Friday, March 30, 2012

New Eden Vacation #3: EVE Gate - The birthplace of EVE

Gazing upon the glowing inferno which is all that remains of the wormhole that used to link the universe of EVE to the rest of humanity I could not help but wonder if it was worth coming to see it at all. Yes EVE-gate in the system of New Eden is the birthplace of EVE. The link to the home world of humanity from whence the gameworld is supposed to have been populated many generations ago. Today however the system is a lifeless derelict. The wormhole itself remains unapproachably distant even if it does outshine the system's weak star. The most interesting thing to see are the cans left behind by many visitors to mark their own personal pilgrimage to this most sacred site in EVE.

Several other pilgrims came while I was there and like thousands of others before them they set their MWDs to maximum and headed out to see how close they could get to the anomaly. Most give up after a few minutes. Some have persisted for hours. My scanner picked up one can 150,000km from the Stargate which is many hours of sub light speed travel. There were fewer cans than I expected on scan leading me to think that ccp may clean them up from time to time even though I spotted some l dating back to 2006. The older cans are not scannable from entry gate but can be scanned from the systems star for some reason.

Reflecting on the site itself however I realised that it is not CCPs' New Eden backstory that makes EVE special. The real lore of EVE is in the day to day interaction of the thousands of players and corporations who populate this game world. EVE gate may be the birthplace of EVE but it is not the centre of the game. Only one system can rightfully claim to be that centre: the most populous, most infamous solar system in the game and the next port of call on my EVE vacation: Jita.

 PS: There are some other sights worth seeing in the systems leading to New Eden including this violent wormhole in Promised Land:

and this forgotten Amarr station in Access.

You don't really find ancient ruins like this in Minmatar space which makes sense since we have only recently won our freedom.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

New Eden Vacation #2: The infinite patience of the suicide ganker

She waits in Balle tonight just as she waited last night and the night before. The Tornado she flies is one of the newest ships in New Eden. Its battle cruiser sized hull puts out as much damage over time as a full sized battleship but this pilot isn't interested in damage over time. All that matters is alpha. The overwhelming impact of that first broadside which will obliterate her chosen foe in the seconds before Concord appear out of thin air to vaporise her Tornado.

I waited myself and watched her a while in the hopes of seeing this feared predator in action but she is a choosy hunter. In the six weeks since she started her hunt career she has only made seven kills. Each one a humble T1 industrial. Their contents were not so humble though.

Total value of kills: 9.9 Billion isk. Total value of loot dropped: 4.1 Billion isk.
Against this you must offset the loss of a 60 million isk Tornado for every kill.
Net Earnings 4.1 Billion - 7x60 million =  3.6 Billion in six weeks.
Not bad for a 2 million skill point pilot.

She doesn't work alone of course. She needs an alt to scoop up the loot and probably another to scan  ships for juicy targets. 600 million a week in profits will cover the subs for three accounts with plenty of isk left over.

Curiously the ganker is not immune to ganking. She has lost two Tornados (and a pod) in high sec herself. One of the kills was to another gank tornado. Was this a revenge killing or perhaps a turf war between rivals, who knows? Looking at the ship kill gives us more insight into her tactics. A full rack of cheap 1400mm Gallium cannon firing Republic Fleet EMP-L for massive alpha damage. Three stacked sensor boosters reduce target locking time to a minimum. Two tracking computers reduce any advantage accruing to a target's motion. Three reactor control units are needed in the lows to allow such a low skill point pilot fit all of those big guns. This only leaves room for one damage increasing gyrostabiliser. Two damage increasing collision accelerator rigs compensate somewhat for the lack of gyros. This fit does one thing and one thing only. Lock and fire a single overwhelming volley as quickly as possible. The lack of any kind of scanner shows the need for a scanning alt and the requirement for  a loot scooper is obvious.

Seven kills in six weeks. How many hours did she have to sit at a gate to get those kills and how many hundreds of worthless targets did she have to scan in order to choose the right seven. A true hunter needs patience above all else.

I was not fortunate enough to witness her make a kill but I did experience a mad thought of making a dash for the loot if one happened. Would I make it before her loot scooper? Would one of her alts have the means to shoot me if I did? Would it have been poetic justice if I actually mananged to get away with her loot or would it just have been petty theft?

