Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Anomic Agent Statistics IV - December

Happy New Years' EVE everyone!

It's the end of another month, so I'll continue with my series of Anomic Agent Statistic posts.

I'll be honest, I haven't run many agent missions in the past 2 weeks.  The week before Christmas, I was messing around with Highsec Combat Anomalies in the Zealot.  For the past week, I've been smitten with the X-Wing tabletop miniatures game that Santa brought me.  I may devote a full post to X-Wing later, but suffice to say that I am an old-skool Star Wars nerd, strategic space combat is really appealing to me, and the miniatures appear very well done.

Anyway, in December:

  • I improved my overall success rate again to 84.6% (as in, I accepted and completed the mission).
  • I have a 10.3% overall decline rate (as in, I was a pansy and didn't accept the mission).
  • Failure rate has dropped from 10.0% to only 6.7% overall (failure defined as I accepted the mission, got my teeth kicked in, and then punted the mission).

Overall Success/Fail/Decline Rates

Cumulative Anomic Count

I've now been offered 39 total Anomic agent missions.  The breakdown is 27 Solo Anomic Agents, and 12 Team Anomic Agents.

I have defeated all of the Solo burners.

I have faced and defeated all of the Team Burners except the Enyo.  Still no Enyo.

The offer ratio of Vanilla lvl4's to Anomics has improved this month from 6.0:1 (Oct) to 5.1:1 (Nov) to 4.6:1 (Dec).  This means that I am pulling Anomics more often.

No additional ship losses.  I have lost 5 total ships due to Anomic agents:  2x Vengeance, 2x Daredevil, and 1x Retribution.  Total loss value of killmails is 255M isk, (355M total, minus the ~100M isk of recovered faction/t2 from the Retribution).


What's Playing:  Stone Temple Pilots, Live at the House of Blues LA, Plush

Monday, December 29, 2014

One Hundred

This is my one hundredth post, not including a few in the drafts bin.

Not bad for a blog intended to mostly ramble about the state of EVE's PVE and the fact that evil evil CCP was paying no attention to it.

Oh wait, then we got 2 rounds of expansion content in the form of Burners.  And changes to exploration.  And the Mordus and SOE ships.  And evolutions on the UI.

This blog has not turned out the way I expected, and as these things go I think that's a good thing.  I've certainly learned a ton in the last 6 months, and hope to continue that trend as we drift into the new year.

We're in the midst of a holiday season so I'll keep this one short.  Thanks to everyone for reading, and I'll continue to try to not waste your time in 2015.

// Abavus Durden

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Progression as a Ball of String

Editor's Note:  Happy Holidays!  We're doing the usual tour of family homes that generally leaves us exhausted.  I've not had much time at all for EVE the past week and a half, but I did have this old article gathering dust in the drafts bin.  Let's knock the dust off of her and see where it goes.
----

Let's talk a little bit about progression.

I started this post awhile back; before the wave of newbies pulled in by the supercool trailer.

Progression.  That's a dirty word in EVE as it's associated with the themepark mentality. You say the word 'progression' and it conjurs up other words like 'raids' and 'gear treadmill.'  But let's strip that away for a minute and get back to some core game design concepts and adjust our context away from a particular implementation.

Game Theory:  In order to log in every day, a player needs to have an itch to scratch.  He has to get some sort of satisfaction out of it, or he wouldn't do it.  Even if the task at hand is grindy and tedious, he's building towards something bigger and better, and that feeling of progress compels him to log in and get to work.

EVE has nonlinear progression.  In fact, I'm reminded of an old-ish Dr. Who episode with the infamous weebly-wobbly, timey wimey stuff quote.


Another way of saying:  a big ball of yarn.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Zealot II

After some good feedback on my Seeking Anom Fits post, I've been playing with the Zealot.  I promised to post back, so here's what I'm currently flying as of this morning.

Previous edition of this fit had a named web in mid and a dmg control in low instead of the tracking mods.  It worked fine, and using the web is fun, but I like this version better.  The web was only useful under 10km while the tracking mods are useful throughout the entire range.  I haven't settled on ammo yet; I default to Multifreq but have tinkered with Conflag.  Multifreq seems to work well enough.

With this fit and my skills, I'm blapping most frigates in 1 (maybe 2) salvos from 10km to 20km and can hit frigates well enough out to about 25km.  I've had a couple of frigates get up close and orbit that caused me to maneuver, but mostly I sit at 0m/s and pop things as fast as I can lock them.

[Zealot, Face Melter II]
Medium Armor Repairer II
Fourier Transform Tracking Program
Heat Sink II
Heat Sink II
Heat Sink II
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II 
Experimental 10MN Microwarpdrive I
Optical Tracking Computer I
Cap Recharger II 
Heavy Pulse Laser II
Heavy Pulse Laser II
Heavy Pulse Laser II
Heavy Pulse Laser II
Heavy Pulse Laser II 
Medium Energy Collision Accelerator I
Medium Capacitor Control Circuit I
May try the Gila soon.

What's Playing:  Interstellar Motion Picture Soundtrack

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Throwback Backgrounds Set #1

Christmas 2007, I was lucky enough to get a 30 inch Dell monitor that ran at 2560x1600.  I'm still staring at it right now, many thousands of hours of use later.

At the time, there were very few backgrounds available for that big resolution.  I set out to make a set of EVE-releated backgrounds.  I posted them on forums, but the links are of course long gone.

I figured I'd re-release them, just because.

Edit:  They don't seem to be coming through blogger at full resolution; I'll fiddle a bit.

Some disclaimers:
  1. The gfx engine has changed quite a bit since 2007; some of these are old models and old textures.
  2. They were intended to be minimalistic at the time.  Some of them probably haven't aged well.
  3. The ship selection represented what I was flying at the time.
  4. I am not a wizard with Photoshop - wasn't then, still true today.  You get what you pay for. :)
Image dump #1 is after the cut....

Christmas Toast

Merry Christmas, fellow capsuleers!

Another year has slipped away, somehow more quickly than the one before it.

I hope that wherever you are, whatever you are doing, you are happy.  Enjoy your day, in whatever custom or convention that you believe in.  Let the stresses of every other day of the year wash out of you.  Be merry.  Enjoy your family.  Enjoy.  Recharge.

Oh, and get off the computer and go call your mother.


What's Playing:  Experience Hendrix: The Best of Jimi Hendrix, Purple Haze

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

stop buying up all the recons lol

The post title comes from forums.  Had to laugh a bit.

And then I rubbed my chin.

And then I frowned a bit.

And then I went scrounging through my assets list and found my old Rook sitting in a hangar.  I knew I'd owned a few Recons over the years, but I'd done a big move back from Syndicate a little over a year ago and sold off some excess hulls.  Looks like I sold off the Lachesis but held onto the Rook.

The market will no doubt adjust shortly after the patch, but the sell price where I live for a Rook has gone from 140M to 200M.

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, check out the dev blog from the 19th and read the associated ideas thread.


What's Playing:  Peach, Giving Birth to a Stone, You Lied


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Medicine Haze

I was scheduled to work today, but thanks to a nasty head cold that ambushed me last night, I am sitting at my PC at home in my PJ's.  I'm nursing some coffee and then will decide if I have the will to eat.

I had just started typing something semi-incoherent about Standings and the PVE Soundingboard that the CSM hosted earlier this month.  I got three paragraphs in and wasn't sure where I was going.

Thank you, cold medicine.

Let's to this instead.

Here's a preview of 3 things I'm working on around here:

  1. I still need to wrap up the Resolutions series.  Unless I get greatly inspired, the next post will hit on/around 1 Jan and will probably be the last for awhile.
  2. I'm working on Cruiser skills and poking through some of the hulls I've forgotten about.  Exploration/Anoms are a good way to do this.  Other than some sporadic Logi duty, most of my time in a cruiser for the past decade has been in the Sacrilege.  For many years I didn't fly anything smaller than a BC, and of course lately I've been mostly in the Golem or killing burners in frigs.  Now, I love the Sacri, but if Cruiser-sized burners ever become reality, I need to be a little better rehearsed.  This has already fed one post on the blog and will likely spawn a few more.  The help and comments you guys have provided are already helping, so thank you.
  3. Burners.  I'll owe my monthly stats update in a few days.  My fits and strategies have generally stabilized, although I'm still missing the Team Enyo.  I may need to change regions and see if I can get him to spawn.

