The Scope – Lai Dai supply convoy ambushed

In the latest video report from the Scope we get news about an attack on the NPC convoy in high sec. The attacker remains unknown so we do not know where this part of EVE Online’s story will take us. As mentioned in this article over at the Mittani there some more mysteries to be uncovered.


Why was a convoy attacked in high sec without Concord or any other help? And did CCP really get the names of the route wrong or are these hinds for some bigger changes in the future. I can recall the BIG universe overall that CCP did with the Cold War expansion back in 2004. Will something similar happen again?

EVE is dying

This topic is my all-time favorite. For 12 years I spend so much time in this game. I throw so much money at CCP and spend a fortune on our vacation at Fanfest 2013. But lately this topic comes out a lot so I could not wait any longer.
Rixx started this a couple days ago over at EVEOGANDAAnd of course it is all the time up on the official forums too.
It’s always have been a rocky relationship with CCP. Especially in the last 2 years when a lot of veteran and beloved DEVs have left the company. Guys like Jon Lander aka CCP Unifex were real heroes and I had the great honor to meet him back at Fanfest 2013. So I do believe that CCP and EVE Online is still in some kind of transition phase. A lot of features feel unfinished. Even big changes like the industrial changes that got into the game with Crius did change a lot of stuff to the better but for veterans like me they still feel unfinished. Because without a mining overall and some key ship changes for the Orca and the Rorqual there is still so much to do. Changes to the sov mechanics are all nice and everything but can only be part of a badly needed bigger null sec overall. Next we will see massive changes to the Corp and Alliance UI and hopefully the mechanics change here as well. Then POSes will go away over time when the new Citadels get into the game. To make a long story short it will still take CCP 12 – 18 month until they reach something like a final overall. Of course EVE Online is an MMO and changes will happen all the time. I believe the issue is that so many stuff piled up over the last years that this weird situation that we are now in could happen. I personally burned out half a year ago because EVE Online completely felt broke to me. I just couldn’t keep up with all the changes and every 5 weeks they changes SO many stuff. But back to the topic.
A lot of people had hoped that with FozzieSov everything changes and people get back into the game. The big question is and remains if it really are the null sec people that are not in the game anymore. I cannot answer that but the numbers from eve-offline are clear that FozzieSov did not change anything in the short term. Online numbers are still around half what it used to be. Until late 2013 or maybe even early 2014 the only question was how much more people EVE Online and CCPs Servers can handle before die in a big ball of fire. On May the 5th 2013 we saw 65,303 people online and that is the highest number ever for EVE Online. A bit later on February the 9th we saw 57,213 people online. That’s not so bad either. But shortly after that the numbers dropped like a rock and are still getting lower every month. 6 month ago the average online numbers were 33.000. 3 month ago they dropped to 25.000 and in the last month they even got down to 20.000. The highest numbers in the last month were 33,386 on July the 12th at 19:56 EVE Time.

Is EVE Online dead because online numbers dropped like that? That’s a touch question because what we do not know is how many subscribers do EVE Online have? Online numbers are one thing. But CCP stopped releasing the more important subscriber numbers years ago. Why they did that remains unknown but you can guess with the layoffs and the close down of studios and the shutdown of World of Darkness development that they cannot have gotten higher. But back to the question. Is EVE Online dying because of that?
I do not believe and more important I do not hope so. I do believe that EVE Online is still in a phase of transition. And people are waiting what the future will bring for them. I would even go so far to say that in the bigger picture not that many people stopped playing EVE Online. They might just cut down their accounts. Which is by the way completely CCPs fault. They changed after 12 years their stand on multiboxing and basically banned it from EVE Online. I know they banned input automatization and not multiboxing but that is the same different. A human being cannot control 5+ accounts. I can take me as an example. During my time I had several phases where I was playing EVE Online really hardcore with 10+ accounts. And I know of people who had 30+ Accounts. And now all of them are down to 2-5 accounts. So that are a lot of online numbers that are missing and a lot of subscribers. Well subscribed accounts. Because the people behind all of the accounts are still here.
I really hope that EVE Online will recover and after this phase of transition will be back even stronger. Until then I will try to keep up with all the changes that CCP does to my beloved game. I might evacuate my important stuff to safe high sec when CCP goes all ballistic and do stupid stuff like make stations destructible but I cannot see me stop playing yet.
And if this wall of text still not answer this question. Just check the timerboard for all the nice explosions that will keep us busy until CCP gets their vision of the Game out.

