General


Is IsBoxer bad for EVE Online?

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Multiboxing has been growing in popularity for many years with many players choosing to multibox in order to make better profits or simply to compete against larger organisations. With many activities in EVE Online being repetitive and requiring very little attention to manage it’s not surprising that multiboxing is dominating activities such as mining which could have an impact on other miner’s profitability by increasing the supply of minerals.

Whether this is a problem or not isn’t as simple as determining the ISK lost due to the influx of additional materials but is in fact much more complex requiring you to look at other aspects on industry to draw an accurate conclusion. The impact on everyone is different if you’re a manufacturer then you may see lower material prices as good as it allows you to build more ships with the same working capital. As a miner you’ll likely see it as a bad thing unless that is you’re also doing activities that involve consumption of the same materials, this could be as simple as using ammo in missions but the point at which you’re consuming more minerals than you’re producing you actually start to win due to low mineral prices.

Another important aspect is the value of cheap materials in driving PvP, low ship prices make PvP activities more accessible and reduce the sense of loss. This helps get new players into PvP and drives player driven content in game. A PvP player who has to run missions or incursions more frequently than they get to shoot people in the face isn’t going to be a happy player cheap minerals and cheap ships go a long way to limiting the dull PvE activities that a PvPer has to endure.

With more PvE activity comes more destruction and higher trading volumes helping which actually counters the price reducing effect of multiboxers mining, effectively the EVE economy is a self-regulating system this can be seen as the price of Tritanium now is about the same as it was in 2012. The reality for mining at least is that it’s impact is fairly minimal and only the same as more players joining the game, something which we should openly encourage rather than worry about.

Where there is more need for concern is the way in which bombing runs are becoming a multiboxer activity. This shows a clear lack of complexity for a feature which can effectively wipe out a whole fleet, having your own personal squad of bombers and using IsBoxer to manage them brings us back to the days of titans and a single person pressing a single button to wipe out a whole fleet. What could be done about it? Well it’s not a simple problem to fix but a few things come to mind when I consider bombing fleets:

  1. Probing mechanics – To destroy a fleet you need a good warp in right now getting on top of a fleet is a little too easy. Personal preference but I liked it when probing was slower.
  2. Warp speed – You’re dropping a massive bomb but you’re super small and agile this doesn’t quite seem to fit. Bombers should have significantly reduced warp speed and align times.
  3. Cloaking mechanics – The way which bombers can’t decloak each over these days means there’s very rarely a need to do anything different to the rest of the bombing fleet or adapt to survive. This is bad in the case of bombers as it makes it easier to do on scale without skill.
  4. Bombing mechanic – It’s a bit too predictable for my liking, I know mini games haven’t worked out so great in EVE (hi loot spew) but I think that the launch of a bomb should have some form of manual guidance otherwise it should veer of target.

With the bombing mechanics I’m thinking something fairly basic twitch game play that requires a player to react to the bomb moving off target and readjust its course by moving the mouse or clicking direction arrows. It would only have to last 5 seconds but brings in things like suicide squads who don’t warp off after launching bomb to ensure that it stays on target compared to those who launch bomb and warp off losing a second making their bomb drift a few km off target. It’s just one way you could help balance the risk and reward of bombing, either that or bombs should have a chance of duds and misfires where the bomb doesn’t detach and can blow you up if you don’t correctly disarm it.

I just want to emphasise I’m not hating on bombing runs I’d just like to think that when I go boom thanks to a well-placed bombing run its due to the other players skill not just a well-timed squad warp and single bash of F1. With every mechanic in EVE there should be a degree of skill and a level of unpredictability it’s these random things that keep EVE interesting.

There are loads of activities that could do with some love in this way mining included being able to improve your yield by activity completing a mini game should be an optional feature. This allows multiboxing to happen but I’d say a player should lose out about 20% per character by multiboxing using a tool such as IsBoxer.

With CCP already showing a keen interest in skill based mechanics we can only hope to see this continue. Whilst I really like multiboxing myself I think that a single player being able to be as effective as a squad of real players is testament to some poor game design choices. IsBoxer shouldn’t need to be banned instead we should be encouraging CCP to continue revamping game mechanics so that they require individual pilot skill.

Does WIS have a place in EVE?

eve online incarna wis

Walking in stations and the Incarna update of 2011 was met with widespread criticism, following which CCP Hilmar stated that the EVE developers would focus their time on the traditional EVE online game play aspects. Whilst CCP ultimately was starting to change its course and make a move in the right direction the reason for doing so was based on malformed logic by CCP Hilmar.

