Friday, December 18, 2015

Still Manufacturing

In my last update I wrote about getting started in Tech 2 manufacturing, using the alt that I had painstakingly trained up.

It has been a few months now and I'm still working on manufacturing. I'm sure I took some time off between the last post and now, but right now I'm still selling items from one of my latest batches. I'm making pretty good profits. IPH tells me I'm often getting 50% returns, which whittle down with competition for the items in my local market. Nonetheless, it has been profitable even though the actual ISK per hour might be low.

I have found some items that sell pretty well and have been manufacturing those. I also dipped my toes into T2 ship production. Building T2 ships is just like building anything else, but it takes much longer to invent and my skills for ships are lower than my other skills, so I fail more often. Ships in my market move slower than other things too, and it doesn't help that I get undercut on slow moving items. Nonetheless, it has been fun building ships and I have a much healthier respect for people who build the larger ships.

I briefly explored building the new(ish) T3 destroyers. However, you need a POS to build them and based on what I can see you can easily lose ISK building them, especially when you factor in the fuel costs and opportunity cost of building something else. I'll still keep my eye on that, though.

Speaking of POSes, I still build out of a station. Right now I don't think I'm producing enough to take advantage of the bonuses of using a POS, but I can certainly see how producing things 25% faster would be beneficial. Assuming I could sell what I was making and continuously run the lines, I'm sure the fuel costs would wash out. However, I have heard that you need to play material tetris and I have zero interest in doing that. Building out of a station with a single hangar is easy when all you need to do is load up the T2 BPC and click build.

Right now my biggest hurdle is keeping my lines going. I tend to build everything I planned to build, sell everything that I built, then start researching what to build next/ gathering the materials. What I should be doing is keeping the lines going, because downtime in manufacturing is wasted time and wasted ISK.

It is nice seeing the wallet increasing, though. Hopefully it keeps up and I don't make any major blunders.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Getting Started in T2 Manufacturing

As readers of my blog might remember, I spent a lot of time months back training up a tech 2 manufacturing character. I had read at the time that while trading was a good way of making ISK, manufacturing will scale better.

Now, to be fair, I wasn't putting enough time into trading to make scalability a deciding factor. However, regional trading was growing boring and there was too much competition in station trading to make it worthwhile for me.

I decided to move my manufacturing character out to a system away from the major trade hubs. For some time now I've wanted to seed a non-major market and explore the benefits and disadvantages of doing so. Obviously, less supply means prices can be higher, however less demand can drive prices down or not drive sales at all.

I fired up the trusty IPH tool and ran a few calculations. Not surprisingly, the sales to volume ratios were less than complete for this non-major region in the game. I generally take the SVR to give me some indication of demand in a given region and confirm it from the market window in game. I picked a couple of items that I thought would sell well and seemed to have demand and sent my freighter to a hub to purchase everything I needed.

An important note here is that I only chose items that could be built from components. I thought about doing the raw materials approach but there is a limited supply of minerals on the local market and I didn't want to spend a bunch of time manufacturing the components necessary to build whatever it was that I was building. Plus I didn't want to get into hauling and refining ores.

While my freighter was on the long journey back from the trade hub, I went and gathered the blueprints that I needed and started copying them. One important thing to know about T2 production is that you need lots of blueprint copies (BPCs). I quickly found that I was able to fill up all of my slots running copying jobs, and soon after that I was filling my slots with invention jobs. The number of slots you have is one of the biggest limiting factors to a single character doing tech 2 production. It is not surprising to me that people train up alts that have the sole purpose of being "copy monkeys" - copying blueprints so that the highly trained manufacturing alt can focus on invention and production.

Eventually, I had all my T2 BPCs and all of the components from my trade hub run. I started building the T2 items and listed them on the market. The first thing I noticed is that there were a couple others building what seemed to be the same items as me. I believe that these individuals probably also used IPH and the SVR to select items, as it seemed that we were competing in similar zones. One person in particular had a habit of undercutting in 0.03-0.05 ISK increments, which meant that I could tell that I was likely competing with the same person in different areas.

The second thing that I noticed was that it was easy to miss out on a day of the low price but high volume items like drones, for example, if you were undercut and didn't notice or weren't online to update your sell orders. Things like drones sold pretty well, usually in batches of 5 to 10 at a time, however the profits are low in absolute terms. I was starting to get flashbacks of when I was doing trading where certain items were profitable (i.e.: 20% or more) but the absolute amount of profit was too low to account for the effort it took to maintain. However, the things that have higher profit are also the things that sell slower (if at all).

