Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Vale, US TZ

I have taken the decision to close Sudden Buggery's US Timezone. I have tried, repeatedly, to reinvigorate it and been unsuccessful, yet again.

i am not sure what it is. I'm basically unemployed, so i have a lot of time to play in the US timezone. Every so often I manage to get something to do during the day time - maintenance on my 4WD, some accounting, tax time, cleaning the house, etc - and my daytime hours drop. I guess this might be the problem - somehow every American I recruit needs someone with an ability to get out of POS and tell them what to do, otherwise they instantly go AFK and unsub. It's uncanny.

This has seen literally 100 guys come through the door and clag out in boredom and idleness in the last 12 months. There's only so many interviews, API checks, information and orientation sessions, so many training sessions and so on that you can do before you think "You know what? Fuck it. Fuck this for a joke."

So, yeah, it is a joke, and sadly the joke is on me.

But clearly the game itself isn't holding people's imaginations like it used to. Numbers are down to the lowest point they've been in ten years. CCP is probably not in as much of a panic as they ought to be, clearly making up lost revenues with SKINs.

But it is getting to the point where there's so little going on that even addicted MMO nerds are sitting around thinking "why the fuck should I bother rolling a hole over the course of 30 minutes, just to find nothing to do?"

This raises the question of whether there is anything coming, especially for the AU TZ, in the future of EVE. One of the great things about EVE is that you get to interact daily with people from other timezones - the great benefit of the Single Shard. You get great rivalries between US TZ ad EU; between RUS TZ and AU TZ, and so on. You have had assymmetric timezone warfare sewn into the very fabric of EVE itself via 40 hour POS timers and the like; just assymmetric enough that they force odd-houred fights on people.

That's all coming to an end. The first transition has been Fozziesov, where nowadays there is literally nothing to be done in the AU TZ except make ISK in nullsec. Or uselessly cripple some station services to troll fights from people who just stay docked and out-boredom you. Fozziesov has literally cut the knees out of AU TZ content completely.

The next stage will be Citadels. When POSs are deleted from space, you will arguably have almost nothing to Entosis anywhere in EVE when an Australian or Asian. The smaller the TZ window for Citadel vulnerability, the more they become livable. The consequence of that is that they become inaccessible content to Aussies and become, by default, totally invulnerable to Aussies. This is equally so to some extent for any other time zone to any other timezone.

So, it really does beg the question, what game will there be left to play for me, in 12 months? The roll-a-hole forever, finding nothing and no one game? The stay up to 1 a.m. to Entosis a Russian Citadel because I'm Western Australia game?

No thanks.

So, at the end of this post, I want to leave you with an idea, and that idea is that we can, honestly and truthfully, lay the malaise of EVE as it stands and as it goes forward into the future, at the feet of CCP Fozzie.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Galatea Patch Notes TL;DR Version

Went to login.

Took a bit longer than yesterday. Launcher delayed by piddly download.

EVE fires up.

What patch?

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Operation Midway

One of my guys has an alt corp with which he runs a few sites every week and does PI. We moved him into a C3 Red Giant wormhole with D845 hisec static because he was getting bored with his old digs, and you know, content. In the process we evicted someone else's alt corp, and since this guy was fairly AFK and his main's corp was distracted by their C6 living, he came back to his POS far too late to arrest it's destruction and call the batphones. He was pragmatic; everything more or less was going to assplode, so either you self destruct everything or you cut a deal.

He cut a deal, which is to say the alt corp would get all the POCOs and two Archons. In return the guy would rep his POS and evac his shit. One Archon and the POCOs were handed over as security. We swore e-honour and three days later the other Archon was turned over. Everyone parted ways amicably.

The problem is now, given the impending Citadelisation of everything, the Archons are essentially surplus to needs on a long timeframe. So options are SD for cash or Viking burial. Being decent Bob-fearing wormholers, we know that SD only encourages the evil Loot Fairy to steal everything, so they must be subjected to Viking Burial. The only question was how to achieve this.

I contacted The Maythorn because I knew they were always DTF. Their FC and I have worked together according to the W-Bro Code before. Last time was the Pulsar disaster, where Maythorn and various blow-ins from the Wormhole PVP Channel batphone blobbed and a good fight turned into rather a bit of a rout. Pulsars, eh?

So as a means of amends, we organised a viking Burial. I was expecting 10 guys on our side and 20+ on The Maythorn's side.

We had 2 triage Archons, 2 Armageddon, a Damp Domi, Megathron, 3 Tempests, a Scorpion and some BCs. Our US corp, Straegic industries, suddenly got active and turned up with Apoc, Scorp, Brutix, etc.  Soon enough our 10 men turned into 20, at which point I cut off the fleet advert and left it at that. Stragglers got left out.

When we started to get more members, I suggested their FC just batphone and aim for 30-ish members. He duly tried. However, what rocked up on grid was a Bhaalgorn, 4 Armageddons, 4 Thoraxes, Flabber, VNI, 3 Guardians, Curse.

Needless to say, there was no carriers lost.

When I realised they were outnumbered, I told people with alts to get them off field; this stripped out a Tempest and a Harbinger and an Omen Navy. I also made the decision to not prime the Guardians or their FC. When you haven't fought caps before and you are learning the ropes, it's often good to have a long fight versus getting your butt wiped inside 2 minutes.

The Maythorn certainly had plenty of neuting power, with 6 neuting ships on field. Their FC also had the right idea, calling for the BS to bump the Archons apart. However, as no plan survives contact with the enemy, this proved too difficult to achieve, although one Geddon got a good bump on Elahna and shunted him 11km off his buddy, fucking their ability to refit.

