Saturday, May 30, 2015

Carnyx Patch Notes

>> Corporate SURVEY is still open.  Just a friendly reminder.


Carnyx patch notes went up yesterday.  I'll grab some points of interest, but read the whole thing; big changes to Sov and module rebalancing (Shield Extenders, Armor Plates, and Sentry Drones in particular).

Burner changes:
  • Burner NPC´s have had their faction standing penalty removed when killing them 
  • Burner NPC now give out a security standing gain when killed.
  • Frequency of Burner Missions offered by level 4 Security agents has been lowered.
I had stopped tracking my burner offers, as they seemed to have stabilized around every 4.5 vanilla lvl4 missions.  Looks like I'll need to fire up the spreadsheet again and find out the new rates.  I suspect the overall lowering is due to the increased number of burner types; perhaps they're shooting to keep it about 1:5 overall?  (Hopefully this isn't a nerf.)

Other misc:
  • Always on the forefront of innovation, Sanctuary have introduced a collection of SKINs for the Astero, Stratios and Nestor. Head to the New Eden Store every Tuesday over June as these are introduced one at a time.
I haven't peeked on SISI at the skins (if they're even available to look at), but the SOE ships are some of my favorites.  I haven't spent any Aurum in quite awhile, but this might do it.  Will be interesting to see where they go with them.  A gloss black Stratios or Nestor could be really cool.

The patch is slated for this coming Tuesday, June 2nd.  Happy patch day!

What's playing:   Foo Fighters, Skin and Bones, My Hero

Friday, May 29, 2015

Drifters Kill POS Tower

For those of you who read EveNews24, this is old news, but I this last night and made me laugh as I read it aloud to Mrs. Durden.  So, as a public service announcement, I decided to repost it.

It appears that the Drifter NPC AI can be enticed into attacking POS structures (formatted for emphasis).
According to sources, TITAN GER, on the fourth run, logged off inside the POS when the Drifters started to attack the POS. The Drifters successfully reinforced and subsequently destroyed the tower. After the reinforcement timer the Drifters returned and continued to shoot the tower. It appears that TITAN GER logged off to avoid an aggression timer, but the Drifters came back, found a target, then engaged and destroyed the POS. It was TITAN GER’s personal POS so there was no call to arms to save it.

Kind of scary, but kind of cool at the same time.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Better, Best, Bestest

First - blatent plug - the SURVEY is still active and will be for another day or three.  Responses have been good so far, and fairly interesting.  I do intend to share the results (figured out that I can export it from the Free version of the survey tool).  Please participate if you haven't already.


Have seen a few conversations lately where the word BEST has been thrown around.  I see it, and I generally roll my eyes.

"Better is the Enemy of Good Enough" was a favorite quote of one of my early mentors.  It really aggravated me when he said it, but now that I'm older I find myself echoing him.

We players sometimes get trapped into the mindset of "X is better than Y when I'm doing Z."  The best hauler.  The best ship hull.  The best fit.  The best weapon type.  I could go on.  We're nerds, so we argue and fight and debate and at the end of it, there's no great insight, just a lot of scrolling text in a chat channel.

But somewhere, as a nerd culture, we transition from a whole slew of potential solutions into a mode where "X is the only acceptable way to do Z."  From there, it's a short trip to ridiculing anything other than X, as in "omg ur duing it rong, dude."

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Corporate Survey of Thunder and Goodness

Along with the new ingame channel (STRING THEORY), I have been working behind the scenes here on a series regarding corporation management.

You can help!

I've initiated one of those annoying free surveys.  The link is here.  There are only 8 multiple choice questions and another 2 optional essay questions (Surveymonkey caps you at 10 questions for the freebie polls).  It should only take a few minutes to complete, and that's if you type a fair bit in the bonus essay.

I'll rip off Slashdot's poll rules:

  • Don't complain about lack of options. You've got to pick a few when you do multiple choice. Those are the breaks.
  • Feel free to suggest poll ideas/questions if you're feeling creative.
  • This whole thing is wildly inaccurate. Rounding errors, ballot stuffers, dynamic IPs, firewalls. If you're using these numbers to do anything important, you're insane.
And no, I don't know exactly what I'm going to do with the results.  I'm making this up as I go. :)

More EVE Vegas Speakers Announced

Last Friday (which somehow I missed), a little post went up to announce new speakers for EVE Vegas.