After a couple of weeks of selling everything I had originally planned on selling, I ended up with about half a billion in profit. Not too bad considering I was only updating my orders maybe twice a day, before and after work, with a little more effort on weekends. I also came away with some valuable lessons, like keep track of what you planned to manufacture, because it's easy to forget what you want to make when you're faced with an hangar full of tons of manufacturing components.

With all of these lessons in mind, I sent my freighter alt back to a trade hub to pick up more supplies with some different items in mind. I'm going to see how these items sell compared to my previous ones to see if I can edge out more profit. I have also been considering renting an office in the station that I base out of so that I could limit the amount of trading between characters I do, and also would make having a copy whore much easier to manage in the future if I want to do that.

All in all, my first serious attempt at T2 manufacturing has been a success and I'm looking forward to the next couple of weeks as I try to determine what items to make to maximize my profits.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Problems With Citadels

Asset Safety

IMO - making Eve more safe is not a good idea in w-space nor anywhere else in the game. POSes are not safe and the POS replacement should not be safe either. If you put your assets into your Citadel, they should be very vulnerable. If you want the advantages, you have to put something on the line and it isn't just the cost of the structure, it's the cost of everything you've chosen to store inside. This serves the dual purpose of giving players a strong incentive to defend their assets.

It does not make sense to introduce more safety to the game. Clearly people are willing to risk their most expensive assets in POses as it is right now. Players don't need any incentive to use Citadels. If the benefits aren't worth the risk, people shouldn't use them.

Vulnerability and Reinforcement

With regards to vulnerability windows, I think it's a poor design choice. CCP has listened too much to whiners who want to control the safety of their structures. POSes, as they stand right now, can be attacked any time of day. Citadels, as announced, can only be attacked during certain windows and you won't even know when that is unless you're on grid when it happens. This is a problem for two reasons:

1. In k-space, you can easily go back and check a Citadel every day, multiple times per day. The system is static and can easily be accessed. In w-space, you can't. You have to dedicate an alt to sit in there for a week to figure out when their vulnerability window is.

2. Vulnerability windows don't make much sense. I would rather have more control over when your Citadel comes out of reinforcement (so if you're attacked in your non-main TZ you have the opportunity to defend in your strong TZ). People should be able to attack you whenever they want.

My next issue is with regards to how long the reinforcement period lasts. As it stands, reinforcement can easily last for a week or longer. This simply will not work for w-space. A w-space siege (that is contested by the residents) currently can take a full weekend to pull off (Friday through Sunday). It is necessary to have 24/7 control over all of the wormholes leading in and out to have a successful siege take place. Part of the reason we can get this done is because the reinforcement timers are 24-36 hours - not multiple days. Yes, it's boring, but at least you can dedicate one weekend to it and be finished.

The Citadel system can be manipulated to drag out your reinforcement over many days or even a week. It is not feasible to maintain control over a wormhole system for that long as people will simply not skip work/ school for a whole week to maintain 24/7 hole control, and if you don't maintain hole control then the defender simply can resupply and get pilots back into the system (something that isn't possible if podded out with hole control). This might make more sense in k-space where borders are always constant and you can always find your way back, but it does not work for w-space.

Citadel Defense

Finally, our new Citadels have these lovely guns and such on them - but they don't automatically respond to hostile targets on grid? This is silly. One of the nice things about a POS is that a lone or unorganized attacker is thwarted by the presence of guns and ewar on my POS. I can be down the chain and my POS will shoo away the annoying troll trying to shoot my POS for fun. (Obviously, a serious attacker could handle what my POS could throw at him.)

With the proposed system, Citadels won't actively defend themselves. Instead, you'll have to have someone manually gun the defenses. This means that choosing to leave my Citadel and go down the chain somewhere actually means I'm leaving my Citadel open to attack. What does that mean? During my vulnerability window, if I leave my Citadel I need to ensure that either someone or someone's alt is left behind to man the guns and watch out for attackers. This is not fun game play.

In fact, this is nonsensical. My behemoth of a Citadel should be smart enough to defend itself from hostiles on grid, just like POSes do. A single pilot trying to troll us and entosis our Citadel should be blapped by the Citadel. An organized group of people should be able to withstand the guns (by using logi, etc) and entosis our Citadel.

I have no problem if an organized group comes along while I'm not there and is able to tank my Citadel's guns while entosising. I do have a problem if a lone guy in a frigate can start a whole reinforcement cycle while my friends and I are doing some PvP down the chain somewhere. Come on, CCP.

