June 27, 2013

What a difference a remap makes

Ah, what a difference a remap makes.  I have been in an Int/Mem remap since about the New Year, catching up on many things that I'm sure many people consider basics.  Skill for T2 shield tanking, for T2 EWar, new skills like the Sensor Comps and Armor Honeycombing,  T2 logi modules, T2 skills to try our exploration, and support skills that are prereqs for T2 ships.  Basically a lot of things that should open up opportunities for me to try more stuff.

But all those support skills are nothing without the ships skills to match.  They don't feel quite as much like progress.  Probably the best example is Shield Emission Systems IV and Remote Armor Repair Systems IV.  Both allow me to actually put the T2 reppers on a ship.  With the T1 logi frigates and cruisers that means I could theoretically get out and do something.  I was even in RVB and the BNI war was kicking off as I wrapped up that skill, though the one time a decent sized fleet was forming, the FC understandably would rather have me in a Thorax or Brutix than a first-timer in an Exequror.  Of course, it didn't help that since I only just had skilled up I didn't exactly have a stack of Exequrors hanging around the warzone.

Last night I flipped over to a Per/Will remap.  I have a list of ships and weapon systems a mile long that I want to train.  I'm excited about the first one on my list and hope to get out there and find some fun that will be worth posting about over the next week or so.  It is just a lot more active to be on the Per/Will side of things.

Now some of those skills are going to be long slogs on my young player scale of things.  Both Large guns and Cruiser skills are rank 5, so that's 16d according to my iPhone app though I suppose shorter since if I remember correctly the app can't tell what implants I have.  Battleship is rank 6, so just shy of 27 days.  But other fun ones will be shorter (Frigates V at 6d, Small gun Vs at 3d, Medium gun Vs at 10d).

Let's see what these more active skill options bring.

June 15, 2013

Blink for fun and profit

There are many blog entries out there about how to make money as a trader or a industrialist.  I haven't seen one on the main means by which I've been able to fund PVP: SOMER Blink.  So what is it about a online Eve lottery that could result in profit?

The Basics
SOMER Blink is a lottery using ISK.  Like any lottery, the prize is (generally) worth more than the sum of all of the tickets that will be bought to win that prize.  In addition to the mainline lottery there are sideshows such as "promo blinks", "bonks" and "mini-bonks" and gifts at celebrations that happen every 50T in paid out prizes.  Bonks are entered using deposited ISK.  Promos and mini-bonks are entered using tokens that are given out at a rate of 1 per 1M ISK deposited.

We're going to want to consider the ratio of prize's value (easily determined on the market) to the sum of the cost of all of the tickets.  We can look at what payout we expect to get after we've paid in money to enter in the lottery.  If the EV is positive, we can make money.  If the EV is negative (the usual case), the house makes money.

Market Shifts and Market Arbitrage
SOMER changes the price of their tickets, but the market moves even faster.  This means that the EV may briefly go positive.  For instance, as of this writing Imperial Navy Energized Nano Membranes have a 10M ticket, have 8 tickets in a lottery, but have a low sell order of 99,998,660 in Dodixie - and you can generally have your prizes shipped to major systems in highsec all over New Eden.  In Jita these faction modules are only going for 64M.

Promo Blinks
Promo Blinks happen randomly offering up a prize for 1 token, with 250-350 slots available - of which you only can buy one.  These can be very rich prize.  My play in RVB for a while was funded off of the win of a Bhaalgorn, and before that an Archon.

You only can play a promo if you've played a normal blink in the previous 48 hours.  It doesn't matter what size, but if you set up a spreadsheet from the previous step (determining EV) you'll see that the cheap tickets (faction frigates and interceptors) only will return 0.50 to 0.75 ISK for every one that you play.  You can look at this as the price of playing promos for 48 hours (assuming you don't see any that are positive at the moment).  Right now if you buy an Enyo that price is 1.9M.

Let's say all you cared about was the promos (and thus tokens) so a token is straight up worth the 1M you deposit to get it.  You see a Kronos on promo with 350 slots.  The Kronos is going for about 800M.  That means your 1M ticket will bring you back 2.28M - given enough play.  As with any gambling, it's all about the long run average.

Note that promos often come in sets of four, so if you see one stick around with that refresh button.

And it's fun... and you don't have to logged into Eve
I don't have a lot of Eve playing time, which is what makes ISK-earning vocations painful for me.  But I do have lots of time I can have a browser window open during the day.  You only can deposit from the Eve client, by giving money to the SOMER.Blink corporation.

