January 30, 2013

Warren Buffett: AFK Miner

“If Warren Buffett was walking down the street and saw a $100 bill lying on the ground, it wouldn’t be worth his time to bend over to pick it up.”  Have you heard that one before, or one like it with Bill Gates or a sport superstar?  It’s a great expression of how their wealth is on a scale completely unlike yours and mine, but it’s also logically wrong.  When you hear people railing about the “Minerals that I mine are free” attitude you’ll hear the same mistake again. Warren Buffett's ability to earn income will not be impeded in any way by picking up a $100 bill on the sidewalk.  His wealth is coming from deals he’s making, but mostly from investments he already has.  Tick Tick Tick, how does $15/second sound for just one such investment sound?

TL;DR: Minerals you mine aren’t free, but they are heavily discounted.  The level of discount for activities in Eve varies by the level of attention they need and the fun you have doing them.

Forum warriors and bloggers often compare mining returns to the opportunity cost of doing something more valuable.  L4 missions are often used as a benchmark due to their ubiquity and consistency.  You could have spent that time running an L4 and using that payout to buy minerals on the market, therefore that's the price of the minerals you mined. There’s a big assumption that they’re making there: that you can trade off one activity equally for another.  The difference of course is the degree of attention needed, and this really matters when it comes to those of us who have busy lives outside of Eve.

Lets consider if I’m responsible for my young kids some afternoon and I also want to play Eve while they play on their own.  What if they troop downstairs and ask for a snack.  What’s the range of impact to this:
* If I’m doing something PVP-ish then first off I’m a fool for trying to do it when I can’t devote 100% attention to Eve.  Family responsibilities come first, and just taking off the headset to hear what my daughter wants is likely to result in a dead ship.
* If I’m doing a mission that means I need to extract myself from the midst of the NPCs and warp to station or a safe or risk losing my ship while pouring the apple juice.
* If I’m mining asteroids in 0.9 sec it means that maybe one of my strip miners sits idle for a little while - though there is the risk of running into one of the New Order bumper types.
* If I’m updating market orders or sorting out an industrial planning spreadsheet while docked then there is practically no downside.

So yeah, mining with a relaxed attitude towards AFK may not be as good for me as running a level 4 mission when measured by ISK/Hr. But you know what, with the discount rate it's pretty nice indeed.

Now if you’re young, single and such then perhaps all of your Eve time can be 100% attention time.  But even in that group what I hear from people isn’t that way - how many sit around gabbing in channels, pausing to grab a drink, singing along to Gate Camp Strut.

So much of Eve comes back to “play it your own way.”  If you think about every moment that you could be earning ISK, could be bending over to pick up that $100 bill then I’m guessing most of you will burn out on Eve.  Yes, there are exceptions whose very way to play Eve is around maximizing ISK/hour - and that’s the exception that proves the rule.  But if we let people use their way to play Eve drive our way to play Eve - for instance, through votes for CSM - then it’s only going to lead to pain.  Fortunately, the CSM minutes show that CCP understands this too.

January 25, 2013

Armor Tanking 1.5

This is one of the shorter posts I’m oh-so-creatively thinking of as “miniposts”, mostly I get my thoughts down and out rather than having them languish as drafts.

So may have noticed the thread on armor tanking proposals, perhaps thanks to the link from Jester’s Trek.  You are reading Jester’s Trek, right?  If not, stop reading this and go read that for a few hours.  In a later post, CCP Fozzie mentioned that this was going up on SiSi any day now - it was supposed to be today but they had some problems.  Once again this reinforces that I need to set up for SiSi, huh?  But what it really does is make me go back and review my plan.

Change in Plans?
Once I’m back skilling Jakob I had planned to get CovOps skills up and launch into the skills needed for shield tanked ships.  That was then to support the posted requirements I’d seen from various WH corps that prospective applicants should be able to fly shield-tanked ships for running anoms.

The real difference of course is what races I want to try next.  I can get to Amarr faster since I already have strong turret support skills, and Amarr’s second weapon is drones (which I have decent skills at).  And LAZORS!1!  Alternatively I go into the hybrid Caldari (since I have no missile skills) and Minmatar (and learn projectiles).  As a side effect I get shield-tanked Gallente variants.