Additionally, the aggressiveness of your Citadel (or other structure) should be tweakable. If you want a freeport or live in high sec, you probably don't want your Citadel blapping every neutral who lands on grid. If you're in w-space (or anywhere else) and you don't want neutrals near your Citadel, it should defend against them.

Final Thoughts

I like the overall idea of these new structures. I can see them standing in as a replacement for stations in the long run and I will be excited to see industrialists opening up market stations where anyone and everyone is free to dock.

I do think, however, that CCP needs to take a long hard look at whether or not their designs fit in with the culture that is EVE. To be blunt, making things safer is a poor direction to take. Citadels and other structures need to be high risk, high reward.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Learning to FC: Part 1

I've recently decided that I want to learn how to FC. I find that much like other games, convincing people to stand up and take on a role like FCing is a difficult task to do. And, not unlike other games, learning how to FC is something you need to do with experience.

Luckily, I do have experience leading, just not in EVE. I'm a raid leader for a team in WoW and have been for quite some time now. When I first took over the RL position, I wasn't that good. I realized that there were many things that seemed easy (from a line member looking at the RL job) but in reality weren't. I realized there was a lot I didn't know. However, that didn't stop me from working my ass off to become a better RL. I took copious amounts of notes, researched everything about what we were doing and tried to be as open as possible. Now I can say that I've been honored by some of my members by being called the best RL they've ever had.

From the outside looking in, the FC position seems easy. Plan something, tell them where to go, call primaries, have fun. However, I'm sure it's more complicated than that. Deciding on a primary, for example, surely isn't as easy as it seems. There are pros and cons to picking different ships as primaries and as an inexperienced FC I'm going to make the wrong calls many times. This is just one of many things that I'm going to need to learn by experiencing it. Nonetheless, I've put up some threads on various forums asking for feedback from more experienced people and I've gotten some great replies. I'll share some of what I've learned with you now.

First of all, you need to narrow your focus. What are you going to bring and where are you going to go are two very important questions to know the answers to. Many people recommended to go to low sec in "cheap stuff" and welp. Others recommended null because the mechanics are more understandable (no gate guns, no plexes, no security loss, etc). After some discussion, Faction Warfare low sec seemed to be the best place to learn because there are tons of fleets out and about looking for fights. Overwhelmingly people told me that T1 cruisers are a great place to start because they live long enough to make some decisions and mistakes. Alternatively, frigs and dessies are super cheap and inty roams are easy enough to look for carebears in null. So it was decided: T1 cruisers in FW low sec.

Of course, deciding the type of ship is one thing but deciding the doctrine is something completely different. As a wormhole pilot, I'm used to our expensive doctrines and T2/T3 ship compositions. I've never spent any time in low sec so I was completely unaware of the "meta" in that area of the game. So, I spent some time researching different doctrines. I decided to separate out my search into cheap brawling (close range) and kiting (long distance) cruiser doctrines and found some great options:

Brawling: Mallers + Augs, Thoraxes (Dickcats) + Augs, Moas + Ospreys

Kiting: Vexors + Ospreys, Cynabals + Scythes, Stabbers + Scythes, Treblecats + Scythes, Thoraxes (Pocket Rockets) + Scythes, Moas + Scythes

I actually had a great time researching doctrines. It felt like a whole new EVE to me and as I was writing these down I could picture situations in which I'd take out these types of fleets. But I had to pick one doctrine that I would use for my maiden voyage as an FC. I had heard great things about Mallers and knew that brawling is considered easier to do (both as an FC and as a line member), so I picked Mallers plus Augorors.

Now that I had decided on a doctrine, it was time to schedule a fleet. Actually scheduling the fleet is a big step, because you're firming up your commitment to take it out (there's no chickening out when people are expecting content). I picked a time that worked for me on the weekend and put up a post on our forums about it. I picked a FW system near a trade hub and designated the trade hub as the staging system (since most wormholers don't have T1 cruisers lying around). I grabbed an interceptor and Dotlan and mapped out a route through low that I wanted to take the fleet. I added the waypoints to my in-game notepad so I'd be prepared to link them for the fleet. Then I retreated back to the wormhole to wait for the time to go.

While I was waiting, I looked up all of the different low sec mechanics. What can fit into the different-sized complexes? What actions will get the gate guns shooting you? How much DPS do the gate guns do? What colour does your safety need to be? I found answers to all of these so I could be better prepared. If you live in low sec all the time, you might already know this information. Or, if you decide to go to null instead, a lot of this information is stuff you don't need to know.