Looking at the media surrounding the event it’s all very carefully crafted for its PR impact so may not reflect CCP Hilmar’s actually understanding of the complaints being made by players. At its core the complaint came down to two things:

  1. The introduction of micro transactions and fear of this escalating to pay to win play.
  2. The lack of station based play mechanics we effectively just got a solo lobby.

Do these two points alone mean that walking in stations or even micro transactions for that matter are bad things that should never be in EVE Online. I don’t think so and think there are positive and viable uses for both walking in station and micro transactions.

Personally I spend somewhere between half and three quarters of my EVE time docked, whether that’s installing industry jobs, adjusting market orders or just talking with corp mates they’re all station based activities. These activities present some great opportunities for station based gameplay lets address the most obvious first station based corporation lobbies and establishments.

One of the first stumbling points for many EVE Online players is finding a corporation to join the whole process doesn’t feature predominantly enough to encourage new players to get involved in the most enriching part of the EVE experience. Finding a corporation is an activity that would be much better in a station environment perhaps first starting the game in a training academy in station you could then walk out towards your ship for the first time past a bunch of player corporations’ recruitment bases. Straight from the off you set this expectation that the player is joining a game driven by its players, you also let them know that they need to graduate basic training before most of these corporations will consider taking them on.

These recruitment stations would effectively be the reception room of player corporations with a connected corporation members only area, this helps encourage players to dive straight in and join small local corporations in the area where you’re already playing making it easy access gameplay. When I first joined EVE I didn’t spend any time researching my future home I jumped in when I learnt how dysfunctional they were I then moved home after more research, but this time in a dysfunctional corporation educated me and got me hooked on EVE. Right from the second I could see the failure of a corporations leadership I saw something to strive towards which saw me bouncing between all sorts of different positions in corporations ever since always looking to better my predecessors.

At this point in the recruitment base features could be integrated for security checks to prevent the need of setting up and handing over APIs. It would be great to see a player’s trades, contracts, contacts, wallet journal and their communications right there on a big screen inside the client allowing recruitment to be a more immersive activity less dependent upon external tools. During these security checks you could go through the normal interview questions and generally introduce the player to the corporation.

The next walking in station feature I player would likely see would be a corporation lobby this is effectively an area with games and gambling where you can not only socialise but also pass some time if you’re camped into station or simply waiting whilst the fleet forms up.

Games in stations would be a great way to pass the spare time that we seem to have as capsuleers. EVE always involves waiting whether that’s waiting for industry jobs to finish, fleet to form up or simply waiting to have enough guys to respond to the enemy. All of these things are extremely boring right now so 2-3 games that are station based would be awesome I’d probably aim for a mixture of twitch game play, strategic turn based game play and then a variant of Poker. All of these games should have the choice to gamble for ISK too as us EVE players are very competitive in our nature.

These actual features for a recruitment centre and corporation lobby could work alongside more decorative elements too, some of these could be player industry based and others unlocked through AUR purchases for those corporations who really must have golden furniture. At the same time we’d also have more incentive to better interact with our current wardrobe options and New Eden Store clothing options. Right now having so many clothes is simply a waste as 99% of the time you’ll never see below a player’s neckline. With establishments for corporations you’re bound to start seeing role players create corporation uniforms too which right now is rather pointless as you don’t truly get to see what other players look like.

Moving on to something even more involved science and industry jobs could have related mini games to provide a bonus for individual players. Take for example being able to optimise build costs by completing a mini game related to in station hacking and stealing research data from NPC corporations on BPO optimisation. The final benefit of this should be somewhere in the region of 1% so that it’s small enough that it can be ignored without too much of a financial impact but big enough that players are actually rewarded for their time. You’d even see more experienced players see it as a necessity for example in jump freighter production where savings would be higher potentially adding up to 10% to final profit.

Similar games could be added for invention for example you take an invented BPC and you try to fine tune it through a game. This lets you increase the ME and TE up to the maximum of 10% and 20% respectively but each level of the game gets progressively harder and more risky with the BPC being destroyed if you don’t succeed. Not only does this add a profitability element it also adds in risk and reward too which is one of the core foundations of the game.