However, what we noticed most of all was that the enemy fleet spread their neuts too far and too early. While it was a good idea to neut the shit out of the Scorpions (and they stayed dry till the last few minutes), the fact my Tempests got drained multiple times is a problem. Arguably, with 6 neut boats on the field their fleet could have nearly alpha neuted a carrier and let their lower DPS start to weigh in.

We had plenty of DPS, on paper. the performance of the Tempests was nothing short of abysmal. I did 20-30% less than the Dominix, which was showing 340 DPS with Bouncer I's. This was a combination of factors - few things were 2.5km from me, so falloff scuppered my DPS heavily, and secondly, even against webbed and painted ships the paper 790 DPS of the 800mm autocannons was more like 150 due to the gun resolution. Yet again there's oh so little to recommend a Minmatar battleship as opposed to spending 100M ISK more and buying a goddamn Gila. That said, the smartbombs cleared the drones off the field rather handily; by the end of the fight there were only 15 abandoned drones.

So, at the end of the day, what this shows is there was definitely a lot of pew pew on offer, but lethargy and lassitude seems to have scuppered The Maythorn recently. If they'd turned up with 10-15 more cruisers, or indeed if they'd opted for Brutixes instead of Thoraxes, and controlled and focused their neuting properly instead of wasting neuts on Tempests (capless guns, boys) then they could have done a lot better.

Good fight. More work required on this Viking Burial, though.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Discipline, harsh Or otherwise

We have a simple rule in corporation, a mantra of management newsspeak which is the single simplest basic rule to not making us all look terrible and wasting your ISK (and hence time/money) dying needlessly to ganks:

In Chain
In Fleet
In Comms

It's really that simple. I am running a corporation of people who work together, fly together, die together. Some are good, some are bad, some are manic probing addicts, some POS spin until there's something to kill, some die easily and others (like me) find out their corpsicles retail for 200M-500M ISK a pop, depending on who knows its on the market and who wants it.

The mantra is there for a reason. if you don't get on comms, you can't hear about, viz. the 20 Russians nextdoor who may come through and kill you. If you aren't in fleet, no one can warp to you to bail you out (not that we would, if you were ratting brainlessly). if you are in the chain, ie in wormholes, you need to be on comms and in fleet because it's a PVP environment.

So when one of our new bros has a really bad habit of signing in, warping to the C2 static and instantly beginning to rat the radar and mag sites other people have spent time probing out, and does this without even bothering to check if it is a) safe, b) not going to fuck up some PVP stalking c) is kosher to start ratting other people's work, and then d) gets pissy when we type in the corp chat for him to get on comms....

Management decisions were made, and he was instantly ejected from corp. I hate to say it, but the time to blubber on comms is when you're told that you shouldn't jump into the wormhole, not when your Gila is entering hull and your CEO is the guy killing you.

You may find it harsh, but only until you consider that we are also dealing with purposefully obtuse and belligerent alliance mates who just seem to want to lose stupidly pimped ships. I mean, killboards are a sometimes terrible way of measuring your e-peen versus everyone else, but what flying 1.75B ISK Raven Navy Issues with RHML's around says is you can't even figure out how to play the game properly. For a third the cost you can do three times the efficiency using a Rattlesnake. It's that fucking simple.

Then for these guys to be cohabiting and not being in comms and in a fleet is also getting to be too much. I would rather AWOX a 1.7B Raven Navy Issue versus have retardation occurring in my wormhole chain from self-absorbed carebears. This isn't a hand-holding factory and no one in Sudden Buggery is here to hold hands and enable carebears.

So, readership, you're quite welcome to gank Prolapse. bears wherever and whenever you find them.

Monday, 17 August 2015

Logic Painting

The problem with logic is that by simply applying "if this, then what?" to some element of game design, you can expose logical flaws in the whole design itself. This becomes a logic tree of binary choice/consequences. This affects interactive processes which are cross-related even if not ultimately visible at a cursory inspection. Lets, justfor the sake of arguments, investigate the process of running an entosis link on a Citadel.

Automated Guns
If yes, no trollceptors.
If no, trollceptors.

Simple? Simple!

Use of Entosis prevents RR on the link ship
If ship can tank guns, you can entosis the Citadel.If you cannot tank the guns, you can't entosis the Citadel.

Currently we don't have automated Citadel defences, which means that anyone can troll your Citadel with 30 minutes spare time using a cheap alt. You can log in and blap them, but if you miss it, the consequences to your industry can be pretty dire.

Take both of those together;
Non-automated guns allow anyone to troll your Citadel to RF 1.
Thereafter, the manned defences can basically kill anything entosising the Citadel  because it cannot receive remote reps.
Therefore, manned POS defences will be inviolable by Entosis gameplay unless you bring a dread or something that can active tank the Citadel. 

Can Dreads tank the Citadel guns?
Dreads will be able to tank the Citadel guns = game on
Dreads will not be able to tank Citadel guns = back to square one

Therefore, Dreads don't need guns to RF Citadels. Capital rebalance will focus on turning dreads into mobile entosis ships with uber tanks, able to tank defended Citadels. Pity you wasted all your SP's on capital weapons, guys (says the guy training Citadel Cruise 4) cause there's not much point.  Except maybe defending yourself against subcaps. Which we all know is totally doable.

