Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tier 3 Battlecruisers


A rather neat video showcasing the Tier 3 battlecruisers, engine trails and the new warp effect that are being introduced in the Crucible patch/expansion.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Milestone

A few days ago this blog turned two hundred and fifty.

The posting frequency has been erratic but trending towards some sort of stable regime in the past year.

On the 22nd of May 2009 I created the first post on this blog, and it was a re-post from the 22nd of December 2008.

At that time I was in an alliance called The Reapers who were great folks but everything comes to an end.

I was writing bits and pieces here there and everywhere and it was fast becoming unwieldy so obviously the next step was to amalgamate everything worth saving and create this blog.

Well not quite.

What I created was two blogs, one for fiction and the other a more typical style format.

I soon realised this creates double the work, so after about forty eight posts the two were amalgamated.

This blogs continuation is at least because of two things.

Often in game I'm asked the same questions time and time again, so those were soon turned into posts and now I can just link the URL and once they've read it deal with any unforeseen follow up questions.

The other is this has become a written memory of sorts, plotting the evolution of the game, my activities, the people I've met, etc etc.

These days it's on the list of blogs that CCP maintains on the Eve Online website, a sometimes contributor to the Blog Banter project and the traffic is on the rise.

That's all fine.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Strange Avatar Activity

Zooming around in New Eden I've noticed something strange, especially the closer you are to Jita.

Characters with the same first and last name, like muzshr muzshr or sajimnb sajimnb.

Using those two as an example, though others are around who are the same, they joined the game at about the same time, they created their own corporation on the same day, it's a single person corporation and they are not at war with anybody when I checked.

In addition we have ghtsg who only has a single name, hasn't been in the game as long as the two above, is also in a single person corp ( just gained some new members today, like nwywhs ) created on the same day.

Furthermore we have zzhbnj and jjkkmmx who are also in single person corps, created on about the same day as each other but they both joined the game on the same day.

At the moment I don't know what to make of this.

What have you seen?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Crucible Changes

Amid the back slapping and general happiness surrounding the impending Crucible expansion it must be remembered we are not sitting on a peak and rising.

The peak is behind us, we are in a trough, only now are we beginning the long climb up the next one.

I have about 224 people in my contacts list for various reasons.

At any one time only five, or on a good day ten, of those people are logged in.

So being generous the most I see is five percent of my contacts online at any one time.

Those are the sorts of figures that Crucible needs to change for the better.

Will this happen?

It has a good chance, probably the best chance of any recent expansion.

The doom and gloom merchants are always braying about how Eve Online is dying and the end is nigh but this could genuinely be a crossroads for both Eve Online and CCP.

I'm both enthusiastic and apprehensive about coming events.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Crucible Roaming CCP

The Crucible expansion is about to land in a few days.  Obviously CCP are hoping for a boost to paying subscriber numbers once the expansion has settled.

I have to say I'm glad they finally picked a name as calling Crucible the "Winter" expansion was getting old when I'm sitting here in low thirty degree Celsius temperatures and have two fans on constantly.

I digress.

Usually after an expansion the number of concurrent users online has a boost, sometimes to about 60,000.  After the Incarna "expansion" this didn't happen due to the extreme weakness and disappointment of that release.

For those reading this in the distant future the first release of the Captains Quarters was a disaster.

In time we'll be able to judge the success of Crucible but it should eclipse at least the Incarna update, with any luck also Apocrypha.

CCP have also decided to throw some employees into pods and have set off from Polaris, the last remaining bastion of Eve TV, tournament videos that update quickly and useful Christmas ship gifts.

After years of coping abuse on the forums for all manor of things they've finally snapped and have decided to hunt down and destroy those that have wronged them in low and null security space.

Or not.

At the time of writing we really don't know what they are doing, perhaps some of them are playing the game for the first time, seeing what this funny little spaceship game is all about.

Maybe they are going to defend Chribba's POS from whoever thinks it's a good idea to shoot it this week.

In due course all will become clear.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Clear Skies Killer?

The folks at Rooks and Kings make Eve Online videos apparently, well this is the first one I've seen.

Grab the 1080P version, watch it on the 52 inch and be amazed.


They've done a fantastic job.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Redemption

CCP Grayscale has written a dev blog about the changes to anomalies that will be released with the Crucible expansion.

To me the more interesting item was a post he made in the comments thread attached to that dev blog.

