Thursday, 10 October 2019

Emerging Conduits with Alpha Skills

So, fun fact - almost 10 years in the game and only within the last week did I bother to train Minmatar Battleship. For many years I have relied on the Dominix for my Player vs Environment needs. Recently it has been harder to field drones against the newer AI.

Continuing my new found enjoyment of missiles, I felt I would attempt the Typhoon in various configurations. Almost all of the ships within the High Security Emerging Conduits are Frigates. Against which munitions of non-light missiles apply poor damage. One sad attempt had me warping out after blitzing with light rapids against one at a time Non Playing Character. Because they were very quickly killing the armour tank. Only for the Vedmak to warp-off when this was the last one standing.

Here we see the attributes of the Nester battleship, from the Sisters of Eve line up. Bonuses for Drones, to armour resistance and remote armour repair, all service to assist complete the objective. As you can see from the fit, it is resilient to the Triglavian primary damage types of Thermal and Explosive damage.

Abyssal Damage Control
Core C-Type Large Armor Repairer
Armor Explosive Hardener II
Armor Explosive Hardener II
Armor Thermal Hardener II
Armor Thermal Hardener II

Denny Enduring Omnidirectional Tracking Link /w Tracking Speed Script x1
Cap Recharger II
Cap Recharger II
Cap Recharger II
Large Compact Pb-Acid Cap Battery
Large Compact Pb-Acid Cap Battery

Centii C-Type Small Remote Armor Repairer
Small Solace Scoped Remote Armor Repairer
Small Solace Scoped Remote Armor Repairer
Gistii B-Type Small Remote Shield Booster
Gistii B-Type Small Remote Shield Booster
Gistii B-Type Small Remote Shield Booster
Small Tractor Beam I

Large Auxiliary Nano Pump I
Large Auxiliary Nano Pump I
Large Auxiliary Nano Pump I

Berserker I x12
Hammerhead I x1
'Augmented' Hobgoblin x5
Wasp I x5

I had the Wasps lying around, and are kept only has a last resort. I have only lost one Berserker drone in the last three Conduit runs. Why did I choose "Gistii B-Type Small Remote Shield Booster"? Well quaint story - many years ago the Empire faction mining frigates were converted to logistic frigates. Pirate faction small remote repairs were unwanted and sold for peanuts. I had hoped that the price would leap frog into profitability. I brought up about 30 of things - but never followed through with the plan. The stockpile of little Gistii B just ended up a station container. So these days I bust them out for drone boats. The Centii C-Type Small Remote Armor Repairer, was liberated from a Serpentis Narcotic Warehouse.

Keep in mind this is with Alpha Skills, but very good resists against the primary incoming damage. Sometimes the armour will get down to twenty percent remaining. Just be aligned if this alarms you, and abandon the drones which are easier to replace that the entire ship. Just running the armour module defences is capacitor stable, and this is even under the neutralisers and vampires.

I have no idea if this is good or not. But I was happy with all results in the positive. For those that are not aware, mutating the Damage Control only affects the Hull damage resistance.

If you look back up at the Targeting for the Nestor, it does list x7 to lock. But alphas are restricted to six no matter what. The secret sauce is to warp into the site, launch five berserkers and lock them all up before the NPCs spawn in. Yes, does give you only a single target slot remaining. But you only need one, focus on the primary damage dealers or the Vedmak. Once the drones are focused on a target you can unlock it, to switch lock to tractor in any wrecks to loot. Having all of the drones pre-locked means being able to immediately apply remote repairs to try and save it. It does not always work out, but is a solution to a problem. Maybe one medium remote repair in the mix?

¹ Denny Enduring is because Alpha Clones are restricted from the Tech 2 version.

Again, I have no idea if this is "optimal". But I do know that it is effective. That makes it fun.

Thursday, 5 September 2019

In praise of the Venture Mining Frigate

So, ongoing as an Alpha, I elected to mission for the Caldari to get access to the Loyal Point store. This meant taking a loss to both Gallente and Minmatar standing to get there. Of course I am currently locked of out Level Four missions.

Mining Missions is one of the lessor known paths in Player verses Environment. Level one and are two are casually accessible to anybody with a Venture.

