Friday, January 30, 2015

New Internets

Time to vent.  Bare with me. :)

It was time for a change.  The old Droid4's were dying in a very ungraceful manner.  The MiFi hotspot had developed a real attitude and liked to reboot and turn itself off randomly (thankfully never during a battle in EVE).  So off to the Verizon store we go.

I hate the Verizon store.  We've been happy Verizon customers for many years now, but I hate the store experience.  I always feel like I'm getting screwed.  Numbers are flying, data plans are changing, promises are made without much in writing to back it up (we were literally showed numbers on a post-it note).  When the final screens flash and signatures are made, it's a quick flash of the data pad, several walls of text to absorb, and a "click here to accept."

We can, of course, get online and check the accounty things over to our heart's content, but I'd rather shop for a used car than deal with the store.  That being said, other than having to repeatedly decline the overpriced accessories, I think we did ok tonight.  It wasn't what I wanted to spend my Friday night doing, but as I said, it was time for a change.

We also got a new Internet connection, which I am currently typing on.  We live in the country. Our entire household internet is a 4G hotspot.  We have an outrageous data plan.  Our other choices are 56.6k dialup (welcome to 1995) or Satellite (welcome to ugly ping times).  This time of year, with the leaves down, I can see the Verizon 4G tower from our back yard.  Our connection is always max bars and rock solid. The hotspot has generally served us well other than the constant sucking sound I hear coming from the bank account.

The local telecom has supposedly installed Fibre in the neighborhood and we're waiting for the monumental first activation (which I picture as a big Frankenstein style switch in a dusty warehouse). We'll dump DirecTV and crank our cellular data plan down in the same month and save oodles of cash (we'll get TV+Internet for $15/mo more than I currently pay for TV today).

The good news is that our new phones seem to work.  They are fast and responsive. They are sexy.  The new replacement hotspot has ethernet jacks in the back and won't require a separate little NetGear adapter (which never really worked right) to hook up our (non-wifi) work laptops.

It should be a net gain (pun intended).

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Unfounded Prediction

I am not following the speculation on what Caroline's Star could be.  I've checked out the cloaked structures, but know very little about the lore of w-space.

I had the thought yesterday that the supernova looked a lot like a new nebula and figured I'd write it down.  The part of space I'm in is sort of between all of the other empires.  Minmatar looks like a large ball of glowing red.  Gallente is a ball of glowing green.  Caldari lights up a large part of the sky in light blue.

Spinning the ship camera around, I realized that the supernova remnant looked rather similar to the Minmatar part of the sky.  And I had this thought:  maybe the supernova is the new marker/nebula for the Jove homeworld.

Maybe the cloaked structures are secret Jove stations that they have been building.

Maybe Jove will finally be a playable race.

I am no doubt entirely and utterly wrong, but thinking back to the early days when Jove were expected to be patched in as new content after launch, a bittervet can dream.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Am I Happy?

Just to follow up on the previous post, I swapped to another Caldari agent in a 0.5 and will see if the LP conveyor belt is reasonable.  The items available in the LP store are less lucrative, but I'll trade some lost efficiency just to keep a blue sky for a bit.

Anyway, main reason for this post:  I found the following 2 tidbits in the CSM Winter Summit Day 2 minutes.  I had missed them the first time through.
As there was some free time, CCP Fozzie also went over an unrelated plan to add Cruiser-sized burner missions. 
Corbexx also asked about Sleeper burner missions: CCP Bettik responded it's an option if it made sense from the story.

And in the same section:
Sugar Kyle also asked about making some agents that only gave out burner missions or increasing the percentage chance for one to be offered. 
CCP Fozzie had some concerns with them, such as the easy ability to chain them with the correct fittings.

Monday, January 26, 2015

From Blue to Blue Sky

My old Caldari Navy security agent is in a 0.8.  I returned there after a lengthy (months and years) absence as a sort of homecoming.  I wanted to see if I could get the elusive Enyo burner to spawn, and managed to pull him in the first burner offer.

But something wasn't right.  Something was amiss.  I kept checking my loyalty point accumulation and it seemed so dismal.

