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Thursday, 9 October 2014

Nullsec Changes - The sledgehammer begins to fall

From all accounts Nullsec has become stagnant. Not necessarily stagnant from my point of view as I have just decided to enter into this area of EvE full time so there is plenty to explore and learn! The commnity has been screaming for some significant changes to Nullsec for some time now.

From what I understand it has come to a point where basically only a few people "control" Nullsec. These people have built up such substantial empires that almost any move against one of these few entities will result in a swift and devastating show of strength. This show of strength will likely result in the aggressor being kicked out of Nullsec or if not then banished to some less useful or profitable corner of the galaxy.

The main defence against someone tacking a nip at one of the corners of the powerblocs and setting themselves up as a Nullsec entity has been force projection. This has been enabled by the use of Cynos and the ability to react very quickly and move from one end of the galaxy to another with ease.

For instance a corporation or alliance may well successfully start to engage a system and try and take control of it. They come in with a force that is sufficient to make the attack and defend against the local systems whilst they establish control. The game mechanics in their current state allow for the defence of this system by the use of EXTREME force projection. A large Nullsec alliance or coalition can easily round up 100+ pilots in the largest ships with experienced players and appear within 15 minutes of the call being made that an attack is underway. Basically the Nullsec Coalitions have become so powerful that there is little chance that anyone will be able to break out into any area that they currently have under their control.

So what is changing?
CCP have made the decision to attack this issue through the implementation of cooldowns that have an effect on a capital pilots ability to jump through space. These cooldowns are going to have a significant impact on those wishing to traverse the universe in a large ship in a short period of time. Essentially a person jumping though space will have a cooldown (Jump Activation) associated with that character that will force the player to wait out the timer before initiating another jump. In conjunction with this the pilot will have another cooldown (Jump Fatigue) that takes longer to reset and this will extend the jump activation cooldown between jumps based on how severe this level of fatigue is.

What effect does this have?
We will have to wait and see how the pilots react to these changes as there are a few obvious workarounds that may negate this change. The intention, from my understanding, is to limit force projection by making those interested in utilising this strategy commit to the battle at hand and not be able to fly around the universe quickly just smashing small groups into dust. There are corporations/alliances/coalitions in the game dedicated to this type of tactic and this will require them to rethink how they operate and support their allies when required.

Obvious Workarounds!
Eve pilots are adaptable, no doubt about it and they will adapt to this change quite quickly and efficiently.

Workaround 1 involves EvE players having multiple characters with the capability to fly the ships. In this workaround you have the characters startegically spaced around the universe to enable the player to jump to one location, pass on the capital ship to a "fresh" character with no fatigue or cooldown, and continue jumping through to your intended destination.

Workaround 2 involves Eve players having multiple ships strategically placed throughout the universe and then using a small fast ship to travel, pickup their capital and use it at the desired destination.

Work around 3 is similar to 2 but relies on the leadership of your group setting up accessible fleets of capitals in strategic locations throughout their controlled space.

Other workarounds will be identified I am sure and these may well have been posted elsewhere.

More logistics required!
The logistics required once this change is implemented will be significantly greater. Multiple Cyno toons, multiple staging points, multiple fleets stashed in various locations etc etc. Managing this component of Nullsec entities will likely require a significant amount of additional resources. Moving freight from one location to another will require additional planning and resourcing, likely also requiring protective escorts particularly at the entry points into Nullsec space. Pirates are going to love this!

So I have just touched on this scenario and there are plenty of brains trusts out there in EvE working diligently I am sure to work out a strategy to defend their space. I am looking forward to watching how this change affects the EvE universe, maybe I will even get in some good fights as part of this change as well.

CCP has responded to the requests for Nullsec to be revamped, some people think it is with a sledgehammer, I think it is all for the better.

Remember, fly dangerous, freighter pilots have yourself a snickers and GET SOME NUTS, you will need them, possibly a Valium as well!

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Module Tiericide and Market effects - A strategic opportunity

With the release of the Oceanus patch notes Tiericide updates have started to flow through and these will have some significant impacts on the prices of items in the market whilst these get introduced over time.