By the way viewing the details of the ships killed nearly brought me to tears. It beggars belief that people are still transporting billions of isk worth of cargo in paper thin industrials. The 4 billion isk Badger 2  definitely stands out though and not just for the sheer value of faction loot in the cargo hold. This badger had a completely useless active shield tank fitted with over 2 billion isk worth of faction modules.  A single volley from the tornado vaporised the lot before the 1.2 billion isk pithi shield booster could run a single repair cycle.  

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

New Eden Vacation #1: The mining colony

My great new Eden tour started a bit earlier than I expected with a visit to a busy mining colony in the Minmatar Region of Molden Heath. I wasn't deliberately sightseeing, it was just a test flight for my new travel fit cloaky Rifter. I figured an isolated asteroid belt would minimise the chance of something going wrong as I struggled with the unfamiliar modules.

It was a pleasant surprise then to stumble across a thriving mining colony: there were hulks, retrievers and covetors all busily chewing away at the rocks as well as support ships. They had somehow even managed to organise an escort of Concord ships to watch over them as they mined.

Sightseeing is all very well but I had work to do. I didn't think they would mind a single non-threatening frigate making a few trial passes around their asteroid belt.

I was wrong.

I don't think they were too bothered until I started playing with the cloak but as soon as I started disappearing and re-appearing they all upped and flew away. Fear me!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

EVE: Mission (running) complete, time for a holiday in New Eden

One of my medium term goals in EVE is to take a cloaky ship and go exploring, to become an EVE tourist as it were. The ideal vessel for this is probably a covert ops ship like the Cheetah but while I am waiting for the appropriate skills to train I intend to see how far I can get in a cheap Tech1 frigate fitted with a cloak.

No doubt I will lose shipa and pods as  I try to explore the more lawless regions. Ships and pods can be replaced but this  does raise some logistical questions. If you are podded you wake up back in a medical clone which is likely to be many systems further back. There are some npc stations even in the wilds of 0.0 so I could try to bring my clone with me as I travel but waking up in a dangerous spot far from home with only a rookie ship and no means of earning isk is not ideal either so I set about getting myself some jump clones.

Jump clones are like extra bodies that you can magically transfer to (with a 24 hour cooldown). It seems to me that by strategically placing a few jump clones in stations along the way I can create instant warp points should I ever find myself stuck.  As a minimum I will leave a jump clone in my high sec mission hub so I can come back and earn some isk should the need ever arise. I will also feel a lot more comfortable moving my medical clone around knowing that I always have a body available in a nice safe high security system to jump to.

Jump clones are very cheap (100k isk) but corporations will only sell them to you if you have a high standing of 8.0 (out of 10.0) with them. There are friendly groups who will help players get around this limitation but I needed to train up some cloaking skills and earn some isk before setting off so I was happy to spend the last week and a half running missions to bring my standing up to 8.0 with one corporation. I reached that goal last night and bought my first jump clone. My wallet is adequate for the moment and I have bought and kitted out a cloaky Rifter.

Mission (running)complete, the great New Eden package tour begins.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

EVE: Mission Learning curve

Its just over a week since I hesitantly ran my first level 4 missions and after completing about 25 of them over the intervening period I notice they have gone from dice with death warp out in flames experiences to pretty routine fair. I am not at the speed running stage but I can comfortably clear any mission in well under an hour without ever being in danger of losing a ship.

How have the missions become so much easier for me? For the most part I am using exactly the same Maelstrom battleship set-up. The only material difference is that I have trained up Tech 2 drones which speeds up killing small annoying frigates but the real explanation is that I have "learned"how to use the ship properly in these missions and it has become second nature. Most of this learning is subconscious but I will try to summarise the main things I remember:

 1. Artillery is a long range weapon - distance is the best way of keeping your targets angular velocity low enough so that you guns can hit them. A good tactic is to start out at 70km with medium range ammunition and thin out cruisers and battle cruisers. Then I switch to  short range ammo and close to 37km to tackle battleships.

2. Correct position and range is key to this strategy.  Don't be afraid to spend several minutes gettign into an idea position before you fire a shot. Switch on the tactical overlay and choose a route to run away that doesn't smack you into another group of mobs or into any scenery. The afterburner is absolutely vital.

