Wednesday 20 February 2013

Sisters of the epic length arc

After my fiasco doing that level 1 agent's mission, I have sent two pilots off, away from the wormhole and away from markets. Off to get some experience that is not 'tend my farms' (otherwise known as wormhole PI) or starter missions.

I would like jump clones.  I could join a specialist corp but would rather earn it on my first couple of pilots at least.  I am hoping that jump clones can be installed from faction rep but suspect I will actually need corporation standing.

My two pilots in question have moderately good standing with Servant Sisters of Eve (7 and 6 respectively), Gallente and Minmatar (6 and 5.5).  It is a pity that no corporations hold me in similarly high regard. I earned most of my standing by doing newbie missions ad infinitum and a bit of 'keeping crime in check'.

I have heard about that 'Sisters of Eve' epic arc, with its attending "large" faction boost.
The Eve University has a good page with a description of the arc, though it seemed a bit different towards the end.  Jowen Datloran's PDF is also worth following. I am sure there are other guides too.

For this arc, I flew an Algos and a Moa with two pilots running in parallel, under the theory that dual boxing will be faster, even if only while jumping.  Truth be told, after that last mission, I wanted a safety blanket of backup.

The Algos, with its drone bay was more than adequate for everything but one mission.  I fit the ship with short range guns (falloff 3K), but ended up staying at 25k and using a mix of hobgoblins and hammerheads.  The only mission I had any problems was about 2/3 through the arc where I had to destroy a structure.  All hostile ships were dead, but I was doing zero damage to the target with either drones or guns.  I am unsure whether it was a bug or if I had insufficient weaponry.  Problem solved with the Moa in short order.

The Moa, with railguns and medium range ammo was faster.  For a couple of fights having the hobgoblin drones help peel off annoying frigates was helpful.  Most of the time the drones stayed in their bay; and the Moa took very little effort or time.  If I ever do this arc again; it will be in something like the Moa.

For the missions itself, most are quick.   Some take time.  The worst was 'go jump 25 systems to meet someone.', which is no problem if you want to AFK at that point in time.  I didn't want to AFK.

The biggest issue is that there are 50 blessed missions.  That takes time.  50 mixed but easy missions, when I could be doing 30 or 40 L4 distribution missions which take only a little longer, picking up a few  L4 storyline missions on the way.  The SOE arc did give me an easy storyline mission (I think L1) part way through.

Did I mention that the arc was longer than one of my blog posts?  It is really long.

SSOE faction went from standing 6.99 to 7.02, and my target faction went from very roughly 6.4 to 6.6.

As a counter point : 60 starter career agent missions get me to faction standing of just over 5 (with a few points each of social and connections), doing all 3 sets of my target faction then all 3 sets of the allied faction. 

In other words : I did a load of work for very little improvement.  There was 10M ISK in benefits; good enough for a series of newbie missions, but I am a beyond needing that kind of ISK/hour.

There is one benefit.  These missions did not affect other faction's standing.    That is; it did not tank my already poor off-faction standing.  You get to choose who will like you out of the mission arc.  If I do this again, I will use the opportunity to boost the regard my off factions hold me in. 

Maybe in the months it takes the mission to become available again; I will get amnesia and run it for that other faction.  Maybe.

Tuesday 12 February 2013

Working harder not smarter

Your mission should you chose to accept it:  "I Lost My Stuff (2 of 2)". 

I do far too little PV anything.  For me so far; Eve has been farmville (a crime according to some).  Well, time to get involved in blowing things up apart from the Iterons (or even the Orca's) that I fly.  And by blowing up, I actually causing the blowing up rather than receiving it.

It's a mission from a level 1 agent; should be easy as.

The rewards : some crappy blueprint copy, 160K ISK as a bonus, but most importantly "1.725%" Caldari faction standing (or about 0.1 for me at the moment).

