October 31, 2013

Nightmare in New Eden Part Two - Contract Recap

Nightmare in New Eden Part Two kicked off on October 31, 2013, at 23:30 EVE Time. The rules were simple: kill the Nightmare piloted by Tyen in Tama. Prizes were handed out for various achievements such as one Nightmare given away to the person with the top damage on the target Nightmare, one Machariel for the person with the most kills, and many, many more. It was all in good fun, and it was a lot of fun. Something like 400 ships, including anything from noobships to carriers, showed up for a piece of the action. Noir. was hired to help protect the Nightmare for as long as possible, along with some friendly volunteers.

Tyen let us know he was going to be heavily shield tanking his Nightmare (obviously), so Noir. followed suit with a shield fleet composed of Caracals, Cerberuses, and Basilisks, with a few links and a Blackbird. 

We rallied up 30 minutes ahead of time, at 23:00, in Nourvukaiken, a high security system one jump over. The total fleet, with the help of Sky Fighters, The Dark Space Initiative, and a few solo pilots, numbered about 40 or so, but Noir. represented the bulk of the fleet. 

We had some scouts in Tama at the sun, which Tyen was going to warp in upon login, and so we knew there was a small fleet of assault frigates, interceptors, and a few assorted frigates already at the sun. We went ahead and came into Tama and warped to the sun at our optimal range as Tyen was coming in so we would arrive at roughly the same time.

We easily cleared the field of the smaller ships, but as news began to spread through local and various intel channels, more and more people began to arrive.  

Tyen's Nightmare, accompanied by Kasai Hightower's Nightmare, held most of the attention, allowing us to continue to continue repairing Tyen's shields, our fleet's shields, and control the field fairly well.  I was in a Caracal, personally, a fit I originally created for the "Save" Jita 2.0 campaign, which allowed us to dictate range fairly well with a high alpha. Unfortunately, since I travel all the time for work, I have to have a fairly light laptop. Currently, my work rig is a Lenovo Y410p. It's sturdy enough for most things, but the amount of people on the field was causing a ton of lag for me, even at low settings. If I were home, on my desktop, I don't think there would have been any issues, but on my laptop, by the time I started to notice damage and either broadcast for reps or warp out, I was dead. 

Tyen would let us know in TS if he needed anyone specific taken out or if he was preparing to smart bomb, and we were controlling the overall flow of the fight pretty well for the first 45 minutes.

About 10 minutes in, SniggWaffe also showed up in a Caracal fleet. They managed to take out one of our guys right when they showed up, one in the middle, and two more right at the end. We kept close eyes on them, as they heavily outnumbered us. The range and damage of the Caracal ended up costing us almost half of our losses, which is why we tried to keep such a close watch on them.

Eventually, Pandemic Legion brought an Ishtar fleet, and their drones managed to take me out once (damn those things!). The damage of an Ishtar fleet is nothing to laugh at. Up until this point, our logistics had been able to hold reps on Tyen and our fleet with no real issues. We were able to stay out of range of the battleship fleet that Suddenly Spaceships brought in and we could burn anything smaller down pretty quickly. Unfortunately, Suddenly Spaceships also had a triage Archon on the field, and we weren't able to break the tank of enough battleships to keep control of the battle.

Coupled with PL's Ishtar fleet, we began to lose the edge in repair power, and one by one our logistics were forced off the field or destroyed.  After this, it was basically a waiting game. By this time, our damage was too low to force any of the other major hitters off the field, of course, and so we waited to see when Tyen was going to go.

And go he did, along with 11 of our ships.

Overall, Tyen lasted 51 minutes, a little less than half of the allotted time given to kill him. Fun was had by all, and prizes were given to the lucky few. Noir. was paid for our 242 contract, and everyone involved kicked off Halloween with a bang, pardon the pun.

Thanks again to Tyen for the organization and implementation of a really fun event. On behalf of us here in Noir., we look forward to next year, no matter what side of the Nightmare we're on!

Edited to add the fact that SniggWaffe was in fact a part of the fight and was in fact on our minds and in our decisions in TS.
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October 26, 2013

Autumn of RMT

In June of 2011 Incarna was released to the world. It was a colossal failure in most regards. If the expansion had been released in any other MMO, it probably would have been a simple footnote in the history of the development company, a blemish easily forgotten and easily overcome. But EVE Online isn't any other MMO, and its players have been bred in a cold, harsh universe. It was logical that CCP would taste that black, unforgiving bite from its players.

Luckily for us, CCP took notes from that whole event. They cut back on unnecessary staff and refocused what remained on polishing the already existing, yet long forgotten, elements of the game. Because of this, we've been fortunate enough to receive a lot of really great free expansions that focused on the core elements of what makes EVE great. The expansions were generally small things, often just number switches, but were well received and generally well implemented. But it wasn't an easy process to get CCP to this point. A quick Google search for "EVE Incarna" will pop up with suggested results of "Debacle" and "Riots". That's never a good sign. And what was it all about, down at the very core of the argument? Well, what it's always about, of course: money.

