Archive for July, 2009

Seyllin (re)visited

Jul
19
Seyllin I

Seyllin I

Rubble near Seyllin I

Rubble near Seyllin I

Show these images to anyone and they will recognize them right away: Seyllin I, the planet destroyed little over four months ago by the sheer force of a dying star. Or at least that is the official conclusion. One thing is certain, as good as the images I recorded are, they don’t do the reality justice. It really shows how insignificant we humans are as part of the universe. And how important it is for us to try and understand as much of that same universe as we can so events like this are not repeated.

What brought me to Seyllin was not sightseeing, but the First Seyllin Conference hosted by The Synenose Accord. During this conference several members of the Accord as well as guest speaker Evanda Char presented their findings to the public and sought to spark discussion and heighten interest about the Sleepers. While the whole thing lasted an hour longer than the official closing time never the less it was well worth attending in person. I received a lot of new information — as I have found reliable public sources to be scarce — as well as new food for thought.

And the after party wasn’t too bad either. Got to know Amaterasu, whom aside a friend of Inara’s seems to also be the lover of Reimei whom I’ve lately been talking a bit with at the Last Gate. Apparently Ethan lets them stay there. Speaking of Ethan, I couldn’t help but notice he didn’t manage to make an appearance. Wouldn’t surprise me though if something had come up to prevent that, his busy schedule makes mine look like vacation. Seem I will have to send a message to Evanda though if I ever want to get my question answered. She was kind enough to come to me at the Starscape Lounge but got distracted by an old aquintance whom I assume she hadn’t seen for a good while. Knowing that situation all too well I can’t hold it against her.

Video log: Trial by fire

Jul
14

The feed starts with a birds-eye view of a docking bay and the adjacent hangars, recorded from an overlooking balcony. Crew are loading and unloading various containers and crates, and repairs are in progress. The ship hull is easily recognized as a Drake class battlecruiser.

Such a magnificent piece of Caldari technology …

While Myrhial narrates the camera drone descends and focuses on various activities being performed on and around the ship, lingering as long as it stays interesting. Most personnel doesn’t notice but those who do greet the viewer with a grin or nod.

… and such amazing performance.

By this time the drone has ascended again and settled in the air in front of the balcony. Myrhial is leaning forward, arms folded on the railing, gaze resting dreamily on the vessel below. Her unusually happy mood softens her overall cold appearance. If it weren’t for her PRETA uniform, dark makeup and the crisp clear white hallway behind her brandishing a large golden corporate logo in the marble floor she could be mistaken for that same young woman working so diligently for the State now almost a year and a half ago. The spell is broken the moment she changes her focus to the viewer and chuckles.

The Drake was the first ship I really felt connected with beyond the wires. I still remember exactly how I lost it. Duty declared war on us, something about dealing with Guristas, it all went above my head back then. Being so freshly graduated I was occupied with settling in and build up some funds running errands for the Navy. I suppose not seeing them in the neighborhood lulled me into a false sense of security that I took an actual ship hull out while picking up the modules I had purchased for it. And then there was Vanden to intercept me on a stargate. No surprise I lost the “fight”. Not much of a fight missing modules, having no microwarp drive to escape and lacking the damage capacity to overpower the attacker. I ended up forgiving him though, a while ago when he spent a brief period in our ranks.

She pauses briefly and smirks.

And just a while ago I effortlessly destroyed eight ships in two different systems with the very same kind of ship. It was a thrill to see how much damage the missiles did, and in the second engagement the shields also got throughly tested. A shame Whittenoom’s craft was worse off, and Rathnon escaped just in time. I decided to retreat as well as the remaining enemy forces were taking their range tempting me to pursue them. I really didn’t feel like staying and dying to reinforcements.

It is remarkable to witness how much training pays off since I last flew a Drake was back in Derelik. While this current setup is far more tuned for raw damage rather than survival she did so well the militia forces left me alone and went for the Myrmidons instead.

Another pause, and she adjusts her posture to standing upright.

But I start to repeat myself in all this excitement. I am off to the Last Gate for some drinks. I know just the way to celebrate my new found love for Caldari technology. Karlos better have some fine Hak’len in stock. This time I will make an exception and drink it alone.

The feed fades to black and displays the corporate logo before cutting out.

The stuff of nightmares

Jul
8

Without a doubt the stuff of nightmares: A lesser strain mother, the largest rogue drone I have seen thus far. The battleship-sized defenders seemed so tiny next to her. She must have been the size of a carrier! And she really wasn’t happy we ravaged her hive.

