Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Character Transfer Costs

I've been planning on transferring my main to a new account for a while now so I can train up the other two characters on the account without losing any training time on the main. I would have done so already except I always thought charging two plex for the transfer was excessive. I figured it should only be one plex especially since I'll need another (third) plex to activate the new account.

Then I realized why it costs two plex.

The problem is combined with buddy invites, one plex transfers would allow you to get 51 days of playing time per plex. You'd simply start up a new account from a buddy invite to yourself, activate the account with one plex and transfer the character to the new account with a second plex. That's two plex but you'd get one back for activating the trial making the cost one plex for 51 days playing time.

When the 51 days are up you'd just transfer to another new account and leave the old account behind.

Everyone would be doing it. CCPs subscription income per active account would be cut drastically and there'd be millions of unused accounts clogging up their servers.

It all makes sense now. There's a good reason why transfers cost two plex after all.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Stealth Bombing - From a Beginner's PoV

From the perspective of one who hasn't bothered with PvP at all yet, Stealth Bombing looks like a lot of fun and a great way to get into PvP.

I've been flying Cov Ops for a while now using them as transports for my high value item trading business and they sure make running gate camps a lot simpler. I've found it really doesn't matter what I fly (Buzzard or Manticore) or how I fit it, the important thing is if it can warp while cloaked doing pickups in low/null becomes much easier... So much easier it's funny.

Bombing sounds like a great way to get revenge on those lowlife gate campers who occasionally nailed me at permanent (or near permanent) gate camps in places like EC-P8R, Aunenen, Rancer and Amamake. Sneak into their own backyards and see how they like having their miners, transports and other soft targets picked off. See how they like having afk cloaked bombers sitting in their core systems for a day or three and never knowing just when they might come out of stealth to pop something. Grief the griefers for a change. Make them start thinking a least a little about keeping their own home systems secure instead of griefing honest traders and poor noobs who don't know any better yet. Oh yeah, now that's my kind of fun!

The last month or so my main focus has been on training up skills for bombing. So far that's mostly been getting missile skills to all IVs (done) and Cov Ops to V (only 4-1/2 more days to go!). Once I have Cov Ops V I'll start working on getting missile skills to V and getting T2 launchers (torpedo launchers first naturally).

I found a channel Bombers Bar that organizes and runs daily regular scheduled bombing ops. They seem like a cool bunch who should be fun to run with. I intended to start doing bombing runs with them long before now but the timing of their runs hasn't meshed very well with my work schedule lately. That'll change eventually though and when it does I plan on joining a lot of their runs. I'm definitely up for roaming deep into null territory and blowing up anything. I'd certainly be up for blowing the crap out of a gate camp anywhere too. Gate camping I'll pass on though, unless it's in a spot where the targets will mostly be members of  the very same alliances manning the usual camps at chokepoints between hi and null.

Here's the Manticore fit I plan on using

[Manticore fit]

Ballistic Control System II
Ballistic Control System II

1MN Afterburner II
Phased Muon Sensor Disruptor I, Scan Resolution Dampening Script
Faint Epsilon Warp Scrambler I
Phased Weapon Navigation Array Generation Extron

Prototype 'Arbalest' Torpedo Launcher, Caldari Navy Scourge Torpedo
Prototype 'Arbalest' Torpedo Launcher, Caldari Navy Scourge Torpedo
Prototype 'Arbalest' Torpedo Launcher, Caldari Navy Scourge Torpedo
Bomb Launcher I, Scorch Bomb
Covert Ops Cloaking Device II

Small Polycarbon Engine Housing I
Small Polycarbon Engine Housing I

With my current skills (all IVs in missile skills, Cov Ops IV) I do 467 total dps (415 from torpedoes alone). My bombs hit for 7680.

When I get T2 launchers (in another month or two) I'll switch to them and maybe T2 ammo too. I'll need to do something about the increased CPU requirements to fit T2 launchers though. Most pilots seem to solve that problem by dropping one of the BCS for a Co-Processor II.

