Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Tools of Forethought

It is a gorgious day outside. Again. I can't remember a fall quite this lovely. Then I remembered that I have spent the last ten years working at night. Noon, where I am now, choking down a terrible lunch while taking a moment to myself to ponder Eve, is something I'm not used to seeing. It's pretty. It makes working weekends suck a little bit more.

But, Eve.

As part of my pondering and momentary escape from my work day, I was reading a thread where someone else whines about gankers ganking haulers being unfair in high sec. The Eve Online Forums, as always, are an interesting and terrible place. However, after the mining barge changes I am no longer so glib as to believe that HTFU is the tune that is sung.

This isn't about the ganks themselves. I do personally approve of them. In the many long conversations about avoiding ganks the use of the MAP feature is pointed out over and over again. It reminded me that I managed to fix an issue with my maps routing when Diz was kind enough to scout me out of null sec this morning, saving me from being trapped there forever. I'll get to what I broke a bit later on.

Eve's maps are an incredible source of information. I believe (and I am writing this in a messy way because I really haven't looked) that the lore discusses stargates gaining information from the ships. This is why we have local and why it can tell us jump counts and ship and pod kills and stuff. I think. Thankfully, I don't care about lore overly much so I can just point out that this is some of the information the maps can give you.

We travel a lot in Eve. When I tried out Guild Wars what killed it for me was spending fifteen minutes running back to the place where I died to die again. I know the answer was to be a better player but that was beyond me. I got tired of running back to where I died and that is what caused me to lose interest in the game. With Eve, travelling is important, often boring, but it works for me because space and vast distances and because I'm a total fangirl.

I've been handing the new players dotlan maps and telling them to keep it up in a window in the background so that they can easily reference their location. Knowing where you are is important when you are calling for help or responding to help. What system, what gate/planet/belt/station. It needs to be immediate. Help is rolling but it needs to know where to go. Also, people will discuss systems like the neighborhood they grew up in. Knowing where you are and what is around you is a basic survival skill.

The map is a neglected, strategic tool by some. What the forum thread has been pushing is the idea of checking out where you are going before you go there and recalculating a route to take another path. This reminds me of the assistance one of our newer members was receiving about getting to Jita in a safe manner from a veteran hauler.

It is not about being completely safe. It is about mitigating the potential risks in a reasonable and situationally aware manner. Space is full of pirates. If one chooses to haul valuables one must think of oneself as a loot pinata and hunted by those pirates.

The map can be changed and layered at will. Waypoints can be calculated and routes run. Systems can be checked. Alternate routes can be planned. Like going around a massive accident on the highway, sometimes the backroads are a better and faster path.

From the 3D mobile version.

To a tiled view.

To the spots where ships have been destroyed in the last hour. You can look to see where explosions have just happened and go, "Wow, maybe that isn't a good idea. Maybe I should look at the killboards and see what is going on. Maybe I should turn off autopilot and turn on intellect." I'm not a supporter of high sec being safe. Some will accuse me of just wanting to run and get kills. They can pull all of the high sec kills off of my killboard and we can discuss each one and why it happened. If someone finds one, let me know.

Since it is a pretty day I want to have pretty thoughts about a lovey story.

A place where a massive freighter pushes through the darkness, weighed down by massive stores of material. Out in space, quiet and waiting, a fleet of ships wait. Starlight reflects off of their hulls. They are quiet and contained, patience is a skill that they have learned.

Near the gate, a small ship sits cloaked. The pilot watches his HUD. He to waits. Everything is still for a moment. Then a light forms at the center of the gate and it erupts into a eye tearing release of energy as a ship transports from one system to another.

Only that ship is not the hauler. It is a small, fast scout that scans the systems. It communicates back to its fleet that it can see the quiet ships that wait in the system. It communicates "Danger".