Now unfortunately, as any wormholer can attest to, sometimes bob is just not willing to give you that access to k-space that you need. In fact, for all of Sunday I didn't see a single exit to where I wanted to go. We just couldn't find low or high sec exits anywhere in our chain. So, I had to call the fleet, which was a huge bummer, but we did find plenty of content in our chains that kept us busy for the day, so I can't really complain. I will reschedule that fleet sometime in the future and when I do, I'll post what I learned here. Hopefully these types of posts will help other prospective FCs.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Market Analysis: o7 Announcements

The o7 Show was yesterday and with it came some interesting announcements.

It was announced that the amount of Megacyte and Zydrine required for building almost everything will be doubled in a coming expansion. Not unsurprisingly, the prices of Megacyte and Zydrine in Jita jumped almost immediately as market players quickly bought up large amounts of the minerals.

The price of Megacyte jumped up 77% from the prices a week ago and the price of Zydrine jumped by 62%. The base price of these minerals from a week ago were already increased as speculative market trading had caused the price of minerals to increase following the announcement of a shake up in null sec ores at Fan Fest.

I will expect this to be a temporary price spike. With the release of the new expansion, demand for these minerals will increase two-fold, driving up the price even further. However, miners will now obtain a better price for these minerals, with some miners likely shifting their mining to ores containing ample amounts of these minerals to take advantage of the price spike. I would hazard a guess that the price of these minerals will remain elevated going into the next expansion, calming down after the miners have had a chance to catch up. There will be a dev blog coming next week on the changes to null sec ores and mineral ratios, so keep an eye out for that. I'll post another analysis when I see that.

CCP also announced that T3 destroyers are going to be receiving a nerf to their powergrid and speed and will now cost more to produce. T3 destroyers will now cost one additional each of Electromechanical Interface Nexus, Fullerene Intercalated Sheets, Optimized Nano-engines, Reconfigured Subspace Calibrator, Self-Assembling Nanolattice, and Warfare Computation Core. Seeing as how the supply of these materials is unlikely to change significantly, the increased demand for these items will drive up their costs, leading to more expensive inputs into T3 destroyer manufacturing and higher prices of T3 destroyers in the short term. Indeed, market data shows that the price of T3 destroyers has jumped almost 7 million ISK already today, reflecting the rush of manufacturers trying to stockpile inputs and subsequently driving up the prices of their own inputs. My advice: if you want a new T3 destroyer, buy it sooner rather than later. The price will continue to rise until the market stabilizes.

Finally, the Entosis Link module will be available to manufacture soon, although I was unable to find information on what it will take to build it. Since we can expect that large null sec alliances will be stockpiling large numbers of these modules, I will be interested to see what the inputs to production will be. CCP predicts that the cost will be 20m for the T1 and 80m for the T2 version, however the initial prices are likely to be higher as the new demand for inputs will drive up the price of raw materials until suppliers adjust to the new demand.

We also have some nice new changes coming such as the ability to launch a control tower from a fleet hangar (I talked about how stupid it was that you couldn't do this when setting up my reaction tower). This is a great quality of life change. The expansion on April 28th will bring some interesting changes!

Monday, March 30, 2015

WH vs PL, Batphones & Neuting

This was a busy weekend for EVE with me with different fleets and ops to go out on.

First off, we had an operation planned by ex-CSM member Chitsa (SSC pilot) that would lead us gloriously into null-sec with progodlegend as our FC. Our fleet consisting of over 150 wormholers undocked from Amarr and headed down towards Brave Newbies' space. Eventually we ended up fighting Pandemic Legion and Nulli Secunda in a large fight that was a first for many of us wormholers who generally do small gang fights.

For me, the experience of fighting in a large fight was thrilling and new. As logi, it was incredibly difficult to keep up with the broadcasts as I was repping people and unlocking them to move onto new targets that I was locking (and subsequently sometimes watching die before reps could land - sorry those in Harbinger Navy Issues). It was all fun and games until I captured the attention of their FC and was subsequently blapped. I did manage to get out with my pod and make it all the way back to our wormhole, avoiding many camps along the pipe on the way home with some creative safe-making. The final battle report has the wormholers coming out on top in the ISK war, but both sides won when it comes to content generation.

The next day, Hard Knocks tackled a bunch of carriers in null and batphoned us for help. Our closest connection was 18 jumps away, so I jumped in a Crusader and ran out there. The targets ended up losing 8 carriers and assorted support ships. It was a great catch by HK and we were happy to lend a hand.

