Status Update: Taking a break…

Well, this time the rumours are not greatly exaggerated.

My usually slow posting has obviously had a large break between. I have decided to take a break/quit Eve Online. I’m not sure if it will be temporary (it’s happened before and I’ve eventually returned) or if it will be more permanent this time. Only time, and CCP, will tell.

I have seen some of the ‘story boards’ CCP had at Fanfest and have to say I’m intrigued by a lot of what I see/read. But I’ve seen/read things like that before, only to not have them materialise within the game. I have shut down all my accounts bar the main for Kody, and that is on a limited timeframe. Whilst I am disappointed that in the past I have not kept my subscription up to maintain my skill training, I have also fallen far enough behind characters of similar age that it no longer matters.

At this stage I am considering re-purposing this blog for new MMO’s that I may play. I generally try to keep Kody Gloval as the main in any other MMO’s I play (well non fantasy one’s that can cope with more than a single name, and where it doesn’t sound out of place). Not sure just yet, but we shall see.

So in the interim, good hunting and fly safe (or however you generally fly) o7

CW101 – An introduction to Capacitor Warfare

Welcome to the overview of Capacitor Warfare. This is in the style of my first posting to overview ECM. That was a little easier, as Electronic Counter Measures are a form of Electronic Warfare recognised outside of the Eve universe. The concept of capacitor and draining/stealing thereof is of course pure fiction at the moment, so potentially not quite as defined. As such I have gone with the often used term ‘Capacitor Warfare’.

Overview

‘Capacitor Warfare’ is essentially the utilisation of CW modues to manipulate the enemies capacitor in order to hamper their combat capabilities. At the heart of (almost) every combat ship is the ability to power it’s modules and the source of this power is the ships capacitor. Through the reduction of this capacitor modules relying on this power can effectively be disabled.

There are two principle sources of Capacitor Warfare:

  • Energy Destabilisers – Also known as ‘Energy Neutralisers’ or the colloquial ‘neuts’, these modules eliminate a portion of the targets capacitor. Tech 1 versions of the modules cost the same amount to activate as they eliminate from the target, effectively meaning the attacking ship requires a stronger/supplemented capacitor than it’s opponent. Improved meta/tech levels improve this ratio in favor of the attackers capacitor.
  • Energy Vampires – Also known colloquially as ‘NOS’ (abbreviated form of Nosferatu, one of the types of Energy Vampires), these modules both eliminate capacitor from the target ship and transfer it to your own. The amount of energy transferred is much lower than that eliminated by destabilisers and they will not drain the target’s capacitor below the attacking ships own capacitor percentage level.

Through the utilisation of these modules, one can either attempt to reduce or eliminate the target’s power and potentially supplement their own. If the target’s capacitor is completely reduced, this can be crippling. Consider that not only many modules require power to operate, basic ship functions such as warping require capacitor. Shutting down weapons, active tank, electronic warfare and propulsion modules to name a few can be devastating to an enemy. In some cases, far more so than ECM modules which while they prevent many aggressive actions, still allow other modules to operate.

It is interesting to note that the Energy Emission Systems skill appears under the Engineering group and not Electronics. It also does not have a secondary ‘advanced’ skill as all other forms of Electronic Warfare skills do. That is the base skill for Electronic Countermeasures, Target Painting, Sensor Damping and Weapon Disruption reduce capacitor use for their respective modules. There is then an ‘advanced’ skill which builds on this providing increased effectiveness of the modules behaviour (jamming strength, painting radius, sensor reduction and tracking disruption). Finally all other forms of Electronic Warfare have a T1 frigate which allows an entry level ship (Sentinel for TD, Griffin for ECM, Maulus for Sensor Damps and Vigil for TP). As such it could be suggested that Capacitor Warfare is not considered a form of Electronic Warfare by CCP…a fact I am willing to overlook🙂

Capacitor 101

Before heading into the world of Capacitor Warfare a little bit of the basics about ship capacitors is necessary. As has already been said, the capacitor provides energy to all powered modules fitted to a ship. It is often that said that the capacitor provides the life-blood of a ship and this is certainly true when active modules are at utilised. It is also true for the inbuilt warp drive in every ship.

