October 17, 2013

Right tool for the right job

I think a lot of Eve is about having the right tool for the right job.  This goes for your choice of ship and fit for PVP as well as the inevitable spreadsheet for market/industrial PVE.  

This Blog post was brought to you by...
I often find myself thinking about topics for the blog in the middle of driving, and then I've forgotten by the time I get to my destination.  No problem, I thought, I'll just fire up my relatively new iPhone and ask Siri to write these things down for me.  What do I get?

"I had read out of market orders with Walt mart about that don't be something podcasts
Comparing next T-3's been delivered Sumiton the article or have for alternative to T4 is really?"

Umm, thanks Siri.

T2s - HAC and Recon
Recently I've trained in HACs and Recon.  Under the "T2 are specialists" mantra I was considering them for various uses I'd like to put them to. The contrast is the wormhole workhorse of the T3 cruiser.  I consistently hear about billion-ISK T3s, and that's right out of my range.  I think that a fairly barebones HAC or Recon (i.e. T2 modules, maybe a faction item here or there) running at 250M - 300M ISK could be acceptable.

So, are they the right tool?

  • Solo Straight-up Roaming.  Nope.  If I drop into FW plexes in a HAC then I don't expect I'll get fights.  Ditto for cruising the belts and celestials.  I expect I will get blobbed eventually, if I stick around in one system.  For this application I think the T1 cruiser continues to be the better choice.
  • Cloaky Roaming.  Yes.  I have not been successful in getting a fight here, though I've only spent a few hours on this so far.  The idea is to take a cloaky recon around the usual targets (tag rat belts, for instance) and look for targets I can take.  The part that I'm not as thrilled about is that I feel my maximum target is probably at the destroyer level, though I have a feeling that out of desire for a fight there are probably T1 cruisers I'd take on as well.  I hope to learn more about cloaky combat from this.
  • Small Gang Roaming.  Yes, for the right gang.  The HACs can certainly bring the pain.  The price tag is one I will definitely have to think about though.  
  • Small Gang Cloaky Roaming.  Yes.  Vult already posted about our little run with this.  I think there's more potential there, and in this case the Recon is definitely the right tool.  Now if only there wasn't local so people could see when we showed up...
  • Wormhole Diving.  Maybe.  I said back at the beginning of the year that I was seeing Wormholes as a goal activity.  This is where the specialist versus generalist really kicks in.  In wormholes I expect to need to be able to do three things: probe, cloak, and kill.  As we could see in Vult's video of our roam, the Proteus was able to cloaky up on someone and then provide massive dps to quickly kill them.  My Recon could sneak up on someone cloaky, but not provide a lot of dps, so I'd have to be calling in the team.  My HAC could provide dps, but couldn't cloak or probe.  If I'm resigned to the Recon providing the point and some EW support then I could probably make room for a probe - which at least then is doing more than a CovOps.  But the real tool to provide all three still is the T3 (at least until the inevitable nerf).
Industry tools
So my industrial alt ran out of market orders while trying to both sell my goods and gather all of the components needed to start rolling out T2 ships.  T2 manufacture has been rough for me just in getting the pipeline going.  So what tools am I missing right now?

  • The right spreadsheet.  My spreadsheet was working okay for T2 work.  Limited number of inputs and only one layer.  From using IPH it looks like T2 ships are only going to be profitable for me if I make the components as well, so I've bought those as well.  That means now there are two layers to manage.  The inputs for the components, then the components and other inputs for the ship.  Hmm... needs work.
  • The right target market.  My T2 modules move very well.  I've got good places for them so I can move a fair portion of them without fighting the regional hub 0.01 ISK battle.  I try to balance the expediency of the hub with the profit margin of the outlying systems.  The problem is that having lots of stacks in lots of systems is the demand on my incompletely trained indy alt and my reluctance to take any training time away from Jakob.
  • The right skills.  This is a recent pain when I maxed out my (not incredible) number of market orders on my alt.  I had to give in and pause Jakob for an overnight to get one more level of Trade in, then duck back to training weapons!
  • The right facilities.  In other words, a POS.  This one I think I'll still hold off on.  The public slots are often queued up, but since I'm generally only cycling jobs once a day (or once every other day) then the T2 modules are going to be done before I get back to them with or without a queue wait.  The big thing that a POS would give me is no wait time on the various kinds of research, which could be nice but with a third alt feeding me copies I'm no longer bottlenecked by BPCs.

