Thursday, May 27, 2010

Tyrannis; the undocumented changes

As with all patches some things just fail to come up in the patch notes.

My biggest concern is the rather large nerf to Nanite Repair Paste;

In that it now takes significantly more paste to repair overheated module damage on the fly.  For a comparison I repaired a single Large shield extender t2 from 64% damage to 0% and it took 74 units of paste to complete the operation.  Pre-patch the same fix would have cost me roughly 30 units of paste.  That's more than double the paste, meaning everyone will have to carry more paste and fixing modules in space will take longer as the paste will take longer to apply.

This does two things...  a. It eats up space in your cargo hold, making it sometimes more difficult to fit useful things like ammo or cap charges.  and b.  it increases the isk sunk into buying the paste in the first place.  This would make PI more profitable in the long run as more and more ships will use and have repair paste destroyed when they are, increasing the demand for the product.

---In more breaking news the nanite repair paste looks like it could possibly be a bug and NOT a new feature.  Petitions are in so we will see what comes of it all.

---Nanite repair paste seems to function normally again, I tested it on a few modules and did not need to use near the amount usually required.

The second concern I have is with the "widescreen" option under graphics.  I did not check this last night as I setup my G15 keyboard, but on the latest SISI install the option to use the "widescreen" letterboxing was removed from the escape menu, graphic tab options list.  Hey CCP I was using that!  Thank you Anon for showing me my folly!  looks like it was covered in the patch notes.  Seems typical though, we get new camera drones and they are less capable than the old ones ;)

I will post more undocumented changes as they arrive on my doorstep so to speak.  In the meantime, if you see any changes in game not mentioned here or the patch notes, drop a comment to let me know!


Overview text alignments are now right-align, which means you can no longer squeeze them down to minimum size for maximum real estate efficiency, as you lose the unit off the right if you try to crunch it down to remove the indentation on the left.

You can no longer assign fighters to someone off-grid or someone who is cloaked.  whether or not you can assign fighters to someone on-grid and let them take them with them is unknown to me at this time.

Contributed by Bacch

Also warp scrambled ships can no longer trade out at a Orca.  Not sure if this was intended!

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Carebear disease

Many PvP-Alliances have succumbed to this problem.  You start out lean and mean, and end up dead.  Here is how I have seen it work...

  • Phase One; a fighting force/Alliance grows up together and operates, and ends up working well together.  It's been been forged in the heat of battles and secures a chunk of space through hard fighting, solid tactics and a DESIRE to PvP.  With your newly claimed space, the alliance hits a lul.  Alliance leadership heads off, looking to recruit to provide extra pilots/corps for defense.

  • Phase two is when the supposed support organizations bring more bears than pvpers, bring in numbers but no real pvp quality.  They usually integrate badly on vent, form mining gangs and complain when they don't get PvP "security" support for their ops.  Even worse are the "special bears", ones that think they can pvp better than the long time good pvpers of your alliance.  They end up on your forums, in your fleets, talking over the FC, following bad comms, bat fits.  Refusing to change their fits, thereby lowering the overall effectiveness of your alliance fleets.  Around here you also start to get an attrition of the elite pvp pilots as they leave to find new and now much better places to pew pew.  Sometimes engaging the very carebears they were driven off by in revenge, usually creating a integral part of Phase four.

  • Phase three; these support corps gain more power in the alliance, banding together in the directorate forcing non-pew related decisions, blues, miningfests, and they also take on more members as bears join bears when they have a good thing going.  Now your alliance takes a subtle shift from pew pew focus to bear focus.  If you are in a good pew pew corp in the alliance you usually won't even notice since you are off doing your own thing, engaging in roams and fighting off other roams and otherwise having a great time.

  • Phase four is ALWAYS initiated by external conflicts.  In this Phase your space gets threatened externally by a now up-and coming or established pew pew force, like C0ven and SE who don't have the bear rot in their ranks or at least not to the same extent.  Leading indicators of this is spikes of skirmish warfare on your borders, think of them like probing attacks.  Your remaining pew pewers and pew corps take up arms and do their best to skirmish and usually this stage can be a lot of fun, however it will lead to invasion when the opposing force realizes that you are now an easy target for a full frontal confrontation.

  • Phase five, failscade phase 1.  Invasion knocks on the doors of Alliance 0.0, but instead of the participation you are expecting, ie >55-65% alliance in fleet ratio like when the alliance was in full-fledged PvP mode, you get 5-10% with all the bears staying out of the pvp, or even showing up for the early battles, losing a few ships and then dropping out, sometimes reflected in whining on the forums, transporting assets out, and otherwise bitching, all the while failing to provide any of the pvp support or continued support they were actually brought in for.  This phase sets the stage for the most painful part.  The remaining PvP corps in the alliance STRUGGLE hard to keep their pvpers on the field, the remaining PvP corps usually offering the majority of the 5-10% response forces and usually more heavily engaged in the fight than anyone else.  Losing assets, isk and pilots to burnout.