9½ years of stumbling around New Eden and I'll occasionally make an interesting discovery.

As an Alpha not only am I restricted to a Venture, but also my Social Skills which is normally maxed, and more limited. Which in term lowered the amount of ISK, Loyal Point and Standing gains from doing any missioning. I have clawed my way from negative 3.2 with the Caldari State to negative 1.85.

The First point. I was not able to access Level Two missions until I reached minus 1.9. But for some quirk, because the gains with the State are slower than the Corporation I missioned for. By the time I reached the State goal, I discovered that having plus 4 with Non-Player Corporation CBD enabled access to all of these agents. Minus 1.9 with the State limits you to Level One agents, under negative 1.9 you are unrestricted. I was expecting I would have to work my way up the chain to each tier by raising standing with the State to next access Level Three and so on. This now means I could, if desired, decline future any Storyline missions. Accepting more Storyline missions will continue to erode my Gallente and Minmatar standing unnecessarily.

The Second point. CBD only has one Level Three mining agent in High Security space, which happens to be a dead-end pocket of Amarr space, in the Malpara system. All of the other Level Three mining agents for CBD are Low Security space. While I was in Malpara, it was low traffic. The occasional Explorer and occasional miner. A Hemorphite site spawned while I was there. I actually spent time mining an Omber site, because the Storyline agent wanted 6000m³ of it. And Because it is not native to Amarr space, I stocked up.

The Third point. It had been a long time since I had done any mining in a 0.5 Security System. 0.5 has tougher and more frequent NPCs. The poor little Venture just has two lights drones to field, thanks to its 10m drone bandwidth. There were plenty of times when I wish it had three. But also Concord response times are slower, the lower the security. Increasing the risk of a hostile player being successful killing another.

Something I already knew was that 0.5 Security provides higher mission rewards in trade of the higher risks.

Mining Laser Upgrade II

Limited Adaptive Invulnerability Field I
Medium F-S9 Regolith Compact Shield Extender
1MN Monopropellant Enduring Afterburner

Miner II
Miner II

Small Anti-Kinetic Screen Reinforcer I
Small Anti-Kinetic Screen Reinforcer I
Small Anti-Thermal Screen Reinforcer I

Hobgoblin II x2

[Venture #2]
Power Diagnostic System II

Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
Medium Shield Extender II
Medium Shield Extender II

Miner II
Miner II

Small Anti-Kinetic Screen Reinforcer I
Small Anti-Kinetic Screen Reinforcer I
Small Anti-Thermal Screen Reinforcer I

Hobgoblin II x2

[Venture #3]
Damage Control II

Upgraded Thermal Dissipation Amplifier I
Medium C5-L Emergency Shield Overload I
Small Cap Battery II

Miner II
Miner II

Small Anti-Kinetic Screen Reinforcer I
Small Anti-Kinetic Screen Reinforcer I
Small Anti-Thermal Screen Reinforcer I

Hobgoblin II x2

The thing I appreciate about the Venture is the flexibility in fitting the ship. It can handle medium shield extenders and afterburners. The low offers; Damage Control, Micro Auxiliary Power Core, Mining Laser Upgrade or Power Diagnostic. The thing is, that Level Three missions sometimes require mission NPCs to be removed. That needed something else;

Damage Control II
Capacitor Flux Coil II
Capacitor Flux Coil II

Small C5-L Emergency Shield Overload I
Small Compact Pb-Acid Cap Battery
Upgraded EM Ward Amplifier I

Arbalest Compact Light Missile Launcher
Arbalest Compact Light Missile Launcher
Arbalest Compact Light Missile Launcher
Arbalest Compact Light Missile Launcher
Arbalest Compact Light Missile Launcher
Arbalest Compact Light Missile Launcher
Arbalest Compact Light Missile Launcher

Small Warhead Calefaction Catalyst I
Small Warhead Calefaction Catalyst I

Inferno Light Missile x263
Mjolnir Light Missile x102
Caldari Navy Inferno Light Missile x4375

This thing packs a punch against Frigates, Destroyers and Cruisers. I still have a soft point for Corax.

