Tuesday 28 January 2014

Rubicon 1.1 - Mobile Scan Inhibitor

PI pilots everywhere have a new structure to watch for - the Mobile Scan Inhibitor.

  • Add mobile scan inhibitor to Overview settings.  Check (buy and deploy one if necessary to test).
  • When Dscanning before/during/after a run; watch for new mobile scan inhibitors and missing customs offices.

I already recommend both DScan and use of both deep safes and on grid tacticals for your PI runs.

Firstly you need to make sure that the new Mobile Scan Inhibitor is on your overview.  (I really should have organised screenshots).  Back when I tested this in Singularity, choosing to display 'all' was not enough.  You will need to check.

Secondly, you should also have customs offices on your overview.  You do PI, you already know what planets you warp to.  If your command custom office disappears from your overview or dscsn for whatever reason, today is not the day to warp to that command centre in an Epithal.

Long term, I do not see many of these, as many pilots will be put off by 15M in costs to maybe get an Epithal.  Short term, I see a few in our future.  And a few of us will end up taking the 'brand new clone' express back to highsec because of them.

Thursday 23 January 2014

My paper napkin solution to soul crushing lag


When incoming ships may overload the grid, create multiple clones of the grid; each with a 'beacon' and a weakened objective.  Original target dies when a sufficient majority of the objective clone grid targets are destroyed. 

The scenario

  • There is a fight over some object with a re-inforcement timer.  
  • Very large fleet A arrives on grid early.  TIDI happens.
  • Very large hostile fleet B arives on grid later.  Server starts to whine.  TIDI breaks and issues start to happen.
  • Reinforcement fleet (from whatever side is losing) arrives and tries to crash the server.

The plan

Each clone of the original grid would have a version of the original structure, with less HP.  Each grid is hosted on a dedicated hardware server.  Compromises are made such that anything not essential to the current fight is ignored.  Local for example could be pilots on grid and disregard pilots elsewhere in the system.

The initial move to the grid will be a 'recall drones/fighters/probes'/emergency warp to the new grid.  As part of this warp, ships are moved to the new server.  Ships are pointed for an arbitrary time (say 15 seconds).  Already on grid ships are moved to grid #1.  The new fleet is moved to grid #2.  A grid #3 without ships is created.

There are now 3 grids, each with 1/2 the original HP (shield/armor/hull).  The attackers must destroy their target object on at least 2 grids.  If the attacking force leaves a 'defeated' grid undefended, the defenders can run behind and repair.

A 'beacon' would mean it can be warped to by anyone in 'the system'; assuming there is capacity on the requested grid. Ships/squads/fleets can still request to warp to the beacon for another grid; but will only be accepted if there is room (some TIDI is fine; risk of soul crushing lag is not). 

The POS question.  Assuming it a POS is being attacked, any array inside the forcefield would be available to all instances of the POS.  Any POS battery outside the forcefield (i.e. batteries) would be randomly allocated between grid clones.  On/Off lining a module inside the array would affect all instances of the POS.  On/Off lining a battery would affect the powergrid/cpu of all of the POS instances.

Reinforcements would be handled in a similar manner, with a new grid created (and further reduced structure HP) as pilots start to overwhelm grids.

In order to concentrate pilots into the same fighting zones, preferred access would be granted to pilots on a grid clone over pilots out in general space.

The goal

Very large fights around a defend-able object that scale regardless of how many pilots are thrown at it. Dynamically increase the number of 'objectives' according to fleet sizes.  Each objective is hosted on it's own 'reinforced server'.

Other notes

What we know:
  • Double the number of ships, and you more than double the server workload.
  • Even with Moore's law there is a limit to the server increases we can get.  Also Moore's law is looking shaky.
  • Alliances will add more pilots to big fights until the server dies, for as long as that works.
  • The losing side will claim it wasn't fun.
  • The winning side will (usually) claim that CCP did the best they could on the day.
There is also the plaintive 'if we could just split the fight up it might get better'.  My proposal uses this as a basis.

It requires Brain in a box as a pre-requisite. 

The next battle of Akasi would be it's own problem.  But even that would benefit from the ability to dynamically be shifted to a dedicated server solely looking after the fight.

This is a thought exercise.  The numbers are unbalanced in some way.  Build a bridge (and get over it).  Adjust as necessary the number of grids; the % HP for objective structures on each grid; the % of grids required to be captured.  The point is to cause the attacking force to have to move, and for a defending force to repair behind them as necessary.

I also like Vonkeigai's solution : "You mongrels,  You overloaded the grid, and made some poor CCP schmuck work overtime. Said CCP schmuck is going to randomly break stuff until some of you just go away.  More pilots MOAR DAMAGE.  Die ungrateful capsuleers, DIE!!".

Put a gas cloud into each grid.  The higher the TIDI, the more general damage done. Damage could even be proportional to signature.

