Space Mountain

Finally, after what seems like eons after first deciding to get a freighter to help with the logistics of moving ships around…

That is one big ship.

I’m still training up Gallente Freighter II and III to get more cargo space, but I can blow the dust off the Obelisk that has been sitting in my hangar and pack it full of goodies. Ended up paying a bit more than I should have for the ship since prices have been going steadily downwards, but you can never tell which way the market is going in EVE.

Before heading back to Venilen, I filled it with the spare minerals I had sitting around Jita and also bought some modules to kit out my Hurricane for combat, plus an expanded probe launcher, combat scanner probes and an Analyzer + Codebreaker in case I decide to do some scanning. Dumped in an Iteron V plus fittings as well. Hmm. Still plenty of space. Included some spare Hammerhead IIs since I seem to lose them all the time, and my Rifter and Punisher BPO in case I need to build some frigates for PVP.

Still only 52,542 m3 out of 787,500 m3 filled. Man this thing is huge…

Finally my packing was complete and I undocked for the first time…

There happened to be a Charon right next to me as I undocked, so you can compare the sizes of the two freighters. Other ships look like flies in comparison.

Unfortunately the Obelisk is really really really slow. I haven’t finished training all the ship agility skills yet, but still the Obelisk has ridiculous align times. After initiating warp to the stargate, I tabbed out to read some blog posts. Vista has this little preview screen when you mouse-over a minimized window, so after reading a few posts I checked that and was surprised to see the Obelisk not in warp. “Wow, that was pretty quick, must have been a short warp.” I thought. Then I realised that the Obelisk hadn’t even started warp yet… /facepalm

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Worlds Collide Redux

Ok so I’m late to the party, but finally I tried (and completed, plenty have tried and failed…) the level 4 mission Worlds Collide!

It was with quite a bit of trepidation that I actually decided to accept the mission. 2 months ago I was offered this mission by my agent in Nahyeen with the Ministry of Internal Order, and got scared off by the mission report on EVE-survival. Since then however, a lot of things have changed. I now fly a Rattlesnake with an epic tank, and I have an alt flying a Raven to provide extra missile goodness. If a Rattlesnake can tank level 5s, surely I can do Worlds Collide…

Besides, now that I’m back in Caldari space the mission involves dealing with Serpentis/Guristas. The damage they deal is Thermal/Kinetic for the Serpentis and almost pure Kinetic for the Guristas, which my shield-tanking Rattlesnake and Raven can deal with fairly easily. In Amarr space I would be up against Sansha/Blood Raiders which just blow away shields. Of course I was in a Dominix back then which would do fairly well against all the EM/Thermal damage, but oh well…

I stocked up on a couple of thousand rounds of Wrath and Cataclysm cruise missiles, and even changed up my Rattlesnake fitting a bit to bring a second Invulnerability Field II and a swap of thermal/kinetic hardeners to switch out between the Serpentis/Guristas rooms. Yes, Worlds Collide does have that kind of reputation.

In the end, I have to say that it was a bit anti-climatic but that’s to be expected since normal people can complete the mission in a run-of-the-mill Raven. I made sure to leave the webbing/scrambling frigates for last, and incoming DPS was quite easily tanked in all the rooms. There was a moment of panic when my Raven pilot, in a complete brain-fart moment, targetted and launched a volley of cruise missiles at the wrong group while in the midst of fighting a bunch of Serpentis battleships. I immediately initiated warp, but by the time I actually entered warp the Raven was trailing smoke and flames and left with 60% hull. Ouch. Repairs at a nearby station cost around 3.5 million ISK, which is a large portion of the bounties but oh well. I also lost 2 Warden Is, an Ogre I and 2 Hammerhead IIs during the mission, which was annoying but couldn’t really be helped. First time I’ve seen a sentry drone get 1 shot 😐

I ended up clearing all the rooms, which I later realised I didn’t have to do. Overall it still took quite a long while, I think more than 2 hours including salvaging with my Hurricane. Hauled back a full 2000 m3 of loot, although none of it was particularly valuable. Salvage goes so much faster with the Hurricane… Surprising that it took so long given I was running 2 battleships, but then my DPS skills aren’t really all that high and I did spend some time warping to the station to refit resistance modules and replenish cap after clearing each room. Sigh the one bad thing about a passive Rattlesnake… even the heavy nos can’t keep the cap up with the 5 shield power relays fitted.

