Showing posts with label Exploration. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Exploration. Show all posts

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Thera Local Chat

Just a quick one. My good friends at Eve Scout have decided to provide another new service to the community and frankly this is too good not to share.

As you probably know, Eve Scout/Signal Cartel currently hunt down and publish the wormhole links to Thera. They are politically neutral and it is resource used by many across New Eden. This of course means traversing the expanse of New Eden can be a lot quicker, and Thera itself is quite a special place. I regard it as my second home.

In its own way, Thera local chat exemplifies this. Unlike wormhole chat in general which is typically silent (although I tend to ignore that tradition myself), Thera chat has its own scammers and rogues like any trade hub but there are also the occasional celebrities and power blocs passing through.

Anyway, you don't have to take my word for it now because Eve Scout have decided to put Thera Local Chat online. You can find it on their website here. A warning though, it will probably not be suitable for work. This is true especially now because Wingspan are up to no good in Thera currently. So check it out and give a donation to Eve Scout while you are there.

Monday, 21 December 2015

The Year of Taking it Seriously

This is probably my last substantial post for this year. It gets stupid busy at Kong Towers over the festive period and I will be going on vacation straight after. So I will wish you all a pre-emptive "Happy New Year". May you reach your goals, or at least have fun trying to attain them.

I suppose that makes this an appropriate time to reflect on the year. If there was a way of generically characterising this year, it would be the year I took Eve  a little more seriously. While I still play on the margins of the game, I have made the effort to get involved in it and understand it a bit more. Before, I did a little bit of trading because that was the only thing I had success at. This year I took a stab at exploration. I learnt to fly Astero's, Interceptors, Covops, Orca and now the Stratios. This along with the cloaky Prowlers and Tengus mean there aren't many places if any in New Eden where I can't travel with a reasonable expectation of success. This is a pretty liberating feeling in itself.

I also learnt that I am not suited to being in a Corp. This despite joining the nicest Corp in Eve - Signal Cartel. The hierarchical design of Corps/Alliances in Eve just doesn't work for me. I prefer to collaborate rather than be led. Fortunately, the Eve community (yes, I can confirm there is one) is broader than the game and it has been an unexpected pleasure to get to know so many people this year and this has filled the void that is in the game. I wonder just how many people play Eve without ever communicating with anyone. That was essentially me before this year.

Of course it wouldn't be Eve if there weren't any frustrations. Eve has been going through a big transition and we have not reached the end yet. Often there have been proposed changes that have would have had a pretty horrendous impact on what I was seeking to do. Some of these have been subsequently reversed or at least put on hold. But it is clear that making long term plans is a bad idea right now so I am going with short term objectives instead and I have put my more hair brained schemes on ice until we see how citadels play out. I also stopped dual training once the future ability to pay for SP was announced. While I intensely loath the idea and I am completely unpersuaded by the reasoning behind this change, I would be mad not to take advantage of it if that possibility exists.

Looking forward, CCP have still not given us any real insight into what is happening in Q2 next year. So either nothing is happening and a lot of developers are twiddling their thumbs or something big is coming along. Something they don't want to share with the CSM it seems and you do have to wonder what future that institution has next year. I wrote about that some time ago and current events only reinforce my view on that. 

What will CCP be doing next year? It is not unreasonable to suspect their focus will be Valkyrie, but I expect they will be looking to capitalise on the publicity and attempt to attract more players to Eve. It is (almost) baseless speculation on my part but I would expect Eve will be moving to the Free to Play Model. Those with subscriptions would become the Pay to Advance/Pay to Win whales. CCP clearly has to do something to extend the playerbase and free to play is a proven model. The PVE events and SP changes seem to hint at that this could be the direction of travel. They are certainly not inconsistent if CCP chooses this path . The marginalisation of the CSM by some members of CCP, seemingly with senior support (they haven't spoken up in support of the CSM's role since before Eve Vegas ad they are the one's paying the bills) would seem a tactical choice to manage the introduction of something potentially controversial change. The perceived lack of trust is a convenient back story. Just to be clear, this is certainly fanciful thinking on my part but the Q2 silence is beguiling.

Anyway, I have had a great time this year and looking forward to what next year brings be it good or bad. Have a good holiday folks and if I don't get the chance to write again, I will see you in the New Year.  Fly Safe o7

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Bits of This and That

Just grabbing a couple of minutes. The Christmas tree is now installed and Kong family members have been ordered to try an not make it look like a triffid this year. We shall see.

