Three Wishes

Plus one.

I’m pretty pleased with the results of the CSM election.  I did not, for the most part, support  null bloc candidates.  I felt that they had their own voter base and it would allow them to get onto the CSM without my help.  Additionally, I think that the game played in Sovereignty Null is quite different from the small gang pvp game played in NPC null, and it’s light years away from the game OUCH plays in NPC null.

More frequently than not, I look at changes the developers are making to the game and I see what they are trying to do:  fix some inconsistency, some overpowered game mechanic that has been used to mass advantage in the depths of SOV space.  Most of the time, I’m certain I’m not going to be happy with how the change is going to affect my corporation in our little corner of NPC null.

My friend Arch, who has been playing since Beta, always reminds me that the things I complain about today are the result of changes that were made years before I even started playing:  some major or minor fix to an underestimated game mechanic that’s been abused until it unbalanced the game.  It’s like the players discovered crab legs at the All You Can Eat buffet, ate it even when they weren’t hungry.  By the time CCP shuts it down, the players are already fat on crab, and looking for lobster.
So understanding that Eve is an evolving game, I promoted a small block of relatively independent candidates to my friends and students, people with small constituencies that seemed like they would be willing to work for all of us, and not the vocal minority in SOV null sec.  Lo and behold, the vast majority of them ended up elected and they’ve come up out of the blocks running hard, communicating well with the community.  They elected their officers overnight with no drama, and my top two candidates, Trebor Daehdoow and Ripard Teg, are the Chairman and Vice Chairman.

Well, I definitely feel represented.

So with my vision of seemingly Eve represented, small gang pvp in NPC null sec probably won’t get the life sucked out of it by changes to SOV null.  I can actually look forward to some changes that might benefit small corps and alliances that have no desire to fight over Territory Claim Units and Sovereignty Blockade Units.  I started to think of all the things that I wished the developers would think of up that would make my Eve a little better.

The “Wouldn’t It Be Cool” features.  

Yeah.  You know the discussions that you get into with your corpmates about what you think would be cool and why.  I usually punch holes in any “cool” idea that I can see an easy a tactical advantage that players will abuse and we’ll never see it in action.

So, due to the fact that we have medical clones, and our consciousness transfers to a ready clone someplace else at the moment of our death, capsulers are immortals and all that.  Where that clone is located is limited to where a medical facility is set up.

Now if you were choosing to live in a region based on access to medical facilities, you would never choose Curse.

You’d definitely never choose Great Wildlands.  

Curse is a very small region with it’s medical facitlities concentrated really in pretty much three constellations.  Access to stations with medical facilities is contested; Hemin, for instance is a prized system, the ancestral home of Agony Unleashed.  Frequently enough, people will just leave their medical clone in High sec.  It’s easier that way.  Looking at other regions of NPC space, I’d swear that some of them got Curse’s share of medical bays.

Syndicate comes to mind.

Now, I seriously doubt that the devs are going to be nice and just spread a few more med facilities in Curse, but how about making a Clone Bay Array that we could put in a POS?  Great for deep null, great for wormholes, great for NPC space.  Crazy people could even put them up in high sec.  If you know that you could conveniently be in your home system after a pod loss, you might take a little more risk when you’re doing whatever you’re doing.  It also would give players another fast travel option, via self-destructing their pods.  I know that if I had a convenient clone bay in high sec, and another in null, I’d probably visit high sec more often.

Probably not.  You’re kind of scared of high sec.

What happens when someone destroys one of these nifty new clone arrays?  If the devs wanted to be nice, you’d automatically get a new clone someplace close, but I’d recommend that a new clone be activated in your default NPC corp for your race, bloodline, and ancestry.

 That could potentially be a long, long, long way from home.  

Speaking of the fast travel option, why does the jump clone timer have to be 24 hours?  12 hours would be wonderful.  I could jump out at late at night before I went to bed, then the next afternoon I could check on my trades in Jita, move some freight to Amarr, do a couple of missions, teach a class and then jump back out to null for PvP.  Instead, I get to choose to strand myself in high sec, and if I want to come back, I have to slow travel out, or self-destruct my clone.

Wait, that’s not an option, no clone bays in my home system. I guess I can just run the pipe and deal with the perpetual gate camp in Doril on the Sendaya Gate.   Or I can self-destruct and let Agony trap me in a station in Hemin.

