Bits and Pieces: July 2015

It's time once again to clean out some miscellaneous EVE-related topics that have been gathering dust in the back of my "must blog about this" file - none of which are sufficient to warrant a separate post. So, here are a few random mid-summer bits and pieces of EVE Online flotsam...

Hail, Fozziesov!

The last and most important components of Fozziesov (a.k.a., Aegis sovereignty) arrived this week, with much fanfare from CCP Games.

The old Dominion-style sov system, which relied on long, boring burn-downs of structures with astronomical amounts of hit points, has been replaced with exactly what null-sec players have demanded for years - a system that:

  • Eliminates structure grinds
  • Makes topography more important
  • Provides more tactical options
  • Makes territory more defensible
  • Drives more frequent and smaller-scale combat
  • Encourages development of conquered systems
  • Supports a higher density of players in a system

It's a brilliant design, and CCP Fozzie and all the devs who have been working on it should rightfully claim victory, and receive copious kudos and praise from all denizens of 0.0 space.

So far, the initial reaction of most null-sec residents to the new sov mechanics seems disturbingly muted. I hoped for more excitement, and some immediate and significant movement from the major power blocs. Instead, it appears that everyone in 0.0 is methodically testing the new system, and it looks like will take a little while before everyone gets used to the new status quo. There does seem to be some increase in 0.0 activity, if Dotlan is any indication, but no major invasions underway - yet.

I wonder if we will ever again see a null-sec alliance or coalition make a total commitment of forces in a concerted campaign for dominance, or has Fozziesov made that kind of large-scale strategic conflict too difficult, or unworthy of the investment? I suspect we will simply see the existing power blocs carve out their own defensible borders, albeit less than they used to be, and feed occasionally on any smaller entities that fill the remaining gaps. I'm concerned that political boundaries under Fozziesov may become as static as they were in the oft-maligned "blue doughnut" era  of late Dominion-based sov, though with a sufficient amount of smaller-scale skirmishes to keep most 0.0 PvP'ers content.

I don't live in null-sec space, and my current exposure to 0.0 is limited to running private hauling contracts in blockade runners. My main interest in the affairs of null-sec is limited to the economic implications of increased conflict expected with the new sovereignty mechanics. If Fozziesov increases the number of ships destroyed in 0.0, that is good news for everyone, as it will drive more industrial activity everywhere. I have a huge inventory of Tech II modules and ammo stockpiled in anticipation of a general rise in demand, as a result of Fozziesov. If I have guessed wrong, and that demand does not materialize, I'll be disappointed. More importantly, I will start to feel gravely concerned about Fozziesov's limited success, and what that might mean for the future of EVE Online.

There's a lot riding on Fozziesov. I'm hopeful that it will revitalize player engagement in 0.0. Meanwhile, I am watching movement in the markets with great interest.

EVE is Therapy, Sometimes

It's been a rough couple of weeks for me in Real Life. My mother-in-law died, which was expected but still sad (she was 92), and as we were finishing up her funeral arrangements, my father fell gravely ill and went to the hospital. It didn't look good for him for a very tense and trying week. At the same time, my boss mentioned that some "restructuring" might be coming soon, which as we all know is code for layoffs.

During times like this, when everything seems to be going profoundly in the wrong direction, it's nice to have something to do that is relatively comforting. Despite its cut-throat reputation, I find EVE Online to be a welcome respite from my troubles, and it certainly helped me cope a bit better with my recent burdens.

Being able to log in and chat with a few supportive online friends is helpful, by itself. When feeling depressed, I also like to do something relatively mindless but productive in game - a few missions, some mining, a few industry jobs. It helps take my mind off my worries for a while, and I always feel a little better afterwards.

There are people in EVE Online who encourage those who feel depressed or suicidal to "broadcast for reps". My anxiety wasn't quite that bad, but I wonder, how many game communities have such a thing? I've never seen it anywhere else but in EVE Online. Just the fact that it exists makes me feel a little more optimistic.

My dad got better and is back home now, and I got a new assignment at work, so things look safe there, at least for a while. I'm feeling emotionally stable once again. And as strange as it may sound, EVE Online helped. And for that, I'm grateful.

EVE Ain't Dead

I wrote a thing on Crossing Zebras about recent speculations that "EVE is dying" - not that we haven't heard that before.

Patch Day Blues

When I started playing EVE Online in the summer of 2009, scheduled updates were a big deal. Often, CCP took many hours to update the servers, requiring long downtimes. Veterans routinely warned new players as a patch day approached: "Set a long skill to train!' - just in case something went horribly awry and the downtime extended to the next day, or longer.

CCP Falcon posted this picture as part of his update on the official EVE Online forums about the unscheduled downtime extension after the Fozziesov Aegis patch - a perfect illustration of how things must feel at CCP headquarters when patches go awry.

CCP Falcon posted this picture as part of his update on the official EVE Online forums about the unscheduled downtime extension after the Fozziesov Aegis patch - a perfect illustration of how things must feel at CCP headquarters when patches go awry.

All that went away, for the most part, when CCP changed their update practices, sending out small incremental patches with much greater frequency, instead of storing them all up into one, massive server update and client patch download. We've all gotten very spoiled, now that patches have become very smooth and routine. New players have no idea what it used to be like, at all.

So, I am feeling a little nostalgic today. An update patch caused some massive server problems, and as I complete this post, downtime has been extended through the day. Everyone is running to Twitter and the forums in a semi-panic, wondering when - or even if - access to EVE Online would be restored. We veterans who have been through this sort of thing just shrug and smile. I admit I have enjoyed seeing how newer players are handling it - or rather, not handling it very well, I should say.

Aaaaugh! EVE is down! Whatever shall I do? PANIC! PANIC! All is lost!

Aaaaugh! EVE is down! Whatever shall I do? PANIC! PANIC! All is lost!

And naturally, people are asking for some sort of compensatory gift. Spoiled rotten, you have made us, CCP, with your typically excellent service. Personally, I want a Nyx - then we can call it even. Hell, let's make it supercarriers for everyone! It's only fair.

Entosis Link Building Update

As I reported in a previous post, I experimented with building Entosis Links. I've since completed building a couple dozen of the Tech II variety, which use a lot of exotic materials and are super-expensive to make. In fact, by my rough calculations, after costs for raw materials, invention and overhead, at current market prices, I stand to just about break even, if I'm lucky.

So, in summary, it's not worth building Entosis Link IIs if you are a high-sec industrialist. There's about a 10 percent margin on Entosis Link Is, however, if you collect the Antikythera Elements from Circadian Seekers yourself. But even then, relative to other kinds of ISK-earning activities available, you're not going to get fabulously wealthy making Entosis Links at any tech level.

What's next?

I still haven't really decided what I'm going to next in EVE Online. I think I may wait and see how the markets develop, now that Fozziesov is finally implemented, and unload my inventory if I can make a decent profit. Then I'll figure out where to go next.

The friendly exploration corp, Signal Cartel, still looks good to me, so I'll probably go there, if they will have me. They just crossed over the 500 member level. We shall see...

Fly safe! o7