Friday, 14 October 2011

Crews in our EvE Vessels?

I came across an advert from an EON edition that noted crews for our ships. I have not signed up to EON (something I may well change very soon, I'll add) so I don't know the in's-and-out's of this idea. But I thought it would be fun to throw in my own spin.

First of all is the morale implication. It is a solid fact (stand-fast station-spinners) that we will lose our ships at some point through PvP, NPC or Concord. If EvE was real, I for one would not sign up to be an engineer to a Capsuleer's ship. Not unless I had a death wish. Although this is really nonsense, would it not be a nice touch to have miniature escape pods blasting away from the ship as it explodes and have your crew awaiting your arrival at whichever station you dock at? To combat lag, perhaps this visual mechanic could be included in the graphics sequence of a ship popping. Titans may be an issue with the amount of escape capsules accelerating away, granted. Or maybe an un-lockable (or not - yarr!) escape shuttle will remain following the explosion, which will then warp your crew away to safety. Perhaps the easiest away around this is to use expendable droids as a crew, which could be recovered through salvage if you really wanted them back.

The reason I am imposing some sort of 'crew recovery' system is because some depth could be implemented in the development of a crew. Crewman could have their own skills (AI controlled) that increase through time and/or experience as we progress through missions/PvP/etc. much like our standings with agents. So as we 'develop' our crews through game-play, they increase their effectiveness on our ships. Perhaps even crew specialised to certain player styles, such as pirate crews and explorer crews. But with every ship lost, a certain percentage of crew will not survive and/or have their bonuses reduced - much like our fitted modules.

Crewman could be bought/hired through a special recruitment hub through the market. The more you spend, the higher their rank and, therefore, the better their ability. Skills for our characters could be bought to increase our crews standing effectiveness as well as ones to accelerate their training time. I simple promotional system could exist with billeted slots, so that your ship isn't run completely by experienced Commanders. But such mechanics could lead to a complicated system that people quickly get fed up with.

However, a system like this is very much in use at the moment - Hard-wire implants. Bonuses to weapons, defences, navigation, etc, are already available, so to introduce a system that I have just described would only mean duplicating something that already exists in the game (apart from the increased bonuses through time). Plus, do people want to have something extra to manage with their ships when all they want to do is fly and fight? Probably not.

I'll say that a lot of thought would have to go into something like this, as it will need to be well-balanced. I'm sure players don't want to go through the potential painful motions of training and losing crew to make it a fair fight against their opponents. So maybe limit ships crews to Empire or even just High-Sec?

Who know's. It is definitely something that will make us more attached to our ships, but it will need to be simple enough not to effect game play as it currently stands.

I very much welcome your thoughts on this!

Monday, 10 October 2011

Blog Banter 29: Immersing Oneself in EvE

I have to start by admitting that the storyline behind EvE is something that I am not completely familiar with. So that level of immersion is somewhat alien to me. For a long time I've been playing the game as a game, and not paying attention to the backstory. I have annoyed myself by doing this, really, as it does bottom out the whole experience at a shallow depth. After getting involved in the EvE community over these last couple of years, playing and talking in-character, as many pilots do, has become very appealing to me. One reason is to sculpt a model of, if we're honest, an aspect of our personality that we perhaps could not exploit in real-life. EvE gives us the opportunity to focus this aspect on our character and develop him/her into a fantasy portrait of ourselves in a place with very little consequence. To some, this may seem a bit geeky or even strange. But to others, myself included now, it can be a lot of fun.

Although I was aware that some pilots played in-character in and out of game, I was reluctant to try it myself. Mainly because I had been flying with my Corp members for a couple of years, and to suddenly switch from being me into someone I thought Akinesis should be seems a bit ridiculous. However, the clincher for me trying to 'act' was following a War-Dec on our Corp a while ago. The WT's we were fighting were tough, and many times we would engage in conversation with our enemy characters (be it smack talk, etc). But at the end of the war we discovered that these characters were all played by one individual, who turned out to be a rather top bloke. This showed me a side of EvE that I hadn't come across before, and it seemed a lot of fun. So, shortly after, I started a new account so I could trial this experience. So far I have, and continue, to trick a lot of people. And it proves to be a lot of fun to see the reactions and behaviors of others in response to this false identity I have created. Whether this is shallow, pointless, or whatever people might think, it is a break from the norm (albeit innocent deception at the moment). Although not a back-story character, I have created a personality that I believe suits the character, which I continue to develop.

RocWeiler has delved deep into his character and kept the backstory of his Minmatar origins very close. He has designed an upbringing with which Roc's personality responds from and I enjoy reading his stories. This has very much inspired me to do something similiar to Akinesis and Chrieghten. Although I am too far gone with these characters to employ this into the Corp (therefore, the game), I frequently mull over the thought of starting a series of mini-stories in my Blog to explore them. I would enjoy such a venture, but if I do it I want to get it right. This involves learning the history of Caldari and the other races to a good depth to ensure my characters slot in accuratly. I am looking forward to designing a history for them and how they met, etc, but it will involve time which I need to spend playing the game at the moment due to some drastic changes happening in the Corp. However, it won't be long before I begin putting some life into these guys.

So immersion in EvE can come on many levels, and all seem very interesting. It allows you to play the same game in many different ways, and can even make you challenge yourself without even realising it. A couple of times I've had to be careful not to 'break out of character' by saying something that I don't believe my in-character Alt would say. Adopting phrases and tones that are fitting are tricky as these are often things I would say normally. Placing a limit on sharing information is also something I have found hard to do, as a lot of the members of the Corp my Alt is in are quite junior to me. Several times I have watched them make mistakes that I could have perhaps prevented, or listened to them spit-ball ideas that I myself know would or wouldn't have worked. In a way I feel cruel to sit back and let them waste ISK or ships on things I could have helped them on, but to do so would break my cover and ruin the very experience I am very much enjoying. At the end of the day, they don't know any different and I am having a good time putting myself through the challenge of ensuring that it stays that way.

Although I'm only just getting into the deeper immersion side of EvE, I'm enjoying what I'm experiencing.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Gaining Sec-Status in Eve

A fellow pilot asked me if I had the time to regain the sec-status of his PvP toon for a generous reward. He had real-life commitments happening and didn't have any spare time. I agreed and, after a few pointers on the best way to do this, I got to work.

Had I known the level of time required, perhaps I would have declined the favour.

OK, so the best way to increase standing for a character at the back end of -10 is relatively simple. Ratting. A speed-tanking Manticore was the ship of choice and I headed to a 0.1 system where the NPC Battleships live. Taking out NPC BS's is the way to do it, as these have a significant standing increase over any other NPC pirate ship out there. At first, I picked a solar system and began 'grooming' the belts. If you warp into an asteroid belt and a spawn containing a Battleship arrives, just kill the BS and leave his buddies alone. After about 20 minutes, the BS will reappear. If you warp to a belt and there is no BS present, kill the entire spawn and hope that the next group will contain the precious BS. If it doesn't, wipe out that spawn and repeat until you get the BS.

You can do this until all the belts with spawns (note that only a certain percentage of the belts will ever get spawns at all) and then you can just warp from belt-to-belt wiping out the BS's. This is a great way to earn ISK but, as I found out later on, not the best way to gain sec-status. It wasn't until I posted my frustration on Twitter that @DavidKMagnus pointed out to me that you will only ever get ONE sec-status increase PER SYSTEM every 15 minutes. This means that whatever ship you kill first in the belt will be your status increase for that 15 minutes window. From my experience, a BS will give you up to a 0.2 sec-status increase while a frigate might only give you 0.02. So if you spend the best part of the day in one system and happen to kill a Frigate as each 15-minute timer runs out, it will be a while before you see any credible gain. For the few days previous to the welcomed advice, I wondered why my sec status increase was going up so slowly after killing many  0.17 - 0.2 BS's. This fifteen-minute timer was the reason. But this timer only exists within the system, and jumping to a new system will start it's own seperate timer.