 

My Gaming Week

From the lack of my blogging all week you can guess that this one will be a short one. But maybe on some day life will slow down again.

Until then I am making slow progress in Star Trek Online. Those reputation projects are a real grind but I made it to level 4 now. And for some real progress I spend some time doing the Featured Episode Broken Circle a couple of times. The new Antichroniton Infused Tetryon Full Auto Rifle looks to be pretty good so I grind it for my Boffs.

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They put a lot of effort into this Episodes and it’s kinda fun. You first start with a space part but thats nothing special. Just grind down some ships and then beam down. I will not spoil the story because after all the years there is actually a lot of backstory available. So have fun playing it for yourself.

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On the World of Warships front I got into even more trouble. I managed to make my way to the Tier IV Phoenix Cruiser, Tier V Minekaze Destroyer and to make this an even bigger time sink the Tier IV Hosho Carrier.

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I really do not like the Japanese Carriers. I had so much fun with the US ones so I am on the edge to switch. The squads are so bad and I keep losing almost all air fights. The matchmaking does not help because it places me in battles with multiply Carrier so the air cover actually does matter. I now know why I had so much fun with the US side. In virtually every battle I got clear sky for killing 50+ planes. Now I am on the other sides and stay without planes mid game often enough. The Cruisers are some fun but they really getting good at Tier VI which I am far far way from. So its a slow painful grind without much fun. Shouldn’t games be fun to play? If not they feel more like work. But I did manage to activate the very well hidden replay function so if I stick with World of Warships you can expect more and better screenshots in the future.

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Lucky for me on the EVE Online side I have been back in the saddle full swing. EVE Online is on fire and fleets been out all week and all day. It’s been a lot of fun and as soon as things slow done you can expect a lot of fun posts. Well if they are fun is yours to decide but I am having tons of fun again. And my wallet is looking great again too. But until then I will leave you with this little hint.

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It’s called strategic ratting fleet and I never ever had so much fun during ratting then with this bunch of guys.

My Gaming Week

Welcome to another Episode. Last week was busy with the deployment of EVE Online’s latest expansion Aegis. Since then the universe is turned upside down. But that’s a topic for another day.
Star Trek Online is slowing down with the Summer Festival running out. I am on Tier 3 in the latest Rep grind but I am not doing much besides that. The STFs are still not fun and the new stuff with Season 10.5 are not that big to get me back into it full time. So nothing major to report here.

With Heroes of the Storm it’s been hard. I did a couple of games, mostly because I wanted to check the changes to Matchmaking out. But I can not see a difference. It’s still either you get completely destroyed or you crush the enemy team. I am still waiting for this fun game where you don’t know how win or loss in the first couple minutes. And the daily quests are a bit too grindy for my taste too. So I am not sure if I will keep playing this.

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World of Warships remains my daily grind game for now. I am making slow progress and actually unlocked the Tier IV Myogi Battleship. I also got a premium account so the low level grind isn’t too painful. I am trying not to burn out in the lower levels so I take it slow. But it is a nice game and I can actually win some battles. My stats are still pretty poor, sitting at 52.1% wins and 3.6% draws. But it is getting better lately.

But my main time sink is still Minecraft. I did a lot of work in my little world. I started with a little planting and growing room in my mountain base.