3. Maintaining range like this cuts down on most of the incoming damage. For most missions I never even have to top up my shields. 
4. Ammunition and shield hardeners selected using a combination of Eve - Survival and common sense.

5. Eve Survival is also very useful at indicating which spawns are safe to hit to avoid triggers or aggroing the whole room. However sometimes it is just easier to aggro everything and run away from them. The chasing ships tend to line up nicely one by one behind your guns.

6. Don't waste bullets on frigates or destroyers. They can't hurt you and drones will make short work of them when they get close.

7. Good drone control is essential. Don't release drones until you have already picked up any loose aggro yourself. Dock all drones immediately if they are taking damage. Always dock your drones before aggro-ing a new group.  Setting drones to aggressive is useful for getting them to automatically kill anything that gets too close but it doesn't always work so manual targeting is often needed. Don't use aggressive mode if there is risk of your drones aggroing the wrong group .

8. The primary function of drones is to kill frigates and destroyers so light drones are essential. I carry ten of them in case of losses. I use Warrior IIs (explosive) for Angels and Hobgoblins IIs (thermal) for just about everything else. Once all the frigates are cleared you can use drones to help kill cruisers and even add a bit of dps to battleships. I carry 5 medium drones (Hammerhead II) for this.

9. Not really a lesson learned but I have abandoned salvaging and looting unless I know there is something valuable like an implant. It is boring and it takes too much time to travel back to base swap to a salvager and return. Sure I am leaving money on the table but between bounties and loyalty points I am not short of isk.

10. You can decline one mission every hour without penalty so it helps to know what missions to decline: Anything that sends you to low security space, Anything that will cause a faction hit with one of the non pirate factions, missions without bounties (unless you want to loot and salvage).

11. For the most part I avoid damage by staying at range  so my original Maelstrom build is actually over tanked. This gives some flexibility to sacrifice tanking components and add something more useful like ECCM (counters jamming) or a sensor booster (extends targeting range and /or counters dampening) for missions that require it. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

In EVE no one can hear you scream (because it's downtime)

"You want me to deliver 8000m3 of gewgaws to the low security system of Ingunn, known hideout of murderers, thieves and other undesirables? You do realise that I will need to bring my industrial ship to fit all that junk? The big slow one with paper thin armour and a massive target symbol painted on the side. Have you considered that the miserable 175,0000 isk you are offering me for this mission won't even pay for a replacement clone following my inevitable podding in that cesspit."

You need to run 16 regular missions to get an important storyline mission that, usually, offers better rewards and a significant increase in faction standings. So after 16 combat missions I get my first level 4 storyline mission:a crappy delivery mission to low sec. Random numbers suck sometimes.

By every logical reason I should have declined this mission. Bringing a slow industrial into pirate infested low security space is just asking to come home in a pod and the standings loss I was likely to get from accepting the mission and failing far outweighed the small gain in the unlikely event I could pull it off.

But ... running missions in high sec gets tedious after a while and without doubt my most memorable moments in EVE are those episodes where I found myself in mortal peril with the possibility of losing something valuable. I may be a care-bear but I appreciate the adrenaline rush of a whiff of danger every now and then.  So... I accepted.

The biggest industrial I can fly is a hoarder and filling the lows with cargo hold expanders would easily allow me to carry the 8,000m3 payload but because paranoia is a good thing in EVE  I opted for two warp core stabilisers instead. Darn  ... only 7,500m3 of space left. Never fear a bit of jiggery pokery with Giant Secure Containers allowed me to distort the space time continuum and fit 8 into 7. Off we go to pirate town.

Keeping up with the paranoia theme I  sent an alt in ahead of me to scout. Low skill point alts are wonderfully disposable that way. In something of an anticlimax the low sec route I had to run turned out to be fairly quiet after all. The few pilots I spotted in local were members of assorted 0.0 corps with unblemished security records.Probably just passing through.

Once I established that the route was clear I jumped back to Marb and brought in the hauler. Job done, faction increased. Getting out was an uneventful as getting in.

Apologies for the lack of a climax but  this whole incident made me realise that despite my carebear leanings I quite enjoy taking risks in low security space.It seems to me that low sec is more lawless and unpredictable than 0.0. Unfortunately the the risk versus reward of low security space is completely borked. I wouldn't have minded losing my ship but failing the mission would set my faction grind back far more than I could hope to gain by completion.