I knew that higher security means fewer LP, and I assumed that there was some math behind it that I was too lazy to look up.  I didn't realize how MUCH lower the payout was until the burner spawned.  It's hard to compare mission for mission because the amounts vary so much and the mission list I was getting from CN, while very familiar, was a lot different than my normal SOE fare.

But burners I knew.  I got about 9500 LP for killing him.  I was used to 14k+ from SOE.  About 30% less.  Ouch.

I have a nice looking 0.6 picked out and I'll go there and sniff around.  It's in an area of Caldari-ness that I'm not overly familiar with, so it won't have the same level of nostalgia.  And I guess I'm going to have to move again, though right now I'm hopeful that it will be from Blue Sky to Blue Sky.

But the SOE LP is so very lucrative.  I fear that my future skies may be Red, not Blue.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sunday Wrap Up

Quick post. I was on the road all weekend visiting family.

The CSM minutes are out for all 4 sessions.  Sugar has a summary post here.

GW2 announced a no kidding expansion pack.  I haven't dug into the deep details, but I'll admit that I'm perhaps a bit underwhelmed.  I can't put my finger on why, will have to think about it a bit.  Massively has a summary here.  Guild Halls at least sound interesting.

Other than that, I am tired.  There is a fire in the fireplace.  It is snowing outside and a dvd in the player.  It's not a bad way to spend a Sunday evening.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

CSM Minutes, Day 1 and 2

If you're not aware, the CSM Winter Summit is going on RIGHT NOW.

CCP is releasing the minutes from each daily session in (nearly) real time.  Although there's perhaps less detail, getting the info so quickly is much better (imho) over waiting weeks and months to see what was discussed.  Said another way, I'll take a 90% solution in near real time rather than a 99% solution ages later.

Day 1 minutes are here.
Day 2 minutes are here.

The very first session of Day 1 (Roadmap and Release Schedule) is pretty interesting.  When the Incarna Trainwreck happened, I really never thought I'd be reading words from CCP about their dev philosophy and nodding my head in agreement.  I guess that makes me a fanboy.  Oh well. :)

I'm reading the Day 2 minutes as I type, so let me grab a few snippets relevant to my interests (i.e. PVE, missions, etc.).  I'll snip out most of the quotes to just the bare essentials.  Go read the full minutes for the full detail version.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

X-Wing Miniatures

A few days back, I added e a new section of blogroll (on your right) entitled "Other Nerd Stuff."  I'm not sure if it will stay; it may vanish just as suddenly as it appeared.

I attended college in the early 90s, and many of my nerd friends did nerd things like tabletop and pen-and-paper RPGs.  I spent some time playing Magic: The Gathering in the days of Revised and 4th Edition.  And while at the college-town game store, I browsed the aisles of Warhammer, D&D, and other franchises.  The toys/models/minis looked cool, but I lacked the time (and funds) to really dig in.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Finally, the Enyo is Dead

I finally pulled the Team Enyo tonight.  I went after him in my standard Garmur fit to see how things would go.

Things went well enough.  I can now claim to have killed every burner in the game.

EVE doesn't have achievements, but if it did, we might see this:

Yes, I'm feeling silly tonight.  The fit looks like this:
[Garmur, Burner All]
Caldari Navy Ballistic Control System
Caldari Navy Ballistic Control System
Caldari Navy Ballistic Control System 
1MN Afterburner II
Phased Weapon Navigation Array Generation Extron
Phased Weapon Navigation Array Generation Extron
F-90 Positional Sensor Subroutines, Targeting Range Script 
Light Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Nova Light Missile
Light Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Nova Light Missile
Light Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Nova Light Missile  
Small Warhead Rigor Catalyst II
Small Warhead Flare Catalyst II
Small Warhead Flare Catalyst II

Battle Report:  Typical Team Burner setup - set default orbit distance to 35km, activate the link ship and warp in.  Orbit the Enyo, activate afterburner.  Pick off the closest logi and lock him up.  Apply both painters and turn on launchers.  I used overheat on highs until 80% damage and then rode out the rest without overheat.  I killed the first logi with only 5 missiles left in the magazine.

