Friday, December 30, 2011

Why I'm Not Playing SW:TOR

I'd been thinking about it, but fears of WoW-creep have lingered.  I spent about 5 years in WoW, I'm not going back.  There are some features of a character driven MMO that are appealing in a way that Internet Spaceships is not.  Incarna was a botched attempt at this, but does show that having an avatar is something many players want.  I loved gearing up my Hunter, but got frustrated with the constant "gear resets" that each patch added.  So deep in the recesses of my brain, I have been hoping for SW:TOR to swoop in, beloved droids bee-booping and lightsabers flashing and sweep me off my feet.

Then Poetic posted a link to this.  Images of dancing in Orgrimmar waiting for Raid/BG/Dungeon/Something to Grind flooded into my brain.  And the interface looks... identical?

No thanks.


Back from the holidays, I hope everyone had a good time and survived the familial mine field!  I got myself a Christmas present, but I'll talk about that in another post, maybe.  Today, I want to muse about Exploration and Escalations.

I like exploration.  As PvE goes, it is the most organic experience one can have in Eve.  No set locations, no promises, each time I hop in my CovOps, it is a new experience.  I've made a little money running sites, nothing great, but I generally stay out of low sec when exploring, so there you go.  Yesterday one of my corp mates, who has been talking up low sec escalations for some time, got me out of my mission grinding bliss (deadspace mods don't pay for themselves!) and into low sec for some escamalationing (I just like saying it that way).

We ended up going the full four escalations for the Sansha chain he found, which was awesome.  We also flew through quite a bit of low sec in a Drake and two Ishkurs, saw a hot-drop, and got hounded by a  Hound.  Wel also kept a tense eye on a Nyx that apparently was just passing through as we cleared the final site.  That would have been overkill, we thought, but a hilarious killmail to be on the wrong end of.  All in all we had a generally good time with some nice tense moments, and I have a new found understanding of what I want out of voice coms on a roam.

Here is the downside:  We humped some 30 jumps, spent about 2 hours, and ended up with some rather underwhelming loot (three mods worth maybe 15 mil split three ways).  Such is the life of the explorer.  I've gotten high sec sites with no combat that dropped better loot.  So for the future, I will go on low sec exploration romps when I want some excitement, and as a way to build my chops flying in a gang, but probably not if I am looking for to max my earnings.   That said, it was still one of the more interesting ways to spend a few hours on a cold afternoon.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Hand of the Master

This post is from the Dept. of Metal Headgear.

In no particular order, here are some things that have happened recently:

  • In game PLEX prices have gone up.
  • PLEX sales may have curbed this, but a new, higher equilibrium seems to be forming.
  • PI supply has been constrained, thereby increasing demand, and prices.
  • Further, long term costs of PI via POCOs, have increased, further altering the supply and demand curve
  • New ships (with higher mineral reqs) have been added, eating into the mineral market.
  • Anomalies were adjusted up, slightly.
  • Incursions have increased ISK supply.
Taken as a whole I see this turn of events interesting.  Eve has inflation.  Others games have dealt with this via simply resetting portions of the economy, or the entire thing, each expansion.  For an example, look at WoW's continual rebalancing of rewards and looting mechanics.  CCP is rightfully loathe to do this given the more long-term game Eve players engage in.  But, the ISK faucets flow, and as players amass ISK, prices increase.  The options to combat this are either find massive ISK sinks, or tweak the economy.  Let's take a quick look at faucets and sinks:

  • Missions
  • Incursions 
  • Bounties 
  • Insurance Payouts 
  • NPC Buy Orders
  • BPOs 
  • Skillbooks 
  • LP Purchases
  • NPC Taxes and Fees
  • PI Costs (Building and import.export fees)
At the current rates players can pump the faucet handle, there is almost no functional way for the sinks to eat the money.  Add to this the habit of many players to hoard ISK, and you have an ever increasing pool of money.  CCP has to know this.  They do have an economist on staff.  So inflation is inevitable in this scenario, especially if the player base growth does not keep pace with the faucets.  Steady, slow inflation is not bad.  In fact, it is often seen as a sign of a healthy economy.  But what happens when the players are not inflating things fast enough themselves, either through slow market shifts or player count growth?