  • Phase six, complete failscade.  Space is being taken, PvPers are now outnumbered in almost every fight, some continue to fight, growing more and more bitter, still taking some kind of sick enjoyment out of getting killed or getting 1-2 kills being outnumbered heavily.  Other PvP corps leave, sometimes joining the corps invading your systems.  Bears and bear corps start leaving the alliance, having evacuated in part 5.  The Alliance loses the space and either shuts it's doors or starts back at Phase one, down to a core of good and reforged PvP corps, hopefully smart enough to avoid going down the path again.

Phases two and three can take as little as two weeks or as long as two years, or might never happen depending on leadership.  It's not a forgone conclusion that bears in alliance = fail. 

It's not that having non-pvp corps is fail in an alliance.  It is that those corps have to contribute, and should be expected and, in fact, ARE expected to help with defense, muster some people to gangs and actually provide pvp support more with their numbers than with their isk.  Think of the NC alliances, largely considered carebears when not under attack, unless MM or RAZOR, who take frequent road trips.  When under attack they muster strong numbers in every TZ from all walks of Eve.  Bottom lime is that Eve sov is blobby so having a pure industrial corp when defending your own space, muster a lousy 0-10 combat pilots out of a corp of 100 means the pvp corps providing 70 or 80% of their corp overall membership per fight are just going to be outnumbered and beaten down.  Even during lag times, PvP corps aren't made to provide "security" for mining ops, or PvEr's.  Bears need to have teeth and not rely on the PvP backbone to be the line of defense. 

It's a simple concept but a surprising communications disconnect in almost every alliance I have ever been in with both PvPers and industrialists/Pvers.  "They" tend to think it's the PvPers job to clear their systems out and keep them safe all the time, while they still profit off alliance space, rats, roids and members sometimes selling their modules out in market systems in their own 0.0 space when selling alliance mates.  Often even price gouging vs Jita to same alliance membership.  To be successful to the alliance the bears have to contribute more than just isk in taxes, ships and modules to defend space.  The need to be able to fight for it as well.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Intaki briefly under siege

Around 0150 eve time, 5/14 another Sansha attack launched, this time on the heavily populated Intaki Home-system.  Julianus Soter, member of Rote Kapelle alliance corporation Moira., confirmed the attack when he spotted a single Archon class Carrier deployed by True Power above Intaki planet IV, with a Sansha Wormhole also in close attendance.  The call went out through both our alliance as well as the hastily organized intel channels to scramble a response.

I headed the 9 jumps from TXW in a Vagabond heavily laden with EMP and Barrage Ammo for use engaging the Carrier as well as any Sansha reinforcements planning to move through the wormhole to support the attack.  8 other RK members departed TXW at roughly the same time all headed for Intaki.

I arrived around 0201, joining a already increasing presence in the system of 30+ pilots, and landed approximately 50km off the engaged Sansha Archon piloted by Slave 32152.  Julianus and another RK member were already present, engaging the Archon and fighter drones.  I ducked into better range, loading EMP to help plow through the shields of the Archon.  At approximately the same time BI-PO and other pilots engaged a red-flashy tempest also engaging the Archon, the Tempest as well as a Pilgrim were removed from the field by the now hostile BI-PO fleet.  Julianus requested a cease fire from all sides, but the warning/request was not heeded, infact BI-PO pilots engaged and destroyed both a Muninn piloted by Julianus as well as a Navy Comet piloted by Nemofides also of RK, in light of their strict NBSI policy I would not think it mattered who fired first, we only held fire prior at the request of Soter.

Now that they were decidedly hostile to RK forces, again I might add, we engaged the BI-PO fleet in a skirmishing battle, killing first 3 interceptors flying with them and then at a later warp in 2 HAC kills to even the score for this fight, though they have killed a Loki piloted by Julianus in a previous fight also "against" the Sansha.  Of course I took pleasure in primarying and removing the verbose eddie valvetino's Zealot in the process of the fighting.  Though he managed to take me down from mid shields to low shields before popping to the combined firepower.

The hostile BI-PO pilots left the field or were forced off, the RK fleet rejoined the defense fleet, later engaging a Negative Ten Alliance skirmish fleet, removing 2 Hurricane BC, a Jaguar, and a few frigates when they started firing up on the defense fleet as well.  BYDI showed up in limited numbers, but were not given the chance to do much damage, being engaged on sight removing their Maller and frigates from the fight quickly.

