Monday, December 3, 2012

NEO wrap up

Ugh, man I just don't see how CCP can stomach the handling of the broadcasts for these events. I have watched numerous e-sporting events and if even one was delivered in the manner that the NEO and ATX were delivered in, there would have been a huge outcry.

CCP and Own3d has months to make sure that the broadcast goes smoothly, can they load test under the weight of 4kish viewers, no, but could they have done a better job with the technical glitches they had? I suppose that is the real question. I would like to think so, as other streaming e-sports don't have these kind of problems. We are beyond the point where I would accept an excuse from CCP like "We are new to the streaming business and are still working out some kinks." Hell there are some basically "home" viewers who stream to 10-15k people each time they log in. Right now SK Ocelot has 11k viewers for instance....

Since AT7 at least, CCP has been streaming. Hell, the AT pulls more viewers than the NEO did even on the finals day, somewhere between 5-7k viewers on the stream for a AT compared to NEO's 3-4k viewers. Yet it seems like CCP still hasn't mastered the use of streaming or setup/invested in the technology to make the streams work reliably.

During ATX the commentators blamed the internet connection of being out on Iceland for the issues with the stream. If that is still part of or even a small part of the issues then the solution is simple.
1. If Iceland does not have the infrastructure to provide a 'clean streaming' experience for the anticipated crowd, they need to, or rather, should if they expect to be able to continue to increase viewership, invest in moving the home of the "Eve TV" brand to someplace that has the needed infrastructure to provide a quality experience for the viewers.

Now, don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the NEO, for a variety of reasons I will get into later, but for my experience and ability to watch the matches, it boils down to a matter of time used.

I'll be honest, I have to budget out my computer time, both with my wife AND with the rest of my life. I can find time to watch a few hours of streaming over the weekend with not a huge impact, and usually find some time to do so, be it watching one of the Eve streams listed on the right OR a LoL stream or the occasional Planetside 2 stream. What I can't do is tell my wife, "It'll be done by XXXX time, we can do stuff then." and then hang around for hours afterwards to catch the final matches. THat doesn't fly with my wife, nor should it.

The most surprising thing was that week 1, days 1 and 2 were near error free, usually the problems occur right away, they don't wait a full week! I thought it was a good sign, maybe CCP had finally worked with Own3d to get over the "hump" that had, in my mind, hamstrung their streams thus far. Unfortunately, the truth of that was far from that. The stream degenerated into one technical glitch after another, time on air only seemed to compound the problems. Granted there was only a few interruptions on day 3 & 4, but by the time the final weekend rolled around, a time where I would expect the MOST reliability in the stream, well that is when the entire thing fell apart, ie major stream downtime between, and during matches.

Just to make a quick comparison, could you imagine if MLG tours had those kind of outages? They are trying to do the same thing CCP is trying to do, that is cautiously, continuously build their viewership to a real sporting event level. Provide professional level coverage that can be enjoyed not only by the veteran of whatever game is being played but also by the random, uninformed viewer. What's the easiest way to loose viewers? dead time.


If I could just mute everyone by CCP Fozzie I would be happy. To me, the bitter Eve vet, his comments were the most insightful, correct, and to be frank, made the most sense. Sure he tripped over himself once or twice, but then who doesn't? I hear John Gruden on Monday Night Football in America, on ESPN trip over himself every week. It's not detrimental to stop and correct yourself politely. It's detrimental when you DON'T.

Honestly, the commentators overall were good. I feel they needed more time, or a cheat sheet to break down the teams a bit better. Fozzie, once again, seemed to have the best knowledge of each of the team members. Even dropping by here to correct an erroneous team listing on a previous post. He's also the most informed and analytic about the matches, both before, during and after.

CCP Dolan, is a little like the "everyman" commentator that a complicated e-sport like LoL and Eve need to keep the enthusiasm level high. In fact I missed his high-pitched chirping when CCP Fozzie and CCP Falcon were watching the Malice's die during the RONIN and pixies vs XXXMitty match. His level of engagement and excitement really does add a bit of enjoyment to the matches, even if he is not the most technical of the commentators, or even when he is completely wrong in his assumptions, which is getting more rare.

CCP Falcon, though I know and love him as Verone, was a good addition. This was not his first rodeo, but he should have spent more time getting used to the newer meta game around ship setups and flavors of setups prior to appearing as a commentator. He steadily improved from passable to good over his time as a commentator, but he should have started out as good and improved to great if he had spent a little more time getting prepared.

The 'Banning' System

First I want to say that this banning system is a much refined and honestly much better/more useful idea than the original banning idea bantered about just before ATX. This banning system gave players the time to react to changes in their lineups while not crippling a setup by 'on the field banning' as was brought up for ATX.

The reaction time allowed more setups to be fielded and much more exciting and close matches. Maybe the overall quality of the pilots was higher as well, but I found most of the matches to be more exciting than just the run of the mill match during ATX, and for this I largely give credit to the banning system used.

In short, each team captain was able to Ban a ship, then the other Capt would ban a ship, then back and forth, allowing a total of two ships banned per side. The interesting bit being that at this level it made almost no sense to ban logistics ships, as it would require a double ban if you wanted to make sure you were fighting against a shield or Armor based comp by banning the two armor or shield logistics, and even then it was not "for sure" because the comp they could fly might just not have a logi in it.

On the field banning would have been much clumsier, and much slower, and I am very happy that CCP did not go that way.

Suggestions for next time

  • Not to beat a dead horse, but CCP could vastly improve the quality of service provided to the viewers just in terms of the stream they provide. I was left with such a good impression after the first two days of smooth sailing that it was very sad to see that impression go downhill, so quickly.
  • A team/event introduction Stream that would take place either just before the day one matches, or the weekend before. This event would introduce the commentators, and more importantly, the teams involved in the event. This is critical in drawing in new viewers. I favor an out-of-band approach to this information rather than trying to paste it in-line as that always feels much more forced. In this event team captains should be interviewed, if possible, even if just for 60 seconds. Unlike in other streaming events where the actual participants are/can be live webcammed or shot "down the line" where all the members of the team smile for the camera, in Eve streams there is a disconnect between the teams and the viewers. Giving viewers a bit more back-story to like/hate each team, or at least form opinions about them is a must. I look at it this way, if I log in to watch a stream, and two teams are playing, one called XXXXUS and the other one called XXXXEU, I'm instantly rooting for US, because I live in the US. If I, on the other hand, see two teams playing called XXXMitty and RONIN, I am less engaged because I (the casual viewer) can't immediately associate with a team. This need only be 40-60 minutes long and could pair with the blow.
  • Standings breakdowns and event reviews as well as a pre-guess on the "matches of the day." In this short segment leading into the stream, commentators would talk quickly about the things they found interesting in the previous day's matches. Trends they spotted and teams that looked strong and or weak. This is yet another attempt to draw in the viewers and give them a bit more of a grip on events instead of a short hello lead-in and then straight on into the matches. Typically CCP does a little bit of this after each match, but I think it would be time well spent to, prior to the first match, provide a little bit more generalized views from the commentators.
  • Streaming the "third/fourth" place match was a great idea, using it to break up the championship matches, I felt, didn't work so well. It made following the championship matches a bit harder. It is a problem unique to Eve. Between matches teams have to re-ship, get new fits, get new orders, get ready, check drones/ammo/cap charges/etc, change out clones if need be.It's not just as simple as in say LoL, where you can have pages of runes and masteries setup and ready to go, where you just need to change your page of Runes or your selected set of masteries and you are ready to fight (after banning and selecting new hero's). Eve's between match hustle takes time and even 15 minutes isn't enough. The Dev interviews were a great way to break up the matches, introducing features and the new looks of the Retribution patch, but even more is needed. Things like recap of in game events, ala a short news show might be worth it, or even shorts centered around, you guessed it, the participants in the finals would be gold for keeping the viewers entertained and involved between matches, instead of just throwing other matches as time filler. Perhaps the three/four place matches are an inevitable time filler, but still more effort could be taken to fill the "dead air' between championship matches with more viewer-useful content.
  • CCP needs to be more open with the registration process. They need to, in order to not distance themselves from the community, provide an accurate or at least nearly accurate accounting of teams that have signed up for the matches. Reveal if a bid is even needed, otherwise just say that all the teams that want to get in, can. Keeping it "secret" harms both CCP and the tournaments. It inspires the feeling from the player base that CCP is just trying to lay their hands on more Plexes, and creates a feeling from the team side that they are just being used as a cash cow. Nothing is more discouraging for players than that feeling. You could see that exact result when it was revealed that some teams grossly overpaid for their tournament slots and later had to be refunded, at a perceived loss of face, by CCP.
  • Include the match participants in the Stream names. Don't just call it Eve TV Dec 2nd #22, how about instead you include the match that is taking place, and if that match is significant call it out. Something like "Eve TV Dec 2nd CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH 3
  • In the intro splash, for important matches, include that in the splash just before the match. Let the viewers know that it is the third Championship match, or the fourth and maybe include the current record, 2-1 or whatever the current "score" is. That would help a lot.