Since I know the devs don’t like to give stuff away, but they do like players to use SP to gain advantages, how about making a skill that that reduces jump clone cool down by 10 percent per level?  At level 4, we’d only have to wait 14 and a half hours, level 5 it would be 12 hours.

Then  I can jump out after late night pvp fun time, and do all off my business in high sec, the maintenance stuff that people use alts to do, maybe gank a pirate or two in low sec, then get back out to null for fun with my friends.  From a total PvP point of view, I can jump into my logi clone at 10PM tonight, but when the better logi pilots are on tomorrow at 6PM, I can jump into a pvp clone and be a shooter instead of a healer.

Lastly, I really think we need a ship.  Not a one-size-fit-all battlecruiser with a probing bonus.  Not even anything that has guns.  I think we need a midsized industrial.

Right now, all of the T1 Industrials can carry about 20K m3 worth of stuff with expanders, cept the Iteron 5, king of the industrials, which can fit 40k+ m3 I guess.  The T2 versions don’t have a greater cargo capacity, because of their other benefits.  So we all use Orca’s to move stuff, which isn’t the purpose of the ship, but we can move 70K m3 worth of stuff in cargo and corp hanger, and 50K of ore.  After that, Jump Freighters, with 300K+ m3 cargo but costing billions to own.  Then Freighters, which are massive cargo 800K+ m3,  but an awful penalty in sublight and superlight speeds.

So in the 100K to 200K m3 range, there’s room for an Indy.   Something the size of an Orca but with no ore bay.  Let it carry twice the cargo, putting it in the 150-200K m3 range with cargo expanders.  Give it enough lows to make fitting it with a few warp core stabs not a terrible gimp to its cargo capacity.  Make it affordable enough to be an option for someone doesn’t want to write the big check for a freighter.

While they are at it, they could fix the Primae with its 100 m3 cargo hold, 2000 m3 command center hold and 1000 m3 planetary goods cargo hold.  That’s a ship that was broken the day it was launched.

Don’t be crazy now, that would just make sense.  Just my three wishes.  Nothing major.  Probably not even original thoughts.

Just a few things that would make Eve a little cooler.

Minus one.

Where You Came From

Plus one.

I’ve previously stated that I think the biggest hurdle that new players have to overcome, that the biggest threat to the care and feeding of new players, is veteran players.  I used to believe that it was simply because veterans prey on new players, like the bitter vet who suggests that a new player looking to save a little cash should check out the market in Ammamake.

Make sure your clone is up to date.

But even though I think I am right on that score, I realize that it’s not the veterans who prey on newbies that are the main problem.  It’s the misinformation from veterans helping newbies under the heading of tips, guides and advice that comes back to hurt the new player.  Information that is out of date, no longer applicable, or just out and out wrong.

I work with new players every day and I’ve come to the conclusion I’ve forgotten what it’s like to be a noob.  I always have to remind myself that there are a lot of little things that I take for granted that a new player has no freaking clue about.  These things are so trivial and yet so important.

Picture if you will:  You’re a relatively new player, playing now for about five weeks.  You’ve done your share of lower level missions, saved up your pennies, learned how to play the game.  You’re in your brand new Drake battle cruiser doing your first level 4 mission and the NPCs are kicking your butt.  For the first time ever you might lose your ship if you don’t do something RIGHT NOW.  You decide to warp out.  You right click in space and try to warp back to the entrance of the mission.

Forces around you prevent you from going into warp.

You maneuver.  Your ship is into armor now.  You’re still trying to warp out.  You’re screaming at your computer when you finally lose your ship.

Stupid Freaking Game!!!!

Then you’re screaming again when you can’t warp your capsule out either, waiting for the NPCs to target you and take your pod.  But they don’t.  Your heart stops racing.

You announce in corp chat that you lost your ship:  you couldn’t get to warp.  Someone asks you what happened.  You tell your story, and everyone chimes in:

  • Were you trying to warp to a celestial, or to the mission gate?
  • Mission gate.
  • You can’t do that.  Forces prevent warps inside of the mission area.
  • LOL
  • Dude, you should have warped to a celestial.
  • What were you flying?
  • Drake.
  • Should have been able to do a L4 in a Drake, your skills must suck.
  • Get a Raven, much better mission boat than a Drake.
  • Nah, get a Domi.  Can’t be beat.
  • Two Words: Ten Goo.
  • Didn’t they change the AI?  I think L4s are much harder now.
  • Dunno, I haven’t done L4s in a Drake in a long freaking time.
  • Bummer dude.
  • You know what they say: don’t fly what you can’t afford to lose!

