Friday, May 28, 2010

Tyrannis Tears Roundup

It's only been out a couple of days and already there have been many expressions of LOLWTF! resulting from the changes, so many that you might have trouble keeping up so here's the quick summary:

Standings System got changed and suddenly a number of POS's started shooting blues because the pilots were members of corps that weren't set at +10 standing by the parent alliance. This lead to all sorts of hilarious emergencies when expensive ships found themselves scrammed and under fire from a blue POS while alliance got on the batphone to the owners to get stuff fixed. Sometimes a rescue was sucessful, sometimes we got fancy killmails - such as this rattlesnake.

People are still whining about insurance, some are quite happy that the payout on their Assault Frigates and intereceptors have doubled, but most people are annoyed. The most hilarious example of insurance whines comes from a pilot who bought 92 ravens and insured them all hours before Tyrannis was deployed, on the incorrect assumption that the insurance contracts would retain their value. Now he's going to lose 30million per ship instead of breaking even, and because insurance contracts last 3 months he pretty much needs to lose one a day to avoid losing even more money. Of course, he claimed that this was all done in the name of assembling a cheap PVP fleet, but nobody believes this so it's even more amusing to see someone who was gaming the insurance system get bit in the arse by his own inability to research the changes.

PI gear hasn't been seeded, but it's possible to get the advanced products used for POS/Module/Stucture construction by reprocessing the same stuff bought from NPC sell orders. At first people thought it was cute to put up sell orders for this stuff and people paid a premium for it, but then it became apparent that there was potentially huge profit to be made by melting down things like Moon Harvesters and then building POS Towers or Outpost Eggs for a fraction of their NPC cost. Threadnaughts have started and already CCP Devs have stepped in saying 'we're aware of the problem, and there may be unspecified consequences', I don't think this has stopped anyone. On Saturday CCP disabled all sell orders for POS Gear, with the intention of restarting them later in the week, presumably after some 'rebalancing' of costs.

For some unknown reason the hard limit on pilots in Jita has been dropped to 1000 from 1400+, this has lead to the system gates becoming parking lots full of freighters repeatedly hitting the jump button and occasionally getting ganked.

Mission Grinders are complaining about everything, lots of people claiming that they're only ever getting sent into low-sec now, I myself while experimenting found a day old noob getting sent on a courier mission through lowsec by a Tutorial agent. The funny thing is, the patch notes tell us this is the result of a feature that got added ages ago to help spread missions to less loaded systems, but due to a programming error this was happening in reverse. So, technically mission runners should be grateful that they had this extra grace period....

The Loot balancing has resulted in significant shifts in the module markets, in particular the price of named Afterburners and Microwarpdrives has collapsed as just about every mission rat is dropping them. Many mission runners are saying it's no longer worth their time to salvage missions, which might be good for me, since I'm sitting on a silly amount of salvage components from my insurance scam operation :)

And at the other end of the player hierachy the PVP'ers are all having problems with some accidental changes to the amounts of Nanite Paste required to fix overheated modules without docking. We're talking tens of millions of isk in nanite paste to repair light heat damage to a rack of battleship guns, compared to a few percent of that at an outpost repair service. But pilots needn't worry, because the odds are that they'll get caught by surprise due to the overview update bugs, so no need to repair those guns when your ship is destroyed.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

CSM5 Results Are In And I'm Quite Happy...

Not ecstaticly happy, with a win of my own, but happy that Mynxee won the most votes and therefore the chair, she easily the most deserving candidate in the field and ran an exceptional campaign. She also stands above other individuals who if they had achieved chair would have had their status tarnished by suggestions that a number of their votes were due to being placed first on the candidate page, or because they spread lies like 'level 4 missions are being moved to low-sec only'.

So, myself I managed 444 votes - 28th place, around the middle of the pack, with only one more vote than Corbeau Lenoir, I'm so glad I bribed Skye with some ice cream so she'd vote for me. I'm looking forward to the elections for CSM6 - that'll be in March next year, and I figure that I managed to go from 0 to 444 votes in a month of campaigning, so with 10 months of preparation time It's not unreasonable to expect that I can increase my visibility within the Eve community and make a convincing campaign in 2011.

So, once again, congratulations to the winners and thanks to everyone that participated, and a special thanks to everyone that voted in me - one day when I win CSM(N) you'll be able to say you were one of the early faithful ;)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Prize Ships for Alliance Tournament VIII

Details of the prize ships for Alliance Tournament VIII have been revealed - a couple of soon to be super exclusive Tech 2 Gallente ships -

The Utu is almost like a combination of the Iskur and Enyo - it has a huge 75m^3 drone bay, although it only has 25Mbit drone bandwidth so the pilots won't be fielding full wings of medium drones, but it also gets a 10%/Level bonus to drone damage. It gets a 50% reduction in heat damage, a 50% bonus to Hybrid optimal range and tracking, a 10%/Level Bonus to Warp Disruptor/Warp Scrambler Range. And of course to top it all off it gets more Hull, Armour, Shield and Capacitor just to make sure you have the edge over those far more common gallente assault frigates.

The only field in which the Enyo and Ishkur can claim any sort of an edge is the number of Hi-Slots, the Utu only gets 3, but it gets 4 mids and 4 lows so it can fit a Scram and Web. I haven't messed with EFT either but it might even have a viable dual propulsion setup.

Ahh yes EFT... because theorycrafting is all I'm likely to do with this....

Anyway, on to the Adrestia, based on the Thorax hull this is what a blaster boat should be with a 25% bonus to speed out of the box and 20%/level bonus to hybrid damage so this thing can get in range fast and lay a lot of hurt on its target. It also gets 50% bonus to hybrid falloff range and tracking speed to help with the whole 'laying of hurt' functionality, and, like the Utu a 20%/Level bonus to Warp Disruptor/Scrambler range. The drone bay is 100m^3, that's twice the size of the drone bay on the Deimos, so no need to choose between light and medium drones when loading up - and lets face it, if you're loading out this ship it'll be those super fancy Augmented Hobgoblins, Hammerheads and Warriors. It loses the utility hi-slot and gains a mid slot, and again more HP and more capacitor all around.