No idea what your carriers will be good for - triage won't matter for shit in keeping your Entosis ship alive. You are relegated to triage carriers in cap fights which will occur outside Citadels.

Rightio. So logically, in order to mesh capitals with the Citadels, we should expect to see a reworking of Dreads and/or Carriers to add a highslot so you can pile in an Entosis link. It's pretty logical. Well, except that capitals currently get a penalty to running Entosis links. So expect that to disappear. Maybe. They can't make Entosis ships liable to RR otherwise you'll have blobs of Carriers RRing a link ship which will be impossible to kill, which is also then broken.

Others problems with the logic appear. Lets assume your dreads can't tank the defenders guns, or your subs can't. Currently, you just incap defences to free up the logi, etc, etc. Not sure if the Citadel guns are up for destruction or incapacitation.

Defences incapacitable?
Yes = welcome back to POS siege 101. Bring enough logi, incap the guns, add Entosis trollceptor, job done. POS reinforced, and now it can't refit guns. Hm.
No = Unresolvable problem.

This is especially true for low-class wormholes. If your Citadel defences are so extreme that you realistically need a Capital ship to get off an Entosis cycle, you obviously need to build a capital. This then requires building your own Citadel, and fitting it and manning it properly, for the duration of the siege. This then becomes a game of vulnerability timers, manning the defences, and blapping whoever comes on-grid. the siege Citadel might have better defences than the defenders can take out, which thus means the siege citadel can't be removed, so the defenders may as well roll over and not fight.

However, if the defences can be incapacitated by good old fashioned DPS, the whole point of Entosis gameplay comes back into question, because it's not that hard to neutralise 8 POS guns if they aren't automatic. You recreate the conditions for dread blobbing Citadels, just like POSs are blobbed now. So, you return to point 1 - automatic guns, trollceptors, and needing to be around to defend your Citadel 100% of the time during its vulnerability window.

CCP has just painted itself into the corner here, I think. Entosis gameplay has a set of inter-related, logically inextricable components that create an unresolvable problem in not only game balance, but the very mechanism of how these Citadels are going to work and mesh in with ships, Entosis mechanics, and the attention warfare.

I don't know it's a resolvable puzzle with everything as it is. I can't see this working without something being fundamentally changed. Any amount of POS defences worthy of the name basically imply you need a dread. When you need a dread, you have to have a Dread. When you have a Dread, just to tank a Citadel defence, it means you have no other options (really, you don't). This then means that its an all or nothing; if the dread can tank your Citadel, you lose it, no questions asked. If it can't, you've spent 3.5B ISK uselessly. You also wouldn't be able to get around the problem by adding more dreads or carriers, really, unless the equation is that it takes 3 minutes to lose a Dread, so if we all Entosis the Citadel, ten of us will die before we get the cycle off, spo we better bring 11-12 Dreads. Is it worth spending 35B+ to take this Citadel out? not with the shitty loot drops and item safety bullshit Y/N?

It becomes a one man vs one Citadel problem, and only if the Citadel is manned. If it's not, you've got trollceptors, so you're back to square one, yet again.

Its a really stupid concept, forcing warfare into a rock-paper-scissors instant resolution game. Basically, if someone can get through your first timer, you may as well roll over, because there's very little you can do to stop them taking the second timer and then the third, beyond batphoning. Even then, if the defences as too nasty and you lack Dreads yourself, you may not be able to batphone enough people anyway.

So, logically;
- Reducible Citadel defences are needed
- Automatic defences are needed
- Dreads and Carriers should not be needed to take out a Citadel
- Citadels should not be needed to take out other Citadels in low-class wormholes via Dread cooks (otherwise it's a squatocracy, especially with no need to fuel the fucking things)

Truly, a gordian knot of problems. And you wonder why this is taking so long?

Sunday, 16 August 2015

I feel meh in Citadel City

The latest two Citadel blogs are out. Oviously, if this post is in reference to them, you should read them.You should also read them anyway because you'll be interacting with them in some way in the future.

My opinion? Well, i guess I'd like to discuss how I see them influencing gameplay options and player behaviour, versus numbers and the like. I mean, there's precious few numbers, so we can't really begin arguing whether XL citadels have too much DPS.

Space Hobbits / Schadenfreunde
There's a fair amount of input and debate from the wormhole side of things about the item safety mechanics. This is predicated upon the whole "siege for phat loots" myth. But what it really is, given hardly anything ever drops or is looted from a POS that has been sieged, is "siege for teabag of enemies".

What I mean is, 90% of the time the defenders have way too many ships in the wormhole and end up self destructing them before your eyes, so you never get the phat loot. So, firstly, all the people carrying on about losing the phat loot are misguided; what they are losing is the schadenfreunde of watching a vanquished foe SD hundreds of ships before their eyes.

The proposed mechanic is terrible for sieging because what's at risk goes from "all your ships, all your items, all your mins, all your POS and POS guns, all your shit" down to "10% of your items, minerals and ships, plus 100% of whatever ship you are sitting in and maybe your pod, plus your Citadel".

The result of this may not in fact be a hearty defence of a Citadel by an outnumbered attacker. Let's say Sudden Buggery, due to the stellar pulchritude of its handsome and gregarious CEO who has called all of wormhole space a bunch of child-fondling mendicants, gets hardcore sieged in their Lowsec Citadel. Choice is to fight, bringing out ship after ship to die before the 120 T3's and 40 Guardians arrayed against the corp. Or you just sit in the Citadel, swap into a T1 frigate, and tell your attackers they should stop molesting babies, let it all get blown up around you, maybe get podded, wake up in hisec and 5 days later pay a small Space Hobbit Tax.

