Tuesday, February 24, 2015

CSMX Endorsements from EVE Altoholic

Well, CSM9 has come and (almost) gone and CSMX is up for election. Starting tomorrow, Wednesday February 25th, you will have the opportunity to vote for who you want to be on the CSM. This is a council of players that have direct access to CCP, allowing them to represent those who voted them in and advocate on your behalf to CCP. If you have an account that is 30 days of age or older, you should be voting.

As a wormholer, I recommend only two people for the #1 and #2 slots on your ballot. Do not vote for anyone else claiming to be a wormhole candidate - simply put, they aren't. Rhavas puts it nicely:
You thought there were others? Well, a real wormholer is not someone who appears to be pretending to live in a wormhole in the hope of getting bloc votes (Bane Cortex), and it’s not someone who is running on an “I Love ISBoxer” platform and augments that platform with wormhole mining as a key focus (Angrod).
With that being said, my recommendations (in order) are:

Number 1: Corbexx

Corbexx has been working tirelessly on CSM9. Although his ability to communicate leaves much to be desired, his workhorse attitude and ability to impact change have been proven throughout his term. He is responsible for things such as keeping wormhole signatures the same over downtime, splitting the probe and directional scanner into different windows, and revisiting the income you can get from C1-C4 wormholes through blue loot changes. His proven track record easily scores him the number one place on my ballot, and he should be number one on yours if you live in a wormhole.

Number 2: Ariete

There is only one thing better than having a single wormhole representative on the CSM: having a second one. Ariete is a member of Future Corps (Sleeper Social Club) and is a member of my corporation (that I just recently joined). Although I admit that I haven't had many opportunities to fly with him as we're in different time zones, his platform is solid. With CCP more likely to take a look at upper-class wormholes this year (after looking at lower-class wormholes this past year), having someone with experience in a C5 corporation would be beneficial to have on the CSM. 

This is it for the serious wormhole candidates. I do have some other recommendations though, based on my own experiences.

Number 3: Sugar Kyle

Sugar is considered to be the hardest working member of CSM9. Considered to be the person who singlehandedly led meetings with CCP based on her binder of notes and wrote 3 times as many summaries of the meetings with CCP as the next highest CSM member did, Sugar Kyle has proven herself to be an advocate for the game - not just players in low-sec. As a regular reader of her blog, Low Sec Lifestyle, I've become very used to having a CSM member with very open lines of communication to regular players. She's earned a permanent seat on CSM - if you're not a wormholer, you should place her even higher on your ballot.

Number 4: Steve Ronuken

If you play EVE, chances are you've used a third-party tool. From EVE Central to Evemon to Evernus to pyfa to Fuzzworks (Steve's site), there are a small number of developers that create tools that are used by a large majority of EVE players. Known as being "allergic" to CSM drama, Steve focuses on what he knows best - third party tools - and there is simply no one better to advocate on their behalf than Steve.

Number 5: Mike Azariah

Mike almost didn't make my list until I read through all of his responses on his campaign thread. This is a guy who thinks through his responses and has the benefit of being a long-time CSM member.

Number 6: Bam Stroker

I wasn't going to put Bam on my list until I did some looking into him. As someone who is very community-driven, I see that Bam would be an asset to the CSM. He also has experience in sov-null, which will be a benefit considering the changes to sov coming soon.

And... that's it. There really is no point in voting for someone you don't know/ don't have experience with/ don't want to get in with the STV system, so don't put any candidates on your list that you wouldn't want to see on the CSM. It just isn't worth it. That being said, you might want to read the full endorsements of Rhavas, a fellow SSC member. There are some interesting null sec candidates (Endie and Manfred) that deserve a look at.

Good luck to everyone! Remember, voting starts tomorrow and closes on March 10th 2015. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Building a POS (Part 3)

My reaction lines.

Well, it's done. I finished onlining all of my modules, brought the gas in from a trade hub and set up two different reaction lines. This took a surprising amount of work to complete. It took me a week to find the time to get everything done, although I'm sure someone with more time than I have could have gotten it finished much faster.

I like the idea of reactions because it is semi-passive income once you set it up. Of course, you have to continually go back and reload your reactors, including managing the logistics of bringing new gas in, taking the reacted gas out and keeping your POS fueled.

I decided to use a Gallente tower because it has a bonus to silo capacity, meaning I can put in double the materials into my silo. This allows my reactions to run twice as long as an unbonused tower, which means I can go longer without having to run logistics. This of course comes at the expense of having enough power for defenses, so it's a risky game.

The biggest challenge remaining is the amount of time it takes to run logistics to the hole. C1s are limited by jump mass, meaning the biggest thing I can bring in (in terms of hauling) is a DST. I currently use an Orca to get my materials from a trade hub to the system where my static is, but with the high volume of gas and fuel blocks it takes several trips to get everything where I need it to be. Add in the fact that you're always on the clock when it comes to wormhole connections and that makes for a hectic experience.

To combat this, I'm going to be getting a freighter alt off of a corpmate. I'll use the freighter to bring everything I need for the week (or more) all in one trip, then get everything brought into the hole. The less time I spend making trips to a trade hub the better in terms of time savings.