Umm... Hi?

I doubt CCP wants to lower ISK faucet amounts.  It creates a huge uproar every time.  Look at the anomalies nerf.  I'm not a null sec player and I heard that din.  Nerfs make players angry.  So the logical idea is to try and pump up the baseline values players consider normal.  I would argue minerals are the final indicator of this, but others may disagree.  Anyhow, looking at recent developments, I think CCP is trying to cautiously embrace the inflation.

Higher mineral cost ships helps consume minerals as ships are destroyed, hopefully driving up scarcity on minerals.  The Goons, oddly enough, are helping create scarcity on both ends with their recent activities in limiting mining.  PI scarcity and POCO destruction all consume and constrain resources from POS fuel all the way up the production line to T3 components.  You need a POS to do almost any useful research or invention in Eve. 
Prices may change at any time.

PLEX is the one outlier - In my opinion, CCP wants PLEX to stay cheap enough in game for players to keep buying it, and driving RMT sales of new PLEX outside the game.  So CCP is trying to figure out how to increase relative costs of everything in the game except PLEX!  Because the easiest account to close is the one you can no longer rely on getting "free".  This explains the seemingly frequent PLEX sales of late.  As PLEX continues to increase in game, CCP cannot afford to turn up the ISK faucets, but they want to keep moving PLEX so that the real bottom line stays healthy.

Blog a Day #14: Gifts Response

A response to Poetic Discourse.

This is a tough choice of gift!

I already bought and am researching the BPOs offered, so that is rather pointless.  I could care less about the destroyers and faction ammo.  But weighing an implant v a remap, that is tough.  I need to look up the info on the remap, as I am not sure if it is an instant thing or if it gets added to my character to use at any point.  If it the second option, that may be a no-brainer.  This could be a nice ace in the hole if I get bored of my Per-Wil Map of Doom (tm).

Monday, December 5, 2011

Forum: Industrial Might

I'm starting a new feature:  Forum questions, where I ask you to respond to some crazy idea I come up with!  Without further ado, here is my question:

What if a new industrial hull was added that had a slight buff to tanking ability and more turret slots with a negative "bonus" to those turrets?  Something like:

Honey Badger

After years of plying the space lanes, Caldari industrial interests decided to update the tried-and-sometimes-true Badger to take into account the realities of cargo transport in New Eden.  While not intended to pose a true threat, the Honey Badger has a bit more bite than previous versions with the ability  to mount a semblance of firepower, while at a reduced cargo capacity.

Caldari Industrial Skill Bonus:

  • 5% bonus to shield resistance
  • 5% bonus to cargo capacity and velocity

Role Bonus:

  • -25% turret rate of fire
Give it 4/6/3 layout with 4 turret slots, same general stats as the Badger Mk II.


Taking My Ball Home!

Edit: For a nice dose of schadenfreude, read through the comments on this one.

There has been a lot of talk lately about high sec players and how they ruin Eve for everyone else.  I find the volume of chatter unsurprising, given the resent Ivy League and Goonswarm Shrugged antics.  What I do find surprising is the lengths to which each side goes to delegitimize the other side, and using the “Eve is  a Sandbox!” argument to make the point.

A sandbox game is in general a game where the world is laid out for players with rules and mechanics to govern interaction, but without an endgame provided by the developer.  I would posit another fundamental assumption of sandbox style games is that if the mechanics allow for something to occur, then it is a valid play style unless it is explicitly addressed by the developers.  In other words, every play-style that a player can engage in is valid, until restricted.