Overall (tl;dr)

NEO wasn't and won't be a competitor to ATX. That simple fact could be seen by the viewership, but also by the level of effort that CCP put into the stream. I'm sure that the amount of time usually used to prep for say an AT event wasn't met, and CCP had to scramble to get things in place, but more polish would still greatly benefit future NEO events. This is a reoccurring theme for CCP, "more polish needed." Maybe you should just replace 'polish' with 'testing' and feedback. 

Bottom line though, was the NEO was a success and I do anticipate more such events in the future, with similar sponsors and participation. But with careful brand management and some improvements, maybe even some I suggested, Eve streaming events will continue to grow in viewers and popularity.

Congrats to the Winners of NEO1, Asine Hitama's Team, A team from the G0dfathers Alliance. Well fought and executed to come out on top. Not to mention good stamina, coming out of the best of 5 style match, bringing in that many ships and fits to emerge victorious.

CCP Games Own3d Stream can be found here for replays of all your favorite matches and to watch the matches you missed!

Friday, November 30, 2012

New Eden Open Finals are upon us!

Ahh the NEO, after missing last weekend and the dramatic elimination of the FHC US TZ group, "Much Crying Old Experts" I'm left without much of a pony in this fight. Well that was until I saw that not only did the HYDRA RELOADED/Darkside. team make it into the final weekend, but so did the Suddenly Spaceships team, Winners of ATIX and Seldarine on the loose!

Here is a quick listing of all the teams left and who they actually are...

*      Goggle Wearing Internet Crime Fighters – Team Captain: Seldarine - Suddenly spaceships teama

*      Ronin and the Pixies – Team Captain: Dwimm - RONIN team

*      XXXMity -  Team Captain: KwarK uK - Team Liquid/Tuskers team.

*      Expendables – Team Captain: HaartSp - Hydra Reloaded

*      The Reputation Cartel – Team Captain: luckyccs - FHC EU!

*      Asine Hitama’s team – Team Captain: Vlada Silni - G0dfathers team

Team schedule can be found here : Day Five : Day Six

AND betting can be found on Monocle madness!

I would make predictions, but this late in the game I have no chance of getting anything right! Matches start on Saturday Dec 1st at 1800! Enjoy!

Stream link

Retribution Patch notes in the wild

And by wild I mean crazy long! Seriously I have been waiting for a centralized place I can look at all the changes happening Dec 4th, and here it is.  Thank you CCP!

Retribution patchnotes: 15,152 words; 34 pages. Coming 4 Dec to YOUR computer! #tweetfleet #eveonline

Man it's a doooooozy.

But it looks like everything is in there, so good luck sorting through it all.

And most importantly, here's the patchnotes link!

PATCHNOTES OF DOOM(ey doom doom)!

And this time on Pastebin;

Thursday, November 29, 2012

BB#41 - "Yesterday"

Blog Banter 41: Director's Cut
The universe of EVE is not without its drama and epic stories, both in and out of game. Imagine a publisher, movie studio or television network asked you to prepare a pitch for a new brand of EVE-flavoured entertainment. This could be your big break, what would be your synopsis to deliver New Eden to a wider audience?

My campaign would be two fold, first I would lead into a movie with a tri-weekly published webcomic. The webcomic would focus around the antics of a single main protagonist and their life in Eve. The protagonist would be female and modeled after the same actress who would later play in the movie.

It would cover in more specific terms the life of a up and coming capsuleer. Capsuleer training would be for once covered in more detail, the first death of jumping into a clone, becoming a freelance capsuleer and the dangerous, steep path that leads towards becoming a mercenary capsuleer for hire.

Movie Synopsis

Hook : Half a Gallente mining station hangs in view, obviously looking out a window of the staion, the camera pans back, revealing the bald head of (Patrick Stewart), hands behind his back, dressed in a power suit, standing in front of a glass desk. The camera continues to pull back, a wet cough  echoing in the room from a half seen bleeding woman. The back of her mow-hawked head just barely comes on screen, light glinting off silver implants up her spine and blood leaking from the side of her red lips. A thug's fist comes from the opposite side, twisting the head of the capsuleer with the force of the punch.

Patrick S. : (looking at, speaking to the window, Traffic is flowing in and out of the mining station, with a Megathron and Obelisk prominently moving free of the station.) "It's a shame you don't have what we want. You let us all down girl. In the long term of things I suppose this won't even matter... I suppose I will have to teach proper manners to your clone."

The camera pans out as the thug levels an impressive gun at the temple of the bloodied woman. the gun takes up more and more of the screen, and then the camera pans down, leaving just her hand in view, struggling against the tape holding her to the chair... CRACK, fade to black.

Synopsis : Capsuleers are a breed apart from humanity, raised to godhood, and some beyond godhood. Put in command of ships capable of killing, saving, or harvesting. It is with them that the future lies, but the ties of old society aren't so easily cut. In the darkness of space there is always room for a little more greed.

This story is about a capsuleer, proud, and brave, but dead in more ways and times than she can remember. After the hook she awakens, coughing, choking, the camera behind her eyes as she reaches up to be released, the same hand that just died on that chair pushing against the glass. The med techs open her bay, causing her to, ungracefully, spill out on the floor, coughing, reborn.

She asks the techs how old her memories are, she is missing 24 hours. The last 24 hours. She backtracks her steps, finding the remnants of a job, and a betrayal a bare 24 hours cold.

She makes her way to her capsuleer quarters, once there she is attacked by Sansha drones and Assasins.  A short but brutal fight breaks out in her small quarters, she makes her escape by diving into her pod and undocking in the first ship she could find, a Talos class Battlecruiser. From there she is alternatively pursued and assisted by friends and enemies while she discovers her last 24 hours.

The mission that caused her death was given to her by her  benefactor turned sponsor, turned arch-nemesis. She was sent to recover a data disk deep in nullsec, a mission she had failed at, but worse, had been captured and discovered.

The assassins that had been dogging her the duration of the movie were both from the Sasha, the true owners of the disk as well as her former friend and benefactor. In her flight she discovers the data on the disk is worth a fortune, and rests not with her enemies but with an ex-lover, a pirate.

Wagering it all, she attempts to persuade the lover to part his way with the disk, promising him a cut. Disk in hand she finds herself in posession of information that could forever change the cluster...  Information about generating stable, cheap, directional wormholes large enough to pass any traffic. Stolen Sansha technology.

The movie ends in a cliff hangar, and rightly so, as if Eve could be shown in a single movie.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Dispirited Evening

I closed the comm channel, and a quiet sigh escaped my list. The kind of sigh you make when you know something is really bothering you but you can't quite place your finger on what.

My quarters in 98Q were sparse and felt barely lived in, I had spent most of my time in my pod or in quarters of a ship in my hangar. Somehow I always ended up back in here when I joined holo channels like the summit.

I refilled my glass with more whiskey, the clear bottle, label-less belying it's smugglers nature. Good drink was so hard to find in a 'hostile' station. While I had grown so used to my connections in TXW, the people here had grown used to the demands of IRED. Those things had been, well, disrupted would be one word, hectic another, since 'we' had dropped by.

It surprised me how much was different between my quarters here and the quarters I had in TXW. Here felt like just another berth, but somehow TXW felt like home.... or at least a kind of home. I sipped my whiskey, my free hand pushing my chair away from the small comms console and walking in front of the enormous holoscreen. I turned to face the broadcast, it was some sort of baseliner news, murders, wars, deaths were the headlines, in two words, background noise.

Another Sansha invasion here, another abduction there, various capsuleer wars, the ever simmering Militia wars. Numbers trickled over the screen, overlays on overlays trying to unweave the tapestry of capsuleer relations to the baseliner level. I nearly snorted... reflecting more on 'home.'

Recently TXW had been feeling a lot less like my home. It had started when Usagi took her hound and more importantly, her cute ass off to see 'family' deep in Gurista controlled Venal. Initially we had talked often, but as usual, things slowed down. I hadn't heard from her in months, and then I went looking for trouble.

I found some welcome trouble in the arms of another capsuleer, and that had helped, for a while. Up until she had also disappeared, maybe moved on was a better term... And then I had moved onto real trouble. Finding another link to my past I had through avoided, or at the very least, buried. I frowned, mentally muting the holoscreen.

My eyes refocused, and I found the glass of whiskey waiting at my lips, I took a sip... the alcohol sliding down my throat. At least my body knew what to do. Home is where the drink is. I walked back over to the table, grabbit the still half full bottle of whiskey before moving back towards my hangar.