That’s the discussion in every NPC corp in Eve and I dare say, the majority of player run ones.  Eve veterans passing out sage advice to new players.  Only problem is, they haven’t helped the new guy one bit.  He doesn’t have a ship, doesn’t know why he couldn’t successful run the mission.  He’s read that L4 missions are a breeze in a Drake. It’s all over the internet.

But all the new guy knows that he failed somehow, because he never tried to warp back to the mission gate before.  He’s down a ship that cost him almost every cent he had, and now he’s back to doing L2’s in a cruiser, L3’s if he lucky.  Some players quit after an event like this:  Eve is just too freaking hard to be bothered.

We didn’t want that new guy anyway.

Yeah, I guess.  But if you want to make a difference, repeat after me:

New players, I’m a veteran and I admit that don’t have all the answers.  Some of the things I used to do, you just can’t do anymore.  Eve is constantly evolving.  But I will try to see things from your point of view, try to understand what it would be like to learn how to play all over again, and keep that in mind when I give you my good advice.

That’s all I got.

Minus one.

Small Boys

Plus one.

I was having a conversation with my friend Tux, who’s a pilot in the Gallente Militia in Faction War.  Both of us call ourselves small gang PvPers, but we each have decidedly different play styles.   Tux lives and fights primarily in low sec.  I live and fight, if you can call it that, in NPC null.

While we both started playing Eve about the same time, he has about 5 million SP more than I do.  I think I’ve spent a little more of my immortality in unimplanted clones and didn’t know what a remap was until I was playing for over a year.  Both of us ended up in SOV null shortly after starting our Eve careers, but where I left SOV for OUCH during my first year, he stuck with it.  He flew for several SOV alliances before giving it all up, retiring for the “la vida buena de la guerra faccion.”

You can’t pay enough for either of us  to move back to SOV null.

Faction frigs and destroyers make up the majority of his gangs damage dealing platforms.   Assault ships, cruisers and stealth bombers make up the majority of OUCH.   Whenever he links me the ‘awesome little destroyer’ he is flying today, I invariably repeat that I’m not particularly fond of destroyers.   Too fragile. The other day, he reminded me with my own words:

Well, we aren’t playing the same game.

They fly light small fast ships, seeking out and fighting over low sec plexes that limit the size of the ships that they can use.  We fly light, small, fast ships, play a waiting game, using hit and fade tactics on small gangs in the few systems closest to our null sec home.  They have to deal with gate guns, station games and security status.  We have to deal with mobile warp disruptors, light interdictors and sniper BCs.

Our common ground is we fly sub capital ships, battleships and below.  For the most part, we rarely fly anything bigger than a cruiser.  Small Boys, in Navy parlance.  Frigates are ships of choice:  they use a wider variety in different configurations, both standard frigates and navy faction.  OUCH runs along a half dozen standard frigates with predictable fits: Tackle.  EWAR.  Nothing fancy, tricky, or particularly shiny.  Just the facts ma’am.

So when Tux told me that he wasn’t a big fan of assault frigates, I told him that this was going to be an interesting conversation, since I’ve been leaning more and more toward assault frigates as a ship of choice.

His reasoning is simple:  He gets more fights flying T1 frigates and destroyers than flying AFs.  He typically flies in gangs less than five guys.  The people that he is flying against are more likely to commit to a fight if he and his gang are in frigs and destroyers instead of assault frigates or cruisers.  He’s fighting frigs, destroyers , faction frigs and AFs over plexes and by staying in frigs and dessies, he encourages his opponents to take a chance.

From his point of view, the benefits of an assault frigate over a faction frigate are not worth the additional cost.  Since he flies in Faction War and gets loyalty points for PvPing, it’s not a stretch for him to use that LP to make ships, and buy, sell or trade them away.  The performance gain of a faction frigate and the ease in acquiring them at a fair price makes faction frigs the right choice for a faction war pilot.

OUCHs style of PvP has us in frigates and cruisers engaging ships above our class.  Yep, well take the low hanging fruit:  the ships in our class or lower, or the solo travelers bee bopping through null with their brains on autopilot.

