Welcome to Jester's Trek.
I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
You can follow along, if you want...

Monday, April 30, 2012

April junk drawer

Welcome to the junk drawer, part of a series of monthly posts in which I dump all the stuff that I couldn't develop into full blog posts this month...

---snip---

The first of several quickies.

This is freakin' cool.  Scroll past the part about the LEGO fighter, which is interesting.  What's really impressive is the paper-craft Tristan this guy has been working on.  I wish I had this kind of artistic ability.  That's all I have to say about it.

---snip---

Azual Skoll has written a really well-done piece on how to move capital ships around.  If you are just now starting to think about your first carrier or dreadnought, this piece is pretty much required reading.  It's so good that it pretty well trashed my thought about writing such a guide myself.  ;-)

Seriously, if you're thinking about a capital ship, go read it.  It's worth your time.

---snip---

Mabrick defends the "up with carebears" position.  It's interesting reading!

Despite myself, I've started following his blog because he has a unique way of looking at the EVE world.  If he keeps it up, he might make the Must Read Blogs list.

---snip---

This made me smile late in the month.  It's the Japanese translation of my "Sons of a bitch" post from last August.  This month, CCP welcomed Japanese players to the game.  A lot of them are now scouring blogs, wikis, and other information sources trying to learn the ins and outs of the game.  As a result, I'm seeing more hits from Japan.

This one came up because it was the top ten read post one week in April... not the English version; the Japanese translation.  Incursion guys, you might want to be ready for more Japanese players in your fleets.  ;-)

---snip---

If you have a DUST 514 Beta code from Fanfest, here's where you redeem it.  Amusingly, it doesn't allow you to actually download or play the game quite yet.  When you enter a valid code, you are told:
Please enter a valid email address. We will use this address to contact you if you are admitted to the DUST 514™ Closed Beta.
After you do, you get a confirmation e-mail that says:
Your CCP Code has been registered with your verified email address!  We will soon be accepting new testers in the DUST 514™ Closed Beta. We will contact you when we are ready to start the beta.
No DUST 514 for me, yet.  Ah well.

---snip---

Another ultra-quickie.  Lots of those this month, I guess.  You can now order physical DVDs and Blu-rays of all three Clear Skies movies.  Granted, you can do this yourself if you have the means to.  But if you're looking to support the developers of Clear Skies for their amazing work with a few dollars, this is how.

Clear Skies 2 is still my favorite, though.

---snip---

Finally, a longer one that almost rated its own post.

Petitions have a variety of uses in game, but most of them come down to the fact that some game bug or mechanic has caused something to happen that you didn't feel was fair.  For instance, the game crashes while you're in an L4 mission, but you are not scrammed or pointed by the rats.  When you return, your find your ship didn't do an emergency warp and been destroyed despite not being scrammed or pointed.  You are sitting in the mission in a pod, next to the wreck of your former ship.  That's potentially a petitionable loss.  If a GM agrees, he will place a replacement ship and the modules that were destroyed into your home station hangar.  Recovering the rest of the modules from the wreck is your responsibility because hey, this IS EVE.

Still, petitions are the source of the meme "the logs show nothing"... in other words, despite your petition, your ship will not be replaced because the GMs can't confirm your version of the story.

This comes up because during one of the interstitial interviews during Fanfest, CCP Guard interviewed a senior GM.  During the interview, the senior GM indicated that CCP will be slowly changing the name of the petition process because the GMs feel that the word "petition" brings up the mental image of a passive supplicant begging for assistance from the local nobility.  And I have to say, the mental image is quite apt.  ;-)

---snip---

And that's it.  Kind of a light month.  Most everything went into full posts.  ;-)

Butcher's bill

So the family event that I thought would keep me from participating in Burn Jita was delayed.  As a result, I was able to spend a good bit of time in Jita and the surrounding area in a few of my alts.  It was an amusing event to watch!

Fireworks show!


How successful was it?  The Mittani was obviously extremely pleased:
My cup runneth over - Should have sacked Jita /years/ ago. We'll be back. How could we not? http://eve-kill.net/?a=kill_detail&kll_id=13201920 #tweetfleet #eveonline

Just how many freighters and jump freighters died?

In this table, "j" is a kill in Jita.  "u" is Urlen, "p" is Perimeter, "s" is Sobaseki, "k" is Kakakela, and the lone "v" and "i" are Veisto and Isanamo, respectively.

Friday:jjuuj jijjj pppps pjjjj
Saturday:         jjspj jpksj jjjsj jjjjj jjvsj
Sunday:jjjjp jjjjs jjsjs jjpjp

So, all in all, I count 20 freighters and JFs on Friday, 25 on Saturday, and 20 on Sunday.  Grand total, 65.  42 of those were in Jita, 11 on Friday, 17 on Saturday, 14 on Sunday.  There were three duplicate kills, an Obelisk on Friday and a Charon and Rhea on Saturday.  I counted each only once.  A few of the kills are not yet API verified, and two outrageous ones jumped out at me: a Charon and an Obelisk, both "killed" in Jita within a minute of each other on Saturday, both carrying ten Hulks and an Orca, both with the same "drop", neither API verified.  I haven't counted them.

12 out of the 65 were jump freighters, divided thus:

Friday JFs:Rhea/Jita, Nomad/Perimeter
Saturday JFs:         Rhea/Jita (x4), Anshar/Jita, Ark/Jita, Anshar/Soba, Nomad/Kakakela, Rhea/Veisto
Sunday JFs:Rhea/Jita

Rheas were popular, as were Pandemic Legion JFs: two of the latter were killed.

Some highlights:
Charon, with GolemTalked about this one on Friday
Ship-hauling Obelisk Two Machs plus dozens of other ships
Drop everything Apparently led the gank fleet a merry chase
Six PLEXes He deserved to lose them
200 Covetor BPCs These get researched into Hulk BPCs
Vargurs Some (re-)assembly required
Plagioclase Definitely worth using your JF for
Building towers Worth ganking when Burn Jita isn't running
Somer Blink prizes? If so, they're gone now
Junkmp freighter Why would anyone need six Bustards?
Crazy good drop Full cans dropped, empty ones didn't
Empty JF Goons aren't bringing Tornadoes home
PL Jump freighter Died within seconds of a PL Rorqual
Junkmp freighter II Source of the image at the top of this post
Moros ammo The CONCORD emblems sell this one
Out of Tornadoes? Doesn't mean you won't die, though... on video
45 Occators They align about as fast as freighters
It's over, right? No, not quite
BPC piles You'd think a Jedi would have seen this coming
Paid for his own kill No, it still isn't over
Many eggs, one basket         Officially after Burn Jita "ended"


However, the crown jewels of Burn Jita were definitely these:
http://eve-kill.net/?a=kill_detail&kll_id=13225358
http://eve-kill.net/?a=kill_detail&kll_id=13225319

This pair of Charons -- both API verified -- represent a massive investment in T2 manufacturing.  The loss of 35 billion would sting just about anyone more than a little.  Why you wouldn't do the most basic scouting to see if you could make this run safely is beyond me.  These freighters are easily worth ganking even if the Burn Jita event is not going on.  For Burn Jita, they were a no-brainer and an impressive close for the proceedings.

Yeah, I have no doubt Goons will be back.  And next time, they may or may not announce themselves in advance.