I mean, why would you even bother fighting? Also, this is way better way of moving out of an area. Lets say you have 100 members in an XL Citadel. Strip your ships of all modules, especially fancy pimp, load them into a blockade runner. Get your Citadel blown up, suddenly EVERYTHING you own is collated into one handy safe lowsec or hisec location in plastic wrap thanks to magic Space Hobbits. Far better than having to move 100 ships x 100 people X jumps, at 15-ish minutes per trip. That's 2,500 man-hours of boring ass logistics. If you game it right, 10% tax on 100 ships (average hull price 100M = 1B) can be recovered in no time at all at the incursion Rate Per Hour. For that corp, 2,500 man hours = 250 billion ISk in opportunity cost of ratting vs logistics.

The sensible option thanks to Space Hobbits is to actually let your Citadel get blown up. In almost all cases. Just plan ahead a bit, clean up the modules and pimp, empty the hangars a bit, job done. Hell, with no auto defences, just deploy troll ceptor alt and 6 days later you've cleaned up 250B ISK in ratting in your new space for the cost of, what, 15B ISK Citadel? Cheaps!

Trollceptors vs Alts
The lack of automatic defences is going to be a game changer. The vulnerability windows are actually small enough that you can, theoretically, game the system into protecting your Citadel most of the time by trollceptoring your own Citadel into RF Timer One. This then means that for a whole week, or so, you don't have to defend it. When the RF timer comes out, your corp all gets on, you undock two triage Archons and man all the guns, and take 10 minutes to turn your timer off. Easy peasy POS defeasy. Whatever, I'm bad at poetry.

The problem with this kind of defence really sheets home for small corps and single players. Krabbing operations in C5s are viable because you can use a small or medium tower with no hardeners, logging in your dreads once a week or whenever safe, scuttle out of POS to close yourself in and mainline a few sites then log off. People can attack your POS whenever they want but you get 40 hours advanced warning, it's cheap as fuck (seriously, 80M ISK plus fuel) and in essence utterly pointless to mess with.

Well, that's about to change. Krab operations will be subject to alts in trollceptors pushing timers, constantly. Miss a few and you lose your Citadel. Don't miss them, you still have to be around to Entosis your Citadel back, which exposes you to risks. The game has changed to "can your ship tank long enough for you to man te guns on your alt and shoot the attacker before he kills your defending link?". The answer for a solo player with one account only Small one or two member will be tetchy, to say the least. A semi-organised medium-sized attacker can field enough bombers to bomb your link ship to death easily, regardless of defences (which won't lock bombers fast enough).

So the upshot of Citadels with non-auto defences will be a purging of wormholes of their farmers, of all sizes. The Citadel mechanic really is penurious to the Krab or smallholding lifestyle which, really, is the backbone of wormhole ecology.

Nullsec wise, and lowsec, there's also a lot of moon goo operations which will be subject to constant trolling, regardless of the vulnerability window. Pull off one successful Entosis cycle on a moon goo Citadel (or whatever it is; could in fact be a different M or L sized mining array) and you cost the defender 1.5B a week on a Tc moon. So you need alts stationed in the Citadels mining the moon goo or running the supercap builds or, well, anywhere, able to dock up and run some guns to deter casual attacks.

Timezone Warfare Got Real
The worst factor in the proposed system is the vulnerability window. We have been moved away from a system where a little bit of smarts and a small amount of ISK deters casual attacks, a moderate amount of ISK deters reasonably serious attacks, and a large amount of ISk deters basically every attacker who doesn't really want you gone. Instead, now we have a system where people on the opposite side of the world can literally coexist in the same space indefinitely, because their assets are utterly invulnerable to one another's attacks due to timezone firewalls.

For example, it has taken us 2 weeks to flip all our POCOs because our previous residents, even though completely evicted, had their POCO timers set to come out at between 1 a.m. and four a.m. AU TZ. We had to lean on some US friends and US corpies and an insomniac to flip almost all of them on weekends at 3p.m. US timezone because we Aussies couldn't do it, at all. That's poor game design. The POS system has problems, but the 40 hour stront timer can be gamed. There is no gaming the vulnerability window, at all, ever.

By gaming I don't mean exploiting, hacking, or otherwise breaking or abusing anything. I mean, this is a game. it has rules. In chess you use the rules of the gae, with strategy, to maneuver your pieces into position to cause check mate. in EVE you take a simple 40 hour stront timer, maneuver your attack time (taking into account the work required to RF shit) and forward-calculate when the POS will exit reinforcement, and you arrange it to suit your attack. It may not suit the defender. That's the defender's problem.

The vulnerability window only suits the defender. In fact, it very mch suits the defender because it cannot be gamed. It can't be shifted. It can't be lengthened by defeating or degrading the Citadel in any way. it can't be circumvented, moved, left open and completed later so it then pops out in the attacker's timezone. Nada. Nothing. Nil.

It is BAD GAMEPLAY because it is not a game. It's just set and forget total protection from off timezone harassment, attacks, anything.

This is bad for Aussies vs Russians and vice versa. it's bad for Aussies vs Euros. Pick two timezones and assume people don't want alarm clock ops, and you could live in a wormhole alongside your foes for years, unable to evict or push or even reinforce one another's Citadels. Utterly daft.

Utter Hisec Safety
24 hour warning comes with a war declaration.
You go to your Citadel, fly everything to station, unanchor it, store it up, log off for a week.
War expires.