Reload times will probably make this unsolo-able in this setup.  I hate to put more money into the Garmur's fit, but it may be inevitable.

Standard Disclaimers:  I run a link ship and use modules that boost afterburner speed as well as target painter range.  This mission would have been a lot more tedious without the extra painter range.

PS:  Loot sucked.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Lose focus in this game for one second...

... and somebody gets hurt.

(Title quote courtesy of Ocean's 11).

Remember how I posted about how I liked having a challenge?  Sometimes that leads to dumb behavior and an embarrassing loss.

I'm down one Eagle.  Poor little thing, I barely knew her.

The Eagle fit was great for blapping anoms, but like the Zealot has some trouble killing fast moving frigates at very close range.  There's a "donut of death" around the Eagle - beyond 3km and out to about 16km, everything dies.  Inside 3km there's relative safety as the blasters can't track fast enough.

So here I was in Rogue Drone Harassment, lvl4, which is chock full of webbing and scramming frigate sized enemy.  I decided to take the Eagle as I'd done this mission in the Sacrilege several times, and I haven't moved the Sacri to my Caldari mission hub yet.

But I didn't stop to think that the Sacri has no donut of death; missiles are much more forgiving.  The eagle has no dronebay and I didn't think to fit a web.  Things went well at the start, but then eroded when the first webs landed.  Without the ability to pull enough distance to hit again, I was done.  It was the kind of death you could feel coming, and had no choice but to ride it in.

I only post it because it's ... full disclosure.  Part of doing dumb (but fun) things is having a few dumb (and embarrassing)  losses.  The Eagle will be replaced, and I'll be a little smarter next time I push the limits of lvl4s in small ships.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Patch Panic

Every patch, I have a little panic attack that Burners will somehow change, ships will get nerfed, rats will get buffed, or other ripple effect changes will upset the apple cart of my fit lists.

Based on the stats of this page, many of you are finding me via Google and most of those Google hits are in search of strategies and tips for Burners.  Although the internet as a whole gets tagged "use at your own risk" and there's a constant churn of old/obsolete data, I'd feel a little responsibility if by some inaction or some inattention I somehow led people astray.  The whole point of this mess is to help people, not get them on lossmails.

Right now, based on what I'm seeing on forums, there are two missions I'm worried about:
- Team Jaguar
- Single Serpentis Daredevil

However, I'd like to get everything else verified as well and see where we stand.  There was apparently a nerf to light missile launcher Rate of Fire (RoF) in the fall.  I blatently missed the change.  Missile fits in general may have more trouble with burners than other weapon types.

I did the Team Hawk burner mission last night.  I went into the pocket with a Crow first before risking the faction-fit Garmur.  I found that this mission was unchanged in layout and tactics and was thus still a kite-able fight.

I returned with the Garmur and melted his face.  No overheat, no reloads, no drama.

Now, the Team Hawk is arguably the easiest burner mission and by far the easiest Team burner mission.  So I'm not claiming victory yet.  But it makes me feel better that it was largely unchanged since the last time I'd faced it.

So, I will go into the battle report for that mission and mark it *** VERIFIED PROTEUS JANUARY 2015 ***.

Other missions will get a tag of *** WARNING NOT YET VERIFIED FOR LATEST PATCH ***.

Ok, enough typing. Now I need to go edit all my battle reports. :)

Friday, January 16, 2015

Variations on a Theme

Movement to the blue sky zones continues.  Tonight I humped the Nighthawk across the map.  It's mostly a Drake by another name, but different enough to be fun.

In line with the previous post, my approach to lvl4s is to generally use the smallest ship possible for the task.  Some missions, the Golem, N-Apoc, or (rarely) the Rokh is the proper tool.  I like a good Cruise Golem in particular and have not really ever much been a fan of torps.

Some missions call for a more nimble ship, are an opportunity to blitz (Quafe Delivery I'm looking at you) or have a greater concentration of cruisers/BCs and allow you to take the oddball fit out of the hanger.  The dual rep Sacri is a favorite of mine, tho the Drake, Nighthawk, and now the Rook also qualify.