Monday, March 19, 2012

EVE: Reflection After Two Weeks

I am almost half way through the months sub I used to reactivate my EVE account. Time to reflect on where I have gotten to and where I am going.

During those two weeks I unlocked level 4 missions for the first time and I have been running them successfully in a newly equipped battleship. I am still new enough to this that I need to pay attention and plan carefully for each one but I have about a dozen missions under my belt at this stage so I think it is safe to say "I can do it". Missions are a useful source of ISK income and at  the moment I am finding each new mission an entertaining diversion. I have little doubt  though that they will soon a repetitive chore. It is time to start thinking about my next goal within the EVE universe.

Perhaps the most obvious goal would be to optimise mission running. While I can see missions themselves becoming tedious I still very much enjoy the meta game of ship and tactics design. The main difficulty with this is that I would require months of skill training to advance to the next level: Two months alone to unlock for tech 2 artillery for example. 

A few weeks back I thought about skilling up for some kind of covert ops ship and becoming an EVE tourist. This is still one of my goals although I have no idea how long it will keep me entertained. I also anticipate a lot of ship and pod kills along the way as I blunder through the more dangerous parts of EVE. Again I would need some serious skill training to make this a reality although I might be able to make a start in something like a Vigil (cheap fast Minmatar frigate that I can already fly).

I have been enthralled by blogs about Wormhole living and I do hanker after what is surely the true wild frontier of EVE. I went so far as to make a skill plan to get me up the the minimum entry level recommended by Doyce from Random Average. I need to be honest with myself though. I cannot see myself being able to put in the kind of uninterrupted commitment that wormhole living requires.

I know I have yet to mention the most obvious thing to do in an mmorpg - join a corporation of like minded people and set about doing multi player stuff. There are many who would say there is no point playing a game like EVE unless you participate in the multiplayer aspects of the game.  While I wouldn't rule this out I am not sure I am prepared for the increased level of commitment that a multiplayer engagement would require. Even my current missioning career tends to happen in fits and starts with breaks in the middle for "real life".

Another consideration is that CCP have announced some major incoming changes which will completely overhaul the standard (tech 1) level ships. Since these are the only type of ships I can fly this is bound to have a big impact on the game for me. I don't know when this expansion is due but it will probably be a very good time to be a newish player as everyone is thrown back to the same level getting used to the new ship configurations. That Massively article suggests that some well thought out investments in skill training might pay dividends when the overhaul finally hits. Battlecruisers to V for example it might allow you to fly a wide range of battle cruisers after the expansion hits.

A common theme of most of the suggestions above is that I need to train more skills. My queue of desirable skills is already stretching out many months ahead. That in itself is not a problem but running missions is not going to keep me entertained for all of those months which raises an interesting possibility that I have never done before with EVE - if I get bored of playing I could just keep paying a sub to keep training skills.

Friday, March 16, 2012

EVE: A serving of caldari raven with jam on top

I detest ECM. Last night I did a mission  Mordus folly which put me against a lot of missile spewing Caldari Ravens. I took me a while to break through their tough self healing shields but I managed to whittle them down one by one until it was just me and the undefended supply depot objective.

That should have been easy except that two jamming cruisers spawned. Their little missiles didn't pose a threat but I couldn't target or use my guns while they perma jammed me like a tag team. I managed to get my drones to attack them but the drones were unable to take down a cruiser. I tried distance but I couldn't get far enough away to break the jam (even at 75km). My only option was an intensely frustrating 40 minutes of waiting for chance based gaps in jamming and trying to lock and fire a single volley before jamming started again. It worked evetually but it was extremely tedious given the likelihood that a cruisers shields would fully heal before I could get another shot off. 

I guess I should be grateful that these jammers didn't spawn while all the battlesehips were still around or else I might never have been able to complete the mission. The write up on Eve Survival suggests that they might spawn while another wave is still alive but I think that report is a bit out of date.

I believe Minmatar ships have weak sensors and are particularly sensitive to jamming so I am going to have to think seriously about this for future jammy missions. Perhaps Ishould train electronic counter counter measures ((ECCM). Apparently this usedn't to work in missions but does now.