The capacitor is represented by two basic numbers. The maximum capacity and the recharge time. As logic would suggest, maximum capacity is the total power when the capacitor is fully recharged. The recharge time is the length of time it takes for the capacitor to recharge from completely empty to totally full. It is worth noting at this stage that the recharge time is not linear. Various formulae and suggestions on how this is calculated have been put forward over the years and I am unable to identify a definitive answer on the subject (if you know of one, please comment and point to it). However it is suggested that peak recharge is between 25% and 75% (sources vary).

Obviously time to recharge is relative to the size of the capacitor. A smaller capacitor with a fast recharge rate will provide a strong source of power whilst not being as resilient to large spikes/usage/drain. A larger capacitor with slower recharge rate will provide a greater pool and resilience, however will not recover as quickly nor be as stable. The combinations of these factors are generally known as the ‘strength’ of the ships capacitor….that is how many modules can be active whilst remaining capacitor stable (i.e. powered indefinitely). Capacitor Stability is often the holy grail of PvE ships, whilst in PvP it is sometimes not considered as critical due to the short nature of engagements (not withstanding large fleet battles which often have logistics ships capable of transferring energy to fleet members).

To provide some examples of capacitor variances, it is easy to review sample frigate level ships:

CW-Sample Capacitors

How does it work?

Unlike ECM (or in fact the capacitor itself), there is no complex math in the basics of Capacitor Warfare. You activate the destabiliser or vampire. If it is in range and all other criteria are in play (i.e. target ship capacitor % is above attacker if using a vampire) then the capacitor is reduced and potentially the attackers is increased. Quite simple really.

There are no skills nor modules which effect the amount of energy reduced or transferred, only ship specific bonuses. There are however items which will  improve the ratio of energy neutralised/stolen through reduction of capacitor usage amount on activation of the CW module.

  • Energy Emission Systems Skill
  • ‘Egress Port Maximizer’ rigs
  • ‘Squire’ ES series implants
  • Capacitor Warfare Ships

The Destabilisers and Vampires

The first and most important piece of kit is the Destabiliser or Vampire itself. Unlike ECM jammers these come in sizes matching  ship categories.

CW Chart-Small

Bonus Equipment

Rigs

The rigs called “Egress Port Maximisers” reduce the ship’s capacitor need for all energy emission modules by between 15% (Tech One) and 20% (Tech Two).

Gang

It is worth noting the complete lack of bonus available from leadership skills, unlike ANY other form of Electronic Warfare. This again suggests this fifth form of Electronic Warfare is not seen as such by CCP.

Implants

The “Inherent Implants ‘Squire’ Energy Emission Systems ES-70X” where X is 1 to 6, provide a reduction in the capacitor need of modules requiring the Energy Emission Systems skill. These vary between 1% and 6% and utilise Implant Slot 7 in the augmentations of your clone.

CW Ships

Various ships exist with bonuses to Capacitor Warfare…at first they look light on, however the notable difference between Capacitor Warfare ships and ECM ships is that there are no Tech 1 ships with bonuses to Capacitor Warfare. This seems rather odd, however it could be argued that CW is actually a more advanced form of EW than ECM and as such, this would be logical. A dubious argument in my eyes🙂 .

Much like the specialisation seen within the Caldari ships for ECM, CW ships are either of Amarrian or Blood Raider origin (with Blood Raiders being based on Amarrian ships, this tends to make sense).

CW Ships - Summary

The common theme is that the Tech One ships only receive a bonus to CW drain amount. Blood Raider ships add to this a bonus to the effectiveness of webifiers. With the exception of the Pilgrim, Tech 2 ships also receive a bonus to CW range and Tracking Disruption. The Pilgrim sacrifices the CW range bonus in exchange for the ability to fit a Covert Ops Cloaking device.

Worthy of mentioning  is that Capacitor Warfare modules are much more capable of operating effectively on a non-bonused ship than are ECM modules. Many ships have what is known as a “Utility High Power Slot”. That is they have for example 5 high slots, with the ability to fit a maximum of 4 weapons. This allows the spare fifth slot to be utilised for such items as drone range extenders, smart bombs, cloaks…or potentially Capacitor Warfare modules. A single small energy neutralizer in a frigate fight can potentially be the tipping point between a victory and a loss.

Engineering Skills

The only skill that directly effects Capacitor Warfare modules is “Energy Emmission Systems”. The description of this is:

Operation of energy transfer array and other energy emission systems. 5% reduced capacitor need of energy emission weapons per skill level.

As noted previously, this improves the ratio of energy neutralized to energy required for activation. There are no skills to improve range nor the amount neutralized.