So the best method involves the need to travel from system-to-sytem killing just a single BS before proceeding through the next gate. I was lucky enough to find a loop of 0.1 systems not far from where I was operating at the time. I jumped to the first system of the loop and warped to asteroid belts until I found one with a BS, made a note of the belt and system and then proceeded to the next. I did this until I arrived back at the start of the loop. Then I put the Manti to work, killing the BS in the noted belt before jumping through to the next. Then the next, then the next. By the time I got back around to the beginning, the 15 minute system and 20 minute spawn timers were just about reset and so I went around again. And again. And again. I did this until the sec status was where it needed to be. Using this method, the status rocketed up in comparison to my original technique.

By the end, I was a zombie and fed up of NPC rats. It has deterred me from ever getting my sec-status below -1.99 on any of my toons. And spending so much time permanently in Low-Sec made me value HS so much more from the simple reasons of aquiring equipment and ammo. This is a lot more challenging in LS for many reasons - gate camps and the sheer sparsness of sell-orders in Low-Sec (in the area I was operating in, anyway).

So there it is - a quick run-down of how to regain your sec-status. If you ever need to do it, make sure you have a good supply of coffee.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Chimera Inbound

Now that my Alt is a logistics guru in both RR and hauling, I started to think of what area I wanted to pursue next. The only goals that I hadn't reached were full salvaging skills and a jump freighter. Although these aren't far off, the Level-5 skills needed are a bit painful to wade through. So I decided to set him down the path of a Vulture, and the Hybrid-weapon skills started to trickle through. But with so many drone skills to his name as well as maxed armour skills it seemed a waste to abandon Gallente ships and switch to Caldari. And an armour-repped Gallente Command ship sporting shield command-modules seemed a bit ridiculous.

So where should I go? Recently, while having a smoke to dwindle on the matter, I flicked through the iClone App. I went into 'Capital Ships' to see how far off I was from a jump freighter. I thought it might be worth finishing off that job. Capital ships was an area I hadn't really looked in before because my Corp operates mainly in High-Sec. So, for a giggle, I looked under Dreadnaught and was surprised to see that Chrieghten really was not far off from flying one. After training Battleship and Advanced Spaceship Commmand to Level-5, he would pretty much be there. This was quite exciting. But was it worth it? Not really. It might have some use in our Low-Sec and Wormhole holdings, but not to any great effect. Plus I would still be faced with the same issues if I were to train the Vulture. Well, more in fact, as I would have to train up missiles. Then I thought about turning the Dreadnaught into an RR ship the same way I did the Domi. But this just looked too extreme to pursue and I quickly abondoned the idea. While I was in that menu, however, I thought I'd just have a peek at Carriers.

I would be lying if I said a smile didn't spread across my face. I'm ashamed to say that I had no idea, but as I don't have anything to do with Carriers at the moment how would I have known? So, the Carriers have repping and drone (or fighter at this level) bonuses. It was sold to me. As my Corp is mainly a shield fleet (and I'd prefer to have a capacitor rep, too), I will be going for the Chimera. This means that I will still have to train shields, too (not complaining though, as these are nearly finished thanks to the need through Chrieghten flying a Basilisk). There are still some long Level-5's to go through, but this will be worth it.

However, moving to a Chimera doesn't come without it's problems. I plan to mainly attack Wormholes with it, but while in Empire it will be living in Low-Sec. And to make the most of this ship I will need to spend a fair amount of time using it in Low-Sec, which will bring potential logistical issues that is best solved with a jump freighter. Also, I still really want him to have maxed salvaging skills as I am involved in a lot of rig production. Right now, though, I'm just too damn keen to get him into a Chimera. Especially as other Corp members are starting to step into the Capital ships.

How do I combat this issue? Get some patience? After failing to find patience, I started another Alt. Although I wasn't in any way upset to do this, I did have to creep around my other half and inform her that my bank account will be shy of a little more money every month (although, I think she's more concerned that I might be spending even more time on the game). But once again, this did present problems (well, patience again) as I would be waiting for a while to get more damn skills under the belt.

But then my CEO typed in chat that he was selling one of his Alts. It was very much perfect timing. I was familiar with this toon, and he was a logistics alt in both senses just like Chrieghten. But he was pure logistical, instead of dwindling in other areas such as drones and weapons. And there was the added bonus of maxed PI skills. So I expressed my interest and after a couple of days of bartering and the usual 'ums' and 'ahhs' we agreed on a deal. This came with an additional bonus that if I got one of his pirate alts to a sec-status that would allow High-Sec access, he would throw a Providence in. I agreed (ignorant to the work involved in regaining sec-status, but more on that another time), and this weekend I claimed my new Alt and the freighter. There are some skills to train up still, but they are pretty much picking up where Chrieghten left off. And I also now have the benefit of two maxed RR toons. The only downside is that my new alt cannot fly an Orca, which is a ship I use quite frequently. So I am planning to get those skills underway before I move onto the Ark. But first, he will become a Level-5 salvager.

At the moment I'm very happy. And by Christmas I should own three very specialised characters.

Here's hoping for a fun and profitable future just around the corner!

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Blog Banter: The Future of EVE Online, CCP and CSM

In recent months, the relationship between CCP and it's customers has been the subject of some controversy. The player-elected Council of Stellar Management has played a key role in these events, but not for the first time they are finding CCP difficult to deal with. What effect will CCP's recent strategies have on the future of EVE Online and it's player-base? What part can and should the CSM play in shaping that future? How best can EVE Online's continued health and growth be assured?

Firstly, I would like to say well-done to Seismic Stan for taking the reins of the Blog Banter in the Post-CK time we are now in.

This topic is quite convenient as I wanted to make a post in this area. After stepping away from EvE for a few months, it was quite a surprise to find the state of the player base on my return. The only info that I really got about Incarna when it was first released were a few texts back and forth between myself and my CEO. At the time, I didn't have internet so I couldn't get onto the game even if I had wanted to. And his thoughts of the expansion did not exactly make me want to rush to re-establish connection. When I returned to the game and the community outside of it, I gotta say that I wasn't totally surprised to see the reaction. But I would never have thought that the scale of the reaction would be as large as it is.

Incarna has been a promise of CCP's for a long time now, eagerly awaited by some and feared by many. A lot of the arguments is that EvE is a game of internet spaceships, and if we are suddenly allowed to get out of our ships and start walking around, it will lose a lot of that title. People have been worried that other players will just spend there time in stations, wandering around content enough with the game to never set foot in a spaceship. This, however, does hold truth in the game as it stands (referring to station-spinning alts), but if players are drawn into the station a lot more, there are less targets to shoot out in space. And I agree with this to an extent. But this list goes on-and-on, as is evident in past Banters and many, many other Blog posts.

When I was reconnected, downloaded and logged on for the first time in the Incarna expansion, I was a little wow'd. The graphics are good and it's a fantastic sight seeing your ship floating behind you. It puts a sense of scale to things and you start to realise how big these fantastic ships are. But more than that, it is great to actually see my characters alive. No longer are they 2-D passport-sized images on our screens. They move, walk, blink, scratch... everything. And (for me) one of the best features is that we can now alter the appearance of them as much as we like, which is an excellent feature. In addition, the new agent-finder and the revised mission categories and standing-requirements makes me really have to tip my hat to CCP.

However (and there is always a however!), like a lot of other players I have more than one Alt that I like to run at the same time. I've lost count how many times I've read about this, but, yes, my graphics card also goes absolutely nuts. If I am running three accounts at the same time funny things start to happen to my characters and their surroundings. My laptop won't load the environment at all and just crashes to desktop (and both my PC and Laptop are new this year!) and I have just had to replace and upgrade the GC in my laptop after the original went up in a puff of smoke. Because of this over-demand on our precious GC's, I have turned my station environment off and have no intention of turning it back on. Which is a damn shame, really. But why, for f***'s sake, couldn't we have the good old station spinning instead of that useless 2-D backdrop of our CQ's when we turn 'Load Station Environment' off?! I have read that they are bringing a form of spinning back and, for me, that release cannot come quickly enough!