The main thing is mini games should be both engaging and difficult it should be something that varies through different play throughs and can catch you off guard. No easy mode and a real taste of the EVE Online learning cliff right there inside station true to the same values upon which EVE Online was formed.

Further reading: I know many of you will have little love for WIS with that in mind I’m spending the rest of today exploring the Crius changes. Later today I’ll be updating the Crius patch notes to reflect the latest build currently on Singularity. I’ll also update with any additional news or new Crius features that are announced throughout the day in their own posts.

T2 Capital Ship Proposal

revelation t2 capital proposal banner

With it being a bank holiday in Iceland I’ve been left with very little Crius news to write about as such I’m writing about something a little different today. I was initially considering what CCP must have planned with T2 capitals already due to the existence of T2 capital component BPOs that are not required in the construction of jump freighters. This led me to writing this piece a proposed introduction of T2 capital ships to New Eden to take up more specialised roles and fulfil niche combat roles whilst making capital warfare more engaging on a tactical level.

Whilst I’m by no means an expert at PvP I spent a large proportion of my EVE play time as a highsec mercenary. One of the most common requests was POS takedown a painful request for both a small mercenary corp and their clients with extremely expensive quotes due to the time intensive nature of taking down a POS without capital ships.

Currently the easiest way to get around the highsec ECM dickstar problem is to use Marauders but with the coming changes to labs and manufacturing arrays we’ll likely see POS armed to the teeth in highsec and manned by POS gunners now that the skill requirements for POS gunning are being reduced this is extremely likely.

To resolve this problem T2 Dreadnoughts could be introduced in comparison to standard dreadnoughts they would differ in several ways:

  • T2 resist profile, but only about 75% of the current maxed EHP.
  • Damage in the region of 5,000 DPS whilst in siege.
  • Signature radius between battleship and carrier size, smaller the better looking for standard dreads to be able to hit fully. Reason being it’s effectively a stripped down less bulky dreadnought.
  • Jump drive range about half of that of a jump freighter, whilst also able to access highsec. This helps to counter force projection and gives a home ground advantage during capital fights.
  • Vulnerable to capacitor warfare to ensure that small organised groups could take down these ships if they don’t have support.
  • Able to use a capital micro jump drive whilst in siege only, this is to add an interesting play mechanic and encourage their usage in null and low sec rather than just high sec space. This would be used for all sorts of things for example about to exit siege cycle MJD out of engagement and jump out. This could be countered as MJD moves you directly forwards and as you’re in siege you can’t change alignment so we could find interdictors sitting 100km off a fight to ensure T2 dreads can’t run away.

I’d be looking at the T2 material cost being about half that of jump freighters the reason being is the ships a light dreadnought designed to be able to enter highsec and be more mobile at the expense of reduced HP, DPS and jump range. Intended initial prices to sit in the region of 4-5bil per ship naturally the market will dictate this.

The second of the ships is a command carrier; it seems bizarre to me that to get the best EHP you have to send a standard Commandship travelling with your capitals. A T2 carrier specifically designed for the role could have the following bonuses:

  • 3% bonus per Command carrier level to most common racial tank type, armor for Gallente and Amarr and shield for Caldari and Minmatar.
  • 2.5% bonus per Command carrier level to racial e-war, ECM for Caldari, tracking disruptors for Amarr, stasis webification for Minimatar and Warp disruption for Gallente.
  • T2 resist profile with EHP in the region of 300% of a t1 carrier, they are designed to stay alive and issue orders on the field.
  • Can’t use standard fighters, can only use 5 light fighters a T2 fighter variant designed to counter heavy tackle such as HICs. Damage 30% of that of a standard carrier, it’s not there for damage reasons and is really a token gesture.
  • Jump range equal to that of dreadnoughts, it’s designed to be rather mainstream ship so should be able to travel at the same rate as a standard T1 capital (without supers) fleet.
  • Not able to enter highsec.

With regards to cost you’re getting some great bonuses so really should be looking at the same sort of cost and material requirements as a jump freighter. Intended initial price 6-7bil per ship, on the other hand you may want to go for a third of the material costs to encourage mainstream usage making them 2-3bil per ship.

The final ship suggestion is the electronic warfare carrier; capital warfare is rather generic due to the hit siege watch things go boom play style. There are also very limited capital vs capital counter options with the only viable counter being support ships, this is OK but it would be great to see a greater level of tactical fleet composition in capital engagements.