Uh… Pirate.

Absolutely.  But we also know that the larger our fleet or our ships, the bigger the fleet or ships that our adversaries will bring.  If we field a fleet of 10 frigates, theyll bring EWAR supported cruisers.   If we have a fleet of a dozen frigates and cruisers with EWAR, theyll bring a 20 man logi supported battlecruiser gang.  So we keep our ships small, and hope our adversaries do the same, but if they go too big, well, were not afraid to run.

Grab your purses, ladies, we are out of here.

But I’m a student of history and I can appreciate the concept of small light ships using speed and maneuverability to survive long enough to take down ships above their class.   Where assault frigates, with comparatively high damage and survivability compared to their T1 counterparts, are respected by frigate pilots, they are generally under estimated by the pilots in the heavy cruiser and battlecruiser gangs.

I mean, assault frigates are just frigates after all.

Nice shiny frigates.   Let’s go get ’em.  

Leyte Gulf?  

Never heard of it.

Minus one.

Don’t Fly Stupid

Plus one.

When you’re an instructor in a corporation that trains people in null sec survival, people ask your opinion, you give them advice on how to do this or that.  Lots of times they’re flying around and they get caught; you help them figure out what they could have done better.  Nineteen times out of twenty, there really is something they could have done that would have prevented their loss. One in twenty, they really were in a “no win” situation.   Recognizing the root cause in the 19 times is key to improving as a pilot.  

But there’s a downside to teaching null survival:  Instructors are expected to practice what they preach. So an OUCH instructor traveling in null is expected to be a crafty, elusive SOB.

We’re the road runners, everyone else are wily coyotes.

So here I am in null, flying an industrial full of rubber dog shit bound for home.  I’m up on a safe, waiting for a 30 man cruiser gang to pass though.  Someone asks in Teamspeak how far a system is from our base, and I immediately link the system to myself, load it as a destination and see that I’m 20 odd jumps from there.    

Do it all the time.  Don’t know why.  Just a habit.  Not a bad thing, right?

Some people sign off with ‘Fly Safe’.  Others with ‘Fly Dangerous’.  I like to tell people:  ‘Don’t Fly Stupid’.

I jump into our home system and the last of the cruiser gang is across system, jumping out.  I warp to the out gate on a tac.   Wait a bit.  Warp down on the gate and jump into the next system.

Local loads, there are 30+ people in here.  I start cursing myself.  I just flew stupid.

Let’s rewind a minute.  You’re in an industrial full of stuff, bound for home, following a 30 ship cruiser gang.  You jump into our home system, warp across it, and jump into the next system.

That’s right, I was in our home system, and I jumped out of it into a system with 30 hostiles in it.

Uh, if you were home, why didn’t you just dock up?

Because I’m stupid, that’s why.

Flying stupid is when you do something that you know is wrong, but you do it anyway.  Whether you do it because you were distracted, tired, or just plain lazy is immaterial.  

Once, one of my family members called me afk in the middle of a warp.  When I came back, I had been podded.    Can’t blame anyone but me.  I could have said that I would be right there and taken the 2 minutes to get safe.  I chose to walk away from my computer thinking I would be right back.  I knew the risks.  

A brand new player in a week old toon gets ganked flying a shuttle in high sec because he was moving 2 PLEX.  His ignorance is not stupidity.  If he didn’t know that he was a prime target for a gank, there is nothing he can do about it.

In OUCH, flying stupid is when you get good advice from someone who’s been down the path you’re heading down and when they tell you to take the next left, you just barrel straight down the road and end up in your clone bay.

So here I am, blindly following my destination and warping to the next yellow high-lighted gate when I was already at my final destination.  Distracted and tired are just excuses.  I’m Flying Stupid.

But I am lucky.  There’s only 1 Stabber Fleet Issue on the gate.  I hold cloak and hope that his friends don’t come back.  I check D-Scan.  Just the SFI.   I wait for him to warp off.  

He’s not going anywhere.  He’s a hungry coyote and I’m a fat kid in a pork loin jacket.

It’s times like this that you have to ask yourself, what would Rixx Javix do?

I take a breath, let it out and align to station.  My cloak drops, he’s burning for me, I’m locked, I’m pointed.  I go to warp.  

Beep-Beep.    

A cool head, a little preparation and some warp core stabs reduce flying stupid to just flying a little dumb.  

Minus one.