EVE Online

Revelations 1.3 - Castrating Jita

Oliver Brown
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CCP have announced the patch details for Revelations 1.3. Nothing new as such is being added but it is a a pretty cool update nonetheless. Below are some of the points I feel especially important or cool.

Firstly, Jita should be a little less crowded afterwards. It will probably still be a trade hub but it’s asteroid fields are being removed and the school stations are “under new ownership” (and hence no longer selling skills). A bunch of other stations are suffering similar consequences.

Expeditions are more likely to be triggered by exploration sites and Data Interfaces (used for invention), BPCs, and materials will drop more. The new scanners will have their tech II mineral requirements removed also making exploration cheaper.

Best quote from the patch notes:

Moved all of the humans and animals located in the normal ‘commodity’ groups into the ‘livestock’ group, to prevent the poor things from being squeezed into small cargo containers by unscrupulous players.

Exploration in Revelations

Oliver Brown
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A recent update to EVE Online has made exploration (brought in a couple of weeks ago with Revelations) easier. How much easier? I don’t know since I was never successful before the update. But today I had my first success.

If you look around the EVE forums there is an in depth guide to scanning. I’ll give you short guide. First bit of info, you’re going to do most of your scanning on the solar system view. Get to this by clicking on the map and selecting solar system view from the top of the overview. Secondly you’re going to need a few skills, specifically Astrometrics III and whatever it’s prerequisites are. As with everything in EVE there are others that will help you.

Now, to actually scan. Open your scanner and from anyway in the system launch a Multispectral Probe. This scans an entire solar system and tells you if it finds a reading and what type. The type determines what type of probe to use next. You need “a bunch” (at least 5 or so per system) of “X Quest Probe"s where X is the type of the signature (gravimetric, lidar etc.). You can find stuff with the wrong probes but it will take more scans. Go to each planet in the system and launch one of the Quest probes. When you get to the inner planets you’ll have to choose which to cover since you can’t launch a probe within the range of another. When they’re all ready, select “Cosmic Signature” from your scanner and hit analyse.

Hopefully it will find something. If not, hit analyse again. Once you have something, things get easier. With a lot of luck the accuracy will say 0m which means you’ve found and go warp there and see what it is. More than likely there will be a deviation of some sort and you will have to scan a bit more. So warp to the signature and destroy any probes that can “see” it (you can see the scan range of the probes you have selected in the scanner window).

The next bit is a little hard to explain. There are different probes besides the Quest probes - for example Sift (make sure they begin with type though, gravimetric for instance, otherwise they aren’t the probes used for exploration). Each of these probes has a different range - the shorter the range the more accurate they are. You want to use the shortest range probe that has a range greater than the deviation of your result. So deviation of 0.37 AU (which I got) can be found with the Sift probe (rand of 1 AU). So drop the probe and scan. Unfortunately (As was the case with me), you may need to scan multiple times (with multiple probes). But with any luck, you’ll find something :)

Below are some screenshots taken during scanning and of the Omber asteroid belt I found. Not the most exciting thing to find but I was in empire space and I’d guess the really cool things are in low sec and beyond.

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Improving EVE - Part 2

Oliver Brown
— This upcoming video may not be available to view yet.

