Sunday, 9 April 2017

Cantfeelmy Modules: an Alpha clone's story

So I've been thinking about the ewar side of Horde's strat ops and I've been looking into making a doctrine that would work well with newbies but which would still be fun at high levels. I've settled on the idea of very long range ewar frigs and so I rolled an Alpha to test it out.

16.45: Cantfeelmy Modules is born.
16.50 Plugged in first skill: Long Range Targeting. Tried to find my way out of the tutorial which starts new characters in a warp disruption field.
17.30 Finally got out of the newbie prison you start in by self-destructing. Set autopilot to Jita.
20.00 Logged back on, having sent over 50 million isk. Purchased 10 Crucifiers with fittings
I discovered that  Salvage Drones are unusable by alphas but the regular salvagers are just fine. In fact to sit in the ship I needed to train these skills:

Amarr Frigate I
Weapon Disruption I
Light Drone Operation I

So very quickly I was Crucifier ready, well under an hour to train those skills. I didn't optimise skill maps or use implants because I wanted to get a feel for how a newbie would fly this in his or her first week.

Tomorrow I'll try to get on a fleet with Horde and see if I can get on some killmails.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

I'm back, New Eden!

I took a break from Eve because of some real life issues but now I'm back. (Not so coincidentally in time for AT season).

I started by appearing on Viciate's excellent new podcast, New Eden story time. The first few episodes have been an engrossing tale of wormhole violence. The story I told is the story of the 2013 Goon v Test Fountain War. That is due to be released on the Crossing Zebras site soon. (Normal price $150,000 - for you gentle readers absolutely free while stocks last!)

I'm in Pandemic Horde at the moment because, bless them, they're an uncritical accepting place for people who might be a bit distracted by real life. I hope though to move on soon as I'm ready for a more demanding playstyle again.

With Horde I've done some scouting, some ratting and fc-ed a fleet and backseated another fleet. I hope to do a couple more fleets before moving on.

Anyway see you soon both here on the blog and in a dark corner of space where no one can hear any cries for help ;)

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Merry Christmas New Eden

Have a lovely time over the holidays and don't forget to claim your present from CCP!

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

The in-game economic effect of the ban on gambling sites in Eve Online

Last week the Eve Online community received the rather sensational news that in-game gambling would be banned as from next month. To TMC this was a vindication of their recently-discovered principles against corrupting the innocent youth of our online community (and may have had something to do with losing all their space to a casino-funded war). At Crossing Zebras editor-in-chief Niden was initially appalled but then Dunk chimed in with a more common sense reponse.

A lot has been said about the loss of sponsorship from various community sites but so far not much thought has been expressed about the rather seismic changes to the economic paradigm that generated all that spare revenue.

Here's my theory: gambling players generally pay for their gambles by selling plex.

Not entirely, no doubt there are some exceptions but the ways people grind cash in this game are long, a little tedious and intensely focused around isk per hour optimisation. If you spend 10 hours ratting at 100m isk/hour it's not economically rational to gamble it away and ratters and miners are highly steered towards economic rationality. If you trade on the markets why gamble on a third party site and lose when your main gameplay is gambling in Eve and winning?

However if you're cash rich and just want to make long boring waits on a titan or black ops bridger more exciting then splash some dollars pounds or euros and have a better time while you're waiting for content.

Next we know that gambling revenues have been huge, so large that the biggest richest coalition in nullsec was steamrolled by the economic power of the IWI bankers.

So a lot of "whales" are now no longer able to play the way they like to.

These players will respond in several ways. Some will alt tab or use a second monitor to entertain themselves during those times they would have been gambling. Some will buy the plexes and use them in-game to lose expensively fit soloing ships to gate camps. Some will just carry on playing an Eve that seems a bit duller but proves a lot cheaper. Some may leave entirely.

So we will see a lot less players selling plex.

In addition the launch of Eve's new free to play system will bring a lot of players, particularly teenagers, drawn by the idea that they can join for free and earn enough isk to subscribe. Overwhelmingly the free players will not be plex buyers (if they had the money they'd be subscribers) but an additional pressure on the plex supply.

Plexes are going to get expensive.

Another effect is that there will be more players in space.

As people seek isk in-game by running missions and anoms, mining etc and they're in many cases not all that experienced we're going to find tons of targets on our roams and hotdrops. I specialise in FCing small fast roaming gangs and I can't wait!

Puff... sub runs out in 3 hours.... puff.... puff

I think as a game design point CCP needs to find a method for whales to spend their money that isn't skins. Skins are only entertaining to a point, once you have a good collection you stop caring about new ones and the novelties worn off, people very rarely comment on other people's skin. (The exception seems to be my blue Nightmare which always attracts comments when Waffles fly our Dreamfleet comp).