Are you fully insured?

I don’t know about you, but I definitely am not.

Just realised last night that I’ve been flying my Rattlesnake and Raven around doing missions having completely forgotten about taking out an insurance policy for them. Ok, fine, talking about insurance for a 500 million ISK Rattlesnake is actually pretty pointless when even the platinum plan only pays out 70 million or so. However, I wonder if I’m alone in that I mostly take out only the basic plan for all my ships.

Now I guess that if you take part in PvP regularly then shelling out for the platinum plan is a pretty good idea. I would imagine that it’s quite rare for a heavily used ship to survive for more than 3 months without meeting blue flaming death. However, I haven’t lost a ship besides a couple of Cormorants in my first month, although I did come close a few other times.

So it doesn’t seem to make financial sense to me to take out a really expensive plan when I don’t die often, given my predilection for overtanking my ships.

Take a look at the insurance policies available for my Rattlesnake. There is a default insurance of 40%, so if I don’t pay anything at all I get back… er roughly 28 million ISK. If I go for the basic plan, for 3.5 million extra I get back 35 million, or 50% of the supposed ship value. So that 3.5 million gets me 7 million extra. it’s the same for the other plans. An additional 3.5 million ISK gives me an additional 7 million ISK in insurance payouts…. if I lose the ship.

So if I consider getting the platinum plan, I’d be out 21.2 million right off the bat. If I lose the Rattlesnake in that 3 month period, I get 70.8 million in payout which translates to a 49.6 million return. Whereas if I don’t get any insurance at all, I get back 28 million. What this means is that if my ship survives a 3 month period under the platinum plan, I’m then out 21.2 million for nothing. If it then gets blown up in the subsequent 3 month period under a platinum plan again, I actually only get a 49.6-21.2 = 28.4 million payout due to the loss in the first period, i.e. its the same result as having no insurance plan at all. If the ship survives the 2nd insurance period as well then the payments will never catch up to the non-insured scenario.

Ok, no one expects to have their ship blown out from under them, but shit happens. However, it still seems that unless you’re a really risk-loving pilot, it’s quite unlikely that you’ll lose a ship (in PvE) at least once every 3 months. So am I wrong in thinking that it’s actually better to just not buy insurance? Or is there something I’m missing?

More scams

Recently I’ve been seeing a lot more of this type of scam, which I have to admit is much more clever and I wouldn’t be surprised if many people fall for it.

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to post this since I have a suspicion, based on the search keywords that people use to arrive at my blog, that quite a few people are looking for ways to scam others. Laziness is part of human nature I guess. But anyway… this type of scam revolves around the fact that the contract interface doesn’t have a “You pay…”/”You receive…” kind of wording. It just says “Cost:” and the only way you can tell whether money is going in to your wallet or out of it is whether the text is green or red. So someone can set up an item exchange contract saying they want to buy something, but instead of the “seller” receiving money the “buyer” gets both the item and the money, with the only difference being the numbers displayed in red instead of green.

In this case, note the description says that the buyer is looking for a Raven Navy Issue, in exchange he will provide the seller with 530 million ISK plus a Raven. However, the contract is set up such that the buyer will receive the Raven Navy Issue PLUS the 530 million ISK, in exchange for a Raven. If the number appears red to you, then it means that it will cost you money. If it’s green, then you get money. A subtle distinction, and may or may not pose a problem for color-blind players.

Lastly, for a bit of humour:

It’s just a variation on the usual million/thousand scam, only I must say this guy is really really really optimistic. I don’t think there are that many people looking to buy a Raven Navy Issue that have 563.5 BILLION ISK just sitting around in their wallet. I mean if people thought the 22 billion ISK Kestrel was bad this would be 20 times worse. I also wonder what kind of broker fee he paid… trying to do the same thing with my Scorpion Navy Issue gives me a broker fee of 16.5 million ISK 🙂 Quite likely that he just lost his broker fee with nothing to show for his efforts.