In Eve, I took a bit of a right turn. Then a left. Now I am turning right again. I had a minor flirtation with embracing PvP as I described on Crossing Zebra's. The whole experience made me think about what I wanted to do and the ISK I would need to do it. So I was looking at some ships to trade since I just sold a Dramiel I noticed a couple of cheap Stratios hulls nearby so I bought them. It was then I realised I was only a day away from being able to fly them in skill terms so this weekend I took the decision to train for them. I'll give it a go, but whether the Stratios will take over from the Astero or the Explorocepter as my go to ship will have to be considered. It is nice to have the decision though.

On that point, we have the new Frostbite release. Ive not tried the PVE stuff. It is not really my thing for reasons I may drone on and on about in the future (think Free to Play). However, the release still has plenty on things for me to digest. Exploration sites are better balanced so Data Sites will be worth the effort hopefully. The probe scanner window is iterating in the right direction but the probe spheres still  burn my retinas as they did on SISI.

The other big thing is the change to grid size. I have spent some time checking and changing instawarp bookmarks in various places over the weekend. That has allowed me to enjoy the graphical changes. Eve is looking so beautiful right now. Doing that made me a feel little nostalgic about Caroline's Star.

Caroline's Star one year one

Anyway, got to dash, The Christmas tree has just attacked someone.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

In Other News

Eve. You know? The game? Yeah, I actually played some. Space ships and stuff. To recap, I have been looking for a wormhole for some time and sorting out my characters to support the operation. I thought I had found a wormhole that looked promising. It was C2 with a lowsec static, one abandoned POS and abandoned POCO's. Traffic was low and the last kill had been early in the month. My main had been parked there for ages. I am not sure why I was holding back but I had a gut feeling. 

It was more procrastinaion than a desire to do any research but I took another look at the killboard to try and counter the negative vibe I was getting. Looking back a number of years, I suddenly noticed a name that had cropped up three times. The odds of a player finding the same wormhole over a 5 year period and killing someone seemed a bit long. The player's most recent kill was for a different corp in nullsec so they were unlikely to be an ongoing threat. I was in full detective mode by now however. I decided to look up the corp the player had been a member of when they had been killing people in the wormhole. That was illuminating. It was only a small corp but one of the current members had killed someone quite recently and there had been a whole chain of kills by the corp for the hole I was in over many years. My conclusion was this was wormhole was contnuously parked with a hunter from a single player corp. 

Presumably he/she switched the alts when they were sufficiently trained and only played the wormhole character when not doing something else. Either way, I was not alone. A hunter had been in that wormhole for years and was still acive. I was in the pixel space equivilent of a lobster pot. Now knowing you are in a trap can be used to your advantage. But it is not as if things aren't complicated enough already. So I resisted the opportunity destroy my non PVP credibility by hunting the hunter. My search for a wormhole goes on. What I will say is this exactly why I enjoy travelling in wormholes. There is a history and a mystery to them all. The cost of finding that out can at times be expensive. 

I also had another quick stint on the SISI server last night. The probe map has changed again. The probe spheres are now a lot brighter. Not sure why that has changed as I didn't think that as a problem before. They definately give your retinas a sun tan now.

And in other, other news, my Eve Online laptop bag finally arrived! If you have been following, I bought it from Tiancity, CCP's partner for the Chinese instance of Eve Online. A combination of friends and relatives and relatives of friends have acted as couriers. The bag cost about 35 pounds but it is not cheap and nasty looking which was a primary worry. It is well made and nicely detailed with Eve logos both on the outside and on the lining inside. It is also a limited edition. Number 120 of 800 (I think). Why CCP can't do anything like this in the west is still beyond me. I know they are setting something up in the US but the goods on display and EveVegas looked pricey and a bit over-thought. An Eve selfie stick would work for me. And anyway, shipping costs from the US will probably make the proposition a bit too expensive for us yokels living in the uncivilised world

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Drifter Complexes Done the Serenity Way

I came across this awesome video on Reddit of all places and it was uploaded by guy called "copyliu" It is a documentary on how a group of pilots on the Chinese Serenity Server tackled and overcame the Drifter Complexes. It is in Mandarin but has English subtitles and also has graphic explaining their approach to the rooms in the Drifter sites. In short, they studied some of the approaches we have used on Tranquility and rejected them. Instead they theory crafted their own approach using Bantams as the focus. If Drifter complexes are your thing then you might be interested because they also use much smaller fleets than the ones I am aware of. It is not quite Rooks and Kings (can they ever be bettered?) but there is a strong flavour of that style of storytelling. Well worth a view and thank you copyliu for sharing.