Here's the entire list:

  • CCP Seagull
  • CCP Scarpia
  • CCP Nullarbor 
  • (new) CCP karkur
  • (new) CCP Punkturis
  • (new) CCP Falcon
  • (new) CCP Affinity
  • Mark726 of EVE lore infamy
  • Lychton Kondur of Brave Collective
  • (new) Kira Tsukimoto on how to get involved early in the EVE Community as a rookie
  • (new) Loginius Spear will be presenting a talk on hunting in wormholes
  • (new) Lanctharus Onzo from Cap Stable Podcast

Monday, May 25, 2015

String Theory

A few days back, I put up my Reaching Out post.  I had some great feedback, both here as well as some contacts ingame.  One of the consistent bits of feedback was that I should start an ingame channel to help foster a community of folks like me (semi/fully retired CEOs still bumping along).

Truth be told, I resisted this notion at first, because I'm already fairly active in Sugar Kyle's 'Spoonful of Sugar' channel, and we share a good amount of readers between the two blogs.  (In my blog stats, she is consistently my 2nd or 3rd highest referring site).  To be blunt, I didn't want to appear to be a poacher.

But, where her focus is Lowsec with some FW and PVP, and all-things-CSM, my focus is currently more highsec, PVE, and in particular burners.

After chewing on it a bit, I figured, what the heck.  It's a fairly small thing, and a stepping stone towards bigger and better things to come.

So, new channel STRING THEORY is available in game.

Currently, the MOTD reads this:

---- Welcome to STRING THEORY ----
This is a channel devoted to BURNER MISSIONS, the philosophy of CORPORATION MANAGEMENT, and a mixing/meeting place for NEW CEOs and retired and semi-retired CEOs.
It is an outreach program of PUKIN' DOGS and DOG'S BREATH (
Stop in and say hi. I have no doubt it'll be slow going at the start, but hopefully we can get something off the ground.

What's Playing:  A Perfect Circle, Thirteenth Step, A Stranger

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Sunday Wrap Up - Deimos Cap Use and Aba on TV

The Anomic Base (Talos) popped up this afternoon.  I've only done it once on live and my eyes lit up when I read the text.  

Like last time, I ran it with my offgrid link ship.  On SISI, I had of course not used links, but the test server has everything at 100 isk and the real server ... does not.  So when things get serious, I drag the link ship along.

Last time, I chewed through a TON of cap boosters.  It was very unlike SISI and I left grid scratching my head (but got distracted by a very nice shadow serpentis module).  I docked up, put the Deimos away and forgot about it.

Today, of course, I check cargo before undocking and realize "Oh yah, I used a crap-ton of boosters. That was weird."  Once on grid and moving, cap again was vanishing at an astonishing rate, and I realized that the Link ship was the difference.  With 2x armor reps running  every 7 seconds instead of every 9 seconds, I was repping more HP but eating into my profit margin by consuming faction cap boosters.  So I turned one Armor Repper off and the cap situation improved.

I typed all that so I could type this....  My Deimos fit (which is pasted on the click through below) is almost cap-stable and with careful flying can permatank the Talos pocket.  I didn't need to turn the 2nd repper back on, despite blundering into a few of the proximity guns.  I timed the run at 10 minutes, although I looted the wrecks as I went.  So I'm slower than some of the guys on forums, but this is a pretty forgiving setup, especially with the off grid booster.


Second up, had this odd thing happen last night.  Was the end of my game session, but was still chatting a bit with the gang.  I rarely use Captain's Quarters, but decided to hop in and sit on the couch while I typed.  I then remembered that we had gotten new clothes lately, so went in and played Ken-doll with Abavus and dressed him up all shiny.

A few minutes later, I'm sitting on the couch and I see Abavus come through as a "New Pilot Certification."  Wait, wtf?  Really?  Abavus is like 12.   Apparently resetting your portrait qualifies you for New Pilot graduation.  Was a surreal moment that made me look twice and then grunt loud enough that Mrs. Durden asked what I was doing.

