EVE: The one world where wealth means something, big and small

I’ve been focused on income sources of late in EVE, and part of the motivation behind that is the knowledge that, when I choose, I can use that ISK in a lot of different ways to entertain myself. That aspect, that more ISK or more skill points leads to more options is one of the true beauties of EVE compared to just about any other MMO, and it’s why EVE is pretty unique in how long it’s able to retain players and why you can be a 10 year vet and be completely clueless in many aspects of the game.

I recently completed one of my goals when I acquired my Super Carrier. In terms of big ships, there is only the Titan left to buy/fly. And with my recent dive into running 10/10 escalation sites, I’ve now also seen/beaten some of the games toughest solo PvE content (I’ve never run a burner mission). Having seen/beaten all the various Incursion sites, as well as having farmed wormhole sites back in the day, I can safely say I’ve seen almost everything PvE-related EVE has to offer. I’m certainly no expert, but I’ve at least seen a lot of it.

I’ve also been part of multiple titan kills, multiple 2000+ pilot battles, and was there when the first fully deployed Keepstar citadel blew up. I’ve been on countless PvP fleets big and small, blown up hundreds of ships and lost a decent chunk of them as well. I was part of Goons when Lenny and company moved us from the north to the south, when we attempted to assist the Russians in the south, and currently as we fight a proxy war against Co2.

Way back in the day when I ran a decently successful corp, I experienced high-sec wars, as well as many other aspects of running a group in that space. Later when we moved into wormhole space, we experienced PvP in that area, as well as all the logistic challenges of wormhole life. Later still we joining a high-profile mercenary alliance to experience larger-scale wormhole PvP and what it’s like to live in a C5 wormhole and escalate sites with capital ships.

Yet even with all of that experience, I feel like there is still so much left for me to discover and learn in EVE. I’ve never gotten serious about solo or even small-gang PvP. Having a steady stream of ISK will certainly help should I choose to do that, especially if I learn-by-doing with solo PvP.

There are also many different special interest groups within Goons that also provide different gameplay, from Reavers (deploy behind enemy lines to spread terror), to logistics areas like hauling or space maintenance, to Holesquad (wormhole people). And while I’ve been involved in a bit of production for a while now, I’m not anywhere close to what I know many are doing, which is running massive supply lines across multiple industry-focused alts.

On top of all that, there is also the fact that CCP continues to update EVE, so while there is an unmatched amount of stuff to do today, tomorrow even more will be available. I’m already looking forward to running the new PvE sites with the Incursion sig, and the sig itself has been busy testing those sites on the EVE test server. The changes to moon mining are also coming, and who knows what CCP will bring after that.

Having ISK isn’t about hitting a gold cap to say you did it, or being able to purchase all of the best-in-slot gear for whatever the current ilvl cap is until it’s replaced in an update. Those are all silly, meaningless, or short-term ideas that, once you do them, you get bored or tired of repeating.

In EVE ISK is about options, and about feeling comfortable taking a risk knowing you can recover from it. It’s about being able to do more for your Corp, or your Alliance, or about taking up a pet project and seeing it succeed or fail based on the choices you made. About having a real impact on others, positive or negative. That’s the beauty of EVE, and it’s what motives me to continue seeing my wallet get fatter and my inventory of ships expand. And best of all, I know CCP won’t make that obsolete in the next expansion. What I do today will matter tomorrow, and that is perhaps the most important thing an MMO can provide, while also being so extremely rare in the genre today.

Posted in EVE Online, MMO design | 4 Comments

EVE: Escalations perfectly compliment normal ratting

As previously mentioned, I went out and purchased a Rattlesnake battleship to run the 10/10 Escalations I sometimes get from running sites in my Super Carrier. The Rattlesnake + fit cost me just under 3 billion, and I was lucky that my current pod already also has more or less the implants I’d want for the Rattle. I’m happy to report the investment has already paid for itself, and that the 10/10 escalation is a very fun break from running the normal ratting sites.