There are a few other drafts knocking around in the bin that I need to dust off and see if I'll ever post.  Half finished thoughts, and a rant or two.

What's Playing:  The Black Keys, Live at KCRW, Next Girl

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Seeking Anom Fits

I've been doing some combat anomalys lately, all highsec stuff.  I've see other folks flying a little bit of everything.

With the idea of trying to kill as many anoms as possible and force some escalations, I'm trying to clear them as fast as possible.

So, on a whim I put a Zealot together today.  It's been years since I've flown a Zealot and I wanted to melt some faces with a good pulse fit.  On my very first run I got lucky with a Shadow Serp boss that dropped a Snake implant worth ~200M that more than paid for my new kit.  Yay.

I don't claim to be an expert, but here's what I did.  I'll drop the 2nd armor rep if I feel tanky enough with one.

[Zealot, It's All Fun And Games Until Your Face Melts]
Medium Armor Repairer II
Medium Armor Repairer II
Heat Sink II
Heat Sink II
Heat Sink II
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II 
Experimental 10MN Afterburner I
Cap Recharger II
Cap Recharger II 
Heavy Pulse Laser II
Heavy Pulse Laser II
Heavy Pulse Laser II
Heavy Pulse Laser II
Heavy Pulse Laser II 
Medium Energy Collision Accelerator I
Medium Energy Locus Coordinator I

Tech 1 rigs because I lack the skills for tech2 at the moment.

I'm also in the mood for some antimatter-fueled blaster action.  I was thinking maybe a Blaster-Eagle (I haven't flown a Moa-model in years either....).  Open to ideas, What do you guys use?



Friday, December 19, 2014

Twenty Free Days



In case you missed it, part of this year's Christmas gift from the elves at CCP includes 20 days of free multi-account training.  Skip to the bottom of the dev blog and check the link.

Best I can tell, this activates a 2nd character's training queue on your account. I didn't see that I could turn on the magic skillpoint stream for the 3rd character.

So that made for some impromptu chin scratching.

I run two accounts.  First account was easy -- Aba's account has almost always been training Aba.  He's my main; if I am playing EVE he his generally logged in.  The sum total of logged in time for the other two characters wouldn't span the duration of a feature film.  But Free is Free, so I grabbed the Amarr alt and got him set up to get most of the way towards Interceptors.

I like Interceptors, and when you need an alt scout somewhere in a hurry, the Malediction is a great way to do it in style.

The second account made me think more.  This account has 3 characters, all with some training.  Alt M has the most skillpoints and by default has the active skill queue.  Alt Z is skilled into a lot of Gunnery and Tanking skills for the days when I used to run Incursions.  I hovered over Alt Z for a split second, but thought "nah, she's basically done; she does what she was intended to do."

Third character is a lowsec trader and scout.  Most recently I have run him around doing lowsec courier missions, just for giggles (starting standings from scratch meant doing lvl 1 couriers in low).  I've always wanted to take him to one of the Pirate NPC 0.0 areas and run couriers for them.  He was likewise pretty close to Interceptors, so I started there.  That consumes about half of the free days.  I'll burn the remaining six pushing for Recon ships.

I probably would have done that anyway, but Sugar pointed us towards the Recon Rebalance thread.  Sounds like Recon could be a thing come January.

Happy Training.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Launcher Rigging 5

In 4h and 19m I will have Launcher Rigging V.

Once that's done, I'll see what I can do with the cpu-tight Hawk fit for the Serpentis Burner.  Hopefully I'll make use of that empty Low slot.

Yah, I should have probably booted up Pyfa and start playing there before investing a week into a skill that may or may not help the fit.  But it'll help.  Somewhere.  Probably.  Maybe.  I use launchers extensively. On many fits.  I don't think I'll regret having it long term.

And sometimes you need to dork around with the stuff in your hanger.  It's more "real" than putting things into EFT or Pyfa.  Weird but true.

:)


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Faction Loot Does Happen

Sunday I completed my 39th burner offer and got my 4th Faction drop.



Of the four, two are reasonably lucrative at ~80-120M isk each.  One at about 10M isk, and some ammo at 80k isk for the stack.

So, if you're wondering -- Faction drops do happen, and sometimes it's cool stuff.  Good luck!


What's Playing:  Scala & Kolancy Brothers, Everlong (Cover of Foo Fighters)

Monday, December 15, 2014

Oh Crap, I am Doing a Triathlon

This is Part IV in a multi-part series.  It is non-EVE related content, skip ahead a bit if you don't like reading this kind of thing.

Previous Entries:
  1. Self Improvement Through Threats from the Doctor
  2. Self Improvement Through Threats from the Doctor II
  3. Reactions
This is probably going to be a moderately picture heavy post, so let's start it off right with a picture of my current race bike.

2009 Bianchi Imola - Steel Frame Race Bike
Steel frame, carbon fork, rides pretty well.  Someday I'll plunk down the money for a carbon-fiber wonderbike, but this one has many miles left in it.

That out of the way, let's set the stage.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Random Old Things

Off the top of my head, here are some oddities from the EVE of yesterday.



  • Higher end ores used to spawn in highsec.  I spent the weekend after launch mining Hedberite and Gneiss in Piak/Lonetrek.  I still have the leftovers from that refine in my assets list; refuse to move it.
  • Ores have been redistributed a few times.  We used to mine Omber in Derelik highsec; after the redistro, we mined Kernite instead.  We mined Omber in Niyabainen.
  • There used to be mining belts in Jita.  Agents too.
  • The original market was based on integer values only.  You could only trade in whole isk (1, 4, 5346).  Decimal points (1.99) were added later.
  • Some parts of null didn't have real names at launch, and were instead coded with names like XX-1234 (similar to how Jove regions are named today on the map).  Querious, Delve, and Period Basis were originally named this way, maybe others.  I just googled and couldn't find the original names; that's how long it's been.  I do remember messing around in Fountain, Stain, and Great Wildlands very early; I think they've always had the names they have today.
  • In the days before tech2, I remember cruiser-sized meta4 hybrid guns going for 6M isk each.  At the time, that was a LOT of isk.
  • The original market was seeded by NPCs, i.e. NPCs bought and sold items to jumpstart things. Players would talk about buying ships at "npc price" or on the open market.   I want to say the NPC price of a Raven was 256M isk, but it's been too long for me to remember to be sure. 
  • Battlecruisers weren't in at launch and were added much later.
  • I still think of the Rokh, Abaddon, Mael, and Hyperion as the "new" battleships because they were added long after launch.
  • The Domi used to have a bonus for the number of drones you could control.  With max skills you could field something like 15 drones.  
  • The last day of beta test, CCP gave everyone max skills (see screenshot, above).  I had to work, and the servers were down by the time I got home.  My co-CEO Abbaddon got to party, though.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Bits and Pieces of Rhea

Rhea launched this week.  Other than not being able to find ANY of my station icons thanks to the new UI, I like it.

The new gfx engine kicks ass.  My Sacri looks all mean, like a ship named Sacrilege should.  Some ships came out better than others of course; my Astarte link ship now has a lot of brown apparent on it.  It's tolerable, but who paints a ship brown?

Dig the new Sacri render


The supernova (or whatever) is growing much more quickly now.  If you haven't seen it, check the sky where you live.  This forum thread is also keeping an animated gif of the star each day.  Will be interesting to see where this story goes.  I like that it's unfolding rather slowly.




I went looking for the new Paladin and Golem skins in the AUR store but don't see them.  Maybe they didn't make the cut for Rhea?  There is a ton of new clothes, I may need to play Ken-doll with Abavus and give him a new look.

The Guristas Worm burner popped for me last night.  I was tired, so I waited until this morning to take him on.  He's one of the more challenging burners for me at the moment, but I find that he's one of my favorites.  The need to maneuver and tackle before the fighting really starts makes a big difference.  As I jumped into the pocket I was vaguely afraid of ninja nerfs to my burner fits or burner AI, but it appears the Daredevil and Worm burner both went untouched.

We're getting ready to host some family, and have been scrubbing the house for out of town visitors, so haven't played as much as I'd like.  Hopefully next week I can do some more exploration.


What's Playing:  The Black Keys, the iTunes Sessions, Howlin' For You

Friday, December 12, 2014

Naming Conventions

Friday post.  How do you name your ships?

I've had basically the same naming convention for each of my characters for ... ever.  For two of them, that means since launch.

