Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Federation Yawn Prix

I gave it a good hard shake but I've bowed out at 50 points. I just can't be fucked going through the hilariously (no, really) camped lowsec pipes to get podded 13 minutes in to the run, or waiting 15 minutes for the run to expire.

While the idea is good, this is literally the worst game design for an event, simply because you can't bow out, so you have to just sit about for a quarter of an hour or risk dying to AFK nerds on a gate in lowsec, so it's really the time wasting that gets to me.

That said, smartbombing 66 shuttles in Yrmori with my alt was pretty hilarious. The idea that someone will pay 50M ISK to activate one of 55 kill rights when 50 of them are free? Got to hand it to that guy for entrepreneurial spirit.

Monday, 18 June 2018

Welcome to VNI Valley

So, this guy had a whinge about why he things that EVE sucks for new players.

So, let's review.

1. It takes 6-7 months to be efficient at making ISK.

Well, yeah, if you choose Gallente, and totally ignore the other opportunities at making ISK like hacking and archaeology and running combat anomalies. A 3/10 will drop about 50-80M ISK in loot about half the time and you can run it in an Algos. Not super-efficiently, but it's still better than 15M ISK ticks in nullsec 23.75/7.

2. Everyone thinks you are a spy

Well, he has a point here if you believe that a newbro should be able to engage in the highest level PVP that is available in this game on day or even month one, and don't understand that especially since skill injectors are now a thing it's almost irrelevant whether you check someone's toon's skills they can get skilled up into cynosural field theory 5 in literally 20 seconds if people want to use a 'newbro' as a spy and drop on your Rorqual fleet. I mean, just saying.

This also ignores the fact that there are plenty of newbro corps and noob friendly organisations and collectives out there who will take a newbro under their wings and provide them with not only efficient PVE options, ideas on making ISK, and abundant and plentiful PVP opprotunities with either free ships or full SRP.

I mean, yeah, if you're a dull neckbeard with no life and are ignorant of Pandemic Horde, BRAVE or Karmafleet, Spectrefleet, Redemption Road, etc etc...then yeah, you're a spai.

3. You have to run multiple accounts to make real ISK.

OK, he has another half-a-point to make here. Yes, I make 300M an hour with two accounts running C3 anoms at the deadest time of the day (just before downtime). You can even do this prime US/EU TZ if you are awake or want to take a bit of a risk. I can still make about 180M an hour solo in a Vargur in C3's. I still make 300-400M a day just smashing 3/10's to 5/10's in lowsec, solo. Or doing relics and datas.

Mining good moons in a Covetor? 60M/hr, easy. You can join a nullsec mining corp and do this, maybe not on grid with a Rorqual fleet to be fair, but there's plenty of moons to mine and people do mine in smaller ships than Rorquals.

4. The UI is shit.

Ehhh....OK, fair cop.

The duder goes on to make a few salient points though.

VNI Valley

For instance, he's right that being Gallente you are definitely railroaded into the VNI as a ISK printing machine, with about zero other options until you get to the Thanatos. This is a major issue for EVE, given how many ship types and ship classes there are (and now the basically useless Triglavian shit).

For Gallente one issue is damage lock to Kin/Therm with rails, and the terrible range of blasters makes the non-droneboat Gallente ships less than stellar for a majority of rats. Certainly the squishy Sansha rats or the high-yield and easy to tank Blood rats in nullsec aren't best shot with rails, versus packing a flight of Navy Praetors and a VNI.

The other issue is the ability to effectively AFK rat in a VNI with either a permarun MWD or a AB and sig tank; add this to the 650 DPS you can easily squeeze out of a VNI and even at 150M a hull it is simply the best cruiser in the game for Alphas looking to make 15M a tick. Even non-Gallente toons are well served training Gallente cruiser 4 (oh noes, a week or ten days in cross-training!!!) just to access the VNI.

The gutter in usefulness of T1 ships between the cruiser and the carrier is not a Gallente issue alone. This is because, typically, you're spending more ISK on the hull for shitter tracking, not much more DPS (eg; armour tanked Domi is +200-300 DPS over a VNI), slower hulls (warp time costs ISK/hr!), turdy tanking options (it's a struggle to make any BC or BS actually tank what a cruiser can sig tank effortlessly), and so on.

This is also true, to a large degree, of PVP ships. Certain hulls, in certain classes of space, become flavour of the month because they combine best-in-class attributes for better ISK cost than competing options. This is before we even touch on actual PVP doctrines and get into gank vs tank, range vs brawling, kiting meta, etc.

