Thursday, December 30, 2010
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
I was discussing this idea with some people in-game yesterday, and the idea was well-received. I've had this thought pretty much every time I've heard someone brag about AFK-missioning. The main reason I never did an actual proposal before is because I really believe this is a change CCP is planning to implement at some point in the future anyway.
Edit: Please go to this link. Someone had already posted a similar proposal, so let's support that one.
If you have feelings either way, feel free to post in the thread. In a nutshell, I am proposing that CCP implement Sleeper AI in all NPC's "rats" in the game.
From the first moment you logged into this game and started trying to figure out what the hell to do, it should have been obvious to you that CCP never intended this game to be easy. EVE is challenging, and we like it that way, thank you very much. Why do people always try to make it easier? (rhetorical question) Don't misunderstand me. I'm not saying EVE shouldn't be user-friendly. I'm saying it shouldn't be easy. (Upgrades to the UI are something I heartily support) I LOVE the fact that there are no add-ons in EVE (thank you CCP). But I digress.
As I stated above, I think this is going to happen sooner or later anyway. Yes, I'm sure that CCP intended Sleepers to be a bit tougher than you common, everyday highsec rat. But I think the Sleeper AI is more a product of improvements they've come up with for their (unfortunately sad) NPC AI. The Sleepers were a great way to roll out their new AI and see how the players react to it.
I foresee two problems with this proposal of mine.
1) What about the Sleepers? Sleepers should be more challenging, so if CCP gives all rats Sleeper AI, how are they going to buff up the Sleepers? I'm sure CCP can (and will) come up with some creative solutions for this. I have an idea. Sleeper AI was developed with an eye toward the tactics actual players were using. The new Sleeper AI could include tactics players have come up with to combat the original Sleeper AI.
2) The missioners will hate it. Okay, not all of them, but some of them will. Especially the ones that launch drones in a mission and then go surf the internet until it's time to pick up the loot. Some of this will be no more than people's usual resistance to change. The missioners who hate it will probably (predictably) be the vocal majority (minority?). That said, I do think there will be a lot of missioners that would be for this idea after giving it some thought. I've done missions myself, and so I know that after a while, they become BORING AS HELL! If missions actually became more of a challenge, with an AI that made more sense, I might actually do some again (and not just when I'm "stuck in high sec").
Oh, and for the record, I don't really believe this is an "original" idea. For all I know, it's been proposed on the assembly hall before. If so, I'm sure people will tell me. But I do think it's a good idea, and would make EVE a lot more fun in high sec.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
There are literally dozens upon dozens of ships you can fly in EVE. There are frigates, cruisers, battlecruisers, etc. Plus, each of the four races has their versions of each class of ships. Added into the mix are the various ORE ships, faction ships, not to mention all the tech 2 and tech 3 ships. All of this can be a little overwhelming, especially for the new player.
When you see a ship on your overview or directional scan, you will see the name of the ship (or player) and the type of ship (ie Omen, Drake, Tengu, etc.). As a new player, this isn't very helpful because it doesn't tell you what CLASS the ship is (frigate, destroyer, cruiser, stealth bomber, etc.).
I have found a very easy way to discover the class of the ship if you're unfamiliar with the name. Select the ship on your overview or scan read-out and either click the "I" (information) button, or right-click on it and select "Show Info" from the pop-up contextual menu. Once you have the ship's information screen up (not the player's information), click on the tab that says "Prerequisites".
You will now see all the skills required to fly that particular ship. This will very quickly tell you what class the ship is (frigate, cruiser, etc.), what race the ship belongs to, and whether it is tech 1, tech 2, or tech 3. Tech 2 ships will have a requirement for a ship type at 5. Tech 3 ships will require subsystem skills. If you can't tell from the skill requirements what the ship is, you can always get information on the skill.
Another useful informational tool in-game is the market window interface. Here you can get information on any ship or item that is sold in the game. Just make sure you're not filtering by your own skills if it's something you can't use (in the settings tab), and make sure you don't have "show available" selected if you're in wormhole space.