So it seems very funny and shortsighted to claim pirates are bad or miners are evil just because you think the mechanics of the game favor or hinder a play-style.  The fact that you can mine, and the fact that you can gank shows that both play-styles are valid.  So is a market trader that never levels the station, the missioner that grinds for hours and the Sov warrior who does whatever it is that sov warriors spend their time doing.

My assumption is that anyone who tries to argue that a play-style is completely invalid and should be spurned or banned is in fact one a few sort of people.  The first is the person who got burned by another player.  The second is someone who cannot, likely for ability reasons, compete with other players in a specific play-style, and so seek to disparage it.  The last, and alternatingly most entertaining or insidious one is the true griefer, who plays games not for the game in front of them, but the metagame of making someone else angry.  I don’t want to get into semantics of competitors versus griefers, save to say there is a difference.

And these reasons come through in the arguments often seen against pirates and miners.  They have no basis in actual mechanics, and devolve into ad-hominem attacks on the players themselves.  Miners have no souls and might as well be the bots they claim to hate.  Pirates are horrible people with no hearts who are probably social miscreants in real life and shouldn’t be allowed to play.  One of these arguments is meant to inspire angry forum posts, and the other fails to grasp the inherent meanness built into the human race, but both miss the point of the sandbox.

What makes Eve interesting is the fact that it encourages both play-styles, even though they are openly antagonistic to one another.  And both styles are generated by the players.  If miners, carebears or pirates were eliminated, Eve would fail.  Each plays a vital role in the ecosystem, and pays for subs.  So if you want to debate fairness of mechanics, or imbalances that push players in a certain direction please be my guest.  The sandbox should be constantly tuned to increase  and balance player options, thereby generating more play-style options!  But if you just want to use personal attacks, well, I suppose everyone loves to feed the trolls now and again.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Bounty Hunting

If you have read some of my previous posts, I would understand if you think I view pirates as the scum of Eve and they should all go die in that fire people talk about.  But this is not true!  I do want them dead, but by the hands of other players!  I have spent some time thinking about the mechanics of sec status and piracy, and I have a proposal. Tweak the boundaries of legal pvp in eve.  Here is a brief, chart based explanation:

System Security Status Legal Target Sec Status*
High Sec 1 <0.0
0.9 -0.5
0.8 -1.0
0.7 -2.0
0.6 -3.0
0.5 -4.0
Low Sec 0.4 to 0.1 -5.0
Null Sec Null/WH All

Of course there are caveats.

  • Any pilot with a negative sec status is a legal target according to the chart above.
  • Only players who have participated in an illegal action can be given a bounty.
  • Legal actions are any hostilities under the auspice of a war dec, taken after another player initiated hostilities in sec of 0.1 or greater, or anything occurring in low sec.
  • Non-sanctioned bounties (i.e. pirate bounties ) can be placed as contracts in null sec.
  • If a player has a legal bounty, he is a legal target in all sec statuses until podded.  Once this occurs, his legal status reverts to the chart above.
  • Causing initial aggression (legally or illegally) invalidates insurance if a ship is lost during the ensuing aggression timer.
  • If a player has a bounty active, insurance does not pay out on losses.

The whole point of this is to increase the motive for players to actively hunt pirates, and to help make the sec from 1.0 to 0.5 more of a slope.  Right now the incentive is mostly pride and possibly loot drops.  This system tries to change the rules of engagement a little, and provide more of a career for Bounty Hunters.  If you wanted to really push the system, you could add a map option that gave time delayed heat maps of systems with bounty targets.  I mean, the gates know who is going where, right?

Observers might also notice that this system does make it theoretically harder for Pirates to get to higher sec systems.  This would maybe require some tweaking of system sec status, belt deposits and agent distribution, I have no idea.  The point would be that along with risk/reward for carebears, pirates would also have a risk reward for coming after high sec targets.

There are definitely some holes in this, but I would love to see anti-piracy become a viable career in Eve.  If a valid implementation could be found for the bounty system, it could also lead to new stations, factions, ships and mechanics.  Most importantly it would incentivize some high-sec residents to both place bounties and hunt for them (possibly leaving high sec!), creating more player-driven content in Eve.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Blogger Fail

Apparently I had comments turned off by mistake.  You can now tell me how stupid you think I am!