For what I do, it's really hard to go past the Loki because it's faster into warp and, with hyperspatials, through warp than any comparable cloaky DPS ship. it can still fit a decent tank (active or buffer) and is at least as ganky as any other T3. If it's not (eg; full on drone Proteus, and certain Legion fits) the extra agility and warp speed more than outweighs the lack of DPS. Plus there's almost no reason not to fit the Friction Extension subsystem and get 22.5km webs (more with pimp) and the standoff capability it gives you.

So, yeah, a valid point made here. My bro is struggling with the VNI at the moment just like this guy is; can't go past it, can't graduate from it, have to replace it when he loses it or he can't afford anything. It's like VNI Valley.

From VNI Valley to Gila Gulch

Sadly, the only way out of VNI valley is to go to the Gila, which requires a month of cross-training to Caldari Cruiser V. But then you're stuck in Gila Gulch, which is probably a bit more survivable due to the Gila's grunty passive tank and 850 DPS to gank your way through rats, and since it's drones you get to pick your damage type and go for it.

...which leads to Rattlesnake Ridge, where you're either poverty fitting 580M ISK or going troppo for 1.2B ISK active tanks.

The same is true of Minmatar PVE options: cross-train to the VNI or the Gila or both. The Cyclone is now better than it was, but it's still terrible for PVE (HMLEL's, impossible to permatank it cheaply), the Cane is decent enough, and BS wise....no. By the time BS become your thing a Minmatar purist is realistically into a T3 and a Loki.

The ISK/Hr Desert

One thing this guy fails to mention is the terrible, terrible, terrible ISK/hr on offer in low level missions. We're talking literally 5M ISK an hour earning capacity, rising to about 30M/hr for blitzing level 3's if you're smart and use your LP's wisely.

The missions have been in desperate need of an overhaul for ages. In my opinion CCP should use the Triglavian PVE model (sans the rats pointing you and podding you, and sans the timer killing you) to reinvigorate the mission genre. Procedurally generated rat swarms, with better loot tables and lootable items in missions, plus the reward and LPs, would go a long way toward making entry-level PVE more stimulating, challenging and rewarding for new players.

The fact is, theres no reason anyone should be restricted to shitty ISK/hr just depending on the type of content they are doing. Missions have a role to play in keeping players interested in the game early on, but making tragically bad amounts of ISK while grinding for better missions isn't going to help player retention let alone enjoyment.

Part of this is to find a way to bridge the gap in efficiency before VNI Valley and after it. It's a complex task, but CCP shouldn't be afraid to radically redesign missions, the LP store especially, and loot tables to make the grind less repetitive, more challenging (and maybe a bit more fatal?) and provide tools that aren't literally about 3 hulls out of 250.

The Raid

Last night I jumped a hole which apparently was crit - I didn't hear it chanting; often they don't when you first land on grid, and often EOL holes don't wobble, so you have to right-click, which I didn't - into a C2 and saw a whole bona fide Rorqual + Orca + mining fleet on d-scan.

Miskoranda was in her Astero, which I had just bought after I warehoused my old one when it got to 50 killmarks. So that wasn't ideal. What also wasn't ideal was that I forgot I was on my way to hand in 380M in Overseer loot. Welp, nothing else for it but to #YOLO.

So I warped onto grid and saw the Roqual leave. Were they on to me? 5 minutes of camping later I discerned that, no, they were not. We were left with an orca and 2 Hulks all within 5km of a Coesite rock (as an aside, coesite is a real world mineral created in asteroid impact sites, which is cool because CCP has done a bit of research on high pressure minerals to seed these moon belts with..../nerd)

So I reshipped TF from a Stratios into a Rattlesnake and hoofed it to the connection, and jumped in. The connection stayed up, which tells you all you need to know about how this would have gone if I had even a small batphone. But 0700 EVE time is a bit dead, so...#YOLO.

So I landed, pointed everything up, and blapped the 2 Hulks. Then I started on the Orca, though tbh I should have put my gecko on the Hulks and the RHML's on the Orca first, not the other way around, for when the Orca was in 30% structure the Athanor capped me out and I was in mid-reload when I had a Tengu, Ferox, Drake, Praxis pointing me.

So I MJD'd off, and warped out when the Athanor point decycled. Warped back to the entry hole, and jumped back...collapsing the hole. Which, realistically, is maybe what these guys are best off doing in future, I dunno.

Friday, 8 June 2018

Explain this to me...

CCP gives out a free tier 1 filament to each account. Is this a sign that no one is doing the content? Or just CCP trying to be nice?

