Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Some dust, and some minerals and a piece of shite.

     The dust, of course, refers to "DUST", not just plain run of the mill, garden variety "dust".  As a side note, when someone says they have a "garden variety jeep", I'm curious as to what type of garden a jeep might grow in, or what type of a garden one might be apt to regularly find a jeep in? Anyway, DUST has some interesting concepts in it while other aspects are more conventional.  I'm interested to see to what level and depth the interaction between DUST and Eve will be.  I guess just about any active Eve account that applied for a beta code, was able to get one.  No details of course, lest the  uber NDA be violated, anon.  :)  Not knowing what all will be entailed with ground bombardment from space, but me thinks it's time to start pointing the toons towards dreadnoughts, even though I imagine that there will also be new skills in Eve related to interacting with console players.

     The minerals, are the minerals.  The market seems to be a little more stabilized, but still fairly volatile.  Nocxium is coming down, but still higher than the ~ 530 it used to be in the days of the Pax Amarria.  Trit and mex are weebling and wobbling along, but still nice and high.  Not sure what is causing the spikes in pyrite right now, but it's making scordite more than the red headed step child it used to be.  If I was smart enough/motivated enough, I might be able to find out, but in the mean time, scordite is still a better bet than kernite, and gaining ground on our venerable veldspar.  Crazy.  Morphite has lost 50% of it's value since the end of April, and isogen about 15%.  Zydrine and megacyte are still tanking about 50% so I keep picking some up every time I'm in Jita or Amarr.  A clever monkey might be able to make some sweet cash if he were to load up a few freighters of nocx, zydrine, mega and morphite in Amarr, and run it out to oursulaert.  Just sayin'  :)

     The piece of shite, is of course that useless UI.  It looks like it's a keeper now though, for whatever reason, I have NO fucking idea.  The dev blog from Soundwave claims they are bummed out that the UI is so fucked, but not enough to remove the useless change.  Instead, they're proceeding to "fix" the "un-fix", although no word yet on REAL fixes, aside from possibly addressing the massive UI lag.  A motivated young poster, Kasriel, over at the Eve forum pointed out that there are nearly 160 PAGES, mostly about the useless inventory, and that's not including the NEW 28 pages+ about it again, linked to Soundwave's blog.  Lots of great player editing pointing out how CCP claims it needs to/wants to pay more attention to player feedback, yet ignored/ignores the SISI feedback and all the negative comments, most of which would like it to be gone, or at least be able to be switched off.  Some schmuck at CCP can obviously sell electric blankets to the devil as I have yet to see even ONE logical explanation for even ONE function that the useless fucking tree format improves over the old format.  With the supposed updates and fixes, including today's, the windows positions are still not saved, and I guess I'll find out if the lag issues are reduced, even a little.  Here's hoping.

     The rose-coloured-glasses crowd are also convinced that the new inventory is, or is going to be, a bot/macro killer.  Not.  The shitty coding that CCP includes in EVERY GUI update, that fucks with the the window settings, THAT will screw with the botters, but only until the shitty patch gets patched.  The change in the window positions and sizes is only a temporary setback until the bot coders re-jig the cursor positions and  key strokes.  It is far from the notion that the botting apps "can't" be fixed, they just haven't been fixed "YET".  That's, a true fact.  Plus, some of the high sec mining bots, even during the "vaunted" hulkageddon, and the lauded "anti-macro inventory patch", are back macro mining a storm already.  Anyone even remotely interested in finding out how the target of their anti-bot rage operates, can quickly see that patches are not much of a boondoggle for the bots.  And yes, yes, for the anti-bot zealots - those fucking high sec mining bots are ruining the game, 5 million isk an hour, meanwhile the poor little null sec super friends are busy trying to get their macros and bots back online so they can bot the ratting, complexes and anything else on the screen, for 100 times the income.  But look over there!!!  SQUIRREL!  Zealots are funny little sheepses.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Unified inventory for non-Luddites. Ok.

     Like so many others of the apparently unclean, change-hating Luddites, I too think the new inventory is fucked up.  I think it's a "change".  Not an improvement.  Not a fix.  So what was the big problem that the CCP wizards figured they'd fix?  Multiple windows.

     So, let's take anything with any kind of storage space at all, jam it all into one window, make all the frames fatter and bigger screen-space hogs, and add more clicks, to do EVERYTHING.  There's also the additional lag, plus all the normal fucked up window behaviours that happen on just about every major patch.

     So about the "multiple windows" . . . uhh, "problem".  If I want multiple windows, I can still have them, they just take up more screen space and add more lag, as mentioned, but how is that helping me or any player by jamming all that shit into a single window?  Apparently the UI bunch don't play as much as they claim, otherwise they'd know that multiple windows CAN BE DOCKED, or UNDOCKED, and managed quite nicley with PERSONALLY NAMED TABS, not something as fucking stupid as " Player's Orca (active ship) Orca".  Really??  That's the best that could be come up with for titles that stretch the shit out of the naming convention and somehow assume that a person sitting with a ship in front of them or flying through space doesn't know that?  That certainly simplifies and clarifies the descriptive convention and eases navigation. Not.    It's brutal, and all the test server players said it was fucked, long before it was installed live, and according to the forum, most of the complaints were ignored, and that too seems to be standard.  Point of fact though, in many other MMOs, devs often don't listen to test server players either.  That doesn't excuse the inventory though.

     It's too bad that every time some "brilliant" GUI change is thought of, the devs don't use their heads and automatically include a disable feature so that players can decide on their own.  If they want to push a stupid "change", it's not too difficult to consider that their perspective is different from the player base.  It's not like there have been a TON of examples like that in Eve history.  Prime example being the stupid captain's quarters.  Maybe they'll clue-in and allow players to go back and use the old inventory system that WASN'T BROKEN.  Maybe, some day, I'll find some activity where this stupid new inventory structure is helpful somehow, but I can't think of anything right now.  I would not be the least surprised if I never find anything that the new inventory does that the old one couldn't do, or even do worse.

     How tough would it be to make some actual USEFUL changes??

1.  Auto SORT the fucking inventory, and yeah, add an on/off switch.
2.  Auto STACK the inventory, and yeah, add an on/off switch.
3.  Enable selling, contracts and trading from ANY inventory window.
4.  Put all the old right click menu options back in, that way, we can navigate around the P.O.S. unified inventory.