Abavus - One active scheme and two retired.  Original scheme was named for songs or lyrics or a movie reference that I thought was cool at the time (circa 2003).  Schism. Lateralus. Bladrunner. Some of them didn't age as well as I thought it would.

There was a brief span of months where a few of us farmed a static hacking site before they were nerfed (skill books would drop randomly that were worth 100M to 140M each... was possibly for us to pull 300-600M out of the site each night, per player).  This gameplay was grindy, and I remarked that it effectively amounted to crab fishing - running around checking the "crab pots"(hacking cans) every cycle.  I still own the ships Cornelia Marie (Malediction) and Northwestern (Rokh) after the crab ships on Discovery Channel's Deadliest Catch.

The most prominent naming scheme I have are ships after bosses from the Diablo and WoW franchises.  My first crow (at tech2 launch) was Diablo... I still have Diablo III sitting in a hanger somewhere (like his namesake, the Diablo I and Diablo II Crows met untimely demises).   Ultimately I put some "rules" to these naming schemes.  Generally WoW Raid bosses for battleships and higher, preferebly from Classic or Wrath.  Smaller ships got names from 5-mans or D3.

So today I own ships like:

  • Sapphiron the Golem
  • Grand Widow Faerlina the Navy Apoc
  • Baron Geddon the Impel
  • Lucifron the Prorator
  • Paletress the Basilisk
  • Azmodan the Sacriledge
  • Eck the Ferocious the Corax
  • Magmadar the Chimera
  • Chromaggus the Phoenix
  • and until recently: Xevozz the Heretic (rest in peace).


Alt M - From very early on, this alt got names from the Matrix movies.  Trinity, Morpheus, Zion, etc.   She owns fewer ships, so this more limited list tends to work.  The Oracle the Orca is where she spends a lot of time.

Oddly enough, she's never had a ship named Neo.


Alt Z - My Incursion alt shares ships with Abavus, so she's mostly in Ebonroc the Navy Megathron.


These 'rules' aren't ironclad - my Burner mission ships tend to get very functional names like "Tank" and "Kiter."  I have a few ships that have never earned a name besides "Abavus Durden's XYZ."  But for a ship that I expect to keep around for awhile, I give a name.

Anyway, a silly little post.  Happy Friday.



Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Blog Banter #61 - Rules to Live By

I think I've maybe missed a few Blog Banters, but let's tackle this one:

"What would we encourage ALL new players to do in their first month to get them to subscribe long term, if we had to give out one set of advice for everyone (which we do if we're giving general advice)?"


Usually my advice for new players is entirely functional - what skills to train, what modules to buy, what ships to aspire to, what areas of space to migrate to.

But the question has me thinking:  what's the hook that brings you back, year after year?  What's that intangible mystery extra something that makes EVE our home?

And how do you give those measles to a new player?

And how do you avoid the false hook - the temporary high - that causes players to flare rapidly and then burn out after 4 or 6 weeks?

A Moment of Silence

Happy Rhea day!

My client is updating as I type, which at my connection speeds means I may be able to play again sometime in 2017.  Or maybe after dinner.

In the mean time I wanted to announce some sad news:  I lost Xevozz, the Heretic last night.  This ship was previously featured as a crazy fit experiment back in June.  I was doing some Cosmic Anomaly sites trying to get an escalation to pop.

Yes, a little bit of exploration for the lvl4 grinder; figured I'd try some out.  The Heretic seemed like a fun way to do them - nimble, decent dps, and a ship that I don't fly as often as I'd like.  I upgraded the rigs and ammo to tech2 but otherwise left the fit from June intact.

And yes, kind of a dumb fit; using a hull intended for something else entirely in a mildly inappropriate way.  That was kind of the point.  The loss itself wasn't really anything to be proud about.  I looked away at the wrong moment and pow, the Angels had their way with them.  I grabbed the Sacrilege, murdered the pocket and looted my wreck at least.

So, a moment of silence, please.  This was a good ship that died doing what it loved best.

The death isn't the fault of the ship.   He deserved a better pilot.


(Mental note: do a blog post about naming conventions for ships).

Monday, December 8, 2014

How to Get Started in Burners

I've been contacted a few times by players looking for ideas on how to get started.


As currently implemented, burners are challenging.  They're intentionally tuned that way by CCP, and in general I'm pretty okay with that.  But that also means that they're the territory of expensive faction ships and fits and perfect skills.  Attention to detail helps during your fight, but the dps in vs. dps out math is harsh.  You need to kill the bad guy before your tank breaks, and the minimum requirements for both tank and dps are set pretty high.

First, if you are good with a blaster boat, many of the single burners can be done with a Daredevil.  (I am not good with a blaster boat, hence my variety of ship types).  This necks down the number of hulls you need to buy and the skills you need to train tremendously.  However, it's an expensive way to experiment if things don't go well!

But if you are interested, see this forum post and key in on the phrase Unified Daredevil.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Reactions

This is Part III in a multi-part series.

Previous Entries:


When the dust settled, I had lost 40 lbs in about 4 1/2 months and was 90 pounds lighter than my previous high.



I'm a nerd, so I graph things.  I still maintain this weight chart, although the annotated version above shows the interesting parts of 2013.

This changes caused a ripple effect through the people around me.  Some of it good.  Some of it tiresome.  Some of it comical.  

Saturday, December 6, 2014

PVE Discussion Questions

CSM9 Sugar Kyle is hosting a PVE discussion next weekend.  I'll have inlaws in town for a holiday shindig and won't be able to attend.  I thought I'd write out a few questions and point Sugar at them; if she has time, maybe she can work a few of them in.

Just a few questions ... I'll try not to go overboard. :)

Burners

  • How well have Burners been Received?  CCP Fozzie gave some initial stats back in an September dev blog; any chance at an update?
  • Are there still plans to expand Burners?  Destroyer burners?  Cruiser burners? Battleship burners?
  • I run a blog that's basically been focused on burner strats and fits.  I get contacted from time to time from folks wanting to try burners but are put off by the apparent jump in difficulty from vanilla lvl4's to burners.  This results in me seeing a lot of folks say "I'll run burners in 6 months when I have the skills."  I happen to like that burners are hard, but are there plans to add another tier?  Frigate fighting is fun and new player retention is good.
  • For example:  any chance at a lvl3 burner equivalent, maybe tuned for tech1 frigs and meta4 fittings?
PVE
  • Any update on the PVE tools redo?
  • People seemed to like the lowsec random spawns (tags-4-sec rats, Mordu's bpc drops); how is this going? Are there still a lot of people hunting these spawns down?
  • It seemed like CCP felt the need to apologize for adding PVE content the past few months; how has the response from the playerbase been?  Better than expected? Worse?   (And if it's been positive response ... does that mean that the strategy was effective or does it mean that people were more hungry for PVE than CCP anticipated? Or both?)
I could delve into questions about Incursions and Exploration but that's really out of my knowledge zone, so I'll have to trust someone else will broach those topics.

Thanks to Sugar for arranging this time.  Hopefully I can be available if there's another session.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Self Improvement Through Threats From the Doctor II

Previous posts:

  1. Part I

Welcome to Part II.  At the point I left off, it was March of 2013 and I had just decided to try the South Beach 2wk intro phase so that when it didn't work, I could tell the Doc that I'd tried real hard.

From June 2008 to January 2013 I had lost about 50 lbs, gotten generally pretty decently fit, and I didn't really expect to go much below 210 lbs.  In other words, I expected to be overweight my entire adult life.

Anyway, enough recap. Where was I?

Monday, December 1, 2014

Anomic Agent Statistics III - November

Time for a monthly update.  This time with fancy graphs!



I did go on a mini-vacation in the middle of the month to play some Diablo3, so the numbers maybe aren't as impressive as they could be.

I improved my overall success rate a smidge to 80.0% (as in, I accepted and completed the mission).
I have a 13.3% overall decline rate (as in, I was a pansy and didn't accept the mission).
Failure rate has dropped from 10.0% to only 6.7% overall (failure defined as I accepted the mission, got my teeth kicked in, and then punted the mission).

I've now been offered 30 total Anomic agent missions.  The breakdown is 21 Solo Anomic Agents, and 9 Team Anomic Agents.

I have defeated all of the Solo burners.  Big accomplishment this month was staring down my personal boogeyman, the Blood Raider Cruor.  I've killed him 3 times in the past month.  With the Jaguar passive setup and the right skills trained, it's now a very easy mission.

