Thursday, August 27, 2009

Busy But Not Gone


Just a quick post to say that RL has been a bit on the hectic side for me. Other than for changing skills, I haven't had much time to log in. It really sucks too given all that appears to be happening lately with the alliance! However, I'm currently in the process of making a RL move that has consumed my time with packing and other tedious tasks in preparation. Have I ever mentioned how much I hate moving! :/

So no, its not another 2 month hiatus like it was before. Oh, and speaking of that... I realized recently that my 2 month absence from Eve happened to be about 6 months into the game. I guess they do say that at about 6 months is the point at which people decide to either stay with Eve or get bored and leave. I wasn't exactly bored with it at that time, just frustrated with the corp I was in, busy in RL with various things, as well as reestablishing contact with old friends from the other 'game' I play. (Second Life) Anyways, I finally found a way to balance out my RL time, ended my term with the old corp in search of something else (which I found with Silver Snake Enterprises and it's alliance, Systematic Chaos) and returned to playing and flying with renewed vigor. I just thought it was funny though when I look back and remember when I'd first heard that bit about people and the 6 month period. I was like, "nope! won't happen to me!" and lo and behold it almost did... :)

But I did come back, and I am here to stay..............just as soon as I finish this move....So then I can go smash Bricks with everyone else! :D

Friday, August 21, 2009

DUST In My Head

At first I was just going to make a return comment in regards to what jamenta said in my last post, my entry for the C.K. Contest. However, I realized it was getting too long for being just a comment and decided it was worth a post of its own.

So yeah, it was kind of ironic with the timing of my post and the news release of DUST 514. I'm not sure of exact dates as I write this (and because I'm too lazy to look), but then again I did write the post even a few days before I actually posted it. Just wanted to wait a bit to keep some of my ideas as secret as possible. :)

Frankly though, I think my previous concept could still be implemented even with the introduction of DUST 514.

Now, thinking about DUST.... Originally, when I heard about DUST, I was contemplating writing my thoughts on the new game, creating my own blog post about it. Yet so much has already been written by others, most of them having the same opinion and thoughts as myself, that I didn’t think it necessary. However, in writing my comment a moment ago, I realized I had a lot to say still and sometimes it’s just nice getting it out, even if it is repetitive of what others been saying.

So to sum up my thoughts on DUST 514… Frankly, I’m not a fan at all of console games (mostly cuz i suck at handling a controller :P) However, I’m certainly not gonna go and emo-rage-quit over a rather vague and cryptic CCP announcement. I mean, so many details were left unsaid, it would be wrong of me to have a solid opinion myself already. Yet, the tid-bits they did give, did not leave me with a good feeling. Honestly, it wouldn’t have bothered me in the least (and I’m guessing numerous others) if they had suggested the game being released for both console and PC, yet that was not the case. And I think it’s this reason why so many are upset, myself included.

We, the current PC gaming Eve players, are the ones that made CCP. Not myself specifically, but us as a whole. If it wasn’t for the population of Eve Online, CCP’s investors might have shut them down a long time ago. A starting company in the gaming business never has it easy. But they did it and they did via us, the game players and fans. Now, to create a game, a game that will affect our gaming, and not give us the ability to take part in that action unless we go and get the console game (and for some of us, the console to play it on which is priced at about the same these days as a new computer), then we get to do nothing but sit back and watch. I personally wouldn’t care if I had to pay another subscription fee to be a part of it. I understand it IS like an entirely new game and so I do consider it to be fair to have to subscribe separately…though that could be argued against. But either way, I just don’t like the idea of them trying to force me to play on another piece of hardware in order to do so.

I invested a lot of money into building the PC I currently use. I’m not about to invest my money in a contraption that will be obsolete in a few years when they come out with a new, upgraded, cutting-edge, better-than-ever, console. Yes, I realize this or that in my current computer will become obsolete over time as well. But I am not about to invest double the money for two separate systems. Besides, I can only play on one at a time.

So that’s my rant. Maybe I’ll end up being wrong about the whole situation and biting my own tongue for speaking too freely, too quickly. Or maybe I won’t. Either way, that’s my rant and now I’m finished. Otherwise, for now, back to the present future world….or uhh..yeah.…something like that. :)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Planetary Conquistadors!