PI Changes – The Carebear Version

I was meaning to write an article about opportunity cost that was much more eloquent than this will be, but the recent PI changes are great illustration I want to take advantage of.  Also, robo-poster Jester beat me to some of the economics in this post.

So here is the second half.  The TL;DR: I’m out (of PI)!

Here is why.  I have roughly 24 hours in each day.  In those hours I have to eat, sleep, take care of my loved ones, attend school and work.  Eve usually comes last in that progression, or is something I do in the background while I focus on one of the others.  This is where opportunity cost comes in. 

I am a high-sec carebear, mainly because it is a nice place to base out of and accomplish things in Eve while still being able to get up out of my chair if real life calls.  I generally do not have time to scout low sec routes for gate camps, I generally do not have the mental desire to play hours of stations games, and I cannot commit to being available for CTAs or to wake up at 2am for a reinforcement timer.  And here is where the opportunity costs of the PI changes come in.

I assume that CCP wants to move more players out into low/null sec.  That is the only sensible reason I can find for changing PI tax rates and POCOs.  I suppose the idea is volume would make up for increased cost.  But the cost of moving operations to low sec is far higher than just the isk.  It is the time needed to scout, it is the cost of interrupted production if a POCO goes up in smoke, it is the cost of gate camps and pirates, and it is the time cost of training ships that can compete with the faction/tech II paradise that is low sec.  Another factor is the mind-numbing amount of clicking that it takes to actually do PI.  I don’t feel like setting up another 20 planets…  PI (at current prices) in no way justifies these increases in time and isk spent for the rewards I get, given the recent changes.

I assume CCP knows that PI production will fall in high sec.  This will drive up POS fuel costs and thereby drive up much of the cost of all Tech II/III goods in the game.   While this may be a good way to make low and null sec fights more meaningful, I find it a rather ham-fisted way to do so.  The reason is that the opportunity costs are being placed on the player base that does not go to low or null sec, and probably does not want to.  Asking the carebear/casual player base to change to a more time intensive playstyle in order to continue an established playstle is risky.  Many of us stay in high sec because we do not have the time or energy needed to move further afield.

To those that say this affects everyone, well, I have a feeling the null sec alliances will have low tax POCOs up and running fairly soon.  I also doubt we will see many people putting up multi-million isk pinatas in low sec.

If CCP wants high sec players to move to low sec or null sec, the key is to provide incentives or modify the game to fit the players, not restrict existing content and force players to modify themselves to fit the game.  All these PI changes will do for me is reduce the amount of the game I partake in.

As an aside: I have seen some comments relating to the idea that this mirrors the costs of production in the real world.  These comments do not seem to realize that the difference between China and the USA is not one of law v. lawlessness, but sovereign bodies competing.  Both have laws, they are just different.  The more apt comparison would be Germany (high sec) v. Afghanistan (low sec).  In one there are laws, and in the other, law often is who has the bigger gun and is willing to use it.  I also apologize in advance if those comparisons are offensive.  They are the first that came to mind.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Blog-a-day #5: Podcasts Response

A resonse to Poetic Discourse.

What I Listen To:

Voices from the Void - Usually informative, always entertaining, and yeah, Arydanika has a voice that is just plain fun to hear.  Seismic Stan is a nice addition/replacement.

Ender Black's  Pod Goo - Nice range of interviews and topics covered.  Nice approach to analyzing tactics and strategies.

What Don't I Listen To (And Why):

Fly Reckless - Never seemed to stick for me, I think the in-jokes got too thick when I was trying to listen.

Isk (iTunes) - This is personal:  I am trying to be a good former smoker and listening to someone light up on the podcast is infuriating and tempting.  Also, sometimes the format is waaay to long.

Ransoms and Roams:  Tried to listen, did not hold my attention.