I have faced and defeated all of the Team Burners except the Enyo.  Still no Enyo.

The offer ratio of Vanilla lvl4's to Anomics has improved this month from 6.0:1 to 5.1:1 (meaning I am pulling Anomics more often).

No additional ship losses.  I have lost 5 total ships (no additional since last time, knock on wood):  2x Vengeance, 2x Daredevil, and 1x Retribution.  Total loss value of killmails is 255M isk, (355M total, minus the ~100M isk of recovered faction/t2 from the Retribution).

And a bonus data point.  I decline about 22.3% of all vanilla missions to avoid negative faction hits.


What's Playing:  Alice in Chains, Angry Chair (Live)

Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Hobgoblin - Pod and Planet Fiction Contest YC116

Here's my entry into the Pod and Planet Fiction Contest YC116.

Update:  It won 3rd prize!  Yowza!



-----

The Hobgoblin
by
Abavus Durden

PRODUCTION COMPLETE.  DELIVER.

"Who said that?  What is this place?"

"Hey, quiet.  I"m trying to sleep," she said.

"Hello?  Who's there?  Where am I?" I  asked into the darkness.

"You're in a cargo bay on the station.  You've just been born.  I'm Q."

"I ... I uh, don't know my name."

"Of course not, silly.  You've just been born.  Fresh from the factory.  Let's call you G.  Now settle in. They'll come for you soon enough."

"But I have questions."

"Of course you do.  It will be easier just to let them show you."

"Them... who?"

"The bosses.  They come for us all eventually. If they built you, the have a need for you. Now shush."

So I sat in the darkness, bewildered.  Honestly, I'm not sure how long we sat there in silence.  Perhaps that's weird for a machine to say, I mean, we should have an internal clock or something, right?  But yes, I drifted off into something like sleep.

Anomic Agent #29 - Second Serpentis Kill

***WARNING***
THIS BURNER MAY HAVE BEEN UPGRADED BY CCP IN THE PROTEUS PATCH. I VERIFIED THIS FIT IN APRIL 2015 AND IT WORKS WITH A LINK SHIP RUNNING.
***WARNING***

The single Serpentis Anomic popped again.  I hadn't seen him in awhile so was glad to see he was still around.



Last time around I did kind of a muddled fit out of the random bits in my hanger.  It worked, but I knew it wasn't optimal.

I spent a few minutes this morning scratching my chin, then visited a local trade hub and came up with this slight alteration:
[Hawk, Serpentis Burner Improved]
[Empty Low slot]
Ballistic Control System II 
Medium Shield Booster II
'Langour' Drive Disruptor I
'Langour' Drive Disruptor I
Small Electrochemical Capacitor Booster I
Gistum C-Type Kinetic Deflection Amplifier 
Rocket Launcher II
Rocket Launcher II
Rocket Launcher II
Rocket Launcher II 
Small Bay Loading Accelerator II
Small Anti-Kinetic Screen Reinforcer II 
Caldari Navy Scourge Rocket x3704
Navy Cap Booster 400 x21

The Gistum C-Type was bought to free up some cpu and also has better kinetic resist.  I normally don't like faction stuff, but this was a pretty cheap upgrade at ~7M Jita price (I paid less! Thank you remote trade hub!).

Honestly, I was hoping to get some wiggle room in cpu to get something in that empty low slot, but it didn't work out.  I also realized after I got back that a pair of Fleeting Propulsion Inhibitors would have fit instead of the Langours and would have given me more webbage.  The Langours worked fine, so I'm leaving them in the fit above.

Battle Report:  Strategy was the same as last time.  Warp in, apply web and launchers, set to approach and manage the cap and tank.

Once again I turned the Shield Booster II on at about 60% shields and let it cycle to rep back up to near 100%.  I injected cap as required.  At no point did I feel that the inject cycle was tight (unlike some of the other Burner fights).

This time I brought oodles of ammo (I almost didn't have enough last time).  I also didn't use overheat once I saw how the fight was going.

This setup is MUCH improved over the previous fit.  I'd now rate this fight in the "easy" category along with the Angel.  With the double webs, I dealt damage much more quickly.  I had him in structure before my launchers reloaded and then had to work him down again since he rep'd up armor while I was reloading.  

If I'd dared to overheat, I would have probably killed him before the reload cycle.

Usual disclaimers apply:  I used a link ship running all 3 Siege (shield) mods, plus the Interdiction Maneuvers skirmish link to get some web range.  His default orbit is 11km, so without links you'll need to address that if you want to use non-faction webs.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Self Improvement Through Threats From the Doctor

Opening warning:  Non-EVE personal content lurking ahead.  

This is a pre-year-end post.  It is also part of a series.  I'll be talking on this topic on/around Jan 1st, but want some background on the books to refer to.

I've never been big on New Year's Resolutions.  I'm not sure how widespread this kind of thing is internationally, but in the States, this is the phenomenon where people commit to doing something they should already be doing, fail miserably at it, and then make the same commitment the following year.

Or at least that's my snarky observation of how it usually works.  :)  For me, if I know I should do something different, I'd rather start now than wait for an arbitrary mark on the calendar.

But in January of 2013, I did make a pretty good commitment.  I resolved to losing 20 lbs by my birthday in the Fall.  AND, I resolved to track my progress throughout the year.  That means a big ol' spreadsheet with graphs and stuff.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Mortar Team Kestrel

Awhile back I created a Mortar Team out of random bits in my hanger so that I could finish the Team Vengeance as a dual box setup.  But I like the Kestrel and I am interested in cheaper ways to defeat burners.  After some tinkering, and finishing up t2 light missile skills on the Alt, I assembled this.

I call it the Mortar Team because it's a support role.  This ship fit is intended for a 2nd box to support your main, or several of these to be deployed by a few friends.

Although I haven't tried it, I don't see any way it'd finish off any of the Team Burners solo.

Straight line speed is just under 1000m/s.  That's plenty fast enough to kite the Enyo, Vengeance, and Hawk.  However, the Jaguar runs about 1200m/s and is not kite-able with this setup; he will chase you down and melt your face.

[Kestrel, Jr. Mortar Team]
Ballistic Control System II
Ballistic Control System II 
Experimental 1MN Afterburner I
Phased Weapon Navigation Array Generation Extron
Phased Weapon Navigation Array Generation Extron
Empty Mid-Slot 
Light Missile Launcher II
Light Missile Launcher II
Light Missile Launcher II
Light Missile Launcher II 
Small Warhead Calefaction Catalyst I
Small Warhead Rigor Catalyst I
Small Warhead Flare Catalyst I

Tech1 rigs are intentional; jazz these up if you so desire. I was trying to do this on the cheap.

Pick ammo according to the mission:

  • For the Vengeance, that's Navy Nova for the Logis, followed by Navy Inferno.
  • For the Hawk, that's Navy Mjolnir throughout.
  • For the Enyo (although I've not done him yet), it looks like Navy Nova throughout.

I used this last night on a Team Vengeance with the Garmur and we just ate him up.  I'm curious now if I could defeat the Team Vengeance with two of these and keep the Garmur as backup.  More to follow.


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Focus

I chatted for awhile with Sugar last night about blogs and blogging.  I'm now on Sugar's blog roll, which (while I know she doesn't mean it that way) is a nice acknowledgement of the effort I've put in here.  Some of you are reading this because Sugar linked to me; thanks for stopping in and thanks for putting up with me.

I joked that her adding me was "omg, so much pressure."  As in: oh crap, now I have to produce more content.  There was a short conversation that followed that basically amounted to: write about what you like and let the chips fall where they may.

My kneejerk reaction was "well of course, duh" but as I sit here several hours later thinking about it, I realized that it's maybe time to reflect on what this blog is and where it's going and that might help me figure out what to do next.

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Trailer


I saw the new Trailer (NSFW version) the day it came out.  Watched it on my phone, then had to spool up the laptop and watch it again at a normal resolution.  I made Mrs. Durden watch.  It made her smile (former EVE player that she is).

You've of course seen it by now.  If not, follow the link above and enjoy.

I was really happy to see the Warp to Me Incursion Fleet represented - I flew with them not so long ago.

It's interesting to see the wave of acknowledgement ripple through the internet.  And there is apparently a mass influx of new players, so much that today's Dev Blog is helping them navigate.