Apparel. Well, what do I say about that? As it stands, I have no intention of using it. Even the 1000AUR we received is still sat untouched in my accounts. The prices of items, I think, is ridiculous. And I am by no means alone. Will I ever use it? Hmmm, hard to say. It depends what else they bring out and whether items become reasonable. The other thing at the moment is that no one else can really see what our characters are wearing, so it seems pretty pointless at the moment even if there were some desirable items up for grabs. The head-wear is a little different - people can see that, if they are willing to spend that ridiculous amount of money on them. Personally, I won't be converting Plex's to buy anything. No way.

The other side is the possibility that this Micro-Transaction step of CCP will eventually lead into Golden Ammo. In the interviews it was stated my CCP (backed up by CSM members) that 'there are no plans' to do this. But 'there are no plans' is not 'we will never do this'. It bothers me to think that it may lead down this path, but, to be honest, I'm not going to worry a great deal until the day it happens (if it ever does).

Because I have missed out on a lot these last few months, I don't want to get too deep into the future of EvE Online. My knowledge, at the moment, is rather limited and I don't want to risk waffling about things that I don't quite understand. But from what I have gathered so far is that these new features are nothing but a test-bed for CCP's future games. This saddens me as much as it enrages me. What I fear is CCP losing sight and possibly interest in EvE and pouring their resources into the potentially bigger market of FPS's. A lot of EvE, as we all know, is broken and/or needs a good overhaul. Faction Warefare is something that seems to have been largely forgotten about. Low-Sec is still not receiving the attention that it needs. But this is nothing new. And these MT's and their recent Plex package are signs that they are struggling. If I'm honest, I would prefer it to be greed rather than desperation, as the leaked information suggests. However, business is business, and I can't argue with that.

Yes, it does seem to me that CCP are losing touch a little with their player-base. And the difficulties CSM have been having don't exactly fill us with confidence, either. The game at the moment does feel like a test-bed for their other ventures after Incarna gave us nothing but burnt-out graphics cards.

So, as beautiful as Incarna looks inside the station, I don't like the noises it makes my computer make or the loading times. Honestly, I can't wait for the return of station-spinning.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Research and Invention in EvE - Donning the White Lab-Coat

From the moment that I was aware of Research in EvE it had always been a form of magic to me. I didn't really know what you could do with Blue Prints other than make stuff from them. When buying Blue Print Copies I noticed that ME and PE efficiencies were different on occasions, but this, again, meant nothing to me. My former CEO was very much into the whole Science and Industry scene, and we used to have a High-Sec POS that offered research labs. But ask me what these were used for and I would have simply shrugged.

Following our recent Corp move, we landed close to a very appealing Low-Sec area. One of the other directors set up his own POS purely for personal research labs. The CEO also then decided to place a Corp POS in the system to use as a PvP platform. As a director also, I was selected to construct and run the new tower. With our new tower being a PvP base, you can imagine that our structure needs consisted of nothing more than a Hangar and Ship Maintenance Arrary and the usual defences. Being the manager of this POS, I decided that I would allow myself some perks. So I pinned down the other director and asked him to explain the whole research idea to me. I was carrying the intention of using the spare CPU and Powergrid in our PvP POS to set up some labs of my own. After digesting the basics of research, I hauled in two labs (one for my main and one for my alt) and blew the dust off of my blueprints.

I sucked up some information through a conversation in Twitter, too. I had been informed a while ago that researching Blueprints was a good passive income. Being a sucker for free ISK (!) I was keen to get my prints going. But in the Twitter conversation, I was informed that this venture was far from passive. Well, I've already learned that it is as much as it isn't, depending on what is done.

Although I know that I am only scratching the surface of research at the moment, I can safely state that Material Efficiency (ME) and Production Efficiency (PE) as well as Blueprint Copying can be turned into a passive income. They can either follow on from eachother, or be used individually to generate ISK. But it also greatly depends on the Blueprints used, which I will clear up shortly.

So, how is this done?

There are three basic ways to start researching Blueprints. NPC stations, POS with NPC station in system, and a stand-alone POS. I would say that the most undesirable way to research BPO is in an NPC station, mainly because the research slots are nearly always full. But this also means that you will have to queue your BP's behind someone elses, and this can leave you waitng days or even weeks before you prints even get a look-in. Although, this is by far the safest option and if you have time on your side then consider this method. There is a search feature that can be used to find any free slots, but as this is not the option I choose to use I haven't looked into that. Plus, with this method, there are no POS-running costs.

A POS with an NPC station in the system is, in my view, the most desireable option. What this gives you is the ability to keep and run your BP's remotely from the NPC station without having to travel or store any prints at the POS. The benefits of this is that if your POS comes under attack and is destroyed, you have not lost potentially billions of ISK worth of BP's.

The other option is to set-up a POS in a system without an NPC station. What this means is that jobs have to be started from your POS, and BP's and materials will need to be stored in your labs. Perhaps not such a problem in High-Sec, but in Low-Sec hungry pirates with enough fire-power may want to get their hands on any valuable prints kept at your POS.

OK, if you've got your research method set-up and BPO's ready to begin researching, what can you do with them?

Well, I have gone with the three most basic options at the moment. I'll start with perhaps the most simplest, which is Copying. But you need to have a BPO worth copying in the first place. For instance, copying a Drake Blueprint Original (BPO) will produce Drake Blueprint Copies (BPC). These copies can then be sold on the market, and the income generated can be worth while. Initially, a Drake BPO will set you back around 400mil, and the copies can be sold for, say, 500,000ISK a time. After a while (and through mass-production of these prints) this will return profit providing they are continually pumped out. However, copying a 10mn Afterburner I will not be worth while (unless it's for invention, but I will cover this later) because the BPO original is so cheap to buy in the first place.

Ships will take a while to copy, and a basic lab only offers one copy slot. So although the process is slow, it is passive in that you can set the print for several copies and/or runs (copies being how many individual BP's are produced and runs are the amount of times someone can manufacture the product from each print), and leave it to work itself for the best part of a month. Once the job is ready, simply deliver the prints to your hangar and cart them off to a trade hub and sell them. This process can constantly be repeated and requires very little interaction.

To churn a bit more ISK out of each print, we can research ME and PE. ME will reduce the amount of materials required to manufacture the item, and PE will reduce the amount of time the job takes to complete. Although the saving may seem tiny in small production lines, the difference will be greatly felt when manufacturing 1000's of unit of the item. But on a Drake blueprint, I would say the ME factor is more important. Although ME can take a while to research, a standard Drake blueprint will have a material wastage factor of 10% (ME level 0), where an ME level 20 will only have a material wastage factor of around, say, 0.5%. So using the ME20 blueprint will straight away have a desirable saving on a single production run and allow you to sell the BPC for more than an ME0 BPC.

The final area I will cover is Invention. This is a great little tool that allows you to produce T2 items. I have selected to invent Scourge Fury Heavy Missiles, as these are a popular consumable. To start invention, you will need a BPO of the T1 component - in this case, a Scourge Heavy Missile. This needs to be taken to the lab and copied (ideally several times), and only one run is required of each BPC. It is worth pointing out here that the ME and PE of the BPO has no effect in invention. Datacores are required to start the invention. These can be purchased or you can acquire them for free using R&D agents, and note that these are consumed whether your invention was successful or not. Providing you have the skills (pre-requisitions for invention are shown by selecting the BPO 'Bill of Materials' and selecting the invention tab - it will show you the skills needed as well as the data cores and other items required) you can start invention.

Invention only takes a short amount of time to complete (37 minutes for me to invent a T2 missile print), so there is not long to wait. There is a percentage of chance of successfully producing a T2 blueprint, which can be increased by using Encryptors (expensive and not worth it on small, cheap items) and/or T1 variants of the item you are trying to produce. I use Caldari Navy ammo as my 'helper' product to increase my chance of a successful T2 print. Unless Encryptors are used, you will only ever produce a single-run T2 BPC. Encryptors do various things from increasing the chance of a successful outcome, increase the number of runs available from each print (up to 10), and give the print a higher ME rating. But these vary from 3.5mil to 50mil, so unless you can get them from areas such as Radar sites for free, then I don't think it's worth it for the smaller Inventions. As a rough average, I am successful 2/3 of the time and have a hangar full of T2 Scourge Fury prints. These can then be sold or used for your own production.