Mentally I scrolled through my local ship hangar, flipping through their pods and beds, wondering where I would end up tonight.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

New Eden Open team names to Actual backers breakdown


8 CAS - Friendly Syndicate small gang pvpers
Captain: Nopolar

Africa's Finest - Verge of Collapse, ATX winners!
Captain: Rengas

Asine Hitama's Team - G0dfathers team
Captain: Vlada Silni

Baaaramu - RAZOR Alliance
Captain: Qicia

Blue Ballers - Knights of Tomorrow Alliance, never heard of them before.
Captain: Ivan Jakanov

DeepWater - Black Sharks Division, according to the Captains history, no other team information.

EFS - Wormhole Holders
Captain: Ivanrus

Expendables - Hydra Reloaded
Captain: HaartSp

Goggle Wearing Internet Crime Fighters - Suddenly spaceships team.
Captain: Seldarine

Guiding Hand Social Club - A self explanitory team name!
Captain: Tyrrax Thorrk

ISN - Incursion Shiny Network - Highsec incursion fleet
Captain: Bozl1n

Last Huzzah - Huzzah
Captain: Sashenka

Much Crying Old Experts - FailHeap Challenge US team, has a variety of members including some Rote!
Captain: Tyrus Tenebros

My Little Nulli - Nulli Secunda Alliance team
Captain: Cas mania

Oxygen Isonopes - Goonswarm
Captain: Warr Akini

Perihelion Beryllium Duralumin - Perihelion alliance team.
Captain: IceGuerilla

Raiden. 58th Squadron - Raiden obviously
Captain: Hey You

RONIN and pixies - RONIN team
Captain: Dwimm

Something Else - TEST Alliance
Captain: SpeedY G0nZaleZ

Team Ineluctable. - Inelectable alliance
Captain: AndreWanJinn

Tengu Terror - The Unthinkables alliance
Captain: StarCrash

The Exiled Gaming - The Exiled Gaming Alliance
Captain: Imbor

The Gentlemen Renegades - No info at all.

the HUNS - Hun reloaded
Captain: Justice forHungary

Tinkerhell and Alts - Tinkerhell is the team CO, Nocturnal Romance sponsored team.
Captain: TinkerHell

Why Dash - PL team
Captain:Elise Randolph

XXXMity aka XXXMity Shadow of Ram Legion DOT Reloaded Hattree.XXXWorstOffenders - Team Liquid/Tuskers team.
Captain: KwarK uK

Day One matches

Raiden. 58th Squadron v Last Huzzah

Why Dash vs RONIN and pixies

Expendables vs the HUNS

Tinkerhell and Alts vs Tengu Terror

Oxygen Isonopes vs Africa's Finest

Something Else vs The Exiled Gaming

Perihelion Beryllium Duralumin vs Goggle Wearing Internet Crime Fighters

ISN - Incursion Shiny Network vs Baaaramu

Asine Hitama's Team vs EFS

Much Crying Old Experts vs DeepWater

Blue Ballers vs The Gentlemen Renegades - a literal battle of two unknowns, I can't predict shit like this so I will SWAG it.

Betting Sites

As always Monocle Madness is getting in on the action, setting up the usual betting pools over here with their newly improved site! They handled over 400b isk in the last AT. Or join their in game chat channel, "Monocle Madness" to get in on the shit-talking.

Or follow them on Twitter for up to the minute match info -

And of course here is the link to the Site where you can go get more information, the live stream and all the good stuff! HERE


Tonight was, or I guess last night was, the "final" move of our Syndicate cleanse diet. Honestly this was the only move of the cleanse diet that might end up meaning anything. In a speech to the alliace, Cassius Longinus rallied the troops, stating simply:

 "Sure, we'll go back to roaming, and it's all good. But YOU need to look in the mirror and decide you are OK with being John Fucking Revenants bitch."

 If anything is needed to rally the troops it is the simple call to not be beaten by John fuckin Rev. We moved into 98Q, unopposed, making it our home. Now for those who don't follow Syndicate that well, IRED has had plenty of time to fortify the pocket, they operate out of 98Q, out of the 5-4 station, the same station that is now our home.

 They roll heavier than we do, run strong fleet comps, and have consistent success against our gangs. In fact the last few times we have seen them in space they have either been us running away, due to their numbers or better comp, or they have wiped the floor with us. Most times both.

 In short, if we don't bring our "A" game, they are going to stomp us. In fact, unless we pull our collective heads out of our asses, they are going to stomp us. Once again to quote Cass:

"if Rote Kapelle is going to take a fucking nap, then I want IRED to win. I want them to be able to snark in local about how they fucked our shit up. I'm not going to make fun of them again and again, without putting it on the line and letting them put the lie to my smacktalk."

I couldn't have said it better myself. In fact, I won't even try. I look forward to the next few weeks with the tension and eagerness of a fighter in a bout. Round one raises it's head.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Syndicate fights

As almost anyone in my alliance would tell you, if they even know me, is that I am a mostly AFK player, or maybe away from game(er) is a better monicker. Over the last few months I have been drawn back into Eve, but my current time zone activity is still sporadic and makes it difficult for me to make the majority of the Fleet ops that happen in Rote Kapelle. So consider this a bit of an outsider's, insider, perspective.

This post is all about my commentary on the Rote Kapelle cleanse diet that we are currently on. (no more carbs)

To me, the most interesting part of our campaign hasn't actually been the campaign (IE the in space pew pew), but has been the reaction both from other Syndicate residents and the larger community as a whole. Another Rote Kapelle blogger, the famous Ripard Teg, of Jester's Trek, started out the conversation in the blogging community in his typical fashion with this post. Now after reading all 42 comments to that post and then re-reading the post it's near comical the reaction to our campaign, even several weeks down the road. Anyways, Mord Fiddle over at Fiddler's edge pretty much summed up his viewpoint in some comments and then later in his post, Scouring the shire.

That was worth a response from Ripard, here. And then another post from Mord, where I think he gets the baseline message of our campaign wrong. Ripard also responds to that response....

Mord says our objective is, in his view of course :
"Rote's way is the traditional way and the best way to play PvP in NPC nullsec.  Failure to PvP Rote's way diminishes Rote's enjoyment of Eve in general and PvP in particular.  Therefore, it is essential that those in close proximity to Rote PvP the Rote way.  If they don't, Rote will harry and kill them until they either move away or submit to PvPing as Rote thinks proper."

I think our actual objective is closer to this :
"Rote doesn't appreciate the lack of PvP we have been getting from entities in Syndicate. The only solution we can see to continu to get good fights is to force those fights to happen. In order to force those fights, we will have to get into the dirty busines of killing static structures."

Sure, Rote is in it to attempt to force out the players in Syndicate who don't or won't fight us, or if they do fight, require that they get every advantage, more numbers, more logi, we jump into them, etc etc. To one of Mord's points, yes Ripard did heavily paraphrase the post on FHC made by a NOTORIUS badposter, Anderson, who was using that post to fling shit-filled words at a wall and see what ones stuck. Looking at the comments on Rip's post as well as the FHC thread (since locked) most of them did stick.

Perhaps more explanation is in order, because in looking at Rip's comments I can tell that something just isn't being translated...

Rote Kapelle is and always has been all about "the fights." It's something we actively comp our fleets for, we engage when we can, and don't when it's complete suicide. But above all, we engage, we go out looking for a good hard fight, not just ganks and quick kills, though we certainly don't shy away from those either. When I say above all, I mean, two evenly comped fleets sit on the other sides of a gate, one is Rote and the other is most every other Syndicate entity. 9/10 times we jump into them, in fact, it is so predictable that we know something is wrong when they jump into us. Some of our most obvious defeats were still generated by us jumping into a superior fleet with the intent of finding, generating a fight. If that's not clear enough, let me sum this entire paragraph in just a few words.

"Rote Kapelle exists for the fights."

Solutions to our problem along the lines of "we need to adapt" are stupid. Yes, stupid. You clearly have  no damn idea what we do, or how we do it. Adapting is something we are doing that's what brought us to this conclusion. We are practically begging for a giant blue blob to come fight us. Even when IRED shows up in a all Abaddon and rep fleet, and wipes the floor with us, we still engage. I can't even imagine the response from IRED if we showed up in their systems, during their peak hours, with a fleet like that. Here's a expected outcome... We wouldn't get a fight.

Now recently Rote has been having a tough time with activity (alliance wide) due in part to other MMO's/games, or other activities interfering with fleets. That's not all. It's become so hard to find a fight, even finding hostile ships in space that we can throw ourselves at in Anderson's "Bushido" doctrine, the one against the many, fighting to the death, no retreat style of play... without that there has not been a reason for some of our players to login.

Usually RK leadership combats this 'lack' of fights by going on a "road trip" where we leave Syndicate for a while, and hope for what I will call a re-spawn of local fights. While we are gone other Syndicate alliances have time to dig in, fight each other, get more confident. Then by the time we get back, we enjoy a flurry of new fights either from new residents who don't know us, or often from re-invigorated old alliances that have refined their tactics a bit and are now willing to engage us.