That's all for now, I'll follow up with more about my experiences as a new bomber as I get experience. Look for the first update after I finally go on my first bombing run.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Character Progress Report

A quick report on the status and progress of all my characters. Mostly Trade oriented since making ISK is my main focus and trading is how I make ISK.

Account 1

My Main, one of three traders currently working the Jita station trade. 125 orders, Wholesale IV, Accounting IV, Broker Relations IV, Margin Trading IV and most of the "remote order placement" trade skills at III or IV. Slowly transferring his business to the other 2 Jita station traders so he can concentrate on other things and leave the Jita trade to dedicated trade alts. The only trading he still handles now are faction and deadspace mods and he'll be completely free of the Jita trade when I finally get around to transferring the module business to another toon. Currently training Covert Ops V (love Stealth Bombers!).

Couster Regional Trader, 53 buy orders, Retail IV, Accounting IV, Broker Relations III, Margin Trading IV. Buys a bunch of different things, transports to Dodixie and contracts to the main trader there for resale.

Dodixie Station Trader, 53 buy orders, Retail IV, Accounting IV, Broker Relations III, Margin Trading IV. Currently transferring all his business to the main Dodixie trader. Handled implants and mods on Dodixie until recently when the main trader there got Tycoon and enough orders to take over all the business on Dixie.

Account 2

Amarr Station Trader. 269 orders, Tycoon IV, Accounting V, Broker Relations IV, Margin Trading IV, does nothing but station trade. Currently training Margin Trading V.

Dodixie Station Trader 269 orders, Tycoon IV, Accounting V, Broker Relations IV, Margin Trading IV, does nothing but station trade.

Rens Station Trader 273 orders, Tycoon IV, Accounting V, Broker Relations IV, Margin Trading IV, does nothing but station trade.

Account 3

Lonetrek Regional Trader. 273 orders, Tycoon IV, Accounting IV, Broker Relations IV, Margin Trading IV. Mainly a buyer, does sell a few things but mostly just buys, flies to Jita and contracts most of the goods to my traders there for resale.

Hek Station Trader 269 orders, Tycoon IV, Accounting V, Broker Relations IV, Margin Trading IV, does nothing but station trade. Currently training Margin Trading V.

Jita Station Trader 125 orders, Tycoon IV, Accounting V, Broker Relations V, Margin Trading IV, does nothing but station trade implants (and eventually mods too).

Account 4

Jita - Primary Jita Station Trader, 269 orders, Tycoon IV, Accounting V, Broker Relations V, Margin Trading V, does nothing but station trade and only handles skillbooks. This was the last trader I made but the first one finished training trade skills. I may come back to train Tycoon V and Trade V eventually but for now I consider him finished training trade skills.

Exploration / Scout pilot, newest toon, training Cov Ops and Int/Mem support/scanning/exploration skills. Minimal trade skills, 21 orders, Trade II, Retail I. I don't plan on doing any serious trading on this toon. Has just enough orders to put up lots of buy orders for things he needs.

Future plans

Open a new 5th account, transfer my main to it and start training up the other 2 toons on the old main account. Get both toons Retail V, Wholesale IV, Broker Relations IV, then work on flying support skills (mainly Navigation, Engineering and Electronics skills). If possible I'd like to find or create decent remote markets for these toons to work. Will probably eventually train one or both into Cov Ops, maybe one of them into Jump Freighters and/or Blockade Runners too even though I hate flying big slow haulers.

Finish transferring the rest of my main's business to another toon and start doing more of other things on the main. He won't be tied to Jita babysitting market orders anymore. I intend to use that freedom to do a lot of bombing runs with a little exploration, mission running and searching for new markets mixed in.

Finish the Trade skills training for the traders of Amarr, Dodixie, Rens and Hek by getting Margin Trading V and Broker Relations V on all of them. All of them already have Accounting V and Tycoon IV.

Get Cov Ops on the new Exploration/Scout toon and then continue training Int/Mem support skills on it. Will probably continue following the Cov Ops line to get Recon cruisers next and eventually Black Ops.

