29 December 2014

Mandatory for Fitting

It's about time people stopped bitching about the warp core stabiliser (WCS) module. Nothing says "I'm not looking to fight" like a WCS module or three. For those of you unfamiliar with the WCS module it works something like this: Ships in EVE need a warp scramble strength effect on them of 0 or less to warp. The vast majority of pvp fleets have several if not all ships fitted with either warp disruptors (points) or warp scramblers (scrams). Disruptors give a +1 scramble strength to ships they are targeted at. Scramblers give a +2 or +3 effect. To counter these offensive modules we have the WCS module. Despite the variety of strengths of the offensive module we only have access to WCS modules with a flat -1 strength (negative because it removes from the warp scramble penalty on the ship). For those of you who are mathematically challenged this translates to a mandatory fitting of three WCS to guarantee you will be able to warp away unimpeded from a single tackling module. In addition to this lopsided equation of lost fitting options the defensive ship has its targeting range and scan resolution reduced by between 40% and 50%. To continue with the above guarantee we find our WCS-fitted ship needs to lose three lowslots and gets a 78.4% penalty to targeting and lock time.

I regularly read comments from bloggers about how EWAR is evil and wrong. Oddly this never seems to include points and scrams even though they are technically counted as EWAR. If a PvP ship doesn't have a point of scram it is a terri-bad fit. For some unfathomable reason, if a non-PvP ship is fitted with a WCS this is a terrible travesty to the game (even though this is the natural counter to the PvP fit) and the witch hunt is on for the modules to be removed from the game. This is despite the high cost of fitting these WCS modules. Removal is demanded with absolutely no proposal to replace with some other suitable counter to the point and scram EWAR-fitted ships. So why is this? The answer to that question is easy - there is a belief that once you get a ship tackled he or she is committed to a combat engagement. This belief exists even if the tackled ship is a weaponless industrial ship. If the tackled pilot still has the audacity to warp out there is a feeling of being robbed of that fight. In the case of the industrial it would be a very one-sided 'fight' but the robbed feeling still exists. How dare that pilot counter my active modules! Yet countering fits is inherently in the nature of EVE.

The statement "EVE is a PvP game" is often rolled out. The same people tell CCP to "stop messing with the sandbox" when they propose some change that will negatively affect the particular commentators play style. So which is it? Is EVE a PvP game where everyone must participate in combat or is it a sandbox where people can chose their own career path? Personally I believe EVE is the latter and I'm sure CCP agree. In my opinion EVE is a universe where people can choose to never undock and spend their entire time market trading, using hauling companies to move their goods from station to station. I believe industrialists are free to mine their minerals, turn them into ships then inexplicably sell them for less than the market value of the minerals. Finally, I believe it is every pilot's prerogative to attempt to counter any attack with the tools provided within the EVE universe.

So to the solution. Well, do we actually need a solution? Is there even a problem? Well yes, there is a problem. But it likely isn't what you think. The problem is people who think fitting a point or scram guarantees them a fight. Those people are wrong and they need to adjust their expectations. If you really, really feel it is your Bob-given right to kill defenceless industrials who have no intention to fight; if you really can't stand they neuter their ship to within an inch of its life on targeting and locking then put your money where your mouth is. For 120 Mil you can get a +3 faction scram. A mere two of these and you're going to stop just about everything. The question is: Who's unacceptably gimping their fit now?

9 December 2014

Goodbye Clone Costs

Halfway through today's upgrade to Rhea I happened to flick past EVEMon. The warning message that strikes fear into the heart of many wormhole pilots was present on all of my characters!

The reason for the fear is any wormhole resident permanently lives undocked in space. When you are undocked with an out of date clone Murphy's law dictates you will die and you will lose skill points. It took a moment for me to remember that it is the turn of clone upgrades themselves to die with Rhea. It took another moment to notice the "Clone Limit" in EVEMon showed 0 Skill Points.

I won't be sad to see this particular feature go away. As a new player I avoided PvP because I couldn't afford to replace ships, implants, and my clone. The first two can be ignored to a certain extent, the final one cannot. Losing skill points equated to losing time. As I got older I cared less but still having to shell out another 10 million ISK because I had dared to fight other players seemed pointlessly harsh. Finally, the one time I was a victim of losing SP due to not updating my clone was because I was rushing to get back into a fight too quickly.

Goodbye clone upgrade. Not going to miss you. I do, however, look forward to where this ISK sink is reimplemented.

8 December 2014

On A Mission

I awoke in an unfamiliar location. There was a bed beneath me, clean sheets around me, and the smell of reprocessed air. I was tired and had a thumping headache. Experiencing another unfamiliar sensation, I swung my legs out of bed and onto the cold floor of my captain's quarters. Captain's quarters? Shit, it all came flooding back to me in an instant. The drinking; the idea for the alliance to fly out to lowsec with assault frigates; the return to Jita in pods; still more drinking and then flying out again in cruisers. To confirm my suspicions I dragged myself over to the viewing platform and, sure enough, there was no ship floating there. My shiny golden pod was intact on the unloading platform. That at least meant I was still in the same clone although the way my head felt I was wishing I wasn't.