On our way home, one of the wormhole groups (The Enigma Project) that was also helping HK (and also were in our chain) decided to camp the return hole and kill some of our returning pilots. One of our pilots took a battle Exequror to kill one of their pilots before dying in glory. Then we decided to form up a fleet and jump into their home to look for a fight. They did not disappoint us and landed on the hole with a larger group ready to take us on. Unfortunately they had heavy neuting and jamming capability and our logistics (myself included) were quickly neuted dry and jammed out. We ended up losing one Guardian before calling the fight and heading home.

All in all, it was a good weekend for wormhole activities. Except, that is, for my reaction POS. I lost an industrial due to me being lazy and not properly scouting the hole before jumping in. This disrupted my supply run, so I'll have to find time to get the rest of the gas into the hole.

Friday, March 27, 2015

CSMX Results & Blog Focus

Your CSMX Winners

This is a bit late but nonetheless, the tenth Council of Stellar Management has been elected with Sugar Kyle and Manfred Sideous winning permanent seats this year. I'm happy to see Sugar win a permanent seat after all of the work that she put into CSM9, so I'm very confident in her abilities moving into an important year for CCP.

As expected, there are a lot of null-sec winners. I count 8 (9 if Corbexx moving to the GSF counts) null-sec candidates, leaving 5-6 non null-sec people on the board. Wormhole space only has one real CSM member (Corbexx). I don't particularly consider Chance Ravine to be a wormhole candidate. He's more of a marketing/ YouTube/ exploration guy. If wormholers are lucky, Chance will represent lower-class wormholes. If not, we only get one this year. That's unfortunate, considering that Ariete (from SSC) was also a contender. Some people think that standing next to Corbexx left Ariete in the shadows. I think that Ariete was a name that I did not really associate with wormholes prior to the CSMX election campaign. If he wants to be successful next year, he will need to really get his face out there more often.

Corbexx deciding to join the GSF in the wake of news about NOHO disbanding left many wormholers feeling that they had been betrayed. It seems to me that many people refuse to vote for someone representing the Goons, regardless of their area of expertise. This is particularly interesting as prior to joining the GSF, Corbexx was touted as a workhorse wormhole candidate who performed well on CSM9. Corbexx joining the GSF does come as a surprise to me, but I'm not immediately writing him off. I endorsed him as my number one pick for CSMX and that was based on hard data and his past performance. I won't change my mind simply because his corporation ticker is switching, but I'll be expecting him to perform as well as he did on CSM9 for the wormhole community.

In other news, posts to my blog have been few and far between. Part of this has been to reduced game time, meaning I just don't have any stories to tell. But I've been thinking of focusing on posting more market analysis posts. I received a lot of attention on my PLEX Prices post after being linked on EVE News 24. As a professional economist with a specialty in trade, I'm incredibly capable of studying markets to analyze trends and forecast the future direction that the market might take. This is an area of interest to me, obviously, but it also might be interesting to others who are industrialists or traders. So, as of now, I will take requests for analysis for any good that you would like more information on. I'll find time to do the analysis and post the results on my blog. You can leave a comment here, email me or catch me on Twitter at @JeffKione.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

CSMX Endorsements from EVE Altoholic

Well, CSM9 has come and (almost) gone and CSMX is up for election. Starting tomorrow, Wednesday February 25th, you will have the opportunity to vote for who you want to be on the CSM. This is a council of players that have direct access to CCP, allowing them to represent those who voted them in and advocate on your behalf to CCP. If you have an account that is 30 days of age or older, you should be voting.

As a wormholer, I recommend only two people for the #1 and #2 slots on your ballot. Do not vote for anyone else claiming to be a wormhole candidate - simply put, they aren't. Rhavas puts it nicely:
You thought there were others? Well, a real wormholer is not someone who appears to be pretending to live in a wormhole in the hope of getting bloc votes (Bane Cortex), and it’s not someone who is running on an “I Love ISBoxer” platform and augments that platform with wormhole mining as a key focus (Angrod).
With that being said, my recommendations (in order) are:

Number 1: Corbexx

Corbexx has been working tirelessly on CSM9. Although his ability to communicate leaves much to be desired, his workhorse attitude and ability to impact change have been proven throughout his term. He is responsible for things such as keeping wormhole signatures the same over downtime, splitting the probe and directional scanner into different windows, and revisiting the income you can get from C1-C4 wormholes through blue loot changes. His proven track record easily scores him the number one place on my ballot, and he should be number one on yours if you live in a wormhole.

Number 2: Ariete

There is only one thing better than having a single wormhole representative on the CSM: having a second one. Ariete is a member of Future Corps (Sleeper Social Club) and is a member of my corporation (that I just recently joined). Although I admit that I haven't had many opportunities to fly with him as we're in different time zones, his platform is solid. With CCP more likely to take a look at upper-class wormholes this year (after looking at lower-class wormholes this past year), having someone with experience in a C5 corporation would be beneficial to have on the CSM. 