Current Item Structure Basics
So there are generally 6 levels of most items associated with modules currently. This is evidently being changed with the introduction of Tiericide. There are also some that sit outside of this including civilian modules and faction and Officer modules but I wont go into them here.

So the basics are
Item Name - Tech 1               Basic
Item Name -  Meta Level 1    Upgrade 1
Item Name -  Meta Level 2    Upgrade 2
Item Name -  Meta Level 3    Upgrade 3
Item Name -  Meta Level 4    Upgrade 4
Item Name - Tech 2               Fully upgraded

The price of these relate to the fitting requirements and benefit output (combination of skill training ,CPU/Power requirements and bonuses provided by the item)

Now I am going to discuss an opportunity that exists regarding the price difference in Meta Level 3 and Meta Level 4 modules. Meta 4 modules can be exceedingly expensive as they are very close to if not exceeding the benefits of the Tech 2 without the skill requirements and can often have less fitting requirements which means you can fit your ship more efficiently. Meta 3 modules are reasonably priced due to the fact that they are not the "best" fit which people like me like to ensure they have!

Tiericide Changes
It appears that they are changing the above to reflect half as many intermediate "Meta Levels" effectively combining Meta 1-2 and Meta 3-4.

Item Name - Tech 1                           Basic
Item Name -  Intermediate name 1 - Combined previous Meta 1 and 2 - Upgrade 1
Item Name -  Intermediate name 1 - Combined previous Meta 3 and 4 - Upgrade 2
Item Name - Tech 2                          Fully upgraded

So given the above exposed exchanges in the Oceanus release if someone was to buy up a large amount of Meta 3 (reasonably priced modules) and await the combining of the said item with the Meta 4 modules then it is likely that the price would have gone up for the Meta 3 which has now been transformed into the Upgrade 2 item as per the Tiericide table above.

So some points to consider

  • Only a small amount of items were changed in Oceanus, given this it may be difficult to predict what will be changed next unless information is available elsewhere. This would have an effect on how long you may need to hold these items before they gain value
  • The stats are also being changed so doing further research and comparison on what the differences are likely to be on the Upgrade 2 version versus the Tech 2 variant, given what items have already been changed would give you an indication on the risk associated with this opportunity.
  • It is likely that the market will ride several waves so getting in early and getting out early may be a relevant strategy. If numerous people are buying modules for the above mentioned reasons then the price will likely go up for Meta 3 items well before the Tiericide for that item is introduced.
  • Additionally there may well be several waves post the introduction due to a likely surplus which would drop the price intially.
  • I would consider this a long term opportunity if you wanted to ride all the waves out but there may well be short term opportunities to consider.
  • If this is a viable market option then it is also likely that prices may have already started to spike for Meta 3 and drop for Meta 4.
  • Most importantly is Tiericide going to continue down exactly the same path that we have seen for the Oceanus release. Will all items be combined  and "Tiericided" in the same fashion!
Please see a professional financial adviser as I will not be held accountable for inferred advice being provided in this blog.........

Remember, fly dangerous, just don't throw in your Meta 3 modules its tiericide!

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

What have I done so far in EvE

There is so much to do in EvE and I have in no way experienced all. This post will go over my experience to date and I will look at my future plans in another post.

Highsec: I have lived half my time in EvE in Highsec. I have completed numerous missions to enable me to obtain access to clones. I have completed the Caldari Epic Arc missions on at least 3 occassions mostly for the rewards. I have done an extreme amount of exploring and doing DED sites (in my opinion this is the most fun I have and the most rewarding in Highsec). I have traded rather unsuccessfully, time invested was not worth the reward. Didn't actually lose isk but found that exploration was way more effective. I joined RvB and lost a few ships in PvP (well mostly lost!). Done some mining early on but never really got into it. Have run escalations from DED sites (refer my previous post about "Most devastating time in EvE!).

Lowsec: Mostly exploration including DED sites that are found within Lowsec and some Highsec escalations that have taken me there. Never really lived in low. Took a few ships out here and there to stir up the locals and get myself killed every now and then. Faction Warfare interests me as well so have that on my "to do" list and have been building a character specifically for it. Was even looking for an active AU Timezone Caldari Faction Warfare Corp when I instead found a Nullsec corp who was recruiting some additional players.

