Thursday, December 15, 2011

From mehgle to EAGLE!

An entry for Kirith's "Redesigning the Eagle"

With the added bonus of suggested changes to the Moa!
How about the Eagle actually does something with those Claws?
Currently the Eagle gets the following bonuses:

Caldari Cruiser Skill Bonus: 10% bonus to Medium Hybrid Turret optimal range per level and 5% bonus to shield resistances per level.

Heavy Assault Ship Skill Bonus: 10% bonus to Medium Hybrid Turret optimal range and 5% bonus to Medium Hybrid Turret damage per level
In sum that is a 50% bonus to optimal range from the cruiser skill alone, and another 50% bonus from HAC 5. If there is one thing that is true about bonuses we know that 100% bonus to anything is good right? Well not exactly; let's just say that the long range sniper position is already covered by more than one platform, ie Rohk, Apoc, and maybe arty Maelstrom. Realistically the real game changer are the new tier 3 BC's, who with BS weapons join their battleship brothers in being able to engage at long range with surprisingly good damage as outlined in Kirith's post.

So we need to fit the Eagle into a new niche, and I propose the mid-range, anti-tackle support DPS role similar in speed and ability, if with poorer tracking and slightly more range, to the Vagabond. (I know I know; "a Vagabond pilot proposing a new-Caldaribond" but stick with me.)

The first problem stems from the second bonus to optimal range, indicating that the Eagle should be sitting out with the snipers, but its weapons (who have been sold-out for damage to achieve the range needed) give you an anemic 213 DPS at 190km + 24km (locking out to 213km). Using the fit below, keep in mind this is not an optimal fit, just spitballing to outline my point. Fit has 12.3k EHP, enough to be sneezed at and killed. Do not attempt unless you are a professional.

[Eagle, rail range]

250mm Railgun II, Spike M
250mm Railgun II, Spike M
250mm Railgun II, Spike M
250mm Railgun II, Spike M
250mm Railgun II, Spike M
[Empty High slot]

Y-T8 Overcharged Hydrocarbon Microwarpdrive
Sensor Booster II, Targeting Range
Sensor Booster II, Targeting Range
Tracking Computer II, Optimal Range
Tracking Computer II, Optimal Range

Reactor Control Unit II
Tracking Enhancer II
Magnetic Field Stabilizer II
Magnetic Field Stabilizer II

Medium Hybrid Collision Accelerator I
[Empty Rig slot]

Such a sell-out fit to allow the eagle to even fly in a traditional snipe apoc/Rohk fleet, let alone the newer 100km ranged Tier 3 BC fleets. Even then your DPS is little more than that of a frigate, in the stop-it, that tickles range, and your volley is a whopping 746.... Not even cresting 1k, and hardly enough to, at max damage, peel through shields. Not to mention not even closely competitive with the Naga or the Rohk.

That's the first bonus we should get rid of, but not the whole thing, just the 10% bonus offered by the HAC skill. Instead, replace the bonus with a 7.5% rate of fire increase, negotiable down to 5% RoF increase. Here's the trick though, and this is something that will draw some heat, we need to force the Eagle to be a rail platform, I like the blaster Eagle but, the eagle needs to fill a specific role, not one of half blaster fits and half rail fits.
GEagle is not impressed, wants to be a BEagle.
Specialization means it would be more useful in its intended role, while less useful out of that role. For specialization's sake, the rate of fire bonus will only apply to Rails and not the more generic "Hybrid" bonus. We have to do this because Blasters and Rails share many attributes and can't be set apart like AC vs arty where a falloff bonus screams AC and an Optimal Bonus screams arty. We have to specifically designate Rails as THE weapon for the Eagle. Similar to, but more explicit than, the Vagabond and A/C or Torps on Stealth-bombers, HAM on Sacri's, Arty on Muninn...

From that one change, now rails get a specific bonus to their rate of fire and the bonus no longer implies long range use, like the current optimal bonus. Let's face the truth, the eagle has not fit in the long range role since the release of tier 3 BS, if not before.

It moves them to the currently under-populated mid-range DPS class of ships, akin to its spiritual brother the Arty Muninn, and to some extent the pulse-shield Zealot and 220mm Vagabond. An intended range of between 20-80 KM from target.