Click through for my current Deimos fit.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Eternal Struggle

Struggling to break old habits and not screw things up can be a real challenge.  Here are some crazy things I do to myself that drive me bonkers:
  • Station inventory.  I still operate (mostly) from a separate CARGO inventory window and STATION inventory, and sometimes a 3rd window for SHIPS.  I'm always opening or closing the wrong window, or trying to drag cargo from the cargo window to the same ship's cargo in another window (instead of the hanger floor).
  • I almost always forget to repair my drones.
  • I (rarely) forget to accept the mission before I undock.
  • I still right click in space to get to my mission beacon instead of using the nice UI in the upper left.
  • I am notorious for buying expensive tech2 rigs without checking the calibration required, installing the most important rig LAST and ripping out the first ones to make room.
  • After an extended break from missions, I almost lost my Golem because I forgot to turn on my active hardeners.  "Omg, why am I taking so much damage?"
  • I'm pretty good at attempting to warp out of pocket at the end of a mission only to realize that my Golem's bastion mode is still running.

I will counter all that idiocy with these tips:
  • CTRL-R reloads all ammo.
  • CTRL-click on a target to lock them.  Works on the overview, for example, to lock down a pocket full of npcs rapidly.
  • (via reddit) You can drag a ship fitting into the Market quickbar. All items are now in a sorted folder, named after the ship fitting, within the quickbar.
  • From many Show Info windows, click on the picture/icon of the item and get the preview window.  Most people know it works for ships, but it also works for most weapons/turrets, and some ammo, like the Scourge Fury Cruise Missile shown in the pic.  If you do it for a turret, it shows any animations involved.

What's Playing:  The Black Keys, iTunes Sessions, Everlasting Light

Friday, May 22, 2015

How Much is Enough

Just one more isk.

In bicycling culture, it's called the "N+1 Problem."  How many race bikes do you need?  Just one more.

As I've been gathering up my assets list, a thought resurfaced that I'd been trying to ignore:  EVE is no longer (only) about the isk for me.

I know! Heresy.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The War on Personal Assets

The War continues!  The fight against entropy continues.  Selling and melting, and trying to figure out how my assets list got THIS far out of control.  I managed something like 150 jumps last night in a mix of ships, closing down old mission hubs, melting down loot that I can't be bothered to try to sell, and pushing a few things onto the Hek market.

Along the line, I found my stash of Harvesters, Geckos, and the Gnosis.  Cool.  Nothing I really needed, but it's nice to trip over things like that.

Looking at the list, I'm perhaps halfway done, although I suspect my Alt account is almost as bad.

After the past few weeks at work, I'm taking a few days vacation for the Holiday weekend in the US - 5 (five!) whole days off and very few plans.  I did some yard work this morning for therapy, and plan to ride some intervals on the bike tomorrow on the neighborhood hill-valley-hill torture circuit.  Otherwise, I am hoping my weekend is full of beer, steak, and EVE.

(Yes, this is another throwaway post; I'm working on a longer series here but want to get things in order before I publish the first episode).

What's Playing:  A Perfect Circle: Passive

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

One Man's Junk is Another Man's Capital Propulsion Engine

So, a few days back I posted about my general malaise (oooh, good word) and wanting to find a better way to interact with the game.

Folks here commented with some great ideas, and I'm looking at how to put some of them into practice.  Plans range from short, to medium, to very long.  The past few days have been very, very good.

But I still needed to kick start SOMETHING, else I'm basically doing a whole lot of thinking and planning and not so much actually doing.

So I started by clearing my lvl4 mission hanger.  It was full of ... crap.  There were so many stacks it literally wouldn't accept any more.  Out of the hanger came about 460M isk worth of sell orders.  When those begin to move, I have another 500M or so to put up, and maybe a 3rd round behind that.  I melted other lesser modules by the stack full.  The results of that went into my Tayra.  Which, by the way, I still call a Badger II, dammit.  I had never owned a Badger II until very recently on a whim, though my wife drove one all over the map back in the day. And across the map I went with my melted space junk, feeling a bit nostalgic.

I set out just wanting to put the raw materials into my factory station, as a way to make my inventory just a touch cleaner.  I got there, merged my new melted space junk with my existing stash, looked at my old stash of BPOs, and realized that I could make some quick isk by building.  All I needed was a touch of trit, zyd, and mega.