"Also, a couple of things I'm expecting people to ask about that I want to clear up in advance:


First, this blog was entirely my idea; the original implementation was badly designed and I have no problem admitting that. We make mistakes, we learn from them, and we do things better next time around.

Second, yes, there was a huge angry forum thread for the first blog and I ignored it. That was also a mistake (obviously, in retrospect). This happened partly because I was too focused on looking for reasoned critiques to appreciate the significance of the huge outburst that it generated, but mainly because I've been increasingly withdrawn from the forums for the last year or two. It's a pretty draining experience reading page after page after page of angry posts, about all kinds of topics but all ultimately driven by the same core concerns of abandonment and neglect, and agreeing with those concerns, and not being able to do much of anything about it. As a result, I've been avoiding listening to the forums and focusing on doing the best work I can, but the former occasionally precludes the latter. On the bright side, it feels like the mood on the forums has been improving hugely in the last month or two, and I'm making an effort to read and post more as a result. Whether or not this is a good thing is of course a matter of personal opinion ;)"


Quoting the surprisingly frank and truthful part.

"and agreeing with those concerns"

Either CCP have really turned over a new leaf or they still have discontent in the ranks.

Time will tell.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Blog Banter 30: Stealth Storefront Implementation



"With the Winter expansion possibly being named 'Crucible', it certainly is a melting pot of refinements and tweaks aimed at making the EVE experience smoother and more wholesome. If the developers suddenly found themselves some spare resources and approached you for an additional feature to include before release, what single concept would you pitch them and how would you implement it?

For bonus points, the one thing lacking from this "patchwork" of iterations is a cohesive storyline to package "The Crucible" together. How could this expansion be marketed to potential new customers?"


Well we now know the "Winter" expansion will be called Crucible and with approximately fifty changes to the game announced so far it has the potential to be a good one.

However what would I change that has not been announced so far?

Well many things but something which I believe would be obtainable is influenced by the "Winter" expansion changes to the Customs facilities.

In high, low and null security space the markets let you buy and sell, with some scamming potential thrown in for good measure.

However what if you could modify your prices based on the standings that individual, corporation, alliance has with you or your corporation?

While I believe this would be of more use in null security space it could certainly be used all over.

As an example I wish to sell some 425mm Railgun II's at a station somewhere in null, but I prefer to supply my friends rather than my enemies.  So a discount of 20% will be given to those who are +10 to me, and 10% to those who are +5.

Now the discount figures are not linear so a dastardly Goonswarm pilot tries to buy out all the stock and resell for profit, or just to deny our magnificent men and women in their flying machines some shiny guns.

I, seeing this as a potential problem, have Goonswarm set to -10, and I have a 100% surcharge for those lucky enough to have that standing, so while I cannot totally deny the sale I will make more ISK from his action which helps me and maybe my corp/alliance.

Certainly you could not set standings, discounts or surcharges, and you may move more product or make more money, but the option would be there if you wish.

--------------

Tying the Crucible expansion together is tricky.  I considered the selling point of:

We listened, we changed, we delivered!

However this could be a little too much like the NGE or some pizza chain.

Otherwise some sort of storyline which includes Concord and Interbus updating various systems including the Neocom could be implemented?

/me shrugs






Crucible Video Goodies


Cilayin from the forums has posted a video displaying most of the visual changes coming in the Crucible expansion.

Good work that man!

* I assume Cilayin is male IRL, I base this on the typical Eve Online player male to female ratio.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Random Crucible Images

Some random Crucible images dragged from the web.


Crucible Splash Screen

Map Options...Jump Bridge Routes!?!

Huge Session Timer....Compensating?

Estimated Training Time in Prerequisites

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Crucible is Go!


We have a date, November the 29th, we have an official web page outlining the changes (patch notes to follow naturally), a proper name (Crucible), and some quotable quotes.

Like...

"RE-IGNITE THE FIRE"

and;

"This is EVE re-forged."

Etc etc.

Believe it or don't but I think CCP might even realise this expansion is a make or break deal, especially when they are giving away Christmas gifts this season that don't appear to be totally useless.


Repairing Love

Damaged modules are a pain, their is no current way to tell if anythings damaged apart from selecting all and repairing all.

So using the new power I probably shouldn't have this has been created.


I'm not sure how well this would cater for the colour blind but visually for me it would be an obvious pointer towards those modules that need some repairing love.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Neon Pointers


This video recently released by CCP highlights a few things that should be available in the "Winter" expansion.

Namely engine trails, the warp tunnel and visual distortions caused by the warp tunnel.