What do you guys think the economic fallout from the Eula changes will be?

Thursday, 29 September 2016

A Waffle supporter's guide to the AT


Do you like Waffles?

This year, in Alliance Tournament XIV, Waffles begin our quest with a truly tough game against the excellent Tuskers.

The AT schedule is here.

Player calculated brackets here.

Waffles are match 9 in the second system so we should be playing at 14.40 on Saturday 1st October against Tuskers.

If we win we will play another match on Saturday at 19.00 against the winner of Rote Kapelle v Dreamfleet.

If we win that we play next at 19.40 on Sunday 2nd October against the best team from MC., Castabouts, Brothers in Arms or Paisti.

If we beat Tuskers then lose to Rote/Dream, we play the winner of #63 which will probably be RONIN v Free Gates at 17.00 on Sunday 2nd October. Winning that would make us play again that same evening at 20.00 against the winner of the second best team from MC., Castabouts, Brothers in Arms or Paisti versus the third best of End of Life, Agony, PIXEL, and Templis.

If we lose to Tuskers we play the loser of Dream Fleet v Rote Kapelle at 13.20 on Sunday 2nd October.

Winning that would see us play the second best team from RONIN, Red v Blue, Samurai Soul'd Out, Free Gates Coalition at 16.20 on Sunday 2nd October.

Winning that would see us play again on the Sunday, at 19.40 against the winner of  second best of End of Life, Agony, PIXEL, and Templis versus third best from MC., Castabouts, Brothers in Arms or Paisti.

We'll hopefully have a busy weekend and may even survive into Day 3 on Saturday 8th October. I know we'll do our very best, in gladiatorial tradition, to entertain you with our blood.

Catch it on Eve_NT Twitch this weekend and wish us luck. If you want to bet Eve-Bet offers a pretty decent service here. 

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Eve_NT - after action report

Eve_NT occurred last weekend.


I drove up on the Friday, allowing plenty of time which was just as well because the M1 motorway sucks on a Friday. I stayed in the Holiday Inn at Castle Bridge Road and happened on it by luck just as I was entering Nottingham and wondering where to go. I had a brief nap then got a cab into town.

Antenna has a foyer area, a large bar room and upstairs some smaller rooms. I spent most of my time in the big room.

Friday night I tried to find my corp mate White Orchid but he wasn't there yet. Still at least I was in possibly the only bar in town where I could walk up to groups of strangers asking "White Orchid?" and not get thumped.

I did meet a whole host of Eve players from GalMil, Corvus from CalMil, from Provi, from the Rekking Crew and the tourminati including Bei, Nashh and Suitonia. I was also delighted to find several Pandemic Horde members there including some of their leading tournament players Catatonic Dawn, Taston Thorne and Brett Thomas Thomas.

We received some bling for turning up - I got a rather snazzy Eve_NT T-shirt a voucher for a plex and a voucher for 100m isk eve-bet credit.

There was an idea to get people playing boardgames but despite the best efforts of the genial Tiberius Stargazer I don't think anyone did, preferring to chat about Eve.

Rules and ship fits for the next day's tournament were announced: it was to be pirate cruiser plus either navy ewar frigate or assault frigate to make a team of two. All the standard ships of those classes were available and the fits were T2 with T1 drones.

I called it a night so I'd be well rested for the next day.


Despite the early night I overslept, waking just after 11am. I took the time to get cleaned up and feel fresh then got a cab in. It's probably walking distance for most people but I have a minor disability.

I met White Orchid who's great fun and we promptly started plotting and planning for the tourney. I looked for my playing partner but didn't find him.

We were up third and took Ashimmu and Retribution against Vigilant and - I think - Enyo. We warped  in at 30 and I misplayed the match start. I underestimated the Vigi's burst speed. I moved sideways with MWD unheated while the Vigi rushed me. I didn't get my first web on until he was at 15km (my web range was 26km) and failed to stop him from coasting into his web range and once he got me webbed my pulse lasers would be no match for his blasters. My poor playing partner, Abraxas, who was new to pvp and who I'd tried to quickly help but only confused more was still trying to figure out how to lock up the bad guys when I told him I was dead and we'd lost. It's a short and brutal format very suitable for resolving large numbers of competitive matches.

White Orchid was up next and he won to the sound of my loud cheering, carrying the honor of Waffles forward to the next round.

The tournament was displayed really well with a large screen and several smaller screens and we spent the next hour or so watching matches. White Orchid got eliminated in round 2 despite the removal of the oppressive Vigilant from the format. (I maintain that Gallente rush is beatable - it's very strong however against anything less than perfect piloting).