Of course, very few people are ever going to see these rare ships, if you have tens of billions in cash to spare then you might be able to buy one, at least when the tournament is over and the prizes have been awarded.

And then I hope that someone has the balls to make sure these ships do more than sit in hangars - my hat goes off to Admiral Goberius who flew his Mimir during the providence war.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Sansha Invasion = Great Opportunities for.....

I've been using the Vigil as my main mode of transport around hi-sec, it's relatively cheap
since it has more space, faster unboosted speed (700+m/s) and a trio of warp speed rigs to shave seconds of the time taken to warp across a system. I fill out the highs with salvagers and I've found more than a few wrecks for the taking on my travels, it has no need for guns, but I usually toss a combat drone in the drone bay. In the midslots It fits a MWD - giving a boosted speed of almost 5000m/s, a Capacitor Battery and recently the third midslot is fitted with a target painter. For a while I was fitting a shield extender for more tank, but it didn't really add anything and the vigil does get a bonus for target painting.

But what use is a target painter on this ship?

Well along with the drone it's proven quite effective at getting me onto killmails for those Sansha carriers turning up in hi-sec, being able to move across grid quickly and hitting the target with EWAR from 50km out is a hugely effective way of securing my place on the killmails. On top of this, the salvagers and speed make speedy work of the vast number of Sansha Battleship wrecks that end up being left on the field of battle. I turned up to some previous events in a Hawk, but a combination of the hawk not being hugely fast (would be nice to have had that AB bonus we talked about) and the 'Slave' turning up in a Nightmare meant that the target died before I could get in range, the short lifespan of battleships is why they've switched to carriers. Sure I worked hard and blew up scores of the loyal frigate rats that were webbing and scramming other players, but my hard work was barely recognised.

So, the 'killmail whore' setup is performing exceptionally well in that respect. I'm seriously mulling over the possibility of creating a comic alt who's entire purpose is to get onto other people's kilmails. My strategy would be to fit a frigate with an ECM burst and basicly trigger it in the middle of other people's battles in 0.0, it's possible to do this on an astrometrics frigate with an expanded probe launcher so in theory you could drop scan probes around an engagement and warp right on top of targets, fire the ECM and then try to GTFO - and repeat this until you finally get caught.... One day I shall test this theory.

Anyway, at the Sansha event in Vylade yesterday I also managed to get on scene with an alt in a tackle frigate, for about 5 seconds - warped to zero, landed next to a carrier, locked, fired and got blown up by a smartbomb. At which point it occured to me I had seconds until another smartbomb cycle was going to take out my pod and the UI was running far too slowly to make warping to a celestial in time so fearing for my implants I hit ctrl-q at which point my whole system grinds to a halt and windows decides to spin while closing the app. I get control back on my main character just as autopilot jumps him into Vylade, so I head into the breach and target paint my way onto the killmail before salvaging as many wrecks as possible. I finally log my alt back in and she's still in her pod, so I bookmark her wreck, fly to station and come back in a shiny new noobship.

For what it's worth I grab the remains of my ship, and figuring I have nothing to lose if I aggro someone I look in the wrecks around me. First wreck is the remains of the carrier.... containing a Capital Shield Booster!!! Nice, now I have to figure out how to get it back to station before someone else does, a 40million isk module is fair payment for the trauma of losing my frigate.

hmm there are a lot of people sitting nearby, I wonder if they've noticed? So I jettison the shield booster from my old ship and flip the Capital booster into the same can, I hope that Slave dude doesn't come back anytime soon because now he's within his rights to shoot me. Meanwhile with my main I'm looking around for a hauler, I've got one 4 jumps away, probably too far, and on the market some enterprising individual has bought up all the haulers in system and relisted then at 1000 times their regular price. No I do not want to pay 500million for an industrial. So I head next door to Dodixie and get myself a Mammoth.

Back at the wreck site, I can see people coming and looking in cans around me, every 3 minutes I add another jetcan to the collection of stuff around me and I keep the cap shield booster switching from one can to another in an approximation of the shell game. At one point a pilot in a Cyclone comes by and steals my old non capital shield booster, just as I switch out the cap booster to another can. But either he doesn't notice the real prize, or he doesn't think to flip it into his own can, and after a tense few minutes I arrive in my brand new mammoth to secure the prize. Sometimes the most exciting things in Eve are nothing to do with shooting at anything.

That shield booster will pay for the Research Project Management skillbook my alt was about to buy.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Ore Rebalacing For Tyrannis

One of the Dev's plans for rebalancing the mineral market was to increase the amount of low end minerals refined from mid range ores, the types of ore found in low sec and garden variety 0.0 systems*.

A quick examination of the test server shows the current changes as

Jaspet now refines to 439 Pyerite, was previously only 259

Hemorphite triples the amount of Tritanium from 212 up to 650, and gains 260 Pyerite and 60 Mexallon

Hedbergite added 290 Pyerite to the refinery output.

Spodumain more than quadruples its tritanium output up to 3190 from 700, and almost triples its pyerite content to 400 from 140.

So, if you're mining any of these ores I'd sit on them until the new release to maximise your profits.

* Many miners who've never left empire labour under the delusion that Arkonor is found throughout 0.0, anyone who's been there will attest otherwise, most 0.0 systems are in fact crap for mining.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Planetary Interaction In The Slightly More Distant Future

So, deployment of Tyrannis is being pushed back by a week, and CCP has bought even more time to fix bugs with planetary interaction by pushing back the seeding of the planetary command centres until the 8th of June. That'll give everyone time to train the skills, and figure out which planets they want to use before there's the mad land rush on the 8th.