One of the major benefits of ratting in the Karmafleet neighborhood is that when you get an escalation, it can’t spawn very far away due to the geography of our area (one long pipe). At most the site can be 5 jumps away, and all 5 of those jumps are generally in very well covered, ‘safe’ space. This is important because normally you don’t want to jump gates in a 3b+ ship that is somewhat slow without a scout, but just watching intel I can tell if travel is safe or not for the Rattle. If I was ratting in a different part of Delve, not only might the escalation spawn further away, but the route to it might take me through popular hotspots for PvP camps.

As mentioned, running the site itself is also fun. With my fit and skills, I’d have to massively screw up to die, but at the same time the site still requires following the proper steps to deal with each room, and there is the secondary goal of not just surviving, but running the site as quickly as possible. In contrast, ratting in the Super is a mostly click, click, click to blow stuff up with little consideration for what you are targeting, how far away it is, or what is happening with your ship. It’s nice and relaxing (other than watching intel to not get 30b+ blown up by enemies), and then the 10/10 is a more focused experience.

Room one is the most intensive, especially for pulling back drones as they take damage, and in making sure to kill enemy ships as they come into optimal range for sentry drones. Knowing when to switch out heavy drones for sentries also takes a bit of learning, as each drone type has a different optimal use. I’m also still experimenting when the best time is to use the micro jump drive to put myself closer to the gate, as you start 60km away, and after the jump you just need to fly back 15km or so.

Room two is pretty easy, but has the random chance to spawn a large wave of elite frigates. The frigates aren’t much of a danger, but they are very slow to kill, especially once they are too close for sentry drones to properly hit them. It’s always a nice feeling when they don’t spawn.

The final room is very high danger, but also the fastest. When you first land, you immediately micro jump drive. This puts you out of range from the many neuting battleships, and failure to do this leads to death. As your MJD spools up, you target the structure that ends the site, and once you land after the MJD, you drop sentry drones and kill that structure. As you blow that up, you drop a mobile tractor unit to eventually scoop the loot for you.

The final room has very high incoming dps, and it’s here that the bling tank comes into play. With my fit, and with it being cap stable, I don’t have an issue, but those that don’t spend as much or have lower skills might be cutting it close. Another variable is how often the enemy targets your drones. The more they do, the more times you have to pull them in, reducing your DPS and slowing the whole thing down. If you take too long, more rats will get back into range and you might die or need to warp away.

If things go well, you blow the structure up and its loot gets pulled in. Once its in your MTU, you loot that, scoop the MTU, and MJD once again to get away from the rats that are scramming you. Warp away and you are done, hopefully leaving with at least 200m+ of loot for less than 30 minutes of combat if all went well.

The final step is how to cash in. The deadspace drops I ship back to Jita if local Delve prices aren’t great. The occasional blueprint you get needs to also be shipped and then sold via contract. The overseer item you always get from the site is worth 134m, but needs to be sold directly to an NPC faction at their station. To get this done, I use my travel interceptor frigate, as we have a station where these can be sold just 10 jumps away.

The ISK flow is of course very nice, but it should be considering all the work it takes to get to this point. Having the ISK and the availability to purchase the Super to clear sites quickly, having the correctly fit Rattlesnake and the knowledge of how to use it, having all the needed skills for those ships, and of course being part of an alliance that not only owns quality null space, but also has the people and structure to keep it as safe as possible. All of that is countless billions of ISK, and countless hours of setup work.

But that’s EVE in a nutshell: it’s a game that rewards smart, cooperative play, and has the systems in place to reward it better than any other MMO by a longshot.

Posted in Combat Systems, EVE Online, Goons, MMO design

Shocking twist, rambling lunatic is ignored by the sane

Like most his (sane) readers, I find Gevlon’s blog a great source of comedy. His tinfoil-based discussions, his refusal to accept reality, and the insane ways he twists himself around to get to his viewpoint are all more often than not very entertaining. That, however, is the extend of the value, and most people that aren’t Gevlon-level dumb see that for just that.