I used to build quite a bit.  Ships, mostly, but also capship parts and rigs.  Later, I built capship parts piecemeal as a way to filter my incidental mining content through the factory and add a bit of isk/hr to my mining yield.  More recently I've cashed out loyalty points into ship BPCs and sold off a bunch of Asteros and Stratiosi.

Today I'm a mission runner, tomorrow I may be running FW, but in my core I'm still a space trucker and spaceship builder.  In order to move forward, sometimes you need to look back.  I left my BPO stash in place at my last factory system; I think I'll make something useful from my accumulated crap, sell it, and see what I want to build next.

Monday, May 18, 2015

What's Playing

Here's a short throwaway post:  One of the subtle things about this blog is that you can tell where I'm sitting based on how I sign off.

If I'm at the PC in the back room, you'll get a 'what's playing' tag.  It's something I blatantly stole from another blogger (a bicycle shop owner that blogs).  I thought it added another layer of familiarity to the posts; you can maybe glean a little bit about my mood or my disposition by the songs I choose to load in the mp3 player.

And of course, you can also tell that I listen to a LOT of Foo Fighters and Black Keys.

Anyway, if I'm NOT at the PC in the back room, it means I'm on the laptop and posting no doubt from the living room.  In the living room, there's a TV and a Mrs. Durden and as such, no extra decibels for mp3 shenanigans.

As I said, a throwaway post.  Sometimes you get what you pay for.  Pardon me while I turn up the volume in here and go scrub my Lowsec Alt's training queue.

What's Playing:  The Black Keys: Thickfreakness (the album), Thickfreackness (the song)

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Angel Cruiser Burner on SISI

So, I got distracted by real life last week, and while I wasn't looking CCP went and added some new content to the test server!

CCP Fozzie on 08-May-15:
There's another set of tweaks coming early next week for the first two medium Burners. The turrets in the Serpentis mission will now work properly and we're toning the range on the Ashimmu down a bit again. 
We're also working on an Angel Cartel mission that should hit SISI before too long.
He clarifies that the turret matrix on the Talos mission will continue to fire once you exit a 10km radius from them.  Previously they activated at 10km and then stopped firing once you got out of 10km.  Looks like now they'll continue to fire.

CCP Fozzie on 11-May-15:
You guys are going to start noticing a new Angel Cartel burner mission on sisi after today's update. The version in this build is definitely too hard, we're still at an early stage of balancing it. So feel free to give it a try if you want, but don't worry we won't release it with this level of difficulty.

If I have time next week, I'll poke on SISI.  Apparently there is a new mirror, and apparently they're going to set it up again so that only the new missions will be offered from agents.

I completed my first Anomic Base (Talos) mission on live last night, and confirm that the new turret matrix behavior is active on the live server.  It added quite a bit of damage, but my Deimos tank held fine.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Reaching Out

I've had this post in my drafts folder for a couple months now.  I've been reluctant to publish it because doing so somewhat commits me to executing a change, and change is scary.

But wtf, let's pull the trigger.

I've maybe said before that I largely play the game from the sidelines.  I'm not a big name in null politics, I am not a FW hero burning up the killboards.  I'm fairly anonymous.  Time is limited, and I play the game on my own terms, even if some nights that means I sit in station and spin my ship while I chat a bit.

But, one of the things that I honestly struggle with is my empty Corp channel.

As I've said before:  I'm a mostly solo player.  By "mostly solo" I probably mean 99.9% solo.  So to be fair, "fiercely independent" is perhaps a better description.  But that doesn't mean that the corp channel doesn't feel a little empty.

There's an easy solution:  find a new corp.  Awhile back I posted to the blog banter with the advice: get involved.  I should maybe take my own advice.

To be honest, that scares the crap out of me.

Friday, May 15, 2015

How Spreadsheets In Space Saved My Job

About 11 years ago, give or take, I started my empire building Merlins.  I graduated to Moas and Apocs and Tempests.  I built all kinds of things, and like most spaceship industrialists I had an excel sheet.