Further reading


The only structure grinding I have done in game is POCO and the POS bashing (and most of those were online).  My assumption is that most big fights are over some form of reinforcement timed structure; with massive HP. 

I do work as a Business Systems Analyst, and have spent many years as Systems Analyst working with very large datasets and number crunching problems.  If its too big to chew through in one sitting; cut it up first works.

Before split

After split

Saturday 11 January 2014

Day 1 in a Foo Corp.

When you join a Foo corp, you will receive a lot of information.

We have rules for ship naming, rules for bookmarks, rules for opening wormholes, recommendations for picking up PI.  You are expected to at least scan these rules, and preferably read it.  All of our guides are working drafts, subject to change and out of date.  They still are there to keep us all alive.  If you think the rules should be finished, I am happy to look at a copy of the documents with your draft changes.

We will ensure you have an initial bookmark to get into our system.  I can not guarantee that this bookmark will be close to where you are.  You are expected to bring a scanner into the system. 

Our definitions of close and far seem to be different to most highsec pilots.  Our definitions range are something like :
  • Close : 10 Jumps.
  • Medium : 25 Jumps.
  • Long : 40 Jumps.
  • Desperate : 80 Jumps (I have flown desperate; under wardec and in lowsec)
You will know how to scan (or at least how to fake it until you make it).

Wormholes do not have stations.  We have Player Owned Structures (POS) instead. 

At our POS you have personal storage in an Personal Hanger Array (PHA), and access to our Ship Maintenance Array (SMA).

Unpacking ships : Depending on circumstances (which can be influenced by spending ISK with the Foo corp), you may have access to a Large Ship Assembly Array (LSAA) that you can use to unpack ships.  If you do not have personal access to a LSAA, let Foo or another corp member know and we can unpack ships for you.  This will be at our (early) convenience, but might not be straight away.  NPC stations are not far away, maybe you can fly to one of them, unpack there and shuttle ships in and pods out.

Large T1 haulers can be used to bring additional ships.  A max expanded Iteron can carry a packed scanning frigate and an Epithal.  On a second trip, you can also bring in Command Centers for PI.

There is no market apart from what pilots make.  If you want it, you may need to haul it, or pay for someone to haul it for you.

Wormhole space is dangerous space.  In my opinion, less dangerous than lowsec.  Anyone that sees you that is not blue will most likely try to shoot you.  We do not generally shoot Epithals seen at our customs offices.

Our POS shoots neutral pilots.  It will shoot out of corp alts unless you clear it with me first.  Our POS has killed more friendlies than hostiles, both in ISK and in number of ships.  This will not change except on certain operations.

Out of corp pilots, and pilots on roams may use Mobile Depots to refit with.  See above about POS shooting neutral pilots and seeing Foo first.

Wormhole PI is profitable.  For what PI to make : Look at a combination of how good the resources are and the current prices.  Good Prices and Good availability.  Pricing spreadsheet ; rows 2-16 are what you should first look at for pricing.

We will not hold your hand and tell you what to do.  You are very welcome to form your own groups and do your own thing.  We will answer questions.  We will expect you do some of your own research.

We try to keep your stuff safe.  So far, we have been successful at this.  This is not a guarantee.

As a rule, we do not replace ships or supply them.  Fly what you can afford to lose. 

Other reading:

Tuesday 7 January 2014

Foo's faction war

To expand the areas of the game I can become competent in, on one of my pilots I have joined faction warfare, in the Gallente Militia.

For an overview of FW, please read http://wiki.eveuniversity.org/Factional_Warfare

My goals, in no particular order:
  • Get used to dying lots.
  • Investigate the "stab fit farmers" and how to catch them.
  • Get some small ship PVP experience.
  • Get an idea of how to make ISK while losing ships. 
I am not here to make my ISK, the wormholes and it's PI are still are very near and dear to my wallet, but the idea of roams for the laughs did not appeal.  At least this way I can tell myself there is a goal (for the faction) that I am working towards.

Overview (friend or foe)

In highsec, my practice to date has been to ignore any neutral in highsec, and avoid flashy yellow/red pilots, and to either work around or engage war targets.  In wormhole space, I have a much simpler rule; if it is not blue, green or purple, and not an epithal at my poco's, shoot it (if flying a pew pew ship) or ignore it (if flying an epithal).  Yes we did have a neutral using our pocos in wormhole space, we let them continue to pay tax.  This is too simplistic for faction warfare.

The very first thing an industrialist will need to do is make their overview usable.  I find Sarah's Overview a good starting point but it is not enough.

I start with Sarah's 'normal pvp' tab.  I have added Entity: Capture Point and <hostile faction> Battlecruiser/Cruiser/Destroyer/Frigate.  Remember to choose the hostile ships and not your own faction's ships for when you run defensive plexes.