Now, does the hauler pilot jump in and blindly hope for the best? Is he asleep at his auto pilot, off playing with the exotic dancers that he is transporting to Amarr? Is he new to the pod pilot life and believes that concord will save him? Or does he send a series of commands to his navigation systems and chart a route around the potential, lurking threat?


The current call is for more EHP. Now that the mining barges have them, other 'harmless' ships want it as well. The suggestion was that it should take 40-50 people to take down a freighter due to its size. Huh? It does not take 40-50 people to take down a capital ship and they are bigger, meant for battle, and able to equip a tank beyond their natural one.

For comparasion reasons I shall use Gallante ships. A Thanatos carrier has a mass of: 1,163,250,000 kg. Base structure HP of 150,000.

A Moros dreadnought has a mass of: 1,292,500,000 kg. Base structure HP of 218,750.

A Obelisk freighter has a mass of: 940,000,000 kg. Base structure HP of 120,000.

The freighter is a shell around stuff. Their introduction into the game allowed miners to move massive stockpiles of minerals and ore. However, people have taken to moving massive stockpiles of everything in them.

(Looks so sturdy with all that bulging cargo hold)

One of the arguments being made in the thread is that CCP Soundwave said ganking was not supposed to be profitable. Therefor, by making it take 40 ships to kill a ship in high security space, it will not be profitable. I find this logic to be flawed.

One must back up to use the comparison. This was part of the explanation used about mining ships. When a ship that cost about 5-15mil ISK fully decked out and took a few weeks to train into killed a ship that cost 200 mil ISK to fly and took 3-4 months to train into and then from drops and salvage made 20-50mil ISK a kill, one (if they care and I didn't but I'm not CCP) can perhaps understand that equation

A freighter cost about 1.5 billion ISK. It takes about a month of training to sit in one.

A T2 fit Talos/brutix/tier 3 Battle cruiser takes about 79 days to fit just the T2 guns. It costs the gankers about a billion ISK of ships on field and well trained pilots flying that billion ISK to take down a freighter. The freighter pilot will effect his freighter if he has some of his core skills up to increase base armor and shields. The hopes are a drop. So, one has to pick a ship carrying more then 2 bil isk in cargo with a hope of it dropping. People see kill mails like this and scream that they are winning Eve to hard and it's not fair. However, there are also kill mails like this.

The solution is to use your maps, plan your routes, have your scouts, don't turn your freighter into a pinata and use caution, even in high security space. It is not safe security space. I pray that it does not happen that way.

It is spaceships. It is piracy. It is Eve.

Edit: I forgot to add what I broke. For some reason, my waypoint squares that show the colors of the systems was turned off. I did it accidently a few weeks. I'd been playing with the map control panel to find it again. Today, I managed to right click my way to success on the actual screen. I love those little colored boxes. They help me not stupidly jump into high sec.


  1. You're right about using the map, but unfortunately it is not always possible to take a backroute - and in particular in hi-sec, an escort is only of limited use. That said (and having moved some valuable goods just yesterday), freighters for the time being are fine - not moving everything at once is a valid alternative to backroutes.

    On the other hand, I welcomed the buffs to the mining ships. Even though I don't mine myself, I could see that our corp miners were more willing to ply their trade again. Seeing that there is a fire power creep going on, HP buffs to industrial ships every now and then simply are unavoidable. Not to make hisec totally safe, but to preserve the fighting chance.

  2. I agree to small buffs as well, the emphasis being small. This is only because it feeds my ability to enjoy the realistic nature of the game. If this game were true then if there was a demand for indy ships will more EHP because of increased hi sec ganks then the market would respond by making ships with more EHP within reason(which is why I believe in the small buffs). As players we don't have the ability to do that resources and are restricted to what CCP gives us, so I think it's nice in a small, silly way. =)

  3. One can gank with T3-T4 guns in battlecruiser and then it doesn't recquire 79 days do be able to gank freighters... That said i don't think freighters need a buff.