Sadly, or happily depending on who you are, Rote Kapelle has shrunk dramatically in size since last year. For instance, last year, Rote Kapelle was swelled by Veto and we had a near 23.5/7 reach where Rote and Veto could project anywhere from a 5-60 man gang. Now our most active TZ is west coast USA, and in an all-in type operation we are lucky to pull 40 members to a gang, including alts. To sum this development, it means that we are not of a "size" large enough to go play with the bigger fish in say Curse, Provi, or any of our other usual road trip destinations. Playing the dodge the blob game to get a couple kills isn't a whole lot of fun either. In any case, yes we did toss around the idea of doing both anyways, and found that it wasn't as viable an option.

A "staycation." The solution, but also the problem. How could we stay in Syndi, generate fights, and still reinvigorate the flight-club that is Syndicate? The options are pretty limited here, either we just stay in TXW and hope the fights come to us. OR we create a campaign, something that not only draws interest from our membership but ALSO attention and interest from the rest of Syndicate, thus generating more fights.

How to generate fights? Static assets, and home systems. Static assets are a long time risk in nullsec and especially Syndicate. Rote, alliance with near to no Blues, Rote has very few static assets. No Poco's, few POS, very little that can be directly attacked. Some of the same people who refuse to fight us seemed to be building near sov level POS and poco backbones in our own back yards. Now aside from the Ripard post where he points out the folly in POS mining or moon mining in Syndicate (we have shit mins yo, and any good min moons are claimed by large sov holding alliances), well these static assets became a target, fight generators as it were. A big target.

The thought was, simply, maybe if they won't come fight us while we roam, if they won't even undock, then by attacking their static assets, we force their hand, maybe even getting a few decent fights while we are at it. So, D5IW was chosen as the first target, there Damned Nation sat happily in it's stations and POSes, willing guinea pigs for our new tactics. As we jumped in Anderson made his post on FHC, and we began.

To some outside observers we were just wrecking sandcastles, but to us, we were generating fights, content and I'm not talking just one or two fights, but around the clock skirmishes, forcing people to call in favors, have their blue friends out in Sov space form up on titans to bridge and engage us if given a chance. Further it was our chance to show them how it felt. We'd let them get all worked up, securing blue fleets waiting to help them out and save x or y pos when they came out of reenforcement. Sure enough we saw some 100+ man whelpcane fleets out in Sov space on a titan just waiting for the jump order to engage us. We waited and after a month those same friends were no longer responding to those calls for help.


Short answer, no. The campaign is meant to bring us fights, not needlessly throw ourselves away against assorted blues and friends of people we were attacking. We aren't always stupid, we aren't going to up engage some 15 people vs 100+. 15 vs 40 is apparently fine though. Anyways, we would let them use up all their goodwill and then be forced to either defend in person, or lose their resource. This in addition to the extra fights we got just by the effort of setting up a static camp (something people could come fight, and did come fight, namely IRED and friends, as well as Goons, and a few TEST visitors, V.e.G.A., and others), fights gave people a reason to login, a reason to play Eve. In fact something that I'm sure won't be repeated for a while, was a very successful Stealth Bomber fleet that harassed logi and repair efforts on modules and POS all around D5IW.

Killboard - Success! All this in mind, the real numbers are just as important, in the months leading up to this campaign shows low fleet based activity, mostly Solo kills or ganks. But since the start of the campaign we have 972 kills to 143 losses in our target area's. Now if your real goal is to go out and fight... that can be seen as nothing but a success.

Since D5IW was cleared out... We have now moved over to 4L- to say hello to V.e.G.A. Who felt like helping out Damned Nation was a good idea, but only showed up in Fleet BS. Really it is because they liked to bring big battleship fleets to help out Damned nation in D5IW. Since we have showed up on their porch, fights have been lacking, well at least with THEM. We've instead had some good fights vs Goons, last night in fact... here

We'll see if they start turning out while we kill off their infrastructure. All in all, using this way to liven up combat in Syndicate for Rote is paying some serious early dividends  but it will be interesting to see the long term effects.

Long Term outcomes:

  1. "Nothing ever works as planned." Rote successfully "sweeps" Syndicate, forcing out a good group of our neighbors, and nobody moves in, Syndicate goes from bad to worse with lower population and Rote is once again without fights, we fail-cascade epically when we turn on each other for kills.
  2. "Stupid Christmas" - Rote gives up on our futile plans to sweep Syndicate, and moves back to TXW for the holidays, I get to share Christmas with John Rev and IRED in a happy peaceful Syndicate. Fights return to pre-cleanse level, nothing major has changed. Rote claims success because we never lost, everyone else claims success because they were never expelled.
  3. "Rote WHO?" - Rote gets camped in/killed by one of the various coalitions either in Syndicate or  from their big brother friends in surrounding sovspace. Rote returns to TXW, proclaims success, but remains persecuted, more fights on average, but also more blobs.
  4. "Fat trimmed." Ev0ke and Rote force out all the bad alliances, Ev0ke takes up permanent residence in Outer Ring, populating Syndicate with good fights for all. More alliances move to Syndicate to partake. Everyone is happy.
  5. "I'm boooored!" Rote gets bored, (already showing early signs), still can't get fights, moves back to TXW in frustration, tries to figure out next game plan. Syndicate laughs off their campaign as unsuccessful, life moves on.
So between all of that I would think that 2, 5, and 3 are pretty likely, especially with the addition of Ev0ke to the area, having just moved into FD-. With them in the picture Rote will need to be extra careful when fielding it's cap fleet lest we become Ev0ke's next cherry on their killboard. I project that Ev0ke will beef up some more and head back out to Sov space in short order, likely CR, and will build a little defensive coalition that might give us good fights in Syndicate. Failing that we can always roam out to CR, Ev0ke's never shied away from fights.

Friday, October 26, 2012

When death knocks on your door

It's often said that capsuleers don't like to get their hands dirty. Or at least not physically dirty. In fact, apparently, most spend little time outside of their pods, even less interacting with baseliners. If you could call this, 'interacting.' I guess I was the exception. I liked getting dirty, doing things myself. It made me feel... connected. Like the effort I was putting in wasn't wasted. I leaned back in focused at the task at hand.

My knife was performing admirably. Cutting, no, that implied more effort than I was expending. Slipping was much more fitting. Slipping between the thin layer of skin, and that of the muscle and fat. Who knew those hunting trips down on the surface of Pator all those years ago would teach me such valuable skills? Or that this knife would remain sharp after so many cuts?

Fresh blood welled on parts of the exposed muscle, providing a slight, sweat like sheen. Severed nerve endings must be pumping an overload of sensation back to their host, speaking of... I looked back up at his face.

My eyes met his, just then a nearly inaudible, but imploring, groan left his lips. He had long since screamed himself functionally mute, but the drugs I had pumping through his system kept him awake enough to feel everything. His breaths pushed small drips of blood from his mouth, his tongue swollen now, pressing against his ragged teeth.

I went back to work on his body, a bit impressed he had lasted this long, but not impressed by his other failings. 'He' was the captain of a merchant ship in Amarr space, 'he' had operated for me in the Sasen Constellation. 'He' wasn't a capsuleer or this torture would have been largely irrelevant, but 'he' HAD committed a cardinal sin.

It wasn't every simple, a while back, perhaps a year or more ago, he started working for someone else before leaving my employ. Trying to double down on profits I suppose. His mistake was working with the very people I was having him spy on. Some Angel Cartel slavers, the very people I was using him to keep an eye on. Sometimes watching Angels was easier when you weren't doing so from a pod. Compounding that mistake, he had gotten caught by the otherwise inept Amarr customs navy, loaded down with small arms I was supplying certain cells on certain planets with, and a contraband load of slaves.

I didn't blame him for singing like a bird to the local authorities after his capture, singing a sweet deal indeed. I suppose he didn't think he would ever be found again, or he just hoped he would not. His real sin was singing a tune that revealed a well placed cell of anarchists. Endangering several more I had set in place years ago. Most of their number had been captured and lost to the Amarr system, likely never to be seen again.

It had taken a bit of asking around, sometimes more aggressively than others, but eventually Jasper, now in attendance, had been uncovered. Hours ago I watched the surprise cross his face, when he stepped out into his kitchen, surprised to find the Amarr guards, gone.

His face had gone from surprise to fear fairly quickly when I stepped towards him, probably some lingering childhood fears about a Bhaalgorn. I could almost detect a moment of relief when he saw my face in the deep hood and not that of a demon. His relief was short lived, I suppose, but it had been there all the same.

Now it was all winding down. I had some information I hadn't really asked for that had made this little trip more profitable than I expected. I'd anonymously tip the footage to some news outlets, maybe the local police. I hadn't looked at the feed since I started. Nor would I as I left. My face would not show, a small holographic inlay would present a black hole on the footage where my face would have been.