Although not an engineering skill, it is worth noting that the ability to overheat modules can be applied to CW modules. This provides a 15% reduction to the duration bonus of energy neutralisers and vampires.

Range

Typically engagement profiles for Capacitor Warfare are at the shorter end of the spectrum. Small Tech One Neutralizers vary between 5,250m and 6,300m with Vampires ranging from 5,500m and 6,600m. Medium Neutralizers increase to between 10,500m and 12,600m with Heavies extending to 21,000km and 25,200m.

It becomes fairly apparent that ships with these modules require short range to operate effectively. The Sentinel and Curse provide up to a 200% bonus to range which dramatically changes the engagement envelope and allows for more sophisticated tactics. The Pilgrim allows the fitting of a Covert Ops Cloak providing options and the ability to pick and choose enemy targets before ‘sneaking up’ and engaging. The Blood Raider ships provide bonuses to webifier operation, either improving their effectiveness up to 90% reduction in opponents velocity (Cruor and Ashimmu) or doubling the range of their application (Bhaalgorn). The Dragoon provides bonuses to drones and as such is the ‘odd man out’ in that drones typically allow extension of range, opposing the bonus to neutraliser drain amount.

Summary

So there you go, the introduction to the art of Capacitor Warfare. In my early days I have been quite surprised as to how effective it can be. What seems to be a common component to CW bonused ships is their relative frailty. This means that closing range to apply their effects requires putting them in harms way, a delicate balance between effectiveness and suicide!

I hope that makes sense and by all means if I have screwed up or missed something, please let me know.

Good hunting,

Kody Gloval

Blog Banter #42: The Capsuleer Experience

It was waaay back in February this year (2012) that I participated in my first Eve Online ‘Blog Banter’. As anyone that has read or actively visits the blog will know, I’m not exactly a frequent poster (not by the standards of other Eve Online bloggers anyway!). However I do like to participate in these sorts of community activities when I believe I have something to offer. This is one of those times🙂

So here we go again. The topic for Blog Banter #42 is “The 2012 Community Review of Eve Online”.

Blog Banter 44: The 2012 Community Review of Eve Online
“A gaming universe as vast and unique as EVE Online is constantly evolving and the experience is different for every participant. Conventional games review techniques cannot possibly hope to provide an accurate measure of every aspect of EVE’s gameplay. However, with a community initiative like the Blog banters, we have the resources to deliver the most thorough and up-to-date review ever.
By combining the experiences of contributors from across the EVE metasphere, we get a wealth of opinions from veterans and rookies alike. We’ll be able to combine input from faction warfare specialists, wormhole residents, null-sec warriors, missioners, pirates, industrialists, roleplayers, politicians and more to paint a complete picture of the health and progress of EVE Online and its current Retribution incarnation.
Who better to review EVE Online than those who know it best?”

I will open by saying I am by no means an Eve Online guru, nor an MMORPG guru. Having said that, I have played in excess of 30 MMO’s in my MMO life so have a fairly good, broad understanding of the genre. Eve Online was my fourth MMO, back in 2003 late in the beta. I have stuck with the game on and off over the years as finances permitted and have been pretty solid from around late 2009. As such I think I have some perspective in reviewing Eve on where it is at today.

I will be the first to day I have a pretty poor memory. But I still remember my early days of Eve like it was yesterday. I had been playing “Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided” and the EA MMORPG “Earth and Beyond”. E&B was shutting down and my guild had heard of this game called “Eve Online”. As it so happened some work colleagues were in the beta, so I managed to get into it also.

It was Elite on steroids. That classic PC game, with the variety I wanted, in one neat bundle.

Eve - My first new ship (Tristan)

Man, did I make some mistakes! And honestly for the first few years, I heard these rumours of this thing called player versus player combat. But that was something that obviously didn’t happen much and when it did it was in this place called low or null sec. Places where the stars didn’t shine, pirates lived and “thar be dragons”.

I started out for many years in Eve as I guess what is known as the proverbial “care bear”. I never stepped foot out of high sec and when I did for the first time in 2006, someone promptly handed me my…yeah…they destroyed my ship. It wasn’t until 2008 that I really started experimenting with PvP in any serious way. So I have a solid background in missioning (boy do I know missioning), mining and trading.

