Welcome to Jester's Trek.
I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Three quick ones

Just a quickie.

CCP is still throwing last-minute things into Tuesday's Crucible expansion, which is interesting.  I thought the code was locked to new features a week or so ago for the QA team.  But hey, whatever.  That said, three of the new things being thrown in (or not being thrown in) are worth mentioning for different reasons.

First, a "bug fix" is now available in Sisi involving cloaking.  Right now on TQ, if you are cloaked using a cloaking device, and any solid object comes within 2000 meters of you, you will be decloaked.  This applies even if the solid object that comes within this distance of you is also cloaked, in which case both of you will be decloaked.  On Sisi, this "bug" is now "fixed".  Two or more cloaked ships within 2000 meters of each other will no longer decloak each other.  Apparently, this used to be the case, but was "broken" at some point 18 months or so ago and since then, cloaked ships would decloak each other if they got close enough.

Now, I can look at both sides of this issue and I'm again going to demonstrate my ability to believe two contradictory things at once:
  • This is a bad thing because it's going to make bombing runs and Black Ops drops too easy.
  • This is a good thing because more, easier bombing runs are going to make blobs (particularly tier 3 BC blobs) more risky.
On the whole, I'm leaning toward this bug fix being more negative than positive.  Over the last year or more, bombing runs have required some skill.  You had to manage your perch points, your warp-ins, and had to act as a collective unit while still being careful not to disrupt each other.  It took planning, and it took an FC and pilots that kind of knew what they were doing (though beginners could still learn it easily enough).

Now, bombing runs are going to be easy enough that this tactic can be programmed into bots or easily used with identical multi-client set-ups.  The FC will be able to warp the whole bombing squad to a perch together, then warp them down to the target together.  The only thing missing will be the push button for launching the bombs, then the FC can warp the whole bomb squad out of danger together, too.  The bomb squad can cloak up as a unit and warp off as a unit.

Like I said, part of me thinks this is going to be way too easy.  Still, on the other hand, with tank-less tier 3 BCs likely to be roaming in large numbers, a counter to this in the form of easier-to-use bomber wings will probably be a good thing, too.  So, yeah, I'm conflicted about this one.

Second, there was some grumbling from occasional booster users like myself about removing the side effects from boosters, and other changes to boosters that CCP was planning for Crucible to make them more ubiquitous.  While I don't dispute that as a worthy goal, CCP was taking it too far.  Had this change gone through, everyone would have had to use boosters just to stay competitive, particularly in the small-gang PvP fights that I favor.  The risk factor was the only thing preventing that.  Today, CCP agreed and they've backed off those plans.  For now, no changes to boosters in Crucible.  This is unquestionably a good thing.

Third and finally, a change that is just unquestionably dumb, and I'd like to encourage people to speak up about it.  Today, in your General Settings when you hit Escape, there is a check box that will allow you to lock windows when pinned.  Today, in EVE's UI, pinning a window to the screen renders it semi-transparent but doesn't really do anything else.  It can still be moved by either the player or the UI, which is rather silly.  To get the pin button to work as you would expect it to work (you know... actually pinning that window to where you've chosen to put it), you have to actually get into the Graphics settings and click this check box that locks pinned windows in place.  Once you do that, a pinned window stays where you put it.

This is a valuable consideration, particularly in PvP, where one mis-click or mis-drag of a mouse can move a window across your screen and get you killed.

Well, that entire option has been removed from Sisi.  Here's the official reason, quoted in full:
This was removed on purpose. The feature was becoming increasingly hard to maintain due to technical reasons, and given the fact that very few people even knew of it's existence, we decided to remove it.
Yeah.  That's it.  That's the whole reason.  It was hard to maintain.  I guess I don't have to express how poor I find this reasoning, and I encourage people to post to this thread

So, if you'd like a button that pins a window to actually... you know... pin the window, I encourage you to get on this thread and say so.  ;-)

EDIT (23/Nov/2011): CCP is listening, and the ability to pin windows will be reintroduced ASAP, though it's apparently too late to stop the removal of this feature before Crucible.

We're still on course for a huge number of positive changes to EVE on Tuesday, the 29th, though!  Can't wait!

13 comments:

  1. Your views are not contradictory though? You are seeing both sides of a situation? :P

    Having a contradictory view is a little more complicated.

    I like the drawbacks for boosters though! Silly CCP. Well, they had to add something for the bittervets.

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  2. Idk if you've caught this yet but they also took the suggestion that starbase blocks be 40/20/10 and give the faction towers the fuel bonus: http://www.eveonline.com/devblog.asp?a=blog&nbid=3143

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  3. Yep, I caught that. Since it happened the day after my blog post about it, I just edited it into that blog post.

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  4. Re: Pinning Windows

    Ironic. Since the new Carbon UI was supposed to make these things easier to maintain.

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  5. It's worth remembering that stealth bombers still have to coordinate bomb launches - too many of them in one go and the first bombs to explode will take out the incoming bombs.