The second largest problem of the Eagle is the crap fitting given to the ship, even at max skills. The numbers I will talk about below are what I call "peak skill fitting." To me this means that you go into PyFA/EFT and select the all 5's template when you are looking skills, granting you the elusive "perfect" skill base to theory craft off of.
Eagle : "Does it look like I have trouble carrying stuff?"
Man : "No, no it does not."
I expect a HAC (a skill intensive ship to sit in, let alone fly properly) to at LEAST be able to fit a full rack of mid-tier guns for the class, a decent buffer tank, and damage or DPS modules in the lows. The Eagle can't even pull any of this off. Instead it gets a HUGE pool of CPU to draw from, even fitting with 250mm rails, and a bunch of other CPU hungry items you have a large amount left over.

Then to oppose that it has a tiny powergrid. Not enough by 15% to fit mid-tier guns (200mm rails) an MWD, a LSE, Invul, Photon, and point. Let alone high tier guns.

The eagle should get a 10% reduction in peak CPU, losing just shy of 55 tf CPU and gain 10% Powergrid, a little more than 110 grid at peak. I think the following should be a possible fit, if only barely with most level 5 fittings skills similar to the 220mm/medium Neut/3 gyro/2 TE Vagabond.

[Eagle, Caldaribond]

200mm Railgun II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge M
200mm Railgun II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge M
200mm Railgun II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge M
200mm Railgun II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge M
200mm Railgun II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge M
Medium Unstable Power Fluctuator I

Y-T8 Overcharged Hydrocarbon Microwarpdrive
Large F-S9 Regolith Shield Induction
Invulnerability Field II
Warp Disruptor II
Photon Scattering Field II

Damage Control II
Tracking Enhancer II
Magnetic Field Stabilizer II
Magnetic Field Stabilizer II

[Empty Rig slot]
[Empty Rig slot]

I realize the rigs aren't filled but they can be fit with whatever vOv

The next problem is the speed of the Eagle, the Cerb was always a Nano-able ship because its base speed was barely high enough to keep it out of most danger without having to go to far into stacking penalty of doom land to get you up to speed.

The base speed of the Eagle is a slow 164 m/s, in fact this is the slowest ship in the entire HAC class, Even the supposedly "slow" Amarr armor tanking HAC's have a faster base-speed than the Eagle. Here I thought Eagles were pretty fast animals, they should have name the ship class the Sloth instead. Not to mention agility values on the Eagle are very poor.
Something with my name is SLOW? unpossible.
Base speed of the Eagle should be increased from the current 164m/s(or 204m/s with max skills) to 194m/s, boosting max skill speed to around 242 m/s, giving it viable, but not overpowered speed in comparison to the other speed based HAC's. For reference the Vagabond's BASE speed is 239m/s, and that with the ships bonus and max skills equals out to 373m/s. The aim isn't turning the Eagle into a replacement Vagabond, but a ship in a similar class, yes. The Eagle would also need an agility buff to bring it more in line with other mid ranged skirmish ships, once again removing it from the current duldrom as the sloth of HAC's.

The final problem with the Eagle and one of the problems with the Moa - lack of drones. It joins the Zealot and the Cerb as the only three HAC's without drones. I would improve on nature here, and fix that, on the eagle along with a similar adjustment to the Moa. I would give the Moa a 15m3 drone bay and matching bandwidth(I'm so smart, as Sae points out below, the Moa already has a 15m3 drone bay, research fail, and CCP fail). The Eagle would get 15-25m3 of bay/bandwidth, enough to fit 3-5 light combat drones or dishonour drones, to fight off tackle.
"Man I wish I had something to get this tackle off of me!"
The Eagle already has most of the other requirements for its new role.
- 6 highs with a utility high and five guns. (check)
- Sufficient Shield HP and resists (check)
- Good capacitor (check)

The Moa should receive the changes to speed as well as the changes to agility, if you can't have the beagle, you can still have the boa!

How am I actually named something graceful?
Fugly ass ship design is fugly, calling it an Eagle is like calling Quasimodo a hottie.
I r pretty!
The problem with the Moa/Eagle ship is that they are trying to represent two very different animals with a single ship. Both are birds, but one is flightless and enormous, larger than an Ostrich,  the other may be one of the most (at least in America) revered flying birds of prey.

Because of this the current Moa ship model fails to make sense for either of its namesakes. The asymmetrical design, lacks any of the clean lines of birds of prey, let alone the intimidating look of Eagles, or the natural sleek grace of flightless birds like the Moa, hell, any kind of impressive look at all would work.

I am not an artist so my contribution for the redesign of the ship model ends here, with these images of the Birds that this ship hull is named after. (Onyx non-withstanding) Might inspire someone else to create a few new Moa/Eagle hulls.
Moa's, larger than a human. (All but the Lesser Moa was)
Haast Eagle and Moa, predator and prey.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The perils of patching

I'm not sure (and too lazy to go look) if I have ever posted about the numerous patching problems I have with Eve on a consistant basis, and I know that looking at the tech issues forum that I am not nearly the only person, I just seem to be the only one with problems with nearly every patch.