Attention Warfare
At its most basic, this attention mechanic / entosis gameplay is killing EVE and will really kill wormholes. We have discussed it, and we can easily do an M Citadel in our wormhole and probably will. Having to be around for 2 hours a night around downtime when we already play? No big deal. Entosis ships are welcome to come troll us, we don't care.

But what i do care about is a system in the game which is washing away the problems of DPS vs EHP gameplay and replacing it with laser-tag bullshit attention gameplay. People will not play a game that demands they put attention into it that they cannot give. If the kabs and smallholders leave wormholes there is no one left.

Let me tell you, it's getting very hard to find people in wormholes. It's fucking deserted in lowsec. Like, eerily deserted, in almost all of lowsec. There's highsec systems where there would always be 8-15 miners chugging away. Now empty.

people are voting with their credit cards, time, efforts and feet and they are thoroughly disliking the new game. perhaps the issue isn't that DPS vs EHP is good and Entosis is bad, or vice versa; the issue is that you get a thrill out of flying a gigantic space cock affirmation dildo around (dread, carrier, super) feeling like king shit. Now? You don't give a FUCK about flying a goddamn pissy little fucking cruiser with a flashlight, flipping systems in minutes or hours, with no risk. There's no feeling of doing violence to the enemy, at al, by just turning up on grid and sitting out a motherfucking goddamn flashlight timer.

I mean, realy. That's not engrossing gameplay. Neither is shining a light on someone's XL Citadel for 30 minutes and it magically blows up, pods them maybe, and forces all their shit to some magic fairy netherspace and/or back to highsec all safe and sound.

Seriously? We are meant to give a shit about this fucking game, when that is the peak violent act you can do? Is that a game, or is it some politically correct goddamn sop to whining fucking carebears who can't get over the fact the game is risky and want their cocks sucked by a pliant, desperate company seeing the writing on the wall and are assuming people want boring, meaningless pap to fill their nights with? Where's the adrenaline rush, where's the fucking incintive to fight like bearcats when all your crap magically gets teleported to safety and you can go run Incursions for 5 days instead?

Daft. Fucking goddamn daft.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Bringing Back the Vigil

Rooks and Kings was one of the first organisations to really begin pushing the T3 cruiser meta, working up off the old Armour HAC doctrines so famously espoused by Shedoo (amongst others).

The recipe for success is fairly simple;
Add a bunch of low-sig long-range fit heavily brick-tanked armour boats with good resists
Ensure you have whoppingly awesome overblown logi (like, at least 25% of your fleet if not triage)
Kill all webbers
Keep moving and maximise transversal
Pew pew pew!

The whole doctrine (one of the few coherent doctrines) relies on two formulae; the tracking formula, and the missile formula. Both of these work for low-sig armour tanked AHAC/T3 doctrines because sig radius becomes important to shed inbound DPS. Yeah, yeah, preaching to the choir - you all know this. A lot of you, however, have got it via received wisdom (everyone else flies armour T3 blobs so you do) and use it because you don't need to know how a jet engine works in order to sit in an airplane. Some others know how it works, in principle, but you aren't really au fait with the exact specifics and limitations.

The key element of the AHAC Doctrine is signature radius and a limited minimum mobility. Seems straightforward, right? But what does it mean in practical terms. To explain this, I'll resort to graphs.

First the conditions of the experiment;
PYFA 1.13.2 DPS graphs were created for the following ship shooting Barrage M
Drone DPS was excluded as it's irrelevant to the argument (mostly)

[Rupture, AC]

Gyrostabilizer II
Damage Control II
Gyrostabilizer II
Tracking Enhancer II
Gyrostabilizer II

50MN Cold-Gas Enduring Microwarpdrive
Large Shield Extender II
Warp Disruptor II
Large Shield Extender II

425mm AutoCannon II, Barrage M
425mm AutoCannon II, Barrage M
425mm AutoCannon II, Barrage M
425mm AutoCannon II, Barrage M
[Empty High slot]

Medium Projectile Ambit Extension I
Medium Projectile Ambit Extension I
Medium Projectile Ambit Extension I

The target was assumed to maintain a 1700m/s velocity (mostly because some variables have to remain constant). The target signature was analysed for values of 125, 250, 325, 500, 625, 750 and 1000m. Angular velocity was fixed at 45, 60 and 90 degrees for each signature radius increment. The values were collated and are presented in the following radar graphs.

How you read the graph is that the further from the centre, the higher the inflicted DPS.  The sig radius of the target increases counter clockwise from 0 to 1000. The angular velocity to the target is the colour of the line.

At 5km the Rupture in question has trouble hitting the target if it is moving at a higher angular velocity – no surprises. However the different in DPS between low and high angular velocity is not very marked compared to the influence of signature radius. For example, if sig drops below about 375, for each 125m less sig radius the inflicted DPS nearly halves. At 125m sig at 5km your damage is almost zero; at 250m sig it's 105 DPS.

The same holds true at 15km – here you can see that sig is less of a factor at 15km when it’s above about 375m regardless of angular or true velocity. The enemy is in the butter zone. But if you reduce the sig to 125m tracking and DPS fall apart dramatically and angular velocity becomes important again, though not as much of a factor as sig radius.

So, what are the lessons?

