Sonntag, 8. August 2010

EVE 0.0 PVP for n00bs - Part 2 - Fleet movement

So I figured I should finally continue this guide...

Concerning fleet movement, there are two main points; travel and battle.
Usually, the fleet has to move to other systems and must search for enemy fleets to begin with.

At first, the fleet will form up in the alliances or corporations staging system, until the FC and his assistants decicde the numbers are high enough. The commander will then assign a destination to the fleet and it will start heading towards that system, either in "travel mode"(also "free flight" or "BURN MOTHERF***ERS") or system by system.
The pattern in which this is done is always the same. At first, one or two scouts will enter the system, usually flying either an interceptor, covert ops, stealth bomber, recon or interdictor. He
will report directly to the FC, telling him about a number of things:

-is the gate clear?
-If not:
-shiptypes?
-numbers?
-distance to the gate?

-local count? (number of blues, if necessary)
-any 360° max range scan results?
-any other relevant information (200 AU warp, mobile warp disruptors, etc)

Following the scout, the rest of the fleet will enter the system, when in free flight,
the smaller ships first, when travelling as a whole, everyone at once.
Sometimes, a rear scout is designated that warns the fleet of gangs incoming from behind.

Mostly, the fleet will "hold" one system next to the one where the fight is expected to happen,
meaning all fleet members will stop at the gate leading into said system, disable all brackets and special effects and wait for orders.
When the FC decides it is safe to jump, he will issue the order. In case an enemy fleet waits behind that gate, he will probably start calling primary and secondary targets and have the fleet align to some celestial (planets, stations, suns, etc).
If the incoming damage is too much for the logistics to repair, the order to warp out will be given. Now everyone unable to warp is to STFU unless he is important (as in capitals, fleet command, command ship etc).

At the warp out point, it is prudent of the FC to assign an interceptor with the role of a rolling safe spot, which means for that pilot to align to a certain celestial with maximum speed to allow the fleet to warp to him in case they get probed and ambushed.
Now it is time to either prepare for bailing or warping back in at a more convenient position.
When warping back in, the order to align wil be given again and the fight will continue until one side or the other is crushed or bails.

Retreating from a battlefield means that you probably lost the fight and that the enemy knows that you did (because they just fucked your shit up). If you are lucky, your fleet will be able to vacate the system through your incoming gate in which case you can simply run back to your staging point hoping not to get jumped on the way, if you are unlucky you will probably either have to log off (Attention- Dick move, you WILL get flamed for that!) or be forced choose a longer route through potentially hostile space, avoiding the camped gate.

that concludes the second part of EVE 0.0 PVP for n00bs, I don't know when I will have the time to write the next one, stay tuned!

Montag, 26. Juli 2010

My truth?

This is my entry to the Inspired By Images Of Eve Competition 2. More details and links to all entrants can be found at Starfleet Comms.

Heh. So you want to hear about my motivation to support Sansha? Well. I'm going to tell you. The moment didn't come until the aftermath of one operation when I realized Nation's greatness.
I was on my way back to my staging point when I closed my eyes to gather my thoughts...

...After a short break, I opened my eyes again... greeted by the vast emptiness of space as I stared out into the void, rethinking what had happened today... we had done good work, the Friends of the Nation had once again disposed of yet another of those despicable CONCORD officials... he hadn't even budged when my Taranis' warp disruption gear held him down, the slaves had saved a decent number of new citizens from the malicious inlfuences of the empires' propaganda and Nation's glory had been well displayed... but right at this moment, for some odd reason, I couldn't really focus on the things at hand- I saw the interface of the sympathizer channel blinking ferociously but somehow I couldn't be bothered to attend that meeting...

Looking back, I think after all those years of floating around in space, entangled in missions of one sort or another, I had just experienced one of these moments in a capsuleers pitiful life where we come to realize how beautiful the world around us truly is, what bliss only some of us sought to protect while most drown in their endless pursuit of money and blood...

The humming sound of the tech surrounding me, the blinking and buzzing and beeping sounds of the electronic parts of the ship, all of them made me... remember my first days as a capsuleer.
When I had first experienced the slight feeling of rapid movement evoked by warping, when I had first felt the warmth of a sun's radiation that hadn't been completely filtered, had witnessed the gleaming of the alloys and compounds that formed the entity manufactured solely for protecting my weak body, the first time alone in the vacancy of space, when there were no such things as politics or ideologies for me, the very day on which I had first embarked on my long, long journey... all those naive thoughts that cross your mind from time to time, flashing up on my inward eye just by the scene presented before me, for it was a bizarre harmony formed by the blurred image of close and distant stars and clouds passing and the sleek lines and curves of my ship, that long-time ally that had accompanied me for many months now that made me so completely incapable of doing anything but smile for a moment, all on my own this time...