I do some web searching and the cosmos missions are not as well documented as other missions.  I do however find "Hint: This item is a random drop in Contested Plagioclase Field within the Contested Caldari Lai Dai Refinery"

So; it's a level 1 mission; can't be that hard.  I know I do very little combat; and what I do have is the larger ships (recently got Battleship 5 - woo hoo).  However, battleships don't fit. The acceleration gate restricts you to cruiser and below.  

Ok; I have spent some time in a destroyer doing career agent missions.  It is a level 1 mission; it will be fine.  I actually swap out the spare 'detritus' (Career missions need mining lasers; repairers and very little DPS), and head in.

This room is the toughest fight I have experienced.  Many waves of ships, 8 or so to a wave; each wave 50 k apart.  I clear out three groups, and the first one has respawned already.  Bless it.

Finally an unrelated ship turns up.  I primarily fly in wormholes, so unrelated ships mean bad things. However, this one clears up a couple of waves of ships, and finally the wave is cleared, and I race off to the acceleration gate for the Plagioglase field.

This next wave is tough. I clear 1/2 of the wave at range, then get both scrammed and webbed, and ... well I didn't really want that ship anyway - it obviously had a crap fit!


I grab a logi pilot and a DPS pilot and put them both in cruisers; a Scythe and a Moa, and refit my baby pilot into an Algos.  This will blitz it.

Room 1 clears easy enough and off to the Plagioglass field.  About waves of Wave 1 down; Wave 2 down; Wave 3 happens and the Scythe gets targetted and is down into armor and warps away. Grr.  Our Moa and Algos continue on.  We take some additional damage and decide to warp squad out and repair up.  Except the Algos *now* gets a web and is scrambled seeing the Moa warp to safety.  A valiant fight down to 2 remaining 'rats' before it pops.

Anyone spot the deliberate (ok maybe not so deliberate newbie) errors.  Well I do.  Fight together or warp together folks.  Look after your healers.  Work out who is scramming you and get them first. ... Fit a ship properly already.  L2P.

However, this was a Level 1 blessed agent.  How hard can it be?  There is next to nothing on the web for this mission, well at least not what I find from google.

By now hours have gone past, but it gives storyline level standing and I will not give up!

I call on yet another pilot.  This time someone who has shot things before and knows what he is doing (I hope).  I invite him to bring along 3000 units of Isogen to do the prequal mission.  It will however take until after downtime for him to get to the system (Airmia).

So; fleeted up; Once more unto the breach; and we absolutely blitz the first room.  A cake walk.  sigh.  (self confidence not too great just now). Then I notice 2 other ships in the room again; clearing crap out.  The plagioglase room goes pretty much the same.  The NPC's are downed in short order, with a whole lot of ships killed by our fellow visitors. 

Loot the wrecks, and nothing interesting.  I ask our fellow visitors what they are up to; and they are here for some reports.  We chat some more and says he thinks he might have my drop (Kusan Niemenen's Missile Launcher).  While chatting the NPC's respawn and we again clear up quickly enough; this time I get my drop.  Woo hoo.

The fellow visitor says he has found them, has 5, and I offer 1M each (someone else surely wants to buy these for cheap faction rep or maybe an alt of mine),  he offers them up on contract.  I accept.

Facepalm.  Not at the accepting the contract; that's fine.  It was that I bought cruisers (not our preferred class); spent hours, when I could simply have looked at this.

250K, in my station, as a contract.

Working harder and not smarter.

Monday 11 February 2013

The industrial is dead. Long live the Iteron Mark V.

Currently there are different 'best' industrials depending on how much skill you want to learn. 
  • Racial Industrial 1-3 : Bestower (Amarr)
  • Racial Industrial 4 : Mammoth (Minmatar)
  • Racial Industrial 5 : Iteron Mark V (Gallente)
This wiki page has a good page showing the different cargo sizes. I don't get quite the cargo sizes suggested as I also include defensive modules on most of my industrials.

