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Showing posts from July, 2008

EVE online: Pricing Buy and Sell Orders

EVE's market screen is a wonderful tool giving every buyer and seller full visibility of all the prices in a region. This is great for creating an efficient liquid market but it also means that buying and selling are "winner take all" games. If a competitor puts the same goods up in the same station for a paltry 0.01 ISK lower than your price then your sales won't drop by 20% or 50% they will go to zero. Likewise if your buy order is even 1 lousy cent less than the market leader you get nothing. I am convinced that only the price leader actually completes a buy or sell order and only price leaders actually make any money. If you want to be successful in EVE trading you need to pick your chosen market and you need to own that market. I don't know of an easy way to do this. From my experience you need to fight aggressively for each and every order that you hope to complete. Here are some of the things I have tried: - Set a fair price and let it sit hoping to ge

EVE Online: Fun with 800k skill points

Marb Pelico my main pilot has languished in a station reading skill books for the last week while I have been having fun with my 800k skill point alts. You can actually do an amazing amount of fun stuff in EVE with a brand new out of the box character. Fresh characters make great scouts for exploring dangerous regions of space. The small nimble noob ships can often get away from traps that would catch bigger more heavily armed prey and even if you do get caught you get a free replacement ship and clone. A fresh character is also a good way to explore your dark side if you are that way inclined. Once you accept that there is no hope of besting an opponent in a fair fight you can get up to a lot of mischief in a noobship. All kinds of theft, fraud and general blaggardism can be perpetrated within the safety net of an anonymous disposable character. Once I tired of exploring and general goofing around though it was time to put my alts to work. It is my intention to use them to earn an

EVE Online: Penalty Points for Speeding Pod Pilots

I have been away for a few days and I come back to discover that CCP dropped a bombshell while I was on vacation . I am in the happy position of not having played for long enough to be bothered so I can sit back and enjoy the drama as it unfolds on the forums, the whining of the affected and the joyous celebration of those who have hitherto struggled under the effects of the imbalance this nerf is designed to counter. My noobish understanding of the problem being addressed is as follows. Apparently in the game as it now stands it is possible to tune up certain ships to fly far faster than the developers anticipated. At these "ludicrous" speeds (their term) the ships become almost impossible to hit granting them near invulnerability in combat. This is such an advantage that these nano-ships (named after one of the components commmonly used in achieving such high speed) have become almost mandatory in pvp combat. I don't have in depth knowledge of the issue but from what

EVE Online: Character Creation Revisited

I am making an alt to help Marb with a bit of trading and ferrying so I have had a second opportunity to experience EVE's character creation system. When setting up Marb I choose Minmatar Brutor for no more scientific reason that the fact that I liked their style. This time I have had a chance to study character creation in more detail with the help of two detailed forum posts from Akita T (who explains how race and bloodline choices affect character attributes) and Tiberyya Za (who provides an excellent spreadsheet detailing the starter skill packs you get with each of the chosen professions). Like many things in EVE the character creation process is far from intuitive and it is entirely possible to gimp your character from birth. Any character can learn any skill in EVE but a character with a poor set of starting attributes could take weeks or months longer to reach their desired goals. Characters attributes (perception, intelligence, memory, willpower and charisma) do not

EVE Online: A Very useful EVE blog

It has been a while since I updated my blog roll but I have to add at least one EVE blog. Turns out that is an easy choice. Crazy Kinux is a one stop shop for all things EVE. In particular look out for the regular "speedlinking" posts in which Crazy compiles a great list of interesting EVE links.

EVE: You can do anything you want.....but you can't do that.

Although I admit to using the occasional impolite language I do believe there is a time and a place for everything. I would not therefore normally have any sympathy for someone who was banned from an MMO for using profanities accompanied by personal insults in the public chat channel particularly if I heard that the banee hadn't even made it out of the two week free trial before losing the run of themselves. In StanlyManly's case though I am almost ready to make an exception because of the laugh I got from reading his elegant expression of incredulity that he could be banned from EVE, a game in which every manner of underhand human behaviour is encouraged, just because he used a few naughty words. To quote Stanly: " I guess my foul mouth and I are just too offensive for that upstanding and mature group of cheaters, pirates, market fixers, spies, liars, extortionists, backstabbers and egomaniacs." For someone who didn't even make it through the 2 week trial

EVE Online: Missioneering Update

At this stage I pretty much have level 3 missions on farm status using an armour tanked Hurricane battlecruiser: It does the same job as the amour tanked Rupture that I previously used in level 3's but has the considerably more hit points, capacitor and fire power. Having three active armour hardeners is another nice feature and allows me to tailor the tank for the expected damage profile from any given mission. Using short range autocannons goes somewhat against accepted missioneering wisdom. Unlike the Rupture the Hurricane does have enough power grid to fit longer range artillery but this short range set up is so much fun to use that I have decided to stick with it for the time being. You need to chase down enemies with afterburner enhanced speed before you can bring your main firepower to bear. HAving a slot available to fit a webber on the Hurricane is another huge advantage over the Rupture. Once an enemy gets within the 10km webber range you can pin them in place and open

EVE Online: Let Someone Else Pay Your Subscription.