It was nothing fancy.  Ship name, raw materials per run, cost for each material, and how many you wanted to build of each item.  The outputs were simple - projected profit and how much trit/pyer/iso (etc) I needed to buy and haul.

It struck me tonight while making dinner that the old EVE build sheet might have saved the jobs of 35 folks I work with and avoided much stress upon their families.  It was such a simple yet powerful model that I've been using the same fundamental layout for all kinds of things over the years.

Long story short, yours truly built a labor model not unlike the old EVE sheet.  Put "Sr. Engineer" in for the Merlin, extrapolate how many heads we want over the next 5 years instead of accounting for trit/pyer/iso, account for some labor rates, and the math flows from there.  Repeat the recipe for the entire team and start summing costs by fiscal year at the bottom.

It's not rocket science.  Far from it.  But my model was detailed enough to hold up under scrutiny, and sophisticated enough to show that the "move all the work to California" option being pushed by my boss's boss (aka "little boss") was actually several million dollars MORE expensive than leaving a perfectly good team right where it's at.

We had a series of big meetings this week.  So, after a break, we put the numbers on the screen.  My numbers disagreed greatly with little boss's hand calculations.  He all but attacked me and the temperature of the room began to rise steadily.  I sidestepped and parried his verbal barrage and politely refused to remove the content from the screen.

Meanwhile, from where I stood, I could see the boss's boss's BOSS (aka "Big Boss") absorbing all the content with a squint and a sly little smile.

"Keep reading, please, please keep reading..." I thought to myself.

With some help from my coworkers, we bought enough time and distracted little boss long enough that the Big Boss started asking questions.  Victory.  We had a 20 minute conversation about my rationale and assumptions, and I sent him home with a copy.  Little boss was pissed, and I caught hell the following morning.

I'm sure I had an insolent little smirk on my face during his little rant.  Doesn't matter.  The damage was done.  Internet Spaceship Spreadsheets have, I hope, kept the little bastard from screwing 35 people with half-truths and a blatant power grab.

And if it doesn't pan out... at least now he'll have to work for it.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy 12th Birthday, Abavus

I missed EVE's 12th birthday, so here's a birthday post about my main character, the illustrious Mr. Durden.

Abavus Durden was born a few minutes after mindnight EVE time on May 10th.  That was a Friday night, May 9th in the US.

I wish I had a copy of his old portrait, but alas eve Avatars no longer works with CCP's server sunsetting, and my copy of the old portraits are buried deep on a hard drive for 3 PCs ago (I could find it, but ahem, I'm lazy).

I posted back in February about what the early days were like.  It really doesn't seem that long ago, but when comparing the events of my own life with where things were in 2003, so much has transpired.  Sucks getting old.

Here's what I wrote about the first 48 hours or so:
May 9th 2003 was a Friday.  I arrived home from work frustrated to find no UPS box.  I frothed and stomped around the house for a bit, realizing that I'd go the entire weekend without getting to log in, while corpmates in the UK were making vast fortunes.  I was a few minutes from grabbing my coat and heading to the local game store to try to locate a copy when the UPS guy showed up with my box.  Crisis averted.  Mrs. Durden was out of town that weekend, and I recall installing EVE on her PC instead of mine (don't recall the reason) and setting out to mine in my Ibis.

EVE was a different game then.  In some ways better, in some ways... much worse.  Looking back at it, I don't think I'd change much about those early days as 2003-2004 was some of my best online gaming time ever.  They're the glory days that keep me getting sucked back into EVE.

Today I am a part-time missioner and blogger.  Back then I was a Space Warlord, Entrepreneur and Tradesman, Leader of a Small Army, and all around superhero.  We were shaping a world to suit us.  Anything was possible.  Today, in many ways, Abavus is less than he was then, mostly due to time constraints.  (And that's not good or bad, but just the way it is).

Over the years, I've been asked a few times about his name.  I have a few character names that I reuse over and over, but Abavus Durden was the first I'd generated methodically from scratch (previously I used brand names of things around me when I was at the login screen, or funny spellings of things - like Phudge, or Phrogg).