TIP: If solo, invite yourself into your own fleet. Some of the missions do not allow warp at range - but it is always available as a fleet warp.

I also may as well comment about level two missions. These seriously are in need of a re-design. Yes, they can be done in a Venture reasonably comfortably. (most level 3 will require more than one trip of ore, level two is the opposite) But typically the ore is scattered over a large field area and in the middle has obstacle barren asteroid or rock formation that makes these missions annoying to complete. If you are able to skip and think you can handle Three's, I recommend that.

I did have sort of awkward ideas about getting some Harvester Implants. Plus using EP-S Gaussian Scoped Mining Laser which reach out to 16km. Low Grade Harvesters give about 33% range gain. So about 21km on a venture - but that is not really going to solve the Level Two distance issues. But I would have to go Omega to fit them. It is much cheaper just to use an Afterburner, after all.

It felt good to have problems to solve and goals to reach.

That makes it fun.

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

The Simple Things

Post Election, and my account returned to Alpha Status. Maybe one day CCP might want to opt for Beta or Gamma accounts that have more flexibility in one speciality or another. Because I would sign up for an account that broadened Industrial Hulls.

But at the moment I am actually happy (but not content) with the humble Venture Mining Frigate (AKA frogate).

Miner Laser II x 2

Invul II
MSE meta
1mn meta


2 x kinetic shield rig
1 x thermal shield rig

Rig resists to rat flavour.

Some time back I have switched from Drones to Missiles for damage. And that was long before CCP made the decision to nerf drones for Alphas. Now, because I reside deep inside Gallente space, obtaining faction ammunition is usually restricted to Hybrid - because that is what is available from the Loyalty Stores. So I could perform missions, buy Gallente Anti-Matter, sell it, then purchase faction missiles. But I happen to be stubborn - and decided to (queue theremin music) mission for the Caldari.

Ok, so the very first thing is, I will not be able to access level 4 missions. Which is not really an issue - I have done them in a Venture and you'd have more fun watching paint dry. Plus, Alpha's cannot mine ice, of which there are two in the roster of Level 4 mining missions.

The next thing, is that Alphas lack social graces. Therefore, I do not have access to modified standings which would be adjusted by skills. So, I am starting behind at negative 3.2 standing with the State.

Back to basics. I am running through Level 1 mining missions. Originally I was doing Courier missions, but occasionally these transitioned to security missions for some odd reason. Which is not what I was looking for.

I am aware that Level 2 mining missions are some of the most awkward offering in the entire game. But I will want to increase the standing faster to get into Level 3. The drama with L2 mining missions that the ore is scattered over a large distance and typically have obstructions blocking direct flight across the ore field. One example is a massive single rock with small about a dozen veldspar (equivalent) ore. Which is about 25km in diameter.

Level 1, 3 and 4 just have the ore in a small compact field and in most instances it is a single asteroid.

During the session today - I received a Storyline mission. These are offered after sixteen missions of the same level, and are usually offered by the NPC Corp that you complete the 16th mission with. It is actually possible to complete sixteen level ones with difference Corporate within the faction, and a mix of types to make up the 16 count. The most interesting thing was the security mission contained a single Arkonor asteroid. After several trips with the venture I called it, and claimed the mission.

The great thing about mining missions is that you do not end up shooting NPC of the opposing factions. i.e. tanking my Gallente standing. As a consequence of storyline missions, I will be chipping away at SoE, ORE, Federation, and Republic standings. But once I reach Level 3, I can ignore the need to do the Storylines.

Most of all, the game is new again. I am having fun.

Thursday, 18 July 2019

Easy's Law

Half the number of people you meet, are below average intelligence.

The consolation prize is, at least they are not alone.

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Eve DownUnder

I made the bold and "outgoing" decision to attend the Dinner with a Developer on Sydney Harbour with EDU. Held on the evening of 23rd May. In real life, I almost exclusively keep to myself. I do not espouse friendships or community. Arrived early, it was still daylight. It was a choice between overkill early or precise time when relying on imprecise public transport. This did afford me the opportunity to wander Darling Harbour - which I had not visited in about five years. It is very pretty, and boosts the intriguing Maritime Museum.

