter Battleship. I'll share how that goes in a future post.

Hm, uh, er, hm. I make my daily bread killing Sleepers in Anoikis… and ever since the Seekers first appeared in Empire space they have not really attracted much of my attention other than the very cool ‘whatthehellisCCPuptonow??’ factor, which was plenty good IMHO. But this was the first I had heard that they has started dropping stuff worth killing, and possibly dying for…

Well, it turned out one of the ships I had in Mormoen was one of my Sleeper Ishtars, schweet. I had her broke down and crated for the move so I broke ‘er out and fit ‘er up with what I felt it might take to handle Seekers, CAP stable w/ MWD off, active shield, 26k EHP, 70/82/94/77 resists and our std Gecko/Hammer II/x3 Hobgob IIs Sleeper drone setup. The tank is designed to let me kill the Seekers and also to ‘potentially’ buy me the time needed to GTFO if/when a Drifter drops on me while farming his little seeker pals… IF I’m flying smart and on the bounce that is… big ‘IF’ that…

So I’m ready and I undock… and lo and behold there is a Jove Observatory in Mormoen!! I do the warping back-n-forth thing make some pounce BMs at 160km at the station and at 200km at the Jove Observatory... then I warped into the site, 5 Seekers spawn and I go in hot...

Now here’s the fun… the Seekers do not react in set piece ways all the time, they are tough but not too tough, fast but not too fast... and they sometimes warp off if you break contact OR they sometimes follow you if you warp off!! And they will re-engage! At one point I decided to refit as they were outrunning my heavier droans and it was taking longer than I liked to break them.

So after downing 3 of the Seekers I broke contact and warped to the station pounce… and the remaining Seekers followed, landed and engaged me! I fought the same spawn at the Jove Spike and at the Station!! Schweet! I settle with the last 2 Seekers, dock up, refit to add a Web, go out and scoop the Antikythera Elements (AKEs) drop them in station and warp back out to the Jove Spike.

I piddle around a bit at the Jove Spike but no spawn to I go back to station and fiddle with my fit a bit more… go a few hops out n back to get some other mods to try, that done I head back to the Jove Spike and… 6 Seekers spawn! Hells yes! I go in and orbit close to use the web and now things are going a bit better.

One of the things that makes this so much fun is the constant and very real fear of the Drifter HotDrop... I have watched the videos and read the killmails and battle reports… Drifters kill capitols… while the Ishtar is good it aint THAT good!! So I am trying to really watch the sky but... as I am finishing off the last Seeker my attention is focused on… in order; order drones IN, burn in to the wreck, align out, loot the MTU, scoop the MTU…

So while I’m trying to do all this a Drifter spawns and I don’t realize he’s there until I get hit… but Drifter weapons fire is very distinctive and I know immediately that that’s what I’m getting hit with! But luckily I had already aligned to my pounce so I spam warp and he only gets one more hit on me before I went to warp and broke contact… but even then…



Yup… 2 hits, stripped off all shields and armor and 9% of my hull... But I DID make it out validating my mathing that the tank I had devised just might last long enough to get me out IF I was flying smart and on the bounce… and I was.


So I land at the pounce, the Drifter targets me and goes red as I go to warp to the station to repair… but the station I am in does not have repair facilities. So I undock and… He’s there… EEP! I reflexively dock up until I realize I have full shields again, still no armor and 91% hull though… so I played dock games with the Drifter for a little then warp off and find a repair station.

Now back when the Drifter had spawned I had not made pickup on the MTU as it had been pulling in the last wreck when I warped out… So I head back out for the last Seeker Drop and that MTU and damn near got caught by the Drifter again... He spawned in the site as I landed at the pounce 200km out… he warped out as I warped in I grabbed the MTU and passed him again on my way out… LOL!!

I ran another spawn a bit later so that night I ran 2 spawns of 2 waves each and scooped a total of 9 Antikythera Elements (AKEs) for an ingame estimate of 12.6m ISK each... potentially 113.4m ISK!! oh hells yeah!!! Simply the BEST and most lucrative pure FUN I have had doing anything, much less solo PvE, in Hisec in YEARS!!!!

Oh and the title? Yea that… the next night I flew to Amarr and the actual sell price for AKEs was 13,899,999.99 ISK… I was gonna put mine up for 13,899,000.00… so I typed “1” and my pinky hit the “enter” key…

<facepalm>  I got 9.00 ISK.  =\

But… derping aside… really really nice job CCP... have a cookie. =]


Fly reckless and see you in the Sky =/|)=