So my split life - Industry and PVP.  I may need to hook over to more PVE to bring in some additional ISK for a while though.  The Industry is still spooling up, though I feel it's about at the point where I can be throwing more things over to Jakob... like HACs...

October 8, 2013

Rubicon and the solo/small gang pilot

Some brief notes about Rubicon from the perspective of a new-ish solo / small gang pilot.  For the purposes of this post let's call small gang more like 3-5 pilots.  I know that some of the big guys consider small gangs up to like 20 ships, but I'm drawing the line where you tend to not be able to afford a lot of specialized roles (unless that's the central conceit of the gang doctrine in question).

Warp Speed Changes - it's not all about the Interceptor

So for large gangs and major nullsec forces certainly the warp speed changes are all about the Interceptor.  There certainly are people who can take on small targets solo with an interceptor, The Interceptor is getting even less tanky, but I'm not sure how much that matters given that they're all about speed tanking.  In many Interceptors they're getting more CPU/PG so there may actually be more options there.  So yes, I'll be queuing up the Interceptor skill along with much of the young pilot population of New Eden.

But for those of us in smaller operations I'd argue the warp speed change may really shine at the Assault Frigate level.  It will be warping in faster and actually be beefy enough to take on the kind of target you'll find in belt or FW plex.  Consider the chart posted by Fozzie - the Assault frigate can spot a target in a belt on D-scan 10 AU out and be on top of them in 15 seconds.  A cruiser would be 30 seconds, an Interceptor 11 seconds.  Yes, if you're paranoid and align as soon as you see local increase then anything short of a mining barge or battleship should be out of there before you can lock them, but we're down to a matter of seconds or fractions of a second.

Speaking of which, I'm not clear on whether system gates or acceleration gates are at all impacted by this. I tried going through the Feature thread but didn't see anything in there.  I'll update if I find anything.  That will be important for those who frequent the FW plexes to find their pew.
Edit: of course I find it right after posting.  Yes, Acceleration Gates will be faster for small ships under these changes, as they trigger a warp behind the scenes.

Sisters of Eve ships

Yes, these will be incredibly expensive for a while so I probably won't be getting into one until Spring.  I know that people are grinding the LP like crazy now, but I expect there's going to be a lot of demand.  Will the Stratios be the new wormhole-scout/diver of choice?  Will it be the hunter of lowsec?  All of the above?  I'm sure we're going to see it all tries.  Watch the killboards starting Nov 19th.  There is a lot of back and forth on the fittings on the Feature thread.  I'll be looking forward to hacked EFT and Pyfa databases.

Personal Mobile Structures

The "yurt" for your own stuff could be interesting, but it's all going to boil down to how much cargo space the thing has.  I believe it has been definitively said that it won't be able to swap out T3 subsystems, which is a real shame.  That would have met the wormholers long-standing request and could have made for some interesting lowsec play too.  I could see people hiding out and swapping in and out fits to scan down all of the signatures, then go cloaky-killer to look for people arriving at those signatures, or go PVE fit and run those signatures yourself.  Someone comes into system - run back to your yurt and fit up to fight or hide.  Find a target with an active shield tank, switch one of your ships over to have neuting power.  All without making yourself seen at the local station, and risking getting jumped going in or out.

And expect to see lots of Stratios and Astero with Sisters Combat Probes looking for yurts.  I'm sure we'll very quickly see people test out exactly what it takes to down whatever minimal defenses they have.  That might be quite a fun side bonus for solo / small gang folks if there isn't a full timer and just requires a Battleship gang level of dps.  You jump someone's yurt and then either get the goodies inside or they have to come fight you off.

In summary though I have to agree with a number of podcaster pundits I've heard - Rubicon sounds like a lot of fun stuff, but nothing as ground breaking as the title implies.  On the other hand, the real action for Caesar didn't happen until after he'd crossed the Rubicon ... 
Alea iacta est.

October 7, 2013

Things I know nothing about (and you too)

Today's blog is about things I don't know anything about, and I'll close by suggesting there are things that even you, incredibly experienced and jaded eve blog reader out there, don't know that much about either.

I had someone complement my blog in local yesterday.  Yeah, having a blog that says I like to go through lowsec looking for tags or targets isn't exactly going to make someone want to stick around a belt in their PVE boat.  Then again if they are alert enough to look up who entered local and follow the blog link in my bio then I wasn't going to surprise them anyway.  If he had complemented my blog and also come out to give us a fight that would have been ideal, but since there were three of us I can understand.  In any case it helped push me to update.