Nullsec: Have dabbled in a few Anomalies, usually just to see what's in there. Mostly exploration and running Data and Relic sites. Broke through a couple of gate camps but mostly died to them depending on what I was flying at the time. I have actually just joined a Nullsec corp and plan to expand on my knowledge and experience in this area. I actually think it is an opportune time to start a Nullsec trial as there are rather significant incoming changes to Nullsec that will likely stir up the locals out there and in turn hopefully create some interesting new content.

Wormholes: Basically the other 50% of my time in EvE. I started by running a drake through C1 wormholes to get a feel for it, got blown up a couple of times and then moved in with our corp to a C2. We quickly outgrew this and settled in a C3 which is where we were when I took my last break. Went on a few PvP roams depending on where our connections led to but generally just built up my funds by running the anomalies and scanning down sites and clearing them. I made a lot of Isk in these sites and to date has been my favourite place to live. Not sure how I would go moving back in there with all the recent changes but may well end up back in there once I have seen whether Nullsec and Lowsec can offer me anything new.

I have found a niche I enjoy in EvE which is Wormholes but I haven't exposed myself to other areas so can't definitively say what I want to do yet. I am going to give Null and Lowsec their chance to shine. I am also considering Industry and Manufacturing at some point in the future most likely on an alt.. Scamming is definitely not my thing so unlikely to try that but do whatever floats your boat!

Remember, fly dangerous, try everything at least once! (Except for scamming, that's just mean .......)

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Skill Training 2 - Intermediate

So I have given an overview of skill training but I would like to expand a little more on what else I have learnt in my time in EvE. This post will break down the skill training into 3 different categories to give you a better grounding to work from.

Core Skills: These skills I would consider are essential that you at least research and understand as they are the grounding for future endeavours and can have a significant impact on your ability to pursue a particular career path. They have an effect on various core components of your ship no matter which ship you choose to fly or career path you take. They are also skills that you will be "required" to have in the future as you progress through into flying more advanced ships. These are the skills I research and prioritise early once I have the essential skills I need to pursue my intended career path. I will also ignore some of these initially where it will have no impact on my future plans. ie. specialising in Caldari shield tanking ships may mean I never choose to pursue Repair Systems or at least delay this until needed.

Capacitor Systems Operation: Reduced recharge time for capacitor (significantly affects your stability)
Capacitor Management: Additional capacitor capacity (significantly affects your stability)
Navigation: Opens up various other navigational skills
Jury Rigging: Opens up various other specialised rigging skills
Science: Opens up various other specialised science capabilities
Spaceship Command: Opens up various specialised spaceship skills
Shield Operation: Basic shield repair skills (you may want to skip this initially if you are focused on armor repair)
Mechanics: Opens up various specialised skills and adds additional structure hit points
Repair Systems: Basic Armor repair skills (you may want to skip this initially if you are focused on shield repair)
Drones: Basic Drone use capability and enable the specialisation of drone types.
Corporation Management: Allows the basic control of a corporation
Gunnery: Basic Gunnery skills for turrets
Leadership: Basic Leadership skills for leading fleets
Missile Launcher operation: Basic Missile launcher operation
Cybernetics: Allows the use of Implants
Industry: Basic Industry Skills for those interested in and industry career path
Mining: Basic Mining capability
Astrometrics: Basic exploration or scanning capability
Social: Increases your standing with NPCs
Target Management: Allows multiple targets to be selected
Trade: Increases your ability to have additional Buy and Sell orders

Fitting Skills: These skills have a significant effect on what you are able to fit on your ship. Again do your research as some may specifically relate to fitting bonuses that you may never need. You may not need to consider this if you never intend to get in a fight or don't need to maximise what you utilise in your ships and are pursuing other career paths first but at least understand what these are.

Powergrid Management: Increased powergrid availability
CPU Management: Increased cpu availability
Specialised Rigging: Carefully review your rigs and ensure that you understand the drawbacks associated with them. Each level of Launcher Rigging for example reduces the drawbacks by 10%. When you look at adding rigs to your ship that increase missile damage they typically have a drawback that increases the cpu usage of your fitted missile launchers!
Weapon Upgrades: Reduced CPU requirement for weapons.
Advanced Weapon Upgrades: This is often overlooked early on but should be considered particulary if you are trying to fit the best offensive modules on your ship Reduces the powergrid needs by up to 10% at level 5.
Energy Grid Upgrades: Reduces the CPU cost of modules that require this skill
Electronics Upgrades: Reduces the CPU cost of modules that require this skill
Shield Upgrades: Reduces the Powergrid cost of modules that require this skill

Hopefully I haven't missed anything glaringly obvious but I am writing most of these off the top of my head and by looking at my own characters.