This is it for the serious wormhole candidates. I do have some other recommendations though, based on my own experiences.

Number 3: Sugar Kyle

Sugar is considered to be the hardest working member of CSM9. Considered to be the person who singlehandedly led meetings with CCP based on her binder of notes and wrote 3 times as many summaries of the meetings with CCP as the next highest CSM member did, Sugar Kyle has proven herself to be an advocate for the game - not just players in low-sec. As a regular reader of her blog, Low Sec Lifestyle, I've become very used to having a CSM member with very open lines of communication to regular players. She's earned a permanent seat on CSM - if you're not a wormholer, you should place her even higher on your ballot.

Number 4: Steve Ronuken

If you play EVE, chances are you've used a third-party tool. From EVE Central to Evemon to Evernus to pyfa to Fuzzworks (Steve's site), there are a small number of developers that create tools that are used by a large majority of EVE players. Known as being "allergic" to CSM drama, Steve focuses on what he knows best - third party tools - and there is simply no one better to advocate on their behalf than Steve.

Number 5: Mike Azariah

Mike almost didn't make my list until I read through all of his responses on his campaign thread. This is a guy who thinks through his responses and has the benefit of being a long-time CSM member.

Number 6: Bam Stroker

I wasn't going to put Bam on my list until I did some looking into him. As someone who is very community-driven, I see that Bam would be an asset to the CSM. He also has experience in sov-null, which will be a benefit considering the changes to sov coming soon.

And... that's it. There really is no point in voting for someone you don't know/ don't have experience with/ don't want to get in with the STV system, so don't put any candidates on your list that you wouldn't want to see on the CSM. It just isn't worth it. That being said, you might want to read the full endorsements of Rhavas, a fellow SSC member. There are some interesting null sec candidates (Endie and Manfred) that deserve a look at.

Good luck to everyone! Remember, voting starts tomorrow and closes on March 10th 2015. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Building a POS (Part 3)

My reaction lines.

Well, it's done. I finished onlining all of my modules, brought the gas in from a trade hub and set up two different reaction lines. This took a surprising amount of work to complete. It took me a week to find the time to get everything done, although I'm sure someone with more time than I have could have gotten it finished much faster.

I like the idea of reactions because it is semi-passive income once you set it up. Of course, you have to continually go back and reload your reactors, including managing the logistics of bringing new gas in, taking the reacted gas out and keeping your POS fueled.

I decided to use a Gallente tower because it has a bonus to silo capacity, meaning I can put in double the materials into my silo. This allows my reactions to run twice as long as an unbonused tower, which means I can go longer without having to run logistics. This of course comes at the expense of having enough power for defenses, so it's a risky game.

The biggest challenge remaining is the amount of time it takes to run logistics to the hole. C1s are limited by jump mass, meaning the biggest thing I can bring in (in terms of hauling) is a DST. I currently use an Orca to get my materials from a trade hub to the system where my static is, but with the high volume of gas and fuel blocks it takes several trips to get everything where I need it to be. Add in the fact that you're always on the clock when it comes to wormhole connections and that makes for a hectic experience.

To combat this, I'm going to be getting a freighter alt off of a corpmate. I'll use the freighter to bring everything I need for the week (or more) all in one trip, then get everything brought into the hole. The less time I spend making trips to a trade hub the better in terms of time savings.

I'll keep you guys updated on my new reaction business!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Building a POS (Part 2)

To catch you up on the last part, I decided to start doing reactions in a C1 wormhole. This was my first time setting up a POS and I learned a number of lessons on the first day, including many :ccp: moments. I left off saying that I had onlined a few modules and ran out of time so I'd revisit it another day.

First thing's first, my wormhole alt only has anchoring to 1. I know, stupid. That means I've been needing to get my Orca alt into the hole to do anchoring and onlining, so that slows things down a bit. I need to train my wormhole alt some more, that's on the to-do list. So, another lesson to add to what I learned last time: you need anchoring to level 3 if you want to be able to anchor and online all types of POS mods. This further compounds the fact that you need to be able to online and offline reaction mods to load/unload the products. I really need to train anchoring.

I decided to finish getting my defenses anchored. I had my ECM up as well as my points and webs but hadn't put guns up yet. There are a few quirks of guns when it comes to POSes. Small guns work on ship sizes up to Cruisers while Medium guns work best on Battleships (which I don't worry much about). Large guns are more for capitals and dreads (which I don't worry about at all in a C1). Also, small guns use medium ammo. Medium guns use large ammo. Why? To be confusing I guess, who knows.

