16 August 2014

Wormhole Town Hall - 16 August

This evening at 22:00 GMT CSM member corbexx is running a wormhole town hall. CCP Fozzie has been confirmed to be attending. Read the forum post to keep up with any changing details.

If you care about wormholes and have the time to spare you should get yourself along to this. I think CCP already have a good idea of how we feel about the changes proposed for the Hyperion release but it does no harm to make sure.

9 August 2014

The only constant...

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, CCP have posted a devblog about changes coming in Hyperion. Hopefully my feelings on one of those changes came across clearly in that post a couple of days ago but I thought I should go through the rest of the changes coming towards the end of the month.

Wormhole effect rebalance

For as long as I have been in wormholes the Black Hole effect has been the most unwelcome to find. I can think of a single time we ever bothered to run sites in a Black Hole system. It was just before the heavy missile nerf of a couple of years ago and we didn't realise what the system effect was. It took a while to sink in why our missiles weren't hitting but once we did realise it was easy to see why nobody lived in Black Hole systems. Since then the default description we use for an uninhabited system is "might as well be a black hole with a nullsec". I never really paid too much attention to the other effects and didn't particularly hear anyone else complain about them. On the basis of improving Black Holes alone this is a good change. It was interesting to learn that rats are not affected by local effects.

Second static for class 4 wormholes

It's no secret that I live in a class 4 wormhole and I would be lying if I said reading this planned change didn't bring some trepidation to me. The change itself is awesome. I truly look forward to there being 100% more guaranteed holes directly connected to my home system. This (hopefully) guarantees more people to go visiting. I'm just eager to find out what our new neighbouring class will be. I just hope it isn't too much for us to handle.

More and new randomly spawning wormholes

This is an interesting addition. I can see us taking advantage of these new frigate and destroyer sized holes to go mess around in nullsec I can't really see what the wormhole to wormhole connections will bring. I like this change for shaking up the status quo. I look forward to whatever new meta will follow.

Mass-based spawn distance after wormhole jumps

This is 37 forum pages of dumb. In fact this is more than 37 forum pages of dumb. CCP claim to be considering their options with that and I hope they leave jumps the way they currently are. This change does not make it harder for people to isolate themselves; this change makes it easier.

Changes to K162 signature appearance

The initial blog post says the appearance of the K162 will only happen once ships have jumped through. CCP have since said they're considering adding a timer which will make the K162 appear eventually regardless whether anyone takes the jump. Assuming the timer gets implemented this is a good change. Combat forces will be able to form up in their local system on the outbound hole and be ready to jump through and surprise the other side. Without the timer this isn't so great as it makes it easier for people to stay isolated. I assume the timer will start on first warp to the wormhole grid. I think CCP should go futher and make the K162 spawn after half the outbound hole's life regardless whether anyone scans it down or not.

Loosening of bookmark copying restrictions

I can't say we have to deal with this much since the wonderful addition of corp bookmarks. On the odd occasion I do have to mess with bookmarks it is truly still a pain in the arse. There is, however, a wonderful hint dropped that alliance bookmarks are being edged ever closer towards. This will be superb when it happens.

Summary

With five of these six changes being generally well received by the community it seems Hyperion could be a great wormhole expansion. I say 'could' because if CCP leave the mass-based jump distance change in then all the good changes will be overshadowed by this one terrible idea. We won't leave w-space if jump distances increase. We'll just be less likely to roll holes, roll less of them when we do and probably find less things to do as a direct result. I trust CCP to do the right thing. Hopefully that trust isn't misplaced.

7 August 2014

Safer wormholes for all

For the longest time wormholes have been untouched by CCP. It is widely accepted that wormhole space is one of the few parts of EVE which do not require direct iteration on as it Just Works™. That said, it was nice to see CCP sending some love our way with a variety of changes to shake w-space up a little. Unfortunately the largely welcome changes listed in the dev blog were overshadowed by the horrific addition of mass-based spawn distance when jumping through a wormhole

The suggestion is to have ships with larger mass spawn further away from the wormhole they jumped through. The poorly formed reasoning behind this is that slowing down hole rolling will make it more risky for groups to isolate themselves from the rest of New Eden. While this is a laudable design goal there doesn't appear to have been any deep thought applied to whether the implementation actually achieves the goal (hint: it doesn't).

In any given wormhole system there are two sources for connections. The first is the static connection which residents have control over. The second is incoming wormholes which residents have no control over. At any given moment in EVE there are people rolling their static to close it so they can run PvE sites and there are also people rolling their static to catch people running PvE sites. CCP is directly targeting the former group. It is not possible, however, to only target one group with changes to the hole rolling mechanics. Players who seek to isolate themselves will only roll one or two holes in an evening. Active corps rolling for content roll many more holes than that. The latter group is affected more due to this change for the simple reason that they are rolling more.

When we have a fleet running we are looking for people to shoot or sites to run. We're not too fussy but will pick shooting people first any day. If our static connection has nobody there we roll it. With this change CCP are not making it riskier to roll wormholes, instead they are making it slower. As it is slower there will be less K162 holes generated in a given evening. As K162s are the only source of finding isolationist who have closed their static holes the net reality of this change is that isolating yourself becomes easier.

I find it hard to believe CCP don't realise. They have a 27 page (and counting) threadnaught which hopefully opens their eyes to how bad an idea this is. If CCP go ahead with this change it will be clear that, despite their statement that they want to make hole rolling riskier, what CCP truly want is to make life easier for corps who want to isolate themselves.

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.

SMUG POST ENDS...

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.