I'm actually quite happy to hear this, it's better to do things right the first time rather than rushing out something with a whole bunch of known problems.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Revitalizing Low Sec - Pirate Software Edition

So last Saturday I participated in a round table organized by Mynxee regarding Low-sec and throwing around ideas on how to revitalize it and make it more distinct from Hi-Sec and 0.0. Generally the main thrust is that it needs new and unique resources and rewards and the ability to harvest those without putting players at so much risk that the risk/reward gets devalued below that of empire. People were very fond of cops & robbers themed concepts such as 'Corruption' which build an underground economy in low-sec around criminal products.

Boosters are a great example because they have a direct correspondence with the real world drug trade, and because boosters have an actual in game use in 'enhancing' your abilities to fly internet spaceships. For this reason boosters got a lot of attention with suggestions for changes that encouraged pilots to keep taking more and more to keep themselves under the influence and stay ahead of the crash. Other 'questionable products' like prostitutes, banned holoreels and plain old non-booster drugs can certainly be produced in low-sec and moved around to planets that need them, indeed if PI ever gets some decent population management features these might be great additions. Beyond these we kinda stalled in looking for 'stuff' that would be unique to low-sec, but useful to players everywhere, something that would pull people into lowsec to produce and fight over.

After the discussion a further idea occured to me - Pirate Software, Black Codes that let you break into other systems and do things you're not supposed to. Things like...
  • Temporarily disabling sentry guns at gates and stations, so you fleet can operate unmolested, at least until the other side notice the glitch in the network and send a squad to investigate.
  • Messing around with local intel, not appearing in local is one thing, but if you combine this with some of the intel redesign suggestions it could also be used to read local intel when you'd otherwise be blocked out.
  • When you're tackling a pilot in a belt, use our 'leet hacking skills to make it hard to call for help, CCP can't stop pilots calling for help over third party teamspeak, but they can make the 'warp to member' fail, or perhaps drop the cavalry 200km off target.
  • See all those offline towers? Instead of shooting them for hours just roll up and inject a software virus into it's now vulnerable processor, over the next 24 hours it'll slowly subvert the locking systems unless the owners can get on the scene and load fresh firmware (and fuel).
  • How about sneaking a look at things that would normally be off limit to you - wallets and hangars, some in game sactioned espionage?
Ok you get the idea, there are a whole bunch of things that people have asked for with hacking and I don't need to rewrite those proposals here, or spend weeks balancing them all. e.g. Being able to hack into an opponents ship and make shut off their enignes, disable weapons, make them jettison cargo or self destruct might sound 'interesting' but it could mean a pretty radical change to PVP. One person suggested a hacking mini game where attackers and defenders move firewalls, IPS, ICE and other widgets around a data core, but it ended up sounding like something out of Puzzle Pirates. So, full on infowar PVP isn't going to happen and really isn't necessary to get this kind of content into the game.

In the PVE context Pirate Software might be used to disable defences, open back doors, or simply give pilots credentials to allow them past something that would otherwise shoot them. Now I want to dwell on this for a moment, mission runners in low-sec fear getting scanned down and ganked, one of the big problems with NPC AI is that if you're running a mission and a pirate warps in with the intention of ganking you you've now got to deal with DPS from both the rats and the players which hardly seems fair. Now, if you're running a mission for your local shady underworld type he might give you special codes to make you invisible to the defenses, but people not in your fleet will have no such protection and will find themselves under attack. If you listen to the Low-Sec round table some people are suggesting limiting uninvited incursions through the use of gate keys, so this is a variant on this, where hostiles are used to interfere with an attack rather than simply deny it. Although, it's not too much of a stretch to imagine that gates might also be hackable with the right pirate software to bypass need for a key.

As an aside - on the subject of missioning in lowsec...
I alluded to the fact that running level 4 missions in battleships makes it really easy to scan you down, and it makes travel in low-sec a matter of time before you get caught at a gate, so level 4's in lowsec can never be as profitable as those in hi-sec. If I were designing an expansion built around low-sec I'd take cues from the pirate speedboat missions and design around small mobile ships as being the intended vessels of choice. Missions might even be designed with some of the specialist ship classes - the covert ops, the stealth bomber, the assault frigate in mind.

Furthermore, pirates tend to operate in gangs, and mission runners tend to be solo - low-sec mission content might be an appropriate place to introduce multiplayer missions with goals that require multiple pilots (e.g. a gate needs a lock 'disabled', but the lock is far from the gate and respawns before a single ship could fly the distance). There was a lot of people angry at the Gallente storyline missions, they were not happy with the prospect of taking a battleship several jumps into lowsec where they'd be easy meat. However, I flew these missions, and instead of the large slow ship I took a couple of rifters along instead, 2 pilots working as a team, the first created a diversion and drew aggro on the combat ships, pulling them away from the transports they were protecting. While the second swooped in and took out the now undefended haulers, I don't believe the original mission design was built around this tactic, but you could see how a PVE encounter could be designed with this in mind. The most painful part of the whole process was travelling 25 jumps to the site and the same distance back, for a crappy reward, all the time grumbling that none of the other factions are forcing their pilots to run these 'special' missions.

All this is of course designed to provide content which isn't simply cookie cutter repeats of experiences you'll get in the safety of hi-sec, and to provide it in a manner where the risk-reward equation favours the bold both by increasing the reward and reducing the risk. Plenty of wormhole dwellers were empire only mission grinders until they were tempted by the rewards of t3 and the promise of better PVE, the same equation applied to low-sec has a successful precedent. Plenty of people want to play as 'the bad guys' without necessarily PVP'ing as pirates, but with 'Corruption' suggestion an integrated avenue for PVP leading to rewards it's not too much of a stretch to see pilots participation naturally progressing in that direction.

Anyway, all of this is a significant amount of work, CCP would have to dedicate a release to low-sec, and while I'm one of those shouting 'slow down and fix the bugs' I'm also saying that low-sec represents a significant part of New Eden that's being squandered, so it is indeed worthy of a dedicated expansion.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Oops I Accidently The Whole Server

So, due to a process that generates Item ID's going offline it looks like the system lost over 100,000 items which were 'manipulated' during the hour or so leading up to todays shutdown.