What I Wished Was Still Around:

Lost In Eve

General Thoughts:

I find that podcasts that have a high production level (like a radio show) tend to keep my attention.  As I am constantly working, studying, or moving around, being able to stop and start listening, or listening to little segments at each go is very useful to me. VandV does this well.

Consistency (even if it means short episodes) is the second biggest influence on me spending ear time on a show.

The podcaster's voice is also huge.  I know that much is this is due to fate and your parents, but a good voice is much nicer to listen to.  Proper diction and pacing can help overcome otherwise unappealing voices though, as can engagement in what is being said.

Guide: Making Money 101 – Mission Running

 Most new players ask how to make Isk in Eve.  There are a myriad number of ways to do this, but as a new player you are somewhat limited until you invest some key skills into various career paths.  I am going to focus a few articles on a few of the more accessible ways to start building your space wallet.  None of these will make you space rich but they will keep you in enough money to fund your skills and start building a fleet of useful ships.  Warning: I assume you are in a player-run corporation, and occasionally play with other people.  This is a social game, after all.


Simply put, mission running means going to an NPC agent and accepting a mission, completing it, and getting paid.  Missioning pays well… once you hit the level 4 agents.  To get there you need to grind your status up from (probably) neutral.  You will probably want to do this with a useful corporation.  What does useful mean?  I define it as an NPC corp that has fringe benefits besides just making ik.  Good Loyalty Point rewards, geographically convenient Jump Clone access, and better refining rates can all be gained by choosing wisely.

My recommendation is to ask in your corp what NPC corps people have or are grinding standing with and work towards those.  Often this will be one of the faction navies.  This gives you the advantage of working towards all of the benefits mentioned above while having people to grind with. 

So how do you make money off missions?  There are actually a number of ways:
  • Mission pirate bounties
  • Mission rewards
  • Salvage
  • Loyalty Point Farming 

The first two take care of themselves.  Once you hit level four missions, you can actually make about 10-20 million per mission if you kill everything and do it within the time frame for the bonus.  Salvage is awesome (in my opinion) and I am going to cover it a bit later.  LP farming can be trickier.  I made a spreadsheet to calculate isk per LP.  You may want to do this, or just save LP to spend on faction gear you want.

Battlecruisers and You

So what should you fly to run missions?  I’ll refer to the holy trinity of MMOs:  you can flit to some combination of DPS/Tank/Healer (logisitics in Eve).  Eve also has the bonus that most mission ships will be self-repping, either through shield regen or armor repair.  Also, there are almost no missions in levels 1 through 4 where a dedicated logistics pilot is needed.  The rule of thumb for level 4 missions is that your damage (DPS or gank) and armor repair or shield regeneration (Tank)  need to total 1000 points.  I would argue DPS really needs to be over 200 to be in anyway effective, and tank only needs to be above 300-400 in small, specific situations, but your mileage may vary.

 I went Incursus > Vexor > Myrmidon > Drake.  I also started Gallente and then cross-trained to Caldari.  Although it is cliché, a shield tanked Drake can give you a lot of leeway to learn mission mechanics while not having to worry much about your ship.   Below is a very boring but strong as hell Drake template.  A few things to note about this fit: as your get better at understanding missions, you can probably start sacrificing shield moduless in exchange for additional BCS units and an afterburner.  The point below is to show you a relatively cheap and effective ship, not the be-all end-all of mission fits.  The Drone Link Augmentor is meant to give your light drones more time to intercept pesky frigates.  Low missiles skills can cause frigs to be a real nightmare for the Drake.