There were also some special, unannounced events.  Sunday, a Nyx undocked from the Jita station.  Apparently the product of a reimbursement done incorrectly, not long after undocking, a GM appeared and "persuaded" the pilot to take his Nyx elsewhere, which he did.  Later the same evening, an Archon undocked and redocked from Jita several times and spent quite a while minding its own business below the undock.  High-sec capital ships are extremely rare, but they do exist for a variety of reasons...

You might ask how dangerous it was.  The short answer: if you were smart, not very.  I had intended to get on a number of kill-mails myself, and pre-positioned a number of ships in Jita for that purpose.  And yeah, I did a bit of that with two of my alts.  But in the end, I had a lot more fun stealing stuff from non-blue wrecks and getting away with it.  ;-)  This practice got me shot at any number of times, and I ended up losing one hauler to some badly-timed theft.  But I profited to the tune of several hundred million ISK in guns, ammo, and assorted loot scooped from killed gank ships, freighters, and haulers.  So overall, I came out way ahead.

But I was flying fairly risky.  There were long stretches where I hung out in a destroyer or frigate or hauler, and on three occasions, I had people GCC to try to kill my ship (none successfully).  And I spent a couple of hours at the undock watching Noctises and destroyers without number scooping blue wrecks and salvaging them apparently without getting shot at at all.

All in all, I'd say as long as you were flying smart, you were in very little actual danger.  In terms of preventing Jita's business, I don't think 65 freighter kills went too far.  I'll have to do a bit of research into the haulers and transports that were killed and see if there's anything interesting among them.  So call this part of Burn Jita a partial success.

One other interesting thing: CCP responded really well to Burn Jita overall.  When the festivities first kicked off on Friday, 2000 people in Jita brought the system nearly to its knees with 10-15% Time Dilation.  By the end of the event, there were 2200+ people flying around Sunday with little or no TiDi.  Either CCP spent the weekend learning how to balance their servers under heavy load, or Jita got the benefit of every reinforced node they had.  Watching people trying to use safe undocks during high TiDi was quite entertaining!  I saw several ships try to warp to "instant" undocks, only to realize that under 10% TiDi, a half-second warp-away time becomes five seconds.  That was often enough time for people to get in a lucky scram or simply alpha the "insta-warping" ship before he could get away...

So overall, I found Burn Jita to be an entertaining and educational event.  We'll see if it becomes a tradition.

Quote of the Week: We are GO

Couldn't really pick anything else this week:
New post: We are GO! Hulkageddon 5 is in effect! http://hulkageddon5.machine9.net/?p=53 #tweetfleet #eveonline
That's Helicity Boson, of course, advertising the start of Hulkageddon.  Within seconds of that announcement, Corelin of Mad Haberdashers fame announced that he was "in warp".  "In warp" meant that his Catalyst was in warp to a (presumably pre-scouted) untanked Mackinaw, which became the first kill of Hulkageddon V.  Before the first hour was up, Corelin and Co. had killed four Exhumers and stolen two Orcas that were being used as "mobile jetcans" by gank victims.  Whoops.

Helicity's response:
go forth and BRING JUSTICE FOR THE VELDSPAR (and earn money!) #tweetfleet #eveonline
Not much more to say about this one.  So I'll just say congrats to my fellow blogger and good luck to both sides!

To the nines

Last year, I did a cost analysis of the EVE Online Christmas gifts.  In honor of EVE's 9th anniversary, there's another new set of gifts.  They're not quite as impressive as the Christmas gifts, sadly, and are pretty much 100% geared toward new players.  Still, if you're looking for the ISK value of each item, here it is (all values in millions):

"Refine Your Skills"41.4
"Drill Bits"28.4
"Deadly Elegance"17.7
"Fire All Lasers"17.4
"Duty, Honor, State"         16.8
"Heavy Iron"16.2
"Plug and Play"13.1
"Paxist Treasure"???


Unsurprisingly, two +4 skill implants are the most valuable gift, ISK-wise.  In particular, they dwarf the value of the full +2 implant set.  If you are considering the +2 implant set as your gift, you're better off taking the two +4 implants instead, selling them, and buying yourself two or even three full +2 implant sets with the proceeds.  gg CCP, gg.  ;-)

I've judged the ISK value of the skill books as negligible.  Whenever CCP gives away skill books for free (as they did with the new tutorial missions last year, for instance), the market for that skill book almost instantly crashes.  I expect more or less the same effect here, at least for the short term.  The value of the various cruisers fluctuates a bit from day to day, but overall the value of any of the "cruiser" gifts is about 17 million ISK.  As a result, it might be advantageous to take the two +4 implants even if you want the cruiser set.  Again, you can sell the +4 implants and buy twice as many cruisers and the (suddenly very cheap) skill books with the proceeds.

Between the +4 implants and the "cruisers" are the "drill bits", actually apparently 160 tech 1 mining crystals.  Mining crystals reprocess into Nocxium, the value of which is somewhat in flux.  However, it seems clear that the value of these crystals based on that will be 25 million ISK or more.  And between the impact of the drone alloy nerf and Hulkageddon, we could see the value of Noc rise substantially in the coming weeks.  As a long-term investment, the mining crystals might be your best bet.

Or they might not.  The "Paxist Treasure" gift is just... odd.  I've written about the Pax Amarria before.  As a "collector's item", this item is completely worthless.  Literally hundreds of thousands of this item are available for sale, right now, from NPC sellers.  If you want one, go buy one right now.

Still, its prominent placement in this dev-blog strikes me as very strange.  Inferno is going to be -- by definition -- a very war-focused expansion.  The Pax Amarria is the written opposite of that intent.  It might (and I stress that word might) be CCP's plan to make the Pax Amarria a collector's item by severely restricting or eliminating the supply through some sort of in-game action combined with the cinematic trailer for the expansion.  The Minmatar destroy the original copy and cause a virus to destroy all the current versions in the hands of players, perhaps?  If that's the case, the Pax Amarria's NPC sellers might quickly run out, or the NPC sale price be greatly increased.

It strikes me as an unlikely move -- CCP's few recent attempts to drive trailers with the lore of the game haven't been successful.  Still, if you're looking to gamble...

EDIT (30/Apr/2012): Well, that explains that.  CCP Greyscale says that this version (with a different spelling) will be a different item and will be "explained later in the week."

Whatever you select, enjoy your gifts!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Week in the Life: Bottleneck

So, over the last few weeks, we've been seeing Technetium do this.


That's five days ago.  Today, the Tech buy price in Jita is over 200,000 per unit.  And "OTEC", the Organization of Technetium Exporting Corporations has apparently gone from "troll" to "reality".  OTEC apparently started as a troll by Mittens to see if he could drive the price of Technetium up in the market.  But then he actually started chatting with the alliances that control this stuff, and after that... Goons gotta Goon.  I've already written about that.

Let's talk actual impact.  How much Technetium actually goes into stuff?

The question came into my head because Wilhelm Arcturus wrote a piece at The Ancient Gaming Noob focusing on this stuff, but in that piece, he said:
I recently saw an estimate that Technetium makes up something like 40% of the sale price of a Hulk.
And that struck me as a really low estimate.  So it set me to wondering, on a value basis, how much Technetium actually goes into a Hulk?  It quickly became one of those questions that, had I known the amount of work that it would take to answer the question, I never would have asked it.  ;-)  But below, you'll find the answer.

