Monday, 29 June 2009

Blog Banter 9: What could you do without ?

Its blog banter time again, and following on from last months 'what would you like to add to Eve' this month we have:

"Last month Ga'len asked us which game mechanic we would most like to see added to EVE. This month Keith "WebMandrill" Nielson proposes to reverse the question and ask what may be a controversial question: Which game mechanic would you most like to see removed completelyfrom EVE and why? I can see this getting quite heated so lets keep it civil eh?"

This one's always going to have lots of controversy associated with it - some people may really like one mechanic, whilst other people despise it and think its the worst thing ever... suppose it should raise a few discussion points at the very least.

Getting down to business though, the subject I want to discuss is one that has been said many a time before (yeah, sorry, I've wimped out of the real controversial subjects), and thats one about suicide ganking in High Sec space.

I can almost see the entire pirate population of Eve collectively screaming 'go back to Jita ya carebear' but still... hear me out.

Firstly, theres nothing wrong with highsec ganking, as long as theres some downside for the ganker - the person getting ganked loses everything, and the ganker, with enough insurance, doesnt lose anything other than sec status, which in many cases, they arent bothered about losing anyway.

Lets look at 2 particular cases, both of which are high profie. The first is highsec ganking of mining vessels (Hulks/Mackinaws in particular) and secondly with the ganking of traders travelling in High security space.

Hulk ganking is becoming big news, as it seems that everyone and their granny wants a high sec Hulk killmail these days (at least if the vocal mob on the forums are to be believed) and to be honest, I can see the reason why - theres no real loss for the ganker.

With 1 gank fit battleship, or 3 cruisers, you can have a guaranteed Hulk kill (unless said ganker is completely inept) as the simple fact is that the Hulks are not able to withstand any sort of level of concentrated fire. If you get decent luck with loot/modules you can pull a few million from the Hulk, and admittedly (though its their own fault) a fair few Hulk pilots still go all out for massive faction type boosters as thats whats reccomended in Halada's guide, even though they are nowhere near needed in highsec mining, and one of those can pay for dozens of future kills.

Add in the cost of insurance (and an accomplice to grab whatever modules survive the death of the ganker ship), and the ganker runs off with little to no loss, or perhaps even a fairly sizeable gain depending on what the Hulks had fitted, and the Hulk pilot is left massively out of pocket due to the fact that insurance wont cover the cost of their ship.

Ultimately, there needs to be something changed for this, the common argument is that there should be no insurance for criminal activities, which I wholeheartedly agree with - although of course, the cost is somewhat negligable even if the insurance payout was removed - instead there must be a way to make the hulks survivable enough to protect them long enough to survive a single ship/small group of smaller ships until Concord intervenes, but as a downside it should offer considerable reduction to mining output - then you can decide if you want survivable, or maximum output.

The obvious answer is a module which reduces the mining yeild by a certain percentage, but increases CPU and powergrid output large enough to fit a decent sized tank on the ship so it can survive for more than 2-3 salvoes that it takes Concord to respond even in 0.5 systems.

Coupling that with a reduced (or even completely negated) insurance payout would bring a lot more tactics into play from the ganker contingent, rather than being completely guaranteed an almost zero risk kill they would have to scan out the ship, see if its worth targetting, then bring out the big guns. There are ways and means to do this without making it blatantly obvious what you intend to do (passive targeters come to mind) or more obvious ways such as looking for a reduced number of lasers that fire from the ship which obviously should have 3 firing at once.

The second viewpoint is one of highsec ganking on haulers. I'm going to play Devils Advocate here and say that theres nothing really worth worrying about here. Theres the obvious issue with smartbombing battleships going to pop a shuttle fairly quickly if you're trying to move large value low size items, but thats a risk that can easily be negated by using a larger transport if youre worried. The same goes for haulers - if youre autopiloting without manually warping to 0 on each gate (theres one that im expecting a lot of the pirates to ask to be removed, since a lot of them lament the day warp to 15 was removed) you almost deserve to die if youre carrying an expensive cargo in a paper-thin hull.