WARNING!!! OOC POST!!! OMG THE HORROR!! ( it's not entirely OOC. read on..)

So anybody who knows anybody in the Eve blogger's world seems to know the great and mighty Crazy Kinux. And for good reason, as he's done a lot for both the Eve bloggers as well as the Eve Community at large. This month though, he's presented a challenge to our little wonderful community that even involves a prize!

The goal is to write an article on planetary control and how that would be implemented in EVE. Your article needs to cover what features, game mechanic, game design you would like to see implemented if (or when) planetary control/exploration/exploitation becomes available in EVE.

You're required to write a two-part article. The first part needs to be a fiction piece that tells a story based on the feature (or game mechanic, game design, etc...) that you would like to see implemented, while the second part would be the actual description of how that would work in game. Each part of your article needs to be a minimum of 300 words (600 word minimum for the whole article).

I'll be judging the entries and will pick the 5 best articles, amongst which I will randomly choose the winner. This lucky blogger will get to interview a CCP Dev during a podcast with yours truly! Details on the podcast will be provided to the winner prior to the show's recording.

So I figured since I achieved a reputation of perhaps being considered a very critical (and maybe even to the point of sounding negative) person in my comments on the last entries for the C.K. writing contest, I figured it best that I actually involve myself in this one. However, I would like to think my approach is a little more passive and reserved. No wild, crazy, off-the-wall ideas here! I swear it! :)

Part 1 - The Fiction

The room was crawling with a roar of activity. Only moments ago, the system scan report had come in of a massive armada of ships entering system. They had not come by way of the local stargate so it was obvious this was no random roaming fleet. Every station and planet in system was in high alert as the focus of this enemy had yet been determined....but all knew the most likely target.

The system was SMH2-2, a system deep in the heart of 0.0 space and home to not only a moon full of valuable materials, but also a perfectly habitable planet. The balance between water and solid land was comparable to that of the mythical Earth, with an atmosphere consisting of a perfect blend of crisp, breathable air. This resulted in a prime choice planet for producing a vast array of resources needed for intergalactic commerce and thus garnered the attention of the numerous opportunistic alliances and corporations seeking to expand their territories…and their pockets. Since its discovery, the skies far above, outside of the planet's gravity well, had already become littered with the wreckage of thousands of ships, all having perished over the many months of conflict. And as was obvious today, the current sovereign alliance was about to have its control challenged once again.

Upon receiving her orders, Ailiana gave a stout salute to the commanding officer before running for her ship. It was a Talon class atmospheric combat ship, or ACS, humbly named Feral Glimmer. She wished she could be a part of the initial defense force far out in the depths of space, jacked into a real pod and a real ship beyond the planet's atmosphere, but the reports coming in told her it wouldn't be long anyways before she got her share of the action. The inbound fleet was far superior in numbers and firepower to be held back by the few pilots currently in space and would thus be left to those already here planet side. Here is where the real stand would take place. Here is where the enemy would not just be facing combative ships but also the planets defensive placements, built and cared for with a lot of isk and blood.

Just as she finished connecting the flight control jacks to the neural implant sockets on her head, she felt the vibration of the alpha strikes, the first impacts from the planetary bombardment the enemy dreadnoughts and battleships now unleashed far overhead against the terrain colony's shields. Soon she thought, as her physical senses dimmed and her mind became one with the ship, soon would come the enemy's own ACS's....and soon she would get her own chance to help prove that her and her corporation were going nowhere...


Executive Officer Arkold stood before the massive observation window of the mothership's command deck, a broad grin spread across his scarred face. So far, things had gone perfectly. After arriving in system via the titan jump bridge, they had made a very quick check of the fleet before initiating warp and landing as close as they dared to the target planet. The commander knew little of this particular planet that now swallowed his view... nor did he care. He had his orders and that was all he needed.

"Commander, you may begin the planetary assault procedures, executive order 194A-32HC."

"Aye sir. Commencing planetary bombardment." Turning, Arkold's commander activated his comm link. "Alpha and Bravo squads, initiate attack sequence."

Without a heartbeat passing, the sky between their fleet and the planet before them lit up in a brilliant array of lights as assault beams and blasters tore through the planets atmosphere, pummeling the stationary defenses far below. The pod pilots commanding these ships thirst for blood, thirst for the combat experience this presented them, but more importantly, thirst for the valuable isk this planet would provide their corp…and each of them as well...