So much excitement for a decade-old game.  Pretty cool.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Expanse

My Diablo3 shenanigans are almost over; the Season 1 Crusader hit the level cap on Friday after several short session through the week.  I could continue to pimp him out, but don't really see the point.  The fun part of D3 for me is the progression through the levels and trying some wacky skill builds.  Grinding out equipment that's marginally better, so that I can grind equipment more efficiently, so that I can get equipment that's marginally better, so that I can grind equipment more efficiently ... is a cycle I've never found compelling.  I'll probably sit tight in Sanctuary until Season 2 starts and then pick another class.

EVE is still backburner but is about to pick up again.  I'd intended to get in this weekend and monkey about, but had family stuff yesterday and today has thus far been consumed by errands and chores.

Tangential Rant:  For the record, if you happen to change your own motor oil ... check the anti-tamper seal on your jug of oil before you leave the damn store.  I went out early this morning, got the oil and filter at the mega-mart 20 miles down the road.  After lunch I got my car up on the ramps, drained the crankcase, and went to wet the seal of the new oil filter only to find that the anti-tamper lid on my rather expensive full synthetic was broken and the contents in the jug were thus unknown.  I refused to risk an engine over a $30 jug of oil (someone could have refilled it with Canola and returned it for all I know), so I went inside, cleaned up, grabbed our other vehicle and drove to town angry.  Ten seconds in the store aisle could have saved me an hour of hassle.  Check the seal.


Anyway, here's the reason for the title of the post.  During the colder months, I tend to chew through a few novels.  I'm a sucker for Jim Butcher's Dresden Files, in particular.

Last week I finished up the 4th book of The Expanse series, Cibola Burn.  After a strong start in the first novel, I wasn't too sure about where this series was going.  But the last book sold me, so I'll recommend the series to any other sci-fi bookworms out there.

I'm about to go back and reread Book 1 - Leviathan Wakes.

I'll paste the synopsis from Wikipedia:
Humanity has colonized the solar system – Mars, the Moon, the Asteroid Belt and beyond – but the stars are still out of our reach. 
Jim Holden is XO of an ice miner making runs from the rings of Saturn to the mining stations of the Belt. When he and his crew stumble upon a derelict ship, the Scopuli, they find themselves in possession of a secret they never wanted. A secret that someone is willing to kill for – and kill on a scale unfathomable to Jim and his crew. War is brewing in the system unless he can find out who left the ship and why. 
Detective Miller is looking for a girl. One girl in a system of billions, but her parents have money and money talks. When the trail leads him to the Scopuli and rebel sympathizer Holden, he realizes that this girl may be the key to everything. 
Holden and Miller must thread the needle between the Earth government, the Outer Planet revolutionaries, and secretive corporations – and the odds are against them. But out in the Belt, the rules are different, and one small ship can change the fate of the universe.
The first book is part mystery novel, part science fiction, part political thriller.

I also read this week that the first novel is going to become the basis for a SyFy series called The Expanse, due sometime in 2015. I'm skeptical, but I'm hoping that the Sharknado loving idiots at SyFy don't screw it up.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Demon Killing and Thera

The past week and a half or so, I've been off in Diablo3 doing a quick play-through and earning the Season 1 rewards.  It's been fun to roll a Crusader and romp through the game content again.

And the short game duration has gone over well with my current availability -- I'm in the workshop finishing a few Christmas presents (I do just a bit of woodworking each year).  Winter came early this year, so I've had to move the final finishing into the living room.  Mrs. Durden is playing a good sport and walking around the temporary work table and drop cloth, but after almost 2 weeks of it, she and I both are ready for the mess to be cleaned up.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Interstellar

So, I really liked Interstellar.

Some disclaimers and context:  I'm pretty neutral on Matthew McConaughey.  Some people aren't, that's fine.  I'll try not to admit to seeing any of Anne Hathaway's other movies, even though I have.  I like Christopher Nolan movies in general.

And I like spaceships.  I really really like spaceships.

Bad stuff first:  There are some plot head scratchers, and overall it's kind of a cliche'd plotline.  It's a very long movie.  It's a very dialog heavy movie in places.

That being said, the nerd in me wants to see the 6 hour director's cut and get a look at all the stuff that was done but couldn't be made to fit (because you just know there's a ton of stuff on the proverbial cutting room floor).

Good stuff second:  The space scenes are breathtaking.  Period, end of story.  And the gfx were done WITHOUT a SINGLE green screen (crazy in today's Hollywood).  Matthew's performance is good, maybe great.  Anne Hathaway has a tough role to fill as the non-love-interest female costar, and although some headlines/reviews had her "miscast" I think she did a solid job given how the character was written.  The supporting cast is huge (damn near half the cast of Ocean's 11 shows up) and was money well spent.  And the science behind it is (mostly) real - see this Wired article to help appreciate it.

Jedi mind trick: You want to go see Interstellar.

I think that the movie is worth seeing on the big screen, preferebly Imax.  It won't have the same impact, depth, and scope in your living room.  There are some scenes where premium audio are really worth it (seat-shaking bass during rocket engine sequences, etc.).

We intend to go again.

Friday, November 14, 2014

I'd Like to Keep it on Manual Control For Awhile

For this post, I must quote his ever-whineyness, Luke Skywalker:
LUKE
(into comlink)
Yes, Artoo? 
Artoo utters a soft, carefully phrased steam of whistles. 
LUKE
(into comlink, chuckling)
That's all right.  I'd like to keep it on manual control for a while.

If you haven't seen it, you should read the latest Dev Blog about the beta feature in Rhea to allow WASD control in space.

Good gravy, where was this 12 years ago?

On one hand, I'm impressed that CCP is able to challenge fundamental assumptions about the game and start peeling back some of what has perhaps held the game back.

On the other hand, ... good gravy, where was this 12 years ago?

I had actually had passing thoughts about writing a post here about the merits of WASD control.  Maybe it was something I read in the Summer CSM minutes that influenced a stray thought.  I'm usually not that clever.  Now I'm going to have to go read them again and see if there were some hidden hints.

I'm sitting here trying to think of a downside.  People will be afraid of change, or will say it's a kneejerk reaction to Star Citizen or Elite: Dangerous, and maybe there's some truth there.  But I still can't see a downside for the EVE citizenry.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Ships That Should Be Ingame

I've started this post intending to outline a top 10 list of ships that should be patched in.  Hulls I've wanted, or ships I've seen around and would like to try.  It's sat in the dustbin as a draft for awhile because I could really only come up with two.

This is one of those posts where I feel like I'm going to show some ignorance. I'll type up my wish list and someone will say "noob, try an XYZ, been in game for years."

But, I need either publish this post or delete it... so here they are:

2.  Kestrel Navy Issue - Put it somewhere between the Garmur and Navy Hookbill in stats and bonuses.  Give it the Kestrel model, not the Manticore.  The Kestrel is one of those ship models that I've always loved (the other being the Megathron) since the days of beta.  I mined omber in Niyabainen (yes, there was omber in Niyabainen during beta and shortly after launch) in order to buy a Kestrel.

I was mighty disappointed when I finally hit the ~165k isk I needed only to realize it had no friggin' turret mounts and I had no missile skills.  (It's ok, my cat had heard me swear before that and plenty since).

I've been working on a Kestrel fitting for my alt to use as an el-cheapo Team Burner supporter, and am happy to have a few Kestrels in my hanger again.


1. Khanid Apocalypse - Armor tanking, missile throwing, stealthy black death.  The Apoc was the first Battleship that I bought.  I still have the large sized Apoc poster hanging on my wall, circa 2005 (professionally framed).  The model in the poster is of course no longer in game, but Apocs are Apocs.

I bust out my Navy Apoc from time to time for a fun lvl4, but missile ships are where my heart truly wants. Please, oh please, give us a Battleship-sized Sacrilege. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Skill Queue!

This is even better than a Skill Check!

Thanks to Phoebe, my current queue will run out early next year.  My primary alt is good until mid-Jan.  I've already juggled a few things, so this will of course change as we go.  But... it's nice to just queue things up in game as you see them instead of having to make a note or fire up evemon.



(Of course, this gfx is instantly obsolete as I found about 12 more skills to add as I was cropping the picture).

Friday, November 7, 2014

RETRACTED: Undocumented Phoebe Change - Burner Hawk Bounty

I'm an idiot.  I did two burners fast enough that both hit in the same bounty cycle.  Team burners are still 5M bounty.  Drat.