CCP has implemented a form of controlled real money trading (rmt) using play timecodes. It is a neat system in which the only party that receives real money is CCP while players trade play time for in game currency (ISK). A consequence of this system is that players who amass a considerable amount of in game wealth can pay their monthly subscription using in game currency and thus play the game for free. A quick look at Timecode Bazaar , the official forum for buying and selling time codes shows that there were over 450 separate posts on the 17th July. Not every post resulted in a sale while some posts resulted in multiple sales. If I somewhat unscientifically assume that this amount of posts equates to 450 sixty day time cards being sold on an average day that suggests that 60x450 = 28,740 EVE accounts are being paid for using in game currency. If this is true then about 11% of EVE's quarter of a million active subscriptions are being paid for with in game currency. It should b

Mass Effect

In between flying missions in EVE I have been playing Bioware's Mass Effect in the background. This crpg/third person shooter hybrid was heaped with praise in its XBox 360 incarnation so I have been looking forward to the pc version for some time. Its far too early for a definitive evaluation but first impressions are a little mixed. On the positive side the rpg elements feel very like KOTOR Bioware's previous space based crpg. This is surely a good thing because KOTOR was one of my all time favourite gaming experiences. On the negative side the rpg elements feel very like KOTOR. I played that game. I enjoyed it a lot. I am not sure I want to play it again. One carry over feature that is currently bugging me is the implementation of a "morality meter". In Kotor your choice of actions and in particularly your choice of dialog options earned you points from either the light or dark side of the force, increasing your powers in the relevant light or dark side skills.

Eve Online: Multiple Accounts

EVE seems to have more players using multiple accounts than any other game I have come across. Witness the responses to a request on the official forums for advice on maximising earnings from PVE missions. Three of the first four respondents admit to using multiple accounts. We are talking about separate paid accounts here each with their own subscription. My gut feeling is that the skill system is the main reason for the popularity of multiple accounts in EVE. In mmos where character progress is based on playing time it can be very difficult to level a second character without neglecting your main. In EVE the main on a second account can be trained independently with little time investment other than logging on periodically to initiate new skill training. Having a fully developed second character is obviously a significant advantage either as a source of alternate skills or as a backup in combat situations. In addition to their game play utility alts can play a role in the complex

Eve Online: The Tyranny of Skill Training

Eve's innovative real time skill training frees a player from the XP grind that accompanies most mmorpgs. At first glance this appears to be casual friendly but at the moment I find that EVE's skill training system is forcing me to schedule my life around the game. If the first commandment of EVE is to "Never fly what you cannot afford to lose" then the second is "Always have a skill in training". The real time nature of skill training means there is no way to catch up on lost hours in which your character is not learning something. This creates significant pressure to log on and pop a new skill on every time one finishes. It is not possible to queue skills and there are no out of game tools that will start skill training for you. You must launch the full game browser every time you wish to start a new skill. If a skill finishes at 3:00am then you have to get out of bed and log on to start a new one or else miss out on several hours of valuable training ti

Eve Online: The Benefits and of Having Unlimited Storage

Many MMORPGs torture their players with ridiculously tight storage limits. There may conceivably once have been some kind of server side resource limitations which required these limits but I personally think it is a stupid game mechanic which upsets every player at some point in the game. Thankfully EVE has not gone down this route. Individual ships have limited cargo carrying capacity but you can store as much stuff as you want in a space station.In fact you can have separate unlimited stores in every one of the thousands of space stations in the game. Such bountiful storage is a godsend for those of an acquisitive nature but it does bring its own housekeeping problems. I must put my own guilty hand up and admit that after less than three months in game I have a tally of 492 items in storage spread across 13 solar systems. That doesn't even count the stuff stashed in the holds and fittings of any of my 12 spaceships. Some of this clutter is the result of foolish buy orders pl

In which Eve online is compared to Guild Wars and a number of remarkable similarities are found.

In a gaming space where the dominance of World of Warcraft has strangled many would be competitors both Eve and Guild wars have managed to survive and prosper by carving out their own special niches. They are very different games: Guild Wars is a fantasy game, Eve is set in Space. Eve charges a monthly sub while Guild Wars does not. Guild Wars is almost entirely instanced while Eve is entirely un-instanced to the point where all players play on a single server. Eve allows for non consensual pvp. Guild Wars pvp is strictly consensual. The differences are obvious but there are also a few surprising similarities that I would like to explore. Most obvious is the fact that they are both generally acknowledged as PVP centric games. Perhaps less well known however is that both of these games have a very sizeable proportion of players who are pvp-phobic carebears. Taking a very unscientific look at the official EVE forums I notice that the strongly pvp focussed "Crime and Punishment&q