With this in mind an electronic warfare carrier could reintroduce mechanics to which dreadnoughts and potentially even titans were previously resistant. Here are the bonuses I had in mind:

  • Standard EHP slightly above T1 carriers due to a T2 resist profile.
  • Able to launch 10 light T2 fighters for up to 60% of the damage of a standard carrier. Able to better track and apply damage to support ships such as HICs.
  • Able to launch 10 EWAR fighters that are only able to apply their e-war effects to other capitals.
  • The four varieties of EWAR for capitals should be ECM for Caldari, tracking disruption for Amarr, stasis webification for Minmatar and warp disruption for Gallente.  These should only get additional strength bonuses from Command carriers and the hulls electronic warfare skill. All of these T2 fighters should be chance based.
  • New remote repair module specifically to repair T2 ECM fighters, idea is to encourage mechanics around repairing own fighters under smart bombing damage. May also choose to keep alive other peoples T2 fighers alive at the cost of own fighter death or not being able to use own fighters. This once again adds interesting decision making to capital warfare.
  • Jump range 50% of dreadnoughts to once again encourage home ground advantage during capital engagements and reduce force projection. All of that ECM equipment needed space in the ship so smaller less capable jump drives had to be installed.
  • Not able to enter highsec, open to this class being able to access highsec to counter T2 dreads easier.

The initial intended price is in the region of 3-4bil per unit so just below the cost of the T2 dreadnoughts, this would mean about the same T2 material costs with the main price difference coming from dreadnoughts increased base hull costs.

At the same time as additional danger is added to highsec POS ownership we should also increase the potential rewards and encourage open conflict in highsec. To do this the moons in highsec should be spawned with T2 materials roughly equal to the expected long term consumption from T2 capital usage. We’ll naturally see groups like Goonswarm still own all the highest value moons but it does give the dedicated highsec alliance something to strive towards. It also means players have to carefully choose their moon as low value moons are less likely to be targeted by someone looking to harvest the available materials.

Overall it’s very likely especially in the short term that moon material prices would increase but after the initial production rush is over things would level out. These changes could also be accompanied by pirate dreadnoughts built around the racial bonuses, for example it would be very interesting to see a capital sized Bhaalgorn adding yet more variety to capital warfare. Overall this could all tie together nicely as a release with a backstory capsuleers gaining further independence from empires mining their highsec moons and getting more capitals into highsec as well as a pirate response to increased capsuleer capital capabilities by bringing their own pirate faction capital developments to the warzone.

Overall I think it would be a great thing for EVE to have capital warfare that’s just as complex as sub capital warfare, as well as adding a new end goal for current capital pilots not looking to be trapped in a super capital. Additionally with the pricing it acts as a great midpoint between capital and super capital costs making it a more accessible feature.

Not only would these changes added needed complexity to capital warfare it would also help to reduce force projection adding a home turf advantage due to the limited jump ranges of the new capitals. This could be yet further amplified by high fuel usage to further attempt to limit force projection.

Highsec players would have plenty of reasons to celebrate too. Not only would in mean more war activity and more active mercenaries due to highsec POS’s being a more viable target for small but wealthy mercenary corporations it also means we get a whole new range of ships to build with high ISK values. This would make more experienced and wealthy players gravitate towards their construction opening up profit opportunities in the areas of the market these players are leaving. Additionally highsec has a new conflict driver and income source for the growing alliance in the form of moons with value.

As releases go it’s highly unlikely to ever come to fruition due to the long term plans CCP already have in place and the pure amount of content but every now and then it’s great to step back and think about a utopian future where EVE is the game with the features of our dreams.

CCP Games redundancies starting today

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We’re sad to report that today CCP brings to close its restructuring with the redundancies of 49 of its employees. A CCP representative stated that the layoff were 49 members of their publishing organization, which we presume to mean White Wolf. These employees will most likely be the last of the former World of Darkness team who weren’t hit by the first wave of redundancies which made at the time of the announcement of the end of the WOD project in April.

During the closure of the World of Darkness MMO it’s likely that where ever possible team members were shifted over to EVE Online during the Kronos development cycle. This likely helped push the Kronos release forwards which helps to explain the scale of the release, it wouldn’t surprise me if a large proportion of the staff were in art teams as we’ve seen the New Eden Store increase from 45 to 105 items something which would be easily achievable with staff from the WOD team. In fact some art assets that were appropriate to EVE Online may even have found themselves reclaimed from the WOD project with both games having the same Incarna WIS character technology at their core.