An hour or two before the mother’s demise Heyna and I set off to sweep through a neighboring region in search of signatures. Having wasted quite a bit of time on an elusive signature that turned out to be a wormhole we stumbled upon a drone hive that the DED database rated as a 5/10. Realizing we would condemn our crews to an early grave we called for help and got ourselves some proper reinforcements in the form of Whittenoom, Rathnon and Plumb. Now the odds were properly leveled.

The situation seemed an easy one but from experience I knew it would not stay like this. The first and second pocket were quickly dealt with and nothing went to waste as we loaded our holds full of alloys and salvage. But then the swarms became larger and stronger. As we went on we were joined by Inara, Mortis, Vincent, and an associate of Celia. Rejoicing over the valuable spoils we eventually reached the core of the complex. The structure present here was the size of a large station and had more than one of us gasp in awe. And in the far end one angry mother stared back at us as she commanded her defenders to deal with us.

Structure

Structure

Hive mother

Hive mother

Being down two drones I had lost in the previous pockets I did my best to not get caught while steering them at the broadcasted targets. Zooming in on the hive mother I could have sworn my camera drones quivered just a moment at the sight of her. She was stationary, grown intertwined with the structure and the tentacle-like arms pulled at Inara’s ship in an attempt to slow her down. A futile attempt however as our focused fire slowly overcame her ability to regenerate.

Now to make the bill of exactly how much worth in minerals that yielded. I know just the buyer for them already.

[OOC] EVE blog banter #9: Because of Falcon

Jul
6

Welcome to the ninth installment of the EVE Blog Banter and its first contest, the monthly EVE Online blogging extravaganza created by CrazyKinux. The EVE Blog Banter involves an enthusiastic group of gaming bloggers, a common topic within the realm of EVE Online, and a week to post articles pertaining to the said topic. The resulting articles can either be short or quite extensive, either funny or dead serious, but are always a great fun to read! Any questions about the EVE Blog Banter should be directed here. Check out other EVE Blog Banter articles at the bottom of this post!

Last month Ga’len asked us which game mechanic we would most like to see added to EVE. This month Keith “WebMandrill” Nielson proposes to reverse the question and ask what may be a controversial question: “Which game mechanic would you most like to see removed completely from EVE and why? I can see this getting quite heated so lets keep it civil eh?”



The game mechanic I would like to see removed from the game is ECM and ECCM in their current form. In this post I will explain to you why I’d like to see them removed and I even have a proposal for what to replace them with.

First off ECM is the only racial e-war type that has dedicated counter modules. I exclude rigs here on purpose since I feel rigging against a racial e-war type is silly as they are permanent and don’t come cheap. There are – and correct me if I am wrong here – no modules that counter target painting, one module that enhances weapon tracking (versus tracking disruption, so could be considered the only exception), yet sensor boosters form a true counter again dampeners AND weapon range disruption (twice range versus range, once signature versus signature). I have sadly not had the time to hop on SiSi or even search the forums for test results on the effectiveness of all counters but I assume that just like ECCM does not nullify the effect of ECM that a tracking enhancer does not nullify the effect of tracking disruption entirely and so forth, especially when skills come in to play. With all this in mind how is racial e-war balanced? Target painting you can’t do squat about, and range disruption / dampening and signature dampening are ALL countered by the same module providing you have both scripts on hand. And sensor boosters also give you an advantage of having more range and faster locking time against any other target.

But this post was not about the imbalance in racial e-war in general, but specifically about ECM. So why pick on ECM when there is a general imbalance? Because if an ECM cycle hits you can’t fight back. Ignoring the e-war that has a counter this leaves us with just target painting, but with this applied you can still win a fight if you brought superior damage. If I jam your ship that could kill me in three hits, and you get one lucky hit off before you die, you’re screwed. Considering that the bigger ECM ships can hold multiple targets jammed bringing friends don’t help you either.

Now you must think, why haven’t I mentioned drones yet? Simple, not all ships have a drone bay. Granted, Caldari ships suffer from this the most but they also have the most powerful e-war type. But to use an example that springs to mind the Zealot has no drone bay either. So keeping some ECM drones handy for an escape is no option here. And notice how I say ECM drones and not the other types of e-war drones. But that also is a separate discussion overlapping a lot of the racial e-war imbalance.

My personal ship focus lies with force recons and here is what I draw my inspiration from when it comes to an ECM redesign. We all know and fear the falcon even after the recent ECM changes. Solo play in one is still tricky business and in fleets they still turn the tide quicker than any other recon can. A solo setup will typically have a reliable tank and is certainly helped in damage dealing by its new drone bay. But a falcon in fleets will just stack up those ECM jammers (as ECM doesn’t stack, the chance is calculated individually per module) and happily jam from a fair range. Add to that a falcon can now pack ECM drones for even more ECM goodness which is arguably a buff.