Particularly when the ship passes through the planet.

I don't think everybody will be rejoicing at the re-introduction of engine trails, especially those ships trying to escape a gate camp, but to me this all looks pretty good.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Most Important Expansion

So I was trying to figure out how many changes CCP have said they are or might be going to make with the "Winter" expansion.

Then I started considering the work involved in listing all the changes but that sounded like work so trawling the forums I found a post by Iam Widdershins who has already done it.

Here it is!

Looking through the list even I was surprised at the amount of changes planned, and also a little concerned.

From a balance point of view I'm worried that this amount of change will provide a massive unforeseen imbalance and then the patches to correct the issues will rock the game for a while creating an unhappy user base  again, for a while.

However I hope it will be awesome, I think CCP needs it to be awesome.

This could very well be the most important expansion in the life of Eve Online.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Captive Audience

To the new reader who is now following my shambolic ramblings.

Welcome!

Congratulations to the existing followers who have put up with this for so long.

To all the lurkers, yes you know who you are.

Comfortable?

Good.

Lets continue.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Eve Information Portal

After numerous days of winning CCP have released a dev blog introducing the Eve Information Portal (EIP).



WOW I wonder WoT gave them that idea?

Eve Online is not an onion, it doesn't need extra layers, I don't want yet another screen extolling the virtues of the game I already play, the choir does not need to be preached to, I have enough Kool Aid.

It would seem the idea behind the EIP makes it easier for CCP to release fast updates, live access to major updates etc.

Expect adverts.

This is not a good thing.

As has been shown several times in the past (boot.ini, etc) getting an update early is not always wise, even when it's been officially released.

I prefer to utilise some other members of the Eve community as my test subjects and then if no major forum objections are forthcoming off to patch installation land I go.  The happy coincidence is this testing procedure happens during my regularly scheduled unconscious time.

With luck now we have the new and improved super happy fun time CCP they will provide an option to switch it off, or never switch it on for the Linux users which is me half of the time.

I suspect the EIP is also another vehicle to make the game more accessible to new players, something a bit friendlier than the current splash screen, but how far do we change the game until it's something else?

The EIP is an unnecessary frivolity and I see no valid need for it.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Winter Expansion has a Name?

That name could be Crucible!

Or it might not be.

Evidence!

The real deal or Photoshop?
Who knows!!

Of all the names it could be this one would be suitable considering the issues of the past few months.

The Winter expansion aka Crucible (?) could create the alloy that forges a stronger Eve Online.

Or it's just an excuse to write some corny crap and feed the voracious blog for another day!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

POS Polishing

The Winter expansion juggernaut of announcements rolls on!

Today we have some news of a revamp to POS's.

If you have to deal with a POS or two then after reading the dev blog you'll be saying stuff like "Holy Crap!" and "OMFG!".

First cab off the rank is the introduction of Fuel Blocks for the four races as seen below.
Jello shots for POS's
Now looking at that image I don't know which Fuel Block is for which race, so spending thirty seconds in The Gimp I came up with this...
Mmmmmm yummy Cherenkov radiation!
Much easier, moving on.


"Setup/Takedown Timers

The current timers for anchoring, onlining, offlining and unanchoring structures are suboptimal from a player-experience perspective, so we optimized them.

Here are some fun changes:
Jump Bridges now take 30 seconds to anchor (but are otherwise unchanged)
Cynosural Generators now take 10 seconds to anchor and unanchor (but are otherwise unchanged)
Cyno Jammers are unchanged
CSAAs and CSMAs now take 30 seconds to anchor, 3 seconds to online/offline and 10 minutes to unanchor
Turrets, launchers, EW batteries and hardeners now take 5 seconds to anchor/unanchor and 120 seconds to online/offline
Every other structure not already mentioned in this list now takes 5 seconds to anchor/unanchor and 3 seconds to online/offline."


One of the biggest pains with a POS is setting it up, changing the setup etc etc, apart from being able to queue the changes (which you cannot currently do and is not planned at this stage) these timing changes will make the process much nicer.

"The CPU and Power load will no longer have any impact on your fuel needs - all towers now need the same amount of fuel, regardless of configuration."

This is also a great help as the POS will use the same amount of fuel whatever is on, pretty much a high security space buff as corps/alliances can just leave the guns online outside of war decs, and then if you attract a war dec you don't have to online anything, another time saver.