Consider that Abyssal Depths took 1.75 trillion in 10 days, and only 0.6 T in the next 5; the rate of people dying is steadily declining, meaning either people are getting better (nope) or less people are doing it.

Chessur has been on Reddit shitcanning the Vedmak's ability to be FOTM solo nano kite boat. Apart from trying to use it for a purpose not intended (a great EVE motif) he does have some solid points, backed up by a couple of tweaks to fitting capacity and stats made in the last week.

I mean, does Chessur fly the Aug Navy? I don't think so, because it's just not good for what Chessur does (which is be the self-professed best player in EVE). Doesn't mean the Navy Augoror is shit, though.

Meanwhile, Lussy Lou is showing off a 100MN Vedmak with Abyssal mods (because the fitting was too tight to make it fit otherwise, tbh) and doing OK in limited engagements. See below.

So square peg, round hole I guess.

But Chessur is right; why start out an engagement at less than peak DPS? It's a dumb mechanic, because the normal ship will be doing the same DPS at the end as at the start.

Instead, we have people using Leshaks to pop POCOs in Hisec. Thumbs up for this expansion!

Saturday, 2 June 2018

Bath Time

Just finished the baby's bath, sat down to play, and immediately it was apparent there was something up. So instantly get into a dread, x for fleet, and jump in...

To this 

Friday, 1 June 2018

Two Component Problem

The real value of the Abyss to people is still very much a mystery. Except, that is, if you have a stash of Sacrilege (price up 100% in a week), Ishtar, Munnin, Deimos, etcetera. Then you are probably tempted to liquidate them (as I have done).

There's been about 310B ISK +/- 20B ISK lost in each of the five Abyssal regions; a further 700B ISK has been lost to crushing in the Abyss. That's a nice 2.2T ISK lost to PVE in 4 days. This is also only the killmails or lossmails that make it onto zkill, and since mine aren't on there consider that it could be up to twice as much.

Consider the stats for Abyssal Depths (the effect of your ship being crushed to death); 2360 losses to Abyssal Depths in a week for 700 billion at time of printing. Take off the 1,000 capsules and the average loss per ship (of that which makes it to zkill) is 500M ISK!

The whole haul for Deadspace Angel Cartel Cruiser (in combat anomalies) is 29,900 for 6.35T ISK over the past year. The monthly average is around 7,500 for 90B ISK or 12M ISK per ship. This means that the only ships dying to belt rats are shitty frigates, etc. This gives an idea of the relative deadliness of the two forms of PVE, with Abyssal Deadspace 20 times as fatal, at least. The number of 1.8B ISK HACs dying to combat anomalies each month, possibly one or two (predictability).

Note that the Abyss has claimed more PVE kills in a week than the rest of EVE in a month. What's the Abyss's total going to be by the 25th June? 20 trillion?

Gilas lost this month so far have been, on average, 400% more expensive than the usual run of Gila losses. That means that a lot more pimp is being torched than usual. This means that the price of pimp is going to go up hard, and fast, until the price begins deterring people from fitting expensive shit to their ships. Of course, the amount of ISK floating around won't deter people too much in the short term.

Another sink of pimp modules is the mutaplasmids. Very few of these are really nett beneficial to the module; it's a roll of the dice and even for gravid mutaplasmids the chances of getting a fully beneficial mutation are remote at best. That doesn't stop people ruining perfectly good deadspace modules in the hope they can make an Abyssal deadspace module which will sell for....theoretically billions. The chances of that occurring are remote, to say the least, if only because so many stats change, resulting in eg; a warp scram that has extra range but is a PITA to fit into a ship fitting that is already most likely 1-2% away from full.

However, this does expose a weakness with the whole Abyss thing. There's two components to whether or not the Abyss will prove to be a viable environment. Number one, is randomness, and number two is rewards.

Randomness Is Bad

Consider most other PVE in EVE, it's predictable and farmable and 'boring'. It is, however, a reliable way of getting the ISK you need to support you in the manner to which thou hast become accustomed. In fact, people have devoted considerable time and effort to find the most finely-tuned means of generating bulk ISK and bulk resources, including Rorqual mining, etcetera.

The Abyss is not reliable, and it is decidedly not farmable at higher tiers.

The problem with this is exemplified by, firstly, the propensity of billion-ISK pimp mobiles to assplode regularly. This can be due to a spawn of five starving Leshak BS which neut you dry instantly, or even the BC rats which smartbomb your drones to death instantly, rendering Gilas impotent and thence to die to the timer. It can be due to multiple spawns of multiple BS which you can tank but not beat down fast enough with your DPS.