For those of us that have far too many PI alts with too few skillpoints; we currently have interesting choices to make : Learn Amarr Industrial for now; Minmatar Industrial for a little later; or Gallente Industrial for off in the never never (that is : when will I get time to learn another month of training skill on that 3rd pilot?).  Even I feel the pain of not training my primary toon on an account, and I am not combat oriented.  This choice currently matters.

Below is a copy/paste from the recent dev blog.

  • All ship skill requirements reduced from 1-5 to 1. We want to overhaul Industrials roles as part of the Tiericide initiative and this is the first step in that direction. Watch out for more details when they are ready for player feedback.
  • Racial Frigate skill requirement removed from the Industrial skill

Now aside from a standard caveat (i.e. watch out for more details), my interpretation is that after teiricide (maybe the 'summer' expansion):
  • Learn Gallente Industrial 1 but if you are really keen maybe learn it to 3 (for the quick additional 10% cargo space); 
  • Reprocess your Badgers, Mammoths and Bestowers (and other T1 industrials) into scrap and put their BPO's away until the next major revamp.  
  • Start researching your extra copies of the Iteron Mark V BPO now.

Of course I read this dev blog just after I put the Badger, Mammoth and Bestower BPO's into material research for quite a while.

DoToo (my first pilot) will be jealous of all the under-skilled pilots flying his class of ship.  My PI alts that are dreaming of one day flying an Iteron Mark V will love it.

As someone still struggling where to allocate skill points; even though it will make my alt's life easier; I am not sure I approve.  A good game has interesting choices.  This change, if it goes in as planned, makes those choices less interesting.

Wednesday 6 February 2013

The 4th space

There has been some talk lately about 'room for the little guy'.  (JesterMynnna; and a couple of others I can't put my hands on)

The little guy includes the small corporation, the newbie player.  The players that will shape Eve in a couple of years time.

Conventional wisdom says that new players should either remain in highsec or be absorbed into large null structures (and be bound by them); with lowsec being a place for those with some experience to eat newbies for breakfast.

There is a 4th space : wormhole systems.  Sure; I would not recommend that a beginner one month old pilot try to form a wormhole corp.   Mind you, after a month I was still toying with starter missions and discovering a whole new universe.

For the wannabe new corporation: you do need some skills; Anchoring to set up a POS; Scanning to find your way home; an industrial ship or 3 to bring 'stuff' in.  (There is no market in WH space with the exception of what you make with your fellow residents.).

Wormholes are for moderately active groups; You would probably want 3 or 4 accounts even in a "Class 2" wormhole (whether 4 players or 1 very organised one).  You need someone capable of remembering to keep the lights turned on (otherwise known as hauling fuel blocks or at least the ice products for those).

In wormholes there is always something to do: Planetary Interaction; combat sites; mining sites; running away from PVP roams; maybe even doing PVP roams; raiding your neighbour's sites.

Wormholes do have a home advantage.  You have a large defensive structure to run away to (your POS).  If you are organised: it has replacement/alternative ships; spare ammo; salvaging equipment.

There is a limit to the amount and size of ships that can be brought into a wormhole.   Are you a young group and the idea of a battleship scares the goo out of your pod?  Set up in a class 1 wormhole. 

Other groups might be content to see a battleship but not want to take on a Dreadnought or Carrier.  In that case a Class 2-4 Wormhole system might be for you.

It is also difficult to take a huge number of high dps ships on a roam; especially in the lower class wormhole systems.  You can take a few; but to bring in enough DPS to roflstomp a POS in a lower class wormhole system will simply collapse the entry wormholes instead.  Defenders have plenty of time to bring in what ships they like; and can even build ships that are too big to take in our out.

Now; like everything else in Eve; nothing is 100% safe.  WH roams can still ruin your day. Even a 'dickstar' POS can be broken despite the lack of capital ships if the attackers are determined enough. 

That said, a class 2 wormhole is a great place to practice sovereignty by occupation.

Some recent WH blog posts include :