Be sure to read the comments to get another great tip from one of our readers, FNG.
Monday, December 27, 2010
Friday, December 24, 2010
I'm happy to announce EVE A to Z's new sponsor: EON Magazine. I will be occasionally reviewing EON and giving you a glimpse into the content you're missing if you don't read this excellent magazine. EON's new issue is coming out in the beginning of January. EON would like to share the following holiday message with the EVE community.
I'm looking forward to this issue!
Monday, December 20, 2010
I've made some changes to the EVE A to Z layout. I've also added a couple features to make the blog more user-friendly.
First, I now have a list of all of EVE A to Z's guides in the sidebar. This will hopefully make it easier for readers to find the guide they want.
I also still have the list of topics or keywords further down the sidebar. I try very hard to list relevant topics for each post. So, for example, if you want to read all the posts on missions, you can click on the "missions" key word and get them all.
I also have a list of blogs that I follow. I use this list myself as it orders the blogs by when the most recent post was. Keep an eye on this list as I add blogs on a fairly regular basis. I also remove blogs occasionally as I'm committed to only promoting blogs that stay current.
All of the old features are still here. You can still search the blog, view the archives, follow the blog, and share it via Facebook or Twitter.
Finally, I've added a list of the most popular posts at the bottom of the sidebar. This list is updated automatically, showing the 10 most popular posts of all time.
Please let me know what you think of the layout and if you have any suggestions.
As always, our beautiful header and footer banners are provided by Andrea Dolas. I probably don't pimp her enough on this site. She's a very talented professional web designer. She does web pages, banners, images, anything you can think of really that involves putting something really cool and original on your site. She also does original artwork. Check her site out, and if you need a web page or banner, get in touch with her. You'll be glad you did. Also, keep an eye on EVE A to Z, as we'll be getting a new banner very soon.
Don't forget to check out the Video of the Week below this post.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
What are your thoughts on how Incarna will affect the current EVE Online social dynamic?
That is a very broad question, and it's one that's impossible to answer without more information on what exactly Incarna will entail. There are hundreds of thousands of EVE players, and I challenge anyone to predict reliably what they'll do about ANYthing, much rather something as unknown as Incarna.
That said, I'll take a few shots in the dark just to have something to talk about on this topic.
I am guessing that the social dynamic of EVE will broaden and expand if Incarna is realized to as complex a level as the rest of EVE. What will Incarna bring us? New ways to chat with other players? Vegas-like casinos with gambling and games of chance like poker, roulette, blackjack and craps? Personal apartments that players can decorate and accessorize? There are so many unanswered questions. Since we don't know the answers, I'll talk about what I would like to see.
1) Games of chance. CCP has mentioned wanting to have some games of chance that players can play against one another and even gamble. I really hope this happens and is fully realized. I imagine a futuristic casino, with all the familiar games we'd have in a casino today with an EVE spin. Think about it. There are a lot of old games that people play--chess, Nine Men's Morris, etc. It's likely that popular casino games would still be around in EVE in some form or another. Going that route would also have the benefit of lessening the learning curve for these "mini games". I'd love to be able to gamble isk and chat with other players across the card table.
2) In-station missions. This is something CCP has alluded to without giving any real details. I'd love to see missions involving subterfuge and espionage. Spying on people, framing people, gathering evidence against people. Perhaps you could do some "personal favors" for your agents (above or below the table) that would enhance your standings. This could become a whole other game within EVE, and I'd love to see it.
3) Apartments and other personalizable effects. It would be cool if you could rent an apartment at your favorite station. You could even decorate it (for a fee I'm sure). Buy your character some changes in clothes. Maybe you could even buy things for your character that would give you some minor in-game benefits--personal items and clothing that would function like weak implants, enhancing a specific skill or activity. At the risk of seeing EVE turn into "Sims in Space", this would really be cool. I don't think EVE will turn into "Sims in Space"--CCP is way too smart for that. However, people love to customize things, and they'd be fools not to work with that.