    I wonder how much other pilots would like to be in the situation where being too close to other ships disrupts tracking or target locking? Having cloaked ships decloaking each other was a pain. Sure, it "dumbs down" the game from where it was, but where it was, was stupidly complex.

    How complex is lighting a cyno and bridging ships? Not too hard, but people still muck it up. How complex is targeting the primary target and shooting it? Not too hard, but people still muck it up. Why should black ops pilots be held to superhuman levels of coordination when every scrub in the game gets to fly standard-fit DPS ships, follow orders, and be much more useful for much less effort?

    I'm surprised you didn't raise the issue of the bomb explosion radius being displayed on the tactical overview. That removes an awful lot of skill in flying stealth bombers - far more skill was required to drop bombs correctly, than to follow warp instructions.

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  6. @Mara: actually, I think that pretty sphere is going to get a LOT of OCD bomber pilots killed, as they spend the extra few seconds trying to line up that sphere and don't notice themselves getting alphaed right off the field. ;-)

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  7. I really enjoy your blogs, insightful :)

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  8. Wait, black ops made easy? That cant be right. On second consideration this will make flying bombers and such easier in general but the entire BO procedure and logistics will still be very complicated. Plus there will still be the insta-lock arty BC's to deal with bombers. I dont see this leading to noob masses in SB's ravaging null, although that would be an interesting change...

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  9. Anon2104: Part of the difficulty of hopscotching a Blops gang behind enemy lines is forming everyone up close to the Black Ops between jumps. You generally want everyone really close to the Black Ops ship to minimize your exposure before a jump. This leaves the Blops hanging out to dry when he decloaks for an unnecessary half-minute or so while all the cloakies approach him, then decloak.

    That little bit of exposure/wasted time will no longer be needed. All the cloakies can sit right within jump range of the Blops while they wait for the next hop. When the hop comes, they can decloak and jump instantly. No waiting.

    That's going to make Blops gangs much easier to run and much harder to detect, since the Blops and its gang will only have to decloak for 40 seconds or so each hop.

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  10. I'm sad to see this "bug fix" for a completely different reason. Having played EVE now for about a year, I was unaware this behavior was anything but working as intended. I've netted numerous kills in a cloaky ship spotting another vessel decloak for some reason (launching probes, getting too close to an object, etc.) and set course for their last known coordinates. Through some combination of luck and skill, getting within 2km of their ship decloaked both of us and led to me violencing their ship...guess those days are over as I doubt they'd allow my uncloaked ship to fly about nearby in an attempt to randomly decloak them.

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  11. @Jester: I hope so :)

    The "skill" in bombing runs was picking the right approach path so the bomber could be into warp within half a second of decloaking and launching the bomb.

    I have yet to get back on Sisi and check whether that sphere is visible while cloaked >.<

    Too busy getting a garden under control and spamming incursions before they get nerfed.

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  12. The lazy way to do things will be to keep everyone clumped up together for bombing runs. The CORRECT way will continue to be individualized bombing spots and individual pilots managing their own actions.

    The fact that once one member of a cluster decloaks, it will chain decloak every other bomber kills this as a viable tactic for anything but a single bombing pass.

    Chain decloaking kills the new "fix" during bombing runs as the bombing fleet should be broken down into teams based on both bomb damage type** and into numbers modular enough for an FC to be able to scale the bomb runs to be appropriate for specific target blobs. You don't want to use your whole payload on targets that only needs a few bombs to kill.

    Using gang warps once an engagement has been started isn't feasible, as you will still have a portion of the fleet in warp that is decloaked. When they land they will chain decloak everyone else that did manage to get cloaked up at whatever rally point you are using. This will require members to spread out to recloak. This wastes time and is just flat out sloppy, the faster you can get everyone back on station for the next bombing run the more likely they will still be reeling from your last run. Remember T2 bomb launchers have a reduced cycle time, so everyone needs to be ready for their next run even faster than before :).

    Also clumping everyone together is just not safe. One random dram buzzes by or a ship comes out of warp at the wrong trajectory and your whole fleet chain decloaks. A member of your fleet looses connection and his ship decloaks before it warps off (happens constantly). Things just happen sometimes and someone loses cloak. Not to mention the Leeroy Jenkins Factor (wait for the YouTube Videos, because they're coming).

    Having effective bomber fleets following timed instructions for cloaking, decloaking, bombing, and warping is not only easier using methods currently employed with the limitations on TQ but it is only possible using those methods even with the new (or old) mechanics on SISI.

    In essence, this changes transit tactics (including black-ops) and gives people a whole new and entertaining way to fail (can't wait for the chain decloaking video's to start hitting, it's going to be EPIC).

    **(for reasons Mara Rinn hit on, each bomb has 95% resistance but only to the same type of damage that it outputs. Thus you can only have one type of bomb being shot at a given target at the same time, otherwise you'll dud your own bombs.)

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  13. Oh and Mara, I tested on SISI, the bomb bubble is visible while cloaked. It's neat and all, but since I don't fly nemesis or purifier I probably won't be too mesmerized with it. Hound and Manticore both pretty much have convenient "sights" built into their models, whereas nemesis and purifier are built like impressionist art.

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