Still the redundancies today whilst being a sad occasion should be no reason for an EVE Online fan to have any concern over the future of their beloved New Eden. With the changes the whole CCP team including the whole senior management team are now dedicated to a single universe and improving its experience. Where CCP Hilmar in the past was likely splitting his time between multiple projects we should now see EVE truly come back into the spotlight and be the true love and focus of everyone over at CCP games.

We wish everyone affected by the recent layoffs at CCP all the best in their future employment and thank them for all the hard work and passion they have put into their work over the years at CCP Games.

CCP Greyscales guide to good posting

CCP Greyscale guide to good posting

A short while ago CCP Greyscale replied to a post of the forums which was complaining about the way in which he replied to a specific post pulling it out as a good post whilst ignoring many other posts of a similar quality. The complainant rightly asked why that specific individuals post deserved a reply whilst others did not, troll or not CCP Greyscale came back with a detailed and extremely inciteful response.

If you’re looking for a reply from a developer on the forums CCP Greyscales guide to good posting is  probably the place to start. To summarise here is what CCP Greyscale looks for in a good forum post:

  • Suggest a solution - Too many players come with problems but with no idea how to resolve them blanket statements like ‘Titans are OP’ help no one whereas proposing a viable solution instantly makes your post stand out amoungst the crowd.
  • Take time to write properly – Another simple one but a dev is much more likely to read a post that is concise, well written and easy to understand than one which is fragmented, long and angry. To put it simply if you want attention make it easy!
  • Provide justification - There’s no point providing a solution alone without providing the rationale behind it, don’t presume your reader knows why you’re thinking what you’re thinking. This also helps a developer to save time investigating viability of your idea.
  • Point out your own flaws – Every idea has limitations, being transparent about these helps show that you’ve carefully considered the ideas weaknesses. Being as neutral and objective as possible is a great way to set yourself apart.
  • Frame your ideas – Put your idea in perspective of how different types of players will react, this is very much in line with the way developers expect to see user stories start ‘As a X, I want Y so that Z’, or to put this in perspective ‘As an inventor, I want more runs per T2 item invention job and longer copy times so that I don’t have to log in 6 times a day to install invention jobs.’
  • Consider new players - Often this is ignored and players look to advance their own position. Take the previous example longer invention times could harm new industry players as larger groups could more easily dominate T2 module and ammo manufacturing making it difficult for new players to get started with T2 industry.
  • Give away your data – Don’t make the poor developer do all the math you did all over again, share your data and make it easy for them to get to even consider linking it from Google docs.
  • Consider other changes - With every change its important to consider the impact of other changes that are happening alongside it. An example of this would be the new job installation costs from work teams would price new players out of low end T2 invention if the length and volume outputted was vastly increased. Smaller batches still need to be possible and profitable to let new players get into industry.
  • Write down your thought process - If you’ve gone through a long process of considering and balancing your decision write it down and share it as it displays the level of understanding of EVEs game design principles that you have.
  • Don’t just say what’s broken – If you’re discussing improvements to a feature then don’t just list its current faults also list the things that are fine as is. This helps bring a sense of scale to the final scope of the changes. If everything must change for your idea to work then its much less likely to get implemented.
  • Conclude things concisely – Briefly conclude and wrap up your post including any other suggestions and make sure that a skim reader can’t miss the key points of your post.

These points are really just a starting list but are a great set of points to help your forum post get attention. At the core of all of these things really are three things that really matter when making a forum post:

  1. Make it easy – Devs are lazy too make their life easy in everything from reading your post to reproducing your problem or analyzing your changes.
  2. Show your understanding – Explain and justify everything if you can prove that you’re not just another forum troll you’re much more likely to get attention. CCP have been burnt by 100 page long threadnoughts many a time as such it’s no surprise that some devs are scared of the forums potential to become a massive time sink.
  3. Be honest - CCP aren’t here the need to serve our needs as individuals they’re here to serve the needs of the community as a whole. If you want something changing be honest about how it affects you and how it could affect other too. Self serving posts are often quickly dismissed due to their bias.

Overall it’s great to see a developer step up and say what the want to see and why in future it would be great to see more of this. The EVE Online community is a very passionate one and sometimes discussions can become very heated, ultimately it’s in the best interest of both the players and CCP to learn better how to better work together to make New Eden a better place. A forum post like this by CCP Greyscale is exactly that one small step in the right direction to better communication between players and developers in EVE Online.