Boarding commenced at 17:30, about two dozen or so Eve players would milling around. Greeting old friends and talking shop. I, of course did not know a soul.

All the guests boarded, we were ushered up to the open top-deck. Here and there I could recognise some of the Developers as they mingled with the players. One of the interesting conversations I had was with a player that had been with Eve since Beta. He talked about Ascendant Frontier. I learned that the name of Eve's first Titan comes from the film Over the Hedge.

After some introductory conversations, it was dinner time. Entrees were either salmon or pasta, I got Pasta and it was great.

There were enough Developers to join each of the tables. We started with the charismatic CCP Antiquarian.

He talked about how Eve players have pushed the barriers beyond the game's original hundred something ships fighting, to thousands fighting. (as a High Security, Player vs Environment type - my experience with this was non existent). The Null Security player seated next to him, nodded sagely during this. We discussed Singularity, and test fleets. I did Testing once, crashed a lot, and all about during 02:00 in the morning. I did raise DownTime occuring during the AUTZ prime time. But only half-heartedly, and in jest.

Eventually there was a change in Developer, thus we were joined by this charming lady.

With a change of Developer, mains was served. This was either Chicken or Beef, I got beef.

What follows is fault my entirely. By this stage Bucchas was in attendance, and I could barely hear one word in fifty. This is one of the primary reasons I avoid crowds and groups. In reality I needed to be bold here, and I should have invited her to the vacate seat next to me to be able to converse. (and without coming across as a awkward/creepy). It is this and later references, that will be lessons to be taken to heart.

Next up was CCP Ender. I was pleasantly surprised when he chose to sit in the empty chair next to me. After one player related his experience of threats to be driven from the game, CCP Ender mentions the "Cold and Harsh" universe. And I interject that this may have once been so, but the war declarations changes appear to be a softening of this view. CCP Ender has been with CCP since the beginning. The conversation covered a variety of topics, all of which were engaging. We turned to the talking about the CSM, prompted by CCP Ender. Two persons sharing the table, also High Security had little exposure to the meta-game and the elections. Some of us agreed that there is value with the CSM but their needs to some more even distribution of representation. We mentions things like the recent the Federal Election and that Australia has compulsory voting. Someone suggested that candidates should go through a qualification process, akin to a job application. Submitting a resume and qualifications.

One of the more amusing topics was the Australian Vernacular. CCP Ender had gone into a shop, and been addressed as "Mate". Which he'd thought was more of a stereotype from movies. But, yes we use term. I will use Mate when addressing clients in my working environment. It is more of "yes
, friend", than "brother" or "Comrade". But some days, I feel it is in decline as the younger generation is more likely to utilise the moniker "Hey guys". Perhaps in another generation it will have gone the way of Spifflication and Jolly Swagmen.

The table eventually broke up, and the conversations moved about the room. The remaining guest and myself discussed drone boats and planetary interaction. I was glad to share my PI knowledge. It was around here I noted that the table with CCP Hilmar had had attrition. I am not one for stiffening the sinews, and let to opportunity pass to say hello and introduce myself.

Although, right at the end I managed a few words with CCP Mimic. I expressed missing the o7 Show, and hoped that something else might arise. Although we agreed it not be same without CCP Guard. I mentioned climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge, which she responded some of the developers intended to do.

Despite my preference to stay under the radar - I have did have a wonderful evening. (the last time, I'd been on Sydney Harbour, it was a Tall Ship, and I got time helm her beneath the Bridge - but that was last century; true story).

I would like to thank the event organisers and CCP peoples for journeying across our planet to visit Down Under. Glad to have been there, that made it fun.

Saturday, 1 June 2019

Exiled from the Path

I recently took up playing Path of Exile again. I had previously quit this game fourteen months past. I returned to this title after reading a series of light novels which featured Roll Playing Characters as the protagonists. That put me in a mood to once again for some Roll-Play Game, so I returned to Path of Exile.

