Fanfest Light

The EVE Online annual Fanfest came to a close yesterday and I presume the neckbeards are on their way home brimming with stories and headaches. Us unfortunate peasants who saw difficulties selling our significant others a trip to a windy rock in the North Atlantic as a romantic getaway vacation had to watch the gathering via Twitch.  And it was a good show.

First of all, CCP deserves credit for being very clear about the scope of the event.  A party was to be had, CSM was to be announced, information about the new refineries was to be shared and the new citizen science project was to be introduced.  Add to this the staple of graphics updates, some balancing announcement, the introduction of a few new capital ships and a new “incursion-like” PvE mechanic and we were done.  Lastly, CCP did announce the launch of a new VR game later this year, kind of like 3D tennis.  Looks neat.  I am sure if I had a VR headset I would look into it. I don’t and hence I won’t.

Famous curmudgeon Jester posted his concern that no new large-scale release was planned, the community shrugged and moved on.  For the nullsec teams that populate Reddit, just about enough content is released to keep them happy for a year.  However, the rest of us got exactly nothing.

Lets try a list of what I remember (please let me know if I missed anything):

  • New Player Experience: Continuous improvement.  All regions, obviously.
  • New PvE mechanic: Incursion-style raid mechanic with intelligent foes.  Likely only accessible for well organized, large teams. While the mechanic could be rolled out anywhere, the first iteration will be launched exclusively in Goon Space.
  • New faction captial ships.  Nullsec / Lowsec.
  • Citizen Science: Exoplanet hunting.  Why this is in the client and not on an App is not easy to understand.  But yes its for all regions, I guess.
  • Refineries and new moon-mining mechanic:  Nullsec / Lowsec only with no firm plans to do roll out anything to WH or High Sec
  • New shaders, new graphics.  Yes, a shiny Vexor, amazing graphics for the suns.  All regions.  EVE is really, really pretty.

Anything I forgot?  Oh yes, CSM 12.  A virtual sweep for the few Nullsec power blocs with a sprinkle of part-time wormholer Noobman and industrial generalist Steve Ronuken.  I wrote before about the CSM and am not too concerned about the lack of diversity.  The new delegates seem to be fairly experienced and hence will contribute to make the overall game better. However, the EVE community chooses their delegates based on their region and it is telling that true highsec / lowsec / WH representation could be achieved.

As usual, two items closed to my heart were entirely missing, a decent online fanstore that is realistic in its pricing and an integrated mobile App with its own development pipeline. Heck, I’d pay for that App.

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So, that was Fanfest 2017.  I am getting ready to play the exact same game until at least Summer of 2018 when maybe new things are released that affect my EVE.

Actually that reminds me, I’ll do a little Fallout 4 survival mode this morning.

Fanfest 2017 – Stream and Expectations

Fanfest 2017 is about to start and while I can not attend it in person, I am certainly watching the streams.  Nosygamer has a good list of sessions to watch on his blog.

Personally, I don’t expect big announcements.  Citadels in all their form have to be in the game for a while until the economy and the warfare settles.  While I am a little annoyed that the new refining complexes add nothing to Wormhole or High Sec space, I understand that they are trying to release content in a manageable way. Continue reading

Bait is useless if not taken

Its been a while since I wrote on these hallowed pages, may both my remaining readers forgive me for spending more time at work, outdoors (spring?) and in Fallout 4 (survival).  By the way, Survival is the only way Fallout 4 should be played.  Its unforgiving, awesome and truly scary. The fact that death has real consequences makes stalking through open fields and dungeons so much more rewarding.  Yes, Fallout 4 gives me the shakes.

But back to EVE.  Our little corporation Z3R0 Return Mining (and yes we are recruiting, contact Epigene in game) lives in a C4 wormhole with access to C3 and C5 neighbors plus of course frequent incoming connections to pretty much everywhere.  A few days ago, I find myself logging in and scanning down an incoming connection from another C4 hole, mentally add scouting it to my to-do-list and proceed with a little bit of PI and a whole load of AFK-ness while the evening matures.