Players were upset over a series of misfortunate events. The less than stellar release of Incarna which provided nothing new, game play wise, the ridiculous pricing of items in the Noble Exchange store, and finally the internal newsletter titled Greed is Good that required some CCP developers to argue in favor of things like "golden ammo" and other pay-to-win items combined into a tidal wave of anger.

Now here we are again, on the crest of another wave. It's only just begun, but it's swelling into a big one. First we had the outcry of anger that the gambling website SOMERBlink was receiving rare items directly from CCP for their special contest. These including a Golden Magnate, a ship that had only been given out once before, and subsequently destroyed, and Guardian Vexors, a line of ships that included only fifty original runs. People were up in arms because not only was SOMER getting a pretty ridiculous deal since all those items were coming in free and players were still having to pay to have a chance to win, thereby becoming pure profit for SOMER, but it would cheapen the meaning of those ships. CCP backed down and changed the items they gave SOMER, calming the storm. But then, just as it looked like it was all over, there was the EVEmail.

In the EVEmail sent to all SOMERBlink employees, SOMER encouraged everyone to keep quiet about the fact that each employee of the website was receiving a free, rare battleship, an Scorpion Ishukone Watch. The Scorpion, CCP retorted, was practically worthless, mechanically anyway. It only refined to one tritanium and had worse stats than the vanilla Scorpion. But that didn't stop people selling them for billions of ISK. After all, rarity determines price many times, not stats. CCP claimed that this wasn't unheard of, and they eventually listed all of the organizations that had received the ship. CCP didn't ask or encourage SOMER to keep the gift under the table, either. But for a lot of people, the reputation of SOMER and CCP wasn't exactly sparkling any more. T20 was talked about a lot, the incident where a single CCP employee gave T2 blueprint originals to a member of Band of Brothers. Was CCP being intentionally biased with SOMERBlink? I'd say the evidence is pretty convincing they weren't, but all the initial cloak and dagger doesn't sit well with most people, me included.

But it didn't end there, unfortunately. When you sign up as an affiliate of Markee Dragon, for instance, you get 5% of ever every 60-day game time code, earning 1.75USD. DNSBlack wrote about cashing his character out in a lottery, and then Katarina Reid is doing it, then Carrey Winter from BL is auctioning off a Nyx. All of this uses the same affiliate model SOMERBlink uses. CCP has outright endorsed the gambling website, so unless they want to allow this kind of thing to continue, they're going to have to shut it down for everyone.

I can't imagine this will continue for very long, as I can't imagine the players will stand idly by. I doubt we'll see more monuments destroyed in trade hubs, but CCP relies pretty heavily on great PR and good faith from their customers. They can't really afford to have another tide of ill will right now, what with their financial situation looking fairly grim for this year (unless we see a major upswing in income next fiscal year - I'm looking at you WoD). It may not be the Summer of Rage, but I fear we may be looking at the Autumn of RMT.
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October 9, 2013

Attack Battleships, Attack! or How Warp Speed Changes Haven't Gone Far Enough Yet

With the upcoming warp speed changes, it's going to be a brave new world. Interceptors are going to be climbin' in yo window, snatchin' all your fleet-mates, and all that jazz. Ain't nobody got time for that. (That's all the bad meme references, I promise). It's going to be seriously awesome. Really. But I can't help but feel that there's a lot of missed potential here regarding battleships and battlecruisers. Credit goes to a fellow corpmate, Xavier Saskuatch for bringing the idea up on our forums.

Right now, all battleships and battlecruisers warp at the same speed of 3.0 AU/s.  They're huge ships. It takes a lot of energy to get them pointed in the right direction and then hurtling towards that destination.  But how awesome would it be if the attack battleships had a significant edge in warp speed?

The Mittani had an article about this that displayed the before and after effects of the warp speed changes reflected from CCP Fozzie's post on the forums.

Here we see the changes pre-Rubicon, where every battleship, battlecruiser, cruiser, and destroyer warps at the same speed. Any warp you take in Eve Online in one of those classes of ship is going to take you between 11 and 97 seconds (although I think the longest system is what, 180 some odd AU?).

And here we're looking at the after Rubicon changes, where every tech one battleship and battlecruiser warps at the same relative speed.  Each class is becoming a little slower over all.

But why? Why lump them all into the same groups. Why not bump up the attack battleships and attack battlecruisers to something like 2.6 and 2.9 AU/s respectively? It's not a huge increase, but it'd allow for some interesting dynamics. Just off the top of my head, roaming in attack ships would be ideal - fast, hard hitting, maneuverable; warping ahead of the fleet as support; and just being a generally mobile gun platform. It seems like an obvious idea, after it was pointed out. So what gives, CCP?

[Edit: The author of the graphs has been edited to reflect their true source. My apologies to Fozzie for not remembering you work!]
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