The other are is reverse engineering, which is used when you have acquired sleeper artefacts. However, I have not started down this path yet, so I have no knowledge to share on that topic.

So, if copying and ME/PE is the focus, researching can be a nice passive income. For T2 Invention, this requires quite a bit of attention if you are wanting to churn out the prints at a fast rate.

I hope this is of use to someone!

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Faction Launchers Vs Tech-2 Launchers

Please note the edit at the bottom of the page

For a fair while I've been scratching my head over missile launchers.

I had a look at Caldari Navy Heavy Missile Launchers on EFT, but no matter what I tried I could not get the DPS figures of my Nighthawk to read anywhere near the damaged caused by Tech-II heavy launchers with Tech-II ammo.

So why are people choosing the expensive Navy varient when the Tech-II 's are delivering far more damage?

With no obvious reason standing up and punching me in the face, I put it down that folks just couldn't wait to train for Tech-II launchers. Which is mad. However, a very recent conversation brought to light an interesting fact. EFT is a wonderful and extremely useful tool. However, it does run into a few problems when it comes to accurate DPS readings. There is an issue due to the fact that the program cannot take into account a few factors. The juciy DPS figures that are displayed are based on a perfect shot. This is very rarely the case when the target's speed, size, etc are added to the equation.

However, the individuals I had engaged in this conversation were adament that Caldari Navy HML's loaded with Tech-I ammo would do a better job than the Tech-II HML loaded with Tech-II ammo. True, the CN HML's have a faster firing rate, but the Tech-I heavy missiles are noticeably inferior to the Tech-II's. I can't even squeeze anywhere near as much DPS when I fit the Caldari Navy ammo to the Faction launchers.

I'm very sure that the Caldari-Navy HML's are better, otherwise they wouldn't be so pricey. I've looked over the attributes in the missile info and I still can't see the benefit of the slightly faster firing rate over better missile damage. Although I've not done any deep research through the web, the searches I did were not as fruitful as I hoped.

Any pointers in the right direction will be greatly appreciated.

I've had some comments come through both on here and in Twitter. The points made about the explosive radius were absolutely correct. Although I've only managed to test the new fit out in only one mission, I could instantly see the differences.

What I have found is that Battlecruisers and below pop A LOT faster with the Faction launchers and T1 ammo. It's all to do with the 'explosion velocity' of the missiles, and T1's and Faction are much better than T2's. However, this does mean that the battleships do take longer to fall. Overall, I'm more pleased with the set-up, especially as T1 ammo is much cheaper and easier to make. Now I can just sell the T2 ammo that I produce.


Addtional: I have been corrected with credit to @Khanhrhh. EFT can show the applied DPS through the DPS graph. Apologies for my naivety!

Saturday, 27 August 2011

The Cost of Impatience

So, why is my Alt looking a little sheepish. Does the lack of  a ship behind him give away a hint?

OK, so I am behind the actions of my Alt - it's not his fault. Although this is not something that most people will admit, but I have had a bad run this week when it comes to losing ships. I know that everyone loses ships, but usually not in this sense.

Originally when I started my Alt I had him planned as a logistics character. I trained him up to fly a Crane and an Orca as quickly as I could. Once that was achieved I turn towards the Charon. Along the way I discovered Remote-Repping, so I then trained him down the path of a Basilisk as well as a Navy Dominix with good drone and almost elite armour-tanking skills.

With that all now conquered, what next?

Well, my Alt has absolutely no weapons skills (save the basic gunnery and missile skills he started with), and I thought this was a little embarrassing for the guy. So I turned him towards the field of pew-pew. As he pilots the Navy Domi and with other future plans of him becoming a Vulture pilot for the Command Link bonuses, I set him down the path of Hybrids. And after some mild training, I built him a Brutix and off he went.

I was impressed with the Brutix. It can tank well but the DPS was quite lousy with his current skills (even with the ships' Hybrid bonuses). The Hammerhead II drones were more-or-less his primary weapon. But it wasn't long before he fell victim to warp-scramblers and Battleships in a drone mission. A lot of the problem I have is that my main can tank any mission in his Nighthawk, so I no longer have to be careful about gunning down trigger-ships that call in more aggro. My Alt, I must remember, needs to be careful of this.

So I went back to EFT to see if I could improve the tank, but there wasn't a great deal I could do without buying Tech-II rigs or faction gear. I wasn't prepared to do that. Then I had a look at the Myrmidon. I could get a much better tank and be able to utilise it's Drone-bonuses well. So I went to my nearest trade-hub and started assembling.

In missions, the Myrmidon was able to tank a lot better. The Hybrid rails I had fitted were next to useless, but the drones were able to bring down most ships with ease. However, this ship quickly befell to the same fate as the Brutix. Scrammed and overwhelmed, she, too, popped.

I wouldn't say that my Alt is not ready to take on missions, it's just I need to concentrate more and remember that his tanking ability does not compare to Akinesis. I would return him to the Navy Domi, but Akinesis very rarely needs repping now, so it would be just a hulk of dead-metal floating next to him. To that end, I sat him a Noctis and let him go nuts on the wrecks.

However, the Brutix and Myrmidon are not the issue here. Although no one likes to lose a ship, I am relatively happy to look upon those losses as a learning curve. My real issue lies with the Noctis I lost. Or three of them to be precise.

Losing a Noctis in a mission could be put down to bad luck. How often does someone lose a Noctis in a mission? Losing two is being a bit ridiculous, as you should really have learnt any mistakes after the first one. But losing three is nothing other than stupidity. Or being impatient in my case.

At the moment I am grinding Level-4 missions to gain good standing with Research & Development agents, as I've started Tech-II production through invention at labs in our new Low-Sec POS. So acquiring free Data-Cores is a handy asset in this venture.

So to speed missions up to get faster standing (I'm not really looking to blitz here), I get Akinesis to take all the aggro prior to sending in my Alt with his Noctis before the room is even cleared. Except, in three cases, what I thought was the last wave of targets warping into the mission, in fact, wasn't. And a Noctis doesn't take very long to pop when they are at the mercy of several Battleships and Cruisers.

So my impatience has cost me a lot of precious ISK (and ISK is very precious at the moment). I am very sure that there are not many people out there who can say they are on their fourth Noctis in the space of a week. It certainly isn't anything to be proud of. I certainly will not be warping my Alt into a mission anymore until all the targets are dead wrecks.

Shame on me for only learning that the third time around.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Returning to EvE

Well, I said I would be back around August/September time, and here I am!

It's been a strange time in real life. I passed my course and have now moved back to a real working environment. Although I'm not out of the woods yet with exams, at least now I am out of the classroom and back in the hangar. I'm also enjoying three weeks off, and EvE has been back in full swing for me.

OK, so referring back to my last post I am pretty much over what happened. The new CEO of my Corp called me and persuaded me not to sell my characters and to give everything a bit of time. The offending toons' were banished from Corp after the key members wanted to stick by me (which I will be eternally grateful!). And I am also back with my ex-girlfriend. After everything that happened (the pressures of real-life as well as the personal events in EvE), an interesting twist emerged. The strain that I was put under revealed a medical condition that I have been carrying for over twenty years. I had my suspicions that something might be wrong with me, but never got it checked out. I had to go to the doctors in the end, and the results were interesting. So I am now on medication and will start receiving treatment next month. It's funny how things work out. Had I not had the pressures of my course, the break-up with my girlfriend and the real-life/EvE entanglement I would still be living in an ill state. But after starting the medication I feel absolutely great, and can't believe that I had been living in the state I was for so long.

Anyway... EvE!

OK, so I'm still holding the title of director, although I'm only just getting back into the game. Through my absence, a new CEO was appointed after the original left due to real-life commitments. The Corp moved to a new system where they could focus more on industry and we have settled in a nice little system. Low-Sec is not far away and we have already established PI and POS there, with plans under-way to set up another. The Wormhole POS has been taken down due to lack of use, although affiliates are still residing in there presenting an 'ownership' presence. So it's good to see that the Corp still has direction.