Next, flashing yellow is not a reason to shoot someone, especially from your own militia.  As a side note, if you do wish to tell someone not to shoot, 'Stop shooting' will be ignored by just about everyone; where 'Don't shoot friendly militia' might just get my attention.

On your overview appearance tab, move up militia and down suspect/criminal.  You can also turn on/off flashy as you see fit.  I currently have 'at war' set as flashy, and until I get more familiar, wont even bother with suspect or criminal flags.

The plexes themselves

To run the faction war PVE for Loyalty Points (LP), you run the plexes.  The TLDR version is
  • Open up your probe scanners for anomalies; 
  • Warp 10K to the faction war anomaly of your choice (do not warp to zero; you might get caught on gate; and 10K is close enough to use gate);
  • Dscan at roughly 300,000k to see who is in the plex.
  • Use the acceleration gate, 
  • Destroy the NPC ship if you are offensively plexing, but leave it alive if you are defensive (i.e. your own faction)
  • Orbit the 'button' within the required range (generally 30K for me so far), ensuring you can see the timer count down.
  • If the system empty is full of same militia pilots, do something else for the required time, but still at your PC.  Do PI, market updates, mining, whatever.  Glance back at local every so often.  As a wormhole resident, I declare known space local to be overpowered.
  • If the system has neutrals or hostiles, dscan.  Max range dscan is good to get you a picture of what might be in the system.  300,000 km dscan lets you see who is sitting/entering the acceleration gate (assuming they are not cloaky/quick).
  • If neutrals or hostiles come within the 'short' dscan range, or even into the plex itself, decide to either engage or try to escape.  Consider your warp destination if you are going to flee.
  • Wait the timer out.  Collect LP.  You get a notification, as well as a message in local.

The fit

Atron, 3 guns, a short scram, a prop mod (afterburner or MWD).  For tank, a DCU, one I have been running is a Medium shield extenders with 2 micro auxiliary power cores; shield resist rigs on a relatively newbie pilot.  Cheap fit (or as cheap as I can make myself fly)

A novice offensive plexes, takes a 60 seconds of fighting and 10 minutes of waiting when unmolested. 

Offensive plex rewards

Gallente are currently tier 1;  I have read that the higher the tier, the better the LP rewards, but also the lower the value of those LP as other pilots flood the stores with faction items.

5,000 Lp for doing a novice site solo.  2 of these (~25 minutes), with 27M of ISK and tags becomes a 51M  Federation Navy Omnidirectional Tracking Link

For less up front costs, 1 novice site gives enough to by 20 * 5 Electronic Engineering Datacores.  Each set of these 5 Datacores also requires 250,000 ISK; but sells for 750,000 isk. 

No, this does not mean 60M/hour; you will lose ships, run away, spend time finding sites.  But for a rookie pilot with a poorly fit frigate?  Very good.

I am currently using https://www.fuzzwork.co.uk/lpstore/ to work out what to buy.  If I ever do decide to become semi permanent in faction warfare; I will attempt to set up customs offices, and make sure there are basic replacement fits for sale all in one station; especially nearby stations with medical bays.

The PVP itself

With a newbie pilot in a basic frigate, I have died, A lot.  The PVP I have seen fits the following types:
  • Solo faction ships and small groups entering complexes where there are solo T1 frigates.
  • Fleets of approximately 20 hunting small groups, with an initial tackle followed by the larger fleet sitting on the gate of the previous system.
  • The warp core stabbed ship escape the initial tackle.
What I am yet to see is the even fight. I have heard of such things, just not seen it yet.

With the plexing, I have rejected (or tried to reject) fights that I knew I would lose, and accepted the rest.

In my rather flimsy Atron, I have tried Meta 4 fits; I have tried the pre-built contract ships.  I have discussed fits with PVP'ers in the Foo Corps. I lose ships with alarming regularity.

The one solo kill I have was an afk pod in highsec.  The rest of the kills attributed in part to me? It would have made zero difference whether I was in fleet or not.

For the newbie Faction warfare pilot flying solo, I don't see how they are going to get kills.  I am sure there are examples where newbie pilots get real kills, but on the whole, the newbie solo pilot appears to be well paid fodder for the opposite faction. 

The questions

I understand that there is one module despised by faction warfare pilots.  These same pilots that consider 4v1 'fun' (if they are the 4). There is one module that allows small ship pilots to survive a gank (most of the time at least).  I know categorically that it is not a guarantee of protection from a properly equipped pilot.

I am not fitting Warp Core Stabilisers. I am actually looking for that mythical 'fair fight' (or at least a close one), and a WCS is only useful for running.

  • Why are Microjump drives respectable where WCS are despised?
  • Where are the thousands pilots WCS ships?  For Plex farming, it seems an ideal module.
  • If WCS are so prevalent, why are there not more sebo/multi warp disruption scout frigates flying around (in pairs if necessary)?