Change in reputation of armor factions?
So, will the new “armor tanking 1.5” change the meta so that we’ll be seeing faster Gallente and Amarr?  Will the perception of “PVP Gallente are shield tanked Gallente” fully fade away? I’d say it already is for frigates, but it sounds like for cruisers are up if you’re going PVP then you’re probably shield-tanked with some exceptions (triple-rep Myrm bait ships, for instance).

What will this mean for FW?
I had considered trying out FW again, and since the Gallente/Caldari FW sounds pretty dead the idea for joining Amarr is interesting (though I’d have to up my Amarr standings to get them positive I think).  But if Amarr and Gallente are getting boosts like this, and they already are winning their zones, will this be crushing to Caldari and Minmatar morale?  Even if the change is more even handed than OP, certainly lots of people may jump in just to try out the new meta.

What will this mean for industry?
Should my alt start churning out T2 armor repairers, related rigs, or even try Amarr and Gallente hulls?  Of course, far bigger producers than I are already doing that even as I write this.

You got to give it to CCP Fozzie.  If nothing else he’s going to generate a lot of interest in yet more hulls, and those hulls will be out there getting blown up.

January 24, 2013

How many accounts? How does 90 sound?

quote: CSM Winter 2012 Summit Minutes (pg 110)
UAxDEATH suggested a tangible benefit for players with multiple accounts would be discounts on subscription costs. He mentioned that at one time he had 90 accounts, but since becoming a CSM he has cut back to only 37, and asked “what would inspire me to [reactivate] those accounts?"

Seriously, WTF?  I can’t picture why someone would have 37 accounts, much less 90 accounts.  So let me muse outloud here about factors to do with multiple accounts:

Multiboxing: Field your own fleet, as long as you’re not doing something that requires too much attention.  Cloaky scout + Attacker + Logi (plus additional Attacker if you can stand it) seems like about the limit.  I’ve heard of quad boxing like that, and people doing solo mining fleets (which pretty much points glaringly to the known problem of mining is boring).  But is anyone really going to be running more than let’s say 16 accounts in multiboxing without crossing over into botting?

Specialized Alts: Moving away from the simultaneous usage, you have specialized usage.  Most common is probably an industrialist: a manufacturer and/or a researcher.  This character you’d log in just to pile in more jobs.  Similar is a trading alt whose job it is to sit in a trade hub and move orders around.  Maybe a hauling alt sitting in an NPC corporation.  But all of these characters can sit in the extra two character slots per account.  So when UAxDEATH says he had 90 accounts - that means he could have had 270 characters - that seems more than anyone can log in and swap out jobs with.  But seriously - are there 90 different specializations that you’d really want to have handy?  Do you need a left-handed shield logi pilot in case you don’t feel like flying your right-handed logi pilot?

Paying for them: Was UAxDEATH sitting on such a personal Tech moon worth of passive-ISK that he was generating any appreciable portion of those accounts in PLEX?  Is Gevlon Goblin a small-bit player compared to what UAxDEATH was running? Or was he really shelling out something north of US$1000 every month to feed a meglomanical EVE addiction?

Keeping up with them:  What effort does it take to keep skill queues going for 90 accounts?  Even if they’re all averaging a 10 day run for skills (you can’t only train Vs nonstop) that still means logging in and out of 9 accounts every day just to set your next skill up, not counting the time to actually plan all that in EveMon.

So I can’t help thinking - did UAxDEATH accidentally give away that he was involved in botting?

What would inspire him to go back up to 90 accounts? Seriously? A complete lack of sanity (and a life), perhaps? What am I missing here that makes this make sense?

January 19, 2013

Expensive lessons

Every night in Eve someone makes a mistake a loses something important to them.  Given the population of Eve, probably a lot of someones.  I recently contributed to that statistic with a big loss on Monday followed by a bigger loss on Tuesday.  Both come from working to fulfill my planned checklist item of "Run L4 missions for ISK to do other things."