However, there have been many people leave. If memory serves, we had numbers in the high-eighties when I took a break. Now we have just over 50. But it's not surprising. Corp activity is very quiet at the moment. Most people (myself included) are focused on our own things as we set up our new home. We're mostly trying to get established individually instead of as a Corp. I'm happy with this as it gives me a chance to slide back into the game at my own pace. Things will pick up again, though, guaranteed.

As for my characters, I'm very glad I didn't give them away. One thing I made sure of was that I kept on top of their skills. Akinesis now sports over 43-million SP and has an almost fully faction-fitted Nighthawk, which is a very nice piece of kit! Chrieghten has nearly 18-million SP and can fly a Basilisk with all associated logistical skills up to Level-5. I've also decided to treat him to a Brutix and am currently training him to use Tech-2 Hybrids. I thought it only fair to give him the option to move away from RR, salvaging and hauling from time-to-time and actually get involved with some pew-pew. I figured having nearly 18-million SP and not being able to fire any sort of weapon other than a Tech-1 standard missile launcher at Level-2 was a little embarrassing for the guy!

Finally, my in-game activities. Well, before I moved the 17-jumps to our new home I thought I would have a clear out. During my absence, I still needed to buy skill-books and plex, so my ISK funds were almost exhausted. I collected all the ships and equipment that I don't really use and sold up, which brought in a nice lump of ISK. I then packed up the Orca with what little I had left and headed to the new system. The biggest pain was having to grind out Level-3's again to get to the Level-4 agent. But now I'm established and bringing in ISK hand-over-foot. I have PI set up on both accounts and I'm even starting Tech-2 production. So it's all been quite busy. In just over a week I have brought my funds up from around 300mil to 1.7bil, which is a nice little number. Although, after buying myself a motorbike and paying it off over three months has left me a bit short on dosh, so I will have to dent that amount with Plex over the next few days and hold off pimping my Nighthawk out further. Damn!

Well, it's good to be doing this again. I have a lot more time and energy to put back into this Blog than before, so I hope I'm able to regain my audience.

Take care!


Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Blog Going Off-Line...

Recently, a surprising and extremely unwelcomed event occurred where real-life became entangled in EvE on a very personal level. This has left me more than a little distraught. So much so that I have no interest in logging at the moment and I have decided to step back from the game for a while. Therefore, Blog entries will cease.

I plan to restart in August/September once this course is finally over. Hopefully by then I will be in a position where I no longer care what has happened.

All I will say is: karma is a wonderful thing.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Yes, I'm a Liar!

Ok, so maybe real life hasn't permitted me to get back into EvE as I stated in my previous post. But I will spare you the details. To combat my situation, I'll make bite-sized posts for the meantime. This will probably run until August, which is when I finish this damned course.

When I left our Wormhole a few months back, I had the intention of running Epic Arcs. This didn't happen due to High-Sec War, and I spent many, many hours and lots and lots of ISK fighting the war-targets. Totally drained, I left Lubel to join a Corp that is now run by an old friend who kindly offered me temporary refuge.

This worked out great. I moved away from Ichoriya's continually-nerfed Navy agents and set myself up in a good spot where Spacelane offered better missions. A couple of fellow pilots had relocated there a while back and were making good ISK. So I, jumped on that band-wagon and ran missions without the fear of war. It was like a cool wind blowing in my face on a hot day. I had to grind out Level-3 missions to get my standings up, but the time spent has been worth it. Once my wallet was healthy again, I took the Nighthawk for a Faction-fit upgrade and headed out to start what I originally came back to Empire for - Epic Arcs.

I blew the dust off the Orca and loaded her up with my Nighthawk, a couple of Cormorants and all my equipment. My Alt readied his Navy Domi and we headed out to the Epic-Arc system. I unpacked and warped the 'Hawk to the beacon.


Now, I really should have researched this better. It turns out that the Epic Arc's for the Caldari are done through the Expert Distribution Corporation. I have no standings with these guys. Brilliant.

I made the mistake of assuming that the Epic Arcs were held by the Caldari state. Wrong.

So I am finding myself grinding out Level-3 missions in my over-tanked Nighthawk once again to big up my standings. Apart from being faced with empty dead-end Wormholes, there is nothing more tedious than running L3 after L3 missions.

Still, I live and learn the hard way. As always.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Justifying an Unannounced Hiatus

When I look at the date I last made a post I can't help but curl up into the foetal position and make noises likened only to a dying animal. Especially as it was merely days after an e-mail came through announcing to me that my Blog was going to be added to a very renowned site. No doubt I have now put a crimp on my hard work, and I know it will be an up-hill struggle to return this site to where it would have been had I not dropped off the face of the planet.

So why have a urinated on my own fire?

As usual, real life is to blame. Well, what else could it be? But there is good and bad news to all of this. I have always started with the bad news, so I can end with a high.

Firstly, my girlfriend and I broke up. She called the shot not long before I made my last Blog entry. I'm not going to break out the violins, but it took a while getting use to being on my own again. I'm sure folks can appreciate that writing hasn't been my priority of late. We're still friends, which is something I've not done following a break-up. But she now plays EvE more than ever and we are both still in the same Corp. So far, it's working out Ok. So far.

Second reason is work. I'm approaching the final phase of this course and things are starting to step up a gear. Come May, I will be starting the hardest exams I will ever do in my current career. So I have had much less time on EvE.

And the final reason is High-Sec war. With any little time I get to play EvE, I have been trying my best to manage and fight against War-Targets. A few months ago I left our Wormhole to come and do some Epic-Arc missions and develop Chreighten, my Alt. During my preparation, I decided it would be a good idea to open our Corp to recruiting. I took on many, many good pilots. At the same time, however, I unknowingly recruited some spies for a few griefer Corps. Since then, we have been enduring back-to-back High-Sec warfare. We are currently on our forth War-Dec.

And High-Sec warfare sucks. Big time. At first it was interesting as we were learning quite a bit about PvP. But now, it is really taking it's toll. I can sum-up High-Sec warfare as the following:

- It's a game of Cat-and-Mouse, station-spinning, station hugging and gate camping.

I will make a separate post talking about High-Sec Warfare, so enough said on that for the moment. But to cut to the chase, I put so much time and effort into the first two War-Decs that I pretty much ran myself empty. I was getting 4-5 hours sleep a night due to time-zone differences. I had an over-riding guilt due to the wars being a result of my slack approach to recruiting. So I ended up trying to get myself involved with every fight and also compensate my Corp-mates with ISK when they suffered losses. I, too, lost damn expensive ships through fighting and trying to save some of our new members when they got jumped. Whenever I could I chewed through mission after mission to claw back lost ISK.

Needless to say, the Wars took their toll. By the end of the second war I had churned out 2.5billion ISK, and other than learning a thing or two about High-Sec Warfare I had gained nothing.

When the third War-Dec landed, I had to step down as Vice-CEO and slip into the shadows. I was done. I had literally fallen ill due to life circumstances and even took up smoking again. I was depressed over the break-up, having to move out of my house and into 'student' accommodation full-time, the escalating pressure of work and through the hours I was putting into EvE. Yes, I was upset over Internet-Spaceships. I play EvE because it's an escape from the strains I'm currently facing in the real world. So when EvE slips into the stool bucket, it doesn't leave me with a lot to be happy about during the week. If I could no longer enjoy EvE I had to put it aside.

Socialising during the week isn't all that easy with my work colleagues (mostly due to our older age-group and the fact that most of them are hard-up due to family life), hence the amount of time I can put in to the game on weekdays. But being a social and creative creature I managed to inspire them to get out and do a few things so I wouldn't be sat moping in my room. Albeit the activities were mostly drinking, but the occasions have been good. At weekends, I have been driving back to my old haunt and have had some blinding times with my old friends. And when I've found myself on my own I have been picking up my guitar instead of logging on.

Now I am pretty much reset and starting to enjoy single life.

So, I log on to find a fourth War-Dec is under-way. All of my Corp have had enough of High-Sec war and moved into our Wormhole. Those that are left are certainly gearing up to head out into the 'Hole. For myself, I still have not achieved what I originally set out to do when I left Unkown-Space. I'm not ready to return to the there yet, so I'm Corp hopping for a short while to avoid the war. After-all, I will probably be the only one left in Empire by the end of this weekend and I don't fancy my chances against an entire Russian Corp.