I liked the Nighthawk better when it used the Ferox hull, but the black with red stripes it's still reasonably cool.

I used a  Tengu for awhile.  I've owned two, several years apart.   Sold both.  I'm perhaps the only guy on the planet that isn't smitten with them.  Drake/Nighthawk/Sacri do almost as well and cost a lot less.  Against larger ships, the Golem uses less ammo.

Anyway, the point of this post isn't to tell you the "right" way to run lvl4's.  The point of this is exactly the opposite - we get bogged down in foodfights about what's "best" far too often.

The thing is, every hull is a compromise between:

- Nimbleness/speed
- Tank
- Dps vs. Large targets
- Dps vs. Small targets
- Overall looks and cool factor
- Cost

I fly a lot of hulls because I like to keep things new, try different approaches to the same stale missions.  And some days, I like to see what I can get away with, where the edges of my tank are, and how to punch above my weight class.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Single Serpentis Burner Changes

At random, I checked the burner thread on forums for an update and saw this:

WARNING: CCP changed the Pirate Burner Daredevil, they upped the tank a lot and the recommended Enyo does not work anymore. It barely works with ALL V stats. 

The Hawk fit they recommend is vastly pimped vs. the one that I run. I don't know if my old fit works anymore and will need to try it.

I have put warnings on the Anomic Info page as well as the two Daredevil battle reports until I see him again.

Happy belated patch day. :)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Some Days, I Want To Be a Star Destroyer

The past few nights I've been zipping around The Citadel and Lonetrek, seemingly at random.  Haven't been in the mood to crank lvl4's, so have been playing with a couple of cruiser fits - a Rook and an Eagle.  I'm clearing highsec anoms as quickly as possible and have managed to get a few escalations.  Loot has been bad, I guess, and I'd file these sessions under "really not all that productive" ... but I'm getting to see a lot of my old stomping grounds.  System names pop up and I smile as I remember an old corp op stumble through one of our old headquarters.

But why a Rook and an Eagle?

I wanted to fly the new Moa-family hulls but didn't feel like getting a Gila.  Yes, the Gila is a monster, but the Eagle is a HAC that I've always wanted to like.  It's been overshadowed by HACs that are better at what HACs do.  I've never owned one because there are always "better" hulls.  So I bought one, fit blasters and some other bits out of my hanger, and expected it to be mediocre.

It wasn't mediocre. I'm having a blast.  Sure, I'm just clearing highsec combat anoms, but things die silly fast; I probably ought to fit a sensor booster (the lock times are what is slowing me down).  The hull looks cool, and I'm happy surprised that it works as well as it does.

I've had the Rook for years but had never fit it.  She went with me to our final deployment in Syndicate and sat in the hanger there until last year when I had a freight company bring all my old hulls out.  I sold off enough hulls to pay for the freight and make a tidy profit, but kept the Rook.  With the new Blackbird model and the pending Recon changes, I thought I'd dust her off.  I found that with my skills and a really questionable fit, I could clear a 4/10 escalation.

Is it efficient?  No.
Is it fun?  Plenty.

The alternative is to roll through that same 4/10 in a Drake acting like I'm a star destroyer shooting asteroids.  Splat, thwok, splat.  The Drake fit is really horrible, but it doesn't matter. Ignoring everything, not thinking, just trying to target everything as fast as I can and keep the launchers running.

With the Rook, I need to manage cap, not aggro the entire room, and play a little more cautiously.  It's well outside its comfort zone, but it's do-able.

Some days, I want to be a Star Destroyer.  Some days I want to play with some finesse.  Some days I want to fly a hull that I've never flown before, even if it's the "wrong" hull for the job.

It's nice having options. :)

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Being Something You're Not

Lateral thinking is sometimes weird.  Let me try to capture a line of thinking I had while doing chores this morning.

I began thinking this morning that it was hard to write blog posts right now because I'm not really /playing/ the game of EVE.  I'm logging in and checking things every night, but my undocked time has been pretty limited so far in 2015.  I could write about that, I guess, but it's not a very compelling story (real life, weather, work, blah blah blah).