Monday - Smash the Supplier, not the Megathron

Before Monday night I've done a couple L4s in my new Megathron and I had started to get a feel for it.  When I logged in Monday night I saw a corpmate on with whom I'd discussed running L4s.  He flies a Drake and has good Caldari standings, but the other players in our corp are more Gallente based, so I thought getting him up on standings with the Federation Navy could be useful.  And I'd heard that small teams could run through L4s a lot faster, even if not enough to be a net ISK win over soloing - but it might be more fun to be able to chat as we do it.

The mission my agent in Dodixie offered up was Smash the Supplier.  From the comments it looked tough, but we were going to have two ships, right?  So we both tailored up our fits, hit the Accept button and fleet-warped us to the acceleration gate.  The Drake concentrated on taking out the frigates and I leveled my 425mm rails on the control tower and started pumping Federation Navy Antimatter into it.  Things were going well.  I was taking pretty much all the aggro, but even with the three-damage-type application of the mission my trio of T2 active hardeners (EM, Thermal, Kinetic) plus Shift Hardener were keeping my resists in the high 80s.  I was cycling my LAR since it kept banging 100% and it takes a lot of cap.  Then the rats started targeting my drones, so I started having to micromanage them to pull them back when they started getting smacked. Suddenly I hear the warning squeal and saw my armor was at 30% and dropping.  I hit the LAR, but that's a long cycle and the rep only comes at the end.  I stared at the display as the little white arc raced towards life-giving armor as the red arc grew in the opposite direction.  Then bam - I was out in my pod.

What happened?
I think a couple of things happened.  I had turned off the LAR since I was at 100%.  I had then turned my attention to rescuing Hammerhead IIs and redirecting them back to the drone bay.  Launch new drone, send it to the old target.  I looked up at the control tower and saw I had it into armor.  I think about that time the front wave of rats also must have gotten into their optimal, because it felt like the incoming rate of damage leapt up - or perhaps I didn't have all the aggro and some rats shifted from the Drake to me.  That combination meant that the difference between 30% and 0% structure was less than one LAR cycle.

What could I have done differently?
Firstly, once that alarm squealed could I have done something different?  I was aligned out, but I didn't think to hit warp.  I think the time to reselect the target gate, hit the button, and get out is probably longer than a LAR cycle.  However, I had the AB running.  Could I have turned off the AB and thus jumped to speed since I was already aligned?  Maybe.

Second, what could I have done before the alarm to avoid the problem?  I think the key is that if you have full aggro then you have to be hyper aware of your tank.  I probably tried to do three things between glances at the armor level.  You probably have to just constantly be looking at your tank if you are pulsing your defenses.  This is a big difference between active and passive tanking of course.

Third, could I have fit better?  The kill doesn't appear to be on the killboards for some reason (even those with my API logged), so I can't link it right now.  I'll edit it back in if I can find it.  But I think it was decent enough given my skills - as I mentioned I had a T2 active hardener for each of the damage types dealt in the mission, plus a shift hardener.  I may have had an EM membrane as we to shore that up, the LAR, two magstabs.  425mms, heavy nos for cap support, and meta AB.

Between insurance, my balance, and some ISK from a corpmate I fit out a new Megathron and raced back out to the mission, joined by a third member of our corp, and we finished off the mission.  It's a good payout mission - I think our individual share was 16M or the like, which is a lot compared to what I'm used to being able to earn.  Of course, it doesn't make up for losing a ship that was probably 250M fit.

Tuesday - The Ninja Salvager

Tuesday I logged back in ready to try to recoup my losses.  My wife and I had opened up a bottle of red to go with supper, but after a glass and a half she told me just to finish the bottle.  She turned on the old-school Nintendo (Zelda) and I refilled my glass, put the bottle by the monitor and logged in to Eve.

I picked up a mission in Dodixie and started plowing through it with no problems at all.  Soon the rats were dead and the Salvager drones were set loose as I AB'd from wreck to container picking up loot.  Then to my surprise there was a new ship on screen - an Incursus that nosed up to a wreck of mine. Sure enough his icon on the overview switch to having the blinky skull of a suspect tag. Here's where the mistakes begin - I targeted him. He's pretty far off, and I let sit there targeted. I hadn't had reason to notice before that the suspect tag now also shows in the targeted ship display - nice touch.  I let him sit there under the gun as it were, and a second later he warps off. Satisfied I return to my looting.