One weird limitation is that you're restricted to launching for corporation only 3 times per minute. If you're trying to put 40+ POS mods out in space, that's very limiting. The good news is that while I had lots of guns to anchor and online, I read on Reddit that you can split your guns into stacks and select bunches of them and launch them all for corporation. I split everything into three stacks and was able to launch 3 guns at a time, meaning 9 per minute. That's much better than before. Once I finished struggling with getting the mods into their approximate positions, I had to go online them one by one (I wish there was an onlining queue - you know, online all the defenses now please POS).

Here's the good news about POS guns: you don't have to fly to each gun to put ammo in them. I was concerned that I would have to fly to each cluster to add ammo but luckily for me I was able to do it all from the center of my POS.

The next step was getting the reaction lines set up. The reaction lines need to be set up nice and close to each other but you also want to be able to be within 5000 meters of each of the reaction mods from where your gas is stored so you don't have to move your ship to load/unload gas into the silos. This ended up being easier than setting up the defenses because I was aligning the reaction mods close to where I was, meaning I could zoom in nicely and place them how I Wanted them placed. I guess we'll see soon if I placed them in the right spots to allow the reactions to work, because I haven't started reactions yet.

Now, most of my defenses are up and my reaction lines are ready. I still need to online a bunch of my defenses but I keep tackling this project late at night and end up getting tired. The next steps involve getting the gas and blueprints for reactions as well as bringing in more fuel for my tower.

Fwew, this is a lot more work than I thought it would be.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Opportunities Abound

CCP Rise has recently published a dev blog detailing the upcoming changes to the new player experience. The new system will provide new players with "opportunities" to do things within the game, such as orbit a hostile NPC, buy something off the market or navigate space. These opportunities are not linear and can be completed with less restrictions as the current tutorials, while not providing any rewards for completion.

For those of us who have been advocating a change to the tutorial system, this comes as a pleasant surprise. The tutorial system was too limiting to be useful and the new opportunities will allow new players to experience the game in a truly open-ended environment. I think that this is great.

I am concerned, however, that the opportunities will not have any rewards. CCP stated that they don't want opportunities to have rewards because they don't want players to feel that they need to complete them. However, imagine starting out the game with no ISK and only your rookie ship. Where would you start?

With the ISK from tutorial missions, you have some options. I took the 6 million ISK from the tutorial missions (roughly) and started trading with it, turning it into a quarter of a billion within a week or two. But what would I have to do if instead I had no starting capital to work with?

My guess is that new players are either going to need to find generous benefactors or they're going to need to start playing the game by mining Veldspar. Earth to CCP: limiting the new player to mining to start the game might be worse than the current tutorial system.

I think a better route would be to allow new players to access many different styles of game play right from the very beginning. Give them some means to mine if they want to (i.e.: a venture), but also give them some means to do other things as well, such as getting started with missions, or PVP, or trading by giving them some small access to ships or capital. I don't mean a lot, I mean no more than what you would get from the current tutorial missions. Perhaps CCP will need to revisit level 1 missions and change them so that they provide the new player with the equipment that they need to get the job done.

I like where CCP is going with this and it's nice to see that the new player experience is something that they're focusing on. I just think that they have some more work to do. Perhaps CCP should try starting the game with only the rookie ship on their back and see how (or if) that limits them, then make changes from there.

Monday, February 16, 2015

First Time POS Builder (CCP Please)

As my regular readers might recall, I used to spend some time in a hole with an alt of a player in a prominent w-space corporation. He took me under his wing and taught me about industry and reactions in w-space. When he decided to stop, I was picked up by another knowledgeable individual who taught me even more.

I've recently gotten it into my head that it's my turn to start doing w-space industry. I've decided to focus on what I know best and that's gas reactions. I've decided to set myself up in a C1 with a high-sec static. I found one occupied with two other small corporations and with some diplomacy I got their blessing to set up a POS in their hole. Side note: it always amazes me how far you can get with a quick message. Even when English is not the first language, I've found people to be very friendly. I'm on good terms with one of my Polish neighbours now; this is why I love EVE.

First thing first, I had a decent connection and fired up my Orca alt to buy everything I needed and haul it down to the high sec system where my static was. I learned a few things. First, POS mods take up a lot of space. It took me two full Orca trips to get all my POS mods hauled, then two trips to get 2 weeks worth of POS fuel and another trip to get a full load of Stront. That's 5 trips in an Orca! I wish I had a freighter. Now, Bob was not pleased with me this day. I didn't notice the hole go EOL and vanish completely, meaning all of my hauling was for naught! I checked the new high-sec static and it was 40 jumps from my old static. Nope, not hauling things in today.