If insurance was reduced/negated for this class of gankers, I cant see it being a major issue, as this type of activity is done in order to try and get a big payout from the cargo that is carried rather than to try and senselessly destroy the target (of course, some people may well also kill them just to cause them not to get the cargo they are carrying too, and not worry if its destroyed or not in the process)
So there we go... in summary, I would want the removal of insurance payout for ganking 'helpless' targets in highsec. Not necessarily because I see it as an unfair tactic, but simply because theres no way to prevent it (in the line of hulk ganking at least.) As well as that however, there needs to be something that the Hulk pilot can do to allow for ways to protect themselves, with obvious downsides that they shouldnt be 'survivable and able to munch through asteroids at the rate of space locusts.'

On to the other participants:

  1. Diary of a Space Jockey, Blog Banter: BE GONE!
  2. EVE Newb, (EVE) Remove You
  3. Miner With Fangs, Blog Banter - It's the Scotch
  4. The Eden Explorer, Blog Banter: The Map! The Map!
  5. The Wandering Druid of Tranquility, "Beacons, beacons, beacons, beacons, beacons, mushroom, MUSHROOM!!!"
  6. Inner Sanctum of the Ninveah, Kill the Rats
  7. Mercspector @ EVE, Scotty
  8. EVE's Weekend Warrior, EVE Blog Banter #9
  9. A Merry Life and a Short One, Eve Blog Banter #9: Why Won't You Die?
  10. Into the unknown with gun and camera, Blog Banter – The Hokey Cokey
  11. The Flightless Geek, EVE Blog Banter #9: Remove a Game Mechanic
  12. Sweet Little Bad Girl, Blog Banter 9: Who is Nibbling at My House?
  13. One Man and His Spaceship, Blog Banter 9: What could you do without?
  14. Life in Low Sec, EVE Blog Banter #9: Stop Tarnishing My Halo
  15. Cle Demaari: Citizen, Blog Banter #9: Training for all my men!
  16. A Mule in EVE, He who giveth, also taketh away?
  17. Dense Veldspar, Blog Banter 9
  18. Morphisat’s Blog, Blog Banter #9 – Randomness Be Gone !
  19. Facepalm's Blog, EVE Blog Banter #9: What a new pilot could do without
  20. Memoires of New Eden, You're Fired
  21. Kyle Langdon's Journeys in EVE, EVE Blog Banter #9 Titans? What's a Titan?
  22. Achernar, The gates! The gates are down!
  23. Speed Fairy, EVE Blog Banter #9: Down with Downtime!
  24. I am Keith Neilson, EVE Blog Banter #9-F**K Da Police
  25. Ripe Lacunae, The UI… Where do I begin… (Eve Blog Banter #9)
  26. Clown Punchers, EvE Blogs: What game mechanic would you get rid of?
  27. Estel Arador Corp Services, You've got mail
  28. Epic Slant, Let Mom and Pop Play: EVE Blog Banter #9
  29. Deaf Plasma's EVE Musings, Blog Banter #9 - Removal of Anchoring Delay of POS modules
  30. Podded Once Again, Blog Banter #9 - Do we really need to go AFK?
  31. Postcards from EVE, 2009.
  32. Harbinger Zero, Blog Banter #9 – War Declarations & Sec Status
  33. Warp Scrammed, Blog Banter 9 – Never Too Fast
  34. Ecaf Ersa (EVE Mag), Can a Tractor Tractor a Can?
  35. Thoughts from an Accidental Minmatar Revolutionary, EVE Blog Banter #9 - Aggression timers, WTs and Stargates
  36. Mike Azariah, I don't put much stock in it...
  37. Rettic's Log, Blog Banter: Overview Overload
  38. A Sebiestor Scholar, [OOC] EVE Blog Banter #9: Slaves
  39. Diary of a pod pilot, [OOC] EVE blog banter #9: Because of Falcon
  40. Roc's Ramblings, Blog Banter #9 – Taking Things Slow
  41. The Gaming-Griefer, EVE Sucks, But I Love It: The Memoir of a Masochist
  42. Letrange's EVE Blog, Blog Banter #9: Bye Bye Learning Skills
  43. Lyietfinvar, Remove that monopoly
  44. Sceadugenga, Blog Banter #9
  45. Industrialist with Teeth, EVE Blog Banter #9

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Link to the guides

Just a nice quick post - I've made a link in the appropriate area to the right hand side of the blog which links to the Eve Files storage area where I keep my guides. Should hopefully make it easier to find for anyone who wants to reference one of the guides than wading through the earlier posts of the blog.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Construction Skills (Tech 2 manufacture)

As many of you may well know, when youre coming to make Tech 2 ships, theres some additional skills you need to worry about, which I class as construction skills, specifically, Frigate Construction, Cruiser Construction, Battleship Construction and Indusitrial Construction.