There are likely other very obvious omissions that involve other more specific types of play, that I am unaware of, like POS administration, heavy manufacture or trading, but these three things would be super minty to have, in my books.

     A couple things can be kept from the changed UI, things that can and could have been put in the OLD system, without the useless tree structure.

1.  The auto-pricing is funky, but it needs an OFF SWITCH too.  Like, why the fuck do I need a price estimate on a drone bay?  Right click the window, disable price estimates, for ANY window.
2.  The distinction between total volume and selected volume can be kept too.
3.  To further reduce wasted fucking screen space, how tough was it to put the volume, filter window AND the display options ON THE SAME LINE!?  Maybe everyone has, or should have, huge monitors and a single client running like the devs apparently do?
4.  The filters are a good thing too.  it could be put in the old inventory as well.

     If they're going to keep that useless piece of shit of a unified inventory, I hope they add options to allow the players to decide whether they want default mode to be open all inventories in the stupid fucking window, or in their own separate windows.  Maybe, just maybe, CCP will dummy up and rethink THEIR way of playing Eve, THEIR "problem" with multiple windows, and MAYBE man up at put the old inventory back.

     For all the people that are enlightened enough to apparently love the new inventory, and decided that anyone who doesn't share their glee "simply" hates change . . . really??  That is the ONLY thing, in the entire Eve universe of play styles, that you can come up with??  We hate fucking change??  Wow.  Maybe, that kind of "thinker" shares brain space with the CCP clowns who figured multiple windows were a bad thing.  I should be so lucky that I decide to pay Eve by footling along with drool dripping off my chin, and a single, solitary, maximally shrunken ship cargo hold sitting as the ONLY open window on the screen.  After all, what could anyone POSSIBLY be doing that they would need more than ONE window open, ever, right?  AND, if they DO have more than one window open, that is TERRIBLE and needs to be "sorted".  If the new UI lovers, including the CCP GUI clowns, are so overwhelmed with multiple windows, here's a tip:  Drag one window over top another window, and if the rear window flashes, you can nest teh top one into the bottom one by releasing it.  If it DOESN'T flash, hold the shift down at the same time, and try again.  Ok?  Cool, yes??  :)  Look at that!!  ONE WINDOW.  I know, pretty awesome.

     Oh, one more thing.  In an effort to divine why players might not like the new inventory, Mabrick made a little poll for people to answer, and in doing so, hopefully/maybe/never allow Mabrick to possibly quantify what it is, or what play styles it is, that causes teh new inventory to chafe people's arses so bad.  So, go help a brother out and answer the poll, and save Eve.  :)  I read both Mabrick's, and Jester's blogs, find the vast majority of their posts enjoyable, agreeable and sensible, and they seem to love the fucking unified inventory.  I don't understand that, but that's cool, give me back the old one, or at LEAST the option of using the old one, where I don't have to mash down the entire left side of the keyboard with my left hand while opening a container in its own fucking window.  I don't mind change, I don't have a problem with multi-tasking, and I certainly don't lose my shit and get a panic attack when 2 or more windows are open.  That's just me though . . .

Thursday, May 24, 2012

They whined for it, and got it.

     The incursion nerf, I mean.  Not a news flash at all, but as time as slowly sidled along, another example of CCP using a nuke on a mosquito.

     All the e-peen/dog-in-the-manger types railed against incursions.  Not ALL incursions, fuck no, just HIGH SEC incursions.  The elitists and their little wanna-be parrots were always always always quick to chant "risk vs reward" as their mantra.  It really had fuck all to do with that.  The problem was that players were making money, and HAPPY, and they were doing it in high sec.  There is less risk in null, buried deep and snug in their player controlled sov areas, than there will EVER be in high sec.  True fact.  And that's why all the biggest money making faucets and bots are all living in null.   Can a high sec player run a ratting macro and scoop faction drops?  Nope.  Can high sec players drop capitals and monopolize plexes, DED sites and incursions?  Nope.  Do high sec players even get 100% payout on their incursions?  Uhh, nope.  Players were grinding away in high sec, not the fabled, uber-player zone of null, but high sec, where at any given time, about 80% of the active players are doing their thing.  This also pissed off the null power bunnies.  How are they going to have a CTA when so many of the small minority of Eve players, have jump cloned up to high sec to make some money for THEMSELVES by running incursions?  As the player (supposedly) council was, and still is, chaired majorly by null representatives, they have a voice closest to the ear of CCP, and they used it.  So did their little ass puppets.

     The parrots liked to spout the 100 misk an hour" chant, along with the anti-incursionists, and yeah, that amount of money could be made, but it required nearly a perfect combination of few players being on, a strong and smart, but small, group of incursion runners in the system, and plenty of time to run the shit out of a system before the rest of the unclean masses logged on.  As the incursion whines made more and more news, more and more players showed up to grab their handful of this magical 100 million/hour wind fall.  It was happening less and less, and people ACTUALLY IN THE INCURSIONS, could see it was bullshit, knew it was bullshit, but their voices were not the loudest nor the largest in number.  The incursions were self equalizing.  It was well into the process of happening, it was obvious it was happening, but the whiners wanted some Jack boots to stomp the shit out of the incursions and the incursion runners anyway.  Fuck them.  Null sec should be the only ones to be making money, yet, every time I was in system and fleeted up, more than half the fleet members were either null sec toons, or null sec alts.  Go figure.  With all the money down there, and the "epic" game play, WTF were they doing up with a bunch of high sec pubbies???  At any rate, the more people that heard about the wonderful incursion money, the more people showed up to shoot.  The more people that showed up, the more fleets there were.  The more fleets, the fewer open rooms there were.  The fewer open rooms, the more time contesting or jumping from occupied or finished room to the next site.  The more time jumping, the less time shooting.  As time went on, EVERYONE was making less money.  Some times, it was below level 4 mission earnings.  It was a good social atmosphere though, depending on the people who hooked up with.  But anyway, FUCK INCURSION RUNNERS!