The fuel cost to run a POS will be about the same or a bit less than it currently is.  Initially we'll see the typical cost spike as the supply chain gets into gear but later on it'll calm down.

One of the issues at the moment however is the implementation for the more pimped out towers like a Dread Guristas small/medium/large tower.  Previously those types of towers would use less fuel than the T1 options and thus be cheaper to run.  Come the "Winter" expansion (give it a proper name already!) they will not be cheaper to run, but will have a larger fuel bay so you'll be able to fuel them for perhaps 45 days instead of 28 days.

This solution is sub-optimal and needs to be changed, one suggestion is to also increase CPU and power for those sorts of towers.  We'll see what happens.

One item I didn't mention so far is the removal of passwords from jump bridges and relying on standings, a common sense change that was long in coming.

To wrap this up.

This is a positive change, the math is pretty sound though some people on the forum need to double check their figures before rage posting.  I'm concerned about my Dread Guristas tower regarding the fuel cost/usage but considering it's sitting in a hanger at the moment, and has been for a year or more, I can't be too upset.

I'd like to see the Fuel Blocks be a different colour like I illustrated above, this would avoid the situation we had for years with BPO and BPC confusion.

It remains to be seen how the rabble will accept the change but for me it's mostly a good solid move forward.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Rokh me Baby!

CCP have released an image of the last ship to be released in the "Winter" expansion, assuming no Christmas useless ship is given away.

The Caldari Naga as seen below in all its glory.


The interesting thing about this ship is it was imagined as a battleship by the creator David L.  CCP have decided re-purpose the design as a battlecruiser and make it similar to the Rokh.

The Rokh is one of those ships that has a dual purpose, a jack of all trades but master of none, so therefore isn't used very much.

During a roam, which are typically a couple of hours punctuated by short, sharp fights, if we see a Rokh in space we'll more often than not comment on it.

Common they are not.

So hopefully CCP will not be unleashing a battlecruiser sized Rokh upon the population of New Eden.

Nebulae!

CCP are re-vamping the look of the universe and are updating the nebulae effects.

I'm concerned they are going towards the shiny and not portraying space as a vast dull emptiness to cater for the ADHD, oh look a shiny thing, crowd.

One of my fellow bloggers has done the wonderful service of cruising around the Sisi test server and has posted some images, view them here.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Begone Mentor I want an Oracle!

Seemingly another day, another new announcement from CCP.

This time it's the new Amarr battlecruiser formally known as the Mentor in the Deviant Art competition, it's new name is the Oracle.

Stay for the beauty, ignore the stats.
Now this ship screams Amarr, when I saw the Mentor (now Oracle) as part of the competition it looked like it was already in Eve Online, obviously it isn't yet but it just seems to belong.

As usual CCP have not released any firm stats on the ship yet, some figures have turned up from the test server but these are subject to change, and have at least once from their first appearance.

Official Oracle CCP image that is subject to change

Only one more ship to be revealed and less then two months until 2012, but finally...

Evidence that huffing paint may be more of a problem at CCP than they know




Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Use CFL's!

It's been a long time coming but CCP have decided to once again walk along the tight rope balancing on one side a leopard and the other some hand grenades, they've announced a Gallente re-balance.

The number one item that caught my attention.

"Reduced Capacitor usage:
All hybrid turrets: -30% capacitor use"

No longer will my ships have the capacitor of a three year old iPhone 3G, gone will be the days of the mouse pointer dance of imminent death as I have to tightly manage power usage.

Well not quite but it will go some way towards improving the terrible power usage of Gallente ships.

"Power efficiency!  Bah!! Yeah we've heard of it.", a probable quote from a Roden Shipyards ship designer.

"Tracking Speed Increase:
All blaster turrets: +20% to Tracking speed"

So you mean my guns might now know where the enemy is and not where they were? Nice!

"Damage Increase:
All railgun turrets: +10% to Damage modifier"

Will people shift away from the Hurricane towards the Brutix or even the Myrmidon?

I'm not sure but at least Gallente battlecruisers could be considered as a viable option once again.

Some other stuff in the linked dev blog including a small CPU usage reduction to hybrid turrets, a small speed boost to most Gallente ships, inertia modifications, etc etc.

I assume this will be a first step from CCP towards balancing the Gallente quarter of the universe, and these quoted numbers are probably provisional, but it is a very welcome first step.

Maybe, just maybe at some point in the future a suggestion to bring along a Gallente ship on a roam will not be met with derision and scorn.

We can but dream.