But where's this good news? Well, other than starting to get back on top of life I also treated myself to a new computer. Due to the nature of my job, I am on a pretty good salary. And now that I am no longer paying out for a house it means that nearly all my money is my own so I can afford lots of nice things. I spent a lot of time researching what computer to get, and after doubling my original budget I landed myself a rather special machine. Recently, I mentioned that I could just about run two clients on one screen as long as the graphics are turned right down. Now when I do the same, I can run both windows with max graphics and not witness a slight glitch. I will be picking myself up a second monitor soon so I can run duals, which will truly optimise my EvE experience! I even donated my ever-faithful old computer to the Ex so she can experience decent gaming with Internet-Spaceships.

So, apologies for my unannounced absence. But I'm back now!

And if you read this CK, I hope I haven't let you down too much.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Tasting Rage

I've never 'Rage- Logged' until the other day. I don't feel good about it because, to me, it seems like a childish thing to do.

Here was my situation:

We often run Level 5 missions now as a Corp. Ironically, every time I have taken part the Fleet has encountered problems causing us to slam on the brakes and do a U-turn. For all the times I haven't been there, the next day my in-box is flooded with e-mails stating how successful the Op was and I get nice big ISK figure shoved in my face. But irony is not the issue here.

On this particular occasion we encountered our old (and now rival) alliance. This was a particular small fleet and it turned out they were quite happy to ignore us and carry on with their own missions. The FC of our Op was not so convinced and called for a combat scanner. With none present I was selected to go and re-fit my Drake in the next system to start scanning down the opposing mission runners. I complied, got back into system and fitted my Drake with the Expanded Launcher. To free-up the CPU I had to remove my missile-launchers, leaving my Drake defenceless. Plus, I didn't have the time to go and pick up a cloak. Nevertheless, I began scanning.

By this time, their mission-running ships had docked and their salvaging ships were hard at work. When the salvager's returned, our old Alliance buddies suddenly un-docked in PvP ships and left system. Our combat probes most likely gave an indication that we were actively looking for a fight. Our scout was sat on the stargate in the exit-system and announced they had scattered in different directions. Concluding that they were probably checking for back-up on our part, the FC decided that they would probably return as a larger fleet and called it a day.

Then I got disconnected.

This was not uncommon for me as my Wireless Adaptor hasn't proved to be my best purchase. However, when I logged back on and my ship returned to my safe-spot I found myself landing on top of a small group of roaming pirates who had been in local but never seemed to be any threat. Great. They had obviously scanned me down and started warping to me as I was DC'd. Unsure of how I had managed to miss their combat scanners on D-Scan, I started to ask for a re-fleet in Corp chat. Our ships greatly out-matched theirs and it would have been a sure win. Everyone, however, seemed content on ignoring my 'x' in chat.

To my dismay, the Fleet had already started to disband and trickle out of the system. When I came under fire my 'x' quickly turned into 'xxx'. But my Corp mates who were actually watching chat didn't even know what that meant and started repeating what I had put as if it was a joke. I tried the audio, but everyone was audio'd up in the Fleet channel (I now suddenly see the advantage of Vent or TeamSpeak!). My Alt was still logged into Fleet, but my message was also ignored there.

It took a while, but my Drake eventually popped and I warped my pod back to station.

Here was the convo in my Corp:

Akinesis > x me
Akinesis > xxxxx
Pilot 3 > x
Pilot 1 > XxXx
Pilot 4 > allright well dinner time
Pilot 4 > I'll be back in a bit
Pilot 2 > pvp roam is over
Akinesis > No it wasn't I just lost my f***ing Drake
Pilot 5 > what?
Pilot 2 > what
Pilot 2 > how
Akinesis > Jumped. Why wasn't I fleeted???!
Akinesis > Could do f*** all
Pilot 2 > by alliance?
Akinesis > No, by the others in local
Pilot 2 > u got kicked
Pilot 2 > oh
Akinesis > Yeah, and twice I asked for a fleet
Pilot 2 > sh*t sry man
Akinesis > F*** it

At this point I logged.

I was annoyed that I had been left forgotten in a defenceless Drake while everyone else packed up and left. I think it was bad form. Maybe I have perhaps over-reacted to the situation, and I certainly don't want readers to think I'm bad-mouthing my Corp in this post. I'm just venting. But incidents like this shouldn't happen any more, not with the experienced players that were involved in this operation.

Never mind. I pride myself at not getting angry at internet spaceships and here I am ranting.

Just another lesson learned the hard way for Akinesis.

* Cue sad violin music

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

The Alternative Character

For the majority of my time in EvE I have been running with one Jack-of-all-Trades character. I knew a lot of people had Alts, but never really saw the need myself.

However, before moving into the Wormhole I was one of the few responsible (and able) to resupply the Low-Sec POS using my Crane. When I moved into the 'Hole, there wouldn't really be anyone left to undertake the task back in Empire-Space.

So, I decided to bite the bullet and start training up an Alt. Chrieghten was born (for those who appreciate the good old British humour, Chreighten is in honour of the one and only 'Kryten' from Red Dwarf. Also, the name is very apt, as Kryten is the service droid).

Chrieghten is my Industry and Logistics Alt so that Akinesis can now solely concentrate on weapons and shields. So, to start off with, I trained him up to mine and haul as I was producing my own ships and modules to take into the 'Hole. Once he was able to fly a Hulk, I moved him straight onto the Crane and then the Orca. However, just as I was about to set him down the path of a Charon, I had a change of heart and started him on Logistics early.

I had recently witnessed a logistical Dominix in operation for the first time. Obviously I knew about Remote-Repping (RR) ships, but I had never really had much to do with them. I know this is quite odd, being that I am a 2007 player, but it is just one of those things that I have managed to inadvertently avoid.

Now at 8mil skill-points, Chrieghten is able to fly a Dominix fitted with mainly Tech-II equipment. This means I am able to fit my Nighthawk purely for DPS and use my Alt to rep the 'Hawks shields. Using this method allows me to steam-roll Level 4's even faster. Fleet-Ops can be a bit of a nightmare now as pilots bring pure DPS platforms and rely on the Logi's for defence, so I find myself juggling the RR between three or four ships and trying to manage the Nighthawk on the other screen at the same time. But it certainly makes everything more interesting.

I will train Chrieghten up to a Basilisk before I move him back to Industry. RR is so handy to have around that I want to make full use of the trade. As mentioned, he uses a Dominix (because of it's drone-bay and it's ability to tank damage if it gets aggro'd), and he also has an Osprey for a cheaper option (as well as the range bonuses being very handy on occasion).

Originally, I was running two windows on one monitor. This was fine as long as I had the graphics turned right down, but now I run my Alt on a laptop and leave the main with the desktop PC. This way I can enjoy full graphics on a large screen.

A shot when I was running two window's on one screen. Chrieghten's Domi often tries to eat the Nighthawk:

But having the two characters on separate machines means I can now run the graphics the way they are meant:

As I often run in Low-Sec, another valuable perk is being able to use Chrieghten to scout the systems ahead. This stops me (and others, if I'm in a fleet) running into a gate camp and saving, potentially, hundreds of millions in ship and component losses (and maybe some implants!). Although I have not finished setting it up yet, running PI alone on two accounts racks up a wad of extra ISK. It can also be fun to play in-character with two separate toons.

I can only liken the Alt situation to driving a car - you never need one all the time you never had one, but as soon as you have one you can never be without it. Now, I always run the two characters side-by-side and often have to fight the urge to start up a third Alt.

My only regret about having an Alt in EvE is that I didn't start one sooner.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

EvE Online - Game or Hobby?

For a long time I was a casual player. I use to treat EvE as a game. I would log on, swap a few skills, run a few missions with the Corp and maybe do some mining. But after 2-4 hours I would log off and go and do something else in the real world, perhaps not returning to my computer screen for a couple of days.