     CCP is trying to force players into null.  That's the "end game".  That is the ultimate fucking sand castle in their little sandbox.  The parroting losers from low sec don't give a fuck about null, but they want high sec incursions fucked-up too, because in their 3 year-old delusions, they figure people will "maybe" run low sec incursions, or maybe fly billion isk + ships through low sec to go run null incursions.  Thick, I know, but that's the mental horsepower when you're two-fisting your e-peen, I guess.  The null bunch, I think, don't really give a fuck about whether the high sec players will ever end up in null or not, they just want their players BACK in null, "where they belong", and in the end, if they fuck with the game enjoyment of a bunch of high sec bears, and fuck with their ability to generate game currency, they're happy, mostly.  After the dip shits from "Team Five 0" gathered their "valuable feedback" from the player base, they cozied up to the demands of the null crowd, and used a nuke on what could have been a simple solution.

     CCP is funny.  They make so many aspects of their little sandbox SO predictable and SO fucking procedural, that players in very short order either macro/bot the shit out of it, or min/max the ship fits and tactics, or both.  They make incursions sites so that you don't even need to shoot all the fucking rats, make the spawn sequences almost 100% predictable (aside from the odd, insignificant glitch in spawn order) and then wonder that players start farming the shit out of them?  So the two most obvious things that would fix everything, they finally got to, but added a bunch more unnecessary shit.  1)  MAKE THE SPAWNS RANDOM.  Wow.  and B)  YOU HAVE TO KILL EVERYTHING TO COMPLETE THE SITE.  Double wow.  So right there, the biggest problems are solved.  The only way for ANYONE to blitz a site, is to kill everything.  No more running in and blasting the shit out of a handful of rats while you tank the rest.  No more cherry picking specific rats to accelerate the spawns and accelerate site completions.  And right there, you let incursion popularity continue, and as more players show up to run sites, the whole thing is self limiting.  Of course, players would whine and moan about the "nerf", but it's a minor nerf, and populations would still stabilize and remain high in the incursion systems.  Hundreds of players per system would limit the amount of isk per player (exactly the way it was happening before the nerf), reduce site completions per player, and force more players to choose the assaults and HQs instead of everyone cherry-picking the vanguards.  Incursions would be run down faster, and that too would limit the isk per player.  The random spawns and 100% kill requirements would also slow down the isk and LP earned per player.  Problem, fucking, solved.  I'm sorry though, but that is no where near fucking good enough.  Fun + decent cash in high sec = bad fucking deal for the whiners.  And, as the whiners have the ear of CCP, their deal is the only deal that matters :)

     Of course, the next "watch words" are things like "generated isk" or "injected".  In other words, high sec incursions are bad because raw isk and LP are just generated out of thin air.  Apparently, all the null "wizards"  have a pretty good idea of where all the macroed drones, and rats, and moon goo come from.  Maybe out of their asses?  Of course, my bad, these things aren't "isk" OR LP.  No no.  These are things that you SPEND isk on and such things as those don't "break" the game by generating themselves out of thin air and ruining the economy, especially the RMT economy.  Too much "magic" isk being generated out of thin air, well, that fucks with everything by causing rampant inflation because people will piss too much isk up against the wall for any and all items, because they have lots of money (from those evil fucking high sec incursions) to piss up against the wall.  Thing is though, and the null power brokers were likely aware of this while their little ass-puppet "yeah what he said!" drones were (and still are oblivious), the entry fee to the incursions so you could "run with the big dogs", who were also mainly null sec'ers, was in the form of shiny mods and ships.  Now, where oh where would the shinies come from?  Oh yeah, null.  So, in standard fashion, it isn't about high sec incursion runners getting the shit end of the stick, they didn't get an end at all.  Null minority is holding one end of the stick, selling all the shiny pirate and T3 boats to the pubbies, and of course they also provide all the uber faction mods, and then they've got their other hand on the other end of the stick, and they are whining to CCP that incursions in high sec need to be nerfed.  The money all ended up going to the same place anyway, null, but then, null has all the big money fountains down there too.  They don't want even a little piss-stream of money in high sec.  Either from the elitist standpoint, which is a big factor, but also from the point of view of maybe trying to make null look better by fucking up high sec.

     So, looking at the incursions of late, pretty sad.  CCP fucked with the payout for vanguards (which they didn't have to do if they only fucking THOUGHT for a second), and they also fucked with the influence rate formulae.  Incursions are pretty much ghost towns now.  Server populations are still fairly high though, considering goon-fuck-ageddon, the drone alloys going bye-bye, and school/exams/summer on the verge, but I'm wondering who is, or if there is any way to, chart the effects of the incursion changes.  Likely there were too many other player-influencing changes going on at the same time to be able to pick out individual causes, but the amount of players running incursions is definitely way off.  You've have hundreds per system at peak, and now there are barely a hundred in the entire incursion a lot of the time.  I could probably check, but I think I remember that if the MOM site wasn't taken down if/when it finally spawned, you didn't collect your LP.  That would suck.

     Also, looking at all the shiny boats and mods that incursions runners so loved, it looks like the ships are moving fairly slow and few now, compared to the markets of even mid April.  Obviously, T3s and pirate BS have more uses than just incursions, AND there is also the matter of mineral prices likely driving down the desire to spring for billion dollar boats, plus the goon-derps fucking with the T2/T3 market, plus HA5, plus, well, fuck, looks like a grey time is coming down the pipe maybe.  Or maybe not.

     Don't know how many incursion runners will say fuck it and bail.  Don't know how many carebears have said fuck it because of HA5, and have bailed.  Don't know how many poor-baby null macroers have bailed on their accounts, or been banned because of the mod and alloy nerf.  Summer is coming too.  Mayhap plex prices will stop yo-yoing a bit (after the alliance tournament) and the player population changes will maybe allow them to drop a little, unless the players leaving were also some of the ones supplying plex.  Might be a bit of a glut on the market for pirate boats and faction mods.  Maybe their prices will go down some.  Volumes and supply are pretty low on the pirate BS compared to prior to the incursion nerf announcements.  With fewer, far fewer, players running incursions, that's going to be a lot less money to spend on things, but then, more money will be needed because of the mineral and technetium fuckery too.  Maybe some incursion runners will swap their nightmares for hulks as there's decent money in mining now, although not up to level 4 mission rates yet in high sec.

     With fewer incursion runners, and tougher incursions, apparently fewer layers are willing to risk their shinies.  Sever numbers are still in the high 37K during my normal play times, which is interestingly high considering HA5 and the incursion nerf.  I wonder what players have switched to for play options?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Well, that was a waste . .