Other Skills: There are many more skills and these will really specialise on your intended career path. You may want to miss a lot of what I have listed above if you only intend to trade in a station but at least you have a little more direction and clarity around some of the more ship orientated skill requirements.

PS: This is based on my experience and I generally like to fly around and shoot things efficiently.

Remember, fly dangerous, I can see my house from here!

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Skill Training in EvE

One of the first questions people ask about EvE is "What Skills do I Train?". There are a few things you should know initially that will help you train faster and give you some confidence that you at least have a basic idea of how it works. This is a complex topic when you understand how it all works and you should spend some time researching this further when you get a chance.

Can I train the wrong skills from the start? NO
First of all let me start with this. If you have chosen to pursue a particular skill at the start of the game or even a particular skill path that you suddenly decide to change then don't restart and create a new character. There is no need and it will not be any faster to create a new character and start again. Keep those skills you have trained and just switch to the new ones you wish to pursue. My first character has skills all over the place but when I look to pursue different paths during my time in game the skills I trained early on have had a definitive impact on shortening some of the requirements at a later date!

What should I train from the start?
There is no skill you should train from the start unless you have already decided which path you wish to pursue. There used to be a skill that improved training time but this no longer exists so train what you wish to train. Follow the introduction and pickup the skill books it provides and train those as needed would be my best suggestion. Get a taste for what the game involves and what interests you and then pursue a particular skill path from there. You CAN'T go wrong, any skill you train will be useful to you at some point further down the track. I would also suggest that maybe you should not pursue training any skills to level 5 unless you require it for a particular path you have chosen. At least not in the first 3 months.

Skill training looks like it will take a long time, how can I speed this up? 
There are effectively 2 ways to do this, both of which relate to your basic stats and utilising both can significantly reduce your training times. Both of these have their risks though much like everything in EvE. These stats are recorded on your character sheet and are listed as follows, Intelligence, Wisdom, Memory, Perception and Charisma. All skills have a primary and secondary stat that has an effect on how quickly you can train that skill. If you increase the stats related to the skill you are training then your training time will be reduced.
Method 1: Stat Remap. Firstly you need to know that these are limited. Be careful in choosing a particular remap because from memory you start with 2 free remaps and you get a new remap every 12 months. You may want to hold off on this until you have a clear direction that you wish to pursue, so I would suggest utilising this facility only once you have decided on at least 6 months worth of training. You could end up with no remaps available and very LONG training times if you have reduced stats in something you need to train!
Method 2: Implants. These can be bought off the in game market and depending on the level of implant they increase your individual stats according to the implant slot they are associated with. You can only have one implant per slot and each slot relates to a specific stat. These are also found on your character sheet. If your pod is destroyed then your implants are destroyed with it and you will need to replace them if your clone is activated. So be careful in the utilisation of these particularly if you are inserting the most expensive bonus stats to your character. You must also train cybernetics to implant these and the higher the bonus the higher the training required.

I want to fly the biggest baddest ship in game as quickly as possible because then I can just explode everything that moves!
Training Battleships to 5 may not be the best start. I respect your decision but there is no easy mode to this game. You will quickly learn that flying a battleship, for example, is not always going to be the most effective way to win a battle. You might consider that a frigate, if flown well and correctly built, can evade the attacks of a battleship indefinitely. The said frigate can also stop you from moving effectively and "hold" you in place until assistance arrives. Bigger is not necessarily better if you can't fit the battleship properly and don't have an understanding of how the game mechanics work. I would suggest that you don't try to push past cruiser in the first 3 months but hey, it is a sandbox, go nuts!