...what a strange moment indeed, I thought, turning back to my affairs... Master had truly lead me on the right way in just the short period that I had been following him.
Just to be able to freely enjoy this image made me realize I was finally free of the poisonous influence of the Caldarian ideology that had been injected into me for so many years... and I decided I would follow Sanshas Nation until the day I died.

For the Nation.

Mittwoch, 23. Juni 2010

Where are we going?

So, I thought I should make another post here since it's been a while. I wont talk about 0.0 PVP this time but about EVE in general and where I think it is going at the moment.

...You know, usually when a game company (for example Blizzard ^^) has a huuuge mass of subscribers, they tend to morph into the kind of "milking the community" group we hate so much.

As a result, these devs would focus on developing shiny new features or game mechanics that yield them so many new customers just because it worked in the past, and abandon things like Support or community work (i.e. GM work or keeping the forum users in line) since when looking at a million customers, losing 200-300 wont hurt so much compared to maintaining a professional customer support team or big GM group.
Even though many companies were blamed for milking their players (especially when item malls are involved) but as soon as a game reaches a decent player base, it basically becomes unkillable, making it a suitable model for copying. WOW has had many "clones" (meaning games with similar game mechanics) that profited from it and some had features that surpassed the "original" and many are still alive today.
However, most of them stayed below the radar and were barely able to creep out of mother WOWs shadow.

So how is this related to EVE? Maybe you noticed that I didn't give any examples, which is because its simply my theory and I am just writing down what I'm thinking (stream of consciousness ftw). What I feel about EVE, CCP even, is that after 7 years of hard work they saw that the model of 2 free expansions per year were a good way to go. Everything went fine as long as they provided suficient input. Nevertheless, I feel like that plan has two major flaws.

The first one is splitting up their capacities. To my understanding, all went fine until they openly started working on DUST 514, in addition to WoD .
I don't know about any interna but it doesn't really matter whether or not they actually split up the dev team, as it could already have been enough to focus on too many projects at a time, inevitably prioritizing EVE development less and less while trying to maintain two expansions per year.
Again, I'm clueless. I can't imagine CCP didn't foresee the influences of PI or the new sov system, and I can even see advantages in the current situation that the devs may have opted for but I really think its time to move on and fix the things that need fixing (see eve-o forums - commit excellence).

The second problem, that may also hinder "fixing the game" aka AFK Empires, was/is underestimating the lobbies.
See for example the North, the Drone Regions, the southeast or the southwest, with their huge capacities for carebearing and money making which are exclusively possessed by the NC, Russians, Renters etc.
Now imagine CCP increasing SOV costs or limiting Corp/Alliance member limits.
Massive whining on eve-o would ensue, like it has happened in the past, and undermine any initiative by CCP.

So what should they do? My opinion is that something must be done to rewind a bit of the process that has been made over the last few years. The standards for PVP are so high nowadays that blobbing is the only way of winning a battle and no one should truly be enjoying that (at least not with the laggy servers ^^).

Regards,
Weynard

Dienstag, 4. Mai 2010

EVE 0.0 PVP for n00bs - Part 1 - Fleet composition

Hey there, I'm back! Today, I'll talk a little about 0.0 Warfare mechanics aka how it works over here, starting at the single tackler frig leading to the infamous T1t4n2.

So... tacklers. Basically they're everything that has a point (Warp Disruptor/Scrambler), web (Stasis Webifier) or bubble (Warp Disruption Sphere Generator, Interdiction Sphere Launcher) fitted. However, since bubbles can only be fitted to (Heavy) Interdictors and BS's need their slots for other mods, the most commonly used ships for the role of tacklers are frigates and destroyers (mostly their Tech 2 counterparts, Interceptors and Interdictors). This group is often called the "frigs" and is placed at stargates or close (0-30km) to targets to prevent light enemy reinforcements from dripping in or escaping.

Above the frigs, there is the "support fleet", or "support". The support includes Cruisers, Heavy Assault Ships and Battlecruisers as well as the frigs, meaning all SubBS ships apart from Stealth Bombers, Covert Ops, (Force) Recon Ships and Command ships which have special roles to be explained later. The support fleet consists of agile medium sized ships stationed at 30-100km to the target, supporting either the frigs at keeping the gates clear, the BS at killing the enemy support or act as the main fleet itself.