Patching, meant to be done with Lego's right?

First I have to say, thank CCP for the repair tool, I used to have to download the full installer after nearly every patch to get back online. It's not like I am using an unusual computer setup either, Intel processor, Windows Vista ultimate x64 (yes yes I know I know, I haven't had the money to buy windows 7 ultimate though), 8gb Ram (recent addition, up from 4), GTX 460 video card. So not exactly "exotic."

In any case I have seen all kinds of errors. I always get the "corrupted install, patch failed" message with almost every patch, leading me to come up with a huge list of things to try to get Eve to work again. Sometimes it's pretty simple, just let the repair tool run and it will fix everything (given the time it takes to do so, roughly 10-20 minutes each time, or clearing the cache if you can get back into the game but are still having other issues, but almost every time the repair tools detect missing bits in my files.

So with all this in mind I get home from work yesterday, looking for a little quality Eve-time. With the server having already crashed after the morning patch, I was expecting the worst. I had already had good luck with the Crucible patch as it only required the repair tool to run before it worked, so I knew the odds were stacked against me.

Well those are the odds I suppose, the patch failed and I had to run through the repair tool, but once that was complete I was "ready." Only not really, I opened eve and the login screen had no cool Crucible splash, just a black background with the usual login prompt. I prayed it was a small bug and logged in anyway. Only to find my hangar blacked out as well, and on top of that in space I could see all the brackets, but no nice new nebulae, nor any other damn thing, just all blackness. (Did CCP forget to turn on the lights?)

Enter the usual-post patching troubleshooting.

1. Save out my overview settings, fits, and cache files. (after you export them from eve they are located in documents\eve\)
From  Anxiir - "exported overview and exported fittings yes. actual overview and cache/settings, no.

It is located in appdata/ccp/-location of eve install-

you can get there easily by typing %appdata% in the start menu search box and pressing enter - then go up a level."

or just %appdata%\ccp\

so %appdata%\ccp\eve\ holds all the actual program files.

2. switch between the "two" cards listed in the graphics menu, I usally operate on #2 (though I only have one card I think it detects the dual core GPU as two cards.) This didn't fix anything other than moved my window 2" to the right. Changed that back, resized the window, docked and undocked again. No change.

3. Close and restart Eve, Login screen was still black, logged in anyways, and no dice.

4. rebooted my computer \o/    .... .... ..... No change

5. Updated my graphics driver, I was one whole rev behind, maybe that'd fix it, or at least get me ready to play BF3 (as advertised). No change.

5.a. Swear at my computer (DIRTY WHORE!)

b. Pet my dogs when they come to figure out why I am so angry.
Why you make me get out of bed for this?
6. Sigh deeply and investigate the forums for people with similar issues, using the search function to see if there is a thread on this with (hopefully) a fix. There wasn't, though there were people with a whole host of other problems and a GM suggesting that people re-install directX from a folder in the eve game directory, so I gave that a shot (nada).

7. Finally drop a petition to see how fast I can get attention. Attach screenshots of black screens to prove I actually have a problem.
8. Wait for a response.... for 15 minutes. Run out of patience....


10. Re-install Eve. (I <3 You, don't leave me!)

11. Wait 1+ hour for it to download and finish installing.
12. Log in to find it's working! Look at the clock and realize... I don't have time to play!

13. Copy over all my settings, verify it is still working, reset my overview, windows, chat channels... log off.

Now had #12 not fixed it, I would have waited for a response from CCP, who usually ask for the following (so attach them right off the bat through the web petition interface and not the Eve In-game petition interface) Run dxdiag.exe and save then upload the results. As well as run eve with the Log server enabled to do this (the log server part)

Using the logserver
(to minimize problems with this, its recommended that you either restart your computer or check Task managers process list for unresponsive instances of Eve.exe)

1. Find your Eve folder in Windows Explorer
2. When you have the Eve folder open, find "logserver.exe" and launch it (Do NOT have EVE running)
3. Select "File" -> "New Workspace"
4. Start Eve like you would normally do
5. When you have reproduced the bug, Eve crashes or when you kill the process if it hangs, select "File" -> "Save workspace as..." and save the workspace in a place you'll find it again.

Then upload the resulting file to your petition. From there you just have to let CCP take over. Fortunately I usually only get to re-install to fix things! Thanks to CCP Xamother for the quick response, (responded inside of 45 minutes from my last update, a good turnaround) but by then I had already logged off and went to bed.
Work you sonofabitch!