31 July 2014

Empty Echoes

Last month I wrote a very short post bemoaning the apparent lack of people in wormholes. As if to further highlight this we scanned down the following chain at the start of this week.
More holes than Swiss cheese
In the whole time scanning I didn't see a single ship. Well actually that's a lie, there was a Buzzard who launched probes on a wormhole then burned right past me. Of course the single ship I saw all night decloaked me and meant I'd have no hope in hell of catching him. So unfair.

Adding insult to injury we discovered the other arm of connections from home only had a single other hole and lots of anomalies to run. Rather than hunting down people to shoot we would have been better rolling the long chain away and making some ISK. It was too late by the time we realised. Bah!

27 July 2014

Insurance Crooks

In real life I'm not much of a gambling man. For me this translates to generally not buying insurance of any sort unless it is either a legal requirement or the impact of not having it would be horrific. I have insurance for my motorbike as I legally have to. I have contents insurance for my house as that's a lot of money if I need to refit my entire house. I don't ever take out the stupid extended warranty insurance on electrical goods because stuff generally lasts long enough to replace if it dies usually negating the cost of insurance in the first place.

On the one occasion I had to deal with an insurance company I found it a horrifically stressful situation. I'd written off a motorbike after only owning it one week (yes, I rode it like an idiot and deserved to crash). I had cracked ribs and a broken thumb, which isn't too bad in the grand scheme of things, but the most painful part was trying to have the insurance company pay out. They were adamant that the second hand bike I owned one week had lost 50% of its value. What they were offering was some twisted version of 'fair market price' yet there was no replacement for my bike at that price anywhere on the second hand market. After a lot of to-ing and fro-ing they eventually paid me something and I ended up a third of the value out of pocket. This strengthened my distrust of insurance companies.

Conversely, and somewhat ironically, I've found insurance companies in New Eden to be particularly amiable. Not only will they pay you exactly the value of the policy you took out on your ship, even though you wilfully took the ship into harms way, they will even pay 40% insurance if you forget to insure the ship. I always thought real life insurance companies could learn something from New Eden insurance. Always, that is, until I lost my Gnosis in lowsec the other day.

Killmail Insurance Estimate

Actual Payout
The top image shows the estimated payout from the killmail generated when my Gnosis was lost. As you can see it's a fairly reasonable 10 Million ISK, considering I didn't insure it. The bottom image shows the notification text for the actual payout. A whole 2 ISK! I'll try not to spend all that at once, thanks very much.

Seems my dream of real life insurance companies learning from New Eden may be going the wrong way and the crooked tendencies of real life are merging into New Eden instead.

20 July 2014

A piece of history

In less than three weeks my alliance will be two years old. Since I started writing this blog I have progressed from being just another pilot in my corp to the leader of my very own alliance. Said alliance was borne out of some unfortunate circumstances which I have no real inclination to go over now. Suffice to say the original two corps which formed Illusion of Solitude were part of the wormhole purge of Li3 Federation as it marched its hammers into sovereign nullsec space.

Today I was checking out the number of pilots in Illusion of Solitude for a little birthday raffle I'm preparing for us when I had a sudden idea. I decided to check how the relative size of Illusion of Solitude was fairing against the size of the Li3 war machine.

I have to admit I felt a little smug at that. Now I know the bulk of Li3 have merged into some new nullsec alliance but I also know there would have been no place for wormhole corps in that new alliance even if we were still around. I guess back in 2012 I just got a massive headstart to build the wonderful alliance I still call home today.


15 July 2014

Let's End Asteroid Belts

There are some systems in New Eden which have a ridiculous number of asteroid belts. The top ten most populous have between 38 and 50 belts each. This is an absurd amount of belts in any one of those systems. Taking just the 50 from the top system and spreading those around the rest would be an improvement but still too many in my opinion. I also don't get the logic of making them all so small. Back in the dark days when I played EVE solo I would happily spend a Saturday or Sunday mining my way through an entire asteroid belt or two whilst doing other stuff around the house. I would do this with a single Hulk which offloaded to an Orca every now and then. Where is the idea that one ship could possibly mine a failed attempt at planet formation anywhere close to logical?

It's time for CCP to end this madness. Static asteroid belts need to go and what replaces them needs to grow. In wormholes the only mining offered to us is in ore anomalies. These used to be signatures which required scanning but for some dumb reason that was changed to allow anyone to instantly warp to them. Now only insane (or insanely bored) pilots mine in w-space. I am aware that these anomalies also spawn in k-space but my proposal is that should be the only source of asteroid to mine. Return ore sites to be signatures once more and force the miners to go scanning for them. In hisec, as enticement to keep searching for new sites, add in occasional higher-end ores to beef up the ISK/hr metric that some people find so important. In lowsec increase that ratio and just maybe the added security of requiring probes to find the sites will get more people mining there too (but probably not). And make the belts five to ten times bigger than they currently are. Get some sense of ridiculously huge scale planted in there.
A belt, today, in hisec (feeling sleepy already?)
Finally, miners still complain about how boring it is to mine. Why not liven this up by adding in a variation of the hacking mini game? Each pilot would have to 'unlock' the asteroid before they can start mining from it. Unlocking would take the form of analysing the rock looking for the most precious seam of ore to extract. Successfully analyse the rock and your mining would yield a better form of the ore. You would extract Fiery Kernite instead of plain old Kernite.