Durden is of course from Fight Club, the protagonist and instigator of Project Mayhem, Tyler Durden.  (In EVE's beta, I held the names Abavus Durden as well as Tyler Durden).  In 2003, Fight Club was barely 4 years old as a film, and was still gaining a cult status (which as regrettably waned since then).  If I had to rank films that influenced my life, I think Fight Club would be in the top 5 or so.  The DVD landed at our house exactly when I needed it to, and it made me think greatly about the corporate culture I was working for at the time (and how much fun it is to spray a priest with a hose).

Abavus is latin for great-grandfather.  I was going into the game as a guild/corp lead, and the notion of being the mentor and father figure was there from the outset.  I found an english-latin dictionary online and started feeding it names.  I believe that I mispronounced my own name for approximately a decade before being corrected (I always said Uh-baaaaavus, the latin geeks say ABBA-vus).

So there:  Abavus Durden, the Mentor of Mayhem.  Damn, that would have made a better corp name than Pukin' Dogs.

Happy Birthday, fictional character, happy birthday.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Saturday Morning on the Bike

The last week has been a blur at the office.  Typical day for me starts at 5am, answering email while eating breakfast.  In the office by 6:45.  The next 9 hours will be a blur, typically working through lunch and eating a sandwich with one hand while I click the mouse with the other.  Around 4, I will give up and go home, and then the phone calls will start.  I'll break for dinner, manage a chore or two (the lawn must be mowed even if the world ends), and then after dinner I'll stare at more email or more likely will end up on the phone with either the East Coast lead or the West Coast team debriefing what we've done and what we plan to do the next day.  All of that will wind down around 9:30,  get in bed around 10 and I'll lay in bed awake until after midnight, and then repeat.

Mrs. Durden has been a real champ through this.  The stress has been building for several weeks, but the last week in particular we've been in overdrive mode.

We are thankfully in a position where most people will get the weekend, and I won't be back to the office until Monday (although I have some homework to do on Sunday while we're watching whatever blue-ray goes in the player).

There are things that I should be doing around our property today.  Burning brush, running the weed whacker, replacing the security light that finally burned out.  Normal crap for someone that owns and cares for 10 acres.

Instead, I got on the bike, clipped on my new GoPro, and burned almost 1200 calories in an early morning ride.  I was on the bike by 7:40 to avoid traffic around Home Depot and Walmart, and got away from everything and everyone for a blissful 90 minutes.

I was following a route that I've used the past couple years for training.  It's a 20-25 mile loop, depending how I do it.  There are some hilly sections, pretty sections, and a good mix of road surfaces (good new smooth pavement and old cruddy stuff).

Partway through the route, I noticed that a local club/shop had marked the route for their local rides and I happened to be following their course turn for turn.

I got outside a small town near me, and I had a choice - break from the shop/club route and follow my old route and climb two monstrous hills back to back, and into a stiff headwind, or follow the white rabbit into the unknown and stay with the club route (Matrix reference there, woot).  I chose the latter.

I got treated with this:

It was a 3-4 mile detour through some of the prettiest, twistiest, windiest, rolliest terrain that I know of.  The road surface was great, and it was mostly downhill out of the wind, so I got to really open it up and crank it.  I've driven this road in the car, but had never biked it.  There's a creek on the left side that the road follows, the birds were singing, and I was fully and blissfully alone.  I was grinning so wide, I no doubt now have bugs in my teeth.

Sometimes it's good to be impulsive.

Then, I came home and the water heater had quit.  It was an easy fix, but I'm sitting here in my stinky bike clothes waiting for enough hot water to shower.

Back to reality.

Friday, May 8, 2015

First Round of EVE Vegas Speakers Confirmed

In case you missed it elsewhere, confirmed today were:
  • Andie Nordgren, CCP Seagull, Executive Producer 
  • Pétur Örn Þórarinsson, CCP Scarpia, Game Design Director 
  • Cameron Royal, CCP Nullarbor, Sr. Software Engineer 
  • Mark726 of EVE lore infamy 
  • Lychton Kondur of Brave Collective 
The official announcement is here.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Work Sucks

This is the obligatory post where I say that work sucks and I'm busy.

I wish I could say that everything here is fine, and I'll get through it, but I have suddenly found myself leading the team that will be responsible for saving the jobs of 35 of my teammates and friends.