I joined the Caldari when Faction Warfare was first rolled out, eventually switching to the Amarr. I have still stayed in touch with missioning and mining, however my Eve life has very much headed towards the PvP life in Faction Warfare. I should also note that my early years were very much solo. Occasionally a ‘Real Life’ (TM) friend would join me, but that never lasted long. My latter years I realised a major thing missing for me from Eve was playing with others and I can now say I have found a corporation in the Blackwatch Guard [BWGRD] that I truly enjoy and are a great bunch of people.

So moving from that background, I read with interest the metacritic style rating done by Mike Azzariah at the blog “A Missioneer in Eve”. I liked the way he did it, so I thought firstly I would do it in that style. Then I would do something a little more focused on the journey of Eve from ‘then’ to ‘now’.

The review:

Graphics:  This is one thing I have always loved about Eve. There is no denying it, Eve is simply gorgeous and honestly always has been. From the environment rich in suns, stars and nebulae to the ships themselves. One thing missing is that ability to ‘zoom’ through areas, dodging asteroids and flying between ships with that feeling of movement. One friend who joined me briefly was disappointed that while the ships are so pretty, that when you’re in combat you generally see your own ship…if you’re lucky!

One thing I think should be pointed out also in regards the graphics is their lightweight nature. Having played many MMO’s, the beauty of Eve’s graphics are handled in such a manner that the performance is generally outstanding. 8.5/10

Sound:  Yeah, sound. I turn off the music whenever I do a fresh installation. Is it atmospheric? Sure, I guess so. Is it good? All subjective but I’m sure an aficionado would probably say yes. Eve has even spawned it’s own community of musicians that release music tracks related to Eve. But for me it’s the atmospheric effects, the weapons, the warning claxons that I now hear. And they are solid, not outstanding. Retribution has subtly altered some of the effects and they are neither here nor there. 7/10

PvE Content:  Aaaah, here we go. Missioning in Eve could be so much more. But instead we are left with a shell of any other PvE game. Yes, yes, I’ve heard it all before. The content is the players, it’s more than PvE, blah blah blah. My question for those (like myself) that love the sandbox…why can’t it be more? I have always said that Eve lacks casual appeal. Whilst it’s skill system would appear to promote the ultimate casual gamer (hey, you don’t even have to play to advance!!!) there are very few activities suitable for a ‘quick half hour here or there’. Missioning could provide that but fails to. Epic arcs came close. Sisters of Eve and some of the early storyline missions are a start. It needs far more.  3/10

PvP Content:  I’m not sure I am truly qualified to answer this, as I have limited exposure to PvP in other MMORPG’s. But I would have to say Eve is right up there. I am going to include Faction Warfare within this category which is my focus at the moment. Improvements have been made here with iterations over the last few releases. I believe it has improved consistently and hope it will continue to be refined…nice work.  9/10

Support:  I tend to be a little let down by the support. I have logged very few petitions over my time here (perhaps testament to the general stability of the game?). But when I do I tend to get “Sorry, the logs show nothing and we can’t help you”. I understand for every 1 legitimate issue they are probably getting 9 scammers…but really? I guess I will give them a pass for the overall game stability and CCP’s responsiveness with releasing patches. 7/10

Player Base:  Eve players get a really really bad rap in the press. Yes, there are idiots. But I can assure you, no more than there are in any other MMORPG…actually I believe quite the opposite. The community that has resulted from a unique sandbox that has evolved over a decade is…well…a unique community. There are a myriad of supporting activities with blogs, wiki’s, podcasts and all manner of ‘real world’ meet ups and of course the annual Fan Fest. Within the game things are not quite so receptive, but when you are actually allowed to play the role of ‘anti-hero’ you can’t expect warm fuzzy hugs at every turn.   9/10

Conclusion  My rating is 43.5/60 which makes for 72.5%.  As Mike noted I certainly cannot be considered an unbiased reviewer so that is to be considered in all of this.

To summarise my journey within Eve and what I believe is the current state…I have been with Eve on and off throughout it’s history. It is undeniable that it has improved over the years in almost every aspect. The evolution has actually been quite remarkable when you take a step back and look at it. Obviously there have been some ‘bumps’ along the way with Incarna, the summer of rage and various player outbursts. However CCP has manged to recover and continue to iterate and generally support the player base.

Dust 514 could expand and further establish the Eve Online universe and I will again say, if they could manage to provide a more casual friendly enjoyable form of PvE content then I believe it would be in a solid state.

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