Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Farmer or Militia????

For a few years, Rixx Javix has lead a crusade against the overabundant use of Warp Core Stabilizers in low sec, primarily in faction warfare complexes.

Rixx is not against these modules, when they are fit to ships which are not designed for offensive combat (haulers are a good example).  What Rixx is against are combat hulls designed to encounter potential targets, yet when a mad target appears they will simply warp off as they are fit with at least one, or more than likely a full rack of stabs.

Recently while Rixx was in Iceland during fanfest he had the opportunity to chat with some of the CCP staff and to discuss the issues with stabs and low sec.  It actually sounds as if there possibly might be some review of stabs in the future as it relates to the review of modules that CCP has been conducting over the past few months.

Talvorian Dex had a post up earlier today discussing another possible solution which would look to add consequences to the use of the stabs, rather than restrictions.  The primary emphasis of his post was to provide a standings hit from your faction when you enter a complex with a stab fit to your ship.

But, both the issues pointed out by Rixx and the possible solution discussed by Talvorian made me start to think of an issue which really has not been addressed yet.  Are you a militia member who has joined for purposes of advancing the militia's cause?  Or, are you simply a farmer who has joined the militia as it is a very easy method of farming ISK?

Part of this is a flawed design of the faction warfare aspect of the game in how systems have control established.  To have control swing by complexes being captured by a single pilot orbiting a beacon for a set amount of time is not what anyone had in mind when you talk about warfare.  There are things that "could" be done to address this, possibly coming in the future with some type of Entosis Link specifically designed for faction warfare.

But, back to our core issue.  If you are an individual who has joined the militia for the purposes of advancing their cause, you should be in an offensive ship hull with the intention of engaging in combat to kill the targets who are against your faction.  You should not have a stab fit to your ship as it provides penalties to your offensive capabilities in the battle as well as wasting a low slot that is better used for either tank (armor fit) or offensive weaponry upgrades.

Now, if you are a farmer, go ahead and farm.  But, you will not do so with a stab or stabs fit to your ship.  CCP has the capabilities to allow or restrict module use based on security status of systems or hull classes.  There is no reason that they could not introduce a restriction to acceleration gates if you have a stab fit to your ship.

You want to fit a stab to your ship for navigation between systems using gates (allowed).  Looking to fit a stab for warping between station and a customs office (allowed).  Looking to fit a stab to your rifter, so that you can head into small complexes and farm LP (disallowed).

There is a purpose for the stab in this game, and use of it in complexes is not it.

CCP it is time for a change with how the stab is used in complexes.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Best Keynote Ever!

@CCP_Seagull delivered the EVE Online keynote address earlier today, and hit it out of the park!

For all of you who do not live in the United States or have familiarity with American baseball, sometimes a player will hit a home run where the ball clears the playing field.  Sometimes, they have the strength and power to literally hit the ball out of the entire park, which is what this keynote did.

There were references to the new and improved release schedules, some very quality graph porn, wonderful art discussions, additional information on the new skins, and an announcement of a model which you can purchase of a Nyx...... that levitates!

There was a discussion on our alliance slack about the keynote ending, but I told the audience that it couldn't yet:

Witmer Jolith [10:53 AM] @draivsolregard: can't be.  there is no bomb dropped yet

You see, CCP Seagull has had a plan for the past 24 months, lets call it a roadmap.  We are still on that plan and have made some tremendous strides in the past 12 months as she mentioned in the list of accomplishments which were achieved via the new and improved release schedule.

Last years bomb was not so much one single item, but rather the concept of the flexible development team, releasing improved or updated code in a faster schedule than ever before.  We also have seen a huge transition in the way that CCP announces updates or functionality changes and how they gather feedback.  In a nutshell, they release information far in advance of a change, and they actively seek to gather feedback from player community, such as the recent phase two changes to sovereignty.

About 75 minutes into the keynote, Seagull returned to the stage and introduced CCP_Nullarbor to the stage.  He proceeded to discuss one of the wonderful mechanics in the game that many players have come to despise and literally become sick over, Player Owned Stations (POS).  He then proceeded to go into a summary of many of the changes which CCP plans to make in the near future (some in 2015, others later):

First, your current structures will be safe:

I could just imagine players and corporations getting very fearful of the changes which will be coming as it relates to their current structures.

Next, CCP will be transitioning the structure system to something very similar to the ISIS system for ships, which is a natural transition given the new and improved structures.

Size will become very important in the future, with new structures being over 100 kilometers in length.

A new structure management tool for management of your structures in space, which seems far superior to the current one.

A totally revamped anchoring process which is very similar to the current fitting tool.