I apologize in advance: scary math ahead.  Matter of fact, if you're not into the industry side of EVE, you might want to skip the entire table that's coming up and just rejoin me at the very bottom.  I've only included the table so that the industrialists out there can check my figures.  Ready?  Here we go.

---snip---

Mineral and PI components
CovetorTritanium2,128,1942,128,194
Pyerite647,511647,511
Mexallon61,51661,516
Isogen17,91117,911
Nocxium39873987
Zydrine10341034
Megacyte271271
Construction BlocksToxic Metals50 @ 402000
Reactive Metals50 @ 402000
Morphite
7272
R.A.M. - Starship TechTritanium10 @ 5025020
Pyerite10 @ 4024020
Mexallon10 @ 2012010
Isogen10 @ 74740
Nocxium10 @ 32320
Subtotal Minerals and PI components
Tritanium2,133,214@ 6.05= 12,905,945
Pyerite651,531@ 7.01= 4,567,233
Mexallon61,836@ 51.45= 3,181,463
Isogen18,651@ 93.46= 1,743,123
Nocxium4307@ 945.21= 4,071,019
Zydrine1034@ 1623.59= 1,678,792
Megacyte271@ 3370= 913,270
Morphite72@ 14,706= 1,058,832
Reactive Metals2000@ 315.56= 631,120
Toxic Metals2000@ 176.25= 352,500

T2 Construction Components
Crystalline Carbonide Armor PlateCrystalline Carbonide2600 @ 40= 104,000
Sylramic Fibers2600 @ 10= 26,000
Fusion Reactor UnitCrystalline Carbonide39 @ 8= 312
Fermionic Condensates39 @ 1= 39
Ferrogel39 @ 1= 39
Ion ThrusterCrystalline Carbonide52 @ 12= 624
Ferrogel52 @ 1= 52
Phenolic Composites52 @ 3= 156
Magnetometric Sensor ClusterCrystalline Carbonide195 @ 12= 2340
Hypersynaptic Fibers195 @ 2= 390
Nanotransitors195 @ 1= 195
Oscillator Capacitor UnitCrystalline Carbonide520 @ 24= 12,480
Fullerides520 @ 15= 7800
Nanotransitors520 @ 1= 520
Photon MicroprocessorCrystalline Carbonide2600 @ 12= 31,200
Nanotransitors2600 @ 5= 13,000
Phenolic Composites2600 @ 1= 2600
Pulse Shield EmitterCrystalline Carbonide195 @ 20= 3900
Ferrogel195 @ 1= 195
Sylramic Fibers195 @ 8= 1560
Subtotal T2 Construction Components
Crystalline Carbonide154,856
Sylramic Fibers27,560
Fermionic Condensates39
Ferrogel286
Phenolic Composites2756
Hypersynaptic Fibers390
Nanotransitors13,715
Fullerides7800

T2 Moon Mining Materials
Crystalline 
   Carbonide
Carbon Polymers154,856/10,000= 15.49@ 50 Hydrocarbons= 775

= 15.49@ 50 Silicates= 775
Crystalline Alloy154,856/10,000= 15.49@ 50 Cadmium= 775

= 15.49@ 50 Cobalt= 775
Sylramic FibersCeramic Powder27,560/6000= 4.59@ 50 Evap Deposits= 230

= 4.59@ 50 Silicates= 230
Hexite27,560/6000= 4.59@ 50 Chromium= 230

= 4.59@ 50 Platinum= 230
Fermionic
   Condensates      
Caesarium Cadmide39/200= 0.20@ 50 Cadmium= 10

= 0.20@ 50 Caesium= 10
Dysporite39/200= 0.20@ 50 Dysprosium= 10

= 0.20@ 50 Mercury= 10
Fluxed Condensates39/200= 0.20@ 50 Neodymium= 10

= 0.20@ 50 Thulium= 10
Prometium39/200= 0.20@ 50 Cadmium= 10

= 0.20@ 50 Promethium= 10
FerrogelFerrofluid286/400= 0.72@ 50 Dysprosium= 36

= 0.72@ 50 Hafnium= 36
Hexite286/400= 0.72@ 50 Chromium= 36

= 0.72@ 50 Platinum= 36
Hyperflurite286/400= 0.72@ 50 Promethium= 36

= 0.72@ 50 Vanadium= 36
Prometium286/400= 0.72@ 50 Cadmium= 36

= 0.72@ 50 Promethium= 36
Phenolic
   Composites
Caesarium Cadmide2756/2200= 1.26@ 50 Cadmium= 63

= 1.26@ 50 Caesium= 63
Silicon Diborite2756/2200= 1.26@ 50 Evap Deposits= 63

= 1.26@ 50 Silicates= 63
Vanadium Hafnite2756/2200= 1.26@ 50 Hafnium= 63

= 1.26@ 50 Vanadium= 63
Hypersynaptic
   Fibers
Dysporite390/750= 0.52@ 50 Dysprosium= 26

= 0.52@ 50 Mercury= 26
Solerium390/750= 0.52@ 50 Evap Deposits= 26

= 0.52@ 50 Silicates= 26
Vanadium Hafnite390/750= 0.52@ 50 Caesium= 26

= 0.52@ 50 Chromium= 26
NanotransistorsNeo Mercurite13,715/1500= 9.15@ 50 Mercury= 458

= 9.15@ 50 Neodymium= 458
Platinum Technite13,715/1500= 9.15@ 50 Platinum= 458

= 9.15@ 50 Technetium= 458
Sulfuric Acid13,715/1500= 9.15@ 50 Atmo Gases= 458

= 9.15@ 50 Evap Deposits= 458
FulleridesCarbon Polymers7800/3000= 2.60@ 50 Hydrocarbons= 130

= 2.60@ 50 Silicates= 130
Platinum Technite7800/3000= 2.60@ 50 Platinum= 130

= 2.60@ 50 Technetium= 130
Total T2 Moon Mining Materials
Atmospheric Gasses458@ 176.26= 80,728
Cadmium894@ 2457.66= 2,197,148
Caesium99@ 2107.81= 208,673
Chromium292@ 2235.06= 652,637
Cobalt775@ 666.27= 516,359
Dysprosium72@ 8901.31= 640,894
Evaporite Deposits777@ 834.79= 648,632
Hafnium99@ 2453.71= 242,918
Hydrocarbons905@ 202.52= 183,281
Mercury494@ 3905.25= 1,929,194
Neodymium468@ 15,128.39= 7,080,086
Platinum854@ 3035.65= 2,592,446
Promethium82@ 3620.12= 296,850
Silicates1224@ 1080.81= 1,322,912
Technetium588@ 201,007= 118,192,116
Thulium10@ 3015.08= 30,151
Vanadium99@ 2891.77= 286,286

Total Materials and Value Proportions
Raw materialValueProportion
Technetium118,192,116       70.3%
Tritanium12,905,9457.7%
Neodymium7,080,0864.2%
Pyerite4,567,2332.7%
Nocxium4,071,0192.4%
Mexallon3,181,4631.9%
Platinum2,592,4461.5%
Cadmium2,197,1481.3%
Mercury1,929,1941.1%
Isogen1,743,1231.0%
Zydrine1,678,7921.0%
EVERYTHING ELSE       8,023,0434.8%

---snip---

On a raw material value basis, Technetium makes up 70% of a Hulk.