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It has a glass roof so the sunlight can get in. Of course it’s not a full scale farm but for now it’s enough. I also setup a small sheep farm. I needed more wool and with my weed farm the sheeps are easy.

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And I started my first big mine. It goes all the way down to the bedrock level. And because I am old and lazy I created a small railway to go up and down a bit more easily. And it actually looks really nice with small waterfalls on both sides. Goes I am just lucky.

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Sadly the world does not have so many other biomes nearby. Ice and snow is particularly far away. But I am just getting started and I will get there. We need some stuff for the coming weeks so I am looking forward to that.

But now let’s get back to EVE Online. After the deployment of Aegis Sovereignty last week I got back in full swing. After the PvE changes I had no issues finding free anomalies so I made 380 Mill last week. Not so bad for only a couple of hours. Since the servers were down almost the entire wednesday I didn’t get much done. Normally if I really stick to it I can make billions a week. But I was busy with strategic mining and ratting fleets. I never could imagine or dream that one day we would actually see this. I still see tons of issues with FozzieSov but for the first week it looks good. And after some weeks of very low activity I got my ratting fleet back out.

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I also replaced 2 of my ratting ships with the new SKIN. The blue looks a lot nicer then the old green. I am starting to like the SKIN system. Prices are still completely BS in my eyes but maybe CCP get’s it that they can sell more of this if they lower the prices to a more reasonable prices. Until then I enjoy my SKINs for the ships that I most use.

And that’s it for now. Have a nice week.

Sovereignty in EVE Online – video guide

CCP released a new video with additional information about the new sov capture mechanics.

I can not praise CCP high enough for all their efforts with the DEV blogs about the summer of sovereignty and now we even get a video guide for the people who don’t wanna read dozens of pages with dry information. This is a new strategy from CCP and I hope it is working.

Interesting in this video is that it covers battleships for the capture.

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A lot of issues with the mechanics are about little fast ships like the Trollceptor which are almost uncatchable and can bring havoc to your sov system without any real counter. So for CCP to use battleships in the video could be a hint that more changes are in the works. CCP has to be aware that in today’s null sec pvp fights the famous battleship doctrines from the past are gone. Everyone uses fast and hard hitting cruiser fleets. Or maybe T2 frigates but no battleships. So are more changes coming our way?

We will see and until then enjoy EVE Online and the summer of sov.

The Day Aegis broke EVE Offline

A couple minutes ago one of the longest EVE Online downtime in the last years ended. After the deployment of Aegis Sovereignty 1.1 TQ did not get online. You can find the thread on the forums here.

Since I am a tech guy myself it is interesting to me what happened. Sadly CCP stopped years ago to give us information about the hardware, software, database and all the interesting stuff around EVE Online. Some people believe they stopped because they stopped investing in EVE Online and all the special project they had back in the day. But that’s not important now. I am dealing with massive databases everyday so I can image what is CCP dealing with on a day to day business. And today was a rather important patch. On first hand this single line doesn’t look big. “Old TCU bills from prior to Aegis Sovereignty have been automatically cancelled”. And if you look at the known issue thread and check out this line “Some unpaid Sovereignty bills have not been removed, resulting in overlapping payment periods. Ignoring these bills will have no effect and they will be deleted during downtime tomorrow”. I can imagine the headache some DEVs have with this. You have a broken database with wrong entries. And I can imagine that by trying to fixing this they run into more and more issues. This would explain why they tested 6 “fixes” or builds today to bring TQ online again.

But of course this could all be wrong and CCP discovered some exploit and needed to fix it. Wouldn’t be the first time. And of course this is by far not the longest downtime that we had. In 2013 we had a 36+ hour downtime. And before that there were several expansions that didn’t went really well. Red Moon Rising anyone? But to be fair it is a bit unclear what is a downtime and what not. TQ suffered from several DDOS and even when it was technically online the servers didn’t really have a working network connection. I had my fair share of exchange with CCP about that. But that’s water down the river.