Holy PLEX Batman

Another reminder of how funny markets can be. EVE’s market system is one of the best in any game, especially in the way it often reminds me of stock markets in the real world.

PLEX has been trading steadily around 300 million for a long long time. Of course there are some ups and downs, but somehow it always seems to come back to 300 million. This is remarkable in itself, since there is actually no real reason that a month of gametime is valued as such. It’s all a consensus among the players and market forces that push the price up or down whenever it deviates.

Right now, however, PLEX prices have spiked incredibly all over the universe. Well, ok, I can only see the market in Jita, Amarr and Rens but I don’t think the other trade hubs are any better. Last night PLEX was selling for 340 million, and buy orders were at 330+.

I suspect that the reason for this increase is the guy who lost 74 PLEX in a Kestrel. No, not because the 74 PLEX actually represents a dip in the supply, although I’m sure that would have some limited effect but frankly it’s a drop in the bucket compared to the volume of PLEX traded everyday. I think what this episode has done is to suddenly bring to everyone’s attention that, yes, PLEX can now be destroyed. While on an intellectual level this was obvious the moment CCP announced the PLEX change I think more than a month ago, people are funny creatures.

In my previous job, I was involved in commodities trading, mainly jet fuel. Every year, there would be a spike in jet fuel spot prices on the first day of snow in winter. Without fail. Everyone knew for weeks that it was winter, which would likely lead to increased demand for heating oil and thus push up the price of jet fuel. And yet, the mere sight of streets covered in snow would send prices shooting up as if it was a sudden revelation.

Similarly with PLEX, prices remained stable for so long after the change, until this incident. I have a gut feeling that the current spike is an overreaction, and there will soon come a wave of profit taking together with a slight decrease in prices. But it’s highly likely that PLEX will no longer trade at 300 million, and will likely find a support level around 320 million (my personal guess, don’t hoard PLEX and blame me later). Right now prices have declined slightly and they are selling at 330, with buy orders at 325. Me and my wife bought a couple just in case prices continue to climb after the short dip, which often happens in the stock market. Now our subscriptions have been extended to mid-October, and I still have 4 more in my hangar (no, I’m not undocking with them).

Navy Scorpion or Navy Raven?

Stumbled upon Morphisat’s EVE blog and one of his old posts caught my eye. His comparison is, I think, a bit perfunctory and after some tinkering in EFT I’m quite impressed with the Navy Scorpion.

I was initially surprised by the Navy Scorpion’s ship bonus, which is the same 5% rate of fire bonus as the Navy Raven plus an additional 5% shield resist per level, and very different from the normal Scorpion’s ECM bonuses. I’ve always felt a bit meh about the Raven’s 10% bonus to torp/cruise velocity bonus. Cruise missiles already have a >100 km range even with pitiful missile skills and most pilots can’t even lock targets that far out without some sort of sensor booster module. It would be useful for a torp Raven… but no one uses torp Ravens due to lack of mid-slots for target painters and no target painter bonus. So right off the bat the Navy Scorpion’s ship bonus seems to be much better. It’s basically like having a free, permanently running Invulnerability Field that doesn’t have stacking penalties, and makes it much easier to fit a decent tank which I always have some problems doing with a normal Raven/CNR.

The tradeoffs are that the Navy Scorpion has 1 less low slot and 1 less launcher, in exchange for 2 mid slots. The Navy Scorpion is very slightly faster. And unlike in Dec 2009 when Morphisat wrote the post, the Navy Scorpion is more than a 100 million ISK cheaper. On a whim I just bought one for 430 million, whereas Navy Ravens are going for upwards of 575 million. I slapped together a active tank fitting for both ships, just to compare them.