And I suspect if I ran the numbers for most other Tech 2 ships and modules, the answer would be the same.  And it's only going to go up if "OTEC" decides to restrict the supply of Tech.  By the way, don't get the impression that it costs 170 million to build a Hulk.  It does not.  I haven't included the invention process, which is expensive.  One of these days, I need to write a blog post about that.  But yeah, in terms of the actual materials that go into a Hulk, Tech is 70%.

Kinda puts an interesting spin on the biggest Tech-holder in the game trying to blow up a lot of Hulks, doesn't it?

Still think Goons aren't looking to grief them some high-sec players?

Kill of the Week: Burn Jita

It was sorely tempting to go with this:
http://eve-kill.net/?a=kill_detail&kll_id=13174569

My word, this is a poorly-fit Legion.  Matter of fact, I'd be hard-pressed to point out something on this fit that isn't horribly wrong, except maybe the resist rigs.  But the 800mm plate, the Cap Rechargers, the lack of low slots for gank and tank, half the subsystems... no, no, no, no, and no yet again.  Bad Legion!  No biscuit!

Assuming the point to this fit was to gank ratters, here's an alternate "gank ratters" fit for this pilot's skill:

[Legion, Maddog Slone's Fixed Legion]
Damage Control II
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
Medium Armor Repairer II
Heat Sink II
1600mm Reinforced Rolled Tungsten Plates I

10MN Afterburner II
Medium Electrochemical Capacitor Booster I, Navy Cap Booster 400
Stasis Webifier II
Balmer Series Tracking Disruptor I, Tracking Speed Disruption Script
Warp Scrambler II

Heavy Modulated Pulse Energy Beam I, Imperial Navy Multifrequency M
Heavy Modulated Pulse Energy Beam I, Imperial Navy Multifrequency M
Heavy Modulated Pulse Energy Beam I, Imperial Navy Multifrequency M
Heavy Modulated Pulse Energy Beam I, Imperial Navy Multifrequency M
Heavy Modulated Pulse Energy Beam I, Imperial Navy Multifrequency M
Covert Ops Cloaking Device II

Medium Anti-EM Pump I
Medium Anti-Kinetic Pump I
Medium Anti-Thermic Pump I

Legion Defensive - Nanobot Injector
Legion Electronics - Tactical Targeting Network
Legion Engineering - Power Core Multiplier
Legion Offensive - Covert Reconfiguration
Legion Propulsion - Fuel Catalyst


I'm still not convinced it's optimal, but it's a hell of a lot better than what this guy was flying.  And it could hold off one stinking Daredevil.  And train for tech 2 guns for Heaven's sake!  Anyway, congrats to Dabigredboat on a fine kill.  I could fly in New Eden for a thousand years and not encounter such a bad Legion.  Some guys are just lucky.  ;-)

But no, in honor of Burn Jita, I'm going to go with this for KOTW:
http://eve-kill.net/?a=kill_detail&kll_id=13186847

Say hello to the very first freighter kill of Burn Jita.  The festivities got under way at 00:00 EVE time on the 27th.  As predicted, the word doesn't seem to have gotten out.  When I went to bed last night, this was the only freighter kill the Goons had racked up so far, but when I got up this morning, they were up to eight: six in Jita and two in Urlen.  The fun part of this little Charon is the Golem inside it.  According to one of the KB comments:
the wreck was just sitting there for the longest time with the golem in it
Whoops.  ;-)  Next time, Goons, stage a few Orcas in addition to all the Tornadoes and Thrashers.

I've been watching the fun and I'll probably have more to say about it later today or tomorrow.  In the meantime, if you want to keep score, the best place to do it is probably at this link.  As I publish this, the score is now... let's see... eleven freighters.  Including this one.  In the same way the Blue Ice interdiction wasn't limited to Blue Ice, Burn Jita doesn't necessarily mean burn Jita, guys.

Fly safe out there!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

1,000,000

Sometime in the last hour, I hit a pretty cool milestone.  Not counting my own, I received my one millionth page view from a visitor.  :-)  Not too shabby for a 15-month-old experiment that was only intended to support a EVE Online CSM run!

Thanks to all of you out there reading my stuff and finding some value in it.  Hopefully you've learned a few things or found a few things insightful along the journey.  Without all of you out there reading, commenting, calling me names, and very occasionally agreeing with me, there wouldn't be much point to writing these walls of text.

So thanks.  Your support means a lot.

Next milestone: one thousand posts.  I expect I'll hit that mark in November or so.  ;-)

Ministry of Love affair

I've been accused in my last few posts about Goons of having an overly friendly view of them, or even accused of spending time pointlessly talking about them.  "Why do we talk about these losers?  Your love affair with them is revolting," I was accused in my most recent post the other day.  I think my response to that comment deserves its own post.

I'm talking about the Goons more lately because I think we're going to be feeling their impact on the game more.

My first exposure to Goons and the first place I learned about them was in a group that despised them.  And out in null-sec, that's a common reaction.  With the exception of the DRF bloc, Goons have done more to cause null residents to hate them than any other group.  When I later joined Get Off My Lawn and found myself in the Goon sphere of influence, I got to experience the reason some players hate them first-hand.  One of my last memories in LAWN was sitting in my alpha Maelstrom waiting for a fleet to begin when an actual human female had the temerity to say something to the FC on the Goon comms we were on.  There was a three or four second delay, and then the comms from at least 60 or 70 Goon pilots opened and what poured fourth was a chorus of monkey-like howling, grunting, and moaning that went on for at least 20 seconds.  I don't care if it was meant in jest or not, it was surreal... animalistic.

This was by no means an isolated occurrence, and in time spent chatting with Goons in fleets with them, I discovered that their reputation is very much deserved.  Mittens might have been banned from EVE for 30 days for public EULA violations, but many Goons violate the EULA on a daily basis just by being Goons.  Lots of them glory in a misogynist, racist, or ugly in-game persona.  I'm sure they're lovely people outside of the game, but in game, any Goon story that you've heard is most likely true.

And yet, aside from the occasional Jita-based recruiting scam, or a high-sec industrial corp successfully scammed into jumping a large freighter wing into EC-P8R, the influence of Goons is for the most part limited to null-sec.  Which means that a solid majority of EVE players don't interact with Goons and don't have any experience with them.  The reason that the Goons don't get booed at the Fanfest Alliance Panel is because a lot of Fanfest attendees have absolutely no reason to boo them.  They show up to enjoy the stories that take place in that far-away land called null-sec that they'll never visit and which doesn't affect them.

The Blue Ice interdiction changed that.

And no, not because Oxygen Isotopes suddenly got a lot more expensive.  Most high-sec dwellers have little interest in isotopes and only a vague idea of what they're for.  But high-sec dwellers mine Blue Ice because those isotopes are worth ISK in Jita.  That, they care about.  That, they care about a great deal.  And so the Blue Ice interdiction impacted high-sec because it rendered about a fifth of high-sec space effectively closed to ice mining for a number of weeks.

Remember, Goonswarm's stated mission is to destroy your game.  And while I'm sure they'd say they intend to destroy your game for all values of "you", their impact on high-sec players overall has actually been rather negligible.  Moar Tears, with one one-hundredth the number of members of GSF, has a bigger griefing impact on high-sec than Goons have historically had.