But then work moved me away from my friends and I found myself with empty evenings during the week. Not content with just sitting and watching DVD's, I started to explore in greater depth what EvE has to offer. So I got a lot more involved with the Corp. I wasn't just turning up to more fleet operations, but suggesting and exploring ideas to expand and move our Corporation forward. I started learning about the mechanics of running a Corp and managing POS's. My involvement continued to escalate as time progressed. Now, in game, I am the Vice-CEO of our Corporation.

Some time ago now, through the wonders of my iPod Touch, I began to take an interest in the Blogs as well as listening to Podcasts. I was learning about areas of EvE that I had not yet explored or even knew about, and my interest and curiosity in the game grew. In one of the Blogs I also read that EvE has the most active gaming-community the World has to offer and I found myself wanting to get involved. I now dedicate time to writing Blogs and I am also a member of the Tweetfleet where I can keep up with other pilots in a real-time fashion. EvE (in and out of game) is so large I find it hard to get bored.

So, I have made it more than 'just a game'. I write to an audience about life in New Eden. I have 'worked' to the position of co-manager of a successful Corporation of which I have an active part in recruiting and expanding as well as the organisation and activities of the members within. I have brought myself to a position where if I were to leave the Corporation I would change the game for many people on some level. As well as all this I have a selection of internet space-ships with changeable armament and equipment to suit a myriad of situations - situations that are both in and out of my control. And I can use the spaceships in any way I choose because EvE is a sandbox game. There are no restrictions on how I can play.

It's not just a case of completing missions any more to get a bigger, better space-ships. I've realised the more one puts into this game the more one gets out, and I actively 'work' at EvE to get the most enjoyment out of it. It's not a game to me now, it's a hobby.

And the best thing? There is no end to any of this.

Monday, 7 February 2011

The Mighty Nighthawk

For the past few months I have been dwelling in our C2 Wormhole. Even with the constant changing tides of luck that comes with living in a 'Hole, it has been by far my most profitable venture in EvE yet. To make money, I mainly run Sleeper, Magnetic and Radar sites and reap the rewards from the salvage gained from the wrecks. So, one way to make money faster is to have a higher DPS ship that can eat targets quicker.

Having heard a lot of great things about the Nighthawk, I figured I would pick one up. I didn't need to train up many skills to qualify, and I was soon fitting one out in our POS.

I decided on a totally passive fit. I knew how susceptible Nighthawks are to nueting, so I decided this was the safest option. It was a PvE mission-running fit that also had good enough resists and defence to tank small-time gankers. It was a novelty for a while. But after one of my Corp mates showed me a good PvP Drake set-up, I went back to the trusty Battlecruiser. This Drake had higher resists (albeit with active hardners) than my Nighthawk with more DPS and was still good enough to be used in Sleeper sites. So I started using this and the Nighthawk got mothballed in the POS hangar.

Yes, I could have easily changed the fit to the Nighthawk to make it far more superior. But I can buy eight Drakes for every one Nighthawk. Drakes are expendable. Losing Nighthawk's would damage my wallet. Also, a 'Hawk is going to go one of two ways in a Wormhole. It might deter would-be-attackers if they were running around in small groups, but larger roaming pilots would most likely jump at the chance to take a N'Hawk down.

So back to the Drakes it was.

Inevitably, and all Womhole dwellers may side with me here, I needed a break from our 'Hole. So I've come back to Empire with two Orca's full of my ships and modules. The first thing I did was jump in my Scorpion Navy Issue (the Navy Scorp is a missile boat, not an ECM platform as some people seem to think) and started running Level-4 missions again. The Nighthawk sat in my hangar for a few days, as I thought it would be useless in Empire. That changed the day I decided to give it a try to see how well it would handle the Level-4's.

Wow. This thing devours L4's.

Now that I don't need to protect it from gankers quite so much I was able to fit a much heavier DPS load-out. The Nighthawk gets bonuses to heavy missiles - and they make such a difference. With my SNI I had to rely on my light and medium drones to handle frigates/destroyers and cruisers/battlecruisers respectively while the Scorp chewed up the Battleships with cruise missiles. With the Nighthawk, the heavy-missiles are good enough to handle all ship classes effectively. I can easily say that I get through missions twice as fast now.

I believe there are arguments as to which is better - a CNR or a Nighthawk. But relating to one of my previous posts I would happily take the Nighthawk any day. A lot of the guys from my Corp who I run missions with use Tengu's, and the DPS seems to compare well with the T3 ships. Where the Nighthawk does fail, though, is it's speed compared to the T3's. To help, I have fitted an After-Burner which allows me to keep up at a moderate pace. However, the NH makes up for this downfall if she gets webbed. I have no worries - the tank, coupled with the insane resists, is enormous. Webbing, for most Tengu's, is game over. As always, swings and round-a-bouts.

The final note I will make about Nighthawk is the active vs passive fits. As my ship will mostly be used in PvE, I have gone for the passive fit with active hardners. However, this fit does not stand too well in PvP. At the moment my Corp is bogged down with a War-Dec, and I lost one Nighthawk (through nothing more than shear ignorance and ill-placed overconfidence on my part). With the passive fit (I used passive amps so I was nuet-proof) she still took a while to bring down, but I was on my own and very well jammed, webbed and scrammed so her fate was sealed from the moment I was locked. There is a good PvP fit that I would like to try, although I don't really see the sense in risking all that ISK when Drakes can do the same job (albeit, a little slower).

So, I have now sold the SNI and will be using Nighthawk's for a very long time. But I will keep her out of PvP if I can!

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Damn! I was so close....

My kill-board isn't looking very good at the moment. I can't help but feel that a lot of players might be judging me on my combat skills. If you were to view it, you would see a myriad of vessels that I have lost since my time in New Eden. It's true that a good majority of these have been popped since I have been dwelling in the Wormhole and, considering that I often run solo due to time-zone differences between myself and the majority of my Corp, perhaps this can be forgiven to some extent. However, due to the amount of losses I have incurred I feel that it's about time I got some revenge.

To that end, whenever I get the opportunity to deny someone else their ship, I will grasp the moment. However, I have set myself some moral rules. If I really wanted to, I could have chalked up a few kills. But these are simply Industrial targets that I have found in neighbouring Wormholes. To me, taking out a Covetor isn't fun. It's too easy, and (personally) seems a cowardly act for a first kill. I want to take out a ship in a 'fair' fight.

Not too long ago, I made a post where I engaged a Hurricane. I lost, but only due to his buddy warping in to save his skin. I also shared an engagement with a bomber, but he chickened out. Then, the other day, our neighbouring C2 blessed us with a Russian Corp. Having shared a Wormhole exit with some Russians before, I knew we were in for a bit of action.

Their C2 harboured many sites, so we got to work with our probes. My CEO and I orbited our Wormhole in scan ships and a third Corp-member jumped through in a Drake to help out. As the Drake jumped a Manticore de-cloaked and that familiar bomb-marker in the Overview came speeding towards us. It detonated, taking both mine and my CEO's shields out. We were cloaked, though, so the bomber was unaware of our presence. The Drake, being a Drake, shook the damage off. I told the Drake pilot to warp away and cloak while I stayed in my Covert-Ops Buzzard to monitor the site.

Time passed as the CEO continued to scan down the sites. With no sign of any attempt to set up a warp-bubble around our 'Hole, I told the Drake pilot to 'warp-to-zero' and jump back through into our system. The pilot complied and I followed. I warped to our POS where I picked up my Manticore before heading back to the Russian's system. Bombing is perhaps another form of cowardly fighting, but I was more than happy to play the game.

I orbited our Womrhole on the Russian's side and waited.

And waited.

I knew the Russian bomber was still there. Having previously scanned and observed their POS, I warped my Manti from the 'Hole to their station, and then warped back to the Wormhole at 60km. Maybe, just maybe, the bomber was sat at 30km from to our Wormhole in-line with his own POS. The logic was plausible. I aligned, de-cloaked and fired a bomb.

Nothing. Damn.

I re-cloaked and continued to orbit the Wormhole at 32km. My CEO announced that he had scanned the system and was heading back home to get his Ferox. I saw his Heron warp in and jump through. Minutes later he re-appeared in his battle-cruiser. Surely enough, the Russian bomber de-cloaked and fired off another bomb. And he was only 33km away from me. It couldn't be more perfect!