I barely heard him speak, his raspy voice still somehow triumphant, but it was as if the words he said locked my body in place while kicking my mind kicked into overdrive.

"Layette Friary."

It was a name, one I had been avoiding since an incident near a year and a half ago. I was never able to get any information about that name from the assassin who had muttered it with his dying breath. I had changed operational locations because of that name. Changed contacts, not to mention burned still more contacts and operatives in an attempt to kill a man. THAT little fiasco had led to me seeing my sister through a sniper's scope at the same time I saw the man I had until then, been determined to kill, and their child.

I looked up again, but a small, bloody smile was all that greeted me. Jasper, was gone. Rage boiled up inside me, much deeper rage than the loss of a cell, no matter how well placed. I wanted to drive my fist through Jasper's chest, to stomp in impotent fury, assault his body with my knife, or better yet my bare hands, instead I stood there a moment, feeling defeat wash over me, a stark contrast to Jasper, who's skin was hanging off his body like stretched red rags.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Ahhh CW1, I knew you so well!

CCP just put out a new dev blog on the CW2 system aka the new Crime Watch system for Eve online, and boy will it be a welcome change. The notifications alone for WHAT you are flagged for will be a big and nice change for me.

Let's dive in a bit and give my take on the changes.

I'll get to logistics and neutral repping last because that is something I want to be sure I am interpreting correctly.

  • Bunch of new flag states... PvP flag, agression flag, Weapons flag, Legality flag (both Suspect and criminal), NPC flag (for shooting at NPC's and the like). A full chart of the flags and how they can be incurred is here.
  • most flags will be active for 15 minutes and will make specific things happen. Detailed here
Now here's some of the more nitty-gritty changes that will really shake things up.
  1. Shooting at NPC's will result in a 'NPC flag,' that will be active for 15 minutes after the last time you shot a NPC. Now this flag means that you will stay in space until the flag runs to zero if you log off. Just logging off to avoid getting killed by a roaming fleet or solo roamer isn't viable in nullsec or lowsec given fleets bring probes. I expect that probe ships will be mandatory fleet accompaniment again. Go-Go scanning skills. Also cloakies will be preferred again for nullsec NPC bears... that is if they ever went out of style, substitute one button click for another, but might give everyone a chance to get a few more kills if NPC's are aggroed on the NPCer, maybe even scramming them. A roamer might be able to lock em down before they can warp out and cloak... okay okay, it's a pipe-dream, but the small possibility of hope remains.
  2. Kill rights are somehow going to extend into the new bounty system, so I look forward to reading that. Coming soon(tm). Kill rights will generate from killing people illegally (ie not flagged people, currently called piracy) in lowsec.
  3. Can-flagging and container stealing with now give a global PvP flag instead of just to the person you are stealing from, both eliminating it as a form of 1v1's but ALSO nerfing the current form of can to can transfer traps, can baiting, and loot stealing since now anyone will be able to come kill you instead of just the involved party or corp. Still, expecting people to come to your rescue in a mission will be a small hope. Just there is now a way for people to plead for help.
  4. Only a 'Suspect flag' is given to ships attacking other ships in lowsec, instead of the broader reaching 'Criminal flag.' Suspect flag doesn't spawn CONCORD in highsec so you could jump into highsec with a suspect flag and be flagged for combat to everyone, but no CONCORDDOKEN!
  5. RR to a pirate in lowsec outside of combat won't be flagged, or rather will not transfer the combat flags, so no more having to wait 15 minutes to start repairing damage with your logi's in a safe spot or between fights, if you want to keep your logi unflagged.
  6. Sec status losses will be front loaded, meaning when you engage you get the entire sec loss for the fight, not sure how this is going to work for ship aggression vs ship kill sec loss?
  7. Criminal flag will only be granted vs pods, making killing pods an even bigger drawback as the criminal flag makes gate guns and police engage you for the entire 15 minute span. As an RP side note, funny that killing a single capsuleer pod, and the actual capsuleer survives with more or less no "harm" is punished harsher than killing the crew members of the ship that capsuleer was just flying.
  8. Neutral RR - According to all the charts, Neutral RR will get all the associated flags of the fellows they are helping in a combat situation, including what we would currently call "agression" preventing them from simply docking up at the first sign of trouble, or jumping out. When logi-chaining they will not be getting agression off their cap buddy, unless they are using combat drones or otherwise PvP flagged. Not-so giant nerf to neutral RR, as it is not clear if the PvP flags them make it possible for other people to engage the reppers or how that transfer of agression will work. To explain the lack of clarity let me expound a bit. Say wartarget A is engaging your buddy and losing, then neutral alt of wartarget A pops out of the station in a nice squishy t1 revamped logi cruiser and starts repping wartarget A... Theres no indication of if that person will then be flagged to the corp like they are involved in the war, as it currently works, only that they will be unable to dock back up. A clarification that I imagine CCP will be short in answering.
  9. There's no clarification of what flag you will get if you are -10.0 in lowsec, if it's the suspect flag then you can run into Empire and not get shot at by gate guns, but just by every player who wants some. If it is the Criminal flag then gate guns will engage you everywhere you go... I think the Suspect flag would be more appropriate, but also could be gamed by pirates to prey in highsec more often.
All in all the changes makes sense(to me), even though there are not much of a 'change' more of a redefining into a new system trying to keep as much intact as possible. I am really looking forward to being able to see some of the currently only implied flags. Lots of new pop-ups that's for sure...

Monday, October 1, 2012

Breaking news : Ancillary Shield boosters causing uncounted crew deaths

"... And this just in. On call we have a Professor of applied shielding and engineering at the School of Applied Knowledge, as well  as a crew member from a Caldari Merlin Frigate piloted by an undisclosed capsuleer." Both men nod, the professor's circular glasses glinting in a in the reflected studio lights. The crewman looks around a bit nervously, the light glinting off a deep puckered scar along his cheek. The Anchor turns to the audience, smiling and steeping his fingers. "To get you caught up, it appears the despite all the so-called safety precautions deployed with newer systems into the," he raises his hands, quoting, " exclusive capsuleer market, there still remains some defects." He lowers his hands, turning back to regard the two men to his right.

"Now, reports are coming in from various crews that the new module line called," He consults his notes for a second before looking back up. "The Ancillary Shield booster or, in capsuleer slang, the 'ASB,' class of shield repair systems, are not working as intended and have been the root cause for more than one crew death since they have been used, over the last few months."

The Professor couldn't keep his silence and burst into the conversation, his slightly nasal voice fitting his scholarly look perfectly. "These are nothing but rumors. These modules are used on a day to day basis elsewhere, besides on capsuleer ships. They operate well within normal parameters even under extreme stress. Their effectiveness has been proven time and again even with their short deployment time. It's not like we just released these modules without testing them." His fingers tapped a staccato beat into the wooden desk of the Anchor, staring intently out at the camera's. Apparently completely oblivious to the crewman's growing agitation next to him.

The anchor nodded, continuing, "Well apparently these modules aren't as reliable as you make out. For instance, just this past week, we received this video from an anonymous source. This is from another capsuleer Merlin frigate, apparently fit with not one but two of the ASB modules." The video feed cuts to the inside of the frigate, a single man hunched over the control console of the ASB, while warning alarms went off through the ship, the faint sound of discharging blasters color the scene. The Anchor continues, in voice overlay of the video. The Professor tries to interject a few times but is muted out over the voice overlay, his instance that even fitting 8 ASB wouldn't cause a catastrophic falure, left unheard.

"The ship was apparently under attack by an Enyo class Gallente frigate" The Anchor's voice sneers out the name of the Gallente ship, doesn't attempt to keep his opinion of that race silent. "Now the interesting part is coming up, apparently the Merlin's two ASB, seen in to the right of the engineer were set into overload by the capsuleer in a defiant attempt to keep his ship alive." Previously inactive circuits light up on the screen to the right of the engineer, his back to the video stream. The capsuleer commands overrode the safety parameters of the ship, squeezing out a few more precent from each booster.

"Now everything seems to be okay, but if you look at the lower right side of the engineer..." A small yellow box highlights a power transformer built into each ASB that moves the power between the loaded capacitor boosters and the shield boosting device. "The transfer bus operating under the strain will begin to show signs of wear." Both transfer bus appear to heat, with small lightning like arcs connecting with the floor close to the engineer. The Engineer spins around to see the module begin to fail. "Now here is where we see catastrophic failure in both modules, quite frankly the following scene is not pretty, please pay attention."

The module bursts, shooting shrapnel through the compartment, several pieces hitting, passing through, the already retreating Engineer, arcs of electricity following in their wake as the cap charges continue to discharge into the interior of the room. The arcs catch the engineer just above his rib cage, sending him flying to into a nearby chair, toppling it. The Engineer tries to push himself up, a black scorch mark the size of a fist on his chest. His other wounds are bleeding now, turning his uniform red. He collapses, just as other crew charge into the now dead quiet room. The video cuts as the other crew reach him...