I'll keep you guys updated on my new reaction business!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Building a POS (Part 2)

To catch you up on the last part, I decided to start doing reactions in a C1 wormhole. This was my first time setting up a POS and I learned a number of lessons on the first day, including many :ccp: moments. I left off saying that I had onlined a few modules and ran out of time so I'd revisit it another day.

First thing's first, my wormhole alt only has anchoring to 1. I know, stupid. That means I've been needing to get my Orca alt into the hole to do anchoring and onlining, so that slows things down a bit. I need to train my wormhole alt some more, that's on the to-do list. So, another lesson to add to what I learned last time: you need anchoring to level 3 if you want to be able to anchor and online all types of POS mods. This further compounds the fact that you need to be able to online and offline reaction mods to load/unload the products. I really need to train anchoring.

I decided to finish getting my defenses anchored. I had my ECM up as well as my points and webs but hadn't put guns up yet. There are a few quirks of guns when it comes to POSes. Small guns work on ship sizes up to Cruisers while Medium guns work best on Battleships (which I don't worry much about). Large guns are more for capitals and dreads (which I don't worry about at all in a C1). Also, small guns use medium ammo. Medium guns use large ammo. Why? To be confusing I guess, who knows.

One weird limitation is that you're restricted to launching for corporation only 3 times per minute. If you're trying to put 40+ POS mods out in space, that's very limiting. The good news is that while I had lots of guns to anchor and online, I read on Reddit that you can split your guns into stacks and select bunches of them and launch them all for corporation. I split everything into three stacks and was able to launch 3 guns at a time, meaning 9 per minute. That's much better than before. Once I finished struggling with getting the mods into their approximate positions, I had to go online them one by one (I wish there was an onlining queue - you know, online all the defenses now please POS).

Here's the good news about POS guns: you don't have to fly to each gun to put ammo in them. I was concerned that I would have to fly to each cluster to add ammo but luckily for me I was able to do it all from the center of my POS.

The next step was getting the reaction lines set up. The reaction lines need to be set up nice and close to each other but you also want to be able to be within 5000 meters of each of the reaction mods from where your gas is stored so you don't have to move your ship to load/unload gas into the silos. This ended up being easier than setting up the defenses because I was aligning the reaction mods close to where I was, meaning I could zoom in nicely and place them how I Wanted them placed. I guess we'll see soon if I placed them in the right spots to allow the reactions to work, because I haven't started reactions yet.

Now, most of my defenses are up and my reaction lines are ready. I still need to online a bunch of my defenses but I keep tackling this project late at night and end up getting tired. The next steps involve getting the gas and blueprints for reactions as well as bringing in more fuel for my tower.

Fwew, this is a lot more work than I thought it would be.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Opportunities Abound

CCP Rise has recently published a dev blog detailing the upcoming changes to the new player experience. The new system will provide new players with "opportunities" to do things within the game, such as orbit a hostile NPC, buy something off the market or navigate space. These opportunities are not linear and can be completed with less restrictions as the current tutorials, while not providing any rewards for completion.

For those of us who have been advocating a change to the tutorial system, this comes as a pleasant surprise. The tutorial system was too limiting to be useful and the new opportunities will allow new players to experience the game in a truly open-ended environment. I think that this is great.

I am concerned, however, that the opportunities will not have any rewards. CCP stated that they don't want opportunities to have rewards because they don't want players to feel that they need to complete them. However, imagine starting out the game with no ISK and only your rookie ship. Where would you start?

With the ISK from tutorial missions, you have some options. I took the 6 million ISK from the tutorial missions (roughly) and started trading with it, turning it into a quarter of a billion within a week or two. But what would I have to do if instead I had no starting capital to work with?

My guess is that new players are either going to need to find generous benefactors or they're going to need to start playing the game by mining Veldspar. Earth to CCP: limiting the new player to mining to start the game might be worse than the current tutorial system.

I think a better route would be to allow new players to access many different styles of game play right from the very beginning. Give them some means to mine if they want to (i.e.: a venture), but also give them some means to do other things as well, such as getting started with missions, or PVP, or trading by giving them some small access to ships or capital. I don't mean a lot, I mean no more than what you would get from the current tutorial missions. Perhaps CCP will need to revisit level 1 missions and change them so that they provide the new player with the equipment that they need to get the job done.

I like where CCP is going with this and it's nice to see that the new player experience is something that they're focusing on. I just think that they have some more work to do. Perhaps CCP should try starting the game with only the rookie ship on their back and see how (or if) that limits them, then make changes from there.

Monday, February 16, 2015

First Time POS Builder (CCP Please)

As my regular readers might recall, I used to spend some time in a hole with an alt of a player in a prominent w-space corporation. He took me under his wing and taught me about industry and reactions in w-space. When he decided to stop, I was picked up by another knowledgeable individual who taught me even more.

I've recently gotten it into my head that it's my turn to start doing w-space industry. I've decided to focus on what I know best and that's gas reactions. I've decided to set myself up in a C1 with a high-sec static. I found one occupied with two other small corporations and with some diplomacy I got their blessing to set up a POS in their hole. Side note: it always amazes me how far you can get with a quick message. Even when English is not the first language, I've found people to be very friendly. I'm on good terms with one of my Polish neighbours now; this is why I love EVE.