Are there any tools out there to assist? YES and use them!
There are various tools that use the EvE API (allows 3rd party applications to access some of you account details but NOT those that would allow them to actually access your account or make any changes). Please do your research until you are confident that providing an application with your specific API key is safe. Basically your API allows these applications usually built by players to access the character details and only DISPLAY them. You cannot change the skills you are training without logging into EvE for example but by the use of your API an application can display what you are currently are training or have trained.
So here are a couple that I use - again please do your research as to where you are downloading these from and utilise them at your own risk, I have no affiliation with them!

EFT (on my PC) - assists in building new ships as it allows you to identify what modules you can fit on a ship and what requirements you need to train in skills for a specific fit of modules.
EvEMon (on my PC) - Displays what you are currently training and can definitely assist in creating training plans!
Neocom (on my iPad) - I haven't found any other "apps" out there but I do like this one. It is well thought out and easy to use. Kind of a combination of the first two.

There are likely many more out there so don't just stick to these.

Remember, fly dangerous, it doesn't affect your skill queue, or does it!

Thursday, 25 September 2014

What is Eve?

This may be an extended post as I tend to waffle on a little and get into a little too much detail at times. I will try, in this post, to summarise my view on what Eve is for a person who may just be wondering what the hell I have been waffling on about.

What type of game is Eve: Eve is an MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online) game. Players can roleplay (basically assume the characteristics of the type of player they wish to play) or as most people I have interacted with they just form a community of like minded people and have fun enjoying the game. Some people prefer to play it solo.

You pay a fee of approx. $15-$20 per month for access to your account but there are not, well not that I have been made aware of, any additional fees required to enjoy the experience.

You also need a stable internet connection to play.

What is Eve about: In Eve you are a space pilot. You have been made immortal via the use of clones and as such your character can never completely die. You utilise a pod to insert yourself into various types of ships. If your ship is destroyed you can obtain a new one by purchasing a new ship with in game currency and you can store a multitude of ships in various locations throughout space. When your ship is destroyed your pod is ejected. The pod can also be destroyed and if this occurs your clone is activated and you start from wherever this is stored. Your clone carries over all your skills and your in game currency + stored items and ships.

What can I do in Eve: This is where Eve differs from most other games. It is a "sandbox". In essence it is one playing field with everyone able to interact with anyone else who is online. You can trade, you can fight, you can run missions, you can mine for ore, you can manufacture, you can "invent" items (you don't discover anything new, just invent from basic items to more advanced items, more like upgrading!), you can commit piracy, you can "own" space, you can hunt other players down, act as a mercenary, the choices are endless. For example, one particular player created a gambling site in Eve that was so successful he had enough in game currency to support other entities within the game with their in game funds and essentially help them to continue to operate the services they were operating.

You can do practically anything in game that the game mechanics allow that does not reasonably affect a person in their normal life. This can be a little fuzzy and is a point for discussion that I am not going to enter into here so let me give you an example of what is likely considered ok vs what would likely get you banned. If you choose to enter a corporation and build their trust to a point that they give you particular rights that enable you to control their assets you can then sell off those assets, disband the corporation, steal all their funds and there will be no penalty applied to you for these actions other then those applied by other characters in game such as hunting you down or putting a bounty on your head. On the other hand if you choose to hold the actual people behind the characters to ransom by such things as requiring them to video themselves performing the "ice bucket" challenge and provide the video to yourself for them to obtain their in game assets back then that likely steps over the line.

What areas are there in space: For the purpose of this overview I will keep this at a high level. There are 4 main "areas" of space. These are based around their "security" level with two types effectively having no security but with definitive differences that require a differentiation. I will be expanding on my explanations of these in future posts.

Highsec (High Security Space): This is where your character starts the game. The four main character races own and police this space. It is the safest place to operate in and is basically the "center" of the in game star systems. It is considered safe as it is unlikely you will be targeted and or destroyed except under specific circumstances. A lot of players rarely leave Highsec. If you choose to kill someone in Highsec you will be targeted and destroyed by the NPC (Non player Character) police force that operates and patrols these systems. This doesn't mean you can shoot another player it just means there are consequences for your actions that are more severe in this area of space then others.

Lowsec (Low Security Space): This is basically a ring of systems surrounding Highsec that have less security. There are no NPC police ships in these areas. There are NPC Police guns located at specific locations that will attack you for inappropriate actions. Pirates love this space. You are unable to own space in this area other then holding it by the fact you can control it through numbers and by effectively restricted people from operating within that space.