4) New skills. I would love to see an array of new skills that are only useful for in-station missions and activities. Social skills like double-talk, subterfuge, deal-making, empathy, charisma, etc, etc, etc. Skills that would help you complete missions, improve your relations with your agents, and maybe even give you a leg up at the gambling table. These would be great if they had no application to flying ships in space. That way, if people wanted to have "in-station characters" they could focus on these new skills, while a player who had no interest in stations would have no need to get them.
5) Wide variety in station interiors with lots of room for exploration. I really hope all Amarr stations don't look the same inside, with the same layout. Sort of like how every inn in WoW is the same. Lame. I also hope there are more than a handful of different layouts for each race. I hope CCP really goes all out here, so you will have to actually learn your way around the different stations. I would love to see "encounters" in the station that just happen occassionaly if you're in the right time and place, and have nothing to do with a mission.
6) Combat. I would love to see combat--hand to hand, melee weapons, blasters. I know I'm asking for too much, buy if you're gonna dream, might as well dream big.
7) The ability to attack stations. I don't expect this in Incarna, but it would be cool.
8) Boarding parties. An outshoot of number 7, the ability to board other players' ships and fight and kill their crew, and the capsuleer himself. That would be really cool.
How will this affect EVE's player base?
The assumption here is that it will affect the EVE player base. That depends. If Incarna just adds a few "extras" to the game in stations, I don't think it will affect the player base at all. You'll see the same types of people playing EVE. The only way I see Incarna bringing in types of players we've never seen in EVE before is if it's extremely expansive, to the point that Incarna is an entire game. If you can play EVE and have fun without ever undocking or playing a ship, then MAYBE we'll see some new player types, but I highly doubt it. There are so many good games out there. If someone is going to play EVE, it's because they love sci-fi and wanna fly spaceships. Incarna will just be a bonus. Now, if CCP really blows the roof off with Incarna, they may prove me wrong. Maybe in a few more expansions.
Who will Incarna attract? New players to the genre? Seduce old players back into the game?
I think EVE Incarna will attract the same players EVE has always attracted. It's still going to be EVE. I see two possible exceptions, though.
1) Incarna may attract some people who originally tried EVE but just couldn't get into it. They may give a trial a try just to see what it's like. Whether or not they'll keep playing will have to be seen.
2) IF the in-station activities have an easier learning curve we MAY seem some players come in who have been intimidated by the learning cliff. It will give them something else to do while they try to wrap their heads around space flight, and if Incarna's good enough, maybe they won't even have to go out into space at all.
Will we see new players come in who will never leave their station?
This will completely depend on the nature of the expansion itself. Honestly, I really hope so. Because if that happens it means Incarna is awesome in its own right. In that case it will bring more players to EVE (good thing) and diversify the player base a bit (great thing), not to mention hopefully killing the mentality that people who play EVE are "elite" in some way (excellent thing).
In summary, I'm really excited about Incarna. I'm happy with EVE the way it is, and I have no real need or desire to "walk around in stations," but I am constantly amazed by CCP. I can't wait to see what they come up with. I think Incarna itself will be the tip of the iceberg, and we'll see much more done with it in future expansions. I'm really excited and looking forward to seeing what the future holds.
What do you think? How would you answer these questions? Your comments and thoughts are always welcome!
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
We all have another day to decide what to spend those learning skill points on. What are you planning to spend yours on? As for me, I'm going to put them into gunnery skills. I'll be able to get small and medium pulse and beam specializations. I'm a relatively new player with around 1.6 million skill points in learning skills. I've got more points in the learning category than in any other category right now. So this is going to be quite a nice Yule present for me. Thank you CCP.
Monday, December 13, 2010
Friday, December 10, 2010
One of the biggest advantages you can give yourself in your early EVE career is to set up some jump clones. You already know about your medical clone, which you're keeping updated (right?). Jump clones are additional clones you can acquire and place in various stations. Once every 24 hours you can switch to a different clone, effectively moving from one place to another in the galaxy almost instantaneously.