First thing first, I had a decent connection and fired up my Orca alt to buy everything I needed and haul it down to the high sec system where my static was. I learned a few things. First, POS mods take up a lot of space. It took me two full Orca trips to get all my POS mods hauled, then two trips to get 2 weeks worth of POS fuel and another trip to get a full load of Stront. That's 5 trips in an Orca! I wish I had a freighter. Now, Bob was not pleased with me this day. I didn't notice the hole go EOL and vanish completely, meaning all of my hauling was for naught! I checked the new high-sec static and it was 40 jumps from my old static. Nope, not hauling things in today.

The next day I checked my static and Bob was smiling down on me, it was only 6 jumps from where all my stuff was sitting in a station. I grabbed the Orca and quickly moved everything, as I didn't want to lose this opportunity. Once I got there, I loaded up a bunch of stuff into my DST and headed for the moon I wanted to use. Here's where I ran into my first problem. I couldn't launch anything from my fleet hangar for the corporation, so I couldn't launch the tower. CCP, why?! I had to get my alt to quickly buy an Iteron V and cargo expanders and come grab the tower to launch it. Ridiculous. Then it took 30 minutes to anchor it and 30 more minutes to online the tower.

Once my tower was online, I went about and finished bringing the rest of the mods, fuel and stront in. Then I started anchoring some defenses. First of all, anchoring defenses is like playing the scanning game with probes but is less intuitive. Things work based on a green box that you would think would turn red if you put it over another module, but no, it doesn't work like that. How some people get all their mods lined up perfectly is beyond me, because it was too frustrating for me to deal with. I just put them roughly over where they needed to be.

Another limitation of anchoring is that you can only anchor/ online one thing at a time. This isn't a big deal for anchoring (because it takes seconds) but onlining takes a couple of minutes. I thought hey, I could online something and continue anchoring while I'm waiting so I could make the most of my time. Nope, can't anchor while the tower is onlining something. Come on CCP, there's no reason for that.

Eventually I just ran out of time, so I onlined some things and decided to come back to tackle it another day.

Lessons learned:

1. Can't use a fleet hangar to launch POS mods
2. POS mods take up a lot of room
3. Fuel blocks take up a lot of room
4. Anchoring/ onlining things takes forever

Things to do:

1. Bring in more fuel
2. Bring in gas
3. Set up reaction lines.

Til next time!

Tiamat Tomorrow!

Tiamat releases tomorrow at downtime, bringing us a 1.1 GB download with the new Minmatar tactical destroyer (the Svipul), balanced projectile weapons, corp little things, graphics updates and mysterious new sleepers roaming k-space.

I'm going to be interested to see the reception for the Svipul. Living in w-space I've seen many uses for the Confessor so far. I'll be interested to see how the Svipul compares. I think some people find the Svipul underwhelming because it has the same bonuses as the Confessor. Good news for Minmatar pilots I suppose! Tell me, are you planning on using the Svipul?

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Salvaging Manticore

I've spent the last two weeks flying with Future Corps under the Sleeper Social Club alliance banner as part of their "sleepover" for EVE University students. They offer select Unistas a chance to live with them in their C5 hole and see what C5 living is all about. This is a story of some content I found.

I was scanning down our chain and jumped into a new hole, mistakenly mis-remembering the type of wormhole I had jumped through (it was a frigate hole). Someone quickly corrected me but I had already begun scanning this hole so I decided to continue.

There were some ships on d-scan (not unusual for a wormhole system, people often leave ships floating in their POS), but like a good scout I decided to look around for POSes first. After finding no POSes, I realized that the fleet I had on d-scan must be running sites or sitting on a hole somewhere. I know they weren't at the hole I came through, but I didn't want to drop probes and announce my presence (possibly scaring them in the process). So I decided to see if they were at one of the combat anomalies. Turns out, they were.

I land on grid with the site running fleet and copy d-scan into a d-scan parse tool and send it to my corpmates. Although I'm through a frigate hole, they decide to bring stealth bombers and dictors down the chain to gank them since they were mostly battleships with a single stealth bomber.

As they're finishing the site and the MTU is tractoring things in, we decide to catch them at the next site. I bookmark the original MTU for good measure and follow them to the next site.

I land on grid within 6k of a passing sleeper frigate and try to remember to breathe as I come very close to being decloaked in the middle of the site. I get myself into position 20km off the targets and bookmark their new MTU. We decide that bombers will warp to me and the dictors would warp to the MTU. With a bunch of sleeper battleships on grid, the fleet jumps in and warps.

Turns out, the two different MTU bookmarks confuse a couple of my corpmates and a few of them end up at the old site where a Manticore is sitting around. They pop him and rush back to the fight.

We drop a bunch of bubbles and start popping their Basilisks. Once they go down, we pop the rest of their site running fleet.

Turns out that random Manticore was a salvaging Manticore that was holding all of the loot for the site running fleet that we killed. Ouch. That ended up being 5 billion worth of kills. Not too bad for a little bit of scanning!