So its no surprise that even small developers ignore his demands about changing their game design. It would be a massive negative for most players if a developer did listen to someone like Gevlon, because if you are dumb enough to listen to someone like him, what are the chances you are smart enough to make a good game?

And just how dumb is Gevlon when it comes to game design? See this as just the most recent example. In Gevlon’s mind he sees demons as being a selling point for drawing in anti-social elite PvPers to play/pay his game. How would his design play out in reality? All smart and organized groups (which include the elite managing the casuals) like Goons would play Swarm (because based on what Gevlon wrote, they would be stupidly powerful compared to the other factions), and those groups would also of course have demon alts. As soon as an organized swarm group needed to fight demons, they would log their alts in to debuff the enemy, making them useless, and winning by default. Bonus points in total failure that Gevlon also allows those demon alts to assist in fighting the other demons! It’s not hard to see that demons would soon be a non-existent faction, and once one faction is out, the balance of the entire system falls apart (to say nothing about the fact that you just lost a chunk of players due to terrible game design).

And that’s just one aspect of one faction; we could spend a whole week breaking down all the other crippling design flaws of the other factions and design choices, but that’s not really the point here. The point is any reasonable developer just needs to take one glace at what he suggests and they can safely dismiss it for the nonsense that it truly is.

The other entertaining thing about Gevlon’s blog of late is his struggle to replace EVE. It’s an impossible goal for a few reasons. One being that EVE is unique in it’s scale, culture, and history. Even a game with identical mechanics, which alone would be nearly impossible to create given how much iteration EVE has gone through, wouldn’t have important and established groups like Goons, PL, or EveUni that give EVE a unique background and storyline hooks that make it worth playing and buying into (whether you buy into it yourself, are have content provided for you by others aware of it).

But perhaps the bigger challenge in Gevlon finding a replacement is personal. He failed in EVE and ragequit when, despite doing nothing but trying to gather wealth for 4 years of no-life playing (if he was doing this in LoL, a game he didn’t really enjoy, what do you think he was doing in a game he was enjoying?) , he still wasn’t anywhere close to rich enough to influence the game (to say nothing about his total failures on the equally-important social side). That’s the reality, but here is Gevlon’s perception of it:

The only game where I was anywhere near #1 is EVE (I was probably the richest in EVE without EULA violation). – Gevlon

Gevlon truly believes he had more ISK than someone like Chribba or this individual (note: by his own admission, he spent a total of 700b vs Goons, and to my knowledge never posted a screenshot showing more than 1t+ ISK). To any EVE player, such a statement is amazingly laughable, especially in the context of the Casino War costing Lenny alone 1t ISK a week, an amount he payed for months, but again, Gevlon truly believes what he wrote above. He truly and honestly thinks he was the richest person not selling ISK for real money in EVE. (Bonus comedy: If you are involved in RMT, selling in-game money for real money, that means you would have LESS ISK in game, not more, but such details don’t exist in the alternate facts world that Gevlon lives in).

So you have someone who is greatly detached from reality, searching for EVE, but being unable to return to EVE because they know they can’t compete at that level (Something I stated back when Gevlon was just starting up and hitting the gold cap in WoW as if that was some worthwhile accomplishment). It’s a great setting for the comedy happening right now, and that has been going on since his departure from EVE.

Gevlon quit LoL for basically the same reason, with the same sad excuse at the end. Originally he set a very modest goal of reaching the top 10%, yet despite playing hours that would put him in the .01% of time played, he never came close to the top 10%. For someone with a history of having a very thin skin, and the desperate need for acceptance from others, that was a massive and embarrassing failure, made all that much worse by the fact that it was very public. Anyone that wanted a laugh could look Gevlon’s account up, or watch a replay to see him making first-10-games mistakes by someone playing their 1000th game.