Then you have the Battleships. BS's are usually the backbone of the fleet engaging either at long range (150km+) or short range (50km-), fighting the enemies' BS or support fleet. BS's are the fleets primary source of damage and as such must be protected against dangers like Interdictors warping right an top of them, preventing them from warping for a minute or two while their fleet is free to shoot yours.

At last, there are the Capital Ships. These consist of Carriers and Dreadnoughts, used commonly in either providing remote repairs and heavy Fighter drones for the frig fleet (Carriers) or applying massive amounts of damage to enemy structures and capitals in "Siege Mode"(Dreadnoughts - usually close range).

Special roles:
Recon Ships: Provide support through electronic warfare like jamming (Falcon), capacitor draining (Curse), webbing (Rapier) or... um.. Gallente... providing 5-minute-Cynosural Fields (Arazu).
Covert Ops: The eyes of the fleet commander. They are either stationed far away from gates leading to the system concerned, keeping an eye on enemy fleet movements or busy getting into good positions for "warp in"s (Warpin: Position at convenient range for the allied fleet to open up on the enemy or to bubble them).
Command Ships: Sitting around making the fleet more awesome through providing system-wide boosts to velocity, HP, recharge rates, damage, etc.
Stealth Bombers: Frigate-Sized ships capable of launching a single projectile (a bomb) that explodes approx. 30km away from the point where it was launched, in the direction the Bomber faced. Can be used to fail or, if done right, annoy/destroy the enemy fleet in a single blow.
Supercarriers: Advanced carriers (duh) employing fighter bomber drones which dish out damage equivalent to Dreadnought.
Titans: Huge piles of scrapmetal locked down in POS fields capable of moving the fleet forward some systems. Also capable of killing ordinary capitals in one shot.

Montag, 19. April 2010

Can flipping is fun


So there I was. In Orvolle. As I had planned it for some time now, I just refitted my Iteron V for combat and was off to the belts to try some canflipping. Of course, my idea was simple:

Since nearly no one engages even frigates these times, I'm gonna try and look like a complete pillock in a weak-ass hauler attempting to really steal the ore instead of just flipping it.

And I really found an unsuspecting(?) miner, peacefully sucking his roids... as I approached and took his ore, I deliberately put some emphasis on taking my time in aligning, then stopping again as I noticed he hadn't aggressed yet, thinking he might be afk but to my disgrunt, after a minute or so he accepted a convo and confirmed what I had been suspecting already... he saw my 3 corpies in local (I think from our logistic division but ofc that couldn't convince him) and preferred to stay still until I left to a neighboring system, transferring back to 0.0 for a fleetop.

Today, after returning from school (at 6pm -.-), I decided to
try again with my char I had podded back to Osmeden during lunch break since my clone hadn't been ready yet, but again, the first Retriever refused to agress, so I went on, scanning down Cargo Containers for 10 minutes or so (because I couldn't be bothered to check the 8(?) belts manually) until finally, I found belt full of mining barges and exhumers, most of which warped off after I entered the grid but fair enough, I think 2 stayed and one of them even had a can out.
Although he had another 2 corpmates in local (one of them stood next to the can flying a hauler), I decided to go for it and flipped his can. Yet again, nothing happened. Then he launched another can, and some minutes after I took this obvious bait, another one. As the timer was halfway through, I was on the verge of warping off and sure enough I did after the miner's 3rd corpmate entered the belt in a Republic Fleet Firetail of which I knew that my T1-fitted hauler wouldn't stand a chance against.
After One round of docking games I went for a gamble and warped to the Orvolle gate and jumped with the intention of switching my experimental funfit for something capable of "real" PVP. As he didn't pursue me, I hopped into my plated Thorax and swiftly returned to Osmeden, just to find my friend, the miner, back at work, with a can out. Seeing they had alerted another corpmate in the meantime, I hesitated to take the bait at first, and dicked around a little, bumping him and agressing another miner that was present but since he didn't aggro back (what a surprise) and a short but aggravating convo later, I took the risk and flipped the can of my previous "victim".
Almost exactly at that moment, two of his three remaining corpies warped in. A Blackbird, I thought. Just great. And a Tristan. Since I was already jammed and tackled, I thought "oh well, they had some time to prepare so the BB prolly has Gallente jammers on it... seems that's as far as I go today..." But then I noticed that I still had the shiny set of Warrior IIs in my drone bay which I had almost forgotten to buy for the Firetail beforehand so I launched them and set them to aggressive... now all I needed was the BB to miss a cycle and to my utter surprise he really did. However, it looked like he was buffered to hell and beyond and since I was already at half armor I considered the fight to be over and expected a lot of painful KB smack for losing a T2 fitted, rigged Thorax to a Cruiser, Mining Barge and Frigate.
But yet again, I thought too soon as the BB missed another cycle. In a desperate attempt to save my ship, I tried to lock up the Tristan, holding my fingers above my drones->engage hotkeys, ready to issue the engagement order (not expecting too much though) and as I got a lock, all my already overheated guns, drones and modules went ablaze and started chunking away the tackler's shield. He went down pretty quickly but I already noticed the hauler pilot from earlier warping in in a Caracal as my armor buffer failed and I started dropping through structure. At the very last moment, my drones got a lucky shot in, vaporizing the damn Tristan and blowing it to a million of bloody pieces. However, there was not much time to celebrate. I abandoned my brave Warriors and spammed the warp button. A deep sigh escaped my throat as my warp drive activated and my burning Cruiser escaped to safety while we exchanged some well-deserved gf's.