I just got 10M isk for the Team Burner Hawk.  On the wallet, it looks like the Hawk is worth 5M and another 5M for one of the Bantams.  I went back through my wallet and confirmed other Team Burners (pre-Phoebe) were indeed 5M total.

I checked patch notes and it's not there.  It's a nice little Easter egg, eh?

Bloodsport II -- Another Blood Raider Kill

*** WARNING NOT YET VERIFIED FOR LATEST PATCH ***
*** WARNING NOT YET VERIFIED FOR LATEST PATCH ***

Just 2 missions after the last Blood Raider / Cruor anomic agent, I had him again.  After the fairly scary Wolf mission, I decided to go try my hand at the Jaguar.  

Quick post just to report the fit and how I approached him during battle.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Bloodsport - Blood Raider Anomic Agent

*** WARNING NOT YET VERIFIED FOR LATEST PATCH ***
*** WARNING NOT YET VERIFIED FOR LATEST PATCH ***

Summary up front:  Blood Raider (Single) Cruor anomic agent died today in a very, very close fight.




Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Crazy People at the Gym

Happy Phoebe day!  Since I can't play while my client is updating, I'll type some nonesense.

Tuesday is Gym Day.  It's been Gym Day for going on 4 or 5 years now.  Sometimes we add a Thursday, or even a Monday, but Tuesday is Gym Day.

Believe it or not, I'm a Triathlete.  A nerd who does athletic things, I know.  Crazy.  But it's true --  I swim and bike and reluctantly run.  So, on Tuesday Gym Days, that means I'm in the pool.  I swim a lot of laps, and spend a lot of time with my head mostly under water.  In the oxygen deprived state, today I pondered this...

Why in the hell do other guys feel the need to race me in the pool?

I have the same swim workout that I do nearly every time I go, and each set has a goal. Some laps are fast, some laps are slow, and towards the end there's a long set to build endurance that I try to do at a moderate pace.

Guys jump in beside me and try to race.  I'm doing my thing, and they'll literally wait until I'm at my turnaround and then push off.  I swim at whatever the pace should be for that part of my workout.  Sometimes that means I get "beat" and sometimes that means I'm the "winner" and I get a dirty look.
Sometimes, like today, the guy jumps in without any warmup and then goes to town, flailing like a drowning golden retriever.  Form was a mess, and he breathed about twice a lap.  Four laps later, he's spent, huffing and puffing at the side while I push off for the 2nd half of my endurance set.  I'm settled into my endurance swim-all-day pace and he's killing himself to keep up, and mostly falling short.  (I smile smugly under the water when this happens ... and it happens quite a bit).  He repeated this little show 3-4 more times and then got out of the pool as I continued on through my workout.

There's a guy that shows up a couple times a month.  He swims for endurance, lap after lap after lap with few breaks ... but he doesn't like getting passed.  I swim just a touch faster than him, and I know that when I come alongside him, he's going to speed up and try not to get passed.  It's human nature, I guess, but I find it funny and a little silly.  He's doing his workout and I'm doing mine, but suddenly he needs to "show me up."

There's an older guy that we see most weeks.  Super nice, but at that point in life where even walking can be a struggle.  He's not graceful in the water.  Not one bit.  He's the one guy that never, ever, races me.  He's just happy to be there, delighted at a little social interaction when we talk, and I give him a nod of respect when we meet.

I hope that someday I can be the crazy old guy at the gym.

Oooh, EVE client is updated.  Now I need to go transfer evemon into EVE.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The End of an Era

Warning:  This is a post mostly about World of Warcraft.  There is some EVE sprinkled in, but if WoW offends you, I pray you skip ahead a bit.

It's the end of an era.  I'm not buying the next WoW expansion.  I've known that for awhile.  Part of me assumed that I'd eventually cave, get on Amazon, and buy the sucker.  But I'm holding firm.

Some of you are saying, "meh? so what?"

And you'd have a point.  I've been out of the game for a long while now.  Effectively something like 3 years, except for a handful of months here and there when I wanted to feel all nostalgic.  But I feel the need to write about it, because it's probably going to be a big milemarker in my gaming career.

Let's back up and tell the story though.  Context always helps.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Anomic Agent Statistics II

Let's move this post to the end of the month for updating.  Look for another update around 11/30.

I've now been offered 20 total Anomic agent missions.  The breakdown is 13 Solo Anomic Agents, and 7 Team Anomic Agents.

I have a 75.0% overall success rate (as in, I accepted and completed the mission).
I have a 15.0% overall decline rate (as in, I was a pansy and didn't accept the mission).
I have a 10.0% overall failure rate (failure defined as I accepted the mission, got my teeth kicked in, and then punted the mission).

I have faced all of the Solo burners but have not yet defeated the Blood Raider Cruor.  Assault Frigs 5 and Thermodynamics 5 are now mine, so we'll see how things go next time he's offered.

I have faced and defeated all of the Team Burners except the Enyo.

Offer rate is averaging every 6.0 vanilla level 4 missions.  This is greatly offset by my run of ~25 or so missions between the first and second offer back at the very start.  I was down around 5:1 at some point last week but had a bad run this week that pushed the average back up.

I have lost 5 total ships (no additional since last time, knock on wood):  2x Vengeance, 2x Daredevil, and 1x Retribution.  Total loss value of killmails is 255M isk, (355M total, minus the ~100M isk of recovered faction/t2 from the Retribution).


What's Playing:  The Black Keys, Brothers, Next Girl

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Minutes

If you hadn't seen already, the CSM9 Summer Summit Minutes are out.

I haven't finished reading them - busy afternoon at work, hehe.  They are lengthy but are worth your time.

I thought this quote was interesting, based on some of the data I'd been gathering and reporting here:
Moving on, CCP Fozzie talked about the four new burner missions in Oceanus. "The burners have been  cutting a swath through new eden, you saw the graphs." Mike Azariah complained about the lack of a  graph comparing the number of graphs in the blog to other graphs. CCP Fozzie noted that the most  expensive loss was 2.1 billion isk, and that almost all of the most expensive losses were people who simply tried to omni-tank. Mynnna commented that it makes perfect sense from someone who doesn't read the mission text, because it's not necessary in L4s - an omni-tank is just fine. "I don't think I even have hardeners on my Vargur."
Mike asked what the chances of getting a burner mission was. Fozzie explained that it's the same chance as any other mission - burner missions are just another option in the pool. They do want to add still more in the future, though Fozzie explained they'll be dropping the chances of each burner mission appearing to a fraction of the normal mission rate, so that the odds of getting any burner mission won't double outright.

And this one struck a chord with me.  Topic was Veteran Player Retention.  It pretty much sums up how I feel right now (bold underline added for emphasis):
Sugar Kyle - I think the improved health is showing through. The complaints are changing. The things that bother people are changing. And that is why they are desiring newer things because they are not desiring very basic changes in the same way.

The recipe for Steve Ronuken's bolognese sauce was a very nice easter egg.


What's Playing:  TOOL, Aenima, Eulogy

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Skill Check!

Back in the old old corp, the cry of SKILL CHECK would result in everyone bragging, whining, or otherwise reporting what they were training that very moment.

As Grand Emperor(tm) and CEO, it was one of those things that I used to wake up the chat when things were too quiet.  Few could resist the urge to shout out, even those "supposedely" afk.

I used to know the exact date that Pukin' Dogs was founded.  It's somewhere around October 20th, 2002.  So in honor of our dozen or so years as a corp, here's my skill check:


Abavus will finish Thermodynamics 5 early tomorrow.  He finished Assault Frigs 5 just before that.  Looking at EVEmon, I have a whole gaggle of long skills, almost all of them focused around small (and some mid-) sized ship combat.  Bleh, not fun.  But hopefully useful.

Next up:  Small Blaster Specialization 5.

Primary Alt 'M' will finish Light Missiles 5 a few hours after Thermodynamics finishes on Abavus.  She's got fair to good turret skills, excellent fitting and tank, so have been chewing on some missile skills to help with Burners.

Next up for her:  Guided Missile Precision 4.

Happy Birthday [PUKE], we'll keep the lights on.


What's playing:  TOOL:  10,000 Days, Wings For Marie

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sunday Morning Coffee

Here's a random post while I have my Sunday Coffee....