 

Recall program ends soon

Recall reward program - ORE Mackinaw banner

The recall program will be ending pending evaluation at the end of May which means if you’ve got a friend to bring back to the game then do so now. Earlier today CCP Falcon made the following announcement on the forums.

CCP Falcon recall program

As you can see CCP are looking for feedback so if you’ve already made use of the program much like myself then go to the forums to leave feedback. Personally my experience was that it’s bizarre to have the ORE Mackinaw skin as the top level and bottom level prize. This encourages players to only do the first and second tier prizes to get the more valuable PLEX reward and then switch to an alt account to continue sending invites. Personally I believe that the top tier should be the PLEX with unique bottom and mid tier rewards.

On another note if you’ve already claimed a Mackinaw skin it may be worth waiting a couple of weeks before selling as when the supply stops its likely that prices will increase as long as there is still a demand to buy.

Choosing a corporation in EVE Online

Danny Centauri Corporation change

Every corporation in New Eden is defined not only by the activities it carries out but also by the area of space in which it is located and how the culture is moulded by the corporation and alliance leadership. Quite often it’s not the what a corp does, or where it does it, that becomes a problem but how and why they do it. It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of accepting recruitment as a one way grilling process of security checks and thorough questioning but it’s vital that if you’re going to find a corporation to thrive in that you make recruitment a two way process.

I speak from personal experience having just left Infernal Octopus a lowsec alliance based in Airidia and vicious defenders of their space scoring them some quite nice killmails over the years. As a very capital heavy small alliance they enjoy beating any newcomers in the area into submission. Back in 2013 when I had loads of time for EVE this was perfect and although they are primarily a Russian alliance it worked well and at times I was multiboxing half a dozen dreads in fleet enjoying defending the local moon operations.

There were aspects I didn’t like too especially when it comes to ship fittings. Far too often extreme range was preferred with very little in the way of brawling. Additionally they really didn’t like losses so every fleet fit was tanked like crazy and there were more than a few fits where a 1600 plate or two could be exchanged for heat sinks with little to no detriment to the fit as we always flew with logistics and the extra buffer was of relatively low benefit compared to the potential benefits of extra DPS. Still I tried my best to keep in line with their fits and soon gave in trying to convince them to change.

I tried to help and discuss fits with the CEO and alliance leader but was stone walled with my CEO simply explaining this is how Russian alliances run it’s effectively ‘my way or the highway’. They are a great bunch of guys but it was a bit of a culture clash with one all powerful voice in the alliance dominating the playstyle not suiting how I enjoy to play. These guys must have been doing something right as they held the region and are running upwards of 100 POS whilst keeping fleet participation high. Ultimately for me the slight clash in play style was too much and left me with a few doubts as to my future in the alliance.

When I came back to the game in May 2014 after a break since September I soon realised with reduced EVE hours things wouldn’t work. Russians seem to play very late even compared to US players so after a couple of weeks I started hunting for US/UK time zone corporations and alliances.

Not wanting to fail at corporation selection again I decided to write down my selection criteria:

  • Focus on industry
    – With Kronos and Crius coming up this is where I wanted to dedicate my time as it should be more enjoyable and dynamic.
  • UK and US time zone
    – I’m a late evening player so normally pick up the end of the UK tz and start of the US I’d prefer to have at least people to talk to ingame all this time.
  • Easy access gameplay
    – I’d started to play EVE less like chess and more like a shooter wanting to get in game play for a hour or two and leave. Long gone are the days of 4 hours stalking a pilot half way across New Eden my freetime, and partner, just simply don’t allow it.
  • Ocassional PvP
    - I trained carrier and dread pilots for a reason and it wasn’t to spin them in station, I originally started in null sec and then became a mercenary in high sec. Some PvP action every few weeks keeps me sane.
  • Freedom of playstyle
    - I really did enjoy my time in Infernal Octopus but didn’t want the same awkward discussions with leadership over fittings and annoying feeling that I could help things change but was in a position where I was left powerless to do so.