Get Wholesale V, Tycoon IV and Margin Trading V on the second Jita trader. Then get Margin Trading V on the Lonetrek buyer and Broker Relations V on the Hec trader.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

12 Tips for Eve Beginners

Eve can be a harsh place, especially in the first few days. The game is unlike other MMOs and has a very steep initial learning curve (usually compared to a cliff inclined towards you). Nothing works the way you've come to expect from playing other games as you'll find out the moment you leave the starting station and try to use your usual keyboard movement keys to fly your ship. Which brings us to tip number 1...

1. Eve doesn't use keyboard movement keys. You'll have to learn how to use the UI, particularly the overview and right click menus to control your ship. Actually you can use traditional movement keys inside stations but you'll probably never do that once you become comfortable with the UI.

2. Right click is your best friend. When in doubt about how to do something, try right clicking on the object in question or even in empty space. Right clicking brings up a context menu which usually has the command to do exactly what you want.

3. Do all of the tutorial missions and career training missions. Besides teaching you how to do many different things, they'll provide you with ISK (game currency), loyalty points, reputation, skillbooks, fitting modules and even ships. Read mission descriptions carefully and do exactly what they tell you to do. F12 brings up the help menu, you can access the tutorials and career agents from there.

4. Regarding tutorial/training missions and steep learning curves, the part that gives new players the most trouble are the scanning missions. To save yourself a whole lot of time and frustration go watch this Probe Scanning Tutorial when you get to the scanning missions.

5. There's a Rookie Help channel. When you get stuck on something don't be afraid to use it, the people in that channel are there specifically to answer new player questions and can be very helpful.

6. Don't forget to keep your skill training queue full. You don't want to waste training time by having the queue finish and not be training anything for a while. Try to make sure the queue is full when you log off for the day and put a skill with a long training time at the end of the queue whenever you'll be offline for more than a day.

7. Security Status. Every system in Eve has an associated security status.

High Security systems range from 0.5 to 1.0 and while no place in Eve is completely safe hi sec is relatively safe. Players cannot attack you in hi sec for no reason without consequences (getting their own ships blown up by Concord). However if you attack them first or take their loot, you become fair game and Concord won't get involved.

Low Security systems range from 0.1 to 0.4, Null Security systems are 0.0 and lower (negative security status). Players can and will attack you in either without provocation or consequences. While there are significant differences between low and null sec new players can simply consider both dangerous places to avoid at first.

On the other hand besides a few specific systems most of low and null isn't as bad as the horror stories claim. Don't let the horror stories scare you from ever entering low/null, just be smart about it and whatever you do, do not go afk or fly on autopilot while in low/null.

8. Don't fly anything you can't afford to lose. Especially not in low/null. Don't carry anything too expensive in cargo either, not even in hi and especially not into a major market hub while on autopilot.

9. Can flipping. Cargo Containers (cans), ship wrecks and so on that belong to you are white. They're your's to loot, nobody else can loot them without giving you the right to attack them if you wish. Cans belonging to other players are yellow. Taking loot from a yellow can or wreck means you have aggressed the owner and he can now attack you without consequences. Blue cans belong to no-one and may be looted by anyone without aggression.

10. Don't forget to train Capacitor, Navigation and Fitting skills. They're important. You really can't go wrong training them all (except jump skills) to III early in your skills training plan. Or better yet, just train all the skills required for the basic Core Competency Certificate.

11. Fitting skills allow you to fit more and better modules on your ships. Engineering and Electronics are particularly important fitting skills and for combat pilots Weapon Upgrades is the next most important fitting skill. IMO if a character is going to be doing much flying around at all, the very first skills you should train to IV are Electronics and Engineering. They should be among the first skills trained to V too. Weapon Upgrades should probably be trained to III soon and IV eventually but you shouldn't need V for a long time yet.