Last night I cashed out some SOE points and built some Asteros.  Was the first time I'd truly used the new Industry UI.  I'd fiddled a bit, but hadn't done any "serious" production.  For me, building 14xAsteros qualified as "serious."  I really like the UI, though building each individually from a 1-run bpc was tedious.  Makes me want to fire up the old Apoc factory I used to run ... too bad I sold that bpo.

I've been gone the past several days for work, relying on Blogger to robo-post the last few entries in my absence.  I haven't done very much in game, and barely kept up with game news while I was away (12-14 hr days, plus beers with the team after, I barely had enough time to sleep).

Once back home and somewhat settled, I did pull a Team Hawk burner mission yesterday.  I confirmed that you couldn't kite him in a t2-fitted Kestrel, nor a t2-fitted Hawk.  There were no ship losses involved, but neither had the dps to kill the first logi.  I pulled out the Garmur and melted his face.

The Garmur is a beast.

I may revisit the Kestrel fit later, as it's about 2% the cost of my Garmur fit at under 10M isk, including faction ammo.  I need to get smarter on rigs and explosion radii and such.  I'd love to find a cheap/disposable multi-box setup for Team burners and will keep pushing.

I talked in game with a few random friends about Burners.  One person started linking their losses with a "I'm done" at the end.  I wonder how well they're going over across the entire server.  I'll update my stats sometime, but my avg success rate continues to climb (I'm north of 70% now).   I hope that there's enough interest for CCP to continue to develop them.

As I type, I'm monkeying with pyfa.  I've been using EFT lately, and it's a fine tool.  The version I have is maybe dated and didn't seem to have any of the faction modules (or the Garmur) I've been playing with.  And Pyfa feels a little more polished.  I think I'm going to switch.

Time for more coffee.

What's Playing:  Nothing!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Chasing the Excitement

Was talking with Mrs. Durden recently about why I'm grinding so many missions.  This quote basically sums it up:
"... I got that 'excited/scared' feeling. Like 98% excited, 2% scared. Or maybe it's more - It could be two - it could be 98% scared, 2% excited but that's what makes it so intense, it's so - confused. I can't really figure it out."  - Oscar, Armageddon

 There's something addictive about running missions. Every time I hit the 'request mission' button there's that moment of excitement/panic while the screen reloads.  What will it be? Another Damsel to save or will it be an Anomic?

And then there's the inevitable result.  It's either a feeling of disappointment/relief if it's another vanilla lvl4.  Or it's a feeling of 'oh crap' when it's an Anomic, ... a mix of panic and excitement and a little apprehension.

I've been reminded a few times lately that in the early days, EVERY lvl4 had this mix of feelings.  Many missions could be solo'd in a meta4 Raven.  Many couldn't.  Some missions needed a few buddies.  Some missions just straight got declined.  Thanks to perfect skills, gang bonuses, and min/max fits, today we chase lvl4's in HACs, Tech3s, and BCs.

Some people complain that Burners are too hard.  While I don't like losing ships, I'll say that for me they're tuned about right.  Any harder, and I'd punt most.  Any easier, and you wouldn't get the semi-addictive emotional rollercoaster that comes with clicking buttons.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Team Burner #5 - Hawk Down

The Hawk Team has been vanquished.


The RNG gods are smiling upon me this weekend, as I've not only been pulling a lot of Burners in rapid succession, I'm also getting some of the flavors I hadn't seen yet.  I now only need 1 other Team and still need to conquer the Solo Blood Raider/Cruor and I will have done them all.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Anomic Agent #13 - First Serpentis Kill

***WARNING***
 - 15 JANUARY - 
THIS BURNER HAS BEEN UPGRADED BY CCP IN THE PROTEUS PATCH. THIS FIT IS NOW CONSIDERED UNVERIFIED.
***WARNING***


Ding dong, the Serpentis Witch is Dead.



Finally, something I can use with my Hawk!

I initially tried the fit that I'd used for the Worm Experiments, swapping only Light Missiles for Rocket Launchers and upgrading the shield hardener to t2.  Tank was solid with an off grid booster, but I couldn't deal dps effectively to a small/fast target and decided to meander off grid for a different setup.  After 10 minutes, I'd traveled only a little ways and decided just to logoffski and wait out the aggro timer.  Upon logging back in, I found my ship to be at 37% structure.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Team Anomic Agent #4 - Vengeance

*** FITS VERIFIED PROTEUS JANUARY 2015 ***

The Vengeance Team burner popped this morning, so I have another entry to make in my Anomic Agent Info Page.



I started with the usual research and found that my Garmur fit used for the Jaguar was still viable with an ammo swap.  Today we'd be using Navy Nova to knock down the Logi ships, then Inferno to pop the Vengeance.  I've done the Jag a total of 3 times now and really haven't had any issues once I got the Garmur.  Seemed straightforward, right?


Friday, October 17, 2014

Go Orbit a Station

I have a challenge for you - Go orbit a station.

When you have nothing better to do in highsec - undock.  Pick something small, nimble, maybe sexy.  Drop in the t2 prop mod and speed boosts, set your orbit to 100km and zip around.

I've been struck lately by the vitality of some systems.  It's something I'd forgotten.

You see, in the days before warp-to-zero (WTZ) gates, we all had to slowboat in from autopilot distance.  Each gate.  Every time.  It was a tedious way to travel, and made the route from A to Z a true journey.

I'm not advocating the removal of WTZ gates and stations.  I enjoy/abuse the feature as much as anyone.  But I also think that when you're flashing from gate to gate in a click frenzy, you miss out on BEING IN SPACE and watching other ships come and go.  The humanity of it all escapes us, and EVE quickly becomes a very memory-intensive chat app.

Recently, CCP added a flash graphic and a little 'fffump' sound effect when people drop from warp around you.  It's such a subtle thing, but it's made a big impact on me as I'm coming and going.  Each time there's a flash or a thump, it means someone else, some other player, is doing something near me.

So, sometime when you've got nothing better to do ... instead of sitting in station spinning your ship ... just undock.  Take a look outside at the ships - the players - coming and going.  I hope I'm not overselling it, but it makes space feel alive. Thriving. Human.




Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Anomic Agent Statistics

Being a nerd, and an EVE player, I had to make a spreadsheet to track Anomic Agents.

I've now been offered 11 Solo Anomic Agents, and 2 Team Anomic Agents.

I have a 61.5% overall success rate (as in, I accepted and completed the mission).
I have a 23.1% overall decline rate (as in, I was a pansy and didn't accept the mission).
I have a 15.4% overall failure rate (failure defined as I accepted the mission, got my teeth kicked in, and then punted the mission).

I have faced all of the Solo burners except the Serpentis/Daredevil.  Both of the Team Agents have been the Jaguar.

Offer rate is averaging about every 6.8 vanilla level 4 missions.  This is greatly offset by my run of ~25 or so missions before getting the 2nd offer.  I expect this average to come down with time.  Lately I've been running more like 3:1.

I have lost 5 total ships:  2x Vengeance, 2x Daredevil, and 1x Retribution.  Total loss value of killmails is 255M isk, (355M total, minus the ~100M isk of recovered faction/t2 from the Retribution).

At an average of ~12k LP per offer, I have gained ~96k LP for the 8 successful missions to date.  The 12k LP is an assumed number; my agent typically offers 10k or 14k).

Monday, October 13, 2014

Anomic Agent Info Summary

I've added a new tab on the menu (up there ^^^^) to try to condense all of my burner experiences.  If you're a regular reader, it's just a summary of many of the posts you've already seen.

However, as the postcount here continues to rise, wanted to get my arms around this info before it got too unwieldy.

Free (Test) Titans - Pictures

Here's the rest of my shenanigans with Titans on the test server.  See previous post for generic instructions on how to participate.

However, a few more hints:
1. Move to the test system BEFORE redeeming your Titans.  You'll save yourself some fuss when it comes time to fit ships, as well as having everything in one spot so you can try multiple ships.

2. There is one racial Doomsday per Titan flavor.  For the Avatar, it's Judgement.

3. Each doomsday takes fuel to use (75k isotopes per cycle).  Each one is racial, check yours for the type.  Don't undock without a full belly of fuel.

4. When I was on, there were pickup fleets forming in local.  Highly recommended.  Be a part of the wolfpack, not one of the deer.

5.  I don't know if CCP condones it, but you CAN undock in highsec and monkey around.  Other than a few shots in the belt and doing some gratuitous warping around, there's not much point.