     I've been pretty busy with real life activities and a new job, but decided to watch Battleship instead of doing a little casual mining and listening to audio books of Steven King's The Dark Tower.  Well, that's a couple hours I'll never get back.

     The premise that the movie is somehow vaguely related to the classic Battleship board game, is a complete dis-service to the board game.  Aside from a couple minutes where a fancy little oceanographic buoy grid is clumsily used by the cast to supposedly target and shoot the bad guys, the movie has about 99% NOTHING to do with the game.  The "battleship" part is merely because they drag out a museum ship, sitting for two decades, to try to deal with a bunch of alien bad-guy invaders, who turn all the modern ships into so much flaming wreckage.  A battleship, it is hoped and theorized, has the size and mass to absorb damage from alien chainsaw balls, and their funky armour piercing depth charges, and will hopefully allow the intrepid crew the time to save the planet.  LUCKILY, the mothballed ship just happens to start right up after 20 years of sitting, PLUS, they just happen to luckily have a bunch of 1000 lb HE shells laying around (in a ship that is a museum and tourist attraction . . ok), PLUS, they just happen to also have a bunch of 100 lb charge bags of super high explosives laying around so they can fire said 1000 lb shells, and finally, they have a handful of old, busted ass, retiree vets who used to serve on the ship and they are able to get the ship limping out to do battle with a few people when it took scores to hundreds of seamen to just drive the thing around the bay once.  That's ok, it's just a movie though.  The very BEST part?  Well, after the nasty water aliens were clever enough to blow up all the gun turrets where their ammo was, 5 or six people, half of them being the previously mentioned old and busted up vets, decide to CARRY, by hand, one of the 16" diameter, 1000 pound rounds a few hundred feet to the back of the ship, THROUGH the middle of the ship, UP stairs, DOWN stairs, the whole shebang. Wow.

     Now, when I watch a movie, I'm just watching a movie.  I don't care about plot or character development, or what the movie or director is trying to say.  It's just entertainment.  this movie though, was busted, disjointed and clumsy.  Like a low budget, water version of Independence Day.  All the hard core rah-rah-USA movies tend to make me dry heave, but ID was a very enjoyable movie.  It flowed well.  Battlefield flowed like a frozen turd on 60 grit sandpaper.  The dude from John Carter was in it, as the main anti-hero dude, and I enjoyed John Carter (even though I've never read any of the books in the series), and his rebel character wasn't too terrible.  They had a hot blond chick - so the guys have something to watch.  I think Rihanna's agent must have paid the movie to let her be in it, and it looks like her part was added as an after thought seeing as how maybe the movie makers started to smell that the movie was a stinker, so let someone with some wide PR exposure join the cast in the hopes that people would be ignoring the film and only pay attention when Rihanna was on screen.  It also looked like the writers came up with the dialogue for her part on a 15 minute coffee break.  Brutal and had no connection to what was going on in the movie.  If Rihanna's part had been deleted, it would have changed essentially nothing.  Not that Rihanna was terrible, I bet she'd be a decent actress, but her "part" in that movie was brutal, like many of the parts.  I have NO idea what the fuck Liam Neeson was doing in that movie though.  I can't remember one of his movies that I didn't enjoy at least mildly.  Is he that hard up for work or parts?  Let's not forget the angry double amputee vet too.  I guess for peak USA sales, a smart director will try to roll in the whole "vet thing" at least once in a movie to get the whole flag thing roiling.  Oh look, a double amputee vet kicking advanced alien ass!  Yay!

     With me being the admittedly unimaginative and un-artistic guy that I am, when I can predict line after line in a movie, it's a stinker.  Cool CGI effects with the alien ships, 'n stuff, but it's a busted ass movie.  It MIGHT be worth a watch, later after it comes out on DVD, if someone accidentally leaves it at your place.  Other than that, I could have mined a decent amount of ore to over-price after HA5.  It's been a decent while since I sat through a stinker like Battleship.  That one made it past the filter somehow - I shall have to be more vigilant.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A capital plan, sir.

     A fair ways back, my friend and I had a few toons finally trained up to the point of being able to make rorquals, freighters, carriers and such.  We grabbed a bunch of BPC packs from Jita, as they were pleasantly cheap, and planned to make ourselves some freighters for our toons, and also to have the other capital BPCs handy for when we dip into low sec and/or null later in the year if life allows.  Being able to mine our own ore is very convenient, and we'd only likely have to spend something on the order of 300 misk for the mega and zydrine we'd need for each capital class boat.  As the price of everything goes up and down, we've got a modded version of the Dragonol spreadsheet to show us whether it's more profitable to buy the capitals or build them.

     We've got an area picked out where a good lowsec system is easy access from high sec, so we can pop in there, with good scouting and bookmarks, and set up carrier production as there are no carriers for sale in the area, and haven't been for a long while.  With all the various BPOs to pick up, it should be in the 25 billion neighbourhood to get us well on our way, and then we can load up all the toons and get the researching the ME and PE.  That should take a few months and then by fall, we should be able to start looking at prices and see what our best bets are.  We'll make a few basic modules as well to make it convenient for the new carrier owners to fit the ships out a little and help them get home.  Should be able to sell a few boats, especially to teh bad boys and girls who can't climb up into high sec.

Monday, May 14, 2012

What f**kery, through yonder market breaks??

     So, a few days back, I was checking some prices, and was fairly surprised to see the mineral prices tanking, and tanking hard, mainly, seemingly, in Jita.  Now, by "tanking", I merely refer to sub-six isk per unit figures for things like tritanium.  Interesting, and I was wondering why, seeing as how we were into HA5, plus the drone alloy effects of the last update.

     In the case of tritanium, volumes started to drop off even in the first week of April, which was well before the update/HA scare was noticeable, I think, but just after the highest prices.  Highest prices, decreasing volumes - not unexpected.  As prices stayed high, in the low 6's, volumes started to drop off.  looked like some big buy orders were filled at roughly the same time each week, and as the buy volumes dropped, so did the prices drop slightly.  At one point a few days ago, the price nearly dropped into the low 5's per unit in Jita, and stayed close to that for a day or two as all the Jita mineral prices seemed to tank.  It struck me as weird, almost like someone dropped a ton of minerals on the market and the market bots all sort of freaked out a little.  Not sure what the criteria are for the market bots, but I might go download one and see how they work, and what they look for.  Stockmarket software sometimes goes into a feeding frenzy - maybe the bots do too, or can be induced to do so.  This big drop concerned me a little as I hoped it wasn't going to be a trend as if someone with deep pockets and a huge stock pile of minerals was dumping them on the market.