The Professor has gone a whole new shade of sickly greeny pale at the grisly images. His mouth working soundlessly as he attempts to process the information, refute it somehow. The crewman leans forward, his face red with anger, nodding, looking away from the feed. "That's not even a bad overload. These modules are rated to be used in overload settings for quite some time before burning out and everything the manuals say indicates they will burn out to an inoperable state just like the rest of the modules that those eggers can use." His voice raising as he talks, overcoming his fear of speaking. "Not just EXPLODE because they are under some stress." He looks at the camera, his eyes red and partly tear filled, his story coming out in a quick burst. "I was on a Maelstrom down in Molden Heath, when our dual X-Large ASB's failed the resultant explosion killed 9 people including the engineer and disabled other critical systems." He trails off, his haunted eyes re-living the carnage. "I wasn't able to get clear either, I lost a chunk of my left leg and" His hands move up to the scar on his face. "And this, for my service." He shakes his head, looking down.

The Anchor saw his chance and took it. "Now if I'm not mistaken CONCORD and the manufacturers are supposed to set the safety limits on new devices, pass basic and advanced load testing to make sure things like this don't happen on our ships let alone capsuleer ships..." The Engineer glared at the anchor, knowing he was getting baited, but unable to stop his reply.

"Yeah fat lot of good those bastards are doing. These modules are killing people all the time, capsuleers don't care and the manufacturers always blame the engineers for some faulty process!" The crewman's knuckles are white, gripping his knee's. "It's utter bullshit, these things are dangerous, we inspected our ASB upon delivery, and even the chief engineer didn't like how they looked. Their construction is set in a way to maximize the power gained from each charge, but at the expense of crew safety in every way." He was shouting at the end, leaning forward towards the Anchor who just sat there with the same mute smile on his lips. "They have no shunt to safely ground failures, and in the case of an emergency, they have no power overrides or shut downs built in. These things would reduce the effectiveness of each module, and it's not like the capsuleers want that! Hell they double up on the modules, flipping them both on at the same time, doubling their inductance issues, it's no WONDER they explode!"

The Anchor interrupts, being sent new information via the teleprompter. "It seems as if these modules are still undergoing CONCORD testing, and they are finding some of the same problems, including catastrophic failures." The Professor is leaning back in his chair now, watching the conversation with some interest. A new graphic fills the screen showing a percent chance the modules critically fail with testing being done by CONCORD, the percent is 3%. The Anchor leans forward more, capturing the attention of the audience as the camera switches back to him, focused now so the Crewman and professor can't be seen in the shot. "CONCORD estimates they will have a fix in line by sometime around December this year, that's more than 2 months from now! How many more lives will be lost to these modules in the meantime?" The camera shifts quickly over to the crewman as he surges to his feet.

"I'm for damn sure not going to wait for those CONCORD fools to fix this for me. I'll never go back out on one of those damned capsuleer death-traps, I'd rather be a slave than killed by my own equipment! I'll stick to crewing a nice armor ship or a mining barge, somewhere that I can at least trust the ships equipment to run properly!"

The crewman looks poised to say more but the Anchor, upstaged, nods once and the feed cuts to a new starsi commercial. A small link appears beneath the commercial in the typical "would you like to know more style.

Would you like to know more? ((CCP is planning to nerf the ASB in the upcoming patch for winter, the provided link gives more information on the planned nerf.))

Friday, September 28, 2012

Unable to contain a smile here but:

CCP Games and Ow3d tv are sponsoring a Eve Online tourney in December, the details are out in a new dev blog

Of course as your tourney-centric blog of ATX I will provide coverage and more details as soon as I get a chance to read the whole post.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Tiericide and ship balancing changes.

There's a new dev blog on the loose, can be found here.
Basically it looks like the small incremental changes for "tiericide" and ship balancing are going to be thrown out in favor of a much more agressive rebalance, and quite frankly scary rebalance if done wrong. But so far I have no reason to not lose faith in CCP Ytterbium and his balance team.

Now first just to get this out of the way, I wanted to say that this blog does a pretty good job of giving a high level overview of the changes they will be making to the ships in question and it even directly states that we are going to be getting a second set of destroyer hulls come winter. Now the consensus prior to this dev blog was that the winter expansion didn't have "a lot of stuff about internet spaceships" or "primarily focused on DUST514." Well looks like CCP was ahead of the game already.

Ytter did a nice job with the "Starship Troopers" movie tie in's and leads directly to specifics posts that detail each change.


The missile based Frigates are going to improve their roles as brawlers;
  • The Breacher who's shield boost amount coupled with the most likely newly rebalanced ASB's will make it a strong contender. 
  • The Kestrel, the long time king amongst missile Frigates retains it's crown, fielding 4 5% bonused missile launcher slots to the Breachers 3 5% bonused launchers.
  • The Tristan aka the fat man, gets a boost to hybrid damage and loses it's missile launchers replacing them with a spread of drones in their place, and associated drone tracking bonuses. So that's a little different from the usual drone ship, giving it tracking bonuses instead of damage bonuses, but they still get a hitpoint buff on their drones, so it should be quite the change for the fat man and a change that will make it an effective frigate killer from any range.
EWAR Frigates also get associated bonuses and revamp, but I think the Griffin comes out on top here easily. The only hope here is that the cries to fix EWAR makes things more even by the time the winter expansion comes around. Otherwise a few Griffins in each gang will make the game pretty lame.
  • The Griffin is a little terrifying, as the description says something along the lines of "unchanged, except we gave it a better slot loadout." SERIOUSLY? It's slot loadout was already pretty pimp for what it did, what did they do, give it another mid and another low? Hopefully after some of these changes the other ewar t1 frigs will get some use, but why would anyone do that with the griffin out there?
  • The Crucifier is a distant second, getting another mid (4) and tracking disruption bonuses that could make it actually useful as well as fitting an armor tank in it's 3 lows.
  • The Maulus and the Vigil are basically pointless at the time of this writing because their "EWAR" is so underpowered in comparison that their bonuses amount to pretty insignificant gains. The Vigil will have 5 mids, so that will be pretty nice... if you're minmatar and want to use Jammers....
Support frigates got their assumed bonuses to remote rep, I think the main thing to notice here is that the ships all get 500% bonus to rep range, and then a 10% bonus per level on rep amount, so these will become pretty effective if annoying logistics platforms. The split up is pretty usual, Gallente(Navitas) and Amarr(Inquisitor) frigs will dish out armor repairs and Caldari(Bantam) and Minmatar(Burst) will rep shields. At least this provides a path to the t2 logi ships that doesn't start at the cruiser level. In addition all small sized remote rep modules are getting a fitting overhaul, so that will make them much easier to fit and use from these revamped frigates.

Scanning Frigates now actually get bonuses to scanning, shocking I know! They are the Amarr Magnate, Minmatar Probe, Caldari Heron, and Gallente Imicus. All are getting a 7.5% bonus to probe strength per level and a 5% bonus per level to the cycle time on codebreaker, analyzer and salvager modules.

Hell they are even throwing in a new mining frigate to provide proper escalation in mining after taking away the mining bonuses elsewhere. This ORE frigate will not be able to fit strip miners, but instead is going to be focused on Ninja mining, whatever that means to CCP. Concept art is here.


Well looks like the ever intrepid Ytterteam is going to be throwing up a new class of destroyers more focused on longer ranged damage, with the Minmatar and Caldari versions fielding missiles and the Amarr and Gallente side fielding what sounds like a full bonused rack of light drones! Could be a pretty exciting change, and always nice to see new combat hulls out there.

Meanwhile the older Destroyers will get a little more love, but not much as the recent buffs to destroyers put them about where they needed to be, but importantly the Coercer is going to finally get it's second midslot, so no more choosing between tackle OR speed, you can have BOTH! The cost for this change is losing a low slot for that mid, but overall, worth it. The Corm is gaining a midslot at the cost of a mid.

The Thrasher and Catalyst are largely unchanged with some slight adjustments to HP, and speed stats. Mostly unmodified.


Now here is where it starts to get scary and thus far still not a whole lot of specifics on WHAT exactly the plan is for these ships besides very high level talks about "roles." Now looking at the Frigate balance, the basic idea was changed a bit by the time the newest line of missile frig, EWAR frig etc changes came down the pipe, so what type of changes can we expect?

Luckily CCP Fozzy has delivered with some details about the support cruiser changes, so at least we have that to dissect beyond the vague mentions of changes to the Maller.