From these base criteria I decided the characteristics of the corporation and alliance I wanted to join the above 5 points translated to:

  • Industry corporation with heavy manufacturing aspirations
  • If there wasn’t a recruiter online when I was then I wasn’t applying
  • Highsec based in area where it’s easy to buy and sell materials and products
  • Someone who is big enough to attract war decs, being hunted is fun
  • A corp or alliance that champions middle management

To help me search I used Google, ingame recruitment adverts and the EVE Online forums. Not only was I looking for corporations actively recruiting I was also looking for active individuals in the community who were willing to be highly involved and share knowledge. If these individuals were not CEOs then all the better especially if their corporation descriptions or recruitment adverts promoted them. This behaviour of championing your directors and middle management shows a CEO willing to accept they aren’t master of all and capable of delegating responsibilities whilst making best use of their skills to provide support in key areas.

Personally I think due to equal part luck and research I came across Manu Fortius a medium sized corporation in a small highsec alliance who ticked all the boxes. Manu Fortius is the home of a popular industry blogger Vexed Nova a director in his corporation responsible for industry. They are based in Gallente space near Dodixie meaning easy trade and had struggled with war decs recently as their growth had attracted attention at a point in time where there teeth weren’t as well developed as their industry skills.

Not only was this somewhere I could help develop the industry side of the corporation and inject resources to help them succeed but it’s also somewhere that I could contribute to PvP activities helping them to avoid bad losses and patiently take down a few of their aggressors to act as a deterrent against future war decs.

Excited by the opportunity I added all of their recruiters to my watch list and waited eagerly for a couple of days whilst I got used to their play routines, by the time I applied I knew when they were active and that they should be a good fit to where my playstyle was going. All that was left was to ask different people in corporation the same questions to check that they are a honest bunch who give the same answers as each other openly admitting strengths and weaknesses of both the corporation and alliance.

The rest is simple really if a corporation is a good fit for you then it’s likely they’ll see you as a good fit too and it’s simply a case of answering a few questions and handing over full APIs for security. This should be the easiest part of finding a new home, it’s really worth that extra time to research and find a corporation that matches your playstyle and expectations. Today is my first day in Manu Fortius and I’m glad to be there, as I settle in expect to see some articles about how a small corporations industry can take the next step forwards and how I’m working to help Vexed make that happen in Manu Fortius.

PLEX price control article follow up

plex-prices

Recently over at EN24 I wrote an opinion piece based on the fluctuations in PLEX prices over the last year when compared to the trading volume. Whilst the mechanics of supply and demand would normally dictate that the price of PLEX increasing would be due to a mix of increased demand and or reduced supply I argued it from a different perspective that the increased price has caused decreased supply. This view was formed on the assumption that people who sell PLEX do it to buy stuff and now to get the same amount of stuff they don’t need to sell as many PLEX as would previously.

Whilst only an opinion piece it provoked a mixed bag of positive and negative responses and quite justly so. The responses in fact are much more interesting than my original article and range between how the global recession has reduced supply to how the reliable increases in price is causing high volume hoarding of PLEX further artificially increasing the price. This raised an interesting follow up point for discussion, how to discourage PLEX from being hoarded preventing their active involvement in the market and helping CCP to reduce their deferred income.

Why should PLEX hoarding be controlled?

The hoarding of PLEX is an activity that artificially increases its value to an extent that causes more players to hoard them creating a vicious cycle of price increases whilst adding no value to the game and preventing more players from getting involved with their usage whether that’s to fund a subscription or skin a ship doesn’t really matter lower prices encourage higher usage.

Higher usage of PLEX is great for CCP as usage can be viewed at the point where CCP realises its income rather than the point at which the PLEX is purchased. At the end of 2013 CCP had 6,605,772 in deferred revenue whilst a lot of this will be in general long term subscriptions there will also be a considerable number of PLEX right there. Game revenues grew by 15% over 2012 whilst referred revenue increased by 26% the disparity may relate to growth in hoarding during 2013.

Lower PLEX prices encourage higher usage across the board that includes micro transactions such as ship skinning and clothing purchases which become more affordable to the average EVE players. Also something which I feel passionate about is that more players paying with PLEX who couldn’t afford to do so with RL cash is good for the game, as one individual put it ‘players are content’ and more content in EVE increases the chance of press worthy events which drive new players to the game.

How could PLEX hoarding be controlled?

There are a few potential ways to reduce PLEX hoarding I’m going to discuss one potential way which came to mind as a first thought, introduce an account wide PLEX hangar with a fixed cap for the number of PLEX. This cap should be reduced by:

  • Any PLEX in other characters hangars or market orders.
  • Any PLEX currently on the market.
  • Any PLEX in any other stations.