My corpmate Storm logs in for a little and we chat on comms while casually shutting down our respective RL households for the night when suddenly a Vexor Navy Issue appears from the incoming C4 and beelines to one of our gas sites.  A VNI is a fine boat (I have several) but this specific site spawns several sleeper frigates and cruisers, some web, some neut, all shoot.  Its a site type I know well and I tend to drop a Dominix into it rather than a Vexor but I am all ears how our guest wants to run it with a cruiser.  Turns out, he doesn’t do it well.  His drones get shot down, he is too slow and has to warp off.  Back to his hole, only to return with a Gila.  Oh, really.

Now to be fair, neither Storm nor I have really paid attention.  For all we know, there could be dozens of cloaked ships in our system cleaning their launchers.  A Gila can be brick-tanked, they hit like a dump-truck and his cavalry is at worst one jump over.  This is exactly how bait smells like.

We take it, of course.  My Proteus does his bull terrier thing, drops to zero km on the Gila and grabs him by the nuts.  I launch a couple of Hammerheads and start with the blasters while at the same time my other character in his Stratios lands and releases his complement of drones.  I have neuts on this boat but Gilas tend to be passive tanked and I am not too concerned about keeping it up.  Being in our own home system has a distinct advantage, Storm reshipped into a Deimos, undocks from our citadel and warps toward, then lands on top of us and makes the Gila go dead really fast.  Throughout this time, Storm had a character in a Falcon cloaked up on their hole but no hostile cavalry ever arrived.  The pod escapes our fangs and warps off.  I chase after it and a little bit recklessly jump into their system.  My logic is that if a trap had been set, it would have sprung when we dropped on the Gila.  It wasn’t and hence isn’t.  My jumping into their system is pretty safe and I make the usual complements of safe spots and tactical bookmarks around their citadels.

To be honest, they have a pretty decent size crew here, 4 citadels with a total of 6 characters docked up, likely one or two more cloaked somewhere (we saw a bomber earlier).  Not a brawl we can take head-on in a fair fleet fight (Storm and I can field 2 characters each and neither of us is elite PvP-er).  But if they were stupid once, they might be stupid again?

The waiting starts.  The locals undock a bunch of ships, even a hauler, an Epithal (!) but they only to move between citadels.  Its a surprising amount of activity for a corporation that has overtly hostile neighbors.  Interesting.

Finally, I have enough and scan down their C2 static connection, the only other signature in this place.  My presence here is not a secret, might as well see where the connections are.  Suddenly a Rattlesnake undocks from the citadel and warps to my newly identified C2.  Now that is bait if we ever saw it.  The Rattle jumps into the C2, my Proteus after it (impossible that they don’t know that I am here by now) and I am bringing my Stratios into the C4.  Storm is around with his Falcon but to be honest, we shouldn’t jump a Rattlesnake with an entire system full of hostiles between our home and the target.  That would be dumb, foolish and suicidal.

So, thats exactly what we do.

The tactics is the same as for the Gila, I drop my Proteus onto the Rattlesnake and grab him while bringing in my Stratios and guide in Storm’s DPS boat.  The idea is to overheat everything and burn the Rattle to the ground as fast as can be done before his friends arrive.

The view from my Stratios

 

The Rattlesnake targets my Stratios and he hurts me badly.  I have neuts on him primarily to shut down his tank and his launchers but I can’t do anything against his drones.  As a battleship, he is stationary and I turn off the webs to conserve cap. The fight keeps going, Storm lands on grid and adds considerable DPS.

Then, nearly as expected, 4 cruiser-size ships land on top of us and D-scan shows a bomber somewhere.  Our opposition even brings a an Exequror logistics boat.  I only have two scout-class ships both in 1/2 armor, Storm has his ship and a Falcon nearby.  We can’t win this and we bail – very luckily, neither Storm nor my characters are tackled.  I credit my neuts, that bait Rattlesnake should have had tackle and I probably had sucked him dry.  Lucky, I guess.  The hostiles spam local with oh-so scary taunts.