A browse through forum posts indicates that pvp players have long been complaining about ECM being overpowered especially in small gang warfare. I don't know enough about the subject to comment but this suggestion seems to be favouably regarded by commenters.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

EVE: LVL 4 Maelstrom

The Minmatar Maelstrom has bonuses to active shield tanking and large projectile weapons so it doesn't take much though to pick active shield tanking and large artillery cannons. For a pilot with limited skills however it can still be challenging to squeeze everything you need into the available power and CPU limitations while still maintaining reasonable capacitor life. Here is my current incarnation that works with the appropriate skills at mainly 3 or 4.

[Maelstrom, Working LVL4 Maelstrom]
Beta Reactor Control: Diagnostic System I
Beta Reactor Control: Diagnostic System I
Damage Control II
Counterbalanced Weapon Mounts I
Counterbalanced Weapon Mounts I

100MN Afterburner II
Cap Recharger II
Large Shield Booster II
Shield Boost Amplifier II
Invulnerability Field II
Invulnerability Field II

1400mm 'Scout' Artillery I, EMP L
1400mm 'Scout' Artillery I, EMP L
1400mm 'Scout' Artillery I, EMP L
1400mm 'Scout' Artillery I, EMP L
1400mm 'Scout' Artillery I, EMP L
1400mm 'Scout' Artillery I, EMP L
1400mm 'Scout' Artillery I, EMP L
1400mm 'Scout' Artillery I, EMP L

Large Capacitor Control Circuit I
Large Capacitor Control Circuit I
[empty rig slot]

Hammerhead I x5
Hobgoblin I x5

My shield skills are not too bad so I can fit a tech 2 tank in the mids:large shield booster II+ Shield Boost Amplifier II. I consider an afterburner essential on a boat as slow as this and the Cap Re-charger II does wonders for capacitor life. This only leaves two mid slots for "mission specific hardeners" but it an still tank 355 dps uniform damage distribution. In most missions it can do even better by selecting hardeners for the specific damage types and 500dps+ tanking is achievable.

With afterburner turned off the cap will power the shield booster for more than 20 minutes which is effectively forever. Just switching off the booster off for a few seconds every few minutes will keep it running.

I am several months skill training away from being able to fit tech 2 large artillery so the 1400mm scouts are the biggest guns I can use at the moment. These things are not cheap and you need 8 of them but it is possible to save 20 million by switching to the much cheaper "prototypes"for a loss of only 15 dps.

The two  Beta Reactor Power Diagnostic modules in the low slots provide an essential boost to power grid which I need to fit all eight guns with my low skills. These handy modules also provide a useful boost to shield size and recharge and and capacitor size and recharge all of which help the tank.

Two gyro-stabilisers (Counterbalanced Weapon Mounts) increase the damage from my guns.

The Damage Control II module seems a bit out of place in a shield tanker given that its main bonuses are to armour and hull. It does however provide an extra 12.5% omni damage resist to shields so it compensates somewhat for the lack of a third hardener in the mids. I am tempted to try replacing  this with a damage or tracking enhancing module in missions that do not require heavy tanking.

Drones are essential in this boat for dealing with frigates (light drones) , destroyers and cruisers (medium drones) that get in close and orbit. The thermal damage drones seem to do the best all round but you can swap out for mission specific. My drone skills are terrible and it seems to take forever for my drones to kill anything which is no fun if you are stuck in the middle of  1000dps incoming fire while webbed by several elite frigates. This was the single biggest problem in my first few lvl 4 missions and my skill queue is filled with drone stuff to try and address it.

By the way - getting in close is a relative term when you are dealing with the abysmally awful tracking of large artillery. I have had trouble hitting battleships slowly orbiting me at 15km. The best solution to a tracking problem is to put some distance between yourself and the target and this is where the afterburner comes in handy. Just try not to run the afterburner and shield booster together  or you will exhaust your cap fairly quickly.  Most of the time I try to keep at a range of 35km from my target which allows for reasonable tracking and still allows me to do lots of of damage with close range ammo (EMP, Fusion, Phased Plasma).  Sometimes I need to stand off further to mitigate incoming damage but the very long falloff of these guns means that the close range ammo still hits hard up to about 60km. There is really no need to carry any of the long range stuff lower damage stuff. I do carry some Titanium Sabot on the off chance that I come across an occasion when only kinetic damage will do because there is no short range kinetic ammunition type. 