Firstly, without over generalising on account of each weapon system being different (and missiles being a separate case), you have to consider the little-known stat of weapon signature resolution before considering the usual rigamarole of tracking formula. If your sig radius is above the weapon’s signature resolution, you take more or less full DPS. I mean, something with 1700m/s velocity at 15km is common. At 5km, fairly unusual in sustained circumstances. So tracking of the guns isn’t the whole picture if the DPS applied to the target at 15km does wild hijinks when its sig resolution gets down to the gun resolution. That stands to logic.

AHAC doctrine works because you start with a low sig ship, such as a T3 with the correct subsystem, and you stick to an AB, then you double-down by getting maximum skirmish links in Evasive maneuvering and trim another 30% off that. You can often get hulls down to the 60-120m signature resolution with base 120K+ EHP. Just from the above work-through, you can see that sig by itself adds another 50-75% damage shedding on top of the EHP and that’s against cruiser guns.

Countermeasures are few. Two 60% webs on a target will help a little, mostly with reducing angular velocity (unless you screw yourself by orbiting too vigorously). Range is mostly irrelevant unless you are a blaster boat or fight deep in fall-off. In fact, if you get to close, tracking falls apart, so webs are at most useful for range control and mobility control to maintain tackle.

No, the best cure to an AHAC doctrine gang is in fact the humble Vigil, or if you feel pimped, the Hyena. Twin meta 4 TP’s will blow your target’s sig up by an added 90%. You can stack 6 EWAR mods on, so if you dose the target with >100% sig you’ll push it back up the sig radius curve and into full damage territory – certainly up from say 5 DPS applied back to 100 DPS applied. That’s a shitload of extra applied DPS.

That's woeth putting a toon into a fabulously mobile little firgate to fuck your foes in the cornhole. hard.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Best Of Us

I'd like to put a shout out to Best Of Us.

Anyone who's been playing this game for a while will have heard of Vile Rat. His death is still in a way, being played out in the current politics with this ridiculous benghazi conspiracy theory.

But what a lot of people will also know, but maybe not process, is that there's a hell of a lot of ex-military guys (and a few gals) and veterans playing EVE Online. In fact, a huge number of people who play EVE Online are vets. I've got a couple in the alliance, including one guy who's on disability support (I won't go into details) in a serious way.

What players don't know, but I've known for a few years now, is that the corporate-military structure of EVE's PVP corps and alliances is essentially a simulation of the military camaraderie which develops in any unit. Vets who stumble into EVE Online seem to  seek this out, as a means of replacing what they've lost upon leaving the military, or are very familiar with it and get right into the structured, rigorous discipline which is required to fit in with active PVP corps. Some guys want to escape that, and prefer casual play, and enjoy the community. 

But one thing that's apparent is that veterans, whether suffering PTSD or some other medical problems from the war, or indeed not, often need someone to talk to and some goal to reorient their lives. So I'm glad to see Best Of Us starting up, and would encourage you all to give it some support.

If you need a place to chat, you can also drop past BUGRY's channels any time. NSFW links are a risk!

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Katamari On The Swing

When we moved holes I vetoed Pulsars. A few people said nothing in a way which said they had some opinions on the matter, but right now all serious fights in Pulsars above C1's (which are so weak it's kind of irrelevant) have basically the same script.

Side A invades/sieges for content.

Side B ships into Rattlesnakes and Gilas and Basilisks.

Side A ships into Rattlesnakes and Gilas and Basilisks.

Side B batphones for more Rattlesnakes, Gilas and Basilisks.

Side A batphones for more Rattlesnakes, Gilas and Basilisks.

It goes one of two ways from here. One option is that blueballs are declared, and no one gets a fight because the fight on hand is just too colossally stupid to entertain doing, or diplomatic efforts are deployed in order to avoid the fight that started out fun enough but is now involving every bored retard with a computer and no sense of proportion.

The other option is that someone decides to fight hashtag YOLO hashtag fuck it, hashtag pull your implants before you go into battle dot com.

This was the choice yesterday when we got batphoned by Haywire to assist them in their content eviction of some terribad scrublords from a C3 Pulsar with D845. This is generally known as "an invitation to every cunt to blob the fuck out of you with Gilas" and thusly every cunt didst respond to the batphone.

We were about 40 toons Vs 72;
11 Rattlers vs 6
4 shield bhaals vs 0
0 Scorpion vs 1
0 Rokhs vs 4
6 Basilisks vs 11
1 Scimi vs 0
7 Gilas,vs 15
0 Ishtars vs 2
1 Blackbird each
0 Falcon vs 1
0 Rooks vs ~2
Plus a random assortment of other crap on each side.

Blueballs were chosen to be avoided, and the butcher's bill came down at about 17 billion. Goodfights to Low Class. Not sure about the rest.

The problem with Pulsar meta is that it's rather stale. Rattlers, Gila and Basis on each side, what do you do? There are few innovations.

Low Class used smartbombing Rokhs because, well, every cunt is going to be using drones. The effectiveness of this was arguable, and should have been negligible if we had deployed properly off the hole with sentries as was the plan. So they bombed our drones and sat on the hole, we launched more drones, and that was that; they were the Rokh to our scissory drones, because it's pretty easy to counter a drone meta when everyone flies Rattlers and Gilas.

Secondly, EWAR was key. I would say logi was key, but even with 11 basi's on the field our wing of Snakes was busting their logi pretty easily. Of course, with so many Rooks on the field, our Logi was pretty ineffective (read: totally jammed). Again, it's not really hard to figure out what jams to load when it is an 11 vs 6 Basi fight. Our 5 Curses weren't enough, with jammed out logi, to dent their cap chain. Neither were our Bhaals, because they were immobilised by the huge amount of tackle which was on them at zero. So in a brawl like this I guess the lesson is to not rely on capping out the logi - better to damp them or Falcon fight.