Window Control + Buzzard Divorce

I confess defeat. I have been trying to learn to love the Buzzard. For the last month or so I have been using it trying to make the relationship work as I wander about New Eden. But yesterday I snapped out of denial and jumped back into an Astero. Reasons? Primarily, I couldn't get a fit that didn't involve off lining something. I am no theory crafter so maybe I was missing something. But If you don't have confidence in what you are flying then you aren't likely to use it to best advantage when you are facing a challenge. And yesterdays challenge was Parallax. Actually it was more than that. It was how I fundamentally interact with Eve.

A few posts ago I talked about the new launcher. I still think it is a great change, addition even, to the game. The downside was I somehow messed up all my settings (Overview, mod buttons, window placement etc). I haven't managed to fully restore everything in a way I was comfortable with. I am not particularly OCD about these things but some semblance of order is helpful when you need to react quickly in tight situations. So it needed to be resolved. And then there is the Parallax release.

On first looks, the Parallax release doesn't offer much to the way I play. But the new Probe Scanning interface is huge for me. The addition of assigning a hot key to DSCAN is also massive. DScan is the dead man's handle in wormholes. Fail to click it and can quickly find yourself becoming the victim of someone who did click it. Problem is, you can only click one thing at a time. It becomes a tough choice if you are in the middle of a hacking mini game. Not a problem now.

Probe Scanning has had a difficult transition with the 3D Map. While it hasn't been a case of going back to the drawing board, it has undergone a number of iterations since its first unusable incarnation. It now has a dedicated map window and the UI has been refreshed. Anyway, the plan was to head off to Thera and adjust my environment as I travelled.

So I undock and use the ingame browser to call up EveScout. Except I couldn't because I had lost my bookmarks. So I spent 30 mins putting putting new bookmarks back for things like Tripwire. The future of the in game browser is limited I understand. CCP hate maintaining it and there is always a security risk with it being ingame. It is understandable but it is had to imagine life without it on my laptop. Anyway, minimising the browser became a problem for me because I keep it as a bar at the top of the screen. But this now overlays where the scanning probe map automatically minimises to. Not a big deal, but it further limits my view of Space.

Anyway, such procrastination resulted in me entering the wrong wormhole. The Thera link had expired and I ended up in a C2. Going onto full paranoid alert when your screen is a mess is not good for your heart. Once I got a tactical safe I began scanning in earnest. My scanning skills were recently maxed to level V so finding things doesn't take long. The new scanning map takes some getting used to. I am sure this is due to the familiarity I had with the old system. If I put that to one side I think I will like the new interface over time. It is certainly responsive and you can filter out things that used to get in the way. There is probably another iteration needed  - the wormhole markers seem very dark for example, but it is really usable with the DAcan representation being a nice touch. It will help new players understand what DScan is actually doing (or not doing).

After scanning down the system, I found two juicy looking Relic sites. However, Tripwire indicated a some Russian on Russian action had happened ten minutes before I had entered the system. Paranoia kicked in and I assumed the victor had seen me enter and the sites were still being watched. So I left it at that. I will concentrate on the rest of the window arrangement in a quieter location. I need to train my fingers to hit DScan while doing the mini-game at the same time too.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Just Doing Stuff

Since the weekend, I have been pottering around space doing a bit of this and a bit of that. It does suprise me that some people say they get bored in Eve. I can understand when people might no longer like to play the game. Tastes change afterall. But assuming you have the desire to play then there is always something you can do. For me perhaps, there is too much to do and at times spread myself a bit thinly. So the last few days have been a time to think abut some housekeeping.

First off I had to feed the POS. It is currently the barebones small POS I set up the other day. It is experimental for now and I want to try some ideas out in the future. But for now I just want to understand the underlying cost and time required of owining one. So currently it is an ISK sink but as I have discovered a very bearable one. The local market's cost for a fuel block does seem on the high side however. So one experiment might be to establish the cost of making (again both in ISK and time) my own fuel blocks and to sell off any surplus.

Sort of related, I have also been giving some attention to Planetary Interaction. PI has always been a bit of a Cinderella activity of mine. It's not a great source of income in Hisec once POCO costs get lumped in but that could be resolved one way or another. So to explore the opportunities I have stepped up production to understand the processes and costs I need to factor in.