Edit: Engineering and Electronics skills have been renamed CPU Management and Power Grid Management

12. Scams. Scamming (the in game variety, not the real life / real money variety), is allowed and scammers are everywhere. Scammers like to work with contracts and chat channels, especially local chat channels at major market hubs. The simplest way to avoid most scams is a) consider everything in chat to be a scam in the first place and b) read any contract very carefully before accepting it, especially if it's a contract you found in a chat link.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Trade hauling with small fast ships

A major problem for traders is picking up regional buys that have been filled in low or null sec systems. Many such systems are behind a major gate camp like EC-P8R, Aunenen, Rancer, Amamake, etc. These camps are pretty much permanently manned and difficult to run at any time with anything short of Covert Ops ships. The largest camps usually have smartbombing battleships on the gate making them difficult to run even with Cov Ops. Trying to run small gate camps (far less major camps) or undock from camped stations in a slow Industrial ship is basically just suicide.

If you trade in bulky items like ore, minerals, PI mats, or large quantities of fitting modules you don't have much choice. You need plenty of cargo space which means flying slow haulers, Industrials, Transports, etc.. Flying Jump Freighters and/or Blockade Runners takes a long time, a significant skill point investment and though they are better suited for operating in low/null they're still slow and susceptible to ganks.

However, if you deal in small, individually more valuable items like skillbooks, blueprints, faction/deadspace mods or implants you can transport in smaller, faster ships that have far better chances of successfully running gate camps.

Covert Ops frigates are ideal for light transport in dangerous areas. Small, fast, cheap enough to be expendable and the ability to warp while cloaked is huge for running gate camps. About all you have to worry about are large smartbombing camps and undocking. Even then they have to be alert, quick, ready for and expecting cloaked ships to nail you before you're gone. Almost any fit works for this purpose, you can even use a Stealth Bomber fit for standard bombing ops as I often do.

You don't need tank. You can't fit enough tank to survive smartbombs or alpha strikes from larger ships anyhow. Your best chance of running a smartbomb camp is speed, particularly alignment time. Even station campers waiting for you to undock are best avoided with insta-warp bookmarks or failing that, fast alignment times. If anything else nails you, chances are either you got lazy or they got lucky. Standard Cov Ops fits work fine but if you want to fit specifically for transport then fitting for speed, agility and warp speed while ensuring you don't fit anything that reduces cargo capacity makes sense. A MWD in the mids, Nanos in the lows and for rigs I'd go with polycarbons or low friction nozzle jets, though hyperspatial velocity optimizers (warp speed) might be a good choice too.

Recon cruisers would be the natural evolution to Cov Ops frigates, with greater cargo capacity, capable of fitting 60k or so tank (EHP that is, more like 30k raw) and able to survive smartbombs and more. But Recons are much more expensive and require a lot more skills training to fly. Not exactly expendable and probably too time consuming to train most alts for too.

For new players or alts that need to fly low/null now and can't afford to wait to train into Cov Ops small, fast frigates fitted for speed and alignment time work quite well. They're very cheap, typically under 2 million even fitted with moderately expensive T2 mods. The good part is when you do get nailed in these ships it's almost always on the way into low/null while you're empty so all you lose is a cheap ship and maybe some implants. Conversely, if you get into low/null without trouble you can usually get back out a few minutes later with no trouble too and with your valuable cargo intact.

You will lose some of these ships, count on it, but they're cheap enough you can consider it a cost of doing business. I lost 1 or 2 a month across 9 trader alts on 4 accounts all flying T1 frigates when I was working regional buys and travelling in low/null on a daily basis. Just don't use expensive implants you can't afford to replace occasionally.

My personal favorite T1 ship for trade hauling was the Minmitar Vigil. With it's 5% per level speed bonus and decent skills it's the fastest standard T1 frigate (not counting expensive pirate faction ships) in the game. However that velocity bonus will soon be gone in the next round of ship balancing. Now you might as well just go with the fastest frigate available to your race.