I had missed the first of the small  room presentations  (from CCP) but went upstairs to see the CSM presentation. For the most part it didn't tell us anything we don't already know: the CSM communicates with CCP on various platforms, the current group is less dysfunctional than previous groups, PL is good at heckling). I did get a very interesting answer when I asked about Alpha clone players. Jin'taan doesn't consider them his constituency and isn't planning to reach out to them or represent them other than by responding to forum posts on the CSM section of the Eve O forums. Doesn't seem terribly democratic - imagine Alpha representation will be an issue in the future.

The next presentation was by RocketX on the operations of the Rekking Crew. They live in Derelik and track down and kill supers. Victims of their own success they've tried branching out to do different things including an AT ship hunt that bagged a Fiend and a partnership with a Molden Heath alliance which gave them opportunities to respond to batphone requests. They've never lost a fight involving supers and have killed 100 supers. Impressive stuff. Equally impressive was the Pikachu costume Rocket wore to give his talk.

I skipped the next talk (on Valkyrie by General Stargazer). I also declined to check out a games room they had with Gunjack and Valkyrie in. I'm mildly interested but was in more of an Eve mood.

I went downstairs and watched the quarter finals of the tournament. Got something to eat - a Halloumi sandwich. I didn't know what Halloumi was but it's cheese and was served with chilli sauce in kebab style with little skewers. Pretty tasty.

I met more Eve players including a bunch from Zebra Corp who had been in The Bastion at the same time as me, some guys from Blades of Grass with whom I shared Hero Coalition roots and some people I shoot at in low sec. It's a small universe when one is a much-travelled space whore.

I was also working on and discussing an idea I have for a new player friendly tournament experience and it was good to get feedback - some of it supportive, some strongly opposed.

The tournament narrowed to 2 close fought semis with some really excellent piloting on display.

Then there were some charity things. All day long Nashh's wife had been patiently selling raffle tickets for a charity that is working to build a nature sanctuary in Montserrat. That raised nearly £1000 so Nashh offered 10 plexes to whoever bought the ticket taking it to £1000. I tried to game it and was one ticket off, seeing the person in front of me buy two tickets, miss out, then buy two more and win the ten plex.

There was a charity auction. An odd looking device that seems to be part lamp part air freshener and which looks like it was stolen from a Doctor Who set was sold for some absurd number of plex in a fiercely competitive auction. The proceeds will go to Care 4 Kids.

Meanwhile Brett Thomas Thomas had been clearing up on some of the various Beat the Master video game challenges that were dotted around the venue, swaggering up to our table 18 plex richer and with a huge grin.

The tournament resumed and the team with 2 guys from Lumpy won in a meta now dominated by Cynabals. They were then split up, given the dubious assistance of random very drunk CSMers and Rhiload triumphed to the delight of his temporary team mate Jin'taan who showed what a master politician he is by milking the credit despite dying in the first fifteen seconds.

Next was an exhibition match players v CCP which allowed Bei and Nashh the chance to show what good players they are.

At this point in the evening the music got louder and I was feeling the effect of 4 bottles of Magners so I decided to say my goodbyes. I got into a good conversation with CCP Goliath who did his best to convince me to go to Iceland (and I'm tempted) and who was supportive of my idea for a grass roots tournament.

The last person I said bye to was Nashh who really was everywhere this weekend and did a great job as organiser.


There was a breakfast meet in a video games bar but I chose to get an early start on my journey home instead, making very good time on the empty roads of pre-6am M1.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Home again!

One aspect of flying with a serious group is that sometimes it's best not to talk too much. Waffles has been on away from home and I've waited till we got back to start talking about it in public.

Waffles has been on deployment for a couple of months, moving to help shore up Stainwagon against the Vanguard coalition. We were hired by a mystery client (I'm not being evasive - I don't know) and fought besides Infamous and Soviet Union against Triumvirate initially, although they were reinforced by Xdeath who deployed south to help them and FCON who bandwagoned on to the winning side.

Although we made a decent fight of it for a couple of weeks we were overwhelmed by the other side's numbers once they had all their pieces in place. Our staging system was headshot and we extricated very smoothly. Our allies coped with losing rather less well with Infamous falling apart in a storm of bitterness which has been well documented on reddit.

The campaign included some glorious strat ops with us passing 100 in fleet (pretty good for a 350 person corp), some stealthy entosising and a lot of roams. I fc-ed a few fleets, generally successfully except for a nanocruiser fleet where I bit off more than I should have and suffered a few expensive losses trying to out-fly a much bigger fleet. I also aided other FCs with anchoring and stuff like that.

In addition to our war front we also picked on Provi and the Volition Cult a fair bit, culminating with  the spectacular explosion of a VOLT Fortizar.

We've also been practicing our Alliance Tournament setups extensively.

I really like entosis ops but not many in Waffles do so the general mood is one of euphoria as we jump our carriers the long boring route  back home.

Black Rise is about to become very bloody.