There are obviously more NPCs in the game than just pirates and Concord - there are all the factions. The rest of what I suggest is essentially a way to do factional warfare. And because I speak from a programming background there are a few technically implementation details. The first step is to have some sort of invisible “power rating” for every NPC faction in a system. This power rating represents the control that faction has over a system and would be completely dynamic. The rating would control how quickly ships (and sentry guns for instance) controlled by the faction spawn. As more ships appear in a system, they could move into other systems and (in the case of war) attack the ships in that system. Losing ships in a system lowers that faction’s power there. By default they’d all be equal (on their borders) thereby ensuring it’s player involvement that tips the balance. With enough support a faction could gain sovereignty of a system from another faction (or perhaps a player alliance? The mechanics of system sovereignty would have to be expanded). The Caldari stamping out the Gallente for instance :P Since the factions need to survive they’d have to be some scaling factor giving more support to factions that have lost a lot of space so they don’t disappear completely. This also means turning Concord upside down. Have Concord work the same as the other factions. And themn, instead of having Concord presence be dependent on security status, have security status based on Concord presence. Therefore player pirates that want to move in somewhere can, but only after they wipe out Concord first. For systems well secured by a faction, it’s navy should probably also take on the role of the police along with Concord. The factions would also have different “rules” for expansion. Concord would not aim to take territory for instance. The big four would aim to strongly control a few systems whereas pirates would aim to expand a small presence everywhere (this would control pirate spawning for instance). With EVE as large as it is, some pretty impressive effects could be achieved simply by interacting thousands of small pieces of AI. Other possibilities could include the ability to declare war on NPC corporations. This would probably mean a loss of standing to friendly corporations and the relevant navy declaring war on you of course. So to summarise the benefits:

  • Casual players can be more involved
  • Even with everyone helping in a war, the alliances still have the “prestige” of being player run and it meaning something
  • Alliances get to attack the factions
  • A blurring between high sec, low sec and 0.0 instead of the fairly sudden differences
  • And probably more

I’ll wait for comments about the disadvantages…

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Improving EVE - Part 1

Oliver Brown
— This upcoming video may not be available to view yet.

Sorry about the recent EVE fixation. It will pass :P There has been a lot of debate on the EVE forums recently about high security space vs low security space vs 0.0 space. Basically CCP (the company that makes EVE Online) prefer 0.0 space and would like everyone to move there. This is for a few reasons. Since it’s all player controlled it is a more accurate example of a world controlled by players. This also means that CCP don’t have to create content for it to be interesting (although they still do). The problem is that a certain amount of dedication is required and some players simply don’t have the time and prefer a more casual play style. And low security space is even more dangerous than 0.0 space essentially forming a no-mans land. At least in 0.0, alliances have control of it (or have the option to control it). I have a proposal to alleviate some of the problems. Many people on the forums have had proposals and most of been bad - and there is a chance mine would be no different. But read anyway :P The basic idea is to remove the divide between players and NPCs. Previously I would have said this had no chance of happening. CCP want the player interaction to be most important and not let it become a “Massively Single Player Online Role Playing Game”. But with the announcement of factional warfare it seems more possible. In fact my whole idea is essentially an implementation of factional warfare (unfortunately the details about how it will work are probably set in stone by now so suggestions may not help). More details of that in part two. The first step to bring NPCs and players closer together is to make Concord “real”. At the moment surviving a Concord attack is considered an exploit. The second step is to put Concord in low security space. If it’s considered “empire space” it should be protected. The clever part is to scale Concord involvement to the security level. And also have more patrols and fewer stationary blockade type setups. Having a concord fleet at every gate is kind a silly, and even if they’re become theoretically killable, it would still need a massive fleet. This would make low sec a bit safer and high sec a bit more dangerous. You’re open to attack anywhere, however you’re more likely to be saved by Concord the higher the security status you’re in. In 0.1 Concord may send a couple of ships eventually, in 1.0 there’s probably 10 patrols just “round the corner”. Next is the issue of NPC pirates and how Concord should react to them. It doesn’t really make sense for Concord to ignore them. At the moment NPC pirates are important to the game since they

  1. add a bit of risk to new players in high sec
  2. provide bounty for the more experienced
  3. are a necessary storyline part of agent missions

Number one is required in some level so players get to learn combat but this could easily be replaced by training complexes, or even normal rogue drone complexes that Concord could conceivably not be interested in. Number two is certainly not required, there are enough ways to make money. I’ll address number three later. But for now, lets assume NPC pirates are still needed in high sec. A way round this would be to have different parts of a system have effective security statuses lower than the rest of the system. Perhaps make asteroid belts 0.2 lower than the listed security status of the system they’re in - at least as far deciding Concord response. And they should try to run away if they think they’ll lose (and choose not to attack certain ships). This would frustrate experienced players trying to get bounty but would make sense for miners who are, after all, supposed to be the victims of pirates, not the other way round. And remember, you’d be vulnerable to real pirates anyway.