As well as that, theres also Capital Construction, which deals with capital ships, and the capital industrial ships (Rorqual and Orca) - but thats already been addressed in my Capital ships guide.

However, I could never find out exactly which skill level is needed for which hull type. So I went ahead and made a list.

I've included the list in the blog primarily for an aide-memoire for myself, but also you never know, someone else may have a use for it.

So here it is:

Frigate Construction
Level 1:
Level 2:
Level 3:
Covert Ops Ship
Level 4:
Stealth Bomber
Electronic Attack Frigate
Level 5:
Assault Frigate

Cruiser Construction
Level 1:
Level 2:
Level 3:
Level 4:
Heavy Assault Cruiser
Recon Cruisers (both Force and Combat types)
Level 5:
Heavy Interdictor
Command Ship

Batteship Construction
Level 1:
Level 2:
Level 3:
Level 4:
Black Ops
Level 5:

Industrial Construction:
Level 1:
Blockade Runner
Level 2:
Level 3:
Deep Space Transport
Level 4:
Level 5:

Hopefully I can tidy this up in the near future by putting it all in a much easier to read table... but until then, you can have it in its nice and raw format.

If theres any (non capital ship) that I've missed, please let me know.

(Ive added Black Ops now at level 4 Battleship Construction)

Saturday, 20 June 2009

I could get by with a little help from my friends

OK cheezy song title puns aside (im definately running out of songs in my repertoire, need to check the Ipod again) we've been recovering our losses from the recent war with the Accursed.

Last night we had a dedicated mission/salvaging group going on, blitzing mission after mission, and then bringing in the clean up crew afterwards to strip the wrecks bare.

First point - tech 2 salvagers are damned fine it seems - it takes longer to lock the wrecks than it does to melt them down to circuit boards.

However, we have a few routes for recovery of cash:

1) Straightforward mission running, salvaging, looting - this is fairly direct, and nothing new to the majority. We have a few decently trained market players in the alliance, and selling on of the meta 3-4 loot should net a nice bonus to the coffers.

2) Mining of those missions that are worth it. With lots of mission runners available, were usually at no shortage of available people to draw missions. With that in mind, we sometimes leave one or two of the good 'mining missions' open for the hulk-wielders to come in after and strip the roids bare. One or two really good missions are left open for the week long duration as they provide lots and lots of ore. Even with a few peoples mission-pulling potential screwed over because of these week long open missions, it should be easy enough to keep the mission running crew in active missions with everyone who can access the level 4 agents doing so.

3) Manufacturing - we make stuff from the salvage and materials, to sell on behalf of the alliance, this thereby increases the 'value' in these same minerals/salvage.

4) Market trading. Those self same market players use alliance funds to buy low and sell high to generate some nice additional cash.

5) Purchase of LP's - because of all the mission running, some people will be getting a lot of LPs they dont really know what to do with. Its planned to either buy the LPs off them (well... they donate the LPs, the alliance contributes with the direct costs from the LP store) to either sell the items on, or to stockpile things like commonly used implants and such so that there can be replacements provided for those that die in battle.

Now... aside from all of these, can anyone think of some other suitable ways that an alliance/group of pilots can do between them to generate money? We dont want to ask for direct contributions/donations, as this should be self sustaining within the alliance, as long as people are wiling to give the time to help.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

And another one bites the dust...

Our war with the Accursed seems to be just about over now, all bar the shouting (we got the notice that the war has been invalidated today, so its finished tomorrow) and to be perfectly honest, we got well and truly spanked.

It's nothing that we didnt expect to be honest, we're a fledgeling alliance with a large focus on industrial operations, and whilst there are a couple of very active PVPers included in the mix, there were only a few available when the enemy were logged in (timezone issues) so in the end, the enemy lost 3 ships, and we lost 60 (final figures depending on what happens today.)