     Things seem more normalized now with low volatility and slowly rising prices.  Supply vs demand is still running at about 1 to 3, so that will help stop a slide and should slowly boost prices again as hulkageddon continues.  Prices are generally a little lower than they were near the end of April, but as I continue to stockpile minerals, likely as a large number of players are doing, I'm hoping another week of hulkageddon will  boost the prices a little higher than they were and allow a little more of a profit.  If not, I'll still likely be close to breaking even, and the month of HA has only diminished the the mining yields by about 10% due to the hulks' armour boosts and shield drone usage.  Still have more than enough cash to PLEX all 7 accounts for about 3 months, so no real pressure to make truck loads of cash in high risk systems.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Yeah, Eve is just a game . .

     Contrary to the thoughts of the minority of any MMO playerbase, it's only a small percentage of players that bother looking outside the game itself for news and information about a game.  An even smaller portion of that minority is actually interested in doing more than just lurking, in other words posting.  I wonder what the numbers stack up like for the like even smaller portion of the "active" minority, that further go on and do things like blogs, articles, videos, etc?

     At any rate, the small minds of the minority seem to always be so amazed that some player they run across, in-game, isn't aware that some event is going on.  Obviously, the vast majority have something that the self proclaimed "hard core", or the "informed", don't have.  A life and/or they are new players and have more than enough on their hands learning all the little nooks and crannies of the Eve interface let alone worrying about finding all the different fora where all the little external community sheep like to congregate.  Quite likely, also a clue about more important things, and probably a little something called "moderation".  For those lacking real social skills or even a little life experience, their world consists of electrons lined up in convenient patterns in side computers, and they are short sighted and narrow minded enough to assume that every one is as cloistered as they are.  That's not to say that all fora members, bloggers, pod casters, etc, are vapid electronic game junkies, but many fora, and most posts add little to enhance anything except a post count.

     Whilst I'm out and about, if the conversation goes that way, or right now, for example, with the goon-derps rampaging for a month, I make sure I pose a friendly question to the asteroid belt neighbors as to whether they know about hulkageddon or not.  I'm not surprised that they don't know nor do I assume they are dullards.  It's just a game, and in time, like me, they'll likely find that most community and fora posts are little more than white noise generated be little herdlets trying hard to fit and be cool with their TLDR/hurr-durr/HTFU/pubbie parroting.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Hulk-a-what?? Where?

     There are many sites, some very respectable, listing different takes and schemes for helping carebears deal with hulkageddon 5.  Eve is a big, big game space.  Hulkageddon is a small period of time.  I'm not really interested in spending millions of isk to pop good rigs, replace them with defensive rigs, then pop those, and re-insert the cargo expanders.  Nay, instead, there are other ways to deal with hulkageddon, and if skill training was thought out, it can be done inexpensively, but likely a little epically as far as reading goes.

     Easiest thing, take a few minutes to look at systems in all of Eve, and start narrowing down systems that have an acceptable combination of traffic, ship and pod kills, populations and ore types.  And an acceptable combination depends on how you want to deal with HA5.

     I knew HA5 was coming, like the other HAs before it.  On top of that, there are the random ass-hats that just like to get their jollies by running around and blowing up players who can't shoot back.  This is where planning comes in.  This is where selective skill training comes in.  With a mining barge, make sure all 4 shield resist type skills (EM, kinetic, explosive and thermal) are trained to at least level 4.  Do the exact same thing with the armour resists.  If you want to be really dedicated, another 64 days (with L5 implants) will take you to level 5 in all 8.  Make sure the other shield, ship and mechanic skills are at least level 4 to further boost the shield, armour and hull strength.  I'm not going to list them.  If you seriously want to be an indy type, make sure you get your ship related skills as close to max as possible - refresh your knowledge of those skills.  They will transfer to everything you fly.  Indy boats are fragile, use the skills to make them less so.  If the skills aren't all trained up to 4, start on them now.  Every resist and shield skill adds protection and will likely be a big bonus even before the end of May.

     If you're flying a barge, you likely, if you're smart, have some drone skills trained.  Forget about combat drones for HA.  Drones shooting at a gank ship will gain you nothing.  Think shield and armour repping drones, and/or electronic warfare drones.  You could even forget about EW and concentrate on reppers, because you still have to wait to be aggressed, and THEN send the EW drones after the asshat, and by then, you're likely dead.  Especially if it is a gank ship sitting 80km away.  Train up the skills so that the mining toons can use repper drones, and get the skills up to level 4 too.  A simple thing to do.  And yes, it too is permanent.  With a mining fleet, if each person targets a different barge/orca, each one can be constantly under shield or armour rep, and that adds survival time while Concord drops in.  Yes, I know about rats.  So, you have two options.  Pull the drones, send combat drones to kill the rats, then redeploy the reppers, or mine in .9/1.0 where no rats spawn.  Multiple times, I have hat asshats show up in destroyers, they see the reppers, and leave.  ESPECIALLY for T1 barges - they are paper.  Two sets of shield repping drones, plus the skills, plus a couple of simple modules,  and the T1 barges go from paper to hardwood, some softer type of metal, or at the very least, stiff cardboard.  It's a good thing.

     Forget about spending millions on re-rigging the barges.  Fuck that.  Set them up for normal operations.  In the mids, I run a couple civilian shield boosters, a shield recharger and an invuln field.  Get those related skills to 4.  I have a mining upgrade 2 in the low, along with a damage control 2.  A hulk goes from about 8k HP to about 8700 with the invuln field turned on.  It reps 6 hp every 1.5 seconds with both shield reppers on, and when you turn on the DC2, the boat goes up to about 15k HP with resists from 60s to high 70%s.  Add 5 shield repping drones, and that's more shield repping on top of the boosters.  If your orca pilot is smart and skilled, in the third high slot, they'll run something useful like a shield harmonizing warfare link.  If you're lucky, it's a T2.  With decent skills as a hulk pilot, you still have 10k m3 of cargo space, still have great (but not perfect) mining performance at up to 1800m3 per gun, per cycle, have shield resists up in the high 60's to low 80 percentages and have shield rep drones, plus hobs, to rep and shoot rats.  No fucking around with rigs are super gimped cargo or mining yield fits and a hulk can be cap stable with all that shit running AND without the need for funky implant bullshite.  The hulk doesn't have a shit load of HP, but it does have pretty good resists.