  • Similar to the small modules, medium sized remote repair modules are getting a facelift for the winter expansion. Reducing fitting requirements across the board.
  • Augoror and the Osprey get the energy transport and repair amount bonuses similar to their t2 variants. To the tune of 15% bonus per level, 5% cap use per level, 1000% Bonus to range of remote repair modules and energy transfer range, and a 200% bonus to the amount of energy transferred. That's a lot of bonuses for tech 1, that makes their medium reps on par with a base large rep with a much larger range.
  • The Scythe and the Exequror both get similar bonuses to their t2 variants, obviously the Scythe focuses on shield and the Exeq on armor. 15% bonus to repair amount per level and 5% reduction in cap use, along with 1000% range bonus and a 100% logistic drone bonus to rep amount, both shield and armor.
  • Logistics t1 cruisers will be come very powerful and viable with this change, having both long range and effective reps, as well as the ability to spider tank similar to their t2 counterparts. Hell they might even be viable as cap chain brothers for their t2 friends.
Disruption cruisers will receive boosts to compliment their roles, and much needed revamps for ships like the Celestis and Bellicose, turning them into something more like the combat recons they are supposed to represent.

Attack cruisers are going to be bundled as getting in, doing a lot of damage and then getting back out again. Surprisingly it will be the Thorax, not the Vexor filling in here for Gallente, as well as the Omen, Stabber, and Carcal.

Combat Cruisers will be the beefier of the bunch, lining up to take beatings and give them. The Maller is in this group and looks to be singled out as one of the ships most needing a boost to go with it's new revamped textured look, and so it is not used as a bait ship. Instead they are going to look at giving it more 'Abaddon' like bonuses, though I am not sure how exactly that won't make it MORE of a bait ship, maybe only equal. Buffs to all the combat cruisers are mentioned, even the ever popular Rupture to bring them in line with the new base balance.

Here is a quick diagram with an interesting background. From the CCP blog post:
Question marks are placeholders for ships that have not been added in yet.


So according to CCP numbers that is 40 ships revamped for the winter, not to mention additions of a whole new set of Destroyers, as well as a new mining frigate from ORE. Quite an improvement over the "nothing space ship related" in the winter patch bitching that was going on.

As many other blogs have pointed out, the frill seekers have gotten their wish, the Vagabond, and the Stabber have been given whole facelifts. Re-adding the frill around the front section to the Vagabond and a new sleeker look to the Stabber.



Looking good stabber hulls, looking good.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

"Epic" event idea by Rixx Javixx

In an attempt to give Rixx a true internet +1 for a great idea, I'm going to crosslink his great "event" idea that he posted over on his (wildly popular) blog, Eveoganda.

To link directly to his idea go here

Basically, an unknown object of alien origin flies through space, transiting past gates, or perhaps cynoing from system to system. Untargettable and hopefully still full of EHP (so smartbombers don't get all smarty-pants on them). ANYWAYS, this ship moves through the eve universe, an enigma, untouchable, and then takes up orbit around the Eve gate. And then what, well he doesn't go into it but something.

For today Rixx I think you've won at Eve.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Mittani... DOT COM

All right, I have to admit, I knew about this site yesterday, but the name alone turned me off from checking it out. I was worried it was just going to be another goon circle-jerk site, or worse, direct ramblings from The Mittani that are of little interest and even less content (to me).

However this morning I was looking around the Blogosphere and found that some other people had gone to the site and were giving it some good reviews. I decided that based off their reviews, I would at least give it a fair shot. Okay, maybe not so fair, but nothing could be worse than where Eve-News 24 went to.

The site is well put together, crisp and straight lined for ease of reading, and that is a nice change. Not dominated by ads or attempting to get my account details. In fact in reading one of the first posts up at the site, it became apparent that the site wasn't even setup by The Mittani, and was in fact created because he is such a "icon" one way or another in the Eve universe. I'm sure he doesn't mind to have a Eve online news site dedicated in his name.

The articles represented so far were solid pieces even if some of them covered previously trodden ground. A worthy addition to my RSS feed if nothing else...

And thus I found the site's main weakness, no RSS feed.

Now I know that 50+% of my readers come here via RSS so it's just a silly oversight needed to make the Mittani site that much better. Fortunately and probably wisely, the contact us button on the site works great and I was able to leave my feedback to add an RSS feed to the site post-haste. Until then, head on over their site, it's worth a read.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

ATX : Best (most memorable) matches of

Verge of Collapse ATX Champions

So I was beaten to the finish by Toterra of "Scram Web" but in the Olympic spirt, that doesn't mean I am not going to finish my post! His Five best fights are also quite a good selection.

Most Confusing for new viewers: 

This has to to go the match between Exodus. and Agony Empire in the final day. Agony brought a bait and switch setup that focuses on the nuances of ATX rules to be effective. The commentators do a great job of explaining the situation, but the simple breakdown was this. Agony's setup was based around a heavily tanked "bait" Basilisk, a logistics ship that would have usually provided extremely strong repair for the ships around it, however the real repair ship was a similarly hard-tanked Tengu fit with the logistics sub-system. This was the basis for a rare bait-and-switch gambit. The match teetered on the edge, but in combination with switching primaries and some pilots on the Exodus team noticing the shield transfers coming from the Tengu, the jig was up, and the t1 resists of the Ferox, most likely holding a shield resist link, was the first to fold, followed by the Tengu and a Gila literally seconds before the end of the match.

'Hard counters' produce unexpected results: 

HUN Reloaded had been cruising through the Alliance tournament showing off their Vargur chops like a honey badger. In fact they only came in a single setup that didn't revolve around the Vargur. I predicted in my bracketology that HUN would actually put Pandemic Legion out of the finals, and it looks like my bracket was at least right up until that point. Pandemic Legion had just debuted a new setup, one with three Widows. Now as most people know, the HUN's Vargur weakness, if they had one, was extremely low sensor strength. Pandemic Legion arrived with their Widow ECM setup, their hard counter to the Vargur. HUN just didn't let it happen, their tanks lasted through the jams of the widows and they managed to slowly make headway against the heavy ECM and tank of their opponents. In a match of patience and discipline, HUN was able to come out on top.

Short but sweet:

So many more than one match falls in this category, but really I think this particular match started off ATX in the right way. During the first day of qualifiers, Red V Blue was paired up against Get off My Lawn. It turned into one of the shortest and most brutal victories, claiming a record of the fastest win. The RvB team continued this fights tradition throughout the rest of their tourney bid.

Additionally, another quick and dirty match showed why even a single Vindicator was above there reproach of several Talos. Capital Punishment faced off vs Suddenly Spaceships. The matchup was really something that turned out to be a defining moment, both for the Vindicator's future in the Alliance tournament and the fate of Talos based setups.

This last fight I want to draw attention to was as Brutal as it was fun to watch, Once again it was Suddenly Spaceships, but this time vs Shadow Cartel. The Paladin heavy setup of Suddenly Spaceships faced off against a talos swarm, at first it looked like things might be going their way, but the Talos DPS was just too much, downing first one Paladin and then the other, only losing a pair of Talos in return. From there Shadow Cartel cleaned up the rest of the field.

Consensus "match that made the tourney"

Now I am not just over-hyping this match because it involved Rote Kapelle, this truly was one of those matches that the Alliance tournament can rest it's hat on. Pandemic Legion brought around 160 bil isk worth of ships and fittings including several Alliance Tournament prize ships up against the much cheaper Rote Kapelle DPS first setup that cost around 10 bil isk all told. The results were spectacular and you can tell from the reaction of the commentators involved that they wished this match had lasted just a bit longer, if only to see one of those shiny Malice's die.

The Culmination of 4 weekends:

Two teams fought their way to the end and something has to be said for the nature of their paths: HUN Reloaded beat (in just the final day) FEARLESS., followed by The G0dfathers, followed by Pandemic Legion. And that was just to MAKE it to the final match. Beating any one of those teams in a day would be hard work, beating all four before even getting to the finals? Herculean.

Verge of Collapse had just as difficult a path, beating Rote Kapelle, Mildly Intoxicated, and Exodus., just to show up in the finals. Now take me as some kind of fool, but I always tend to root for the team that puts my team out of the finals. Except for the Dallas Cowboys, but that's a different story entirely! To me the two teams in the final represent all the participating teams up to that point, everyone they have beaten and everyone that those people have beaten.

It all comes down to one final fight, and what a fight it was. Vargurs hadn't been denied yet, and HUN looked up to the challenge. Verge of Collapse had won massive battles on their path to the finals and were just as deserving of being there. Truly a memorable final match.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Art of looking back at old posts

Wow, I just realized that one of my most visited articles, The Art of The Vagabond is about 2 years 'out of date.' Well not really, as the basics of flying the Vaga and the fitting have not REALLY changed since then, but there are broken links in there and broken images so things are starting to look a bit dingy... Well that's all about to change as I revise and update the article and re-publish it to restore it's glory. I will also be looking at my other guide pages and updating them as the time presents itself.

Any suggestions for further guides I can provide would be nice, otherwise, as usual I promise to keep coming up with worthless crap that entertains me.