I approached him and gave an extra couple of seconds to make sure that I was aligned fully. I deactivated the cloak and launched a bomb. I saw from the corner of the screen that the Ferox was in warp before the Russian's charge detonated. I held my breath as my own bomb was right in-line for the Russian, counting down the seconds in my head.

It must have been half a second before the bomb arrived that the target warped off, leaving the explosive to harmlessly detonate in empty space.

I spat abuse at my monitor for a while following that episode. 'Gutted' simply doesn't cover how I felt. Once again, I fail at a bomber-on-bomber fight. Had I remembered the 15km radius the bombs have and not wasted so much time aligning I would have got the other Manticore for sure. I then noticed a non-friendly Fleet Command ship appear on my overview. I cloaked, jumped and logged, too annoyed with myself to carry on.

For about two days after I still wailed out a random blurts of frustration.

Looking on the bright side, I have gained more valuable experience.

My Manti will taste blood one day!

Thursday, 20 January 2011

The New Akinesis

I have had a lot of fun in the character creator. I regard myself as one of the lucky one's who got their character(s) right first time. Not only that, but my computer didn't have a problem running the program.

Here is the new Akinesis:

My partner, like a lot of people, did have problems running the program on her laptop. She can run it as long as the graphics are turned down to low, but the in-game results can be very different than what has actually been created in the character program:

Above is a comparison of the high graphics vs the low graphics option. If I created Akinesis with the low settings selected, I would have built the image on the right. But in-game he would appear as the guy on the left. As you can see, they are very different. I have told my girlfriend to wait until this weekend, where I will bring my PC home so she can do it properly.

I originally intended to keep the look of my new toon as close as I could to the original. I did this with little success, although some similarities remain. Regardless, I'm not disappointed at all with the final product. I even decided he looked better with a beard - so I added one:

As my main character is a Jack-of-all-Trades, I wanted to give him an appearance that suggested this. And I think I've done a reasonable job.

I also designed my Alt, Chrieghten, with his background in mind. Originally my Alt looked around the same age as my main. However, the new version looks significantly younger. I did this to reflect the skill-points Chrieghten has in comparison to Akinesis. I figured that my fresh-faced Alt should look younger. And due to the nature of his roles (Science, Industry and Logistics) and with his education-tree branching from Science, I wanted to add that look of a proud and educated individual. Keeping some form of goatee adds that hint of rebel that steers him away from the geeky science-buff that his schooling and tidy appearance might suggest.

When I brought the characters together in an image, I found I had zoomed into Chreighten slightly more. This makes him appear taller than Akinesis. I quite like this idea, as it contributes to that touch of 'realism'. So here is the two pilots standing together for the first time:

For anyone that might not know, CCP are going to allow players to have another shot to recreate their characters during this months 'grace' period. This is due to the very high volume of pilots who petitioned about not understanding the character creator fully and have ended up unhappy with their final designs. I don't think I need to tinker with my toons as I am content with the outcome. Although, (I know it's only for the moment) it does seem a shame that we have created our full-bodied and 'alive' characters only to have them reverted back to a 2D passport-photo.

I'm hoping that once Incarna is here we will be able to change the clothes and hair whenever we fancy. Perhaps even introduce an ageing mechanic. But I'm very happy with the work CCP have done here. It certainly makes me feel a lot more attached to my characters. With the level of realism we now have with our alter-ego's, it almost makes the space-ships seem cartoon-ey now.

Here's hoping that Incarna is just around the corner.

Edit: there is clearly some fun to be had with the Character Editor:

Friday, 14 January 2011

Good-bye Pod. Hello Clone!

I have been podded for the first time.

Should I be proud that I have managed to avoid being podded for nearly fours years, or does it just switch on the big 'Carebear' neon light?

Regardless, I'm pleased with the way I went down: fighting.

Our C2 static for the day was very active. There were six POS's, and most of them were full of nothing but industry structures. Their 'home' POS contained an active Tengu and Loki. I sat and watched them for a while, but with all the industry that was going on (I've never seen so many Silo's on D-Scan!) I decided they were too busy to worry about a couple of ships passing through. Their system had a few shiny signatures and anomalies, but it would be suicide to harvest from an active 'Hole. I went ahead and scanned the sigs and found a C1 branching off. It was also active. By this point I'd had enough of scanning, so went on to other things.

My CEO opened up comms with the inhabitant of the C1. They were new to Wormholes, but friendly. He ended up harvesting the Ladar sites there while I took advantage of our static Low-Sec's proximity to Jita. He harvested the clouds into cans and went back in his Badger to collect them. On his return he got jumped by the inhabitants of the middle 'Hole. He managed to warp away, but they had put up a warp-bubble on their side of the Wormhole. He stayed cloaked in the C1 while I charged across in my bomber. There was a Hurricane sat next to the 'Hole for the C1. I got in range (which took me into the bubble) and fired a bomb. His shields dropped and he began targeting me before I could re-cloak. My first priority was to get out of the bubble, so I tried to turn. However, he quickly gained ground and webbed and nueted me. I opened fire with my torpedo's, but with no cap I couldn't use my target-painters or sensors-damps. My speed was also reduced to about 140m/s. However, even through all this, his turrets couldn't track me. I was getting hit for very little damage while my trusty torps stripped his armour.

I was going to win!

With my heart pounding in my chest I abandoned the idea of getting out of the bubble and started to orbit the Hurricane. I was like a puppy around a new toy as I watched his armour-bar turn more and more red. Then a Drake warped in. My hopes were sucked dry from me as his Corp-mate targeted me. Knowing it was going to be over very soon, I started towards the Drake. By now, my bomb launcher was ready to go again, so I hoped to fire one at the Battlecruiser in my dying breath. It didn't happen. My Manticore popped and I was a pod floating in space. I selected a planet and spammed the warp-button. Nothing. I was still in the bubble.


After a few alarm's sounded I was back in Ichoriya. I checked my Combat-Log and opened up a conversation:

Hamlox Helmholtz: Howdy
Akinesis: gf, man
Hamlox Helmholtz: Thanks, man. You were wailing on me in that Manticore!
Akinesis: Yup :D
Akinesis: I thought I had a chance, but then the Drake showed up and it was all over =P

Hamlox Helmholtz: I was a bit surprised... all of the sudden it turned into "Oh, S***!"
Hamlox Helmholtz: Yeah... my damned guns couldn't hit you.

Akinesis: I should have got out the bubble to save my pod, but I was too determined XD
Akinesis: =)

Hamlox Helmholtz: Bloodthirsty, yeah!
Hamlox Helmholtz: Good fight to you, see you around!

I'd made a lot of mistakes (as is expected from being so green at PvP), but I had great fun. I learned a lot from that short experience, and I'm glad the guy thought I was a good challenge. But the biggest disappointment was my CEO got disconnected while this went on, making my distraction useless. Still, I feel I gained a lot more than I lost.

After I stroked my mission-running Scorpion Navy Issue a few times in Ichoriya, I set destination to Jita and un-docked. I rebuilt my Manti, plugged in new implants and then went back to the 'Hole 200million ISK lighter.

In a way, I'm glad I got podded. The hard-wire implants I had before were fitted a long time ago when I was still a noob.  I can't even remember what I had, but I most likely had ones that weren't really aiding my character. And I had never thought of going back and upgrading them. After a small bit of research, I bought ones that actually give me bonuses relative to my play-style.

My losses also furthered this very morning. I had some reading-up to do for my course, so I took the Covetor into a Grav site to suck up some ABC ores. I always keep a watchful eye on D-Scan, but as I was reading I was pretty much AFK. At one point I saw some Core-probes pop up, so I got my Buzzard and did a combat scan. With no probes popping up, I made the decision that this WH was no use to the probing pilot (we keep our system very dry). So I pulled my Covetor back out and went back to mining. I even turned my speakers down so the strip-miners wouldn't bother me (!). The rest you can guess. It's times like this that I'm thankful I left the Hulk in Empire.

RIP Covvy!