Sunday, February 27, 2011

The New Lex Starwalker

Now that I got the new computer online, I was finally able to remake my in-game avatar. I'm able to run EVE with all settings at maximum now, and I have to say I'm really impressed with how the new character works. Now I can't wait for Incarna, so I can run around with him!

Fly smart.

Monday, February 21, 2011

And Now a Word From Our Sponsor

If you're new to EVE and haven't checked out EON magazine, then I really recommend you do so. I'm still poring through the latest issue. It has a great article on some of the things we can expect in Incarna. Don't be one of those internet-blowhards who poo-poo Incarna without knowing the first thing about it (and assume since they don't know anything about it, the information's not out there). Not only is the magazine informative, but it's loaded with beautiful artwork.

Instead of buying the odd copy here and there, why not have the full set and only pay half the price? Not only are they a great read, they also look great on your shelf. The customer feedback speaks for itself.

This bundle is a great supplement to an EON subscription, with the entire glossy catalog of EVE-related goodness yours to enjoy. It's great for seeing how New Eden has developed throughout the years, and contains many articles and guides that will greatly expand your knowledge about EVE. A must-have for a serious EVE player who hasn't been around since day one.

Fly Smart

Thursday, February 17, 2011

CCP's New Release Paradigm

Incursion 1.2 dropped this week with some more improvements to the game. Like other players, I've been watching the new release strategy of Incursion. I even speculated during Lost in Conversation on my thoughts that CCP would be moving more toward these types of releases in the future. It turns out I was right.

CCP Zulu released a dev blog this week that gave some insight on CCP's new release paradigm. CCP is going to move toward releasing "more, smaller, more evenly-distributed deployments" in the future. This is great news for all players of EVE. EVE as a game is ever-changing. Many of the changes lie within the hands of the players, not CCP. In addition to all the usual development issues of designing an expansion for an MMO, it's got to be even harder for CCP to predict the future when they're not as in control of the trajectory of the game as a lot of MMO developers are.

CCP Zulu says we can look forward to three more Incursion releases, with the possibility of additional material released in between. One of the new features we can look forward to is the relocation of the official forums to EVE Gate along with some new functionality. As a forum junkie, I'm looking forward to seeing what they come up with.

Now that Incursion is out (at least the early stages of it), Team BFF, who were originally working on Incursion features, will now be turning their attention to small fixes that need to be made in the game. They've got a whole list of items to tweak, a list that has been compiled from CSM suggestions and player suggestions on the forums. This is great news as well, as there are plenty of "little things" that could be fixed. Now if only they'll switch the stupid cosmic signature map icons back....

With this transition to a new release paradigm, CCP is taking another step from the MMO paradigm of old toward the newly-evolving modern paradigm. The days of yearly (or even bi-annual) patches/expansions is going the way of the dodo. More and more we're realizing the original dream of the MMO--an immersive world that is constantly evolving and changing, a world where the choices you make today will shape the world tomorrow. Of the games I've played, EVE comes the closest to realizing this ideal. With this new release strategy, it'll get even closer.

Now the devs can give us features and fixes as they finish them. No more sitting on material waiting for that release date. Not only does this mean we'll be getting new content, features, and fixes more quickly, but it also means we won't have huge expansions filled with bugs. Smaller, more isolated, changes to the game are much easier to troubleshoot than big chunky expansions filled with changes. I think we will see EVE become more stable, less buggy. Although in the long run, the game will change even more, and even more quickly, those changes will be more constant and gradual. Like any living thing, EVE will be constantly growing and evolving.

The future looks bright, and space is still cold.

Fly smart.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Lex Starwalker is Lost in Conversation!!

Yours truly is a guest star on episode 5 of the podcast Lost in Conversation. You can check it out here. If you don't already listen to Lost in Conversation and its sister podcast, Lost in EVE, I highly suggest you give them a try.

Fly smart.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Gunnery 101: Tracking & Range

These tips are meant primarily for PvP, but can be used for PvE as well.

The key component to mastering gunnery is understanding tracking and range and how they interrelate. This is best expressed by angular velocity. If you don't have angular velocity on your overview, and you're a gunner, then you really should. You can learn how in this guide.

Angular velocity has 3 components:

1) How fast you're going

generally speaking, the faster your velocity, the higher your angular velocity will be. the exception to this is when you're flying directly to or away from your target. see #3

2) Your distance from your target

At a given speed, the closer you are to your target you're orbiting, the higher your angular velocity will be. The closer you are, the smaller the circle of your orbit is, and so your angle to the target is changing more rapidly.

3) Your vector

The more perpendicular your course is to the target's, the higher your angular velocity will be. If you're flying directly at or away from your target, your angular velocity will be near 0.

Generally speaking, shorter range weapons hit harder than their longer range counterparts. Ie, autocannons hit harder than artillery, pulse lasers hit harder than beam lasers. The short range weapons also have better tracking, which means it's easier to hit your opponent when they have a higher angular velocity.

Just because you're closer to someone doesn't mean you're more vulnerable. This is where speed tanking comes in. If you're close to someone and orbitting fast, they won't be able to hit you if their tracking speed is less than your angular velocity. Whereas, at long range, your angular velocity is less, so it's actually EASIER for them to hit you, as long as you're within their optimal range.

To figure your best range, you want to look at the falloff for your weapon. While you're in space with your ship, turn on any modules you have that affect your range that you'll use in combat (such as targeting computers). Load the ammunition you're going to be using. Next, right click on the icon for the gun on your HUD and select "show info". Now look up your falloff. Divide this number by 3, and add that number (1/3 your falloff) to your optimal range. That is the range you want to orbit at. Now, set your orbit by right-clicking on the orbit button on your overview and selecting "set default". You may need to play with this a bit. I tend to set mine a couple hundred meters shy of the actual figure because orbiting isn't exact, and you don't want to overshoot. Pay attention to the distance to your target and adjust as necessary. You can always set this up and practice by orbiting a jetcan or other stationary object. Ultimately, you'll want to know your optimal range for your different ammos or crystals if you're going to be changing ammo during combat (which if you're using lasers, you definitely should be).

You can find the ranges for the different warp scrams and webs by right-clicking on the modules and selecting "show info". If you don't have any to look at, you can always look them up on the market. You may want to stay out of range of warp scrams and disruptors if you want to be able to get away. But then they're out of range of your warp scram or disruptor as well, unless they have a scram and you have a disruptor (disruptors have longer range).

This is a situation where it pays to have more than one type of ammo/crystal. Load different ammos or crystals in a non-combat situation and check your ranges as I explained above. Find one that will put you outside warp disruptor range and carry that as a backup.

Gunnery Skills: (Amarr frigate example)
  • Controlled Bursts
  • Gunnery
  • Motion Prediction
  • Rapid Firing
  • Sharpshooter
  • Small Beam Laser Specialization
  • Small Energy Turret
  • Small Pulse Laser Specialization
  • Surgical Strike
  • Trajectory Analysis
  • Weapon Upgrades
  • Targeting
  • Long Range Targeting
  • Signature Analysis

Fly smart.