  4. A lot of reasonable people thought mining barges deserved an EHP buff, although CCP may have gone a bit overboard. Freighters are pretty much fine as they are, but since all the mining gankers are now ganking freighters I can understand why more than a few nutjobs are discussing the issue just based on the increased frequency of freighter ganks. The point made by Drurr, that as firepower/isk of combat ships steadily creeps up, industrial ships should see a corresponding increase, seems reasonable enough, although certain industrials, like the orca, are already very tanky.

    The argument that "more scanning, more protection, more planning is what is needed, not more EHP" is fairly disingenuous. It applies no matter what the current EHP of the ship under discussion is. Freighters could have literally one EHP, and your argument would be unaffected. Clearly, although each individual statement you make is true, you're not painting a very complete picture. Would it really make you happy if CCP increase the training time for hauling ships? You mention that they're nothing but a shell, then complain about their short training time. Ganking in highsec is somewhat harder than elsewhere. Killing freighters in lowsec is easy. Working as designed.

    In the end, focusing on micro-level comparisons of EHP and DPS changes over the years, misses the important macro-level concerns of alts and sec-status meaninglessness altering the frequency of ganking from what it is intended to be. The inevitability of Concorddokken is nothing but a stopgap due to CCP's inability to make alts/secstatus work in a realistic way. I think high-security now is 2-3x more dangerous than CCP intended it to be, in terms of ganking, and 4-5x less dangerous than they intended it to be, in terms of PVE challenge. You may agree or disagree, but their opinion will be what it is, either way.

    1. It is all opinion and thank you for responding. :)

      I do know that my opinion is skewed through the simple mechanics of not living in high security space. I try to be honest with that but I do admit that I do not repeat that every post.

      Also, my goal wasn't to whine about the short training time. Part of the argument presented in the arguments over ganking freighters being too easy is that it is not hard enough to get into a ship that can gank them.

      With barges it was about a week old catalyst pilot killing a hulk which took months to get into. Now a freighter is not that long of a train to get into while a well skilled gank ship is (you can use more ships with poorer skills as Debra pointed out.)

      I'll work on fleshing out some aspects of my thoughts and try to remember that not everyone knows exactly what I am thinking.

      Also, because of my youth in the game *this* high sec is all I have ever known. That also tints my opinion and thoughts on these things.

    2. It's not all opinion though, there are just way more opinions out there than there are workable and concrete suggestions to make EVE a better game. Whether the suggestion actually makes EVE a better game is of course itself an opinion, but the "game design fragment" itself is not an opinion, it is factual thing which in an ideal world would be the kind of thing which lay at the foundation of these debates.

      I don't have such a concrete idea for freighters in highsec--although I have made an effort to think of one. I do have a highsec freighter pilot which I do use-- and god it is boring. It is hilarious to suggest that the training for one should possibly take longer. I am sure if you made and used a freighter pilot you would agree with that much.

      p.s. If highsec were more realistic, i.e. more similar to the real world, concord would confiscate the salvage/loot from both the ganker and gankee to cover their costs ;) That would make for a worse game, though.

    3. To be clear, when I say that flying a high-sec freighter pilot is boring, what I mean is that whether you fly autopilot, or with the scouting/webbing/planning that you describe, high-sec logistics is intrinsically dull when compared to low-sec/null-sec/wh logistics, which I do enjoy. For example of the nullsec/highsec dichotomy, I kinda hate highsec yet I run my research pos there instead of in my WH, because it's safer and logistics is so easy there. CCP has incentivised me to do what I consider boring...instead of simply nerfing highsec research/production, I would definitely segment the economy by separating out more activities that could only be done in low-sec...such as researching capital blueprints, etc. How does this general framework apply to the freighter debate? If the cargo of these huge freighters was generated more in null/low/wh than it is now, than the hubs and cargo would move out there more as well. Fix the system, not one ship class-but in an intelligent way, not just nerfing highsec industry and buffing nullsec industry.