Somewhere in the mess, between BI-PO and Neg Ten. engagements, Slave 32152 was joined by a second Archon, piloted by Rallence Ameteves also of True Power.  Attempts were made at communications, supposedly distracting the carriers along with the continued combat from the six ground teams that had been landed on Intaki IV and were being removed by resistance on the ground.

In the end the system local peaked at 103 pilots, a few frigates straying too close to the combat equipped carriers and dying to smart bombs, while other succumbed to BI-PO and pirate interference.  The Sansha Carriers were removed from space, Slave first and then once Rallence had hit structure, he posted this message : [ 2010.05.14 02:36:48 ] Rallence Ameteves > Master. I have failed you. Close the portal.

A link to the frenzied local chat logs can be found here.

The wormhole vanished at that point, sealing Rallence to his fate. He was downed a minute later and podded.  The responding fleet quickly departed and the scramble for loot and salvage was on.  Other than a single Hurricane kill on the way back to TXW, the fleet returned home laden with loot.


eddie valventino of BI-PO commented in a subsequent thread on IGS as well as mailing Julianus Soter that RK had been set KOS to BI-PO and a wardec was inbound.  Going so far as saying we would regret engaging BI-PO forces.  In fact engagements with Sansha forces previously reveal BI-PO assisting Sansha forces in said attacks, also eliminating Julianus' Loki for being too shiny.  Not that we mind pirate action, but it seems a touch contradictory that they claim we were the ones to engage them, and get adamant in their innocence.  In the end, RK is NBSI as well, so it doesn't really matter if we engaged first, but as eddie stated, we will see them of the field.  When we do, it should be fun.


In 20/20 hindsight, the NBSI engagements of BI-PO and their previous engagement of Soter had placed them in the crosshairs of an already bloodthirsty RK fleet.  Even if the "who engaged whom first" debate will be long waged, it will likely be similar to the long told story of one of Arthurs knights killing a snake and starting a battle. 

This time we came out on top.  We will see what the future holds.  Until then RK will continue to monitor the Sansha incursions, fighting them when we can despite threats made by BI-PO to engage us on sight and the looming Wardec.


Images From Sephray Industries member Shaalira D'arc

Monday, May 10, 2010

AT8 Pairings are up

Well, looks like CCP Claw is back at it again, the AT8 pairings for the first weekend are out and have been for a good 4 days now.  So just in time for me to look through the match ups and try to figure out who I think will win.

                                                                      ISD image, CCP games

Saturday 5th June
Against ALL Authorities v Perihelion Alliance - The simple talent that A can draw from makes them a tough matchup against the 21 pilots total in Perihelion.

Agony Empire v HYDRA RELOADED - Fight seems to play towards the strengths of HYDRA, should be one of the stand-out first day matches.

Arbeitaholics Anonymous v Get Off My Lawn - GOML were terrible when we last faced them in combat, that being said it looks like they got the luck they needed, only 19 members in Arbeitaholics.

Atlas Alliance v Intrepid Crossing - Atlas here as well.  Level of pilot skill, plus overall coordination and the money they can throw into this match, could be another good match.

B A N E v Unaffiliated - Another good, close match here, not sure who will win, just that neither side can field caps =)

Beyond Virginity v Majesta Empire - Gogo Virginity, even though they are made up of BANE guys, meh, Majesta is just that bad.

BricK sQuAD. v Panda Team - Looks like a close match, but with a friend or two in Panda... I'll vote with my heart on this one.

Circle-Of-Two v Indecisive Certainty - CoT has a bigger memberbase to pull from, though It could still be a good match.

Cry Havoc. v Plutonix - For an alliance I have never heard of before CH. is a very difficult pull in the first round.  barring a huge upset.

Curatores Veritatis Alliance v DarkSide. - CVA definitely has something to prove in this tourney.

Dead Terrorists v Pandemic Legion - PL by far, even with their current distractions of having stuff to shoot in game.

death from above.. v Noir. Mercenary Group - Tough first round choice for DFA as well.

Dystopia Alliance v Morsus Mihi - Should be a good match as well but i think Dystopia will fare well against MM.

Electric Monkey Overlords v Leguinea Romana - I just really like their ticker... I-CUT

Electus Matari v Veni Vidi Vici - V3 cause well, EM lol.

Erebus Alliance v RED.OVERLORD

Sunday 6th June

Eve Engineering v GoonSwarm - Goons are traditionally horrible at the AT, never heard of Eve Engineering though, and their stats don't look to promising.  Comedy goons option for those who are counting, as they only have something like 7 members.