[Drake, L4 Tank McBoring]

Advanced 'Limos' Heavy Missile Bay I, Scourge Heavy Missile
Advanced 'Limos' Heavy Missile Bay I, Scourge Heavy Missile
Advanced 'Limos' Heavy Missile Bay I, Scourge Heavy Missile
Advanced 'Limos' Heavy Missile Bay I, Scourge Heavy Missile
Advanced 'Limos' Heavy Missile Bay I, Scourge Heavy Missile
Advanced 'Limos' Heavy Missile Bay I, Scourge Heavy Missile
Advanced 'Limos' Heavy Missile Bay I, Scourge Heavy Missile
Drone Link Augmentor I

Large Shield Extender II
Large Shield Extender II
Large Shield Extender II
Invulnerability Field II
Invulnerability Field II
Shield Recharger II

Shield Power Relay II
Shield Power Relay II
Power Diagnostic System II
Ballistic Control System II

Medium Core Defence Field Purger I
Medium Core Defence Field Purger I
Medium Core Defence Field Purger I

Other ships to consider are the Hurricane (Eve’s jack of all trades battlecruiser), a Gila (For those that want an exotic missile/shield/drone boat) or the Myrmidon.  These are all battlecruisers, but I have flown all of them in level four missions, and I recommend you learn how to do so as well.  I think the Myrmidon is also very versatile.  You can fly it with any turret system as it has no weapon bonuses to lose, can be shield or armor tanked, and can fit two flights each of medium and light drones, or more creative mixes.  I honestly find fitting Amarrian ships tedious, but have corpmates that swear by the Golden Banana or the Harbinger.

I specifically avoid recommending any Battleship hulls.  This is because you don’t need a battleship to run level fours, and they require a lot more skill training than any battlecruiser to achieve similar results  I have seen many new corpmates lose their first battleship in a seemingly innocuous L4 due to warp-scramming frigs or capacitor issues  Here is another rule of thumb once you start thinking about BS and larger hulls:  If you need more than one fitting module to make an entirely Tech II module BS work, don’t fly it.  Do not copy a fit from Battleclinic or a corpmate without understanding why it works the way it does.

Mission Strategies

Fly with multiple people. I recommend a group of 3-4 people/pilots.  My ideal mission group consists of two people playing two accounts.  One pilot flies something with a huge tank (see the Drake above) and jumps into a pocket before everyone else, shoots everything, waits for every hostile to target and attack his ship, and then the rest of the gang comes in to mop up.  The 2-3 support pilots can fly just about anything.  For a newer player, this could be a DPS fit Cruiser or BC.  I personally love the Stealth Bomber loaded up with target painters.  Cheap and it makes things go boom.

The goal of this setup is to pull missions quickly (2 people flying 4 pilots will make more than 1 person chain pulling) while still keeping the isk pool large.  If you get past 3 distinct players, I find it to be a blast but financially ineffective.  Also, the more players you add, the more you dilute the LP and standing gains.  Having a slew of pilots also makes it easier to be choosey about your missions.  Some are worth far more than others, an sometimes you can get a few missions at the same time in the same system, which reduces travel time.

The Kicker

Salvage.  Most players hate it.  I bought a corpmate a Noctis so I could stop doing it.  But salvage makes money if you are smart about it.  If you have 3+ pilots in a mission fleet, strongly consider having someone salvage, or rotate salvage duties.  Also agree on payout beforehand.  I use the following formula:  The salvager gets half of what he sells the salvage for, and everyone else gets a cut equal to the time they helped for.  And for the love of god, do not just blindly sell to buy orders without looking first.  Depending on your luck , salvage is worth about 75% to 125% of the bounties and payout of a mission, so take advantage of this.  Also, if you find selling and/or refining salvage interesting, you may be a budding Industrialist ™!

Final Thoughts

If you are in a corp and are working on standing, you can reach agreements with other players to stay logged in and part of a fleet while they grind standing in exchange for the same courtesy to them later on.  You can also do this with alts. 

Kill missions that target other factions will tend to tank your faction standing real fast.  This may be one of the biggest arguments for having two accounts to run missions with:  You can decline on one character, and start pulling on the second. is a great place to read about other player’s experiences with missions.

Learn damage and resist characteristics of the various pirate factions and fit accordingly if needed.

