Assault frigates redesign

At Eve Vegas CCP Fozzie indicated at a roundtable that they are still working on what their design philosophy for Assault Frigates (AF) will be when that change comes. They are current eclipsed in nearly every respect by the Tech 3 Destroyer class. The versatility of the T3Ds makes them more than a Jack of all trades but a bit of a master of all trades.

So, To fix this I think the AF class needs to go the opposite direction and have a laser sharp design philosophy and be focused on filling their role precisely better than any other ship.

Tank stats and bonuses

I propose that for this redesign we look at some conventions in Eve ship design that may need to be modified. Nearly every, if not every, ship in Eve has a resist profile that follows their racial pattern that is improved by T2 resists. But why does EVERY Ship have resists for their non-racially favored tank type (e.g. armor for Caldari or shield for Gallente)? I suggest that there should be ship types, in this case AF, that might not have any resists to their non-racially favored tank, but in exchange their base resists get 10% improvement on their base stats. So, a hawk would have:

Hawk
shield
EM: 5% TH: 88% KI: 76.25% EX: 60%
armor
EM: 0% TH: 0% KI: 0% EX: 0%
hull
EM: 33% TH: 33% KI: 33% EX: 33%

This would mean that there would be no viable fittings for an armor tank hawk. Well, there isn’t anyway. But the extra EHP for the shields comes at the cost of a 10% EHP loss at the armor level. For a net gain overall. And it fits with the specialization theme that T2 ships should have.

Propulsion

Another change I would make is that the current MWD signature radius role bonus is a little weak IMO for a frigate class. I would replace it with about a 100% bonus to Afterburner speed role bonus. This would put the speeds that AF could achieve with AB still less than MWD speeds but still fast enough to be a clearly superior choice to a MWD. Though there would still be some niche fits that use MWD.

This has some significant effects on the ship. One of the most obvious to me is that with those speeds and a small increase in EHP (outlined above) this class would be very survivable especially against heavier ships. With it being the fastest AB ships in the game it would make for some very brawl oriented ships that can get on top of something that was slowed down, by interceptors say, and burn them down. They would likely out pace the T3D at holding ground on the field of battle. They would be a strong choice for defensive fleets covering strategic locations in Null and low sec space. They would be a good counter to interceptors, but not perfect, since they would have trouble engaging the inteys. They would be excellent against large numbers of large ships and might even be superior to bombers at killing lone capitals, but, they can be caught and killed.

This would make a fun class and I think would blunt the T3D menace somewhat and make for some interesting uses for a class that has historically been a lot of fun but has fallen on hard times.

 

Skill injectors

I’ve been thinking about the recent changes in eve online. A lot of people are expressing their feelings about the rapid changes some of which are making fundamental changes in the game.

Right now I am thinking specifically about the skill injectors and Ironbank injecting and training all skills to maximum. The reactions are unsurprisingly mixed. There are the usual accusations about pay-to-win and the counter arguments that skillpoints don’t dictate actual in game skill.

I think both sides have fair points to make. I do disagree though with the phrasing of injecting skills as pay-to-win, but I do agree that something has been lost. Because of the website eveboard.com we can track who is the leader in skillpoints in several categories including most total skillpoints. So, now, Dr. Caymus, who has been the leader for the skillpoint race for some time now (as long as I’ve been paying attention), is no longer the skillpoint leader. So, CCP has in fact killed the game, but not Eve Online, they killed Skillqueue online(tm), a close relative of Spreadsheets in Space(tm).

I’m glad that Dr. Caymus is participating in the discussion. He has been sitting there at the top for so long it’s become his claim to fame. It is sad that his singular efforts are no longer going to be valued in the same way. But the flip side of that is, that no matter how much effort I put forth I can never gain any substantive ground on him in this race for skillpoints, nor can anyone else. As game design goes the skillqueue race isn’t very good, there is only room for one person on top, and it’s not due to skill or even effort, but longevity alone. He deserves a medal or perhaps an in-game item to commemorate his achievement.

While a part of me will, in fact, mourn the death of skillqueue online, I argue that perhaps it’s time has come and deserved its ignoble death. It is being consumed like the prey species it is by another game, a predatory species that is more worthy of its player base. I don’t have a catchy name yet, I think what is going to replace it is still taking shape. But every time CCP pushes big changes we hear cries and laments that they are killing the game. And they are. But sometimes the game they are killing is already dying on the vine and needs to be pruned. That game that is dying isn’t Eve Online and it’s being consumed by a better game, we hope.