Have I been lucky with my wins?  According to SOMER's website I've deposited 458M (most of which was from winnings I sold) and I've won 2526M in prizes.  That could just be a quirk of the random number generator.  Or it may be that I've (mostly) avoided the impulsive play that costs the most money.

I haven't tried to analyze the Bonks and Mini-bonks too much, particularly because you don't know how many people will buy into them.  I play them for fun pretty consistently though.

If you get sucked into the fun of playing the games, you'll be paying money to the hardworking folks and SOMER for that entertainment.  In my opinion, you shouldn't complain about it either (see also the regular "SOMER is a SCAM!" threads on the forums).  It's just math, people.

June 12, 2013

Cloaky Cloaky

Exploring has been a bit of a bust for me recently.  So I decided to give that a skip and try some hunting in lowsec which was fun, even if I got nothing to show from it at the end.  But new lessons about cloaking have come and new opportunities continue to beckon!


I missed the rush to explore after the patch due to busy RL which sounds like I may have missed the loot tables being turned to 11 for a bit.  I've been staying in highsec since I wanted to learn how to do the minigame and because I'm not yet sure if my hack skills are up to lowsec.  The first time I got in there to try it I ran a half-dozen relic site and maybe brought in 10M in loot.  The second time I must have been a few steps behind someone else as every system was stripped down to the wormhole signatures, except for one data site which was empty of hackables, so I must have been right behind someone.  But I did find I was enjoying zipping around in my Helios and practicing cloaking.

Cloaky Hunting

So I moved on to something different the next time I logged in.  I popped a cloak on a PVP Vexor fit (losing a turret slot, I know) and headed off to lowsec.  My general plan was to cloak and hang out around some of these exciting new locations, standing 5km off of the warp-in point, and drop in to surprise someone looking to rat for tags or ninja mine some ice.  The lowsec system I had picked was an entry system between a lower-population highsec and a big string of lowsec, and one that looked inactive for PVP.  In other words, the place I hoped someone would also consider attractive for ratting - one jump back to highsec and quiet.  Considering the limitation of a non-covops cloaker I didn't want to have a susbtantial local resident population to worry about.

The general plan for this fit was to be agile and have a MWD.  I know I'm going to have a long delay between decloaking and locking, so the idea is to get close to the target and ram them under MWD while resetting.  I'm loaded with blasters, so being on top of him is what I want anyway.  I have Hammerheads, Warriors, and EC-300s for fighting cruisers, faster ships, or for GTFO.

Insertion into the system was uneventful and local was empty, so I popped on over to a ice belt and sat for a bit while reading forum threads and looking at market stuff.  Then it occurred to me that attacking an ice miner wasn't likely to net me much, so I moved over to an asteroid belt and repeated.  I waited.  I stopped and killed some rats out of boredom (and sec status) and moved to another belt.  Local still zero.  Hmm, definitely need to plan ahead to have some indy planning to do or the like.

Aha!  Someone comes into system.  I look him up.  Apparently he's recently been caught ratting in an autocannon Wolf and had some shiny modules dropped.  Excellent!  I start d-scanning and looking to see if he shows up in any belts around the same planet as me.  I'm pretty sure I can take a PVE Wolf fit like the one he lost, though I know I may really regret the loss of that one neutron blaster.  I see rats, then I see wrecks, and the Wolf is moving around.  Argg, but I realize the rats in my belt are small ones and so may not be worth his time.  So I dscan down the belt he's moved to with live rats, align, and come out of cloak to warp and pounce.

I come out of cloak, start locking, got lock, hit the warp disruptor - Invulnerable.  Damn!  Just missed him - there he goes off to a planet with lots of belts.  I pick one and give chase.  This is probably going to be a fool's errand since he almost certainly can align faster than I.  I cloak up and wait a bit more.  I wait - let him get back to ratting, then try one more time.  But now he's probably watching d-scan and he's gone from his belt before I even arrive.

A couple Russians show up and I think both the Wolf and I safe up, considering how he disappears.  I see some core scanner probes on d-scan and then they're moving on.  And my Wolf pilot as well.  Ah well, it was fun.

Cloaky Spying Ninja

The next time I log in I decide to try another idea - scanning down mission runners and going after their loot.  My plan is not to do a full ninja in front of them (something I'm familiar with, ahem) but to clean up after those who tend to blitz or just are taking a long time.  But first I have to find them, so it's time for the Helios again.  I find a nearby system with an L4 security agent and away I go.