The diligent commander, however, only hesitated for the briefest of moments to watch those initial volleys before flipping his comm switch over to a second channel. "Flight deck, prepare to launch all available ACS's."

"All ACS's prepped and ready commander."

"Roger that, ACS squads one, two, three, and four. Your designation is Viper. Launch on my command.!"

And like missiles from a launcher module, the ACS's shot forward from the mothership, careening towards the planet at breakneck speeds. Each one piloted by the very same demi-gods who controlled the battleships and dreadnoughts alongside the massive mothership.

"Well wishes to you all," Arkold thought as he watched his fellow pod pilots descend upon the planet. "and may the gods have mercy on us all....."

Part 2 - The Mechanics

One of the oldest complaints I’ve heard in Eve, pretty much dating back to when I really started to pay attention to 0.0 warfare and tactics, was the failure design of sovereignty. Okay, so perhaps failure isn’t the best word but the mechanic is one that is obviously quite frustrating to many of the Alliances. Space is a big place. One could theoretically construct a station anywhere in a system. (At least it seems the NPC pirates can in Empire…) So would this mean they now have sovereignty? Of course not and for that reason, in my opinion, it shouldn’t be that way either for the alliances in nullsec.

What I suggest is to take the mechanic of sovereignty control away from the POS’s in system. POS’s come and go. What is permanent is the planets themselves. To control a planet should be what defines the actual sovereignty. You want to own more space? Then be prepared to defend and protect what assets you have on more planets.

Once an Alliance controls all the habitable planets within a constellation, they are then granted the ability to construct outposts. Outposts of course require personal, and thus food sources to maintain as the NPC agents seem to so often suggest in Empire space. It is THIS reason why planets are truly necessary. Without control of enough planets to provide the resources necessary to maintain the outpost, it becomes under-staffed and thus able to be conquered. With this in mind though, I am not suggesting outposts require ‘fuel’ in the sense of transporting personal and food to the station like a POS requires. Instead, just having control of a planet is in itself providing the fuel for maintaining the outpost. I am also not suggesting POS’s become obsolete as they will still be needed for moon mining, capital construction and their other current uses.

Now to control/colonize a planet, it would require constructing colony stations on the planet’s surface. The larger the colony, the more capable it is of withstanding an attack such as with shield systems and weapons emplacements. For an attacking group, shield systems would need to be bombarded by the dreadnoughts as suggested in my previous story, at which point ACS’s, or Atmospheric Combat Ship, would then be able to fly in and assist the battleships in destroying the various weapon emplacements. ACS’s is what the players are of course responsible for piloting. Many suggest FPS (First Person Shooter) combat in the way of foot soldiers via dropships, but I disagree with that. We are pilots. Not foot soldiers. However, I do agree it would be great to use FPS when piloting the ACS’s for a reason I will explain later. I also suggest using some sort of timer to define how long it takes for the NPC foot soldiers to infiltrate and take control of the colony. This is activated by any ACS who comes within a set distance of perhaps the colony’s main command bunker and can only continue counting down while the ACS’s are present on the planet’s surface. If they are all killed, or forced to retreat, then the timer is stopped and eventually resets after a certain length of time. The length of this timer’s expiration could also be dependant on the size of the colony.

To maintain a colony, one would keep in mind that various planets provide various resources. However, to sustain the colony, there will be other resources that particular planet can’t produce on its own. This is what you will be required to provide as ‘fuel’ to keep the colony active. This would be utilizing roughly the same mechanic that POS’s use in fueling their systems. And that ‘fuel’ is already available on the market under the commodities tab in the form of food, personal and medical gear. So very little change would be required in that regard other than making the commodities more useful than they are at present. Basically, instead of NPC’s providing those commodities on the market, players would now be responsible. looking towards Empire and the PVE folks, planetary missions could be gained from NPC colony agents to defend an outlying village or something of that nature from pirates or other colony factions. Courier missions would be to bring some resource or…dolls…to another colony on either the same planet or a different planet. Point is, there could be a whole new set of missions to be had from ‘Colony Agents’ that would or could involve just ACS piloting or take you planet hopping from one to another.