I <3 Dust 514 a little, I think

So, I have not even mentioned my recent addiction to Dust 514. I’m having a great time playing this game. It’s a great game considering where it’s at in development. I got back into it at Eve Vegas where they had a playable demo with tournaments. I had a great time doing that there. When I got back home I got back into it and haven’t stopped.

The new squad finder is awesome. Not only does it let you find a squad to run around with but it means there are squads in most matches working together and making it more than a COD gankfest. This game has become much more strategic and fun to play. I play a logi. That is a suit that has low to moderate tank, moderate (depending on your weapon choice) damage and 2-4 equipment slots. They are basically the deuce and a half of Dust. I run a minmatar basic logi suit (the M-1) and have a couple of compositions. Usually I am dropping up-links following a squad around keeping them up and fighting as much as possible. My Kill death ratio (KDR) is awful but getting better (.28 I think) but a good logi isn’t going to have a great KDR, but his team will. My point of pride in recent games that I do well, is that the only people who are out scoring me on warpoints has been the teams that I support.  Sometimes I get terrible groups where there is no coordination and its just a turkey shoot, but then I just get in militia gear and have fun. I am almost into advanced logi suits. Once that is done I plan on working on my dropship piloting skills. I’ll never be that guy with the 12/1 KDR with nova knives. I’m just never gonna be that good. But I can support a squad very well and keep that guy who has played every FPS and is a pro up and going all match.

I have never played an FPS in PVP before this game with any seriousness. I logged in to halo a couple of times and I think one of the Call of Duty title a couple of times. But none of those were engaging to me since there was no repercussions, no results. Your KDR is the most significant thing in those games. But because dust has results, I get money, gear and in theory territory for my actions it’s much more engaging. And it’s becoming a fun game with some interesting tactical aspects.

The point is that I recommend anyone try out dust 514. It’s a fun game and has potential. The recent staff changes at CCP, and the new direction that Dust is taking gives me alot of hope that this game is evolving in a good direction. That being said though, it’s really at the point where it should have been at open beta launch. There are some major features missing or incomplete:

  • No PVE content
  • No areas where you can practice fits, vehicle skills outside of matches. Since Vehicles cost money, and your team is limited on how many vehicles are in play. It seems unfair to your team to spawn a dropship and spend the whole match practicing flying out on the edges of the map not contributing.
  • Racial types of most suits and vehicles are incomplete (e.g. no heavy caldari suits, no amarr vehicles etc…)
  • integration with Eve is rudimentary. Orbital strikes are possible but not worth the effort most of the time. currently there are the ingame ones that don’t require a ship to be overhead. So, why bother risking a destroyer sitting there vulnerable in low sec?
  • Player markets aren’t implemented
  • Dust corporations are less capable than eve corporations, so, an eve player can steal a corp from dust players via the traditional shares voting method but dust players can’t reciprocate.
  • lots of other little things that just aren’t there.

Overall if you look at it as a beta version of a game it’s really pretty good. Because there are so many missing features things like weapons and suit balance are in a strange spot since there is really only one or two of each items. There are lots of people who complain about the game, and some of it’s deserved but most of those people haven’t played for months and don’t know much about it’s current state of play. So, if you want to try Dust click my recruiter link below

https://dust514.com/recruit/irJhYq/

by using my link to start your account you get:

Once your Recruits create an account and log into DUST 514, they’ll receive a Recruit Assault Rifle and a 7-Day Active Skill Booster to help them kill and skill. And the more War Points they earn, the more Recruit gear they’ll unlock:

  • Earn 25,000 War Points to light enemies up with a Recruit Submachine Gun.
  • Earn 100,000 War Points and get a Recruit Militia Dropsuit to wear into battle.

Rubicon No turning back

When the Rubicon theme for Eve online’s next expansion was announced I had to look up what it meant. It is a line in the sand, which after a time I have come to realize is very appropriate for eve.

One feature that had me puzzled for a while was the high-sec Player Owned Customs Offices (POCO). The style of gameplay in High-sec is very different from that of null-sec and I wondered why CCP would want to do this. It doesn’t, at first, seem like a way to draw more players to the game. But, CCP has taken the approach that if you make the game mechanics better, then there may be some turn over of players leaving and coming, but overall a better game will have a larger player base.