It's been a good learning experience, and we've got a few good plans to get people learning via 'throwaway' ships on the test server, but one thing it has tought us is that we need to learn to be adaptable. Our opponents were all very old characters, and seasoned PVP veterans, and to be perfectly honest, when we had a ship setup, they had tools at hand to run away, dock up, change ships, and counter it.

One personal thing I need to learn from the 2 fights I was in (yeah thats all I could participate in because the bulk of them happened at 3-5am my time) is that its sometimes best to run away rather than fighting to the death - since that was the opponents tactics many of the time.

Of course, it doesnt say much for us that we were concentrating fire on one target and they still managed to down our tackler (usually me) and get away before a fleet of 8 or so ships could take them down.

Still... lessons learned and all that. We come back better prepared and a bit stronger for next time.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Tech 3 changes afoot

Firstly, I've been paying a bit more attention to the Tech 3 market over the past few days, seeing where everythings settled out a bit - and it seems that from a very basic 'buy everything from the market' viewpoint, the material costs for a Tengu run to around 770 million based on Rens / Heimatar prices - add onto that the costs for running a pos to create reactions, and doing the build (buying the blueprints from the markets, so negating the cost of the reverse engineering) youre looking at somewhere in the region of 800-850 million isk.

Not too bad profit wise if you have the skills to make them, although I see them for 1.5 - 2 billion for sale on contracts, im not sure if these are actually selling or not.

However (theres always a but...) it seems that theres market changes in planning in the undisclosed future

Specifically from the recent devblog:

Advances in Reverse Engineering

Reverse engineering gets most of our love in this patch. What was clear is that we have plentiful material supply besides a few exceptions and the available blueprints and materials for reverse engineering were lacking.

Intact and malfunctioning relics will now reflect the greater ease with which the ancient technology can be melded with the current technology within experimental laboratories using these relics. The number of runs each blueprint will have has been greatly increased on these two making them much more valuable to acquire.

In addition the useful data gathered during reverse engineering which can lead to datacores or hybrid tech decryptors has been increased so any outcome will be more fruitful especially in meeting the overall costs of reverse engineering.

Availability of Datacores and Decryptors

The datacores needed for reverse engineering have been generally increased in potential supply. The numbers you will get from wormhole sites and the numbers of those sites has been increased which will lead to a much greater supply of datacores and should lower the reverse engineering costs significantly.

Fullerite Volumes

Some of the fullerites have had their volume reduced which will lead to a much faster mining rate and less transportation costs for some of the gases. Easing a little the effort it takes to get the gases back to known space and the marketplace.

Sleeper Salvage Changes

There has been a set of changes to the amounts of each type possible from a sleeper wreck. The rate at which some types are dropped has been changed which will lead to easing of some bottlenecks and some parts which were being salvaged too frequently.

Change to Fulleroferrocene Power Conduits material requirements

The Carbon-86 Epoxy Resin material requirement has been switched to Scandium Metallofullerene for the power conduits. This is one of the more significant changes which will ease the pressure on carbon-86 a lot and the burgeoning costs of acquiring the gases for making carbon-86.

It seems that the market is already beginning to stagnate a bit whilst people hold their breaths to find out just when this patch will hit, so watch those prices over the next few weeks, if you can play the markets just nicely, you can possibly make a killing.

Friday, 5 June 2009

New war again

Sorry for not posting much at the moment, got a bit of writers block - well actually, I've been putting the finishing touches on a couple of articles for EON, but I really dont like writing mundane, boring 'well today I went to Rens, I bought a gun, oh... and a loaf of bread' type posts.

We were wardecced yesterday by a pirate group based out of Decon who have recently been specialising in highsec Hulk ganks. Nothing spectacularly new there, but I think when we started camping them on the gate to stop them coming in, they got a bit upset and wardecced us.

All well and above board many will say... however it's annoying for me as they seem to be on an american timezone, and once again, it seems that we will be involved in another war where I might only see about an hour of action every day before sleep claims me... and in that hour we may only have a glimpse of enemy ships for a minute of that time when they pop over to us and try to bait us to fall into their traps.

Oh well, I guess its one of the hardships one must bear in corporate life (not the threat of getting killed when out doing my own thing... but the total boredom waiting for your war target to log in.)