Honourable Templum of Alcedonia v WE FORM VOLTRON - I think it was my alliance leader who said "Voltron are scary."  I stick to that here.

HUN Reloaded v The Tusker Bastards - Thanks to a recent roam with the Tuskers, wishing them the best of luck here.

Huzzah Federation v THE R0NIN - In syndicate Huzzah seems to reform every spring, I hope the R0nin take care of business.

Important Internet Spaceship League v Monks of War. - I hope IISL thinks outside the DRAKEBLOB mentality here.

Interstellar Alcohol Conglomerate v The Wrong Alliance - IAC is dead, ERROR has a good chance here.

Ivy League v SOLAR FLEET -

Manifest Destiny. v RAZOR Alliance

Mos Vape Heavy Industries v Paisti Syndicate - Never heard of either of them so just a up in the air guess

Negative Ten. v Soldiers of Thunderstorm - Neg ten here, died to a few of their guys before so it would make me look even worse if they get killed horribly.

Old Intentions v Ushra'Khan - UK here, not heard of Old Intentions before and their BC stats are, unimpressive...

OWN Alliance v The G0dfathers - OWN should own a win this match.

Pitch Black Legion v The Kadeshi - Pitch Black Legion have a good shot here, the Kadeshi were p.bad last year.

Rote Kapelle v Silver Twilight Enterprises - Objectively, Rote is a pretty bad matchup for these guys.  Our KB vs their KB makes us seem like much more active PvPers than they are. They look to have roughly our numbers in terms of alliance size.  It doesn't help that this was the first loss of theirs I clicked on.  Look to be BIGTIME drakers.

Snatch Victory v THE SPACE P0LICE - Snatch, cause we all wanna hear the bad puns the commentators will come up with.  However the Space P0lice are a solid core of pvpers with decent stats so it will make for an interesting fight.

T o r m e n t u m v The Star Fraction - SF.

The Matches I am most looking forward to are US v Silver, Neg ten v Soldiers, Tuskers v HUN, Arb vs GOML.

Should be a good first weekend

Tyrannis: Light in the Deepest Darkness

Written by my as an entry for Roc's contest. 

Contest details

Light in the Deepest Darkness

The planet that surrounding us had been a Shadowed, foreboding place.  Forests of tall but ultimately useless trees grew in the valleys between the powerful peaks of the ever shifting mountains.  Powerful thug cartels had run what little work was left, but even they lacked the money or resources to penetrate the thick layer of rock and dirt on our world or keep the majority of the wooden buildings standing through the tremors.  The dirt and dust had settled all over our town after the mega corporations had left some years ago, taking their factories and mining equipment with them.  I was left homeless and jobless at 33.  It wasn't a  life, taking scraps of trash as food, living day to day with what work could be found, begged borrowed or stolen, or more likely survival through pure chance.  I had watched many co-workers die from the cold, from starvation.  It had left me numb, the only feeling left was hunger eating at my gut.

I heard rather than saw them, eyes drawn skyward towards the rumble of decelerating objects above.  I didn't know who they were, or why they were here, just looked up, jaws open, forgetting about the hunger in my belly or aches in my body.  The wind whipped around us from the descent, clearing the thin layer of dust from our faces and bodies for the first time in ages, pushing it seemingly out of the town.  A structure seemed to fall from the sky, supported by small craft and thick lines, moving slowly for some clearings in the dense woods a few kilometers outside our town.

Fear was the first emotion to spread through me, fear of the unknown, but it must have been stronger in the Cartel houses.  Those men of limited power seemed at once humbled by the structure, seeking an answer, desperately trying to ensure their power remained intact.  I saw them send one or two of their cronies towards the structures the first day, they moved through the back alleys, one lashing out and kicking me roughly, but none ever returned.  A day passed, and a group of unemployed but brave locals gathered in the square.  A heated debate followed, I didn't participate.  The cartel masters came down and forbade them to go, promising them death if they returned, or worse, no work or food.  It didn't seem to matter to some, already unemployed, hopeless... They headed towards the structure.  I wasn't with them, but some I knew were.  They never came back.  The people of the cartel grew more smug, guards laughing at the families they represented.  Their heartless mirth was short lived.

The third day a hush spread over the town, a quiet so profound that it stopped work, and silenced the cartel bosses.  Just before noon I could hear a faint noise, coming from the outskirts, the sound of a few people making their way through a crowd.  I moved through the alleyways to get a better look.  Nobody had to wait long.