And much like his terrible game design suggestions, his excuse for quitting LoL was just as sad. In a game where team selection happens prior to champion selection, Gevlon convinced himself that the game was rigged around purchasing and subsequently playing a champion. If you need more explanation around why that is absurdly flawed, you might be a Gevlon-level moron, and for that I’m sorry.

So I’m excited so see where he goes next, and ultimately what he cooks up to explain his next failure. My one hope is that it’s a game that’s well-known. One of the joys in his LoL failure was that it was easy to track and understand, as anyone can see that someone not making progress despite playing a thousand games is someone who is truly struggling. If his next attempt is some small game, perhaps the jokes won’t be as obvious, and that would be far less entertaining. Luckily, knowing Gevlon, he won’t go that route, because it would mean less traffic, and above anything, Gevlon is driven by the need for acceptance, which he misunderstands as people coming to his blog.

“But Syn, you just let Gevlon know of the joke, isn’t he going to stop doing what everyone is laughing at him for now that he knows?” Oh dear reader, you don’t know Gevlon. Fear not, he won’t change, because he doesn’t accept facts in his reality. It truly is a wonderful gift, one we can all continue to enjoy.

Posted in Blogroll, EVE Online, Goons, League of Legends, MMO design, Rant, RMT | 7 Comments

EVE: I have the best problem of all

I currently have the best problem of all in EVE; too much stuff I want to do and train for.

As mentioned last time, I recently purchased my Super Carrier, and now have the goal of upgrading its fit. How far that upgrade process will go I’m not sure yet, as I don’t really know if I want to invest a billion+ ISK into single modules for tiny percentage gains, but we will see. There is also the pod to build, which I haven’t started yet, which on paper at least looks like a bigger ROI (still talking billions for a few %, but that’s basically MMO progression for ya).

Despite still being a work-in-progress, the SC is already doing its job as an ISK-printing machine running sites, and in fact runs sites so quickly that I’m generating far more 10/10 escalations during my playtime than I was with my carrier. Normally I would contract these out to our escalation running team, Lucky Runners, but they have failed to run the last 3/5 contracts I’ve put up, so time to get into that business as well.

Funny enough, one of the better ships to run Blood Raider 10/10s is the Rattlesnake, a ship I sold when I got my carrier. The circle of (EVE) life continues. However unlike a ratting Rattlesnake, the 10/10 fit is active tanked, and somewhat specific at that. It’s also a 2b+ fit, using deadspace fittings for the tank, and faction fittings for damage. On the plus side my main pod is already fitted with ideal implants for the Rattle, so +1 for that.

I ran my first 10/10 earlier today, and it went very smooth, although I think it took me a little over 30 minutes, so there is still room for improvement. The funny thing about jumping back in a battleship after flying a Super is you are reminder how long it actually takes to kill stuff in normal ships. Initially I was wondering why this battleship rat that I set my missiles to was still alive after a volley, and overall its just a much slower pace of death, even though in the 10/10 there are a lot more rats then in your typical site, and the opportunity to screw up and die is also much higher.

On the skills side, while I have perfect skills for flying the Rattle and its fittings, I’m 20 days away from being able to use tech two sentry drones. I bought some faction sentries for now, but the tech two will be a nice little bump up since I already have the boosting skill for tech 2 drones trained. But that’s 20 days on top of a pretty long skill plan right now, with Planetary Interaction skills behind it. I need the PI skills because my industry alt is selling a few items that require PI faster than I can produce it, so this pilot is going to help fill the gaps. Behind the PI skills are a few skills I’m still missing to fly a Macherial well, which is back as a mainline ship and something I want to fly in fleets.

My industry alt also has a long training queue, with the needed FAX skills coming along but often being interrupted by one industry skill or another I find I need but don’t have. Plus now that I’m selling a lot of stuff in a few places, moving it around requires better (perfect) hauling skills. This is on top of increasing science skills to push blueprint research faster, a new market area I’m digging into and enjoying.