So that is basically every single Pulsar eviction in the history of EVE in the past 2 years, or coming up, ever. He who batphones the most Gilas and Rattlers wins. There's got to be some variety to be had here, but I can't figure out what it could be, given the paucity of options - especially now the Ishtar has a weaker shield tank than previously. I mean, who's going to pass up 340K EHP Rattlers for...any other battleships? Who's going to pass up Gilas for anything else?


i swear, I should move to Latvia. They outrank Australia for internet quality.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Citadel pre-updates

CCP has been dropping hints about Citadels in the ast week or two, in the form of concept and development art.

The debate within BUGRY right now isn't so much whether the Citadels will be good or what they will do, but how much they will cost.

When you see the image below, you get the impression that the medium Citadel will cost 750,000,000,000 ISK or more.

I mean, that's a fucking Avatar there. Citadels are going to cost, like, at least five Avatars!

Well, probably not. Remember the POCO gantry and PI upgrade costs about 100M. The POCO is about 20km on a side. This is a "medium" structure. I wouldn't think that the Citadel will cost as little as the POCO, but I'd expect it to be in the billion ISK range, maybe up to a couple billion, five at tops.

"Five billion!", you exclaim in horror. Yeah, maybe. i would hope not. But remember, it won't cost fuel to run, and the cost of a tricked out large tower is about a billion ISK already, and that costs about 300M a month to fuel. So if you can foresee living in a Citadel for a year, you break even, more or less.

The other parts of Citadel life are less set in concrete, but are firming up like a stool filled with dietary fibre.
CCP seems fairly intent on having Citadel guns act passively, from the latest feedback. So you will have trollceptors come past and constantly reinforce your Citadel.

There is no certainty on the vulnerability window and influence of indexes on the gaping anusishness of wormhole vulnerability windows. We seem to be still heading for 16 hour vulnerabilities, with absolutely no concrete declaratons either way on this.

Space-hobbit cans seem to be the preference for handling looting of destroyed structures. Yay? I mean, it's irrelevant to me, but a lot of people persist with the fantasy of getting rich off POS bashing and will cry bittervet tears over this.

No concrete declarations about mooring, how it works, what can be moored to what, etc. Though, again, that there picture kind of suggests Mediums may allow caps to dock/moor/store. Probably not the Avatar though.

So, progress is being made. Certainly not enough, barring an Art Department allnighter bender till the 24th, for a deployment in the next patch. Which raises a very good question about what we'll get in the next patch?

More SKINs, certainly. Some fozziesov tweaks, probably. Maybe a soupcon of battleship rebalance, maybe something on Assault Frigates. Who knows? Looking like a patch on which to hit the snooze button and get back to bearing and hoarding shit ahead of Citadel deployment. You never know, it might actually cost 75 billion to build one, as CCP's way of effectively driving people from wormholes.

Monday, 3 August 2015

A Love Letter to Shirag

Shirag, Shirag, Shirag. Why do you play this game? You now have five losses to your name, sir, which is the well recognised point at which you should really biomass yourself. We're all awaiting it, keenly.

I mean, yes, you have killed as of this date 458 things. These are mostly POS modules. 368 of 458, a handy 80% of what you and your corp kills are passive assets which cannot defend themselves. This leaves a real pew pew index of non-Industrial and non-capsule ship kills of 47, or just over 10%!

We have met only a few times, Shirag, and your alts and friends. Every time, you instantly roll all your connections, lest anyone ever attack your passive assets and trash your killboard by destroying things of yours which don't fight back. If you see too many people, I have seen you warp back to POS and log off. If I call out in Local the names of your toons that are online, you warp back to POS with them, and also log them off. It has been one of the most frustrating pains in the balls to me, seeing you literally not taking a single risk to the point you sign out within seconds of someone coming in your hole.

But then CCP put higgs rigs in the game, and you and Arctic Light and other Nordic types seem to have come up with, disseminated amongst yourselves, and pioneered the Fagroller cloaky higgs rigged nullified T3. Last time we met, though you don't remember me because, doubtless I am just another one of those bads trying to shit up your killboard and cause you to have lossmails and spend ISK, your execution of the Fagroller doctrine impressed me mightily and I adopted it. It's now my thing.

This time, when I saw you on d-scan, in your Faroller Proteuses, all four of you guys or alts, I marshalled my troops. I mean, you were lucky. We had just moved in to the hole, so we didn't really have as many interceptors as we would have wished, and half the corp was offline. We had what we had and ho we had.  But that's besides the point. You fucked up because you are a risk-averse muppet. Risk averse muppets make this game shit, but at the same time, successfully killing you was high on my to-do list, right after your mum.

So how do you catch the elusive Shirag, in his home environment, flying the slippery Fagroller Proteus with it's 3 warp core stabs of Maximum Gayness?

Well, it really comes down to mass sabotaging the hole. But you need to do it just right, Goldilocks style. I mean, the Shirag, he watches you while he's cloaked. He sees what you jump in and out. He sees you rolling through in a Legion or two. But he has no idea if you are higgsed. He has no idea if you are using your 10MN MWD or your 100MN AB. But he doesn't know if you used a 100MN and a higgs rig, or not. So you jump. You jump a bit more. You add, precisely, 175Kt to the hole. Because when the Shirag jumps in for his third run out of four, instead of it having just 200Kt left, it has 25Kt (plus or minus). It looks crit. But it's supercritical.