That's why I'm talking about Goons more lately: virtually all of their recent announcements have focused on high-sec, with their null-sec activities either getting muted press or no press at all.  They are conquering entire regions of null-sec in only days right now.  And nobody much cares.  So I feel like someone -- maybe The Mittani himself -- made a conscious decision to be more involved in making more of EVE not like Goons so much.  ;-)  More players are therefore going to be impacted.

Tomorrow, we'll have Burn Jita, followed by Hulkageddon.  Hulkageddon has always been a pretty big activity in the EVE news, but it looks to be an order of magnitude bigger this time.  The so-called Goon "Ministry of Love", whose stated mission is to grief high-sec players that say mean things about Goons or their leadership, is designed solely about reaching into high-sec and inflicting pain.  Just today, Mittens said that group was working on their first victim.  The Technetium cartel they're apparently forming -- more about this tomorrow -- has the potential to directly inflict pain on the wallets of every player in EVE by making every T2 module and ship more expensive.

Short version: up to this point, we've been getting a kinder, gentler Goon.  The number of EVE players that can claim to have been victimized by a Goon is actually fairly negligible, all things considered.

They're obviously looking to change all that.

In this context, my personal feelings about Goons are irrelevant.

But that's why I've been writing about them.

Fit of the Week: Skirmish Tempest

Let's go with a blast from the past.

[Tempest, Skirmisher]
Damage Control II
Gyrostabilizer II
Gyrostabilizer II
Nanofiber Internal Structure II
Tracking Enhancer II
Tracking Enhancer II

Prototype 100MN MicroWarpdrive I
Large Shield Extender II
Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
Heavy Capacitor Booster II, Cap Booster 800
Adaptive Invulnerability Field II

800mm Repeating Artillery II, Republic Fleet EMP L
800mm Repeating Artillery II, Republic Fleet EMP L
Heavy Unstable Power Fluctuator I
800mm Repeating Artillery II, Republic Fleet EMP L
800mm Repeating Artillery II, Republic Fleet EMP L
Heavy Unstable Power Fluctuator I
800mm Repeating Artillery II, Republic Fleet EMP L
800mm Repeating Artillery II, Republic Fleet EMP L

Large Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer I
Large Core Defense Field Extender I
Large Polycarbon Engine Housing I

Warrior II x5
Hornet EC-300 x5
Hobgoblin II x5


This used to be one of my favorite ships to fly.  In the age of tier 3 battle cruisers, though, it is in danger of becoming a relic of the past.  That makes me really sad, because it's a ton of fun.  And even in the age of tier 3s, the skirmishing Tempest has a lot of advantages that is smaller brethren lack.  It's a fun enough ship that it was featured prominently in last year's Overheating Guide.

What this ship does really really well is act as an anchor for skirmishing fleets.  That's what the Nanofiber and the Polycarbon rig are about: increasing speed and agility so that this beast can keep up reasonably well with like-minded skirmish battle cruisers.  The "Pest" will only align a second or two slower, and it will be able to keep up on MWD with all similar ships except full-on nano-fit skirmish Hurricanes.  Variations on this fit might use another Polycarbon or another Nanofiber to further increase speed and reduce align time.  Weapon range is similarly extended with Tracking Enhancers, giving this ship solid punch out to about 45km or so.  The TEs also make the Pest a solid threat to enemy cruisers.  Skirmish Pests often fly with 650mm Arty Hurricanes.  The 800 ACs will actually track better than the Canes if that's the case in your fleet.

Where the skirmish Pests really earn their keep, though, are in the heavy neuts they can bring to bear against enemy tackle and enemy Recon ships that stray into their ranges.  A single heavy neut will leave any interceptor in the game dead in the water, and used in groups, heavy neuts can snap an enemy Logistics cap chain or break cap stability on Scimis or Onis.  A mid-size group of five such Pests, bringing ten heavy neuts, for instance, can instantly snap a three Guardian cap chain or put serious pressure on a number of Scimis equal to their numbers, effectively taking enemy Logi out of a fight.  FCs that see massed Pests (or their similar counter-parts, neut Typhoons) will immediately recognize the danger the Pests pose.

Damage is solid but not spectacular at 700 DPS or so, but with the heavy neuts acting as heat sinks, overheating the guns in groups is actually both easier and more common than other battleships, resulting in higher effective DPS.  This is why I featured this ship so prominently in the Overheating Guide: it's good at it.  ;-)  Resists and tank are similarly solid but unspectacular, but also benefit greatly from overheating of one or both Invuls, particularly if they're arranged as shown.  The Cap Booster's job is to keep the MWD running and the neuts neuting.  Tackle should be provided by friendly long-point Arazus or Lachs, or by interceptors.  The Pests, meanwhile, will keep enemy inties from doing the same to your skirmish group, as stated above.

For the current generation Pest, one flight each of Warriors and ECM drones is preferred, with an additional 25m3 slated for either a second set of Warriors or perhaps a set of Hobs.  However, when web drones come into the picture, the Pest will be a perfect platform to deploy a full flight of small web drones to further its anti-tackle/anti-Recon mission.

MukkBarovian, one of the best FCs I ever flew with, used a ship fit very similar to this for scouting of all things.  The Pest would fly ahead of the main group (made up of shield BCs) and draw fire, holding tank long enough for the fleet to come in and save him.  In this role, Mukk would fit a long point, of course.  ;-)  The role of the rest of the ship was the same, though, and you could rest assured that whatever he tackled stayed tackled thanks to those heavy neuts.  Bit tough to run away without capacitor...

These days in 0.0, Tornadoes and shield Taloses perform many of the same roles of this Tempest, and have a far greater chance of being able to run away if things don't go their way.  As I said, it makes me kind of sad.  You do still see Tempests out and about occasionally, though.  Rote ran into a fleet that included five of them just the other night, and our FC had to reconsider his plans in the face of those ten heavy neuts.

But where the ship has the most value these days, I suspect, would be as an anchor ship for badly inexperienced PvPers in high-sec war-decs.  Get your Drakes to orbit the anchor Tempest at 2500 or so while in combat and the Pest can lead these inexperienced pilots to their proper positions during a fight.  While doing so, it can neut out tacklers headed for them and act as a target caller.  Other than that, though, if you're rolling heavy in a skirmish fleet with lots of Drakes, you might find a place for this beast, particularly if you have a few friends brave enough to fly one of these with you.

Skirmish heavy!


All Fits of the Week are intended as general guidelines only.  You may not have the skills needed for this exact fit.  If you do not, feel free to adjust the fit to suit to meet your skills, including using meta 3 guns and "best named" defenses and e-war.  Ships can also be adjusted to use faction or dead-space modules depending on the budget of the pilot flying it.  Each FOTW is intended as a general guide to introduce you to concepts that will help you fit and to fly that particular type of ship more aggressively and well.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Scimoneiroliskian

In my customary role of Logistics, I've spent the last several days -- both before and after the Escalation patch -- running incursions.  It was my first time running incursions in at least six months.  I was primarily curious if there had been any marked changes right before the patch.  I was then curious what impact the patch itself would have.  Here are my impressions.