So what do I propose then? Let’s review our racial e-war types again: Target painting is an offensive form of e-war. For defensive e-war we have disruptors that work against turrets, and dampeners that cover turrets and launchers just as ECM does. Maybe a little light bulb just popped up over your head just now, but if it hasn’t, there is a no dedicated counter for missiles. And that is what I would like to see ECM changed to. It could be done in different ways, and even work with scripts. Jamming after all doesn’t only mean electronic systems getting disrupted, but also a change getting stuck in the loading mechanism or barrel. Or it could mean the missile itself gets jammed. A bit alike to defender missiles but instead of blowing it up you send a burst to the electronics of the charge so it loses its pre-programmed course.

This does of course not balance e-war entirely. And the whole balancing goes way over my head as so many factors play a role in it. I am sure the observant reader can find a flaw or two in what I have written thus far. To really balance it evenly you need to review the whole thing from the ground up with a lot of statistics at hand. Which is what the people at CCP ultimately have the best resources for. However this could be a first step in the right direction. It removes a “godmode” mechanic and replaces it by something on par with the Amarr equivalent leaving just Gallente and Minmatar e-war to be sorted out.

List of Participants:
  1. Diary of a Space Jockey, Blog Banter: BE GONE!
  2. EVE Newb, (EVE) Remove You
  3. Miner With Fangs, Blog Banter – It’s the Scotch
  4. The Eden Explorer, Blog Banter: The Map! The Map!
  5. The Wandering Druid of Tranquility, “Beacons, beacons, beacons, beacons, beacons, mushroom, MUSHROOM!!!”
  6. Inner Sanctum of the Ninveah, Kill the Rats
  7. Mercspector @ EVE, Scotty
  8. EVE’s Weekend Warrior, EVE Blog Banter #9
  9. A Merry Life and a Short One, Eve Blog Banter #9: Why Won’t You Die?
  10. Into the unknown with gun and camera, Blog Banter – The Hokey Cokey
  11. The Flightless Geek, EVE Blog Banter #9: Remove a Game Mechanic
  12. Sweet Little Bad Girl, Blog Banter 9: Who is Nibbling at My House?
  13. One Man and His Spaceship, Blog Banter 9: What could you do without?
  14. Life in Low Sec, EVE Blog Banter #9: Stop Tarnishing My Halo
  15. Cle Demaari: Citizen, Blog Banter #9: Training for all my men!
  16. A Mule in EVE, He who giveth, also taketh away?
  17. Dense Veldspar, Blog Banter 9
  18. Morphisat’s Blog, Blog Banter #9 – Randomness Be Gone !
  19. Facepalm’s Blog, EVE Blog Banter #9: What a new pilot could do without
  20. Memoires of New Eden, You’re Fired
  21. Kyle Langdon’s Journeys in EVE, EVE Blog Banter #9 Titans? What’s a Titan?
  22. Achernar, The gates! The gates are down!
  23. Speed Fairy, EVE Blog Banter #9: Down with Downtime!
  24. I am Keith Neilson, EVE Blog Banter #9-F**K Da Police
  25. Ripe Lacunae, The UI… Where do I begin… (Eve Blog Banter #9)
  26. Clown Punchers, EvE Blogs: What game mechanic would you get rid of?
  27. Estel Arador Corp Services, You’ve got mail
  28. Epic Slant, Let Mom and Pop Play: EVE Blog Banter #9
  29. Deaf Plasma’s EVE Musings, Blog Banter #9 – Removal of Anchoring Delay of POS modules
  30. Podded Once Again, Blog Banter #9 – Do we really need to go AFK?
  31. Postcards from EVE, 2009.07.02.00.29.06
  32. Harbinger Zero, Blog Banter #9 – War Declarations & Sec Status
  33. Warp Scrammed, Blog Banter 9 – Never Too Fast
  34. Ecaf Ersa (EVE Mag), Can a Tractor Tractor a Can?
  35. Thoughts from an Accidental Minmatar Revolutionary, EVE Blog Banter #9 – Aggression timers, WTs and Stargates
  36. Mike Azariah, I don’t put much stock in it…
  37. Rettic’s Log, Blog Banter: Overview Overload
  38. A Sebiestor Scholar, [OOC] EVE Blog Banter #9: Slaves
  39. Diary of a pod pilot, [OOC] EVE blog banter #9: Because of Falcon
  40. Roc’s Ramblings, Blog Banter #9 – Taking Things Slow
  41. The Gaming-Griefer, EVE Sucks, But I Love It: The Memoir of a Masochist
  42. Letrange’s EVE Blog, Blog Banter #9: Bye Bye Learning Skills
  43. Lyietfinvar, Remove that monopoly
  44. Sceadugenga, Blog Banter #9
  45. Industrialist with Teeth, EVE Blog Banter #9