     For orca pilots, as mentioned above, run a shield harmonizer in the 3rd high slot, leave mining foreman links in the other two.  Pull one of the expanded cargohold 2s, and use a damage control 2 as well.  I use 2 shield inducers and an invuln field and swap out an AB or a webber (to help other industrials warp faster).  With decent skills, the orca has 75 to 80K hp.  The invuln can add another 5 or 6k when turned on.  Turn on the DC 2, and all the resists go up and put the HP well over 150K HP.  turn on the shield harmonizing link and you get maybe another 1000 hp, and you'll have 2 resists well into the 60% range or higher, but EM and thermal resists still suck ass anywhere from about 35 to 50% depending on skills.  Not the greatest resists, but the orca gets HP over resists, plus, it too can get a little help from a shield booster, plus repping drones, and still be cap stable with all the shit running.  Even outside of hulkageddon, the orca can be left like this pretty much permanently as a mining fleet booster.  With 150K + HP, the orca pilots can get away with not having a repper drone fleet on them, and that frees up extra drones to double to triple rep a weaker barge.  IE, for me, I'll take the 2 sets of drones, from the booster and transport orca, and assign them to rep the T1 barges, or the weakest hulk pilot, to help double or triple the repping drones.  With 150k HP, that is putting an orca in the same HP range as a freighter at around 175 to 185k HP.  You know, the ones that it took 25 gank BCs  or miscellaneous fleets up to 60+ ships to blow up?  The important thing to know, is that while an orca has fewer HP, it's resists are still VASTLY superior to a freighter.  What are the chances even the angriest little goon-derp is going to drag out 25 x ~80 misk ships to blow up an orca?  Slim to fucking none?  Your orca is safe.

     For T1 mining barges, or mackinaws, things get tougher, even in fleets, because they have Jack Shit for HP.  They have Jack Shit for resists (like a freighter).  They have Jack Shit for slots, and suffer on the grid issues as well.  Not a surprise that people like to pop them, and can pop them so easy.  For T1 boats, this is where a couple hulk or orca pilots can help out by assigning 10 or more repper drones to cover your ass, BUT, even a T1 can still run a damage control and that will help out a shit ton, but it still leaves the protection meter in the "pathetic" range.  If you must run a T1 barge, there are other things that can be done to mildly mitigate gank threats a little more.

     So, now that some of the skill, module and ship parameters have been established, we go back up to the top where we were talking about acceptable levels of traffic, kills, population and ore types.

     If you have low skills, and fly T1 barges, stick to .9 and 1.0 systems.  Find ones out in the middle of nowhere, with low traffic and most importantly, low numbers of asteroid belts.  Don't pick ones on main pipes - try to find dead ends, or small loops/squares/triangles that don't really go anywhere else.  No one wants to mine in a system with only a few belts and is basically a dead end.  Gankers assume this to be so as well, so mine there until your skills get better while they go off to find systems with lots of belts, or ice belts, or both.  Pull out the local chat window, expand it, stay aligned to a station, and you should be ok.  You might even be able to use mining drones if populations stay low.  Even if you are in a fleet, everyone stays aligned, watch local, and you should be fine.  In .9 or 1.0, especially with an orca and hulks, Concord will be on a ganker almost instantaneously and you'll be fine.

     If your skills are to the level that mine are, mostly 4 with some 5s, and (thankfully) with perfect hulk and orca skills, look for systems in the .8 range with pyro and veldspar, or if you're feeling braver, go for .7 with kernite as well.  So, how do you find out what kind of ore a system has?  Simple.  Go to Dotlan, type in the system name, and it shows you what types of ore the system has.  Example.  See?  For a random-ass click, it's actually not a bad system for traffic and kills.  BUT, it's .5 security, and there are 13 belts.  Not that it gets a lot of traffic, but if a ganker shows up, they'll be able to do some serious damage before Concord decides to show up.  So, you locate a good candidate system in Eve's client star map, and then go for more details with a site like Dotlan.  If you tend to mine solo, you can pick a system with low population/traffic/NPC kills (which indicates low population/activity) and with as few belts as possible based on how much you tend to mine, when you DO mine.  If you usually fleet up, with good/decent orca boosts, you might want 2 or 3 or 4 belts in a system if you mine for a few hours.  Other than that, same rules apply, but try not to go any deeper than .7 security.  Optimum for me is a system with 4 or 5 belts, and it's .8 with kernite for a ~3 hour mining op.  Stay aligned, repper drones deployed (double or triple up on the weker/est ship), local pulled out, and stay frosty :)

     What DON'T you need?  Fucking around with multi-million dollar rigs.  Having a complete extra set of ships for hulkageddon events.  Gimped mining barges with piss poor mining yields and no fucking cargo space.  Just train the skills up, use DCs, take even only 10 minutes to scout out some good backwater systems, and you will likely be just fine.  Gankers are creatures of habit.  They go to the ice systems.  the ygo to the .5 and .6 systems with lots 'o belts.  Why?  Because miners like to mine where there are lots of belts.  If you want to go even a little further into the void, go to a system with NO stations and use secure containers, again, out of the way though.  With more skilled hulk and orca pilots, you can be a little more aggressive to go after tastier belts by mining in an ice system with high populations.  Gankers will go after a Mackinaw, almost every time, if they have to choose between that and a hulk.  Let them be bait if they want to take their chances with ice mining.  ;)

     So, true fact, it doesn't matter a pinch of coon shit WHAT you do with your indy ships.  If some asshole wants to gank you bad enough, you're dead.  They know how much armour the barges have, and they know what order they rank in as far as difficulty to explode.  If some dude shows up in your belt with a battleship(s), get the fuck out as he could be planning to smart bomb your mining op.  If a dude shows up in your belt, stays for a few minutes in a small ship, and then leaves, and then local balloons afterwards, get the fuck out as he might have brought his buddies.  You can take inexpensive steps to protect yourself, and you can mine your ass off, all the way through hulkageddon, and get nearly the same yields as normal.  With 5 hulks, a retriever and two orcas, in high sec, .7 sec and up, since the start of "burn Jita", I've managed to stockpile over 8 billion worth of minerals from out in the middle of butt-fuck New Eden.  I'm completely away fro mteh normal system I mine in, and with a sweet little system, with a current population of 12 (8 of which are my toons :)), I'm going to see if I can hit the 20 billion mark before the end of May.  Anyone can do the same, all it takes is a little planning, and a small handful of isk.