A large mass of people came into the square, forcing me out of the alley I had been hiding in reluctantly so I could see them, hear them.  I waded through the crowd slowly, finding holes I could slip into, nearing the front, at the same time fearing for my safety, expecting the return of the cartel gang members, now violent and triumphant in their conquest of the new distant structure.  The sight that greeted me was not what I expected.

A small group of what looked like people from another time stood in the middle of the crowd.  They were clean and dressed in simple but functional coveralls, smiling, backs to the central square, even some of their faces looked familiar but it was impossible.  They spoke with easily people in the crowd as if old friends.  I pushed towards the front trying to make out some of their words, breaking suddenly through the shifting crowd, nearly striking a tall, vaguely familiar man, clad in a clean pair of coveralls.  My eyes focused on him, his face was no longer covered by the dirt or beard that had grown to cover his gaunt cheeks and strong jaw.  "M..M.. Michael?"  I stammered brokenly, his face coming into a shape I hadn't seen in months.  A smile.  His eyes betrayed him, they were hopeful, not hungry, he reached out to me...

"David, someone came, it's amazing what they have, tools we have never seen before, knowledge, hope."  His eyes filled with tears and he looked away, nearly whispering at the end, his hand holding my elbow.  "David, they have food, water for us, for us all."  I stood there stunned, Michael turned to walk away, clearly understanding my loss for words.  Spreading the word to others.

In less than a hour they came.  Some were serious military types, visored, too scary to look at directly, emanating power, threatening violence.  Others were smiling, dressed in the same utilitarian coveralls, standing in the back of the trucks driven by the military men.  They spilled from the back of the trucks, military and others alike, helping to drop boxes from their overloaded trucks, filled with supplies of all kinds.  Things we hadn't seen since before we had been abandoned as hopeless.  Groups of the outsiders, these angels in dark blues and reds, walked through the crowds, following the trucks, helping the ill, and old.  Even the Cartel workers stood in awe.  The Cartel leaders remained on their balconies, supposed finery dwarfed by the simple efficiency and cleanliness of the outsiders.  For once they were dirty like the rest of us.

A young lady appeared next to me, her piercing green eyes meeting mine, I tried to withdraw, but she handed me a bowl of warm stew.  I took it greedily, but was simply ushered to a set of portable tables, a warm blanket wrapped around my skinny shoulders.  I shuddered as the warm cloth touched my aching back and arms.  It took just one bite of the warm stew, before tears of relief slid down my face, pooling at my chin as I lent forward for another bite, my tears dripped onto the table, dirty black against the white of the table.  I tried to clean them away from the surface, leaving a black smudge from my unclean hands.  I looked around, terrified, expecting to be expelled from the table.  My fear was baseless, it didn't matter, I couldn't stop crying, or eating until the deep bowl was empty.  Others from the crowd had joined me at the table and we all ate, drinking the cold, clear water from pitchers at the center of the table.  The warmth of the stew met the warmth from the simple blanket and I leaned back, trying to understand my new found smile.

Michael found me there, beckoning me off to the side without saying a word.  We had known each other from the factories before this planet had been labeled as "a net loss in profits."  I had been his boss, now it didn't matter, it hadn't mattered for a long time.  "They plan to put us to work David, to help them create items they can sell."  He wasn't scared at the idea, his tone matter of fact.  His eyes were alight with chance, of a hope at a new life.  "They have the means and the money to create factories quickly, to give us a life again."  My body shook like a frail old man, belying my 35 years.

"I thought we were abandoned," I choked back the tears and the hope I felt, trying not to be sucked in.  "Left to rot on this planet...  Can we trust them?  What makes them better than the mega corps?"  I looked around again, seeing the fallacy of my own words as more were served food, cared for.  "How do we know..."

I was stopped by a loudspeaker broadcast in the center of the square.  A tall Siebestor stood there, broadcast by the speakers and projected by his strong, determined voice.  "Some of you must know by now who we represent, CONCORD has allowed pilots access to the planets, and we represent them, or at least some of them.  Now I will tell you what we are not!  We do not expect you to trust us, but please listen..."  He glanced over the crowd, his eyes taking us, our wretched mass, in.  "We offer new jobs at the simple price that you do them, WELL.  We will offer training, but even our funds and supplies are limited and in the end we need you to be successful so we can remain.  We aren't your government," He spat the government word out like a curse, "and we don't want to be.  We are your employers, you are not our slaves."  He pointed over to a group of women setup around a long line of tables.  "We can help each other, please."

I shuffled towards the women lock step with hundreds of others.  The Cartel members frowned down at us from their balconies of filth.

It was five hundred and fourteen days of a simple heaven before reality and the dust returned.

If you liked my entry, head over to Roc's Ramblings and vote on a few others, lots of good work over there!