I’ll have more to say about other methods of making money in future articles.

Fly safe!

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Eve, as we are often told, is a sandbox experience.  The point of the game is what you make of it.   It is equally valid to be a carebear, pirate, null-sec warrior or market trader.  Most players are adamant that their way of playing is the right way, and so is the other guy’s.  But is this true?  Given the current game mechanics, I would argue that there are right and wrong ways to play Eve, because some styles of play are inherently more robust.

If you thought I was talking about piracy, you win one internet!

Big Disclaimer:  Although what I am about to propose is easy to take as anti-pirate, I am not saying that current pirates are bad or wrong, just that the system heavily favors those who define fun as blowing up non-combat ships.

Let’s illustrate this point with a topical example, courtesy of everyone’s favorite group, the GSF.  For those unaware, the current Ice Interdiction is based on at least two pilots flying in tandem in a given system,  a ganker and what we’ll call a tanker.  The tanker flies an Orca with pre-fit Brutixes (Bruti?) ready and waiting.  This pilot has to have above -5.0 sec status, and preferably is not hostile with the local Empire Faction either.  The other pilot, usually a goon, can have any sec status he wants, and just has to fly around not getting CONCORDOKKENED if that applies.

The setup for the actual gank consists of getting both pilots into a system, and usually moving the Orca to a safespot or series of safespots, off-grid from anything else in system.  This will be important!  Once in place, they find a ship to kill, the ganker hops in a Brutix and warps to the ship, pops it, then CONCORD shows up and there are two big explosions and two pods racing away as fast as possible.  The Orca pilot follows and loots the wrecks.

This pirate play-style is much more favored by the current system that the victim’s, and I think I can prove why.  This is especially true in 1v1 and small scale situations.

Mining is a very visible, very slow, and (in order to increase the reward in regards to time) a very optimized activity.  Fitting is limited, and offense is not really an option.  Evasion is limited to docking up once a potential hostile enters the system, if you are aware of this (not all gankers have a sec status that appears on the local list).  Most mining sites are warpable without any effort required to locate the destination (exploration sites are an exception).

In an actual encounter, there is almost no way most industrial or mining ships can align and warp or target and jam faster that a BC can lock and fire, or target and scram   I say almost no way, because any situation in which one would actually want to use an industrial/mining ship precludes a fitting that would have a chance at escaping a PvP fit BC.  I am ignoring Tech II industrials.

Further, the system is stacked to help the pirate.  If he is using safes, he will be almost impossible to find, especially if he is below -5, in which case he will be warping around the system every 6 - 10 seconds AND drawing CONCORD out of places where anyone lawful might actually be.  In a pod or shuttle to maximize align times.  Good luck scanning that down and catching it.  I know this is technically possible, but in practice, have your friend go out in his pod and warp around a system and try to scram him.

Finally, the pirate loses far less, even if caught, than the industrialist.  If the pirate is already below -5.0, then any sec status loss is purely academic.  Currently the value of his loss is very little, probably in the neighborhood of 1m ISK.  This will change soon, but the value of a lost BC is in the tens of millions.  The loss of a mining or industrial ship is likely in the hundreds of millions.

Systematically, piracy of the Interdiction nature is favored by the mechanics of the game over industrial pursuits.  I won’t say that this is right or wrong, but if all play styles are supposed to be equally valid, it seems odd to give such an advantage to one style over another.  If I were a miner, I would maybe look at more secure methods of generating income, or other fictional places to spend my spare time.

If you have thoughts about this, please let me know if the comments!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Guide: Frigates and You

EDIT:  This was written in 2011, and has not been updated to reflect the Retribution changes to frigates. 

So you just graduated from flight school, and plugged your pod into the spaceship the academy gave you, civilian equipment and all.  Maybe you accepted a mission to take out some pirates, and found out that your ship seems a little… underwhelming.  The good news is, there are a lot of frigates that you can very quickly upgrade to.  The bad news is there are a lot of frigates to choose from.  Six per race, to be precise.  So how to choose?  Luckily, frigates fall into a few categories, defined by the bonuses on any given hull.