So your choice, dear Shirag, though you didn't know it because how could you know it, was to be a risk averse muppet and lose one of your two Proteus Fagrollers, or to take a risk and evacuate out the other static and close the hole safely with your 100MN on. One requires calculated risk, and a bit of work the other is what a scared lazy fuck muppet would choose.

You chose poorly, dear Shirag, trying to jump both toons at once. I am not sure if you had your 100MN on or not, how can I know? But either way, even if you didn't, one of your ships was going to get stuck. It happened.

So we killed you. 

That required a double-scram Astero, thanks to all your stabs. The stabs did nothing. So you ejected, lest you suffer a fate worse than death, being a pod lossmail.

Alas, you thought you could escape and bounce about until downtime. Maye log in, pull your implants, and then suicide out. The prime directive, of course, was for you to avoid your fifth ever lossmail. This was not to happen! You chose poorly, and being a muppet, you warped back to a safe you already used, and we got you.

I hope you enjoy the 40% of your lossmails, courtesy of Sudden Buggery pod cleaning service. Free of charge.

I also hope that this liberates you from your risk averse muppetness. I doubt it. But I wonder - what will you do when Entosis play comes to wormholes via Citadels? How will you get 80% of your killmails then, Shirag? How will you play a game for years and years into the future when you might have to....take a risk, which includes also risking it to defend your own Citadels?

Sincerely yours,

Saturday, 1 August 2015

A change is as good as a holiday

Moving holes is a horrible experience, especially if you have 9 POSs and 90 toons worth of shit. Rough numbers are:
2M m3 of POS crap. This included 240 sensor damp batteries. Plus we had to set up 80 sensor damps on our new POS in our target hole, which is about 3 hours of solid onlining.
450 ships at least. Of these, about 70 were crappy T1 ships and found their way into sleeper sites, stripped of modules, because Sleepers kill them faster than you can SD them. The rest are, as usual, spread from asshole to breakfast. Luckily the Bowhead exists now and things were collected in our head office / staging system fairly quickly.
About 1M m3 of general shit. Luckily about 750,000 cubes of this was ore, which was conventiently compressed into a sole Miasmos. Which was worth a couple of billion as it YOLOed out the C2 chain unescorted. Wormholes are empty, what can I say?

So the Mullet Hole is no more. Well, besides a placeholder POS with an alt, to stay there for a few months while people re-sub and re-app to corp and grab a probing heron and find their way out.

it was a good hole, the Mullet Hole. We moved in a year and a bit ago, when C4's were going to gain their second static. We took a punt that C4 space would hot up with PVP corps moving in. This kinda happened. I mean, there's more PVP corps in C4's but there's less people playing the game overall, so we were finding our X877 chain to be more of a drag than a benefit. We hadn't ratted in our C4 for months, and could barely be bothered ratting our home sites every week. C2 relic sites, combat sites and PI was enough for most people.

So we decided to move to a C4 with N766 and C247, C2 and C3. We considered going for an effect, as our vanilla hole was good, but we wanted something more.

I vetoed Wolf Rayet instantly, as it's pretty much a boring and shit meta of Hecates, triple-damp RLML Caracals and Garmurs. Yawn.

Pulsars are where the big PVP hero corps hang out for some reason, so evictions are whoever turns up with the most Rattlesnakes. Last C4 pulsar eviction I attended it was 80 Rattlers vs 35 Rattlers. Yawn.

Cats are all owned by Russians with Domiballs. This is effectively Bhaaldoctrine, to crush capacitor, and we couldn't field enough Bhaals or Domis to take on the Russian C4 mafia. So that's out of the question.

Magnetars are bear holes. If you krab in C5 mags, i guess you prawn in C4's. The other problem is the intense testicle pain which is caused by ratting C4 mags. Lock range down 54% is a whorish pain in the arse, even with MJD phoons. You can't apply your DPS well at range in anything, except perhaps rail Tengu fleets, but there's no advantage at that point anyway versus vanilla. PVP wise, mags are always a shit a helmet. Kiboshed.

Red Giant is maybe OK with specific defense setups, but with no compelling advantage, it's just a vanilla hole with a different nebula. So we kiboshed that.

Which left us with Black Holes, the unloved stepchild of environments. There are only two C2 + c3 Black Holes, and out of 500 C4's the oddds were stacked against us as we began ragerolling casually for C2 + c3 holes. We found one of the two Black Holes about 3 weeks ago, inserted an alt. The defenders are semi-competent bittervets with two large faction towers with huge arrays of faction guns. I knew one of them from years ago, he taught me precisely zero about how to PVP despite claiming he was a god. I guess he was in 2006. Nowadays, godly PVP occurs by flying daredevils around a C4 BH or duelling week old noobs in Amarr.

After some time casing the joint, getting a siege plan in order, organising US-EU TZ coverage via some allies, and a week cleaning out Mullet Hole, we were ready.

I was jacking up the siege tower on Invasion Night when the C247 re-spawned. I jumped in, found a random T405, and viola, it was to the only other C4 Black Hole in game with the two statics we wanted and some clownishly bad Russian POS. So we elected to take the easy route, spent 4 hours sieging with Trashcats to neutralise the POS defences, and at midnight the first capital ship of the defenders went up in smoke - Rorqual and soon Archon.

Seems they all but moved out 4 months ago after living in the hole 1.5 years. Google Translate insults were exchanged, mothers hourly rates compared, and now we await the batphone with the penis totem of 80 sensor damps erected on our POS.