Oh and I recently took my carrier out for a little PvP OP, though thanks to TiDi, it wasn’t terribly eventful, doubly so because our carriers were playing more of a support role than doing work in the main battle. Still, it was fun, and being in a fleet of 200+ capitals was something new for me.

Posted in EVE Online

Super Carrier has arrived

Back in October I purchased my carrier, a Chimera, and now 6 months later I’ve purchased my Super Carrier, the Wyvern. Progress!

The difference between the Chimera and Wyvern are mostly in power rather than functionality; the Wyvern is multiple times stronger, both in tank and dps. The tank is so strong that rats don’t take it below 99%, while the dps is so high that a single flight of heavy fighters solo a battleship in two volleys, while the boosted light fighters chew up frigs and cruisers as fast as they can be targeted. The Wyvern clears sites so fast that, unlike my Chimera, having a Noctis following behind is a major loss of ISK/hr. Right now my ticks (20min time frame) are around 100m ISK, but that should go up as I refine how I rat with the new toy.

Beyond the power difference, the ships are pretty similar. Slow, passive shield tanked, and using fighters for dps. However the Super Carrier can use heavy fighters in addition to light, which is a bit of a change. For starters, the heavies have longer range and much higher dps, but fly slower. This means they are very ideal for killing battleships, but because their dps is so high, you want to only assign one flight per ship, unlike the method of stacking the light fighters from a carrier on a single rat. Using the heavy fighters feels like going back to a starter zone in a themepark MMO that doesn’t scale, and one-shotting everything; it’s just ridiculously awesome overkill. I’m hoping to get a dreadnaught spawn soon to see how fast they chews that up.

Another difference, and something I only learned after a few sites, is that because the heavy drones have a larger orbit and are slow, you don’t recall them at the end of a site. You leave them in space, fly to the next site, and then recall them once you land and aren’t in warp anymore. They will warp back to you, and you assign them to kill as normal. Prior to learning this I was waiting for them to get back to the carrier, which was costing me at least 20m a tick.

So what’s next? Short term I need to finish the fit on the Wyvern, as I want to replace some of the fittings with higher meta stuff, possibly going as high as officer mods in a few spots. I also need to get a suitable pod with the correct implants, but that part is a little tricky considering a shield-focused set of implants is due to be added to the game ‘soon’. I might still go with a talisman set, because that one is speed based and that will help with ratting, while I can eventually get the new set if I ever use the Wyvern in direct (non-defense) PvP.

Speaking of PvP, my old carrier is now fully fit for that, so the next time a capital op goes down, and I have the time, I’ll join in. With the income from the super, along with my alt’s escalating industry setup, losing the carrier in PvP wouldn’t be that big of an ISK hit. As for that alt, he is still training to a FAX, but his industry pursuit continues to add skills in front of training for the FAX. But that’s always a good problem to have in EVE; too many interests to train towards.

Posted in EVE Online | 10 Comments

Yea but what about Latin language support?

If you follow a game on Steam, anytime the devs post an update you see it in your Activity tab. It’s a nice feature, and makes it easy to keep up with games that receive frequent updates (like Early Access titles). With each update, you also see a few of the comments people have made related to that update.

I’ve noticed a trend that for almost any title, there are always people asking for the game to be translated to some language, often Chinese or Russian. The more recent trend is people firing back to learn English. For example. Or this.

I don’t know why, but I find the whole thing infinitely amusing. Just a little culture war going on in the Steam comments section. Keep doing you internet, keep doing you.

Posted in Steam Stuff | 2 Comments

Shared Battle Brothers game map code

70a248

Set it to Expert, Ironman, random endgame.

Goal is to retire at 30 days with the highest score (or last as long as you can until 30 days). Post the end result on Steam or link it here.

Enjoy!

Posted in Random, Uncategorized | 2 Comments