How to Pick Fights

Two Thoraxes down to a Scythe Fleet Issue and a Rupture.  I pretty much figured I didn't have a chance against a faction cruiser, but what the heck.  From chatting with the pilot afterwards it sounds like I came pretty close to smashing through his reps.  I think I know what I did wrong there which is both frustrating (I could have beaten him) and reassuring (it wasn't an entirely foolish fight to pick).  The Rupture was one of those great examples where the other guy saw what I had, then shipped down to a T1 cruiser to come meet me.  Both of those losses actually ended up in great conversations with the people who killed me.  So much for Eve being full of evil-minded blobby jerks. 

On the other hand, just the other night I ran into someone who apparently was all set to take on my Thorax with his Sacrilege, but then was pretty pissy in local when a corp mate of mine showed up in local.  Yup, HAC vs. T1 cruiser all good, but HAC vs. T1 and an unknown is us being terribly unfair I guess.  Honestly, he probably could have taken us both.  The other ship was a Pilgrim.  I'm guessing that a Sac really isn't going to care too much about neuts since its firing missiles and is probably plated.  If it tore down my Thorax first it's not like the Pilgrim's drones are going to be able to kill it before the HAMs rip apart the Pilgrim.  A good example where the pilot could have had quite a win to talk about if he'd only taken the fight.

Recently went for a cloaky roam with corpmates.  I got to learn a bit about scouting down targets, but unfortunately that also meant that I wasn't in position to get in on either of our two kills.  Ah well.

Capital Stuff

Why are there no T2 capital guns?  I ran into this when looking at some of the big killmails in the news.  Seems like something that might be a small feature to throw to the high-end players.  It's still out on the horizon as something for me, since I could drive towards flying a Moros - though the guns is the smallest part of that.  It seems like CCP is trying to make the path to race up to higher end ships easier - which is mostly good for people spinning up a Dreadnaught alt I suppose.


I have a lot to learn here.  I'm intrigued by the idea of daytripping to wormholes.  Solo doesn't seem feasible though.  If I start by assuming the ship needs to have a probe launcher and a cloak, and it needs to be cheap enough that I can afford to lose it, that narrows it down a lot.  Pretty much a Stealth Bomber for PVP, unless I'm willing to write-off a Arazu or Pilgrim.  Then there's a question of what I'm going to find in a wormhole that I can solo with that.  Certainly the Tiger Ears blog is an inspiration, though her cloaky Loki has a lot more dps than the ships available to me.

Which brings up when I should fit out my first Proteus.  Advice from a corpmate was that having the subsystem skills to 4 wasn't quite good enough.  I may take some time to get those up to 5 then test out a PVP fit in some PVE situations to get a feel for it.   What I can afford to lose is a very ambiguous thing - I have a lot of hulls spread all over Eve, but having the right hull already fit for what I want to do is different.

I'm guessing PVE should be off the table since I'd probably have to rotate three ships through. CovOps to find a C1/C2 hole, Battlecruiser (no probe, no cloak) to run a site, then Noctis to salvage - and since I don't have Salvaging 5 I understand sleeper wrecks are going to be very time consuming.  Sheer ISK-making wise I'd probably be better with L4 missions.

Things We Know Nothing About

Anything I don't know how to do must be trivial. - said by Eve Pundits everywhere

I used to be a commercial software developer before I moved into management paths.  It is a pet peeve of mine when I see people saying things like "The interceptor immunity to interdiction is a trivial change, they just have to change some line like bubble_immune=true somewhere."  If all you know about programming is scripts or trivial size college projects, I can understand that naivete.  When you're talking about a product with tens of millions of lines of code in multiple languages, developed over 10 years, it's pretty damn unlikely it's that simple.  Given what we've heard about the level of modularity and encapsulation we've heard about (ex: the POS code) I'd bet a lot of ISK that it isn't as simple as a private member of Class Ship that returns true or false.

Now I wasn't playing Eve back then, but weren't bubbles introduced well before T3 cruisers and their interdiction nullification capabilities? If so, that means that barring a refactoring effort it's unlikely that the two things were cleanly designed into whatever engine is used for warp movment.

So when you hear somebody out there saying that a particular Eve feature would be easy to do, unless they are CCP or ex-CCP, just save yourself some bitterness and ignore them - they're almost certainly clueless.