But my train of thought this morning was this:  it's a little weird for me to continue to post as if I'm an active, normal player when at the moment I'm in a lull.  It's not exactly lying, but it does portray an image that's not quite true.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Does This Fit Make My Ass Look Big?

Sorry for the post title, couldn't resist.

In case you missed it, the ingame fitting window is getting some love.  See CCP Sharq's post here for some info.  TLDR version is that they're looking at bringing some of the features of Pyfa and EFT into your friendly neighborhood fitting window.

Before you get excited, CCP Karkur clarifies on page 4 of the thread that this is a "side project" and not a formally planned project.

Still, it's something I'd definitely use.  The 3rd party tools are fine, but they haven't stopped me from being dumb about rig calibration a few times while shopping.

What's Playing:  TOOL, Undertow, Sober

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Old Farts

CCP published this video earlier today.  Pretty cool in general.  Many will say "holy cow EVE is full of Old Farts" but the averages actually skew younger than I would have expected.

I guess I assume that everyone around me is my age... but according to this, I'm outside most of the bell curve.  That makes me sad. But proud, in a way. :)

Direct link to youtube is here.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Pod and Planet Fiction Results

The Pod and Planet Fiction contest winners were announced yesterday!  I'm surprised and honored to have had my silly little story place 3rd in the humor category.  I'm also even happier to see some other familiar names on the list.

Extra thanks to the judges and donors for making the contest possible, and the time invested in reading and scoring everything.

Here's a copy/paste from the announcement thread:
All stories have been read and scored, and all ties have been broken. Here are your winning stories: 
Grand Prize
Kirith Kodachi, "Borrowed Time" 6 bil ISK 
Eight Thousand Suns in New Eden (lore-based)
1st Kazicht Cixit, "Seeing Double" 4.9 bil ISK
2nd Sugar Kyle, "A Conscious Choice" 2.5 bil ISK
2nd Marcus Dreddlin, "The Price of Learning" 2.5 bil ISK
3rd hmnomad / Patrick Lee, "My Father is a Capsuleer" 1.2 bil ISK
3rd Drackarn, "The Wreck" 1.2 bil ISK
3rd Yarrion Yuwen / Grey Y, "Homo Homini Lupus" 1.2 bil ISK
3rd Saul Elsyn / Paul Naughton, "Hope" 1.2 bil ISK 
A Day in the Life (free form)
1st Rhavas, "Unchained" 4.3 bil ISK
2nd Alan Mathison / Doc Kinne, "The Gift" 2.2 bil ISK
2nd Carbon Red, "-blank-" 2.2 bil ISK
3rd Saladiin,"Consolidated Cooperation and Relations Command (CONCORD) Secure Commerce Commission v. Wingspan Delivery Services, LLC." 1.1 bil ISK
3rd Brink Albosa, "The Wolf-Rayet" 1.1 bil ISK
3rd DireNecessity, "DireNecessity Antes Up" 1.1 bil ISK 
Other Things Just Make You Swear and Curse (humor)
1st Drackarn, "Angels and Sinners" 2.2 bil ISK
2nd Drackarn, "Artificial Stupidity" 1.2 bil ISK
3rd Abavus Durden, "The Hobgoblin” 600 mil ISK 
Honorable Mention (from all categories)
Sarah Flinnley, "Politics" 330 mil ISK
Saede Riordan, "The Things We Bury" 330 mil ISK
Callista Dalmore, "The Tally" 330 mil ISK
Korsavius, "Crash" 330 mil ISK
Da'iel Zehn, "Crossfire" 330 mil ISK
Brenn Derrington, "Fledgling Phoenix" 330 mil ISK
Korsavius, "Beautiful Cherry Blossoms" 330 mil ISK 
Congratulations writers of winning stories! And congratulations to all of the writers for dreaming up a tale, crafting it into a written narrative, and sharing it with all of us. 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Gaming Roster

Let's run down my games roster and see where things are going.  I've done this every few months on an old guild website, and it's sometimes interesting to read months/years later.