Every single ship in Eve has at least 2 ship bonuses.  Some have more, but are generally more advanced Tech II or Tech III hulls that are a bit beyond the scope of this article.  The bonuses on each ship will tell you how it is intended to be used.

These bonuses can be grouped, to some extent, and the following list is by no means complete:
  • Offensive: Bonuses relating to weapon damage, rate of fire (ROF), range (optimal or falloff), missile velocity or flight time, and for some Amarr ships, turret capacitor modifications.
  • Defensive: Just about anything with the words ‘shield’ or ‘armor’ in the bonuses is designed to increase defensive capabilities.
  • Industrial: Mining turret and cargo capacity bonuses.
  • Electronic Warfare (EWAR): These bonuses  are intended to take away capabilities of other ships, are include bonuses impacting stasis webifiers, warp jammers, ECM, sensor dampeners, turret disruptors, and many other things that are generally painful in pvp settings.
  • Specialty Bonuses:  Most Tech I (beginner) frigates do not have specialized bonuses. These are often related to a Tech II hull designed for a specific role.

Usually you will want to add modules to your frigate (often called ‘fitting’) that will benefit from the bonuses on the hull.  By fitting to your bonuses, you maximize your ship for the intended use.  So don’t use a Navitas (with cargo and mining bonuses) as a combat ship, use an Incursus or Tristan.

A final note on bonuses:  They are multiplied by your racial ship class skill.  This means  if you have Gallente Frigate trained to level 4, your Incursus will receive a 40% bonus to small hybrid turret falloff range (4 x 10%) and  a 20% bonus to small hybrid turret damage (4 x 5%).  Read the bonuses and races closely to make sure you are fitting properly!

Frigate Types

By now you probably want me to get on with it and just tell you what to fly, right?  Well, I won’t.  I will however give you a pretty table that may help you.

Tech I Frigate Roles
Tech II Role
Electronic Attack Ships
Inquisitor, Punisher
Kestrel, Merlin
Incursus, Tristan
Breacher, Rifter
Assault Frigates

As you can see, there are 4 main classes of frigates, and I have split them based on hull bonuses and general characteristics.  But many ships can blur the lines.  All four “Fast” frigates can be effectively flown as combat frigates, and there are cases where you would rather use the fast frigate to transport goods, or use a combat frigate to fulfill an EWAR function.

I also mapped out the Tech II roles that each ship class leads to, although that is a separate topic to cover properly.

Final Thoughts

Frigates are among the most varied and interesting class of ships in Eve.  Creative fitting can make a player who has existed for a few hours a force multiplier in PvP.  Frigates are fast and can get a player through situations that would be fatal to larger, slower ships.  Frigates are also a brilliant place to learn how to fit ships, and to learn one of the fundamental concepts of Eve:  Choose and fit your ship to a specific purpose.

New Eden is more often than not a hostile environment, and although you may feel underpowered and overwhelmed in your first few frigates, stick with these ships.  Learning to fly and fit frigates is a stepping stone to choosing specialities, learn how to fir larger ships with more options, and when to follow and break fitting rules.

Fly safe!


Good morning, evening or whatever time it where you are at!

Who am I?

Someone who likes to play Eve Online and obsess over various minutiae of games design and gameplay.  I've been dabbling in high sec and low sec for the last year across a variety of characters, and have messed about in missions, trade, industry, wormholes and some (usually unsuccessful) pvp.

Why should you read what I write?

I have no idea why any of us read about fictional, digital worlds that we spend time interacting, so you tell me.

How often am I going to update this thing?

Hopefully once a week or more.  My goal is to write in two main areas: Commentary and Education.  I like talking about internet spaceships, and I hope to make learning how to play internet spaceships a little easier for others.

Well I think that covers relevant introductory things.  Fly safe, or barring that, fly fun!