Raven Navy Issue:

Scorpion Navy Issue:

Right off the bat it’s obvious that the Scorpion is much easier to fit for a decent tank, and I only have Caldari Battleship II so the tank could actually be much stronger. Everything else is the same, but with the extra mid slot I can then fit a target painter. So while the Navy Raven does have an extra launcher, I don’t believe it’s so clear cut that it’s DPS is so superior. I don’t know how much DPS a target painter adds, but it surely will offset some of that 40 dps provided by the 7th launcher. And it has the flexibility of always having an afterburner, whereas the Navy Raven may have to sacrifice that afterburner for another shield hardener vs Sansha or Blood Raiders.

So I’m feeling pretty good about myself now for picking up a Navy Scorpion for cheapish, given that I a) love to overtank and b) love afterburners. However, after a bit more deliberation and EFT tinkering, I realised that this comparison would change depending on pilot skills and ISK.

Tanking inherently doesn’t scale as well as damage. Once your tank is adequate, making it awesome isn’t necessarily better. While it’s hard to fit a good tank on the Navy Raven initially, by training up more shield/capacitor skills or investing a lot of ISK into a deadspace shield booster e.g. Pithum A-type Medium Shield Booster for 900 million ISK, you can give a Navy Raven a pretty good tank that is more than adequate for any level 4. In comparison, that 7th launcher scales well with any damage upgrade modules you fit. For example, while the difference is only 40 dps with ‘Arbalest’ launchers, using faction launchers with faction ammo will increase that difference significantly. Likewise, upgrading to faction Ballistic Control Systems and maybe even going up to 5 of them instead of the PDU will also widen the gap.

In addition, the benefits from the target painter are eventually capped. If cruise missiles are already hitting for full damage on a target, due to high missiles skills, rigs, or implants, using the target painter on them won’t make you do any more. Whereas an additional missile is always more damage, no matter the target.

So the conclusion is, the Navy Scorpion seems to be a better initial choice due to ease of fitting and lower price to get good results. However, if you’re willing to eventually spend more than a billion ISK on fittings, the Navy Raven would probably surpass it in terms of mission effectiveness. You might need the stronger omni tank for level 5s, but then a Rattlesnake isn’t really that much more expensive.

I’ll probably hold on to my Navy Scorpion for a while, since I’m still undecided on whether I would want to go completely crazy pimping out a Navy Raven. It’s definitely an upgrade in every way over my current plain Raven, but I’ll still wait a bit before splashing on rigs for it.

Dynamic Duo

Raven

The Raven was the natural next step up for my alt from her Drake, and a couple of days ago she finally finished skilling up to fly the missile-spewing Caldari Battleship. Prices for Ravens seem to be coming down quite a bit, but according to the latest Quarterly Economic Newsletter this seems to be the trend for all T1 battleships now that there is no longer an insurance floor. A couple of months ago a Raven was going for 80+ million, but I managed to buy one for 64 million ISK.

Not the prettiest ship, but then I’m spoilt by the awesomeness of my Rattlesnake. The Raven has odd… things sticking out all over its asymmetrical body, and it somehow reminds me slightly of a tick. In any case, it’s not entering a beauty pageant… it’s purpose is to spew lots of pew pew, thanks to 6 ‘Arbalest’ cruise missile launchers.

Tactical Shield Manipulation IV will finish training tonight, which will let me use the T2 shield hardeners. I’m still a bit worried about the tank, which isn’t as good as I’d like but then again it’s not supposed to be tanking, that’s what the Rattlesnake is for. I decided against trying to make it cap-stable with the Large Shield Booster II, because that would require putting in 3 CCC rigs. Most recommended fittings have 2 rigor rigs to allow the cruise missiles to do decent damage against cruisers, and I didn’t want to pop in rigs only to replace them in the future. Consider this part of my efforts to get used to actually managing capacitor. Not sure if I could improve much on the fit, short of swapping out my usual afterburner for another shield hardener. Originally had a Drone Link Augmentor on there but switching to T2 hardeners left me short of CPU. A X-large shield booster would dramatically increase the tank, but I would only be able to run it for slightly more than a minute which is… disconcerting.