First, incursions themselves and the culture of incursion-runners seems essentially unchanged from when I wrote about them six months ago.  It continues to be a very tight-knit community, and it appears to remain a community that is pretty stable from a personnel stand-point.  Many of the same faces I saw six months ago are still heavily involved, and most of them are in the same sorts of roles.  So there's a nice stability there that speaks well of incursions to remain a social option for PvE players into the future.  Definite net positive.

There has been a bit more Balkanization of the incursion channels since I last wrote about them.  There are far more "private" channels, and the "public" channels (BTL Pub, The Ditanian Fleet) are held in somewhat lower esteem among the professional incursion runners.  The professionals also seem a bit more insular than they were last year.  That said, it's still relatively easy to achieve invitations to these private channels if you know what you're doing.

Ship fitting has not changed all that much.  Shield ships now fairly routinely run with dead-space Adaptive Invulnerability Fields, but that was the only major change I encountered.  There is scorn directed at CCP for the lack of changes to the faction Invuls.  I encountered several conversations about this, and everyone agrees that keeping the faction Invuls tag-limited is a dumb idea, and that C-Type dead-space Invuls will soon be cheaper than their less-effective faction counter-parts.  I don't see any call to argue with that reasoning.  That said, dead-space and faction Invuls remain a "shiny" option and are not seen as required.  There was apparently a dip in incursion participation over the winter when any non-shiny ship was shunned due to a glut of shiny ships.  However, this phase seems to have passed and I encountered many standard T1 battleships in the sites over the last several days.

Armor fleets continue to surpass shield fleets at Vanguard sites, most likely because of the common use of Remote Sensor Boosters and Remote Tracking Links, options generally unavailable for shield fleets.  Shield fleets continue to far surpass armor fleets at Assault and HQ sites, due to superior fleet leadership and skill.  It's time for another injection of skill from BTL into TDF's leadership.  Alternately, the TDF leadership needs to man up and take the BTL FC classes, anonymously if they have to.  The Valhalla Project, a new channel devoted to running HQ sites, has a clearly outstanding process in place for training HQ FCs, something TDF needs to take advantage of.

Post-Escalation, Vanguard profits are much decreased.  Prior to the patch, I would estimate that a really top-skilled shiny VG fleet could bring in 125 million ISK per hour per member on a consistent basis.  Based on the reduction of pay-outs and the alteration of the spawns, particularly in the OTA and NCO sites, I would estimate this to be reduced to about 75 million ISK per hour.  This is now almost directly in line with skilled HQ fleets.  Assault sites continue to lag slightly.

Unskilled VG and HQ fleets will be reduced to about 70% of that number, I suspect.

Some people will continue to unfairly blame incursions for all of EVE's economic troubles despite this.  It will continue to be as untrue as it was prior to the Escalation patch.

Logistics ships are now much more common than they used to be.  Lokis used in both shield and armor fleets are much less common than they used to be.  Machariels and Nightmares are most prized, Nightmares in shield fleets most of all.  I suspect the Nightmare will become the "go to" ship for shield incursion fleets, preferred above all others.  Legions, Paladins, and Armageddon Navy Issues will likely be the preferred armor ships.  The sniper role is also going to be much more important, I expect.  Many of the HQ rats spawn at 120 to 140 kilometers and that's where they stay.  It's often no longer possible to nail them before they motor out of range.

The spawn changes that will so disrupt OTA blitzing also seem to have affected the Nation Rebirth Facility HQ site as well, perhaps as a side effect.  It is no longer possible to semi-blitz NRFs.  That makes TCRCs the fastest HQ site, but also the most dangerous, particularly when pre-spawned.  The first three minutes of a pre-spawned TCRC continues to be the hardest, deadliest time in EVE PvE (and yes, that counts WH sites of all classes).

Here's an interesting one: post-patch, the influence bar indicating Sansha control over a constellation moves much more quickly toward the "red" than it used to.  Not running sites for even a few minutes will cause Sansha control over the constellation to start to rise, and if there isn't an active HQ fleet working in a constellation, it will rise rather quickly.  This makes running sites more difficult by proxy since the Sansha influence reduces both player DPS and resists.  I approve of this change, though I'm sure I'm in the minority of incursion runners that do!

Another change that I'm less sure about is how "twitchy" incursion rats seem to be post-patch.  They seem to lock player ships more quickly, apply DPS more quickly, and change targets much more quickly.  This makes running Logistics in an incursion site far more difficult than it used to be.  This is particularly true if the fleet leadership isn't top notch about managing incursion rat aggression.  It's much easier for an HQ site to spiral out of the FC's control, for instance, and is going to make HQ FC training that much more important.  I expect we're going to see more lost ships out of this change, which isn't bad, per se.  But it's going to tend to be the less tanky Logistics ships which are lost (or who simply refuse to X up for fleets), which is going to make things slightly more difficult for everyone.

And I think that's it for now.  I don't intend to get back into incursions full time -- I'm having far too much fun in Rote -- but it was nice to spend a few days doing them to see how the landscape has changed since last year.  My incursion guides continue to be more or less up to date, though I might tweak them here and there to account for the site changes.

Have fun out there!

Take it or leave it

I apologize in advance, but this post is pretty long.  It covers a lot of ground, but I think it's important ground.

Back in August, I wrote a post that was mostly unrelated to EVE called "Found money".  In it, I examined the case of the makers versus the publishers of the Extra Credits videos.  The people involved had suddenly and unexpectedly come into a windfall of some $100,000 U.S.  The money was donated by incredibly generous viewers of the video series that wanted to do some good for the people who made those videos.  What happened instead was the makers (on one side) and the publishers (on the other) started squabbling -- in public -- over the money.  At the time, I wrote:
Yeah, everyone involved in this looks really really bad.

In real life, I've seen this situation play out at least a dozen times.  Large amounts of found money never ever brings out the good in people.  Money can't buy happiness, they say, but I'll tell you what it can buy: acrimony, distrust, and until-that-moment repressed hurt feelings.
We're seeing this situation play out again with the drama regarding the EVE is Easy website(s).

Now, don't get me wrong.  I'm a firm supporter of capitalism.  In particular, I don't pirate software or other media.  I believe artists should be paid for their work.  And in general, I think the products and services potentially being sold by EVE is Easy are worth selling.  I've watched every one of the publicly available videos at this point.  Some of the videos are mediocre or just flat-out bad (I'm looking at you, Scouting video).  But the majority of them are good, and some are quite good, notably the various solo PvP videos.  Even more valuable is the one-on-one instruction that was offered to subscribers through the EIE forums and through roams and the like with the contributors.  Those present the opportunity to make those that subscribe to this service markedly better EVE players, and I'm all for that.

But speaking from a capitalist perspective, there were many mistakes made in how this service was launched and sold.  EVE News 24 published a fine article about the drama, calling the article "Greed is easy" and "Hostile take-over".  Both concepts are worth discussing.  I suggest you read the full article, including the chat logs, to get a solid perspective on this issue.  It's worth your time.

When you're going to sell a service, it's imperative that you price the service appropriately.  This is particularly true if you're going to sell a media subscription service.  EIE clearly failed here, rather spectacularly.  And they failed on two fronts.  First, they were not up front and honest from the very beginning that they intended the service to be a subscription service.  Ironically, this is no different from CCP's own late-stage experimentation with micro-transactions within EVE.  Second, they ridiculously laughably overpriced their service at $19 U.S. per month or $200 U.S. "lifetime".  This exceeds the price of the game itself!