Eve: Rupture Armour Tank Update

Well ... It seems to work. I have done 2 level 3 missions ( Rogue Drone Harassment and Angel Extravaganza ) in the armour tanked configuration described last post and I am still alive to tell the tale. I skipped the optional last part of extravaganza - that has battleship class rats and I doubt it could be handled solo in a cruiser. The combination of short range weapons and a strong armour tank are quite new to me. The red arc across the top of my status panel indicating my rapidly disappearing shields took a bit of getting used to. This set up takes a bit more concentration to use than a passive shield tank. I use drones and missiles to tickle enemies from range while I try to close in rapidly using afterburners. You can't run afterburner and armour repairer together for very long without draining cap so there is a tantalising few moments while you fly into a hail of incoming fire with no armour repairer on, trying desperately get into autocannon range. Once you get within

Eve Online: Armour Tanked Rupture

I decided to follow the advice of commenters Van Hemlock and Jason and experiment with an armour tank on the Rupture. As I had previously focussed almost exclusively on shield tanks I had to buy a bunch of stuff and train some skills but here is what I came up with: Lows: Armour tanking is all about low slots so we have a named medium armour repairer providing ongoing defence and a beefy armour plate adding some depth to the tank. In addition there is an active explosive hardener filling the hole in armours explosive resistance and a passive energised adaptive membrane providing an additional 15% resist across the board. Specific resists can be adjusted to best suit the type of damage expected. The Tech 2 Damage control II costs over 1 million isk but I reckon it is worth it because it performs 2 important roles. It gives 15% universal resist to armour which is as good as having an additional energised adaptive membrane. It also gives a whopping 60% resist to structure which is my in

Woot ....I won something

It is my lucky day. I have won a copy of Boom Blox in DM Osbon's Sweet Flag competition . I don't actually have a Wii to play the game on yet but perhaps this will nudge me towards investing in one. Even if I don't get a Wii myself I have several younger relatives who would be delighted to get a copy allowing me to earn major brownie points. DM and co writer Tom Bastable are putting a lot of effort into Sweet Flag and it is developing by leaps and bounds as a significant gaming review site. Plus of course DM himself is one of the nicest guys in the gaming blogo-sphere. In a world populated by cynically jaded would be hacks DM's optimistic enthusiasm and general all round friendliness make a refreshing change. (Of course I have to say nice things about him, don't I? He is sending me a free game.)

Mousemats Revisited: An interesting Discovery.

After 9 months of heavy gaming my beloved apple shaped mouse mat is showing its age. The top surface has developed some stains which refuse to wash off while the grippy bottom surface has started to peel. Luckily I have managed to find a replacement which is even better but in the process I made an interesting discovery. My new mat is a Sweex Laser Mouse Pad . The Sweex pad has a more conventional design than the Fellows circular disk. It has two layers: a rubberised high friction bottom layer which grips the desk like glue and a plastic top surface. I suspect the top surface is made from PTFE (Teflon) because my mouse literally glides over the surface under its own momentum. It is coloured a neutral grey and has a fine surface pattern that seems to be just right for my laser mouse. After using the Sweex for a couple of days I noticed that occasionally my mouse would behave erratically, sometimes sticking in place and sometimes moving of its own accord. I was on the point of abandoni

Eve Online: Almost Blockaded

Well I finally finished Blockade (lvl 3) in my Rupture last night ..... at 3:00 am. It seems my naive optimism after clearing the first couple of waves the previous night were misplaced. Not alone had everything reset after yesterday's downtime but everything seemed to have gotten harder. There appears to be a random element in the spawns and I appear to have gotten the unlucky draw. In every case I got more enemies and tougher enemies than listed in the normally excellent Eve-Survival guide . Frigates turned into cruisers, cruisers turned into battle cruisers and battle cruisers turned into tech 2 Arch Gistum ships with insane resistances. Even the triggers proved trickier than I expected. On two of the waves the trigger ship was not unique but one of a bunch of identical ships. This slows things up enormously as you need to work your way around the map avoiding killing any of the possible triggers. It also gives you a lottery of which one to kill last in order to avoid triggering

Eve Online: Level 3 Misions in a Rupture

Having finally worked up enough standing to access a decent lvl 3 agent in a safe system (Eystur) I ran a few level 3 missions in my Rupture last night. First mission was " The Mordus Headhunters " which I found quite challenging with a mixture of heavy hitting cruisers and fast moving frigates including webbing interceptors. I got through it in the end with a few lessons learned and happily no ship lost. Second mission was the Serpenti version of "Unauthorised Military Prescence" . This mission was a comparative doddle. The Serpentis didn't appear to have any effective long range weapons so I could pick them off from a distance with impunity. They did use sensor damping to break my target lock occasionally but this was no more than a minor annoyance. The third mission offered to me was "The Blockade" . The level 2 version of this was long and challenging so I was expecting this to be very tough but I decided to give it a go anyway. Blockade is a tric