While the CNR is a clear upgrade over the regular Raven, I decided to hold off on this first until I get the hang of dual-boxing the Rattlesnake and Raven. The CNR doesn’t have a much better tank, and if the shit hits the fan I’d rather lose a normal non-faction fitted Raven than deal with trying to save two expensive faction ships (and risk losing both…). Prices of CNRs have gone up quite a bit recently. I remember when I first looked at them I could easily buy one on contract for 500 million. Now they’re going for more than 580 million, which makes them pricier than my Rattlesnake. Eep.

I’ve only done a single L4 mission so far, which was the first combat mission of the Caldari Epic Arc. I must say it’s a big improvement from when I did it on Noork using the Dominix + Drake (R&R better than D&D? hur hur hur) Target painter + 10 cruise launchers + 5 sentry drones make short work of any battleships. I eat through cruise missiles like candy but that’s what I bought those BPOs for.

Hurricane

I also used my salvaging Hurricane for the first time during that mission. I was originally planning on using a Cyclone but fortunately Jade advised me to switch to a Hurricane. Unfortunately Hurricane prices spiked by 3 million on the day I wanted to buy one, but what the heck. 4 salvagers and 4 tractor beams together with omgzoommwd make salvaging go much faster than slowboating around in a battleship. To be frank, it’s actually the first time I even flew a ship with a MWD and the speed is really astounding. I feel even slower now in my Rattlesnake, even with the afterburners on…

Besides the salvaging fit, I bring along 6 meta 4 mining lasers too for when I just want to do some afk-mining. I almost lost the Minercane the day after buying it because I forgot to deploy drones while mining. After putting the baby to sleep, I came back to find myself with 70% hull left from a lone Gurista Infiltrator that must have been plinking away at me slowly for about an hour. There was a Caracal floating nearby just watching me too, the bastard. Got harassed quite a few times while mining in different belts by silly wannabe griefers. I mean really, I’m going to turn my mining lasers on you because you stole my Uranium S rounds! If they wanted real PVP they should just go to low-sec, but I guess some people are just cowardly juvenile that way. But talk about a waste of time… some guy spent 10 minutes orbiting me in a Navy Slicer after looting one of my wrecks. Must be one easily entertained pilot.

Seems like a bit of a waste to only use the Hurricane for salvaging or mining, so I’ve tried to come up with some usable combat fits for easy stuff, like the following armor tanked ArtyCane.

I have no experience with Hurricanes obviously, so any fitting advice is appreciated. I included a webifier in case frigates get under my guns, which would pose tracking problems for the longer ranged artillery. It’s unrigged because I would like to be able to package it to save space, plus I wouldn’t know what to rig it with other than my usual CCC rigs which seem a bit of a waste.

Contract trading

Despite my earlier reservations about this, it turns out that daytrading in contracts is quite lucrative. I trained up my trader alt with a couple of levels of Contracting and set up a few WTB contracts. So far, I’ve sold quite a few Federation Navy OTLs for 65 million (bought for 45 million), a Domination Target Painter for 147 million (bought for 110 million) and a True Sansha Target Painter for 89 million (bought for 76 million). The contract interface is more like the traditional Auction House in games like WoW, except much worse since I can’t seem to find a way to sort by price or anything like that. This leads to times when my contract is clearly not the most competitively priced, but it gets filled anyway.

In fact, there is one unfortunate soul who seems to be ignored by almost everyone. I had put up buy contracts for the OTLs for 45 million, expecting to sell them for 55 million since that was the going price. However, one day I found that the prices had jumped to 65 million so I quickly set up some contracts to sell the OTLs I had on hand. Shortly after I did so, this guy put up a contract selling one for 54 million. You can’t modify the prices on contracts, so I just sighed and resigned myself to waiting for this guy’s contract to clear. Imagine my surprise the next day when I checked my contracts and found that all my OTLs had sold. Check the market… wait that guy’s contract is still there. WTF? Is his contract a scam or something? No, he’s selling a Federation Navy OTL… So I decided to buy his OTL out and relist it. Immediately after buying it, he invites me to a convo and being curious I accept. He told me he has a lot of Caldari Navy LP and can sell me more OTLs at a discount for repeat customers, and that he’ll undercut anyone on the market. “Mmmmhmmmm great” I tell him while busily setting up the contract to relist his OTL for 64 million. He immediately puts up 2 more OTLs for 54 million… and by the next morning my OTL sold again while his contracts remain untouched 🙂 At this point I don’t know whether to take him up on his offer, although he should have realised by now that I resold his OTL…