It's pretty clear from the leaked conversations that the fault for the first lies with all of the EIE developers and the fault for the second lies with Abaddon21.  The EIE developers were looking to build a comparable website to Skill-Capped for World of Warcraft, and that's fine.  But I'll point out that that website costs members between $4.15 and $4.95 U.S. per month, not $19 U.S.  That's substantially less cost for substantially more content than EIE.

The EIE developers got greedy, and they're paying for it.  That's no different from pricing a monocle at 12000 AUR.

Let's talk about Abaddon21's "hard-earned business experience."  I've been in business for more than 20 years, and I can tell you flat-out his business skills are crap and his negotiating skills are worse.  Abaddon21's greed is ample proof of the first.  Avarice is a sin in business just as much or more than it is in real life.  The business-people among my readers know what I'm talking about so I won't belabor that point.  Even worse, the business plan for EIE was clearly built around numbers that were essentially pulled out of Abaddon21's nether regions with no basis in research or fact.  It would have been the simplest thing in the world to take the large farm of e-mail addresses that were gathered in the first phase of the launch, and use this (obviously interested) group as a research base to ask them questions like "How much would you pay for these kinds of services?"  From what I can see, this wasn't done.

Abaddon21 initially signed his closing statement at eveiseasy.com with his character name.  He's since removed it, obviously trying to distance himself from this disaster and I don't blame him.  He didn't do his initial homework, and he didn't put the continuing work into research and marketing, and it shows.

But as bad as his greed was, his negotiating is worse.  This is where the "hostile take over" part comes in.  Two examples will serve here.   While arguing that he should be paid now now now, Abaddon21 said this:
[17/04/2012 17:12:44] Abbadon21: you wil never know what ccp can do
[17/04/2012 17:13:07] Abbadon21: most likely if they do anything it will be in about 2 to 3 months after they have had lawyers mess with it
[17/04/2012 17:13:29] Abbadon21: then should they want to spend the money to do it, it will only be a cease and desist order
[17/04/2012 17:13:42] Abbadon21: a scary piece of paper that means nothing
[17/04/2012 17:14:31] Abbadon21: then should try to take it to court they will have to do take a year or more to get through that and the end result would be a take down order
This is so ridiculous that I'm having a hard time expressing how ridiculous it is.  Let's handle it the easy way: EIE was and still is under existential threat.  CCP can end EIE at any time and all it would take to do it is a twitch of their collective wrist: they can just ban everyone involved from EVE for violations of the EULA!  How many EIE videos will be made after that?  How many EIE roams will happen after that?  How successful is EIE going to be if every time a new video is made, the account creating a kill-mail in the video is banned?  The EULA is pretty clear that cases involving it -- if applicable -- get tried in Icelandic courts under Icelandic law.  "You hereby expressly waive and agree not to raise any and all objections based on personal jurisdiction, venue and/or inconvenience of such forum and agree to the jurisdiction of the District Court of ReykjavĂ­k, Iceland."  So sayeth the EULA.

EIE seems to have made just about enough money to fly one person to Iceland once.

And that assumes that every single customer of EIE(1) doesn't instantly demand a refund the moment everyone involved in the production of the website finds themselves banned from the game.  EIE is providing a service, access to EVE is a critical component of that service, and they cannot negotiate with CCP on any basis that allows a threat to that access.  They simply cannot take a hard line with CCP.  If they do so and lose access to the game, their business ends.  That's what "existential threat" means.  Abaddon21 says later in the log that they should only have enough liquid capital on hand to provide two to three refunds.  I think you can see now that that's laughable.  Businesses live or die on their liquid capital.  If you don't have it, your business dies.

But as a demonstration of really bad negotiating, that position of Abaddon21 pales next to this one:
[00:19:41] Abbadon21: Last chance is to buy me out, beyone that I don’t want any part of this
[00:20:59] Abbadon21: I'm done thinking... creating new mail and shut down page now
Ultimatums have exactly one place in negotiations: when you have all the power in a relationship.  When the U.S. and its allies demanded the immediate withdrawal of Iraqi troops from Kuwait in 1990, that was an appropriate ultimatum.  If your spouse finds proof you're having an affair and demands you end it under threat of divorce, that's an appropriate ultimatum.  If a business finds its trademarks are being violated and demand that it stop, that's an appropriate ultimatum.

If you do not have all the power in a relationship, an ultimatum has one of two alternate definitions: "extortion" or "failure".  I'll leave for you to judge under which category Abaddon21's ultimatum falls.

If you say "take it or leave it", you can be pretty sure that 80% of the time, the other party is going to "leave it".  The other 20% of the time, you can rest assured they're going to take it only because forced, they're going to be extremely resentful, and they're going to spend a lot of time looking for a way to get back at you.

Enough about Abaddon21.  Let's talk Garmon and the other EIE principals.

Garmon, Duncan Tanner, and the others involved in EIE come out of this looking better than Abaddon21.  But that doesn't mean they come out looking good.  The logs paint a picture of a group that was manipulated by and let themselves be swayed by Abaddon21's avarice and unrealistic predictions.  That's no way to start a business.  The subscribe page at the "re-launch" EIE site is down and it seems pretty clear they're going to rethink their whole strategy, particularly since they're still under existential threat from CCP.

What they're not doing, though, is they're not being openly communicative about their goals and plans.  They're also not being open and honest about what's happened to this point.  Let's be clear: this is a mistake.  Instead of fighting the story, Garmon and company should be guiding it.  In particular, I'm sure that Lost in EVE, EVE Radio, or some other podcast would love to talk to them about this.  That's something that they should do, right away.  At the very least, there should be some kind of statement on the front page of their website giving their position on all of this.  There isn't.  That's also a mistake.  They need to get in front of this and try to take control of the narrative.  Because right now, the narrative has control of them.  End of speech.

Finally, why is this worth writing about at this length?  My typical blog post runs 900 words.  Why does this topic get double that?

This is an extremely important topic for EVE's future.  Sure, EVE has a lot of fan and hobbyist sites.  You're reading this on one of them.  But to this point, none of them have been commercial.  A few succeed in earning ISK for their efforts, but to date, nobody's tried to make RL money.  The first true attempt at a commercial EVE application or website was -- as far as I know, anyway -- the Capsuleer application for the iPhone.  It failed primarily on the fact that CCP didn't want to negotiate commercial licenses for EVE supporting products and websites.

This isn't a position that CCP has the luxury of taking forever.

If DUST 514 succeeds, they're going to be introduced to the larger gaming industry.  Skill-Capped works because Blizzard really doesn't have any way of stopping it.  They can't introduce an existential threat because there are so many WoW accounts and so many ways to hide from the ban hammer.  They have little choice but to accept that commercial support products are going to appear and try to channel the direction that they go.  One way was to jump in front of such commercial applications by trying to subvert the market themselves with their Mobile Armory application.

CCP is clearly going in this direction with their Dust 514: Neocom application.  So this problem is definitely on their collective minds.

So, whether EIE succeeds or fails, this sort of thing is in EVE's future.  EIE might succeed.  It might fail.  But it's only the first attempt.  CCP doesn't have the option to take it or leave it.  ;-)


(1) From the leaked conversation, this seems to be 30 or so "lifetime" subscribers and 80 or so monthly subscribers.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Goons will be Goons

So thanks to a "leak" to EN24 today, we've got a lot more details on what's going on with Burn Jita on Friday.  Let's start with the basics:

Everybody dies.