These are the people that hired me as a fresh out, and they have been my peers for the past 17 or so years.  In my current assignment, I am their deputy team lead, mentor, marriage counselor, and sometimes priest.  

We have one last gasp of hope that will largely decide if the jobs stay or go.   That meeting is next Wednesday, and we are pulling out all stops to get the data together that will make or break our satellite site's future.

And after that, the real work begins.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Burner Difficulty and Real PVP Fits

I've been trying to get words around this topic for awhile now.  I should probably save this draft and proof it a few more times, but what the heck.

One of the complaints I see about Burners is that they don't fully emulate "real" PVP fits.  Burners fly faster than they should.  Ships dps AND tank AND fly fast AND have high resists.

I remember some comment from CCP that they were shooting for a balance point that would emulate a fully faction fit hull, with every module having a green icon, and max skills.  I've not messed around in Pyfa to know if that's still true, but it feels like in some cases they're cheating.

The reason why the difficulty is kept high is simply this:  In a real PVP encounter, you never really know what you're up against.  Sure, you know who's on local, and you know that based on what the target is flying what you should expect (in big terms, like: drones or not, armor vs. shield tank, kite vs. brawling).  And sure, certain groups tend to fly certain doctrines.  But if you're roaming around looking for a solo fight, you really don't know what you're going to run into until you find the target on a gate and you dive in.

Unlike the real world, Burners are predictable.  I know that the Burner Worm is going to orbit me under high mwd at about 40km and bombard me with missiles.  I know his damage profile within a percent or two.  I know that in order to beat him, I need a fast ship with good web to pin him down and take him at close range.  And once I have that ship fitted out, I leave it in my hanger until the next time the Worm is offered, because the Worm never adapts to me, and never learns from the tactics I use against him.

Every time the Worm is offered, I know exactly what I'm up against, unlike the real PVP world.

So, CCP has two options: dumb the encounters down, using a lower balance point, knowing that they'll be min/maxed within a day or three by the masses(1), people will yawn and farm them, or keep the difficulty very high, to at least keep things interesting for a little while longer. They've chosen the latter, resulting in a smaller pool of people doing Burners (due to skills, percieved risk, and cost investment), but yielding maybe an overall longer lifespan of the content.  It's the lesser of two evils.

On the horizon, though, is some hope.  CCP has stated that they are developing dynamic/procedural PVE content.  This should mean that content scales in difficulty, which would offer up these kinds of fights to a wider range of players. Instead of a fixed balance point of an arbitrary "fit" the targets will adapt.  If true, and if it works out, that could be a very cool thing.  It won't ever replace the true PVP experience, nor should it try, but offering a range of difficulty balance points would hopefully bring a wider audience to the content.

(1) Some will say "heck, they're min/maxed before they're on the live server!"  True.  But compared to the number of mission runners overall, that min/max group is relatively small.  My point is if Burners were easy peasy, everyone doing lvl4s would be kicking their teeth in as part of normal farming, which kind of isn't what Burners were about.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

BC Burner Alternatives

I had been using the Gila to kill the new Ashimmu Burner.  As I noted a few posts back, it was kind of a risk - you're betting your hull that the Ashi will continue its lust for drone death, which allows your drones to soak damage for you.  On SISI this worked well, if being somewhat expensive (t2 drones aren't free, you know).  But if the Ashi decided to keep you as primary, or if you somehow ran out of drones, you'd be toast.

Happened back across this forum thread last night.  It's always been my go-to source for Burner info. Jorie McKie has of course done a great job of explaining the new content.  He offers up a fairly straightforward strat to kill the Ashimmu with a Cerberus here.  I like the Gila, but the Cerb is a ship I've always wanted to use but never have (I generally use the Sacri instead).

So now the Cerb is on my to-do list.

He's also got a different Deimos fit for the Talos than what I used; from his description his version is probably a faster kill (higher dps) but looks more aggressive in terms of cap management and tank (single repper).  I've been plenty happy with the dual rep MWD Deimos in terms of killing speed and overall wiggle room in the encounter, though I readily admit my fit isn't min/max'd.

There are some other fits listed:  Vagabond for the Talos.  VNI for the Talos.  I'm posting my Gila fit for the Ashi to get some feedback.

Again, thumbs up to Jorie.

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 ...