Time to go and petition that Titan blueprint I lost. :)

7 Years Of Eve Patches (Part 5)

Quantime Rise, frequently referred to Quantum Nerf for its rebalancing of speed and to a lesser extent missiles - Released on 11th November 2008. One major update that's not mentioned in the patch notes, because technically it's a server side change, was the disabling of Ghost Training which created one of the longest running discussion threads in the history of the Eve forums.

69477 - Quantum Rise
- Outer Ring excavations (ORE) and Deep Core Mining (DCM) have completed a joint venture by creating The Orca.
- One of my favourite ships, partly for its looks, but mainly for the sheer utility it offers.

- Speed rebalance has been introduced, affecting a great many different ships and modules.
- Another forums threadnaught resulted from the Nano-Nerf which was intended to put 'ludicrous speed' out of reach.

- Certificates are a powerful tool to reinforce your bragging rights
- The only certificate I see people bragging about is 'Hull Tanking - Elite'

- The Crane, Prorator, Prowler and Viator can now equip a covert ops cloak
- I love my Crane and Viator, I just wish that CCP had given them all an extra hi-slot for that cloak.

- All missile types have been balanced
- They removed the 'Easy' button and replaced it with a 'Not Hard' button, except in the case of rockets where the button says 'LoL'

- The 30-day renewable license pioneered by CONCORD is an alternative to its pod pilot contract license.
- now market traders in could manipulate the costs of game time with much greater ease.

- players can now create some of the rarer moon minerals like dysprosium and promethium through reactions.
- After careful analysis of the market prices of moon minerals CCP introduce Alchemy, a method to increase supply of the rarer ones. A month later it was discovered that a number of people were using a duplication exploit to increase the supply of high end minerals and everyone realises that the analysis was based on completely false data.

70393 - The shield recharge time on the Orca has been changed to 2100 seconds
- They made it longer so people would realise that the Orca is the ultimate in hi-sec hull tanking.

71655 - We have made various performance improvements to UI rendering in the graphics engine.
- In QR they'd managed to introduce a whole lot of client side performance issues, and while fixing them they also added new options to disable bits of eye candy like drone models and explosions.

83913 - Apocrypha, released 10 March 2009
- Our Classic client has been retired to make way for Premium Lite
- Which meant you couldn't play Eve on graphics hardware made prior to 2002 any more.

- Wormholes will bring a whole new level of adventure and exploration for every pilot who dares to probe out an entrance to the unknown.
- And since we had a lot of hi-sec carebears jumping into them the 'adventure' frequently was provided by other players.

- New technology found in Wormhole Space allows players to research, manufacture and fly the next generation of cruisers.
- That was a year ago, and I'm still too much of a wimp to PVP with my 'new' shiney.

- Character attribute distribution can now be rearranged in order to diversify or specialize skill training.
- Action finally being taken on the Achura overpopulation problem.

- Scanning in New Eden has been completely revamped
- And it became truly awesome, requiring real, honest to god skill to scan down sites and targets.

- As part of our ongoing effort to bring cutting edge graphics to EVE’s players, almost every effect in game has been redone.
- Can I have the old Cyno effect back?

85476 - Going through a jump bridge or using a cynosural field will no longer cause ammunition that is being reloaded from being lost.
- Seriously, I don't care about the ammo, even the fancy faction stuff, I just want the electrified awesome that was the old Cyno.

86756 - Stealth Bombers have had their role refocused to be anti-battleship role.
- They got covert ops cloaks, epic torpedo damage and bombs that didn't make you poor, everyone bought them instead of T3.

88517 - The default overview setting for war, militia, and global criminal targets has been changed.
- triggering hundreds of friendly fire incidents until people figured out how to fix their overview.

88974 -Modules will no longer be subject to an activation delay when a ship has de-cloaked after jumping through a stargate.
- All of a sudden gatecamping had got a lot easier as pilots failed to cloak fast enough.

89883 - Jumping through a gate will no longer cause the client to lock up.
- This bug pretty much killed fleets roaming through 0.0, if you jumped in just as someone was decloaking your client locked up, frequently followed by reds killing your helpless ship as you restarted your client.

93706 - The drop rates for faction drone blueprints have been increased substantially.
- And still those augmented drones are as rare as hens teeth.

99186 - Carriers, Dreadnoughts, Motherships, Titans, Jump Freighters and the Rorqual now have special fuel bays.
- CCP deals a blow to the Honor Tank.

101786 - It is now possible to shoot objects that are 0 meters away with turrets.
- it was always frustrating to have to fly away from something so you could hit it at point blank range.

And so, we've reached Dominion, so now this series has come up to date there's nothing more for me to say - see you out there.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

7 Years Of Eve Patches (Part 4)

When we last left off Eve was about to get a massive facelift with the release of Trinity, but the patch notes reveal a whole lot of other changes, and they also didn't mention (because they didn't know) about the infamous 'boot.ini' problem.
(As I understand it builds 45017 and 45018 are essentially the same thing.)

45017 - CONCORD will now respond to aggressing drones during criminal acts by deactivating a pilot's capability to control them.
- Once upon a time it was possible that a suicide gank would succeed after the aggressing ship had been concorded as the drones continued their attack like mindless errrr drones.

45018 - Trinity Expansion
- a graphics update of gargantuan proportions
- The Trinity Trailer wins the prize for 'Most Accurate Depiction of Eve Online in an Eve Online Trailer'

- Jump Freighters, Heavy Interdictors, Marauders, Black Ops, Electronic Attack Ships
- Listed in order of importance IMHO

- Tip of the day
- Here's a tip - Vote For Me!

- Drone bandwidth is a new additional constraint on drones
- Because fielding a full wing of heavy drones from a Myrmidon was considered overpowered.

- Sansha faction ships now focus exclusively on energy turrets exclusively and shield tanking.
- and the Nightmare became truly awesome, shame they didn't go and change Sansha faction modules to align with this new vision.