In order to buy and use jump clones you will need to train a skill called Infomorph Psychology. For each rank in the skill, you can have one jump clone.
Also, keep in mind that implants are specific for a given clone. If you want implants in all your jump clones, you will have to buy a set of implants for each jump clone. Also, when you switch clones, you can't take anything with you. So if you're using jump clones to mission in different areas, you'll need a mission ship in each area.
Jump clones have quite a few uses and give you some advantages in the game. These include:
- Mobility. You can set up jump clones in different areas of space, enabling you to travel between those locations without making dozens of jumps. You could have clones in different empires if you're working on missioning for faction with multiple empires. If you live in nullsec or lowsec, you could have jump clones in high sec. You can have jump clones in or near trade hubs to facilitate trading. If you're doing an epic arc (like the Sisters of EVE arc), you may want to have a clone in the system where you get those missions (ie Arnon), especially if where you normally mission is far away.
- Jump clones are great for PvP. If you plan to PvP a lot or just get your feet wet in the PvP arena, you can have a jump clone with no implants in it. When you're going to PvP (or do something dangerous that may involve PvP), jump into your implant-free clone. That way, if you get podded, at least you don't lose your expensive implants.
- If you're making a move to nullsec, you can use a jump clone to get there quickly and easily without having to make the long flight. Describing how to do this would be a guide in itself, so ask your corp how if this is something you want to do.
Now that you've decided jump clones are great things to have, you'll want to know how to get one. The first step is to train the skill Infomorph Psychology. Next, you will need a standing of 8.0 or higher with the NPC corp that runs the station(s) you want to put your jump clone(s) into. For a new player, this is a daunting requirement. Before you resign yourself to grinding standing for weeks just to get your clone, know that you have a couple other options.
- Check with your corp. A lot of player run corporations maintain a high standing with at least one NPC corp in order to provide jump clone capability for their members. Ask your corp if they have this, because if they do, this is the simplest, easiest way. All you need to do is find out which NPC corp they have the standing with, and you will be able to place your clones at that corp's stations.
- You can use the Estel Arador Corp Services. This is a player-run corp whose sole purpose is to provide jump clone capability to players. Their service is free and very easy to use. You will need to drop your current corp (if it's a player corp, remember you must drop roles 24 hours before you can drop corp). Then you apply to the EACS corp. EACS has high standing with multiple NPC corps, giving you a huge selection of where you can put your clones. Once you're accepted into EACS, you place your clones, then drop corp with EACS and apply back to your original corp. If you're going to do this, it's always a good idea to let your CEO (or director in a large corp) know ahead of time. It's no big deal, this is a very common practice in EVE. Just tell you're CEO you're dropping corp for a few days to set up your jump clones, and s/he'll know exactly what you're talking about.
EACS has recently had a change of ownership. But from everything I can see, it's still business as usual. I used this service myself when it was run by the original owner, and it went without a hitch. Here are some resources for you to find out more about EACS and their recent change in ownership:
Good luck in setting up your jump clones. Once you have them, you'll wonder how you ever got by without them. As always, feel free to ask me any questions you might have. This guide is merely scratching the surface on the topic of jump clones. I'm available to help you, and if I don't know the answer, I'll find it.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
EVE A to Z is now a proud member of CrazyKinux's Blog Pack. The Blog Pack is a collection of high-quality EVE Online blogs. Many of the blogs I follow I've found through the Blog Pack. CrazyKinux is well known in the EVE community for his blog. The Blog Pack contains the blogs that were downloaded by the now-defunct Capsuleer application for iPhone and iPod Touch. Thanks CrazyKinux for adding EVE A to Z to the pack!
If you're looking for more quality EVE Online blogs, check out the pack today.
Monday, December 6, 2010
Friday, December 3, 2010
This is another one of EVE A to Z's most popular guides. I've expanded and improved it and added even more missioning resources.
A great source of information for missions is the Industrial Sized Knowledge Base. The chapter on missions starts on page 177. Almost everything you'll need is in this book, but I'll include online resources as well. These are nice because you can access them via the in-game browser while you're playing. Here is a site that has some good general information about missions. I also highly recommend this guide on missioning on EVElopedia.