Then he's back again. Hmm. Again he nestles up to a wreck and I target him. This time he doesn't warp off. My heart starts thumping cause I'm going through my options. Sadly ignoring him isn't really on my mind. Instead my recent experience in frig fights is more coming to mind, never mind that I'm in a battleship and one I can't afford to lose. I align to a gate - thinking I can blast him in a hurry at this range - an active tank Incursus can't really stand up to massive damage as I we'll know. He's far away (I seem to remember), and I've got a heavy nos and web if he closes, plus Hammerhead IIs and Hob IIs when he's probably expecting me to have Ogres or Gardes. I hit the button. 

His shields vaporize and he's into armor, but he rushes at me. My align- warp plan forgotten I put out the hammerheads on him. Before I realize it he's in nos range so I throw that on him, then the web and shit he's under my guns and the 425s aren't landing. That was fast, and of course the scram icon appears. He's doing nothing to my shields though, so surely the nos and drones will break him off soon right? Oh crap, where did my Hammerheads go? Launch the Hobgoblins!

That's about when the Oneiros drops in next to the Incursus and I realize that any chance of chasing him off is gone.  I'm heading away from him at full AB, and I'm guessing that my only hope is that the Nos gets through his cap long enough for the scram to drop.  I make sure I'm aligned and am ready to go.  The 425s are doing nothing to the Incursus so I switch over to the Oneiros which is still nosing a bit at range, hoping I can surprise whatever local tank he has.  That doesn't seem to help but just to reinforce it another Oneiros drops in which the first closes in.  Okay - all my drones are gone, but there's no way that the Incursus and the Oneiroses (Oneirii?) can get through my tank.  Will they get bored?  The answer comes as one of the Oneiroses slaps a scram on me and the Incursus warps off, the pilot then returning in a Hurricane.  Okay, so that can break my tank.

Time to open negotiations.  I try to keep things light, put right up from that it's part of Eve, all that.  He seems business-like enough about it, no taunts or threats about it - having my Mega sitting there in structure is clearly threat enough.  What it will take to save my ship is posted as "75M and a shuttle kill."  Hmm, "shuttle kill" - I haven't heard that one before.  I go to my wallet.  Crap, after refitting this second Mega I don't even have 75M.  We agree on 40M and a Navy Vexor BPC I have from my time in FW.  "Okay, eject and go get the shuttle."  Oooh, now I see some possibilities of how this shuttle thing could go - I have to leave the Mega behind, but then the alternative is to have it blown out from under me.  I eject and head for Dodixie to get a shuttle.  As soon as I come back through the acceleration gate the shuttle is scrammed and webbed.  "Ok, now take the ammo from that container."  He's not taking any chances that my limited engagement to him will lapse.  The shuttle vaporizes, and the scram and web drops near instantly on my pod.  "I hope you have you clone updated", he says.  Boom, in station.  Crap - in station all the way back where I established a clone for FrigFest, and I still have a suspect tag, so I have to chill for a while.  While not honoring his ransom was a real bummer, he does do one nice thing - I ask him to take the trigger goods from the mission and contract them back to me in Dodixie - after all they have no good value to him and he does - so at least I don't have to abandon the mission and lose standing.

What could I have done differently?
Well, the obvious one is to ignore the ninja salvager.  Yeah, he might score one of the 1.5M admiral tags.  But if I'm going to start a fight I have to be ready to lose the ship, and I was in no place to lose this ship.  If actually did want to start that fight I probably needed to be sure that I had backup - none of my corpmates were online.  If someone had been there and willing to jump in with a PVP fit destroyer, maybe.  But what would be the benefit (other than the satisfaction of blowing up the ninja)?  I had a fragment of a plan in aligning away from him, but like my earlier lesson I have to remember that a BS does not align and warp like a frigate.  It might have taken too long to get to warp even if I had started the engagement at 110km or so to take advantage of my ranged big guns.  Then the smaller lesson I missed was that once again I didn't overheat - Nos or Web or AB might have made a difference.  I think overheating is something that just doesn't occur to you unless you do a lot of PVP.  I may start overheating even in missions just to get into the habit, despite the repair bills.