- Bomb manufacturing will output 2 bombs per batch
- Later batches would increase this to 3 per batch and now 10 per batch. Now stealth bombers are *everywhere*.

45943 - EVE Voice should now work under Mac OS Leopard. Now ransomers can hear their victims sing "Dancing Queen".
- All Mac Users are Abba fans.

49137 - An issue which caused some users to be unable to type their username and password in the login window has been fixed.
- That's one way to fix lag.

51200 -Electronic Warfare Effects shown in Overview
- This was a big update with lots of ship rebalancing and a big boost for Amarr, but this small change, tucked away in the corner of the patch notes is probably the most essential thing they added.

53162 - NPC corporations will no longer be selling shuttles
- Essentially removing the price cap on Tritanium and making the mineral markets more of a market.

56866 - Empyrean Age Expansion
- You can sign up for Factional Warfare on behalf of the four main Empires
- We'll even make it worth your while... eventually.

- Black Rise, a new mainly lowsec region.
- Because we need a place to send Gallente mission runners when we add those experimental storyline missions.

- The since-long missing 6th Amarr frigate, the Magnate, has been released.
- The Gold and Silver Magnates were super rare prizes given out in 2003, now, anyone can own a cheap copy.

- Osprey Navy Issue
- At the height of Nano-Fever the Caldari were given their fastest ship yet! (Just wait for the NanoNerf - coming soon)

61817 - CONCORD have gone through multiple changes in organization and effectiveness.
- And so the current version of Condord appeared, response times were shortened, and security hits increased. Suicide ganking will surely be finally put to rest.

64311 - A new autopilot feature has been added: Avoid System.
- The 'please don't go to Jita' release, along with a new interstellar bypass system to let you navigate around The Forge without worrying about getting stuck loading Jita.

64451 - The autopilot avoidance system has been updated.
- Because the autopilot was telling everyone that Jita was 2,147,483,647 jumps away.

And so we'll pause here again, the next release was Quantum Rise... possibly the least popular expansion to date.

7 Years Of Eve Patches (Part 3)

When we last left our epic voyage through the patch notes we'd just come to the foot of a giant 20,000 point leap in build numbers brought forth by the new build system. We were on the Dragon branch, presumably tied into the release of Eve in China, so sometime between Blood Lines and Revelations, in the middle of 2006.

25245 - Deadspace acceleration gates no longer permit the entry of carriers, freighters, dreadnoughts, motherships and titans.
- Because it just wasn't fair on the pirates.

27121 - If you decline more than 1 mission, per agent, every 4 hours you will now take a standing hit to the faction that the agent works for.
- There was a reason for this limitation, the devs managed to forget it when they removed the limitation from Factional Warfare missions.

27912 - Revelations - Another biggie with a whole lot of stuff we take for granted these days
- "New areas of space have been discovered but are under the control of the first self-aware drone, Orphyx, and his Rogue Drone descendants"
- Let the mineralpocalypse begin!

- "Rigs And Salvaging" & "Exploration"
- Ninja Salvaging!

- "Invention will open wider access to the Tech Level II industry"
- But it won't stop people complaining about TII BPO's

- "The Contracts System is a player-driven mechanism for characters and corporations to formalize work agreements with each other"
- The contracts system is a great new feature to help people scam each other.

- "New Tier 2 Battlecruisers and Tier 3 Battleships to wreak more havoc on your enemies."
- for people who hate Drakes, this is the moment the game went downhill

But most important of all we have
- "'Warp to 0 km' will be added as an option to the 'Warp' menu."
- And millions of instawarp bookmarks were deleted from the DB

28028 - You can now leave your ship while docked, resulting in you appearing in the station in a pod and your ship in your shipbay.
- there was a time when you had to keep buying shuttles when moving 'your stuffs' from one place to another.

28296 -A new probe, the Multispectral Frequency Probe
- This is the only thing that people miss from the old scanning system, the ability to drop one probe and in 5 minutes know whether there are grav/mag/radar/ladar sites worth scanning down.

29239 -The Asteroid Belts in the following systems have been mined out (removed)...
- The universe of New Eden was restructured to try and break up trade/mission hubs. It didn't work.

29316, 29630, 29969 were a bunch of client bug fixes, the kind of thing we like to see and nothing to laugh about.

30636 - Logging off inside a warp disrupt bubble (mobile warp disrupt or interdictor bubble) no longer triggers an emergency warp.
- immediately followed by a bunch of killmails from logoffski fans who didn't/couldn't read the patchnotes.

31081 - Russian UI has been revoked from the client
- but it didn't stop Russians playing the game better than your average native english speaker.

31460 - Concord war fees have changed
- AKA the Privateer nerf

32517 - It is no longer possible to create courier contracts with a duration of 0 days
- CCP doing their bit to reduce the 'Stupidity Tax'

33752 - Revelations II - Added new features to sov warfare
- Jump Bridges/Cyno Beacons/Cyno Jammers
- These are so important in 0.0 that alliance pay billions in Sov fees to keep them running.

- Outpost and Starbase warfare
- Introduced levels of boredom into PVP which were unsurpassed until the arrival of Dominion.

- Heat
- Sov warfare makes news outside of Eve, but the introduction of Thermodynamics had a much wider effect on on combat and is an essential PVP skill to have.

- The EVE Data Export project will allow players to view information about the game world, their characters, corporations and more.
- The API appeared with Revelations II, making all sorts of indispensible apps possible.

- The existing LP/Offers system has been replaced with the new “LP Store” feature.
- Prior to this you couldn't really choose what you were getting for your continued loyalty, this has had a profound effect on the prices of faction gear on contracts. And helped make mission grinding even more profitable.

34381 - Font size in chat windows can now be increased to considerably larger than before.
- And we're still waiting on the ability to do this for the rest of the UI

35106 - Cowbell
- More cowbell

36191 - Rorqual ORE Capital Ship introduced
- One day I shall be flying one.