Disengaged, we decide that its a terrible idea to jump back through their system into ours.  We have no idea whats on the other side and if it was me in their shoes, there would be bubbles.  So, while Storm moonwalks around the system, I scan down the high sec and we both camp out in safety.

Lessons learned?  Sometimes obvious bait isn’t and sometimes it is. But you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take

 

Not every Gnosis is bait…

As my remaining two readers may recall, most of my Wormhole posts start with “and then I opened our new connection“.  This post is no different.

The adventure starts when I jump into our newly-spawned C3 neighbor and to my dismay find that it is a “shattered hole”.   For you sad k-space dwellers, Shattered Systems have more variety of anomalies and signatures, ice belts but no moons to anchor a POS on and of course you can’t park a Citadel there either.  CCP went back to the whole concept that WH space was designed for transient occupation at best.  Its also a riskier hunting ground since they – generally – have more connections are are quite big, something can easily hide off-Dscan for example. Continue reading

CSM 12 – vote for a person, not a character

As inevitable as the tax man, the annual cycle of Council of Interstellar Management is back.   10 EVE Online players will be voted in over the next few weeks, their role is to be “representative” of the rest of us.  As with all elections, there is nepotism, favoritism and every permutation of internet journalism spewing nonsense because “the public has a right to know”.  But beyond the drama, the CSM does have a real and important role, they are our chance to influence the hobby that we all love.

Before both of you loyal, handsome and intelligent readers panic, I won’t “endorse” any candidates in this post and not rant and rave against specific powerblocs and playstyles.  This has been played out in the Main Stream Media.   No, I want to go back to basics and look at the role of the CSM from a player and from a company perspective and see what type of candidate would be most suitable. Continue reading

Elder Scrolls Online and other single player games

Both readers of this blog may recognize that I occasionally drift away from writing about EVE Online and venture into other games and genres. Never for long, no other game so far had the staying power with me but yes, I did write about World of Warcraft, Fallout 4, Planetside 2 and of course my anticipated disaster playing No Man’s Sky.  Likely quite a few others but those are the ones that I remember a little more.  Common to all these games is my lack of attachment, an “aloof” attitude, an unwillingness for me to get serious about the game, nothing compares to you, EVE Online in depth and complexity.  Case study Fallout 4.  I picked it up over the Thanksgiving Holidays and played it a ton. The captivating storyline, the excellent (in my opinion) combat, crafting and interaction system and the detailed post-apocalyptic, believable world drew me in.  Its an awesome game.  Last time I played? January 23rd according to Steam. Its not that I don’t like the game, I just “got it”, i.e. I understood how it works and where it will go eventually.   Sure, there are mods (which I downloaded), new questions, more villages to free etc but overall, I have all the content that I wanted – (discounted) money well spent.  In the future, I will likely go back and replay it in Survival Mode for the additional challenges but currently I see no need to continue.

Still my favorite companion

Still my favorite companion

Continue reading

Duck Season

 

It is no secret to my last remaining pair of readers that our corporation (Z3ro Return Mining) lives in C4 space with an ever-changing C3 neighbor.  Life and wormholes are like boxes of chocolates, you never know what you find when you open one; C3s are quite popular actually since they always have a connection to K-space and hence allow the riches of Wormhole life with the added advantage of easy access to the markets.

Last Monday, Oreamnos Amric and myself find ourselves alone at home, Orea is our CEO, Alliance Boss, Supreme Commander and Dear Leader.  He also manages our corp payouts so I suck up to him.  While Orea is doing accounting things, I open our C3 with my scouting Proteus whilst having my alt in a Stratios on standby in our hole.  D-scan shows me 3 Tengus, a tractor unit and a mess of wrecks.  I quickly move, cloak and with narrow beam find out where these site runners are and within 10s, I have eyes on them from 100km. Continue reading