Nullsec (Null Security Space): This is the outer ring of systems that continue on until known space ends. There is no security in this space, unless it is player run security. Players can own and control this space, they can build their own stations, they can shoot anyone without fear of consequence and generally I would consider it a free for all!

WH Space (Wormhole Space): For the purpose of this I can going to say this is "random space". Basically when you travel from system to system in all other space you use a stargate. You know where this leads. For WH space you use a Wormhole which could be considered a temporary gate that only lasts a few days. With wormholes you do not know where they lead or even when they will start! They can only be tracked down via exploration and can appear anywhere within Highsec, Lowsec or Nullsec. I would consider there to be even less security in WH Space then Nullsec due to the fact that you don't definitively know who is in your system or when the next "connection" to your space will occur.

Skills: There is no "levelling" in the traditional MMO sense of the word in EvE. You don't gain points for killing things or for mining ore. You actually train in Real Time. There are a massive amount of skills in the game from more effective offensive and defensive capabilities to better exploration and mining skills. What this means is that you choose to train what you want to train and it is training even when you are not logged on to EvE. If you choose to train to shoot missiles more effectively this may take you 40 minutes in real time to train to level 1. To train to level 2 may take 2 hours and so on. You can queue these up to a certain point so aren't required to log in every time a skill is complete.

Politics: If you research EvE and look at how it has evolved over the 10+ years you will be amazed at how corporations within the game have risen and have fallen. There are ceasefires negotiated in Nullsec, there are rental agreements made between controlling corporations and those that would like to use the space they have under their control, there are corporations that join together to form alliances and all of these need to be managed from financial management right through to recruitment and diplomatic negotiation.

In essence Eve is an amazing game in which you do what you want to do, just be careful everyone else is doing what they want to do!

Come join us if you haven't tried it already and if you have, come back if you can!

Free Trial: Enjoy Eve for 21 days for free 

This is just a summary of what Eve is about, do some research and you will find there is a whole lot out there that both CCP (Eve Creators) and the players have created to give you an understanding of the game.

Remember, fly dangerous, don't stay in Highsec!

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Longinius Spear

I was disappointed just the other day to see one of my favourite podcasters choose to leave EvE. I can only hope that he hasn't gone forever but I do fully respect his choice to leave the game for whatever reason that may be. I wanted to put this out there so that he can see that the effort he put in to the game of Eve when not griefing other Wormholers had a positive effect on the game as a whole. To be honest I think his playstyle added much to the risk vs reward element of Eve online and I had no issues whatsoever with how he interacted with other players online.

I may be biased as he is a fellow Aussie but I just liked his eternal optimism (hmmmm, probably wasn't quite so eternal!) and the fact that he took all the changes on board with generally good humour. He had a very unique view on how he played Eve, he was pretty evil in game on occassion, but I just got the feeling he was a good bloke.

I was a bit taken aback by his recent posts on his blog and his choice to take things personally but I also respect his choice to take a stand on something he feels so strongly about.

What I take from this relates somewhat to my previous post. People invest so much in this game it can almost become a job, For some they may actually spend more time on Eve then working. If I have invested 10 years in a company, given and continue to give my all, and then all of a sudden been treated with disrespect I will lose my %^#*. I think Spear invested a lot in Eve. Communication over the internet is a very subjective medium. You have to be very careful about what you say as it can be taken in many different ways depending on how that reader perceives what you have put forward. For example, IF I WAS TO TYPE IN ALL CAPS most people would presume I am shouting but maybe I just have an eyesight problem and this is how I am required to effectively communicate.

It doesn't take much for someone to be pushed over the edge if they are only a meter away, with EvE it is my opinion that for a component of the player base the longer you play the closer to the edge you get until all of a sudden there is just ..... space (pun not intended).

Eve is a game you invest in so much, it is difficult to enjoy without investing time and effort so it actually becomes part of your life for the majority of players. I love it, but I have taken a couple of extended breaks. This game just keeps drawing people back in. I hope it draws Longinius Spear back to the fold. You will be missed mate.

Remember, fly dangerous, Eve is real!