Of course there are downsides to this plan. People who don't actually want to mine but feel they have to do it to make ISK will complain that they have to pay attention to the game in order to make ISK. My opinion here is that of course you should be paying attention to the game when you're earning ISK. ISK shouldn't be something which just flows into your wallet. In any case you're paying attention for gankers anyway, aren't you? Plus we just made it a little safer for you to mine away from these gankers whilst giving you a (real world) skill-based way (how fast can you click?) to increase your potential earnings. If that isn't enough, go do something else and one of two things will happen - the cost of minerals will increase until it is worth your time to go mining again or other people who're still happy with the ISK/hr ratio will keep mining.

It's time to shake up the mining industry. CCP let's get it done.

1 July 2014

Crius is coming

I finally noticed CCP Seagull published a devblog entitled 'Coming in Crius'. While I read most, if not all, of the blogs covering the changes in Crius I figured I should read over this one too in case I missed anything. I also decided to write about each section and how I think it will affect my life in wormholes. This is all based on the devblog and absolutely no testing has been done on Sisi.

A new experience for manufacturing, research, blueprint copying, invention and reverse engineering

The new user interface looks very nice to use. The left-to-right flow of input, process, and output appears pretty clear on what you have, what you need, and what you get. In the current system it was always annoying to gather all the things you thought you needed into the one location and then not find out you were 100 Tritanium short until you clicked that final button. This new UI looks like it will all be clear from the very beginning.

Dynamic pricing across the universe

I really like the idea of a dynamic workforce moving across the galaxy in search of the best wages. I never really considered there were actual people performing my research and manufacturing jobs. Much in the same way I never think about the lore of how many non-capsuleers there are aboard my ship at any one time. The removal of slots is quite a big thing for wormholes. In my corp we provide a research and manufacturing POS as a perk for the members. The bottleneck is most definitely the research lab slots. Now this bottleneck will shift to what people are willing to pay to have research carried out.

Travelling worker teams

This really continues on from the above section. These teams add a nice little twist to manufacturing in known space. I've no idea if we would be able to recruit specialised teams into our wormhole system, never mind if we would even want to.

Reprocessing renewed

The UI shown in the devblog is nicer than the current interface but the existing interface was good enough for what I needed. Unlike manufactoring, reprocessing was quite often a case of 'select all → reprocess' and see what minerals turned up in the hanger. For me, though, the real improvement here is the removal of the perfect refine. That never made sense to me. Even the best manufacturing process should produce some waste, and no recycling process can recover absolutely all the materials present in a given item. Adding these inefficiencies up struck a hollow note when hearing how people would haul masses of minerals around space by building then reprocessing 425mm railguns.

Blueprints and research

I don't really have an opinion on the changes to material efficiency and production efficiency. It's just replacing one set of numbers with a different set of numbers. For new players coming into the game it will be more intuitive I guess. When I didn't know better I would just research everything to 10 anyway. Thankfully I knew better by the time I acquired an Orca BPO.


Living in a POS means this directly applies to me. It will finally be worthwhile reprocessing ore in a wormhole due to the k-space reprocessing nerf. We rarely bother to mine but when we do it was always a pain to accept the large refining loss or haul out to K-space to avoid that. Now we'll have a better yield in the wormhole. Yay, one less chore. Also the new compression array will be sweet should we ever go full carebear and start giant mining fleets munching on the ore sigs in our system. But what about the poor Rorqual? The other changes are mostly the removal of slots so see comments in other sections above. The only addition is the bonus to costs by anchoring more than one of a given module. We're not an industrial corp so I can't see me bothering to do that. In fact, where we already have more than one of a given module I'll probably be pulling the spare one down.

Dynamic station sound

The sound changes based on the amount and type of industrial activity going on in a station? That sound pretty cool actually (sounds... geddit??)

New API endpoints for industry features

I'm sure the community will release some cool new tools off the back of this. For me though it's a pretty 'Meh' thing.

Fleet Warp Opt-out

This is going to be hilarious on RvB Ganked roams when splinters of people get left behind and have no idea why. I must sort out some time to get on one of those roams, post-Crius.

Fit modules without having the required skills

From time to time I put together a selection of ships for corp or alliance roams. I have a 'janitor' character out near Amarr who takes care of this for me. Usually he just bundles all the pieces together in a contract and leaves the recipient to assemble the ship. Now I'll have the option to actually fit the ships properly (if I spend the SP on being able to sit in them in the first place). Maybe I'll finally have a reason to activate dual-training on that account.

So there we have it folks. My thoughts on the upcoming expansion patch release Crius thingy, which is coming to us on July 22nd.