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Some random revelations

Oliver Brown
— This upcoming video may not be available to view yet.

Well I’ve now been playing Revelations, the latest update for EVE Online for a couple of days now. At the moment I’m hastily training skills to use the new features. Contracting for instance lets you have multiple contracts (I do a lot of lazy trading with spare ISK - buy something, pay for it to be shipped, sell it). I nearly trained Survey V for Salvaging since that is one of the listed requirements. But in their patch notes for the downtime today EVE announced that the requirements for Salvaging will be dropped to Survey III (and Mechanic III). The final thing you might want is Astrometrics V so you can use the new scanner probes. These allow the funky new exploration. Random interesting sites that can be found (as far as I can tell from reading - no experience yet) in any system (although more interesting ones are in low security and 0.0 space).

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Revelations (Kali part one) for EVE Online is here

Oliver Brown
— This upcoming video may not be available to view yet.

Well Kali is finally upon us. I haven’t really had chance to play yet. But the first thing I noticed was 29,000+ players online, the most I’ve seen personally (although I was apparently online when they first broke 30,000 - I was stuck in Jita with 700 other players). They did post a dev blog about yet another cool idea they’ve had for the release beyond Kali - the ability to walk around stations in a nice 3D rendered world. Although they pointed out it will be mainly cosmetic at first. And to be honest isn’t high on my list of wanted features…

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EVE Online events are real…

Oliver Brown
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Ooh, EVE Online has suddenly become a lot more interesting to me. When you log in to EVE you get news stories from within the EVE universe. For example there was something recently involving the Gallente and a convoy delivering aid to a planet and something blew up or something. I never really paid much attention figuring it was just some light fiction to keep the universe “real”. Well apparently they are a little more than that. They are actually acted out by a group called Aurora, part of the Interstellar Services Department (a volunteer group responsible for things like the buddy program and forum moderation).

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Gang warfare in EVE

Oliver Brown
— This upcoming video may not be available to view yet.

There’s a new blog entry about the overhauled gang system in EVE Online. It’s basically gone all hierarchical.

You can still create gangs as normal, but they no longer receive gang bonuses. To get the bonus the gang must be upgraded to a fleet. A fleet contains wings, wings contain squadrons and squadrons contain members. And each level has commanders. And all the commanders give gang bonuses (meaning a player can get a bonus from all three of his superiors).

Oh, and the first half of Kali now has a name: Revelations.

Back in EVE Online

Oliver Brown
— This upcoming video may not be available to view yet.

Well after taking a little break from EVE Online (damned real life getting in the way again :P), I’m back in. And although I haven’t been playing for a couple of weeks, since this is EVE Online I’ve been able to keep my skills ticking over :) Of course when the JETA counter reaches zero (that would be Julia ETA - cute eh?) I’ll have another two week break. But I have a skill that needs 16 days to train so I’m prepared.

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More Kali Goodness

Oliver Brown
— This upcoming video may not be available to view yet.

Yet another dev blog entry includes more information on what will be in the first two phases of Kali. Since it’s all there I’ll just summarise. The seamless map is integral to the new scanning format and exploration. It seems the scanner interface is now built into the normal view. Lots of hidden things will now be available everywhere for people to find. Related to the seamless map is improved combat awareness including hierarchical gangs. Have fleets of squadrons of ships along with better gang situational awareness and apparently built in voice chat. Invention will provide a new path to tech II. Gather random materials and mix them with tech I blueprints to create limited run inefficient tech II blueprints. Loot will be revamped. No more shiny canisters dropped from ships but actual wreckage with “components” that can be used to make rigs - things that work like implants for ships allowing greater customization. And all this is in Kali 1, before we get factional warfare. The Focus of Kali 1 versus Kali 2

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