Other highlights of the presentation on structures, but not captured in graphical form are the ability to control guns on structures, the ability to apply permanent bonuses on structures, player controlled markets, mooring slots on structures, and the ability to transfer structures from one entity to another.

All in all, I could not express this any better than was by Lockefox on twitter:

There is a presentation scheduled for 1300 GMT on Saturday regarding these structures, and I for one know that I will be waiting for all of the details I can get on these structures.

Finally, I mentioned on slack that this is honestly a perfect time for structures:

1) It goes to addressing the long time complaint from many EVE players on the pain in the arse which is the current structure system within EVE.  Improvements to actual structures and their use, new structures, anchoring and management just to name a few.

2) This more than likely ties into the sov update for phase two which is coming later this year.

3) Certainly involves the end goal of that plan that I referred to earlier with player built stargates.

CCP was onto something with the changes in Phoebe, they increased upon it with the release of the This is Eve video, and now with these changes as well as the phase two sovereignty changes in June they are making major strides at player retention and bringing that spark back to EVE which for many of us has dwindled in the past.

Bravo @CCP_Seagull!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Indices, now they actually have meaning...

Ever since the last re-vamp of sovereignty in 2009 with Dominion, EVE has had an index system within player controllable null security space.

These indices in the past lead to the number of anomolies/ore sites as well as the quality/volume of them appearing in a given system.  Military index has always been tied to ratting (killing red crosses) and Industry has always been tied to volume m3 of mining.

Certain systems have always been consistent with their indices, others have changed over the course of time.  This could be to changes in owners, level of PVE activity within the holding entity, and finally renters.

With the dev blog release on Tuesday from @CCP_Fozzie, we now see that the plan is to provide additional incentive to actually use the space that you hold.  Each system has a base timer for attacking forces to take advantage of the Entosis module.  System structures (TCU, iHub, Station) have a base time of 10 minutes.  Station services have a base timer of 5 minutes.  For each level that your indices are at, it increases the amount of time that the attacking force must spend to gain control over the object being targeted.

There is some speculation in the community regarding what will be done in the future with null sec residents.  As mentioned earlier, there are systems with high index levels, and there are some with nearly zero.

This map was taken as a screenshot on Tuesday roughly 10 hours after the blog was released.  The systems with colors in white or highlighted in green have nearly no ratting activity.  It is possible that there is mining taking place, but no matter what the residents of Tenerifis are not taking advantage of their systems.

This will be the key in the future.  The changes to sov mechanics now mean that more alliances will be able to engage in sov warfare even without having a massive super capital fleet at their disposal.  However, to maintain that space and make it as difficult as possible for an attacking force to attempt to take over you actually need to use your space, both mining and ratting.

I for one am very excited about these changes and I look forward to engaging in activities where we can turn over an apple cart or two in null sec.  A Band Apart. official has no interest at this time in taking sov space.  However, we are all about content and looking for it wherever we can find it.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

First Step in the Death to the Donut

Just this morning, CCP released the latest development blog for Nullsec Sovereignty, if you have not taken a look yet, please head over there and take a look.

There are many aspects of this proposed change which is scheduled for June 2015 which are very appealing, but the one which jumps out immediately are the defensive bonuses applied for actual use of your system.

The current model of indices are tied to Military (killing red crosses) and Industrial (mining).  All of player controlled sovereignty uses this model and the higher the level of indices the more red crosses and ore sites will appear in system for you to take advantage of.  With the new model, all of this is still accurate from the PVE side of the equation, but the defensive bonuses of system are tied directly to these same indices as well.

So, to actually gain defensive bonuses above the standard times required for attacker you will actually have to make use of your system.

Where this really helps in sov warfare is that there are huge areas of null sec where systems are not in use at all.  No shooting of red crosses, no mining, literally nothing outside of jumps in and out of system.  So, all of these systems immediately become ripe targets for invasion.  This also makes it much easier for smaller alliances to take footholds into null sec and take advantage of that game play if they have ever considered it previously.

This initial blog and the potential it provides is spectacular.

Already the thread of tears is at an all time high for even the first few pages, and the twitter posts are quite fun as well.

I for one am very excited about the potential for these changes and hope that the spectacular success of Phoebe is brought forward into these changes as well.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Meā Culpā

Over the past 36 hours, there have been some interactions which involved myself and at least one dozen other members of our alliance leadership, for which I seriously regret my actions.

All of this started with the loss of a Raven by one of our corporation members two days earlier to war targets, while the Raven pilot was in high security space.  For those of you not aware of that loss, please refer to the previous post here.

I will not dwell on that loss here, nor the interactions that took place in the aftermath.  The purpose of this post is an apology to Trekan, to Draiv, and to all of the alliance leadership who were in the Slack channel on Wednesday evening USTZ.