Samstag, 27. März 2010

Conventional MMOs vs. Sandbox MMOs and why EVE is still alive

(Need a German translation? Contact me here: jan-christopher@altenhoff-lgh.de)

Conventional MMOs vs. Sandbox MMOs

Looking at the MMORPG/MMORTS/MMOFPS/MMOG/MMO market (whatever, you get the point), for me there are two categories for products. Although they all share the general idea of having one main character, in my opinion there is one difference that shouldn't be forgotten.

The first type of MMOs (the "conventional" type) assigns one main level to each character. That means, you basically work on Quests/NPCs/etc to push your main EXP bar/whatever up to 100% and once you are done with that, you start it over, aka "teh grind".
As you probably already figured out, most MMOs belong to this category. I'll use (of course) WoW as my prime example.

The second type, on the other hand, does not directly show you a Level itself but ofeten only an indicator of how far you have progressed thus far. It is very common for this type to not only have one, but a number of Skills (Although I find "Skills" to be confusing here, I'll explain later), sometimes their total amount lies beyond two dozens.
Again, as you may have guessed, the number of MMOs here is very low. My prime example will be EVE Online.

There may even be some hybrids which select one very important "Skill" and designate it as the main Level.
This happens in many Sandbox MMOs to a degree which but some take this to a niveau that exalts them from their category like Bounty Bay Online (thats Voyage Century for Americans).

Coming back to what I wrote earlier, the term "Skill" may not be appropriate for the different levels of the second type. It sounds like they still remain mere parts of a greater entity.
For example, EVE counts all the skillpoints you achieve by leaving your character train the skills while you sleep and thus, the "Total SP" could be considered a "main level" just like the ones I mentioned in the paragraph about the first type. But that's not the point.
What I'm getting at is that "conventional" MMOs mostly have their content depend on the characters' main level as a primary prerequisite while "non-leveling" MMOs allow their players to choose goals for themselves and even enable them to completely cut loose from every "mainstream" character setup without forcing them to undergo extra grinding sessions.

Now speaking of my very own, personal experience, I enjoy the second type far more than
the first (Well, that should be obvious looking at the Blog title anyway) and thought a little about why I actually do. What I wrote previously is just what I think should be known to the reader before presenting my thoughts concerning the question why relatively old Sandbox MMOs are still alive and kicking many many years after their creation while conventional types have a slight trend to look a little unhealthy (concerning the playerbase) comparatively often and in the end, I came up with a pretty simple result.

So, why is EVE still alive?

Since "THE GRIND" aka repetition possibly has the biggest influence on players, conventional MMO players will get increasingly frustrated when they realise all they do is "killing ten rats" all the time. Everything is focused on leveling and looting without proper user interaction (I like to call it the "LFP" syndrome) and in the end, there you are, with the most awesome equipment you painstakingly farmed over the course of the last 6 moths but now...? Exactly what do you plan on doing now? Yeah, that's right, let's postpone the inevitable a little by starting a new char, blah blah blah, we know the drill.
Ok now, how can you prevent players from leaving the game once they're done? Right. Don't ever let them finish or at least ensure that the gameplay is sufficiently based on teamplay and that is something the long-standing sandboxes have shown perfectly.