EFT costs this at a hefty 264 million all in but by shopping around a bit you can do much better. My total expenditure was closer to 200.  The most expensive items are the artillery cannons and the capacitor rigs. The rigs are essential to provide decent capacitor life but  you can get away with  much cheaper "prototype"versions of the 1400mm guns for a small decrease in damage.

Aside: There is a school of thought that you should fit an extra large shield booster into a Maelstrom but unless I am missing something I don't see the point. Shield boosters don't create new shields out of thin air they convert capacitor into shield at a rate of  about 1.5:1 before modifiers. The X-Large booster has exactly the same conversion rate as the Large so the total amount of shield damage you can heal is the same and is limited by your available capacitor. The X-Large may appear to heal at more than twice the rate but you are just exhausting your cap much faster. On the other hand an Xtra large booster has a much higher power grid requirement and it will make it a struggle to fit anything else.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

EVE: A step by step guide to sorting loot for sale or reprocessing.

Last night I decided that something must be done about the ever accumulating pile of mission loot that was accumulating in my current home station. Most of the stuff is complete junk, worthless tech 1 modules that no-one wants to buy. Hidden in among the dross however are a few pearls, individual modules and components worth millions. Sorting the pearls from the dross is not an easy job sadly. 

Anyway after some thought I eventually came up with a "method"which automates the job to some extent. It is not completely painless but it does speed things up considerably.

Step 1: Invest in some Giant Secure containers. Give them helpful names and use them to do an initial sort of your stuff. I have Ammo, Fittings (stuff that I will probably use myself ), Tags and Loot. Sort the stuff you want to keep into the relevant containers and put all the stuff you want to convert into ISK into "loot". Giant secure containers really are one of the most useful things in EVE. Even if you never have loot to sell I recommend using them for housekeeping and they come with the added advantage of being bigger inside than out so you can stuff your haulers with them for an extra 30% space .

Step 2: Download and install a programme called jEveAssets. You will need to setup an api key to allow this to read your assets but it will then produce a list of every single thing you own in EVE.

Step 2:Use the update button to read in all of your assets into JEve. WARNING - there is a long cooldown on this function (I assume this is to prevent overloading the server) so only do this after you have already have sorted everything as best you can within EVE or you will need to wait several hours to try again.

Step 3:The list is intimidating at first but it is easy to filter. Look for something you know is stored in your loot container and check the name of the container:  It will be something like "Giant Secure Container #############". Copy this label into the paste buffer (right click and copy)and then paste it into the filter box  (I use a filter "And", "All", "Contains" "Giant Secure Container ##########") and bingo you are left with just the items in your loot container. Have a quick glance to ensure it is the correct selection.

Step 4: Under the file menu click "Export to CSV"and export the "current filter"to a file of your choosing.

Step 5:Open that file in your spreadsheet of choice (I use Excel).

Step 6: You can hide any columns you don't need. I hide everything except Name, Reprocessed Value, Value, Count.

Step 7. Now decide on a rule which will determine which items are worth trying to sell and which can be reprocessed into minerals. Use an appropriate excel formula to tag these items in an empty  right hand column (the "sell or not" column). For example if you want to sell anything whose sale value is greater than its reprocessed value and which is also worth more than 100k then use a formula as follows:
IF(AND(P2>O2, P2>100000),"SELL","")
Where P2 is the value of the first item and O2 is the reprocessed value of the first item. Copy this formula down the whole column to flag items for sale.

Step 8: Use the Data - Sort function to sort the table by the "sell or not" column. I recommend using a second  sort criteria to sort alphabetically by name.

Step 9. Now in EVE sort your loot container by name and use the alphabetically ordered list of sell items to pull those items for sale to another location (another container perhaps or the hold of a ship).

Step 10. What ever is left can be reprocessed in one fell swoop. You might want to manually weed out low value items items which have no reprocessed value (salvage loot for example).

Step 11:Load up a hauler with your loot and ore and head to the nearest market to sell it. Normal hauling precautions apply of course. If you are feeling lazy you could try a courier contract. 