In addition, this spilled over to the wormhole leadership Slack channel this evening.  Unfortunately, I still was holding in some anger over the interactions that had occurred over the past 36 hours and lashed out at Trekan who was attempting to assist a corporation member in the Slack channel.

After looking back at the series of interactions with Trekan and Draiv I saw that both of them were attempting to assist me, the Raven pilot and our corporation.  You see, we are relatively new with A Band Apart and are attempting to "fit in" within the alliance.  So, instead of me seeing the offer of assistance by the two of them, I only saw what I wanted to, which was them attempting to get involved in the affairs of our corporation.

And, the part that I feel most horrible about was that only a week ago I had been interacting with a very prolific friend wither in Twitter or Slack and we discussed the concept of taking the high road, and he applauded something I had done which was a step towards "taking the high road".

As for A Band Apart, we love being a part of this alliance and look forward to a very long and beneficial relationship between them and New Jovian Exploration Department.

As for our corp, we have finally resolved some of the challenges earlier this week in regards to our future and long term home.

Finally, for the Raven pilot.   Sigh.....  Neither the other Director or myself have heard one word from him.  He did speak with Trekan, which I am glad that he did.  I have come to understand from reliable sources that he decided that it was a good idea to autopilot, in high security space, with an active war going on.  We are not attempting at all to troll on this pilot, his decisions for the loss.  What we are attempting to do is to reinforce the concept of learning from his errors.

We look forward to anchoring ourselves with Stay Frosty, providing a sickle for our friends in Lucifer's Hammer and doing the math with our "roomies" in Supreme Mathematics.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Recently there have been some discussions within the corporation related to our future home and whether we maintain the existing C2 wormhole that we have.  We have come to a decision regarding that, but the part of this story which is impacted by our discussions were the fact that I strayed off of some of the core concepts that have driven our corporation since day one.

I took a moment on Monday to pause, formulate some thoughts, put pen to paper as it were and to open a discussion among the corp members as to their home.  This was the two steps forward.  It started a very interesting discussion among corp members and many opinions came out that I honestly were surprised in.  I went to bed on Tuesday evening fairly clear that we had a mandate from our corp members as to what should be done with the C2 hole and I felt I could make an announcement today.

I woke up early on Wednesday, grabbed my iPhone and was greeted by the following:

We had a new war which had started on Monday.  The war was pretty much a high sec war involving a group who generally campe trade system undocks, trade route bottlenecks and the like.  We had taken what we felt were appropriate precautions and warned members to avoid those areas.

Now, you would generally think that most members who have been informed that there is a high sec war will proceed with caution if you are navigating high security space.  You generally would fly in a cloaky (Covert Ops Capable) ship or failing that a very fast frigate such as a T1 tackler (atron, condor, executioner, slasher) or even better an Interceptor.  We do not prohibit members from traveling into high sec during these wars.  We basically state that trade systems are off limits.  This is primarily due to the ability of the war targets to lock and shoot you instantly as soon as you undock.

Even more distressing about this kill is that this is a member of the corporation who has been with us since our first week.  He can fly covert ops capable ships as well as larger ships.  Basically, he is experienced enough to know better.

Unfortunately, following the loss yesterday this member made no mention of it in our leadership channels.  There is no post on the forums to explain the circumstances of his loss.  Basically, we are all left wanting more information outside of him losing his ship to a war target.

One of our core principles is to teach new pilots to the game or to exploration.  We have always stressed that killboard colors are not the end of the world, and that we do not purge members for losing a ship.  However, what we have always stressed is the need to constantly learn.

When a member loses a ship.  We expect that they would write up a summary of the loss on our forums.  Explain the circumstances that lead to the loss.  What could you have done better?  What would you change in the future?  Basically, how do you minimize the potential of incurring that loss in the future.

One step back.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Tech II Manufacturing for the Week - Stiletto

This weeks analysis shows that the highest margin on Tech II ship hulls is the Stiletto with a margin of 35% over build costs.

To acquire this margin, all manufacturing needs to take place at a POS using Component Assembly Array, Small Ship Assembly Array and Advanced Small Ship Assembly Array.

I have just delivered 20 jobs at 4 runs each across two of my characters.  This resulted in 80 hulls which sold at Jita this morning for a total profit of 320 million and change.

Based on the recent margins with specific hulls, I am spooling up two additional characters to take part in T2 manufacturing and eventually T3 manufacturing.  When I train characters like this, I tend to focus on one ship race at a time, this way they can assist with T3 manufacturing if certain skills are at V.

There is a very interesting margin on a certain module that I will run this week and possibly make the focus of next weeks post.