I lived in high sec for a time, and overall I found the experience unfulfilling. I could work in my home system for weeks, months, or even years and never interact with people except when I purposely sought out interaction, which was nearly always not desired by the other party. The current structure of High-Sec makes cooperation, conflict or even just discussion with others in the game is problematic at best. One of the rules in the high sec corp I was in was “never talk in local”. The high sec mindset is generally either total avoidance or total harassment. Either ganking or carebearing. There is little advantage to diplomacy and cooperation.

POCOs will improve gameplay in high sec in ways that are hard to predict. The initial response is going to be small mercenary corporations will start taking POCOs from the NPC owners. This will create conflict as some of those merc corps will raise taxes on those POCOs to unreasonable levels. This will create inefficiency in the market and lots of downstream effects. The main thing is that it creates player interaction. POCOs by themselves aren’t going to “fix” high sec. But they are a step in the right direction. Hopefully, this will see corporations creating alliances for reasons other than just raising the cost of Wardecs. Real alliances where there is a sense of mutual interest in high sec would vastly improve the player experience there. I don’t think we will see anything on the scale of the CFC but an alliance in high sec could easily band together enough resources to hold POCOs in a small region and make it not worth a mercenary groups time to take back. It’s a start. It gives players a reason to talk to the other people who call high sec home, to interact with them. Because, lets be honest here, Eve is a terrible solo game. But, the best MMO.

Battle of KW-I6T

Yesterday, there was a big battle that occurred in KW-I6T. I don’t know what started it. the Reporters over at The Mittani.com are better reporters than I am there is bound to be coverage there. But below is a synopsis of my experience. The fight had been going on for several hours when the east coast (Eastern Standard Time) Fleet Commanders started logging in and forming up fleets to join in the fun. So, I looked at my options and headed to the first staging point which was just 4 jumps from one of my jump clones so no big deal and I was on my way. Just as I get to the staging system I figure out I don’t have the exact ship I need and that a LAWN travel fleet is forming in my home system where my proper ship is located. So, ok, I bite the bullet and death clone back to my starting point, where, we form up and travel gate to gate back to near where I the main fleet was forming, where I had just jump cloned to and death cloned from. clear? Then, when the rest of the CFC was all formed up, we turned around and passed through the LAWN staging system on route to KW-I6T. That is why it’s called the CFC.

The travel there was uneventful except for the usual lost sheep herding the FC had to do and eventually we were punting into KW-I6T.

The fight was the expected TIDI nightmare with 15 minute warp times etc… at first. When we got there there was just over 2000 people in system. As we stayed numbers dropped in system but performance continued to drop. I suspect that numbers in system were dropping mostly due to players frustration at performance. But also due to the fact that the players who started the fight (probobly mostly EU TZ) needed some sleep on a work night. Also, most of the dreadnaughts that had been on the field earlier had already died. So, the question is why did the server performance continue to decline as player numbers, and capital ship numbers dropped. even when player counts dropped to below 1400 sever performance dropped to the point where it eventually failed. The main target of our fleet, an Erebus was allowed to escape because of this. To a null sec player this would be the equivalent of the world of warcraft server failing whenever you assaulted the final boss of an expansion. Extremely frustrating. But also, not surprising. Since this was an unplanned event it is likely that the server node was not a reinforced node. But I wonder why the server node that is being overloaded can’t switch to being a router for the information that is overloading it and pass on all instructions to a reinforced node? It seems odd to me, a non-IT type, that there isn’t some way to just let the overloaded server pass on the instructions that are overloading it to another server that is set up to handle this kind of battle.

But, it was fun, I got on some carrier kills and a bomber. the imagery from the battle was spectacular. here is the best shot I took. Some of the shots people took of the Titans DD on the dread fleet was awesome.

battle_of_KW-I6T

Solar video

Our nearest star is an extremely interesting bit of matter in space. It is the source of all life, energy and commerce in our life. everything we do is in part a result of that ongoing explosion in space. Today the The Solar Dynamics Laboratory posted a neat video of a M9 solar flare that occured on Oct 24. It was interesting because it was facing earth and gave the SDO satellite an excellent view of the event. So, here it is.

We are currently near the peak of the 11 year solar cycle. What that means is that Solar Flares, Coronal Mass Ejections and other types of earth impacting solar weather are more frequent (though not necessarily more intense). Space weather is therefore fairly interesting to those of us who find this stuff interesting. We get to see solar flares like this one fairly regularly during this period of the cycle.