Or why the proposed gate gun change would be bad.

A few disclaimers...
1. I know the CCP is still in the design/engineering phase of the gate gun changes
2. I know that they are looking at the forum thread and responding in there (it's here)

The argument for changing the way gateguns work, is to increase their DPS/Volley and make gates and stations "safer" for commerce, potentially drawing more people into lowsec because they will not face immediate change of death on jump into their first lowsec system. This change is heralded by some as "needed" and "fixing a long standing issue." Because apparently CCP doesn't like gatecamps. Probably similar to the way they don't like station games.

Let me explain how monkeying with gate guns causes several very specific problems with current gameplay.

Let's just set a baseline, let's assume gate gun DPS and volley is now set to scale, for the first 1 minute on the gate Frigates can operate under gate gun fire, out to 2 minutes cruisers can operate under gate gun fire, out to 3 minutes BC's and out to four minutes battleships. By this I mean solo-tanking or light buffer tanks. By 6 minutes the gate guns are so intense that they start volley fire killing BC's and become very dangerous to non-logi supported Battleships. By 7 minutes even BS can't just hang around, and the only thing that could be left would be capitals. By 10 minutes a triage carrier would need to leave the field as well. This is some orders of magnitude less extreme than the CSM minutes proposed changes so I'll roll with this approximation. Gate gun ranges are the same, that is, they can hit out to 150km from the gate, but then stop. They fire at suspect flagged ships and red-flashy people with a sec status of below -5.01.

Let's get some other relevant background. As discussed in my earlier post and the associated links, the Crimewatch refactoring will allow a pilot to kill all the ships they want to and will end up at a maximum of -5.0, it will require pod-killing to drop below -5. Suspect flags will wear off with time and eventually drop, let's assume 5-15 minutes.

Back to gate guns, the assumption is that the changes will address gate camping. Now just spitballing, let me count the ways why it won't matter.

A. Inties will now be able to sit on gates, and instant tackle anyone coming through, currently that's not possible because frigate hulls get 2-4 shot right off the gate by gate guns. This change will let inties set right on top of the gate.
B. Tier 3 BC's will still be able to sit at 151km and alpha through anything their attendant inties can tackle. Scale this as needed per target, 
C. None of this will solve the current tech 3 remote sensor boosted (RSB) cruisers from siting on the gate, and waiting for likely targets. Maybe they become more selective, but this hardly stops the gate camp. Even more so in conjunction with other players sitting at range in tier 3 BC's or even in a nearby safe spot. Find and tackle a target, BC's warp in to help with the kill, everyone warps off, next tackle tech 3 takes the position, rinse and repeat.

So the intended fix doesn't actually "fix" the problem at all, it just makes it easier for pirates to operate frigates close to the gates, for longer. Any AF can kill any industrial and easily tackle any battleship, battlecruiser, cruiser or destroyer that jumps into them. It becomes exactly like 0.0 entry choke points pre-dictors and large t2 bubbles.

Additional effects of this change.

Gate guns will now engage but not immediately destroy frigates, I've already outlined why this is bad, but at least frigates will be able to 'fight' on a gate now, and tackled people will just have to hope the frigate dies before backup arrives. This provides some "protection" from ebil pirates in Lowsec, supposedly unsafe space.

Large fleet fights of pirates vs anti-pirates or hell anyone non-faction warfare will cease entirely both on gate and on station. Why? Who is going to show up for a fight where 5-6 minutes into it past the initial agression, ships are just getting gate gun killed? This just re-enforces blobbing being good. ie, in order to engage on gate or on station; you need to have a decisive numbers advantage, so the fight will be decided before he gate guns start making a difference. It even reenforces the use of undocking carriers early in a fight to tip the balance decisively at the start of the fight vice the current "slow" escalation.

Roaming fights, or off gate fights will also die out pretty quickly, unless of course they are decisive engagements. For the same reason as stated above, it just will not be safe or smart to jump through and engage a target on the far side of a gate, as sometimes currently happens, especially not if your chosen target isn't red-flashy. The gate gun damage will scale to the point where all your opponent need do is keep you in place and let the gate guns do the rest of the work.


So while I think that the current idea lacks some finesse and some careful thought, what would a good suggestion for this?

If the goal is to truly eliminate gate camping in lowsec, which seems like a really bad idea, and completely "high-sec" driven, then that's not something I can even hint at a solution for.

If the goal is to improve gate guns to some useful measure, to deter all but the most organized gangs, then the following changes should be considered.

Gate guns need to have sleeper level AI. This means instead of slowly cycling from target to target, they identify weaker tanked ships, focus fire on Logistics and generally act smarter than a level 4 mission rat.

Gate gun damage needs to scale, and additionally needs to have "low level" and a "high level" cap. In continuing with sleepers, gate gun damage could scale dependent on the ship classes on the field. I think it's a bad idea for Frigates in general to get any extended time of "tankable" damage from gate guns, so the current gate gun damage is an acceptable "low level."

To that end if frigates are part of a fleet and engage something on a gate, the gate guns will instantly cycle to the frigates instead of first shooting at a more tanked, bigger target.

The "high level" should do at least 1k to 1100 DPS, with a volley in the range of a tempest with 1400mm's or like 9-12k. It should take around 10 minutes or so to slowly scale to that kind of damage. Don't eliminate a playstyle, just make it that much harder to tank, and that much smarter.

Additionally, gate guns should get buffed to be able to hit universally out to 250km, this way people can't just sit barely out of gate gun range and still be able to influence a fight on a gate. If you don't know the hard cap on lock range is 250km.

In short, gate guns need much more damage over time so they don't become a moot point in a fight, however, they need to scale slowly so they don't completely removing fighting from gateside and stationside as an option. It will be a tricky balance, and only achieved properly if CCP works with those players who have the most experience with gate guns.

Here's a little hint, it's not the people in the thread who live in highsec.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Gategun-Gate aka CSM minutes

CSM - Council of Serious Minutes

Last week the CSM released 165 pages of meetings minutes for their already hilariously outdated meeting with CCP.(Okay okay, it was only a few months in coming) Some things discussed in the meetings were already in game, and naturally there was quite the ruckus when certain parts of the document were read, repeatedly, every what-way possible. There is an excellent summation of the minutes by a fellow blogger, Drackarn, here, he covers a bit of the same thing as I am going to focus on here, but also the rest of the 165 page monstrosity.

I am referring to the gate guns discussed on page 95. Prerequisite would be to watch the fanfest presentation on Crimewatch, specifically from 15:40 to about 25:00. This will explain what they mean for Suspect vs criminal flags. 

Now the intent of the gate guns seems to be to deter warfare on gates in lowsec and added punch against criminals in high sec. The meat of their proposed change was the following two tidbits :
"Sentry guns will now shoot anyone with a criminal flag, suspect or otherwise."
"Sentry guns will also start with smaller amounts of damage, and ramp up with time. Ideal tuning will be to where triage carriers will die at around 4 1/2 minutes."
So if you had watched the Crimewatch presentation you will know that suspect means anyone doing a "misdemeanor" and a criminal is a person comitting a "felony." Without re-covering the entire presentation, let's just suffice it to say that this places flashy red pilots at risk, as well as current yellow pilots who engage in piracy in sight of the gate guns.

Now napkin math aside, let's just think about the level of firepower that the gate guns will have to scale to in order to force or kill a triaged carrier. Then think about the orders of magnitude less that would be required to kill a BS, or volley a BC off the field entirely. It's been pointed out a few times why this is such a bad idea, but let's sum the arguments against this.

At first glance, these new enhanced gate guns will make lowsec pirating on gates, camping gates or otherwise trying to fight on a gate, a pretty useless idea, instead of just limiting frigates from the fight you will start to see bigger classes of ships vollied off the field just by making your tank last a good few minutes.

I won't go too far into the explanation of how bad this is, but that's because several people already took care of that for me. Honestly I think that this response from the community was warranted, but seemed to miss a later summation by the team working on the gate guns. Who said:
"CCP Masterplan explains that this is where everything is at in the design process, that they're looking forward to working more on this as the Inferno stuff dies down"
 With this in mind, I still have hope, but am honestly a little disappointed by the CSM who didn't seem to have much to say at the time about it. Hans Jagerblitzen (Follow him on twitter where he is actually "active" here) was once again on the front lines of this, both as the accused and respondent to this fit of rage against this idea.

To his credit he was able to calm anyone who would listen, as well as some that didn't, and force a better summation into the notes via the forums. The indication there is CCP was/is/will be looking at this and it was indeed just a design idea and not yet a reality. I expect that some change to the gate gun system, made largely useless by the preponderance of swarms of t3 and tank battle cruisers with Logi support in lowsec, will be in place for the December release.

Related Posts : "A look at CCP's suggested gate gun changes" - Low Sec Lifestyle, by Sugar Kyle