And there's a battleship - Megathron!  Let's take a peek and warp to about 30km away.  It's not just a Megathron, it's a Megathron, Loki, Rapier, Talos - oooh, it's a highsec fight.  And the targets become little Caldari wrecks pretty much as soon as I see them.  The victorious ships start warping off - perhaps they saw my "not trying to be subtle" combat probes and think an enemy is looking for them.  If they want to leave those PC wrecks behind I'll be glad to - oh bummer, the Loki is sticking around an salvaging them.

Back to the scanning.  There's another Megathron.  Warping in I see an acceleration gate.  D-scan shows the Mega nearby, so presumably inside the gate.  I slowly move up to the gate, trying to remember if it will activate at a range greater than the decloaking-range.  Nope, decloaked by the accleration gate.  So know I'm surrounded by lots of yellow triangles - and no Megathron.  There's another gates, so the BS must be in the next room since he's still on d-scan.  I bookmark and warp out to pick up a Noctis.

Warping back I see the gate - oh, right, you can't bookmark inside of a room only the gate.  Okay, back in.  Now I'm getting nervous.  Once I pick up the loot I'll be flagged and I'll have to wait that out.  And I wasn't smart enough to make a safe in this system, it's one of the ones around here that i don't already have bookmarks for.  And the battleship is no longer on D-scan.  Is he coming back?  Did he see my Noctis before he left?

Right, line up so I can tractor the large wrecks first.  lock'em and ... what?  You can't tractor someone else's wrecks!  I think I have the wrong tool for the job - maybe a Noctis is too pricey an asset to risk instead of loading a destroyer full of salvagers.  A suspect timer will hold me for 15 minutes and I'm already up later than I planned to be, okay, maybe I'll try this again some other time.  I head back to base, making a midwarp safe along the way for later.

Lessons Learned

Cloaks are fun - train for them.  But not being able to warp cloaked is going to limit me a lot.  A Helios can't fight and I can't afford to be running a cloaky Proteus around lowsec looking for danger.  Middle ground would be a Force Recon - I'm not sure really what I could beat with a Force Recon, but I'll be really interested to try.  Signature Analysis V is now on the training list to meet the prereq.  Who knows, they may get a rebalance by the time I get into them.

There's a lot going on out there, if you know where to look.  I didn't mention spotting the Black Frog cyno alt above, since that's about all there was to it.  Presumably they didn't open a cyno that I saw because the place was wrong or because there were people in system.  Then there was that highsec fight.  How to look into all that action is an interesting question to think more about.

Lowsec exploring.  I think I'll set up an Imicus with non-faction probe gear and slip into low to try the sites.  Though with the mass of people doing exploring it may just be something I back-burner for a while.

Think through the plan.  If the Noctis was the wrong tool it shouldn't have been out there.  Arguably I really should think about whether I'd be better off just getting back to trying L4 missions, which could net me loot I would own and get me standings too.  It would be nice to have jump clone standing with someone.

June 5, 2013

Odyssey, night one

I logged in last night and got at least an hour and some trying out the post-Odyssey world.  Much of my reaction to Odyssey was formed before I even saw it, thanks to the ample communication from CCP and other fan media sources, but that's different than actually getting out there.

Public Reactions to Odyssey - weren't you paying attention?
Perhaps this is my first step towards bitter-vet-dom, but I found myself annoyed by probably predictable forum posts on the day of Odyssey's release.  "What happened to my Hyperion's turrets?" or "I was training for Jump Freighter and now I'm behind."  Well, if you'd read the dev-blogs, or any of many of the eve bloggers, or listened to podcasts, or looked at the the Features and Ideas forum?  Complaining about it after the patch is a very inefficient way of getting what you want.

But what I suppose this really means is that I'm now one of those Eve player who is at least somewhat tuned into the meta.  I get that some people don't want to put that effort in and don't get that enjoyment out.  But if you don't, then don't be surprised when things change and you aren't aware of them.

You even have a change to log into SiSi and see things ahead of time, something I didn't do and maybe should.  Then I would have know more about...

Scan Overlay, Hacking, and ... Incursions?
So last night I downloaded the update, logged in, and futzed around while I waited for my jump clone timer to count down so I could switch to my exploration clone.  The cost of retrieving my low-implant clone from RVB-land for future low sec roaming near my new home base.  No biggie, I needed to straighten out some industrial things anyway.

Then to my exploration clone.  Hmm, my exploration base of operations is currently under Incursion.  I do want to try Incursions sometime, but until I have either T2 Large Hybrids or T2 Logi skills I'm not going to be accepted into any such fleets.  Even then I probably can't bling out a battleship to the level that seems to be required unless I win another billion on SOMER.Blink.  So now's not the time to start - and from what I understand of Incursions I don't think it will be that much more dangerous to be in a high sec area under incursion.  Unlike lowsec, Sansha won't be camping the gates with scram/web ships.  I see the various penalties to ship systems, but if exploration runs ok hopefully I won't have need of such considering that they don't spawn rats now.