36800 - Starbase towers, whose damage states are changing and below 95% shield are now persisted periodically in the DB.
- When can we do the same thing for outposts?

37549 - CONCORD officers will now drop the donuts and immediately deploy with the intention of smoking your criminal derrière if you remote repair criminal NPCs.
- Of course, you can still remote rep some empire faction NPC's if you want to pretend that you're roleplaying and not griefing.

41736 - EVE will now run on Mac OS X and Linux.
- it won't necessarily run well...

Next time - the release of the new graphics engine In Trinity.

7 Years Of Eve Patches (Part 2)

So far I've covered the changes from the initial release in May 2003, through the addition of Tech II ships and gear in the Castor expansion in December 2003. The next major release was Exodus in November 2004 - Build # 2942, now this covers a whole lot of important stuff

2942 -Starbase Structures, System Sovereignty, Deadspace Complexes, Mining Barges, Destroyers, Battlecruisers, Ice Mining, System Scanning, Rogue Drones, Level 4 Missions, Player Alliances, War Declarations
- Eve became Eve as we know it with the release of exodus.

3004 - The Global chat channel has been closed.
- There was a time when the whole of New Eden could hang out in a single chat channel

3106 - It is no longer possible to complete a mission in space. You must talk to the agent to complete the mission.
- And in Dominion one of the new features was being able to complete some missions in space.

3211 - Transport Ship skill for advanced Industrials....
- Introduction of the t2 industrials, long before blockade runners got Covert cloaks

3364 - Stealth Bombers are now available from Research agents
- Stealth bombers sucked until the redesign of a year ago, now they are officially Awsome

3772 -Red Moon Rising Expansion
- Titans, Carriers, Motherships and 23 other Tech 2 ships.

- CCP expected only a couple of Titans to every be built, after all they're just giant epeens

- Tech level 1 ships have received an overhaul.
- This is where we really see racial frigate and cruiser roles crystalize with miners, tacklers, combat, missile Ewar and Scanning ships appearing. (although the amarr still lacked a scanning ship at this time)

- Drones are more robust and able to deal more damage, but players can control less numbers
- The epic drone nerf that left the Guardian Vexor as the only sub-capital capable of fielding more then 5 drones.

- Players are able to take matters into their own hands to protect themselves and their resources with the 'Eye for an Eye' and JetCan flagging changes
- Can stealing turns into can flipping

3805 - Added agent offers which dish out Empire charters needed to build starbases in Empire space.
- and within 5 minutes of the servers starting up all the moons near Jita were claimed.

3807 - Deployment of 70 dual-core, dual-CPU AMD Opteron LS20 Blades
- Fixing teh lag by throwing hardware at the problem.

3896 - Four new player race bloodlines are now available.
- And the Caldari Achura plague began.

3900 - Creating a second bloodline character on the same account no longer breaks the client window
- because it would suck to be limited to only one achura per account

3910 - Added a Reimbursement category in petitions
- so that it's easier to dash people's hopes when 'the logs show nothing'

3913 - The issue with the "your banned" window on login and session changes has been resolved.
- An issue beyond the incorrect use of the word 'your' I hope.

4557 - Windows 98/ME is no longer supported.
- and to think people whined about losing Eve Classic graphics

4561 - Bookmark copying is now limited to 5 bookmarks at a time
- A futile attempt to nerf the use of instawarp bookmarks?

After this the build number tracking system changes so, it's a good place to pause

7 Years Of Eve Patches (Part 1)

If you didn't know already, Eve is 7 years old and so In celebration of this anniversary I present 7 years of Highlights from the Eve patch notes.

1002 - Chance of pirates to warp scramble has been added
- vast amounts of carebear pain hinge on this change in the very first Eve patch.

1031 - Added a warp to gang member option, which allows a gang member to warp to a fellow gang member if they are in the same system, regardless of visibility.
- could you imagine PVP without this?

1054 - The response time for empire police, faction militaries and CONCORD in 0.5 - 1.0 security space has been increased.
- Even in the early days suicide ganking was a valid tactic.

1058 - Anti warp scrambler AKA warp core stabilizer is now available on the market
- warp core stabilizers make their debut in the ongoing tackle arms race

1077 - Sentry guns are now deployed near stargates
- Lowsec gatecamping gets nerfed

1105 - Minmatar cruisers and battleships have had their speed bonus removed...
- Even before Nano whines there were speed nerfs

1113 - Billboards are now stationed beside stargates in empire space.
- And everyone had one more thing to remove from their overview

1128 - Advancements in Planck Bubble Generation Technologies have allowed for the creation of containers that have higher capacity than volume. All containers can now contain 20% more than the space they occupy.
Oh well that explains everything

1165 - If you have recently participated in combat (if you attack someone or fight back if attacked) then you will from now on not be allowed to dock or jump for a period of time.
- Station games get nerfed, just a little, people still whine

1215 - The duration of insurance coverage has been expanded from one week to three weeks with no price increase.
yet even today I don't insure anything unless I expect it to die within a week

1238 - Something about fixing mission exploits, nothing anyone cares about today.

1246 - A new "Look at" feature which allows for the camera to focus on a new object, is now available on most objects/entities in space.
- CCP boosting the Eve movie makers before Youtube had even launched.

1254 - Preferences are correctly persisted upon shutdown of the client.
- Or so they thought.... still working on this problem the last I looked.

1352 - Tech Level 2.... The blueprints will be introduced via Research Agents.
- And so the epic saga of Tech 2 BPO's is launched.

1378 - HUD Markers fade out if they are further away
- Funnily enough we were just talking in the CSM channel about proposing this as a feature...

1389 - Conquerable stations are in. & Anchorable warp disruptors are in.
- 0.0 became a more interesting place

1403 - Area of effect damage caused by missiles has been removed
- If this was still in I'd bet that Caldari wouldn't have become the carebears race of choice.

1413 - Insurance payments made on Elite Frigates that were destroyed will now use the base price of materials when a payment is made
- T2 Insurance was a hot issue even back then.