For the Faction Warfare pilots, much of the same mechanics as 0.0 space would be used but instead of fighting for your Alliance’s sovereignty, you’re fighting contested systems/planets for the control by the race you’re fighting for. Again, the previously mentioned timers would be utilized for this task which as I understand (though I’ve never fought factional warfare) is something they’re fairly familiar with already.

Lastly, the switch between an ACS and a standard space craft would require either one, the presence of a station or outpost, or two (for the nullsec folk) the presence of a mothership, carrier, or the hanger module added to a POS. ACS’s would not be warp capable. Thus, to use them at a particular planet would involve carrying that ACS via a regular spaceship from one hanger to another. Without the presence of a POS, outpost, station, carrier or a mothership, a person can not just simply leave their spaceship and hop into the ACS. What I’m also suggesting in regards to the motherships or carriers is the ability to ‘fly’ aboard another player’s carrier. If the ship gets popped, then yes, ALL players aboard lose whatever they have on the ship, as well as get ejected into space in their pods to live or die on their own account. (Do you trust that carrier pilot’s skills? Mwhahaha!!) Either that, or increase the size of the carrier’s hanger bay for pilots to store their spaceships while piloting their ACS.

The ACS's themselves would come in various sizes. For a class 1 ACS, the smallest, you would need skill level 1. For class 2, skill level 2. And so on up to level 5 which would grant you access to fly a class 5 ACS. The actual size of the ACS's would be relative basically to the size of a drone. Class 1 ACS equivalent to a small combat drone up to Class 5 which would be equivalent to a fighter. (if not looking exactly like a fighter even) This is where newer players would TRULY be useful to have, even in nullsec as an ACS would be just as easy to get into as a frigate. Though perhaps make it a rank 3 skill. Also, like drones, the larger the ACS, the higher damage output it has but at the same time, the slower it moves.

Anyways, as for pirating…well, I’m sure pirates would be able to come up with a plethora of new ideas. :)

So yes, these ideas might actually be at first glance a bit wild and cause a major change to the current game mechanics in place…but then again, just the idea of leaving space and actually flying within the atmosphere of one of those thousands of planets we see regularly would be an enormous change to the game face.

So that's my story and I'm stickin to it! \o/

Monday, August 10, 2009

Tears in Nullsec

"Begin recording...

"So these past few days have been a whirlwind of brace yourself as this might be a bit long...

"To start with, I'm now out in Nullsec (and no, I didn't get popped on my way out. In fact, I've yet to lose a ship, knock on wood). Life out here is certainly everything and at the same time nothing like what I expected. Even the feeling you get flying around, calling systems with no real name but rather a series of letters, dashes, and numbers, as home is just....well....odd. Tactics are also a lot different really than those I'm used to in Empire. Understandable of course given the extra tools available for use, but I find it interesting how those few extra items make combat a completely different animal. I've also learned a few things already in regards to my skills. There are certain skills that I've learned are essential for living and surviving in 0.0 that I never really put much consideration towards while living in empire.

"For instance, as a 'younger' pilot living in nullsec, instead of having spent so much time training to use an assault frig, I think I might have been better off training up to fly an interceptor. Not saying assault frigates are bad by any means given they lead up to using a heavy assault cruiser....but perhaps it would of been better time spent learning to fly an interceptor well rather than the assault. With that ship, I would be more useful, or at least feel more useful, in large fleet ops, than I do trying to pilot a battleship I know I'm far from being able to fly appropriately. So my personal suggestion to all the younger pilots looking to eventually live in 0.0, learn to fly the interceptor. You'll be happy you did."

*a slight pause as she reclines further back into her seat, her mind going distant for a moment as she contemplates the events over the past few days*

"Anyways...I'm rambling.

"Also, forgive me if I don't get all the details right as things were a bit of a rush and thus quite a blur for me.

"I believe it was Thursday evening that I finally arrived at the designated location. I'd made the trip in my cov-ops frigate with pretty much nothing but my ship and a few changes of clothes. All of my personal and gear had been contracted to the corporation for transport but had yet to arrive. No real concern but it meant there really wasn't much I could do at that moment. I did take the frig out for a little roam around the area, to familiarize myself with the surrounding systems as well as to set up safe spots and other useful bookmarks. Besides that, I believe things were rather quiet that night, though I had a number of things to get organized in regards to my computer files and communications equipment, so I wasn't paying a whole lot of attention to comms.