Remember it is a hell of a lot easier to sell ore than it is to sell modules so for an easy time you might want to bias your selection in favour of reprocessing. For example you could change the formula to
 IF(AND(P2>1.2*O2, P2>100000),"SELL","") to only sell items that are worth 20% more than their reprocessed value. Don't forget however that you will also take a hit on the reprocessing unless you have the appropriate skills trained. My untrained reprocessing percentage is only 87% so I take that into account when deciding to reprocess or not.

Edit: If you are not sure how to reprocess just drag the stuff to your hangar storage (Items tab). Highlight the stuff you want to reprocess right click and select reprocess. Warning - make sure you didn't highlight anything you want to keep. If your yield is less than 87% you need to find a better station. There is also a small fee but if you have been running missions for the station faction then it will probably be small. More information about re-processing here:

For more general advice about selling loot look here:

Monday, March 12, 2012

EVE: A good time to remember I forgot to insure my battleship

Marb Pelico has slipped into the well worn care-bear groove of running combat missions and this weekend he finally graduated to level 4. This is generally regarded as the highest level that is realistically solo-able and many players farm level 4 missions for loot and bounties. I am sure that mission farmers have the ships and skills to make these missions an exercise in boring repetition but for a new player (just 5 million skill points to date) they represents a new and fairly daunting challenge.

A brief sortie in the hurricane that saw me though level 3's quickly convinced me that I needed bigger guns so I bought and outfitted my first battleship, a maelstrom. If I get a chance later I'll try to post the fitting but as usual in EVE it was a case of drooling over uber powerful setups that are well outside my level of skills and isk and then bastardising them down into something that I can actually fly. After several major compromises to my skill set and my wallet I ended up with a shield tanked artillery boat sporting about 300dps omni tank (before  using mission specific hardeners) and 400dps gank. Not particularly impressive but about twice as good as the hurricane on both counts and good enough I hope for the job.

My overwhelming first impression on flying the battleship was how much more slowly everything happenens even when compared to a battlecruiser. I guess I was expecting it to fly and manouevre very slowly but I hadn't expected other tasks to take as long as they do. It takes many seconds for example to lock onto a target before I can shoot it. When I finally do lock on is most gratifying to be able to knock out cruiser sized rats with a single broadside from my artillery but then it takes a full 20 Seconds to reload before I can fire another shot.

My second key observation is that I seriously need to improve my drone skills. Those big guns can annihilate frigates and cruisers that politely hover in place 50 km in front of me but once they come in and orbit I cannot touch them. These small fry cannot do much damage by themselves but but they carry stuff like webbers and warp scramblers that hold you in place while their bigger bretheren rip you apart. My bargain basement tech 1 drones are barely adequate to the task of handling these annoyances so Marb's skill queue has been quickly re-jigged to
add a bunch of drone stuff.

A somewhat unexpected observation is how severely the slow speed of the battleship limits combat options. In lower level missions you can reduce a lot of incoming damage by either standing off and sniping or by orbiting close and outpacing the tracking of opponents guns. It is harder to get to sniping distance in a slow battleship (particularly when webbed) and even if you manage to pull it off you are left with a long string of kills spread out over more than 100km with a very slow journey back to pick up the mission objective. As for trying to get into a close fast orbit - forget it. The net result of this is that much of the time you need to sit there and soak up the damage. My tank was overwhelmed on a number of occasions so I had to resort to warping out and in again. Warping in and out takes time and killing the mobs with my less than stellar dps takes time so my progress to date has been very slow. It took me almost three hours (with a break for dinner in the middle) to complete a mission called "The Dread Pirate Scarlet". A more experienced player explained to me that he can do it in about 20 minutes in his dedicated mission ship.

A final observation is that these missions are indeed profitable. That mission I bumbled through over several hours netted about 35 million ISK in bounties and cash rewards before loyalty points, looting and salvage is considered. If a complete noob can make 15 million per hour in hist first days of running lvl  missions then I am sure a dedicated mission farmer is making a large multiple of that.

Oh yes - as per the title I did forget to insure my battleship and only remembered round about the time I also discovered that battleship guns are completely incapable of killing the interceptors which had me webbed and scrambled. Happily fortune smiled on me and I survived but once again a reminder to always think before you fly.

Shout of gratitude by the way to Stabs who made a generous in game contribution towards my battleship fund.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

EVE Online: How to scam yourself

The identity of the evil scammer who thwarted my attempts to transfer cash (last post) is revealed. It was me!