1424 - A second test server named "Entropy" has been added to the login window. This server is used for reproducing bugs and testing release candidates.
- Before Singularity was the test server, and before you had to install a patched client.

1549 - A new criminal flagging system has been added into the game
- prior to this you didn't retain GCC's for 15 minutes, and friend could still rep a criminal without getting a GCC themselves.

1618 - The person that did the most damage to an opponent after combat encounter now also receives a kill mail.
- And so the seeds of the killboard are sown.

1724 - "Cloaking now has a 30 second reactivation delay", "The cloaking proximity range has been changed to 2000m", "It is no longer possible to change or reload ammunition when cloaked."
- Cloaking had been in the game for a while already but a whole bunch of exploits had arisen, and so the modern day cloaking mechanics where introduced to nerf these.

1754 - Remote Armor Repair System modules are now available
- Spidertanking FTW

1755 - Advanced Learning Skills that boost character attributes are now available on the market.
- Because forcing everyone to train basic learning skills wasn't bad enough.

I don't have dates for these, but that brings us up just prior to the release of Exodus where CCP intended to make 0.0 really awesome and make people leave hi-sec in search of riches.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Official 'Vote For Me!' Link

Voting is now open, should you feel that I'm the best person to represent your interests I'd be honoured to accept your vote of confidence - and maybe I'll owe you a drink one day

Please Submit Your Vote Of Support Here

Monday, May 3, 2010

New Tyrannis Trailer Debuts Early At IGN

Already I can hear they excited cries of Spaeschips!!!!

MY CSM Candidacy Summed Up

Why do I want to serve on the CSM?
* Because I love Eve, it's the spiritual successor to Elite, the favourite game from my youth, it's unlike almost any other game out there and plays by its own rules. I want to see it continue to thrive, and believe that I have qualifications that would make me a clear asset to the CSM.

Why I'm Qualified for CSM
* 2 years of Eve, an encyclopedic knowledge of game mechanics and history.
* I know all about real space science, I spent a decade in astronomical research, specificly in the field of asteroids, comets and the kind of mess they make when they hit planets.
* I'm a software developer by trade so I understand all the technical stuff that makes Eve work, and what goes on to make the technical stuff that makes Eve work.
* I've been a sci-fi fan since I was taken to see Star Wars when I was 4 years old. I'm a big fan of Iain M Banks.
* More than just a consumer of Sci-Fi, I've provided technical assistance to authors: in particular I provided technical details for a comet impact on Pern to Anne McCaffrey for the bestselling book 'Skies Of Pern'.
* I do everything in the game - 0.0 PVP, hi-sec mining, missioning, exploring, trading, theorycrafting and dreaming up cunning plans. I generally suck at all these things.
* I can be a serious player, cooking up spreadsheets for my industrial endeavours to
maximize my profits.
* I can be a sneaky player, roaming around undetected and scouting stuff.
* I fly every T1 sub capital in the game, so when people whine about ships sucking
I can say I have first hand experience.
* I can be stupid, running missions in a hulk, spelling out song lyrics using ship wrecks,
or just creating fireworks for new years eve.
* I like going back to noob characters, doing noob things and answering questions in
the rookie channel.
* I can detect a forum troll at 50AU.
* I play Eve with my 5 year old daughter, so I'm supremely capable of dealing with people who think they know everything and act like children until they get their way. I imagine this is an invaluable skill for CSM duties.

What kind of issues would I like to see addressed. (In My Wildest Dreams)

* Local Chat as an Intel Source: This is broken in many ways and many reasons, regardless of whether malicious clients can mask themselves or not the mechanic of using the chat channel as a source of intel generally detracts from the game. Proper system level intel systems should be developed for players, alliance members with correct 'permissions' should be able to open the starmap and be able to see residents across space. The data comes from various sources, in 0.0 space monitoring structures can be anchored, and of course disabled. If an alliance has sov they can control who places these, it provides another much needed reason to claim sov, and also a target for attack by enemy gangs.

* Bookmarks visible in space and on the overview: my daughter has a great deal of trouble using cascading right click menus to warp to mission spaces, I find myself engaging targets on a gate and would like to see my bookmarks around the gate so I can fully exploit my sniper ships and warp across grid. Bookmarks are already visible on the solar system map, making them visible on the overview and in space shouldn't be too hard and is a change that benefits everyone.

* Server Side Storage for all those client side settings that keep getting lost: Seriously, I've written enough client-server systems to know how difficult this isn't. I just reinstalled a system recently and find myself having to setup everything again, and re-organize all my bookmarks. Overview, ship fittings, bookmark folders and gameplay settings should be something I can backup on the server as easily as hitting escape and pressing a 'store settings on server' button and then later retrive with the 'import settings from server' button.

* Group/Ungroup Weapons Button: You've done it before I'm sure, fit your ship, loaded ammo launched, and them had to unload all 8 guns and then shift drag them together to group them before reloading. We just need a simple right click option that'll do this for us, it'll match up gun types with the same ammo, adjust the amount of ammo and do the grouping for you with no hassle.

* Simple drone controls: If you're in cruiser just learning to control drones you don't need the full drone grouping and sorting UI, you just need a button to launch everything you have and buttons to attack and return to bay. Once you're in a bigger ship you can learn the full joy of sorting your hammerheads from your hobgoblins, but lets not inflict it on anyone who's still figuring out other things.

* UI Font Resizing, now we have 1080p displays on 10" laptop screens people really do need a magnifying glass to read the screen in places. This is directly affecting the ability of people to play now and we need some effort to be made in accommodating those players without perfect vision. Rebuilding the Whole UI to accommodate larger text may not be possible overnight, but even partial updates to easy things would help.