For T1 frigates and assuming a low skills alt will be flying it I like nanos in the lows, cap rechargers in the mids and cap rigs. Cap rigs and rechargers are important for low skills alts to make long warps all in one go. As you get better nav and cap skills this issue goes away. The important skills are Warp Drive Operation, Energy Management, Energy Systems Operation and all the non-jump navigation skills. With all those skills at 3 or better you can use astronautics rigs (or no rigs at all) and start dropping rechargers too.

This is my standard Condor fit

[Condor, Light Transport]

Local Hull Conversion Nanofiber Structure I
Local Hull Conversion Nanofiber Structure I

Limited 1MN Microwarpdrive I
Eutectic Capacitor Charge Array
Eutectic Capacitor Charge Array
Eutectic Capacitor Charge Array

[Empty High slot]
[Empty High slot]
[Empty High slot]
[Empty High slot]

Small Capacitor Control Circuit I
Small Semiconductor Memory Cell I
Small Semiconductor Memory Cell I

And this is my standard Vigil fit

[Vigil, Ninja Salvager]

Local Hull Conversion Nanofiber Structure I
Local Hull Conversion Nanofiber Structure I
Local Hull Conversion Nanofiber Structure I

Limited 1MN Microwarpdrive I
Eutectic Capacitor Charge Array
Eutectic Capacitor Charge Array

Salvager I
Salvager I
Salvager I

Small Semiconductor Memory Cell I
Small Semiconductor Memory Cell I
Small Capacitor Control Circuit I

I find 2 semiconductor memory cells and one capacitor control circuit gives the best cap performance with low cap skills. As your cap skills get better and depending on exactly what ship you're flying your mileage may differ. What's in the highs isn't important, the ship isn't intended to fight, it's just supposed to be cheap, fly fast and align quickly.

As the alt gets better skills I start dropping rigs and cap rechargers, lowering cost and making the ships even more expendable. Drop rigs first because they're by far the most expensive fittings on the ships. Using T1 best named modules takes less resources and lower skills to fit, making them easier for low skills alts to fit than the T2 versions. They're also quite a bit cheaper and nearly as good as the T2 versions. You could go with lower meta modules to cut costs even more too.

New Blog - First Post

Kicking off a new blog for Eve Online, the following is a re-post of the latest post on my old WoW blog The Gold Mint

I finally got completely fed up with WoW and quit playing near the end of Cataclysm. There were many reasons why I finally quit WoW. Suffice to say it was something that had been building up for a long time already, then along came the news about Kung Fu Pandas to put the final nail in the coffin.

I've been playing Eve Online (much more casually) for about 8 months now. One of the things I like best about Eve is it's completely different from WoW in just about every way.

The player base seems to be quite a bit more mature too though that might be because there is no global chat channel providing a convenient soapbox for the worst sociopaths. Or maybe it's because block (Eve's equivalent to /ignore) has NO LIMIT on the number of players you can block. I love that feature and use it quite liberally!

Another point in Eve's favor is it's very cheap to play. In fact if you're any good at making money in games you can play Eve for free. You don't have to buy Eve Oline, the client is a free download and expansions are free too. All there is is a one time $5.00 activation fee (turns a trial into a full client) and $15.00 for 30 days of game time (less if you purchase multiple months at once).

Then there are PLEX which can be purchased with real money from CCP's website or bought from other players with ISK (Eve's in-game currency) off the market in game. Any PLEX you have can be sold on the in game market for ISK or used to add 30 days time to your account. If you make enough ISK to buy PLEX you can pay for your accounts without spending any real money. I currently have 4 Eve accounts, over 50 billion ISK and easily make more than enough ISK to purchase PLEX for all the accounts every month with plenty left over to keep growing my wallet bigger.

For those who might be interested in trying Eve Online there are 2 types of free trial accounts, 14 day trials and 21 day trials. 14 day trials are available to anyone from CCP's website. 21 day trials are "Buddy" invites from existing players.

Here's a link to a free Eve Online 21 day trial from me via Eve's "buddy program". The link is safe, it leads to a secure "buddy invite" page on CCP's official Eve Online website.

Feel free to give me ( Moxnix Induli ) a shout in Eve Online if you start playing after reading this.