Except everyone else in this area is apparently doing exploration too of course.  I'm seeing plenty of wormhole signatures, but only one combat site and one data site.  Data site was cleaned when I got there, combat site had someone through the first acceleration gate by the time I got there.  Ah well, those are the breaks of exploration in an area not too far from a market hub, as well as logging in when there are 41k+ players on.

Lessons Learned
I skipped this section last post, but I figure I always should put voice to this.  I should learn something each time or there isn't much worth posting about.  Sometimes though it isn't so much about a definitive lesson as a question that still needs an answer.

Basing Decision.  I need to make a firm choice on where I'm basing out of.  My current location is too near high traffic to be great for exploration.  I need to research a location to move a bit more out to.  With Iteron Vs now easier to get into skill wise, I should be able to move a pretty substantial amount of stuff easily enough.  A spare CovOps, fittings, drones, ammo.  Fly the IttyV out, duck back, fly out the CovOps I have rigged up now, duck back, fly out the BC I've been using for combat sites (particularly since T3s are now banned from high 3/10 and 4/10 combat sites - just in time for me to get the skills together to fly one).  Preferably somewhere with plenty of lowsec connections in case I want to try out lowsec exploring.

Dual-PLEX my alt? With the new ability to train my alt the temptation to have her skill on her industry is there.  But I'm also getting burnt out on the industry click-click-click.  It's something that is easy to do while the kids watch TV before bedtime, where an interruption will not leave me with a blown up ship (probably).  But then there is the chasing around materials, etc.  Bleh.  So I'm thinking no dual training now.  I need a more coherent plan of what I really want to do with her.  The standard answer out there seems to be station-trading, which fortunately she already has the skills for as an adjunct to industry.

June 4, 2013

Ready for an Odyssey

One of those posts sitting in draft for a long time, but I figured I'd better get it out since Odyssey is now here.  I've moved back out of RVB and am looking forward to some playing around with the new mechanisms.  But first...

RVB vs. Brave Newbies

The war between RVB and Brave Newbies was a interesting step up in intensity from the usual Red v Blue.  Podding was certainly in the offering, though I neither was podded nor podded anyone else.  The scale in terms of number of ships was higher than the usual Red Standing Fleet takes on Blue Standing Fleet, and the size of the ships notched up.  Generally when I was around we were overmatched by BNI and we played raiding style attacks.  That particularly seemed good for our higher-skill pilots who reveled in diving in solo or in small groups to attack BNI formations.  I think I got a bit carried away with that myself when I drove my Tristan in to attack a Thrasher who appeared to be trying to get away.  Yeah, that didn't work so well.  My usual Thorax did do well, even if I did manage two lose two of them in rapid succession when we were contending with a large BNI defense fleet.

I had gotten used to active tanks for PVE and buffer tanks on the small ships I'd been using for PVP, particularly shield fit ships like Thrashers and Cormorants.  But with the RVB/BNI war there was a call out for bigger ships to get in fleet so I threw together a Brutix.  It feels so wrong to put together a Brutix that is going to ignore its active tank bonus.  Unfortunately the fleet I joined up with didn't end up seeing action before I had to logoff.  It would have been my first fleet action with serious Logi support - I had offered to buy and fit up a Exequror to use my newly trained remote armor repair skills, but the FC was only looking for T2 logi.

Out of RVB

In anticipation of doing a lot of exploration with Odyssey I've dropped out of RVB.  I've spent a bit more time with my industrial alt recently, in part due to IRL demands and in part because I wanted to get somethings done.  In particular I've rolled off a pair of new battleships for Jakob before the mineral needs jump with the new release.  I'm not sure if I'll end up using those for missions (or how fast I'll get bored of that) or just resell them at a profit.  I am tempted to grind up some standings at least to be able to make my own jump clones instead of switching back and forth to Estel Arador.

Exploration, ho?

I'm sure there is going to be a swarm of people trying out exploring.  I'll probably need to find some new exploration grounds.  Alternatively, this sounds like it might be a nice time to join the mob that will be sweeping lowsec looking for tag and combat.  I'd rather not let my security standing drop below -2.0 (and thus banned from 1.0 sec systems) so I think some ratting is going to be in there somewhere.  The recent fun with RVB/BNI and RVB Ganked has brought my sec status down a bit more - though to be honest it has been a long time since I had a positive sec status.  Neither a full pirate nor a full law-abiding high-seccer - I think I like that range.