Another angle is research and manufacturing. I have a tonne of BPO's and BPC's to play will that I have somehow gathered. Full production will probably wait for now until my Orca pilot becomes a reality. So for now I have been researching blueprints to improve their time and material efficiency.

Just to restate, this is all an experiment to gain experience. Ultimately, I would want to re-site all of these activities somewhere more profitable. Most likely this would be a wormhole or lowsec. Nullsec is a shambles and the travel distances to market are dispiriting, especially with the static wormhole nerf which makes it a no brainer to avoid.

On top of this, I have sortied into a wormhole and successfully hacked a relic site in a more sparsely fit Astero. Its been  a while since I last did that. I still haven't fallen in love with the new map so have reverted back to the old one. As I am about a month away from having all my scanning skills at level 5 it was interesting to see the impact would have on a more lightly fitted Aster without boosts. To be honest I didn't notice a difference which I guess can be regarded as a success. While there I discovered an abandoned Navitas. I always wonder about the stories behind these abandoned ships. Anyway for now I am looking for suitable wormholes to play with and hack a bit of loot while there assuming I don't explode in the process. No chance of being bored anytime soon.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

The Joy of the Mundane

So laptop returned and the Signal Cartel project done. Now I can actually play Eve. Apart from a couple of lore events and Signal's 500 celebration roam, I hadn't done much in Eve itself. My trader's orders tell the tale. 60 days since I last updated them. I was shocked. So first task was to update them and renew the ones that had been fulfilled. One hour gone. My orders are regional so the next task was to collect the results of my orders. These were scattered across high and lowsec so as usual I set off in my Prowler to collect the goods. The lowsec areas are quite active where I travel so it can feel a little tense at times. This time was without incident. A rough estimate of the final haul was about 500 million for which I had paid a pittance. In fact, I had recovered my initial outlay within a couple of hours of putting the goods back on the market.

The next task for my main was to recover my favourite Astero. I had left it in Thera after the Signal roam and I don't have a clone there. I decided to travel in something cheap. No point in having 2 Asteros stuck in Thera was the reasoning. I discovered I had an Imicus in Jita. This was intriguing in itself as my natural choice of T1 Exploration Frigate would be a Heron. So I went to Jita to try and remember how I ended up with one. Looking at the fit was excruciatingly embarrassing. No cloak. NO CLOAK! no drones, and only one core probe. The memories came flooding back. My first attempt at being an explorer. I was hopelessly new. It was emotional and it was in an Imicus. I had mined and mined to afford that ship and it had taken me forever to find a wormhole. The interface was much different then. Having found the wormhole I dived straight in. While I was figuring out what had just happened, my ship exploded. I hadn't bookmarked the entrance so I was doomed. Fortunately my potential assassin had taken pity on me and showed me the way out. I bought a second Imicus but never flew it as I moved onto hauling and trading instead

I didn't go to a wormhole again for ages after that and I didn't fly a T1 Explorer - a Heron until after I could fly the Astero. So now I had an objective. Fly the Imicus to Thera, dock there and don't die. But this time with a cloak and some probes. I found a nearby connection to Thera. Amazing the difference having the right level skills has. I cloaked outside the station because it was being camped. Amazing the difference a cloak makes. I docked once it was clear without incident. I noticed a lot of TEST guys are in Thera now and the place seemed a lot more livelier. It seems that people are beginning to get Thera finally which can only be a good thing. I really enjoyed flying the Imicus. I will fly it again.

Final activity of the day was a complete about face of what I have been saying in earlier posts. I subbed a new account. I have been badgering various CSM's about my concerns and one replied. No details were given, nor did I expect any because of NDA. But I was told to wait for the Structures Dev blog from CCP because that would address a lot of my concerns. 

So new character created - I went full on Amarr this time. The Avatar was created and photos taken. I wish it meant more. maybe one day. I then drove off to Jita because the skill-books would be cheaper there. The plan is to make an Orca pilot. I like the idea of former Amarr nobility having to wrangle an Orca. In theory, this would take 18 days but there are a whole load of other skills needed to be able to fit it sensibly and operate it. So that will take time. One unexpected benefit was I was exposed to the Rookie channel. Questions like "I lost my ship! What can I do to get another one?" were bouncing around. Bearing in mind you now start in the middle of space as a new player and not docked you can see why this might be stressful. I tried to be helpful.