Thanks to Yazel and Stabs for explaining it to me. Apparently in EVE's market you will always buy from the cheapest seller but you can pay a higher price if you like. When I clicked on my multi million bullet I set the price to x millions but I still bought the bullet from the cheapest seller and he got my millions!


Feeling embarrassed now.

EVE - Did you forget what game you are playing?


This entire post is based on a false assumption. I assumed I had been scammed by a quick fingered market watcher but in fact it turns out I scammed myself! Thanks to Yazel and Stabs for explaining it to me in the comments. Details in next post.


Oh how easy it is to fall into unthinking complacency.

My EVE free trial bore fruit and convinced me to re-subscribe. Marb Pelico, Minmatar gentleman of the road is flying once more. My week's trial experience meant that I was already up to speed on the basic game interface but I had plenty of re-organising to do: collecting junk spread across several regions, planning ships and skills and re familiarising myself with alts (including a useful trader and a noob pilot bizarrely doing missions in 0.0 space).

A few days into this process I remembered that I had a few million isk on the trial account that would vanish into the exceedingly t

Think air of space once the trial expired. Seemed a shame to let it go so I logged into the trial account and tried to transfer it over. Simple enough process except  CCP doesn't allow trial characters to send isk to other players by any of the normal routes. It is to stop money laundering scams apparently although I don't quite know what this means.

Anyway it was late, I was tired and I couldn't be bothered googling a solution but I came up with what seemed to me to be a foolproof plan. Trial accounts can't send isk to players but they can still buy and sell stuff. I got one of my regular characters to set up a sell order for a single rusty bullet with an  outrageous selling price that just happened to equal the amount of cash my free trialler had on hand. As the two characters were already in the same station the process only took a few minutes and it went like this:

Log into main.
Set up sell order for single bullet for x million isk
logout main and log into free trial account
Lookup market for particularly overpriced bullet.
Notice that this bullet was put up for sale only a couple of minutes ago. It's mine all right, buy it.
Ignore helpful warning message pointing out that you are paying "HOW MUCH?" for a single bullet.

Bid fond farewell to now skint trial character
Logout of trial forever
Log back into main and collect .....


"Where is my x million isk?"
and  "Why is my bullet still on the market for x million isk?"

Checking back through logs - it turns out that my trial character has just bought a single useless bullet from a complete stranger for x million isk.  How this stranger managed to spot what I was doing and immediately put up a matching order is beyond me, the whole process only took a couple of minutes. Was it just an opportunist scammer or are there folk trawling the bullets market for just such an event? How did the scammer manage to get their item to appear before mine in the trade window? I don't know the answer to any of these questions and in EVE if you don't know the answer to a question it is quite likely that you will fall victim to someone who does.

Other EVE news: I am completely enthralled by  this blog about life in EVE's wormhole space, thank you to Syncaine for linking it. Doyce is a professional writer and a good one. That makes the blog terrifically enjoyable to read but the more of it I read the more I suspect that a certain amount of poetic license is being used. Doyce himself admits to obfuscating details  for security reasons. Nevertheless he paints a completely gripping portrait of life on the real wild frontier of EVE.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Eve Free Trial Nerfed by Noob Buffs

 A curious feature of EVE's new found helpfulness towards new players is that it means a trial player will hit the free trial glass ceiling much earlier than previously. After a week of moderate playtime (about twenty hours) I have already earned enough rep to unlock level 3 missions but free triallers cannot use level 3 agents. On the commercial front I am blocked because free triallers cannot pilot haulers. I haven't really tried the other professions but I imagine similar glass ceilings exist there too.

I suppose I could continue to play around with my frigates and destroyer while skills train up but it feels too soon to hit a ceiling half way through a trial. Back in 2008 I enjoyed a three week free trial via STEAM and the slower rate of progress meant that I stuck with it for the full three weeks and turned into a subscriber. Now I feel I am at the decision point after only one week and I have to wonder if that is long enough to make the subscribe or abandon decision.

I am pretty sure I am going to re-subscribe myself but I still face a dilemma: Which account do I activate? My account from 2008 which has a Minmatar pilot with about six months of skill training on it or my new Gallente pilot I have become quite fond of during this one week trial?

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