I gathered my possessions and took advantage of the free Velator provided to me by the wonderful people at Pend Insurance Inc. Checking my list of assets I noticed I had belongings in another station in this same system. I flew over to see if a ship was amongst those things. On docking I was disappointed to see I appeared to have all the fittings for a ship but no actual hull. I crammed everything into my Velator and headed somewhere I knew I could get myself a more suitable ship to fly home in. Home... ah yes, where was that currently?

On my way to Jita I checked the alliance map software for the current status of connections to my own wormhole system. My chances of getting home were currently not good with nothing convenient leading there. I needed another plan. I would have to think of one after completing the tricky docking procedure at the 4-4 station. The docking procedure at Jita 4-4 isn't actually different to any other station, the difficulty lies in the sheer number of other capsuleers (and wrecks thereof) in space around the docking ring. This station was often compared with a certain space port featured in one of many holoreels depicting an idealistic view of how space politics should be conducted. In reality Jita 4-4 was much worse than Mos Eisley ever was.

Once docked I stashed my cargo with all the other modules and ammo I left lying around my hanger, trashed the Velator, got in to a shuttle and headed for New Caldari with the beginnings of a plan in my head. In New Caldari I swapped my Amarr Shuttle for a Leopard and headed for Auvergne. With the plan formed in my head I was now moving quickly and there is no finer ship in New Eden than a Leopard to get somewhere rapidly. The attraction to Auvergne was one of a homecoming. As a very green capsuleer I had spent many months living in and around Auvergne running missions for the Federation Navy. I still had a number of ships there and I had decided to go back and take stock of the old birds. That and reconnect with my old contacts and possibly run a couple of missions for the for old time sake.

Arriving through the gate to Auvergne I checked my old bookmarks and found one labelled 'Head Office'. That brought back very old memories of my time in Ambivalence Cooperative, a corp whose main focus was avoiding the corp tax charged by the non-capsuleer run corporations prevalent in New Eden. Back in those days I still thought belonging to a corp was only good for getting subjected to wardecs and being forced to stay docked for a week at a time. Mind you, these days I still think the same, I just don't care as I'm normally found in wormhole space where anyone can kill me all the time.

The ship hanger in Auvergne was testament to my old mission running habits. A salvaging Catalyst, a Noctis, a Dominix and a Navy Domi too all lay relatively neglected cared for by only maintenance bots. Some other special ships were there too - a Primae and an Echelon - echoes of changing times which are now taken for granted. My eyes passed over all those ships, even past the Myrmidon which had been my first wormhole ship used to fight sleepers. I was looking for something smaller. My eyes settled on an unfit Vexor and, stripping most of the mods from the other ships, I put together something which would be more than sufficient for running a couple of missions.

Now I had my ship put together it was time to see if any of my old contacts still existed in my former home system. Either my memory was getting old or people had moved on. The only agent offering me a job was Amerique Jostalie and there was not a flicker of recognition from either of us when we spoke. In retrospect this was likely due to her working for Federal Intelligence Office rather than the Federation Navy. All I was offered was a very low level, lowly paid mission but I still took it. She told me to go to Aunia and kill some pirates who were causing a disturbance in the area. Dutifully I undocked, crossed Auvergne to the Aunia gate, jumped in and warped to the deadspace acceleration gate. I still remember the excitement and anticipation from the first time I ever took an acceleration gate but this time I knew I was going to vastly outgun anything I found at the other side. The gate dropped me off in the vicinity of eight frigates. Half of them were dead to my drones before they knew what was going on.

Me, at a gate, late in YC111

I returned to hand in my mission to Amerique but declined any further missions. Clearly I needed something more challenging so I checked out the Agent Finder for something a little trickier. Heading back to Aunia I docked at a Federation Navy station where I had much better standings. Docking up felt much more familiar and all three agents instantly recognised me. After warm greetings, tales of old and adventures new were shared we got down to business. Malillier Epied gave me a local mission which was slightly better paid than the first mission I tried. It still boiled down to killing a number of frigates, most before they knew what was going on. Eladette Gelarbese sent me back to Auvergne for something she promised was more suited to my Vexor and drones. She was right that it was more suited but even with two pockets of deadspace linked by two acceleration gates the pirates within didn't cause me any problems.

With 1.6 million ISK fresh in my wallet I decided to park my ship for the night. With one more agent to talk to I decided to see just how well I could still stand up to the toughest of missions in hisec. Also, I could feel the call of those Sisters of EVE singing their siren song of promises to help repair my Amarr standings.