Oh, then there is the bottle of wine I had finished off before the ninja arrived.  Maybe drinking and flying your most expensive, can't lose it, ship isn't such a good idea.  I could have done industrial stuff on my alt or even roamed around for a fight in a disposable frigate instead.

So what next?

I no longer have a ship capable of doing L4 security missions, nor the money to procure one, and I have no desire to borrow ISK from friends to make up for this double mistake.  I've mulled over the idea of buying PLEX but put that aside at least for now.  In the conversation with my ninja ransomer did later badmouth grinding missions, so I asked him where he got ISK (other than ransoms).  He didn't answer that question, but he recommended lowsec exploration and doing more thinking "out of the box."

I'm going to check how far I am from a storyline mission.  I may do a couple L4 distribtutions to clear that if I'm close - I think I should be.  Then I think it'll be exploration - highsec for now while I get better at scanning.  After I lost my pod (and all my implants) I switch my training over to my alt, and it will stay there until I can afford to put decent learning implants in.  I had a single +4 implant in storage, so if I can get another to match either my current remap or a pair for my next remap then I'll switch back.  Essentially I'll move to the next checklist item a bit ahead of schedule (and with substantially less capital).

So it's frustrating, but I can track both losses back to my own mistakes.  As such I hope that I can avoid those again in the future.  I'd prefer to move on to new mistakes...

January 9, 2013

Rebalancing leaving you ship hurt?

So you may have heard about the new battlecruiser rebalancing that has been proposed.  There are posts about it on Eve Altruist, Jester’s Trek, Noisy Gamer, and probably lots more.  There is a massive threadnaught on the Eve Online forums of course.

TL;DR version of my opinion: Too many people think of their ship like a WOW character class, when in reality they can easily cross-train (and in the cases of most bittervets, already have).  As a result the tears and whines are really overstated.  If people free themselves from the “I am my ship” self-image they may well find even more to love about the game.

Since when I’m PVE-ing I am currently a Gallente Battlecruiser pilot my first reaction is “Woo Brutix low slot!”  I hear Jester’s point that making all of the ships have an equal number of slots seems a bit arbitrary - though it does seem like a pretty good starting point.  I could how people might consider a massive drone bay to be as good as another slot.  And does it make sense that ships that fire cap-less weapons have as much capacitor as those which are capacitor thirsty?  But how do you balance something as complicated as a Eve warship, anyway?  (This post is getting long enough that I think that will have to be a separate post)

We’re probably all used to the metaphor that ships are like character classes in other MMOs.  In your typical fantasy MMO designers balance off five or six character classes, with the additional twist of a handful of races.  Let’s call the modules similar to powers: are you going to punch the button that fires the 425mm Railgun or the Divine Fireball?  You can’t compare levels to ship classes, as you won’t ever see a level 2 fighter doing anything worth mentioning to impede a level 20 fighter: they might as well be in different worlds.  But a fast tackler frigate may be exactly what brings down a battleship in Eve.  So what CCP Fozzie and team is facing is pretty monumental compared to what his peers in WoW or GW2 have to look at.  On the other side is that players can pretty smoothly move from ship to ship if they get nerfed, unlike in your typical MMO where your character is fundamentally and irretrievably their class.

I think this attitude is carrying over to Eve players, as much as they want to think of themselves as very different from WOW players.  Too many think of their characters as being “the PVP Hurricane pilot” or the “the Nyx pilot.”  They lock themselves into a class like they were in WOW, even when so many have multiple races and weapon systems trained to V.

If anything, I ought to be ones of the most concerned about changes.  I’m a new pilot only trained on Gallente ships, hybrid guns, and drones.  If the new Meta shifted strongly away from Gallente then I’d have a training slog to get there.  But I’m not even a year old year and I’m already heading in that direction anyway.  CCP Fozzie is clearly communicating his ideas now for something that we probably won’t see until late Summer.  By that time even I could pick another faction - as an example let's just hypothetically say that the new Meta was going to make Gallente suck and Minmatar rule (again).  Looking at NeoCom I see that I’m only 18 days away from having the skills to fit and use 720mm Autocannon IIs plus another 19 days to get up to Minmatar Cruiser V.  I have minimal shield skills now (as I discussed in my 2013 plan) but that’s only another 17 days.  So I could do that multiple times over between now and Summer if I was really worried about rebalancing.  It does assume that you’ve already done the faction skill prep that CCP has warned already about - which everyone paying attention has already done, right?