I had quit PoE for good reason. So let me point out something. At no point did I bother with feedback to the game developers about my decision. I highlight this, because I believe that this is common. There was a Eve Online Fanfest presentation by CCP Rise, which attempted to answer the perennial question whether non-consensual PvP is a cause of poor player retention. One of the arguments supporting non-consensual PvP was the player exit survey. Apparently players leaving make no references to ship losses as a cause to leave. Ask yourself how many times you yourself have quit a game, and taken the effort to provide feedback. No, because you are focused forward onto the next game, not retrospective. 

Cycling back to PoE. I was not able to cope with the game on my own terms. What I would regard as straight forward play is insufficient to handle the end-game content. I end up borrowing from a successful player/s design and style. It became a source of frustration to be unable to progress on my own merit. Running into a boss arena, firing off an attack, dying and re-spawn; repeat is not successful game play.

Historically I was good at Diablo II. I disliked Diablo III for its including influences from World of Warcraft. Path of Exile seemed like a return to the principals which had made Diablo II a great game. But is disappointing that I am unable to translate success between these titles.

Still, all said - I returned. I am looking at the Chaos Inoculation, Vortex/Cold Snap build. That follows from an attempt at Arc, and another go at Freezing Pulse. Yeah my Hit Points and Damage Per Second is significantly below some bloke's mouse-over on Youtube. So, my Lemming play style almost always works. A new ladder starts next week - and I am not yet at the point of "this is not a game, it's a job".

Rocking on Wraeclast, commanding the elements, because it is fun.

Sunday, 26 May 2019

The Law of Lightning Immune

No, I do not want to name this after myself. And I will explain why this particular title. Well, I want to start from here to say, if someone else has already done this – I am not aware of this elsewhere.

So, what is this law?

Scenario: A person is playing Rock, Paper, Scissors. This person always chooses Rock. The opposition is always random. (i.e. there is no evaluation of player history or style). The responses are Paper 33⅓%, Scissors 33⅓% and Rock 33⅓%. So, one third of the time, our person will lose. But his belief is “everybody plays Paper”. Losing has a greater impact on his awareness.

So, the Law is thus: The Perception of Adversity is Greater than it is Statically represented.

The origin of the law.

Back in the day, I played with a passion Diablo II. For almost two years, Patch 1.09d was the game’s standard. From December 5, 2001 until the arrival of 1.10 in October 2003. Have a think about that for a moment. I even achieved the 99 level for an Amazon. But 1.10, and then 1.11 fundamentally changed the game with the introduction of Skill Synergy. A traditional 1.09 Sorceress would be Fire and Ice based. Because you only needed to max (20 points, at one per level) into the primary attack Skill of the element, and its Mastery. E.g. Firewall and Fire Mastery – with the mastery increasing fire damages. Since some of the quests also granted points, 80 spent points could be achieved below level 80.

Synergy re-wrote the rule book. By focusing exclusively into a single element, significantly higher damages could be obtained. Firebolt, Fireball, Meteor and Fire Mastery at 80 points would now account for just fire damage. Of course, there is a trade-off for this power. In the end-game monsters would have total immunity to a single element. 

I myself played a Lightning Based Sorceress. 1.09 Lightning Skills were bugged, being based on Attack Speeds instead of Cast Speeds. (An Undocumented Feature of the game). This feature was “adjusted” in 1.10, aligning Lightning to Cast Speeds. Also, new items allowed for the previously unreachable 200% faster cast speed. The cast speed was not linear in Diablo II but worked on break points and game ticks. The common targeted break point was 105%. Any increases above this until 200% gaining nothing.

Charged Bolt, Lightning, Chain Lightning and Lightning Mastery. Combined with ultimate cast speed, this was a field clearing build. Except I was a single player. So, Lightning Immune monsters cannot be killed. Diablo II has Fire, Ice, Lightning, Poison, Physical, and Magic as the primary attack elements. (I am simplifying the complexity of rare monsters or enhanced that could be double or even triple immune to elements). So I would plough through a map and Lightning Immune would remain standing and attacking me. It always seemed that even though it is only one-sixth of representation, maps contained too many Lightning Immune.

I only reached level 93 with the build, the third highest I ever achieved. At the moment, I play Path of Exile which can be claimed as the spiritual successor to Diablo II. (which I will talk about at a later post). But many years of build experimenting and grinding, I would rate Diablo II as the best fun I ever had.