* Visuals - with the right amount of poking and tweaking people can get anti-aliasing enabled on some graphics hardware, how much of a leap is it to get this mess of backend graphics driven configuration into a checkbox or two in the graphics quality settings? I know there's a ton of gameplay bugs that are in need of even more urgent fixes, but I would imagine that the skills and experience needed to make Eve look prettier are orthogonal to those needed to fix the ever present gameplay bugs. As such I strongly advocate that CCP make their MMO of the year 2009 look like a game from 2009

* Noob Ships: people forever debate ship balance, so I'm going to champion the plight of the noob ships. Right now there's no decent source of civilian Afterburners or Civilian armour repair systems so you can't fit them decently. The Caldari Ibis can't use missiles, the Impairor gets a laser cap bonus but can't fit enough laser firepower to make that matter and then the velator can pwn everything with it's epic 100% bonus to drone bay size on top of it's weapon bonus. Seriously, everyone owns a rookie ship, in fact, if you've ever abandoned one in space there's a good chance it's now sitting in my hangar.

* T2 Ammo: T2 ammo needs some serious love, precision missiles don't offer any advantage against small targets compares with faction versions, short range high damage ammo offers such a miniscule advantage over faction that the drawbacks essentially make it useless.

* Gallente: I never understood why an armour tanking race would use weapons that require the ship to be right on top of the target. Flying Gallente generally either means using drones, or getting a friend to hold a target down while you neutron it to death. Retooling the Hyperion into a railgun sniper is one of many changes I'd like to see considered.

* The Belicose: It's so obvious that this could benefit from having more missile hardpoints, and with it's target painters it becomes a great anti frigate cruiser, something that minmatar are lacking right now. (Caldari have AML Caracal, Amarr the Arbitrator & Gallente The Vexor). I like the look of this ship.

* Assault Frigates: Still wondering when these are going to get some more fixing after the AB bonus was pulled.

* Structure hitpoints need to be logged every periodicly: Because it sucks when a server crash resets the damage status on a 350million HP station, we don't need that kind of pain.

* Give small gangs more things to do: Current structures take too much firepower, create goals that are achievable by small gangs - killing intel beacons for example, or interfering with planetary production. Dominion's military/industry indices actually provide something that can be interfered with by small numbers of reds camping a system, but it's not something that 'feels' like success.

* Missions: Less grind, more fun. While everyone hates the new gallente storyline missions in low-sec for giving crap rewards in return for travelling 30 jumps across empire and the risk of getting shot they do exhibit some interesting features and they certainly break up the mission grind. I especially liked the fact that the ones I tried could be completed with two pilots in fast ships, one would warp in and create a diversion, getting the ships to follow her, while the second would then warp in and kill the now vulnerable haulers. Cosmos has a lot of nice bits and pieces but it needs cleaned up and the 0.0 cosmos constellations are inaccessible to most players because they're in territory controlled and protected by alliances.

* Sound Effects that Do your ship Justice: Seriously, I wrote a program that detects the creation of a new gamelog and plays a really loud explosion sound when your ship dies, and the Wilhelm Scream when you get podded . Can't we get better sounds for something as simple as the demise of your own ship? (I do think the alert sounds add quite a good feeling of urgency when things start going wrong though, good work adding those.)

* Bug Fixes vs New Features: New features bring new players, bug fixes help keep old ones, I was in D-GMTI with 1600 in local, and the lack of grid loading wasn't pretty.

* Player Bounties: when you pod a pilot with a bounty on his/her head the bounty payout should be capped at 90% of the clone cost, any cash left in the bounty stays on the pilot. If you kill their ship then then a payout is a function of the ship value. Insurance might also be restricted if you have a large bounty on your head? Bottom line, there should be no way for a pilot with a bounty on their head to conspire with another player or alt to profit from the desire of another player to see them dead.

* Ship Scan Signature & Sensor Mechanics: The current calculation of signature radius/sensor strength allows for pilots operating in hostile territory to nerf their combat effectiveness in exchange for being unprobable. This feature is a good thing, I am however uncomfortable with the fact that the mechanic is more a side effect of the ECM mechanics, as opposed to any of the other myriad measurments of how awesome your ships electronic systems are. Rationalising all this - locking speed, range, sensore strength, ECM, sensor dampeners and probe visibility is a worthy goal.

* NPC Ewar: broke broke broke, players should be able to use Ewar in PVE for more than just making an entire sleeper fleet primary them.

* Lowsec: I really liked that 'Corruption' idea, someone should work on it.

I like to play the game with my daughter, she's a pretty smart girl but even then I like to use her as an example of how the whole 'Eve is difficult' thing is a myth. Eve is complicated, yes, but it's not difficult, it may be difficult to beat pilot X in PVP, but that's not because Eve is difficult it's because he's better and more experienced than you. The difficulty of Eve is largely because of other players, if you want to build stuff in eve you don't need to resort to spreadsheets, but you'll find that the other players who do spend the effort to crunch the numbers will out compete you. Balancing the game doesn't make it easier, since everyone is subject to the new 'rules'.

Eve however has UI features and idiosyncracies that make it less *accessible* than it could be and it's in CCP's interest to deal with these oddities that inhibit uptake. The bookmarks thing is one example, another is the effort it takes to manage buy and sell orders, switching back and forth between 2 windows is just annoying. Organizing drones and linking guns could be simplified to a automagic 'organize drones' and 'group guns' button, taking a little bit of pain out but still retaining flexibility when it's asked for. Planetary interaction is introducing a whole new mess of UI concepts that we can only hope will crystalize into something that doesn't drive casual players away while other players grit their teeth and bear it only because of the profits or needs of the alliance.

I'm a smart guy, I do lots of stuff in Eve, so I have experience of almost everything, I'm not affiliated with any massive power block, my alliance is red to almost everyone around us now, so I'm essentially independent. I don't want to give advantages to one particular play style, I'm not looking out for the industrialists, or the missioners or the PVPers, I'm looking out for the people who like flying big spaceships and using them to blow up other ships or build more of them.

And I'm a nice guy who knows when to help rookies making noob mistakes and when to lol at veterans making noob mistakes.

Vote Illectoculus Defined for CSM 5.