"Friday, however, was a completely different story. My gear had arrived sometime over night. Props to the corporation's logistics folks for the rather expedient service. I actually was impressed at how quickly it arrived. I still had a number of in-station duties I had to tend to but otherwise I worked a bit on getting my ships set up. Of course, as many know, moving can be such a trial. It was while directing the maintenance crew on what modules to install on what ships that I realized how much equipment I'd managed to forget. So yay! Another 4 or 500 mil down the drain on yet more gear....

"Fortunately, before I'd left empire, I was at least smart enough to hire on a hauler pilot. She's a Minmatar who'd recently escaped from Amarr captivity. She'd bravely lead a small group of slaves to take control of a Bestower industrial ship and piloted it back through hostile territory to the safety of Gallante space. I'd heard about her through an acquaintance and was quick to track her down and hire her on full time as my empire asset manager slash transporter. And so far she's been doing a phenomenal job flying the very same hauler she'd 'acquired' during her escape.

"Anyways, I sent her the list of items and then sat on my butt waiting for them to be delivered. There was an op that went down that evening but with the missing modules, I just didn't have a proper ship ready and had to pass the opportunity up. Instead, I headed out in the cov-ops again and sat around watching traffic at a heavily traveled gate. Comm log showed me a fellow writer and alliance mate, Manasi, had passed through the system saying hello but I think I'd fallen asleep in my pod when he'd passed. Oops! Sorry bout that Manasi!

"So okay...that might have been Friday... though it might have been Saturday as well. To be honest, as I said before, things are a little hazy for me.

"Either way, Sunday finally came around. That was when I finally got my first chance to go out on a fleet op with the alliance as well as some friendly 'blues'. It seems there was another alliance called Brick Squad that had been annoying my new employers for a fair amount of time. What this B.S. alliance doesn't seem to comprehend is that when a mosquito continuously bites at a giant, eventually it's going to get swatted.

"Now...truth is they're no small alliance themselves. And I don't completely disregard their combat capabilities. However, they definitely didn't prove anything to me this past weekend other than to show off their ability to google insults from the comfort of a station.

"ANYway......Sometime earlier, my alliance had put a station into reinforced mode. Sunday morning, the station was scheduled to come out of reinforced and a fleet was formed to take it down. For this op...I was (or so I thought) ready.

"We undocked from our staging base and formed up around a titan. At this point, I'd like to stop and say wow! I mean, it was my first time seeing a titan and I gotta admit, it was truly a sight to behold. I knew they were massive... but seriously, no picture can truly define the shear size of the thing. Seeing it for the first time was truly a moment I'll never forget.

"But okay....before I get distracted again.... once the fleet was formed, the titan activated a jump bridge, allowing us all to jump from our home system into the enemy's home system.

"At this point, I'm not going to go into too much detail for security reasons but through a coordinated attack, we easily destroyed the POS with minimal losses incurred by, forgive me, ignorant pilots. I was fired upon myself at one point and was easily able to warp away, replenish my shields (never even touched armor) and warp back to rejoin the op. So how some people lost their ships is beyond me when I, a rather young pilot, can so easily survive.

"Now this is where I gotta throw in my two isk on the completely undisciplined chatter in local comms from the 'fearsome' Brick Squad. If your POS gets attacked and put into reinforced mode, you know they're likely to return and you also know almost precisely when. You ALSO know they're not going to show up with just a handful of ships, especially being such a large alliance! For instance, a comment was made in regards to Manasi's entry about the whole engagement by one of their members, that I think had so many holes in it, it was comical to say the least. As I basically said earlier, don't cry your tears when you continuously poke at us and we finally grow tired enough to swat back. I mean seriously..... again.... they pretty much knew exactly when we'd be returning and yet they stood by and did nothing but talk shit while hiding away in their holes.... Gotta love tears in nullsec.