The next day I checked my static and Bob was smiling down on me, it was only 6 jumps from where all my stuff was sitting in a station. I grabbed the Orca and quickly moved everything, as I didn't want to lose this opportunity. Once I got there, I loaded up a bunch of stuff into my DST and headed for the moon I wanted to use. Here's where I ran into my first problem. I couldn't launch anything from my fleet hangar for the corporation, so I couldn't launch the tower. CCP, why?! I had to get my alt to quickly buy an Iteron V and cargo expanders and come grab the tower to launch it. Ridiculous. Then it took 30 minutes to anchor it and 30 more minutes to online the tower.

Once my tower was online, I went about and finished bringing the rest of the mods, fuel and stront in. Then I started anchoring some defenses. First of all, anchoring defenses is like playing the scanning game with probes but is less intuitive. Things work based on a green box that you would think would turn red if you put it over another module, but no, it doesn't work like that. How some people get all their mods lined up perfectly is beyond me, because it was too frustrating for me to deal with. I just put them roughly over where they needed to be.

Another limitation of anchoring is that you can only anchor/ online one thing at a time. This isn't a big deal for anchoring (because it takes seconds) but onlining takes a couple of minutes. I thought hey, I could online something and continue anchoring while I'm waiting so I could make the most of my time. Nope, can't anchor while the tower is onlining something. Come on CCP, there's no reason for that.

Eventually I just ran out of time, so I onlined some things and decided to come back to tackle it another day.

Lessons learned:

1. Can't use a fleet hangar to launch POS mods
2. POS mods take up a lot of room
3. Fuel blocks take up a lot of room
4. Anchoring/ onlining things takes forever

Things to do:

1. Bring in more fuel
2. Bring in gas
3. Set up reaction lines.

Til next time!

Tiamat Tomorrow!

Tiamat releases tomorrow at downtime, bringing us a 1.1 GB download with the new Minmatar tactical destroyer (the Svipul), balanced projectile weapons, corp little things, graphics updates and mysterious new sleepers roaming k-space.

I'm going to be interested to see the reception for the Svipul. Living in w-space I've seen many uses for the Confessor so far. I'll be interested to see how the Svipul compares. I think some people find the Svipul underwhelming because it has the same bonuses as the Confessor. Good news for Minmatar pilots I suppose! Tell me, are you planning on using the Svipul?

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Salvaging Manticore

I've spent the last two weeks flying with Future Corps under the Sleeper Social Club alliance banner as part of their "sleepover" for EVE University students. They offer select Unistas a chance to live with them in their C5 hole and see what C5 living is all about. This is a story of some content I found.

I was scanning down our chain and jumped into a new hole, mistakenly mis-remembering the type of wormhole I had jumped through (it was a frigate hole). Someone quickly corrected me but I had already begun scanning this hole so I decided to continue.

There were some ships on d-scan (not unusual for a wormhole system, people often leave ships floating in their POS), but like a good scout I decided to look around for POSes first. After finding no POSes, I realized that the fleet I had on d-scan must be running sites or sitting on a hole somewhere. I know they weren't at the hole I came through, but I didn't want to drop probes and announce my presence (possibly scaring them in the process). So I decided to see if they were at one of the combat anomalies. Turns out, they were.

I land on grid with the site running fleet and copy d-scan into a d-scan parse tool and send it to my corpmates. Although I'm through a frigate hole, they decide to bring stealth bombers and dictors down the chain to gank them since they were mostly battleships with a single stealth bomber.

As they're finishing the site and the MTU is tractoring things in, we decide to catch them at the next site. I bookmark the original MTU for good measure and follow them to the next site.

I land on grid within 6k of a passing sleeper frigate and try to remember to breathe as I come very close to being decloaked in the middle of the site. I get myself into position 20km off the targets and bookmark their new MTU. We decide that bombers will warp to me and the dictors would warp to the MTU. With a bunch of sleeper battleships on grid, the fleet jumps in and warps.

Turns out, the two different MTU bookmarks confuse a couple of my corpmates and a few of them end up at the old site where a Manticore is sitting around. They pop him and rush back to the fight.

We drop a bunch of bubbles and start popping their Basilisks. Once they go down, we pop the rest of their site running fleet.

Turns out that random Manticore was a salvaging Manticore that was holding all of the loot for the site running fleet that we killed. Ouch. That ended up being 5 billion worth of kills. Not too bad for a little bit of scanning!