This then brings in a degree of regulation of PLEX hoarding helping to increase the market velocity. The cap could be set at a reasonable level in the region of 50 PLEX so that players funding large purchases through PLEX such as buying Supercarriers are able to do so without much hassle.

Is PLEX hoarding a large enough issue?

I wish it was as I believe there are large potential gains in keeping prices low and encouraging player base growth. However, the current standpoint of CCP is that EVE should remain a free market with no regulation as such it’s highly unlikely that it’s viewed to be a big issue. This stand point from CCP is likely based on more data than that the general EVE community has to hand so for now I’ll have faith and watch to see if CCP intervenes as PLEX prices continue to increase.

Whoops hosting fail

hosting-fail

Apologies for the downtime between 17:00 and 07:00 GMT due to exceeding bandwith, error on my behalf. I manage the sites hosting and put myself on a package that didn’t account for the recent growth of EVEManufacturing.co.uk thank you for spending the time to read my blog I’ve tripled the allowance so shouldn’t expect any problems in the near future. Thank you to the poster on EN24 for letting me know.

I’ve also just changed over services and now use UptimeRobot.com to monitor site uptime which sends me a DM on Twitter and an email if anything goes wrong. In future if anything goes south I’m aiming for resolution times of less than a hour, apologies once again for the inconvenience.

Five great tools for new indy players

EVE jump freighter industry

As a new player looking to get into industry it can be somewhat overwhelming. All of a sudden you are the little fish in a pond full of sharks, doomed to fail unless you find somewhere to hide or even better something to help you grow. Every new industry player needs some help to get started, fortunately some very helpful players created some rather handy tools.

Blueprint research tool:http://zofu.no-ip.de/bpo

This first tool is for checking the research time of t1 BPOs, this is primarily for t1 production and is really handy. You can see the waste really easily too to give you an idea of what material efficiency (ME) and production efficiency (PE) to research BPOs to; I also used this to find the optimal ME for T2 construction component BPOs such as the Photon Microprocessor.

Costing tool:http://eve-platoon.de/index.php/me

This tool is much like the previous one but its focus is material requirements, the main reason I use this one alongside the previous is that you can change the cost of materials instead of having a hard coded price. Using this tool you can find accurate build costs even for T2 construction where you have negative material efficiency.

Invention chance calculator:Our EVE Invention Chance Calculator

This allows you to calculate the invention cost for t2 production, by knowing the invention chance and then doing a little bit of math.

Take for example Mackinaw production with level 4 skills and a +2 run decryptor. The invention chance is 30.16% and each invention run costs 2.5mil in datacores, 11mil for the engagement plan and around 6.5mil to buy the max run BPC copy. The total cost per attempt is 20mil with 30.16% chance that is 66.3miil per successful job.

As a +2 run decryptor would make a 3 run -3ME BPC that means the invention cost is 22.1mil per Mackinaw. You can then add the material cost on from the costing tool to calculate your profit per unit.

Google documents:  https://drive.google.com/

Why use Google documents? Well simply put it’s a free and easy way to share spreadsheets and word documents with corporation members, as well as make sure that no matter what machine you are on you can access everything you need.

I use the spreadsheets all of the time to keep track of potential profits here is an example that you can download, upload and use for yourself:https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AjA_uhhJwe9odExNRmdQdjllY0VWSU5SczBGLVJOYXc

This spreadsheet has tabs for different ship types and tabs for skill requirements and raw material costs. You can set up further ship types by copying the tab and changing the material requirements based on the previously mentioned tools, also since a lot of ship materials have been changed and this is one of my old resources be careful to update it before using.

Market Data – EVE Central:http://eve-central.com/

Sometimes the data is a little ropey but EVE central can come in handy for checking prices especially if you believe someone is manipulating the market price of your T2 construction materials. Do not rely on this tool use it as a guide only, its always best to visit other market hubs when possible.

So that’s five easy to use tools, and my personal spreadsheet to get you started. I hope you will find these tools as useful as I have over the last year. These are just a few of the great resources provided by the EVE community to help indy players, for a more comprehensive list the EVE wiki has the perfect resource.

If you think that a really useful tool has been missed, just leave a comment to share it with everyone. With new industry players fighting the sharks for profit it’s always nice to know that there are guys out there in the community supporting even the newest of indy player by creating helpful and insightful tools.