Anyway I hope that they actually fixed it and that everything works now. I guess we will see it when all the bills are due and the first alliances losses their IHubs because the auto pay button is pressed but the database does not know about it. EVE Online sure is interesting again and on fire.
When you have time please make sure you check out the timer board for all the latest SOV fights and dotlan has an tool for that too.

Aegis Sovereignty is live

Welcome to the new world. Today marks the day when the new FozzieSov went live. No major delays and big screw-ups for now.

The official issue thread can be found here. The official known issues look a bit weird. It looks like there a lot of minor issues that can be fixed quickly but you can get the impression that this was pushed out without any polishing or Q&A at all. Makes me wonder in what state was it a week ago on the planned release day.
Points like “minor typos in the new Sovereignty notifications” are not a big deal but if NO one had time to even fix the text I am very puzzled about CCPs Q&A and general deployment strategies. Fixing typos in the text does not need a game designer and of course the UI parts are not made from the same DEVs then the actual planning and designing and programming of the new mechanics. So really no one that can check and fix some typos at CCP?

“Territorial Claim Units and Infrastructure Hubs can sometimes overlap with personal deployables and ships” I should have made a bet about that. As CCP announced that they will randomly move TCUs and IHUBs around it was clear to everyone besides CCP that this will end in a nightmare. Hopefully it will fix itself in time and will not result in more issues. Broken Grids anyone?

It looks like that there a lot of bugs with the new map now that actually never worked. People report that they are stuck in Wormholes because of that. Workaround for now is using the old map. Whelp Wormhole people I guess.

But to be fair everything that come up by now is just minor stuff that can be fixed in the following days. The SOV transition and everything seems to be ok. The Activity Defense Multipier seems to be working. We can argue about if the maximum of 6x is enough to prevent trolling but CCP can change this easily.

I am not sure if the PvE changes work like they should. When I look at the system I normally rat it now looks like this.

  • 5x Forsaken Rallye Points (+3)
  • 4x Forsaken Hubs (same as before)
  • 7x Haven (+5)
  • 1x Sanctum (not sure about this one because it randomly spawned before)

I have no records for the other lower anomalies so let’s stick with the 3 most used ones. +3 for the lowest Rallye Points is ok. No change for the most used Forsaken Hub is dumb and can’t be right. On the other hand maybe CCP fears that the impact of ISK getting into the economy is to high. But +5 for the highest anomaly the Haven does not make any sense at all.
To be fair for me personally it’s ok because I like Havens. But I have 3x 150 Mil+ SP characters that have perfect skills for everything. I can run them all day. And I like the Maze that I get out of it and sell them. So it remains to be seen if this is working as designed and if CCP will change it in the coming weeks. At least for now we have a not more ratting space available.

Let’s see how the next hours go and how everything is unfolding in the next days and weeks. No matter what happens BIG change is here and we will see if it’s for the good or not.

My Gaming Week

Welcome to another edition of my gaming week. Last week was another quiet week and it looks like everyone is just kind of waiting for Aegis Sovereignty to hit tomorrow. I did login to EVE Online and change my Ishtar fittings since CCP changed the slot layout with Aegis 1.0.
Nothing major but I finally got to add a cyno to all my ratting fits. So if some baddies wanna mess with me now it’s hot drop o’clock from my side too.

Nothing major to report on the World of Warship front. I slowly make my way up the Tiers. I think I should stop trying to level up all the classes and focus on one or two. I had one nice game with my Destroyer.

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On Star Trek Online it was similar to WoWS. Grinded some marks and make my way up the latest Reputation Project. I am sitting at Tier 2 now. With the Kobali Prime public quests it’s not that bad but still a grind to try to do it 4 times the day for a month or two.