Pictures after the break!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Search and Rescue Operations

So, let's say you got offered the Sansha Anomic Agent (single).

You've done him before, so no worries.  You dust off your Retribution, and dive in.

Things go well - you have him down in armor and your tank is holding.  And then... the unthinkable.  You, the "veteran" EVE player, manage to burn out your rack of guns, right when you were so near to glory.

Death is now a foregone conclusion.  He reps up and grinds you down before you can slowboat off grid.

It happens.  Time to shrug and get another ship.

But let's say there's ~100M isk worth of faction webs and t2 guns/misc in your wreck.  Gosh, it would be nice if you could get to them.

This fit let me recover gracefully from disaster this morning.
 [Vengeance, Sansha Burner Wreck Recovery]
Small Armor Repairer II
Armor EM Hardener II
Small Armor Repairer II
Armor Thermic Hardener II 
Cap Recharger II
Cap Recharger II
Cap Recharger II 
Empty High Slot x5 
Small Capacitor Control Circuit I
Small Bay Loading Accelerator I
It could be tankier, but I didn't feel like getting different rigs.  It is cap stable with my skills.  With an off grid booster running, I rarely went below 90% armor (a chain of smashing' hits, I think), but with the armor reps running out of phase (Start the 2nd SARII about halfway through the first's cycle), I was normally bouncing between 95% and 100% armor.

No prop mod means a slowboat off grid under web, but faction webs are faction webs.  Use the time to think about why you don't have Thermodynamics to rank 5 yet.

I guess I should have fit a salvager, too.

Happy Sunday.


What's Playing:  Led Zeppelin, How the West Was Won (Live), Black Dog

Friday, October 10, 2014

Phoebe - Lots of New Stuff, No New Burners, Free Titans

This will be a jumbled post, so bear with me...

Part I:
New dev blog today gives the major features of the next patch (codename: Phoebe).  Lots of cool stuff.  I like the unlimited skill queue, obviously.

No new burners.  Expecting content for 3 patches in a row was probably too much to ask.  I'll be sure to poke Sugar sometime soon and see if we can get more info from the devs on how burners are being received by the players..

For PVE/Missioneers, the following statement is interesting.  The old agent UI is pretty stale, so looking forward to the new detail (if it looks anything like the sexy new Industry UI, I'll be VERY happy).
Mission Objectives Guidance
New information in the Agent Mission info panel will direct you to what you need to do next in your mission to complete it. An upcoming dev blog will go into details on this new feature.
Side note:  The new notifications and sensor overlay look sweet.  It seems reasonably obvious now that the EVE client is getting a major UI overhaul.  I was skeptical on some of this stuff (I'm an oldskool guy and still use rightclick for everything) but I like what I see on Sisi.

-----

Part II:  Free Titans

If you haven't heard, you can currently get free Titans on the test server (aka Sisi) to try out the new jump/gate mechanics for capships. And of course, blow the snot out of people with the DD.

Details here.  It's pretty simple - patch up the Sisi client (see this Wiki entry), login, go to the 'moveme' channel and type 'moveme' to get ported out to Syndicate 0.0.  Then type 'capitalships' and get free skillpoints.  Logout, claim your Titans at the login screen. Have fun on the cheaply seed SISI market, then go kick some ass.

If you choose not to get ported to Syndicate first, you can still use the 'moveme' channel after.  But one hint: BEFORE YOU ACCEPT YOUR SHINY TITANS.... make sure you're at a station that has all the items seeded for 100 isk.  Trust me.

This "testing" may go on for at least a little while, according to CCP Claymore.


I immediately went and bought enough miner2's to outfit an Avatar.  Damn right.

There might or might not have been some omber mined in highsec before I moved the titan (my alt's Leviathan is in the background looking mean).



Also bought a somewhat 'real' fit, at least with real guns.  I know nothing about capship fits, so went for a hull tanking, double armor rep, to maximize my time on grid before the inevitable end.  More on this in a future post.


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Single Anomic Agent #7 - Guristas II

*** FITS VERIFIED PROTEUS JANUARY 2015 ***

Another dead worm!

This one was offered after 4 completed and 2 declined vanilla missions.  Three of the completed missions were a series, if that matters.

This will probably be the last battle report for repeat content.  I feel like I'm jamming up the place with all this.



But since I'm already typing -- I used the same Daredevil setup as last time, made sure my mods were repaired and I had plenty of ammo and cap boosters.  Same strat - warp in, run under the missile barrage and then web his squirmy butt down and blasterate holes in his ship from as close to 0km as I can get.

I thought I botched the attempt, as I forgot to turn the mwd off after pinning him down with the web.  Cost me a little cap, but I recovered, and my cat has heard me swear plenty before today.

I managed overheat better, killed him with 4/ea Cap Booster 400's in my cargo (I had zero remaining last time).

PS:  Loot sucked.

UPDATE:  Single Anomic Agent #8 was offered back-to-back with #7.  It's the Blood / Cruor, which is currently the only Burner I've been offered that I can't do.  I declined it - I don't need to lose a ship that bad right now. See also I am a Statistic.

What's Playing:  Grouplove, Colours

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Single Anomic Agent #6 - Angel Burner

(Posting a day later to help spread things out...)

New record for me, I completed 1 vanilla mission and another Anomic Agent was offered.

This one was the Angel, which I had previously completed.  I used the same fit and killed Mr. Angel without overheat.  In the spirit of full disclosure: I did have my link alt running.



Not much of a battle report. I spent more time checking my fit than in the pocket to make sure I didn't mess something up (hint:  I had).

Warp in, approach, target, web/launchers, turn on SARII with shields at 20%. Profit.

Faction loot!  1000x Domination Carbonized Lead S, worth about 89k for the stack. :)

What's Playing:  Mad Season, Wake Up

Monday, October 6, 2014

Anomic Team #1

*** WARNING NOT YET VERIFIED FOR LATEST PATCH ***
*** WARNING NOT YET VERIFIED FOR LATEST PATCH ***

Another Anomic mission, this time it's the new team variety!  For those keeping score at home, it was offered after 8 successful and 2 declined vanilla lvl4s.



Here's the mission text, with my emphasis added in bold:
Anomic Team
I have a special optional mission for you, we won’t penalize you if you decline it.
A crack commando team, former members of the Republic Fleet, have struck out on their own. We don't know why, but we want you to hunt them down. 
 
They have all scans open, so we can't go there in force. We've acquired their coordinates and need someone to sneak in and take them out. It's you against them.  
Only frigate sized ships can gain entry to the hideout, so don’t try to bring anything bigger. 
The leader of this gang flies a Jaguar-class Assault Frigate. She fits her ship with Autocannons loaded with Republic Fleet Fusion ammo, and never leaves home without a Stasis Webifier and Warp Scrambler. She is backed up by two allies in Burst-class Support Frigates, which can use Remote Shield Transporters to keep themselves and their leader alive. I advise you to do everything in your power to eliminate the Bursts early in the fight.  
A word of warning: these soldiers of fortune are extremely dangerous and have proven very capable of destroying capsuleer ships. If you choose to decline this mission or if you fail to complete it, you will not lose any standings.
Payout:  5M bounties, 2.17M isk base completion, 2.32M isk time bonus, just over 10k LP.

Read on for the fit and the battle report....


Saturday, October 4, 2014

Anomic Agent #5 - Tie Broken

*** FITS VERIFIED PROTEUS JANUARY 2015 ***

Another Anomic Agent mission complete.  Mr. Gurista died on first attempt this time, making the overall score 3 success and 2 punts.

The Daredevil survived his first trial, so now I'll name it.  Lately it's been bad luck to name a ship before its first combat.




Blog Banter #59: Force Projection and Terrain

Blog Banter #59:
Probably been done before... What about local force projection (as opposed to the longer distance force projection that is often talked about)? I think of 'terrain' in EVE to be how systems are mapped together by gates. Strong tactics which exploit terrain have historically been extremely important in deciding battle outcomes. How does this apply in EVE in the presence of cynos?

I'm going to dive straight sideways and sidestep the dev blog about force projection, and the associated threadnaught.  I'm framing my response at a potential future state, far down the road, and talk about a general direction I'd like EVE to take.


Perspectives

It's been an interesting few weeks here. First, I've been having PC problems the past several weeks.  I have new laptop inbound fr...