If you jump into Jita when Burn Jita begins, you're going to be shot at.  It's as simple as that.  Nobody cares if you're war-dec'ed.  Nobody cares if you're in a pod, frigate, battle cruiser, cloaky hauler, or freighter.  You're going to be shot at, and you're probably going to explode.  So my prediction last month on what I thought "burn Jita to the ground" meant turns out to be dead-on.  Let's go to the exact quotes:
TORNADO FLEETS: These will be ganking freighters which are full of goods, not just any freighter. Cargo scan them, find the biggest targets, and pop them.

THRASHER FLEETS: It takes 220 Thrashers to kill a freighter. We are not using Thrashers as anti-freighter targets; we are using them to sow completely random terror. Two Thrashers can alpha most T2 frigates. Ten or more can pop industrials of almost any kind with ease. While the Tornado fleets interdict freighters, Thrasher gangs of almost any size – from one angry goon podding anyone dumb enough to expose a pod in Jita, to 30+ taking out Noctii – will run through Jita ensuring that everyone gets to feel the love.
The "standard" Tornado fleet looks like it's going to be 25 ships, according to the leak.  Rest assured that that's sufficient to pop any freighter in a single volley regardless of fleet boosts.  So CONCORD is irrelevant and you shouldn't count on them.  You may -- and I emphasize that, may -- be safe if you jump an empty freighter into Jita, but that's it.  And you're only safe in that instance because there's only going to be enough Tornadoes to do a hundred or so freighters total.  And if someone forgets to cargo scan you, you might not be safe even then.  ;-)

I was right -- well, mostly right, anyway -- about one other thing as well:
We told everyone that we'll be attacking Saturday, April 28th; this is a lie.  We actually attack one day early, on Friday, when the producers scramble to try to re-stock their supply at the last moment while it is still 'safe'.  ...  The Sack lasts from Friday to Sunday.  The goal is indiscriminate terror leading to profitable chaos on the markets.  Immediately after the Sack, Hulkageddon – sponsored in large part by our Tech isk – begins.
So anyone who was hoping for one day or a few hours of chaos might want to rethink.  In particular, the leak mentions that there are 14000 Thrashers on stand-by.  That many Thrashers can do a lot of damage, and presumably, there will still be other null-sec organizations joining in the "Sack" as well.  Two step commented on my blog that he didn't think Jita would get too crowded with wrecks and lost drones because people would busily salvage them and scoop the drones.  I wryly pointed out that anyone who does that is only likely to make themselves a victim in the process.  So if you do choose to go in with looting on your mind, best be quick and agile about it.

The funny part about all of this is that I'm still convinced that this is going to come as a huge shock to most EVE players.  As I've said before, if you're reading this, you are well-read, well-informed... and in the minority.

If you're curious what role I'm going to play in all of this, the unfortunate answer is "not much of one."  I learned about a family situation last night that will probably send me out of town this weekend, so I might miss most or all of the fun.

While Burn Jita will be amusing, the most interesting thing of all in the leak has nothing to do with Jita:
OTEC – the Organization of Technetium Exporting Corporations – is here to regulate galactic technetium supply and ensure stable pricing so everyone in the market can benefit. Just like with the real world's OPEC, 'Everyone' in this case means 'us' and 'benefit' means 'ahahaha fuck you scrubs'. With discussion of 'ring mining' being a method of nerfing tech income, most of the organizations in nullsec that have tech moons are interested in jacking the prices as high as the market will bear, with twin benefits: making us (CFC/NCdot/Ev0ke/PL) comically wealthy at the expense of literally everyone else in the game, and making literally everyone else in the game howl in a rage about it.
I covered technetium and what it's used for at length a couple of months ago.  But the topic of a technetium cartel is something that should be examined in the light of the bigger picture, so watch for another post about that in a day or two.

Finally, I found the last part of the leak extremely entertaining and enlightening.  GSF is creating an internal group specifically with the intent of hunting down and killing "enemies of Carlotta":
The purpose of the Death Squad is to hunt down and punish every bleating pubbie who has felt that they could hide behind Concord and speak out against us without fear. In nullsec we have fought wars of extermination over seemingly innocuous offenses (such as Tetsujin's sig)‚ yet human garbage like Jade Constantine and Issler Dainze reside securely, squatting in their empire shitholes, squawking about Goonswarm with no risk. No more.
If anything in the leak shows off what Goons might be capable of now that their leader is unshackled from the CSM, this is it.  Say something nasty about Goons?  Prepare to lose a ship and most likely a clone as well.  I'm honestly surprised GSF didn't have something like this before.

So, a rather fun-filled little leak!  Fly safe out there, kids.  ;-)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Quote of the Week: Knee Jerk

So, here we are at the beginning of the most important week for EVE so far in 2012.  And as promised, let's open it with a quote from CCP Guard:
We're not preparing any knee-jerk reactions.  We know that people probably are going to lose their ships, and I mean that's harsh and all that, but that's what the game is all about.  There are ways to protect yourself.
As I said, it's an important week for New Eden.  It's going to begin with the release of Escalation to Inferno tomorrow night.  That will remove all drone alloy minerals from the game, and the bulk of missioning minerals too.  It ends with "Burn Jita" on the 28th (probably extending into the 29th) and then, Hulkageddon V.  The quote is Guard talking about this week's "Burn Jita" event to Lost in EVE.

But honestly, he could be talking about EVE Online in general, couldn't he?

Those of you who were worried that CCP would take some kind of hasty action can relax.  Those of you who were worried that CCP might even move to try to prevent Burn Jita can relax even more.  But those of you who have been agitating for CCP to do something to prevent it... sorry, no.  Ain't gonna happen.  CCP Guard was asked and didn't know what CCP's plans would be if 5000 people try to jump into Jita this weekend.  Certainly Time Dilation will get its greatest test.  But he seemed fairly confident that the right people within CCP were aware of what was coming and would be prepared for it.

CCP isn't the only one getting preparations ready for Burn Jita, of course.  There have been (possibly trolly) rumors that Moar Tears and Noir. might jump into Jita on the "kill all the Goons" side.  Certainly, there are alliances contemplating a war dec against Goonswarm Federation so they can get a lot of cheap kills come the weekend.  Look for these war-decs to start hitting later in the week.  And as those war-decs hit and potential counter war-decs are set up in return, we could all be in for an exciting weekend.  ;-)

The Singularity test server has a number of "Free For All" areas devoted to various ship classes.  One is an open FFA area where anything can warp in and almost any tactics can be used.  And on a busy day on Sisi, that area can quickly become swamped with wrecks and the abandoned drones of the fallen or warped off.  It's a good bet that Jita's going to look a lot like a Sisi FFA in a few days...

In the meantime, we've got the Escalation to Inferno and its associated reworking of incursion sites, the loss of half or more of the game's sources of minerals, CCP has to respond to the "EVE is Easy" situation (more about that tomorrow, most likely), and... oh yeah... there's supposed to be more access to DUST 514 at some point in the next seven days.

So... yeah.  It promises to be a busy week.  It'll be interesting to see which of these events the gaming press chooses to focus on.