These are in no particular order, altho I'm saving the best for last. :)

  • WoW:  Mrs. Durden has a subscription active and bought the collector's ed of WoD, but has barely played (ironically, as I proofread this, she went in and fired it up).  Per previous post, I didn't send any more of my money to Anaheim for this title, and don't intend to.  Status:  Done.
  • Diablo3:  I did a run this fall to lvl a character and get the Season 1 rewards.  This was very fun as a single play-through but not compelling enough to keep me grinding for equipment.  I'm reading just now that patch 2.1.2 will bring Season 2 and I'll likely pick another character class and lvl up again, which will be a good distraction for a week or two.  So I guess file this one as not active but pending.
  • Warmachine Tactics:  This is a PC incarnation of the tabletop game.  It's turn-based strategy with fiddley/nuanced combat mechanics (compared to say, Starcraft).  I've fallen behind in my patching and should spend some time here to see what features have been.  Status:  On hiatus but probably next. 
  • GW2:  The game that I miss but can't bring myself to play.  I'm conflicted about this title; every description I come up with is a 2 part sentence with the structure of "GW2 does XYZ really well, BUT they did ABC and screwed it up."  I played at launch and have a couple of good (1-2 month) runs since then.  The game does a pretty good job at look and feel, and I found the original storyline to be pretty good, but falls short in endgame, economy, and crafting.  I wish this had been the WoW-killer but it wasn't meant to be.  I don't think the sporadic short-patch cycle has really done this game any good; I would love to see an expansion announcement instead of getting content in dribs and drabs.  Each patch cycle feels like a race to consume the new content, followed by lots of thumb twiddling.  Status:  Possibly done, but probably not.
  • X-Wing Miniatures:  Not a PC game, but I'll include it in the list as it's a big time waster.  Active game, potentially a huge $$ sink.  Have been spending my free time playing with the mechanics and reliving my youth by making Tie Fighter sounds at the dinner table.
  • EVE:  Active.  Primary game for now and the foreseeable future.   I feel like EVE is in its most playable state that it's ever has been.  There is still some embarrassing unfinished business (Captain's Quarters in particular), but some of these are getting fixed.  When the short-patch cycle was announced, I really wasn't happy because I'd seen it as an overall bad move for GW2 and had a bad taste in my mouth.  But in EVE's case, the short-patch cycle doesn't introduce linear content to be consumed, but instead offers cleaner dirt for the sandbox in the form of fixes, new ship models, quality of life (example: skill queue) and other goodies (burners!).  I'm excited to see where some of the late 2014 patches lead us - Thera, the mystery supernova, active sleepers, etc.  It's a good time to be in the game, and hopefully EVE can keep the momentum going and we can see some increased login numbers in 2015.
I'm probably forgetting a game or two, but there's the list for now.

Friday, January 2, 2015

New Skies, Old Skies

I cashed out the stockpile of LP I had with the Sisters of EVE tonight.

That's 5x Stratios cruiser BPCs.  I'm currently in my Industry system and will fire up the factories, hopefully netting a nice fat yield.

And I thought, "what's next after that?"

I think it's time for a different colored sky.  Maybe an old sky.  I've been humping SOE for quite awhile now (the isk/lp is quite yummy), but there's one Burner I need to hunt down for my collection.  I think I'll go back to my Caldari agent and enjoy the light blue.  I still think of the Caldari sky as 'home' no matter how many regions I've lived in.

And I miss shooting Guristas.

What's Playing:  No music tonight, just Castle reruns on TNT (posting from the laptop)

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Resolutions (2015)

Warning:  Non-EVE Content, etc. etc.

I don't normally do crazy big lists of New Year's Resolutions.  As I said in the first of this series:
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.
I posted the previous entries on Weight Loss and Triathlons partially so that this post on January 1st was in the right context.  My journey has been something that I'm personally very proud of, and I like to share.  But if I came here and proclaimed that I was going to do X, Y, or Z, I'm not sure it'd make much sense as a one-off post.

So if you've read all the other propaganda leading to this, I thank you.

Alpha State

"Everything that has a beginning has an end."  That's one of my favorite quotes from the Matrix 2.  It has to do with the ...