"Later that day, we went back to harass them some more. We basically sat around their entry gate while still, again, they hid and pretty much did nothing. Occasionally a stealth bomber would warp in and drop a bomb on our fleet. Big whoop. I'd say only only about 50% of their bombs even hit us, and those that did barely scratched our ships. OCCASIONALLY, they got lucky and i think we lost maybe one or two frigates but that's it. On the other hand, we destroyed a number of their ships in the process.

"So.... to sum up, it really was a very entertaining day. For myself personally, I had a lot of revelations about my own ship fit, to include how horrible my range is. I can currently only fit T1 large hybrids. Not completely horrible I guess, but when you take into account all I currently had to use was antimatter charges which have a serious range decrease..... well... needless to say, the range we were at to the tower was out of my reach. I made a couple shots but realized I wasn't going to hit shit, so instead just focused on helping by repping my fleet mates when needed. Sucked I couldn't add to the dps being laid on the tower but ahh well, it was still good to fly with everyone.

"End recording."

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Here's Your Sign

"Begin recording...

"Just a quick update to say all my gear has been staged for the move. I'm quite proud of myself really for how much I accomplished yesterday. Came up with a few decent fits for the various ship types I have, bought all the turrets as necessary and found good deals on ammo for those turrets. I did buy a few rigs for the battleships (big ouch) and got everything transported out to the station where I've been instructed to stage my gear. On top of all that, I was able to clean my living quarters from top to bottom!

"So now all I gotta do is set the courier contract up and get my own arse out there. Fortunately, my crew already has the ship I'll be using prepped and ready for launch. I need to get some laundry done tonight but once that's finished, I'll finalize the paperwork, jack myself into my pod and off we go.

"Now, with my luck, watch me get popped as soon as I enter the very first nullsec system on my journey out there.... There's a rather famous comedian named Bill Engvall who does a series of jokes that always end with 'here's your sign'. If you haven't heard of him, look him up. Really great comedian. Either way, think if I get popped in the very first nullsec system, that it might fall within that category? Shoot, wonder how many pod pilot moments could end with 'here's your sign..'"

*slight laughter*

"End recording."

Monday, August 03, 2009

A Hole In My Pocket

“Begin Recording…

“I think I’m almost prepared. Only a few more ships and gear to be moved and I’ll have all my equipment staged for transport to my new corporation’s base of operations.”

*A pause, as the sound of a terminal can be heard.*

“1.1 billion…. That’s the total amount so far I’ve spent in just two days. Maybe to many that doesn’t seem like too much, but I’m certainly no old school pilot with a wallet bursting at the seams, or a hanger full of modules and gear built up over time. That kind of isk would make more sense if I had been buying a carrier or some other capital ship….but no, nothing quite as grand. What it amounted to was although I did purchase about 10 ships, a variety of hulls, Most of the isk went into a large variety of modules to fit on those ships and then some. Ironically, the only things I haven’t gotten yet are the weapon turrets themselves for the ships (figure a ton more isk) and I’d like to get a handful of rigs (another ton of isk). This is where a lot of playing and searching will come into effect as I try to figure out the best setups with my skill levels to fully utilize these ships. I don’t want to over extend my purchase of rigs. Rather I only want to purchase that which will work best for the ship setups I come up with. News has been made that the engineers have figured out a way to streamline the rig construction process and make simpler rigs for smaller vessels. I’m no industrialist, so I don’t know the full details….. but as I understand it, it will basically make buying rigs for frigates, cruisers and battlecruisers a hell of a lot cheaper than what’s currently available on the market. So why spend all my isk on them now?

“Working on setups for these ships won’t be easy for me either honestly, given that a number of the ship hulls are of the variety that I’m not accustomed to. For instance the HACs as well as the battlecruisers. The HACs I’m not used to simply because it really wasn’t all that long ago that I first gained enough knowledge to fly them. The battlecruisers I’ve been able to fly for a long time now, but just never saw the need. They’re not the type of ship I’d use for doing missions, nor are they the type of ship my last corp utilized for roams. So I just never got one and fitted one before. How much use they’ll see from me in 0.0 I honestly don’t know but some reason I couldn’t resist the urge to get them while I was on my little spending spree…

“Anyways, I figure everything will be finished and ready for transport either tonight or tomorrow night and I’ll be setting eyes myself on the new home system no later than tomorrow night. I just hope I don’t make the freighter pilot choke when he sees my cargo manifest…

“End recording.”