Before you even accept a mission from your agent, you want to see what you're up against. Is this a combat mission, courier mission, or trading mission (hint: you can easily tell which type by the graphic below the mission text)?
Different divisions within each NPC corp give different kinds of missions. You can find this information on page 179 of the ISK book, or on this site.
If it's a trading mission, check prices to make sure it's worth taking the mission.
Remember, unless the mission is a storyline mission, you can safely decline one mission per agent every 4 hours. If you've already declined a mission, you can delay making a decision (for up to 7 days) and take a mission from another agent. Then, after the four hours is up, you can decline the original mission. As far as standing hits go, you're better off declining the mission (even if it involves a standing hit) then you are taking the mission and then either quitting it or not completing it.
If it's a courier mission, take not of the amount of cargo you have to haul and where you have to take it to. Do you have enough cargo capacity on your ship to take it in one trip? If not, how many trips will it take? How many jumps away is the destination? Is the destination in low sec, or does your route take you through low sec? What does the mission pay? Generally speaking, courier missions don't pay very well. However, they're easy, with minimal risk (other than other players). You must weigh all these factors when deciding whether or not to take the mission.
If it's a combat mission, then you want to see what you're up against before making a decision. First, you'll want to check the Mission Reports Guide. This is an excellent tool. You might as well bookmark it in your EVE browser, because you'll be referring to it a lot. The guide lists all the combat missions, sorted by title in alphabetical order. Find your mission on the list and click on it. Now you will see the page for that mission. This will give you some very important information, including:
- What types of damage do the NPC's do? You will want to tank for this damage.
- What types of damage are the NPC's most vulnerable to? If possible, you want to do this type of damage.
- Is the mission in dead space or normal space? If it's in dead space, you can't use a microwarpdrive and you will not be able to warp to the encounter at a range.
- What types of ships will you face, and how many? It will tell you how many rooms and spawns there will be.
- What is the objective? A lot of players get burned in early missions because they think they have to destroy every enemy ship in every mission. Oftentimes, this isn't the case. There is often a mission objective (ie, blowing up a certain ship and taking its cargo), which when completed, completes the missions. In these missions, you can destroy the one ship and get out of there. Also, some players try to do missions as quickly as possible (blitzing). If you want to blitz a mission, then you make a beeline to the objective and don't do anything you don't have to. If you're planning to loot and salvage the mission, though, I recommend you blow up all the ships.
- Miscellaneous information, such as which structures give loot when destroyed (if any), whether or not there are any asteroids for mining, etc.
Be sure to expand and read the player comments, as these are often more helpful than the guide itself.
The ISK book also has some of this information. Pages 183 & 184 give the NPC damage types. Here is an online chart with the same information.
Now you are equipped to kick that mission's ass! Keep it up, and soon you will be a valuable asset to your empire.
Here is a summary list of the resources:
Industrial Sized Knowledgebase. Your EVE manual.
EVElopedia Missions Guide. General missioning information.
Grismar's EVE Wiki. General Mission information.
EVE-Survival Mission Reports. Detailed information on each combat mission.
EVE Geek Mission Types. List of the types of missions different divisions give.
EVElopedia Damage Types. Damage types for NPC factions.
This guide has been improved! This is one of the most popular guides on EVE A to Z. I've improved the guide and added even more resources to help the missioner.
A very common question I see new players asking is, "When do I get level 2 missions, and how do I know where to go?" This guide will answer that question.
I recommend you read the chapter in the Industrial Sized Knowledgebase on Missions. It will go much more in depth than I will here. However this guide will cover the main points to get you started.
If you are serious about missioning, there are some basic skills that will help you. I recommend training these all to 3. It won't take you long, and it will be worth it. These skills are all in the Social category. The skills are:
- Connections. This increases your effective standing with friendly NPC Corporations and Factions. This will result in higher rewards and getting access to higher level missions sooner.