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With Heroes of the Storm I made one major breakthrough. I managed to farm 10k Gold so I could buy Brightwing. It’s an amazing Hero and I like the play style. I get yelled at a lot from some random dummies who know nothing about teamwork but that’s the price you pay for playing this mainstream MoBA. I have one match to present you that had some unbelievable teamplay in it and we just wiped the floor with the other team. To be fair I was on the other side more often and to be completely honest it’s not fun at the moment to play. Just to many randoms who have no idea about teamplay and we lose the game because of it.

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But because my free time for long play sessions get less and less everyday and because I didn’t look into it for some years I started a Minecraft World again. I stopped playing when they added hunger because it was too much survival and not enough crafting anymore. But with all the patches and changes it looks like fun again. I just started yesterday so I play Vanilla for now. I had luck with the first world so I stick with it. There was a NPC village near by and some nice caves and hills to hide. My first little cave give me some protection for the first days and the NPC village nearby helps with food and shelter when things go sideways at night. I hope that this will fit my new timetable better and I am looking forward to some nice crafting. I still search for a Sandbox MMO with extensive crafting like Minecraft. Maybe some upcoming games will give me that. I will keep an eye on Albion Online and Tree of Life but for now I stick to Minecraft.

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Some fences for some very basic protection and it looks nicer.

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You can see the NPC village on the horizon. Nice place to start and on the way to the NPC village are two caves that I need to explore.

But for now I am looking forward to Aegis Sovereignty and I hope CCP will hit it this time. Maybe not with this release but they can tweak it here and there. I already heard some rumors about a new version of the trollceptor and we will see tomorrow how bad it will get. Until then you can check out some nice article at TMC which covers an area which I share. Why bother with null sec anymore since the actual Sov holder has NO benefit from the Sov? FozzieSov may change some mechanics but CCP still has a lot of work to do until null sec is not broken anymore.

Aegis Sovereignty Patch notes released

CCP released the Patch notes for the July 14th patch called Aegis Sovereignty. No more delays, we are ready for Tuesday.

After the PvE changes this will be good. Or it might work. I will give you the general overview about the changes because it’s not only about Sov but for details please check the official Patch notes.

  • Sov related Modules will get invulnerable to normal damage and can only be impacted by the new Entosis Link Module
  • Sov related Modules are NOT vulnerable 24/7. Alliances can set a 4 hour window per day were they are vulnerable
  • Pirate Detection Array, Entrapment Array and Quantum Flux Generator upgrades have been adjusted
  • SBUs are basically removed from the Game. NPC buy orders are setup and SBUs inspace will self-destruct
  • New T2 Cruiser and T2 Industrial SKINs

I am so much looking forward to it. No matter if it’s better or worse we will get it and have to deal with it. And CCP can tweak it to make it work later. Dominion Sov you could tweak the HP or the TCU or something but the mechanics were still there. With this new mechanics I believe that CCP can change single expects of the whole to make it better. Maybe the spawn rate or spawn distribution of the new command notes. One thing is sure. Change will come and EVE Online will get interesting again. I am looking forward to the new online numbers starting Tuesday.

Until then everyone have a nice Sunday.

Summer of Sov Devblogs aka CCP might get this one right after all

Before I start I would like to bring everyone up to speed. On July the 14th CCP will release the second and most important part of the Aegis Expansion (do they still call it expansion?). Until yesterday you could have the impression that CCP tries to fix null sec only by changing the capture mechanics. They did some little tweaks here and there so their new Defense Multiplier mechanics can work. But with the new and latest dev blog we finally get some promising hints that they will do more.