Ouch

News of the guy who lost 74 PLEX in a Kestrel in Jita has been making the rounds. Frankly I’m not altogether surprised, as I think many people expected something like this to occur ever since CCP allowed PLEX to be moved around. The exact means was a bit unexpected, but what I’m really surprised at is the number of people that seem to think that CCP has some sort of obligation to reimburse the PLEX destroyed.

Many people have already pointed out that it’s no different from a supercarrier or titan being destroyed, in terms of ISK value. Heck, I remember about a month ago some guy lost an entire collection of blueprints in an Iteron V which was worth something like 14 billion ISK as well. However, the fact that it’s PLEX and “Real Munnies!!!” involved seems to have made a lot of people think that there is something different in this.

Why? If I go to a Ferrari dealership and splurge on a shiny new Ferrari with all the extras, in perfect working condition, only to completely total it by running full-speed into a tree while pulling out of the dealership parking lot, is Ferrari somehow obligated to reimburse me?

If I buy a Sony 40″ plasma TV and 6 months later decide to sell it at a flea market, only to drop it on the floor while moving it to my car… Am I supposed to complain to Sony customer service that I did not receive the service which I paid for?

One of the commenters on Wilhelm’s post who thinks CCP is open to the possibility of a lawsuit even claims to be a lawyer… are people really so tolerant of incredible stupidity that this idea can even be raised for more than 2 seconds without being met by loud and unending laughter? Ok, granted that it is in the personal interest of lawyers to promote the filing of numerous spurious lawsuits so that they can grow fat on lawyer fees, but sadly he’s not the only one who thinks CCP has a responsibility to heal stupid.

Again, this is not even just some random suicide ganking. From what I’ve read (and in no way did I put in any effort to corroborate the facts, but what the heck):
1) The pilot chose to use a poorly tanked T1 frigate (looks like a cyno alt fit) to transport 22 billion ISK of goods
2) The attackers had an active war-declaration against the pilot’s alliance/corp
3) The attackers were in battleships, which take quite a while to lock small targets like the Kestrel, and the killmail shows that artillery weapons were used, meaning it wasn’t smartbombs that killed him
4) The guy was killed at a Jita gate, which means he was AUTOPILOTING WITH 74 PLEXES DURING A WARDEC and afked for so long that he lost his cloak after jumping in and then got locked and killed

This is not about some guy walking along the road and falling into a hole. This is a guy who looked on the map for the Pit Of Stupid, tied his shoelaces together and then jumped in headfirst while filming himself going “look Ma, see what I can dooooooooo”.

Even if the pilot obtained the PLEX through buying GTCs from CCP, the transaction was fully completed as he received the number of PLEX he bought. He did not need to transport the PLEX to utilise them, and he was fully aware that he ran the risk of losing them if he undocked with them. A lot of people speculate that he was trying to arbitrage on PLEX prices, which to me is another folly on itself since the return is miserable for that kind of investment. A 10 million return for a 300+ million investment? The sales tax alone would be 3 million out of the 10 milion. I don’t even bother trading in any market that doesn’t give a minimum of 10% return because it’s a waste of time, and that’s without even taking the risk from hauling into consideration.

Even if CCP added 20 warning pop-ups whenever someone tried to undock with PLEX, someone somewhere in the universe will still lose a cargohold of PLEX.

No wonder we have wonderful warning signs like these. Unfortunately the next generation of stupid will be unable to read, so they’ll have to have audio versions.