Don't get me wrong though, the conventional MMOs are fine like they are (I didn't forget about the impressive number released in the last century/centuries which are still alive) and I think they will prevail until the new player influx declines to unseen depths which will presumably never happen but if you are looking for something that's going to keep you entertained for a long time and which you can put all your heart into, you might just finally want to consider to look for something else.

So basically, everything boils down to this:
Conventional MMOs -> short-term gratification
Sandbox MMOs -> long-term gratifcation



Dienstag, 2. Februar 2010

Tribute/PB Hurfblurf

So, nachdem mein Post für den Blog banter abgeschickt ist hab ich mir gedacht, den Rest schreib ich dann doch auf Deutsch, wenn hier überhaupt wer reinschaut sinds bestimmt keine Amis mehr :)

Aaalso zur Sache...

Als ich heute Nachmittag endlich wieder Zeit für EVE hatte (den ganzen Vormittag Foren durchstöbert, böh) kam im Fleetchat die Idee auf, unser Dauercamp in Orvolle doch mal gegen ne Roaming einzutauschen.
Gesagt, getan und wir entschieden uns kurzerhand für Frigs und Destroyer.

Eine GESCHLAGENE STUNDE später waren dann auch die letzten die 4 Jumps nach Vlillirier geflogen und wir saßen alle in (mehr oder weniger) korrekt gefitteten Schiffen (2x Ceptor, 1 Dic und ne Hand voll AS).

Ziel der Roaming war DL1- in Tribute, bis dahin sollte Travelmode angesetzt werden, wobei es natürlich nicht blieb :P. Wenige Jumps nach Vlillirier meldete unser Scout an, er wolle doch einmal ein Seitensystem überprüfen.
5 Minuten später kam auch die Meldung: "Jo, Raven im Belt, Punkt is drauf!"
Also alle reingesprungen und die Raven zerlegt.
Beim Looten passierte es dann... offenbar wollte eine zweite Raven der gleichen Corp ihren Kumpel rächen und warpte ebenfalls in unseren Belt auf 0. Ließ sich übrigens ohne weitere Wortmeldung in aller Ruhe tackeln und zerkrümeln.
Bilanz noch vor erreichen von Tribute: 2 BS, 2 Pods.

Die Reise ging weiter, wobei wir einer ROL gang mit 2x Cynabal, 2x Vaga, 2x Scimi und 2x Dramiel aus dem Weg gehen mussten. trotzdem waren uns beim Eintreffen schon ein Bomber und eine Ranis zum Opfer gefallen.

Eines der Systeme, in denen wir dann in Tribute selbst Beltbingo spielten, enthielt übrigens ein Faction BS, welches wir kurzerhand killten (immerhin was) und das uns erstmal nen Crystal Epsilon droppte :)

Im Zielsystem erwartete uns ein voller Local und eine Drake am Incoming, die sich von uns auch ganz brav tackeln ließ. Warum diese Drake dann aber nicht etwa durch das Gate, auf dem sie auf 0 stand, hindurchsprang, sondern sich in aller Ruhe bumpen ließ, bleibt uns wohl erstmal ein Rätsel. wenige Sekunden später gingen BC und Pod down.

Zu diesem Zeitpunkt passierte mir das, wovor ich mich schon vorher gefürchtet und die Gang gewarnt hatte: Mein Melder ging los und ich musste die Gang in Tribute verlassen, wer die Gruppe danach zurückführte und was aus dem Implant geworden ist weiß ich leider nicht, bin dann aber während ihr Tower reinforct habt die 23 Jumps sicher wieder zurückgekommen (Neele, du kannst dir dein Schiff wieder abholen :) ).

Insgesamt also folgende Bilanz:

-2 BS, 1 BC, 1 Bomber, 1 Intie sowie mindestens 2 Pods gekillt,
-eigene Verluste 0.


das wars und bis zum nächsten Mal,
Weynard


[Wen es interessiert: Der Einsatz entpuppte sich entgegen der normalerweise harmlosen weil fehleranfälligen "ausgelösten Brandmeldeanlage" als langgeplante, zweieinhalbstündige Großübung, bei der meine Kameraden und ich auf der Suche nach einem Hydranten wohl ca 1m³ Eis wegbuddelten, bevor endlich jeder gemerkt hatte, dass es in der "hinteren rechten Ecke der Lagerhalle" doch nicht brannte... ein paar von uns sind auch bös aufs Maul gefallen weil natürlich der Boden auf dem Gelände null geräumt war x)]

Donnerstag, 28. Januar 2010