So a very mundane but thoroughly enjoyable time in Eve. 

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Hacking and Archaeology Skills

CSM member, Chance Ravinne kicked off a thread on the Eve Online Forum and on Reddit. The basic premise is that Data and Relic sites are pretty much identical as an activity. The location and minigame is much the same. But you need different equipment and skills - Archaeology and Hacking to do the sites.

In so much that there is any variation, Relic sites tend to be more valuable, and Data sites appear (to me at least) slightly harder to hack. So many people prioritise Relic sites and therefore Relic Skills and shipfits. I have level 5 in both Hacking and Archaeology. Depending on where I am exploring, I use either and Astero equipped with both analysers or an Ares with a mobile depot to swap the analysers around. But it has taken a long time to reach this point and learning essentially the same skill twice hasn't had a reciprocal improvement to my enjoyment of the game. The is no real sense of achievement.

So should the skills be merged? Well if everything else is to remain the same then I think the answer should be yes. But it would also make sense to merge the equipment and the sites. This would be a pity. What really needs to happen is there should be a greater differentiation between the site content. Different minigames, a greater alignment in terms of reward, and a different purpose for the loot. How many encryption skillbooks does the game need? Certainly I would like to see both site seeding lore related elements that may or may not be useful in the future or could be brought together to create or learn about some hidden facet of the game.

Anyway the debate is open so don't be a victim and participate.

Monday, 4 May 2015

Lore Ambulance Chaser

The plan was to give some love to my trader and not do any exploration. The market seems slow though so there wasn't as much to do as I thought. I relocated the hoard of blueprint copies I seem to have amassed to a central location. At some point I will do something with them even if it is only to sell them. With the chores done I decided to try a little project.
A poor man's/woman's Interceptor. Why would I want such a thing? Simple answer is my Interceptor skills are still a way off and core skill training is more of a priority. But I still want to be able to fizz around Hi and Low-Sec at high velocity. The Drifter attack in Yulai brought it home. I was many jumps away at the time so could have missed it. As it turned out, I was at work at the time so it was so academic problem. Still a problem to be solved though. I need a Lore ambulance chaser. So I bought a Vigil for 300k ISK, put some basic stuff on it and bolted on a cloak (the most expensive component at around 3 mill ISK). I put the cloak on because... well Drifters might not appreciate the rusty patina of the Vigil was my thinking. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder but I am not sure if the Drifters behold much if the autopsy is to be believed.

Looking good. The Vigil that is. Eve Gate doesn't look bad either.

Of course I had to try it out, so set sail for the New Eden system to see the Eve Gate on a twenty jump journey through Hi and Low-Sec. The Vigil goes through space like a hot knife through butter so very pleased with the result. It got past a gate camp without incident but even if it explodes it is no big deal. So another crucial problem solved.  

Friday, 10 April 2015


Being an explorer involves a lot of scanning with probes. I doubt you will find this to be earth shattering news. You also need right skills to do this effectively. Again not news. These can be enhanced with implants, ship fittings and the hull bonus itself. This we know. Unfortunately for me, my skills are underwhelming. So despite the Astero Hull bonus it takes a long time for me to scan a site down and some things I just can't pinpoint at all. My core skills are not brilliant either. So much as I love the Astero, I am pretty much constrained to using it for a while for without the bonus I would be an even more hopeless explorer. Now the plan was to train for Interceptors because bubbles in Wormholes ad Null are such an irritation and you can make a decent exploration fit. The logic being less travel time as you can simply go from A to B rather than bouncing off celestials to get round bubbles or going via Wormholes (more scanning!) to get your loot home. 

However a dose of cold reality kicked in last night. I found a deserted Wormhole brimming with with signatures and a static to lowsec. I started scanning and finally found a relic site. This took me about 20 minutes. I warped off to the site and withdrew my probes... and then noticed some combat probes which I had assumed were my scanner probes on DScan. No ship was on DScan even after hopping to a couple of safes but the combat probes were moving. If I had't of recalled my probes - and often I don't, then I wouldn't have noticed the hunter closing in on me. The time it takes me to scan and hack means I am pretty easy to locate - or at least predict where I go be before I even get there. A ninja I aint. I made my escape empty handed. 

So lesson learned. The skill queue has been revised, the number of probes in DScan will now be counted and Interceptors will just have to wait.