I get that the skill queues are worse as you go up - I’ve got a long slog in front of me for Battleship level skills which I’ll probably put off in favor of more flexibility.  If you have a character you spun up to fly a Titan of one faction then if that Titan was nerfed compared to others then it might be truly painful.  But I also don't have as much sympathy for the people who have so much ISK and longevity in game that they're using PLEX to keep four concurrent accounts maxed to twelve pilots that specialize in all sorts of arcane things.  You built yourself into that corner.

I don’t buy any argument for financial strain either. I've heard newbs get advice that they aren't serious players until they have a billion ISK in cash, but here we have people complaining that their favorite 50M ISK hull might need swapping.  I can understand that when Hurricane and Drake were clearly overpowered compared to other BCs many people did nothing but those two, but you can afford to try something new if it means that now we'll have eight worthwhile BCs.  The success of Retribution's frigates and cruiser rebalancing prove this is the right move for Eve.

January 8, 2013

Plan Changes - lousy Heavy Drones

Well, that was quick.  Time to change the 2013 plan already.  I had somehow misread that operating Ogre IIs would only require Heavy Drones IV, rather than Heavy Drones V.  The extra 20 days of waiting on the skill don't sound like a great idea right now, particularly since my plan already was just to get to a level good enough to run L4 missions.  Since I'm planning on doing that in a Megathron, the Ogre IIs won't be as critical as they would be if my plan was more towards Dominix.  I won't be ignoring drones of course.  Improving Combat Drone Ops and Gallente Drone Specialization will still be on the plan.  I expect my drone loadout for the Megathron will more likely be a flight of Hammerhead II medium drones for keeping off the frigates and cruisers while the Mega's large railguns pound off things at range.

So that could mean I'll be moving toward CovOps V all the faster and the extra effectiveness in exploration that should mean.  I also will be reassessing after I do run some L4s to see whether I should add the skills for a Noctis to the plan.  I can get ORE Industrial V and boost my salvaging skill in the time it would take me to get that Heavy Drones V.  Though with the effectiveness of Salvaging Drones I do wonder if Noctis fits are going to move towards even more tractors and even fewer Salvagers.  Just pull the wrecks near and let the drones handle them while the pilot sorts out the loot in the containers thus produced.

January 6, 2013

FrigFest After Action Report

I joined 200+ people in getting out for the FrigFest sponsored by the Tuskers.  First off big kudos to the Tuskers and friends for all of the work necessary to make that happen.  Thousands of frigates were moved into place, both including the station containers full that some of us had shipped as well as all of the free stuff they had available for people to get and fight with.  It was a blast.  I hope there will be another one and that even more people can make it.

Three Lessons Learned

The dual-rep Incursus is a beast.  You probably already knew that.  Here’s my killboard and here’s what I was flying most of the time.

[Incursus, FrigFest Incursus]
Damage Control II
Small Armor Repairer II
Small Armor Repairer II
Adaptive Nano Plating II

1MN Afterburner II
J5b Phased Prototype Warp Scrambler I
Small Capacitor Booster II,Navy Cap Booster 100

Light Neutron Blaster II,Null S
Light Neutron Blaster II,Null S
Light Neutron Blaster II,Null S

Small Anti-Explosive Pump I
Small Auxiliary Nano Pump I
Small Nanobot Accelerator I

The ammo I was using actually swapped between Void, Null, Faction Antimatter, and either Lead or Thorium.

Lesson 1 - Moar Cap Boosters!
So this was a brawler meant to rep all comers and it did.  The first couple times I died it was because I ran out of Cap Boosters - I think the first time I mistakenly undocked with only the 5 in the booster, then I upped it to having 10 spares, then to having 20 spares in cargo.  The only way I was dying was when I was mismanaging my boosters or ran out of them, or when I had multiple simultaneous attackers.  You can see on my killmails that my ship theoretically has about 3200ehp but I was generally taking 7200 - 7900 damage before dying.