Invariably there's a bunch of guys on the forums, on Facebook, on Reddit claiming their "passive kiting Gilas do these like cakewalks". Sure, guys. Sure. Clearly the guys losing 1.2-1.8B ISK Gilas fit exactly like yours are just shit at it. It's got nothing to do with the bad combo of bad spawns, effects, localised effects and (in some cases) lack of effect beacons to assist you through, eg; if you get a 20 drone spawn and no Deviant Automata Suppressor, you're fucked. Get 3 of these spawns, you're definitely fucked. Just a matter of time, not a matter of pimp.

If bling fits won't save you, will skill? Decidedly not. Very skilled PVE pilots have died. Maybe they will derive a decent tactic for each possible combination of effects, spawns and weather; the chances of this is remote if they lose billion ISK ships. I mean, yeah, maybe practise on SiSi where dying a hundred times takes nothing from you, but that's not viable for everyone. There's not much point making SiSi ISK if you have to then repeat it ad infinitum on TQ to actually make the ISK in the end, neh?

So if you can't fit properly to survive, and can't fly perfectly to survive, then it's just a matter of time before the Abyss swallows you up one too many times and the risk/reward maths swings against you.


Reputedly, according to Reddit (the sewer of the internet, uh, front page) CCP says the loot tables are the same for Tier 1 through Tier 5, you just get more of it in Tier 5.

Having done a couple of Tier 3's (which can eat ships like popcorn) for zero rewards, and 6 Tier 1's for nett 200,000 ISK (Triglavian Survey Sata, woop woop!), and lost 650M ISK in Sacs and a Ruppy, I am nett down ~150M ISK.

I did get some ammo BPC's. 1000 Tetryon M BPC takes 85 Zero Point Condensate (sell orders: 1.5M ISK ea.) and 10 Isogen-10 (2.5M ISK ea.). This took about 15 dives into Tier 1 through 3 to accumulate. This resolves to about 165M ISK per 1000 shots at current market prices or 165,000 a shot. I sold them for 25M ISK, because I was a bit disillusioned by my chances of moving them for the volatile list price of the components.

But this illustrates that to make enough ammo to supply the Triglavian cruisers that will be produced, the supply of Zero Point Condensate needs to rise...dramatically. It needs tens of blueprints per dive, and hundreds of Zero Point Condensate. If your tech 1 ammo is going to cost even 200 per shot the sum total of the component value in market-priced terms is going to have to dive down to 10,000 per Crystalline Isogen-10 and 1,000 per Zero Point Condensate.

If this happens, at the current drop rates, there is no value in running Abyssal sites of ANY tier. This then impacts on filament prices; no one will pay even 1M ISK for a tier 1 filament (current price 20-35M) if they won't see any value.

Another way of thinking about it is as a tradeoff study; if you can take 2 toons into a C3 and make 300M ISK in an hour for very little risk (no personal ratting losses in 7 years) why take a 650M ISK Sacrilege or a 1.2B ISK Gila into any Abyssal site for 20 minutes for less than 100M ISK in rewards?

Players aren't dumb on a long term basis. No one will pay 3.5B ISK for a cruiser long term. The cruisers have to be 3.5B ISk in order to justify the risk, on current drop rates and given the supposed value of mutaplasmids, components, skill books and BPC's even at today's prices.


Abyssal Deadspace is a giant flop, dead on launch, it's just the starry-eyed idiots with too much ISK chasing illusory short-term profits who are doing the sites.

Inside of a month, the lack of consistent farmability will drive away even the supposedly elite who can supposedly (though I doubt it) run them fine at the moment. To make an analogy, you don't build a nuclear plant in an earthquake prone area, or you get a Fukushima. Building two or more Fukushimas after the first one is not viable. A couple of people are either lying, or have just been lucky.

CCP needs to fix the content immediately, in my opinion. The remedies would include;

  1. Putting in some tags in the Bioadaptive Caches, similar to sleeper blue poo, which are bought by NPC factions. This will provide a floor to the income for running the sites and can be scales appropriately based on average run times (eg, If it takes an average Gila or HAC pilot 7 minutes for a tier 1, make it 10M ISK or 3M ISk a can, which is then 60M an hour)
  2. Structure the loot tables and drops so that BPCs and Mutaplasmids drop more, and more reliably, in tier 5, and the components drop more, and more reliably, in Tier 1's. This provides an ecosystem of people taking the big risks for the big rewards, and guys 'farming' the low end sites to provide the raw material needed for building out the BPC's. 
  3. Balance the sites and spawns better so that there aren't, personal peeve here, say 5 Triglavian BS in any spawn in a Tier 3.