     Hulkageddon??  Pffft.  Fucking whatever . . .

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Why yes, Virginia, Jita was burning . .

    So, logging on for the end of April one could see there was beaucoup activity in and around Jita.  CCP was even good enough to post a nifty travel advisory.  I guess if that doesn't prove that CCP was ok with the event, I don't know what would.  I wonder how many players opened Eve, saw that message, but didn't really see it or understand it?

     So, Saturday when I checked and logged in, there were close to 2200 in Jita.  2180-something, I think.  I was auto piloting a shuttle in there to see whutz whut, just for grins, and ended up at the Perimeter gate with dozens and dozens of ships waiting to jump in, some of which were also freighters. ??  Macro transport runs or exceedingly brave/stupid?  I don't know, but anyway, I was still on AP sitting at the gate, and then poof, I was in, and on my way to 4-4.  Didn't notice any lag, or even the time dilation, but lots and lots of ships floating around, few wrecks at the time and little shooting.  I logged the other 7 toons in, shuttled them in too, and sat in 4-4.  My little contribution was a) take up 8 system slots that the goon-derps can't use, 2)  take the place of 8 characters that can't be shot at by the goon-derps, and c)  the worst case, take the place of 8 toons that could/would/might be out in space shooting the goon-derps, or doing other misc functions like salvage or loot.  Then, I went out to do a few errands.  Was that being a dick?  Maybe, but then I wasn't ganking anyone, so I sleep just fine. ;)

     The action was fairly brisk according to the star maps, and there was more action going on there than anywhere else in the Eve galaxy/universe.  Doing a mouse-over on the other hubs produced very little action at all.  The bloom of Jita pretty much dwarfed everything else.  About 3 dozen freighters were lost, 2 dozen transports, mostly T2s, and about 8 jump freighters.  About 2300 pods bit the big one over the long weekend, and a pleasingly large number of them are goon-derps, durr-reddit and TEST puppets.  They were shooting each other too - works for me :)  

     There were also a few bloom spikes in the adjacent systems as gankers possibly made runs on some of the traffic jams in Perimeter.  About 3 dozen, mostly T1, transports got popped over the weekend, less than 10 freighters, and 2 jump freighters, along with over 40 pods.  A pleasantly large number of the pods were goon-derps and TEST puppets there, too.

     In Muvolailen, 28 goon-derps, TEST puppets and friends popped a freighter for 700 million in ore, and that was about it :)  Maurasi lost an AFK transport with a mining laser on it, Sobaseki lost 8 freighters, 3 dozen pods, 1 jump freighter, 6 transports (2 are goon-derp ships :)) and 60 ships (yes 60) to take out a jump freighter.  New Caldari had a freighter, and a transport, and Niyabainen had no action at all.

     So, all the totals could be added up, and then a question could be asked, "Was it a success?"  Contrary to many players' belief, including my own, supposedly the Jita event had been in planning for months.  Now had I/we/others deigned it worth our while to sacrifice 80 IQ points to join a goon-derp oriented forum, supposedly we would have been able to read the posts talking about the event.  At any rate, did the event have a big effect on high sec players?  I doubt it, judging by the content of many of the freighters, including the jump freighters and blockade runners.  Who needs a JF or BR in high sec besides approximately no one?  The event would be taking out fellow null/low denizens in those ships most likely.  Did it hamper anyone's ability to access the markets?  Only briefly.  At about 80 million a pop for a tier 3 BC, it's not a cheap proposition to take out a freighter when you need about 25 BCs to do it, or more.  Not that the goon-derps can't afford it.

     In the end, it was a "big deal" for those small few that thrive on attention.  Certainly a lot of money was spent on the ships used to gank, as well as the ones that were ganked.  I'm sure some people did fairly well on the salvage and loot end of things as well, but there was a decent number of Noctis popped as well.  I saw it, didn't get the T-shirt, and then the recess bell ended.  It was an event, but I'm not angry enough or puerile enough to think it was cool.  Interesting from a numbers point of view perhaps, but that's about her.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Mining's ABCs

     No, not MINING ABCs, but MINING'S ABCs.  So, capitals are people too, so are apostrophes and syntax. :)

     Anyway, I have been in my fair share of mining fleets and mining ops.  Great social beasts they are, with lazars pointing everywhere and chat scrolling, and voice blaring, and jet cans and all that good rot.  Can be a little chaotic at times, and for the most part, they tend to be mainly "group" things and not so much "efficient" things.  With good orca pilots and boosts and mining skills, fleets can crush a prodigious amount of rock, but for efficiency, I've found that even just a little organization makes a big difference.

     Standard overview fare is to select all asteroid types, and arrange them by distance.  Everyone jumps on any rock, or sometimes the more organized will assign certain types to specific players, who after that type of ore is mined out, will then be allowed to mine anything or get assigned another type of ore.  Specific assignments are easy to do and greatly increase efficiency.  It's more efficient because if only one player is mining an asteroid, with only one laser, instead of multiple players and lasers, when the asteroid pops, it only pops on one player, one laser.  When multiple lasers have been mining the same roid that pops, that's not a big deal, but do that dozens or scores of times in a mining op, and that time can easily add up to an hour or more where zero ore was mined.  Most ops will split the ore between miners, or give a portion to the corp, and then split the rest.  With wasted mining time, that greatly reduces the shares for the rest of the miners.