Lesson 2 - Can’t kill what you can’t catch
You’ll see a Condor on a couple of my lossmails.  I was able to do just shy of 1000mps with my Afterburner running, but when you have an ASB-fit MWD kiting ship running at 3000mps+ then you aren’t going to do much if you can’t put a scram on them.  I was happy with how often I was able to get away from kiters, and I found that having some Thorium or Lead ammo around allowed me to drive off or kill some of the opponents who were trying to play keep away.  Bottom line though is that if you are a brawler then you cannot expect to catch some of those ships.  Kiting is a tricky skill though, as I found when I tried to do that in my Tristan fits.

Lesson 3 - Overheat All the Things!
I kept kicking myself for not overheating.  I have Thermodynamics 3, so I don’t have any excuse there.  There were people who I might have been able to kill with overheated guns, catch with an overheated AB, or tank with an overheated repper/booster.  And in the Frigfest it was easy enough to get out of one fight, bounce off of celestial to let the criminal timer go away, then dock back up for repairs.

Non-Incursus Fun

I tried out a Tristan fit as well.  This was a real departure for me both in being a kiting ship as well as being a passive armor tank.  Not fast enough is the bottom line.  I need to up my shield skills and then try something like that again replacing the web with a shield tank, swapping over the rigs, and adding a drone damage mod in the lows.  The idea was to mob a target with the drones, and orbit fast at around 6500m where I can web, scram, and neut them.  That’s too close and it’s too slow to get transversal.  In the FFA setting, that orbit is also bound to take you near someone who’d be plenty happy to latch you down.  And plenty of non-Gallente frigates can project plenty of damage to 6500m.  The passive tank was odd for me as an active tanker, just helplessly watching my armor go away.  It does give you quite a timer though, with plenty of incentive to try to break free and warp off to station to get repaired.

So overall I’m very happy with my performance at FrigFest.  I know a lot of my opponents were those even more new to PVP than myself, but there were plenty of others out there with more renown (Tuskers, Rote Kapelle, RvBers, etc).

I should close with a disclaimer on the killboard.  It shows all the usual craziness of an Eve killboard - I’m shown as having 38 kills, which really only means that I did damage to 38 people who eventually died.  I see I’m marked as the final blow for 15 of them though, and paging through I see there are quite a few where I’m both top damage dealer and final blow.  With so much going on it wasn’t really possible to distinguish if someone was already involved in a fight when you started locking them, and with an FFA format that really wasn’t the point anyway.  Lots of people started with full shields and armor when I locked them and ended up a wreck in space, which is the satisfying part.

January 3, 2013

2013 Planning

The eveblogs are full of wrap-ups of 2012 and resolutions for 2013.  The 2012 part is easy: I started playing Eve at the end of April. What I've done bumming around as a newbie is pretty much covered in my Introductions post.  As for 2013, it's hard for me to look an entire year out in the future in Eve as I haven't really settled on a real direction yet.  I think I'm getting closer though.


The wormhole way of play seems to fit with what I’ll want - the ability to have a bit of time and do some PVE for money, or get together with people and do some PVP by exploring neighboring WHs, and the adding thrill that knowing that your PVE can rapidly turn into PVP.  You also get a sense of a home that you helped build and may need to help defend, but without the Sov-holding feel for regular CTA at weird hours that aren’t practical for working parents with busy lives.  I’ve read some WH recruiting threads and know that most will want new members to be able to fly a BS, T3 cruiser, and CovOps.  Some also specify they have to be shield tanked BS/T3.  So this is also informing my plans below.

For my main:

  • Make ISK via Level 4 missions: My primary checklist item is successfully solo running Level 4 missions in a Battleship.  Now I've already failed painfully in doing L4s with my BC.  Though I know a friend of mine has been successful in doing this in his Drake, my Myrmidon died painfully fast in the third mission I tried - causing me to abandon the mission and suffer heavily in corp and faction standings as a result.  As a result I've had my industrial alt build me a Megathron and I've started up on the skills needed.  Those are a big step up in skill ranking and a big slowdown in speed of those skills.  Gallente Battleship, Large Hybrid Turrets, and Heavy Drones all now look to be must haves to at least level 4 (I figure Ogre IIs are pretty much required but I'm not willing to shell out for T2 Sentry skill-wise).  That's 21 days of training right there, enough to take me through January with a little bit of skill time set aside for my industrial alt.  Until I can reliably do Level 4s I'll be doing Level 3s either in my limited skillset in the Megathron on in my Brutix.
  • PVP. I want to get into the habit of regularly shifting down into my combat clone and getting out there for some PVP as my wallet allows.  For January that will definitely be covered by the Frigfest, which I've already opened up my wallet for.  When February comes around I'll probably reconsider FW again, but that seems like much more of a big step since I have to leave corp and then expect to be vulnerable if I try normal missioning in the meantime.  People talk about FW being such a fountain of ISK but it seems like you really have to spend a lot of time PLEXing and not losing ships to make that work out.  I think roams on the frigate/cruiser level should work well instead - and I'll see if I can talk my corp buddies into going along.
  • Make ISK via Exploration: My friends are having fun with this so I mean to try it out more, and of course it is necessary skillset for wormholing too.  So far I haven't had much luck in my Imicus as after taking a while to scan down sites it seems they are either already cleaned out or ones I don't care about (Gas, Asteroids).  There's a lot to learn here about doing this efficiently, such as really understanding what people like Penny "Tiger Ears" means when she talks about big and small signatures and what that means for me.  Speeding up the scanning side would help with better skills to complement the Sisters gear I already shelled out for, and take 20 days to get the various Astro* skills up to 4.  Rangefinding being the long one of course, at rank 8.  That time estimate is on my current Per/Will mapping, so switching to more balanced generalist mapping will drop it a bit.
  • Bonus: Wormhole diving when my friends are up for it - I don’t think my wallet can afford the risk that will come with trying to solo wormholes in my Brutix.

For my alt:
  • My primary checklist item is trying out T2 manufacturing. I have selected an item to manufacture that I can also use myself (see also item below).  BPCs of the T1 version are made and waiting for me in a lowsec station that had a reasonable copy queue time.  I have BPOs for the tools and intermediate components.  Next is deciding which station I’ll do the actual invention runs in.  I’d rather find one not in lowsec, but I haven’t had problems yet running a fast frigate in for the research slots.
  • Build my own stuff.  Building the Megathron for my main was the biggest thing I've built yet in Eve and was a good reality check on the large amount of materials needed and the hopelessness of even partial self-supply via mining. I’ll probably continue to look at building ship hulls and major items from contract-available BPCs.  I know it may not be economically always the best choice, but there is a satisfaction in building my own stuff.  It may fade.
  • Shore up skills.  My main and alt share the same account, so when my main is shifted to combat clone I’ll shift training over to my alt and let her pick up some skillpoints.  If she is going to eventually live in a wormhole too then she’ll need scanning skills, as well as a lot more fitting skills.  For now getting the Core Competence Certificate to Basic and then the Fitting one up to Standard should be a good way to approach it.
  • Figure out better ways to handle loot.  I’ve generally tried using Eve Market Guide’s Loot/Refine calculator, but it only uses Jita for data.  I found one at Eve Industrialist that lets you select the region/rub, but it doesn’t accept my API for some reason.  Sell Meta4 and refine the rest seems to be a pretty good heuristic.

Beyond the first quarter for my main:

  • Getting into a CovOps could be a fun next step for both PVE (Exploration) and PVP (Bombing).  That's somewhere around 13 days of training for me for the CovOps and then another 18 days for the Stealth Bomber side.  I've intentionally neglected missile skills to focus on turrets so far, so the fact that bombs are driven off of missile skills will push me towards rounding something that I'll need sooner or later anyway. There is the whole range of missile support skills I don't have that I'll need if I even want to fly missile frigates effectively in PVP. A buddy of mine has had a lot of fun in his bomber, but we'd be a lot more effective as a team of bombers of course.
  • A lot of effective Gallente fits seem to require shield tanking.  Shield Mgmt, Shield Upgrades, Tac Shield Manipulation to 4 and Shield Operation to 5 will take about 17 days.  Shield Ops and Mgmt will provide some small benefit even when I'm armor tanking too, so that's a bonus.
  • Strategic Cruiser.  Another thing on the WH recruitment list, plus the value for missions, wormhole diving etc.  Very high on the cost scale of course, so it is very likely I could get to the skills long before I can afford the ship.