So please take your time and check out all the dev blogs about the changes.
Politics by Other Means
Null Sec and Sov status report
New Details on July Sovereignty Release Schedule
Sovereignty Transition and Deployment
Nullsec PvE and Upgrades

Thanks for reading them. Since everyone should be up to speed let’s dive into the latest and maybe most important one. Mechanics are all nice and everything but when no one uses them they are just there. I have written a lot about the Entosis mechanics itself and I still don’t like them and see a lot of issues with it. But let’s see how they will work in action first when thousands of players “use” them.
My bigger concern and criticism of the new system was how many more Risk can CCP add to null sec before no one bothers with it anymore. We have seen so many changes that make null sec so much more dangerous and additionally the rewards got cut very aggressively like a couple years back with the cut of PvE anomalies. But CCP finally had a change of hard (maybe because the Dev responsible for this madness is finally gone for good) and see that a single System needs more players. The density of systems is just too low to support an occupation based system like we will have in the future.
So to support more players we will get more anomalies. For the very good -1.0 system we will get 15 new anomalies but some are so bad that they will not be used. But +2 Sanctums, +3 Havens, +2 Forsaken Hubs, +4 Forsaken Rally Points bring us to 11 more anomalies then we have now. Of course this will bring some new “issues” with it because you need to find a new free anomaly so some warping around will be needed but players will find ways to counter that. EVE Online does not have so many -1.0 systems so let’s take a look at the lowest band of systems too. -0.1 systems will get +3 Havens, +1 Forsaken Hub and +3 Forsaken Rally Points which adds 6 new anomalies to them. The overall quality of the anomalies will vary too but at least every system now has some usable anomalies. Now there is just so much space which is not used because it does not support any anomalies worth doing.
Forsaken Hubs are the “best” ISK per Hour so of course as a player I would like to see more of them but I am very happy that CCP at least see that currently null sec just not support enough players per system to make the new Sov work.

Additionally to more anomalies they will also do a very drastic change to the Survey Networks and Entrapment Arrays. They will double their spawn rates or better the sites that they will spawn. This is a very drastic change but it is typical to CCP to not change something 10% and maybe 5 weeks later another 10% until it works. They just nerf something to complete uselessness or buff it so that everyone uses it. I never bothered with scanning and doing the Relic or Data sites. The mini hacking game is weird and I never get it right even with all level5 skills. Maybe I am not elite enough for it. But since we will get flooded with these sites in the future I might take another look at it.

But I don’t want to just repeat the whole dev blog so let’s get back to what this means. After Aegis every system in EVE Online will support a lot more players. These players can be in anomalies or scan able sites.
Sadly CCP seems not able to fix all the issues with mining. Even they claim a 20% increase in mined volume since Mosaic I don’t agree that this is just awesome and a good sign. Of course more mining is better but why is there more mining? Is there more mining because no big war is around and everyone is more focused on getting the war chest filled? Is there more mining because people get more SP and use better ships? Did the revamp of the content of the mining anomalies do some good?
For me mining remains broken until some very basic things are changed. I can see why CCP does not have the resources to fix the Orca and Rorqual. It is all tied to on grid or off grid boosting. When you remove off grid boosting you need to change the Rorqual completely because it is a VERY expensive ship. Any it is forced to stay in place when it’s deployed to compress and give max boosts so it cannot get away for 5 minutes even when you spot an enemy a couple jumps away. You cannot get to safety. Also if you remove the off grid boosting you need to fix the broken grids that are in the game since I can remember. In PvP that’s not such a big issue because your target normally warps around and you just move to a working grid. If the grid of the anomaly is broken you have no chance to move.
So I do see the technical and mechanical issues and design choices that CCP needs to make. But since mining is an important part of the Defense Multiplier Mechanic this has to be tackled too.
But with the changes to I call it ISK generating PvE this might be work after all. I look forward to this next week and hopefully this means that null sec will get interesting again. The risks are reduced by a bit and the rewards are now higher.

But for me the biggest highlight is that CCP had a change of heart and buffed the anomalies again. This is a good sign after all the bad we had in the last weeks. Maybe someone at CCP reads the forums after all and listen to the CSM and Twitter posts and all the other ways that CCP interacts with the community. Thank you CCP for giving us bitter vets a little hope that there might be some common sense in your company.