     I would set up my overview, all roid types, sorted by distance, and then assign each miner a specific type of ore that they just pick out of the overview.  It's also just as easy to set up the overview for single ore types, and then switch between them as the ore type runs out.  If there were enough miners, ore types would be further broken down into "normals" (like pyroxeres) and "specials" (the solid and viscous variants).  One miner mines the normals, the other the specials.  If there are more miners still, and there are enough asteroids, you can further break them down by normals, specials and also close and far.  Two miners could be assigned to mine veldspar with one starting at the closest rocks and working to the more distant ones, and the other starts at max strip miner range, and works their way in.  This reduces the chances that multiple miners will be on the same asteroid until the belt and ore types start getting really depleted.  If there are enough orca pilots and toons with squad commander skills, you can also split the fleet to multiple belts, and then apply the same near/far, normals/specials roid assignments.  Unless the belts are really massive, on high sec ore types, usually 8 hulks is about max efficiency, with either a single orca that just does transport runs and tractors can, or a stationary orca (good job for the fleet boost orca) with a transport or another orca for ore transport.
     After a little messing around, I found a simple and fool proof method of setting up the overview so everyone can stay organized and on type.  Display all the ores, and then select the ID column as the sorting criteria.  It sorts al lteh asteroids, alphabetically by name, type and distance.  Makes it extremely easy to to keep track of your type of rock, how many are left, and what other types still remain.  How easy is that?  :)

     When it comes to solo mining, or smaller fleets, or just trying to min/max your isk per hour, taking a quick look at a website that gives good ore and mineral pricing is not a bad thing.  I like Cerleste's site.  Simple, clear and all the market hub prices are at the bottom.  I click on the "Appearance" column to sort the ores with highsec on top, then hold SHIFT and click on the "ISK" column and it sorts highest isk to lowest, of the high sec ores.  If there is limited time, I know what to mine to maximize my isk.  Right now, it's pretty much pyro for the win.  Cherry picking the specials and then moving to the next belt is a good way to maximize cash if there are enough specials.  Too much time flying means not enough time mining, though.  The latest updates have put miners back in the game.  No sense not making best use of the belt time.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


     That's the clarion call any time CCP tries to make anything remotely resembling a reduction in the ability of some asshat to grief the other players, right?  "HEY!  It's a sandbox!!"  True fact though, for all the little 4chan/reddit/SA cattle who were raised by the Internet and video games instead of their absent/lazy/stupid parents, they don't know shit about a sandbox.  They know the word, and half might even be able to spell it if you gave them enough time, but that's it.

     For people who remember what it was like before every toy needed batteries, a Wifi connection and Mac Daddy headphones, sandboxes were the omni toy that could be, and did, everything.  A couple rocks and sticks, plus a sandbox, and there was nothing that couldn't be built or imagined.  Mutli-billion dollar toy companies couldn't touch a sandbox.  While sandboxes were and could be, anything and everything, at the same time, there were rules.  There had to be rules.  If there were no rules, even fluid and transitory ones, the sandbox-time was spent fighting instead of having fun, arguing instead  of playing, crying instead of laughing.  The end result, the sandbox eventually emptied.  Kids wouldn't play in it.  It ended up being a great place to pinch a loaf or take a leak if you were a dog, cat or raccoon.  Kids understood that.  The rule part I mean, although, kids were known to bury brown surprises in the odd castle tower or improvise on the type of liquid that could be used in a moat.

     The TLDR asshats, don't understand about the need for rules in a sandbox, because they are clueless when it comes to a sandbox.  Enough assholes in a sandbox, and the sandbox is ruined for everyone, especially when there were public sandboxes and bullies.  Bullies aren't interested in using a sandbox, only in being assholes.

     Eve is a pretty wide open game format, but light years away from a sandbox, even though it's the new cool title to apply to a game with limited structure.  When it comes to a bunch like duh goonz and lil Alex, they aren't interested in the sandbox, only in the ability to make people miserable if they come to play in the sandbox.  In the end, people stop going to the sandbox.

     More recently, a number of large scale griefing plans were concocted by the angry little sheep.  With the upcoming game changes having a big effect on minerals and ore, word is the goonz bought up hundreds and hundreds of billions worth of minerals.  Stockpile before the Escalation changes.  Then, after numb-nuts' ban ended at the end of Apr, they decided to grief Jita for a couple days.  This may or may not have had much of an effect that added to the issues with increased mineral and ore prices and the people who were trying to stock up at the last minute before hulkageddon 5 started for a month.  Dumb time to try a stockpiling run in Jita, but hey.  Their efforts to encourage other sheep to gank the other trade hubs, tanked.  Next, a month long hulkageddon sponsored by lil Alex and his buddies.  On top of that, there is their OTEC cartel that they are ramping up where the intent is to try to control technetium prices and inflate them, and why not?  The goonz control a big chunk of technetium production.  Good for them - fuck everyone else.  Sponsoring hulkageddon by giving a ganker 100 misk for every 10 mining barges they kill is an interesting combination.  To build a hulk, like anything T2, it requires technetium.  To build a hulk, technetium at current prices, amounts to almost 75%, or about 120 million isk worth of the total cost.  The goonz pay griefers to shoot hulks, they reward them with 100 misk, while the hulk builders get 1.2 billion isk+ (if all 10 were hulks) for initially building those hulks, plus another 1.2 billion for the replacements.  Maybe it would be too obvious, but why wouldn't Alex and his drones run hulkageddon and sponsor it permanently?  All day, every day?

     So, the game updates are driving up the prices of everything.  The goonz want to (and are) further drive up the costs of everything requiring technetium, and they are sponsoring a month of miner ganking to drive ore and mineral prices up again, on top of the previous two effects.  Add to that, summers tend to see a drop off in player activity because there are better things to do than sit on one's ass in front of a computer when the weather is nice (at least in NA).  At the same time, CCP is apparently trying to turn up the head on botting and RMT.  This comes to PLEXes.  As ore, mineral and ship/module costs go up, there will be less money for players to buy subscription PLEX.  In theory, the PLEX should start dropping as it isn't directly related to game item market factors.  More people might buy PLEX to sell to get much needed isk, which should bring the prices of them down some more.  At the same time, CCP swinging the ban hammer to and fro in theory should also reduce the cost of PLEX because a lot of those bot and RMT accounts were PLEXed, if not all of them.  Also at the same time, average players engaging in RMT to get in-game isk are starting to run a little scared because they don't want to get hit with the ban hammer, so they should be/might be buying more PLEX to try to fund their in-game isk needs.  That should have a lowering effect on PLEX too.  Now, obviously, with the "big three" going on (Escalation update, hulkageddon 5 and tech market manipulation) the costs are going to spike, then lower, then stabilize.  That's how markets roll, yo.

     My curiosity is piqued because I'm interested to know how long it's going to take to have the market spike, how long it's going to take to stabilize (presumably in the summer with lower activity), and how many players are still going to be around to see it.