- Diplomacy. This increases your effective standing with hostile agents (agents you have low standing with).
- Negotiation. This improves your agent effective quality, resulting in higher pay for missions.
- Social. This gives you a bonus to NPC Agent, Faction, and Corporation standing increases. It is also a prerequisite for the previous skills.
These are just the basic skills. There are others you may want if you're going to be a professional missioner. Refer to the ISK book for more details.
If you've been doing level 1 missions for a while (and especially if you've been doing a lot of them for the same NPC Corporation), chances are you have access to level 2 agents. Level 2 missions are more challenging than level 1 missions, and they pay better. To find out if you can do higher level missions, and to find the agents, follow these steps:
- Open your character sheet
- Click the "Standings" button on the left side
- You will see your standings, listed from highest to lowest, beginning with Faction Standings.
- Scroll past the empire standings until you get to the second section, which is corporation standings. You will see your corporations listed, in order of highest to lowest standing.
- Pick the highest rated corporation. Click the blue Information button for that corporation. The corporation information window will come up.
- Select the "Agents" tab. You will now have a list of agents for that corporation, grouped by division (ie administrative, security, etc.). When you expand a division you will have a section of available agents, followed by a section of unavailable agents.
- Peruse the available agents, looking for the ones you want. If you've been doing level 1 missions up to this point, find all your available level 2 agents.
- Find the available level 2 agent that has the highest quality and do missions for that agent. Even if the quality is negative, you are better off doing that than a higher quality level 1 agent.
As you do missions with the agent, your standing with that agent's corporation will increase. As your standing increases, you will gain access to higher quality agents within that corporation.
In order to gain access to higher level and higher quality missions more quickly, do all your missions with one corporation.
Pay attention to the faction you are going up against in combat missions. Realize you will lose standing with that faction. Remember, you can reject a mission every 4 hours with each particular agent without losing standing. You may want to do this with missions that have you fighting against a faction you don't want to lose standing with.
It is better to reject a mission than to let it expire.
If you reject more than one mission from a particular agent within 4 hours you will lose standing. Some missions (story missions) will result in a loss of standing regardless if you reject them. If this is the case, there will be a pop-up warning you of this when you try to reject the mission.
If you have the Industrial Sized Knowledgebase .pdf book, look at the section detailing missions. Beginning on page 179 there are some helpful charts. Including:
- What divisions give what kinds of missions (combat, courier, etc.)
- Helpful information about the NPC groups you will fight including, the damage types they do and the damage types they're most vulnerable to.
- And much more.
Generally speaking, as you do higher level missions, you will need more powerful ships. Here is a guide to the class of ship to use for each level of mission:
- Level 1 Missions: Frigate or Destroyer
- Level 2 Missions: Destroyer or Cruiser
- Level 3 Missions: Cruiser or Battlecruiser
- Level 4 Missions: Battlecruiser or Battleship
Please note, with the exception of level 1 missions, it is only recommended you try missions in the smaller class of the two ships if you have high enough skills to fit better modules (Tech 2).
Here are some other missioning resources for you:
EVE-Survival: Mission Reports. This site lists most the missions in alphabetical order. You can select your mission to find useful tips including what kind of ships you will fight, what kind of damage they will do, and what kind of damage will be most effective against them. Be sure to expand the Comments section at the bottom when researching a mission.
EVE Commander Agents. Finally! A tool that is better than the in-game method! EVE Commander Agents is a great tool that allows you to do searches for agents. You can search by quite a few categories including agent level, solar system, empire, corporation and division. The interface is easy to use and works every time. People always seem to recommend EVE Agents (which I've listed below for completeness), but personally, I can't stand EVE Agents. It's got a horrible interface and is buggy as hell. Try EVE Commander, it's much better!
EVE-Agents. This site has a tool to search for agents. I don't like it much myself. It's not very user-friendly and seems a little buggy. I find the method I outlined above much quicker and easier, especially since it uses the in-game UI. However, some people prefer using this site, so I'm including it for completeness.