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.

Eve-Survival.org 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!