Friday, September 27, 2013

Dust514 and the Future of Planetary Interacton

For fuck's sake...

I have a grand vision for how to turn Dust mercs into actual mercenaries that work for ISK. I even outlined it in a previous blog, with a bunch of other goodies aimed at including more EVE into Dust514 (the best selling point of the game in the overly-crowded FPS market.) Holy shit that blog was back in June... I (read: my Alliance authors) need to step it up!


Currently district ownership produces clones, which are equivalent to ISK since they auto-sell off after you hit district cap. This is the primary purpose for owning districts. This needs to change. The clones need to be units that are either moved from district to district, to start battles, or sold to other corporations. If there is no demand, the value of clones drops off. As time goes on removing "clone packs" from Genolution would be beneficial to the economy as there would no longer be an NPC price fixed for the purchase/sale, but that's not what this blog is about.

Income should be based off of activity within a district, and, in the case of EVE activity, this is Planetary Interaction installations. District owners should be able to tax installations in their district, with different activities to tax at different rates:
  • Production (extractions, manufacturing) 
  • Transmission (material transfers between installations)
  • Import/Export (to/from space)
  • Lease (a tax on the command center ONLY that you pay daily to the District owner.)
  • Construction (the placement of facilities. This is less of a tax on income, but a flat fee per structure placement with a reasonable hard cap at 10 million ISK or so for a command center.)
Example break down of two districts with different tax rates. While the lease is cheaper in District 1 (owned by Corp A), it makes more sense to build and export in District 2 (owned by Corp B). This could spark tax wars between groups with different philosophies. 

In addition, installations that sprawl across multiple districts with supply lines (including extractor heads) will have to deal with additional tariffs that a neighboring district's owners can impose for materials crossing their boarders. This way, it will encourage EVE players to group their facilities into districts that are favorable, tax-wise, or can pay mercenary corporations to take districts on the behalf of their corporation and be done with a fascist tax-hungry douche bag that controls a prime district with 100% tax on extraction.

As with Customs Offices, you can set different tax brackets for different relations (Corporation, Alliance, Excellent/Good/Bad/Terrible standing).

Aggro Management

As previously outlined, the EVE players trying to make a living from these districts will immediately have the desire to keep their investments profitable. If a district owner (whether it be a rival EVE corp, or a bitter EVE-hating Dust corp) decides they don't want anyone but their corporation using their land, they could tax the entire district, across all spectra (tariff, production, total income) to 100%. Now, if they are on top of a particularly valuable resource, this is bound to piss people off.

Dust corporations should then be utilized to invade the district, either for themselves, or on behalf of any other corporation, EVE or Dust. This would happen exactly as the existing PC battles, but with the added flair that Dust mercs fighting on behalf of another corporation would be publicly visible and their victory automatically hands the district over to the contract initiator. (As a side, personal note, removing ringers in favor of this would be far more beneficial to the corporations in Dust since they'd know what they were up against going into the match from the get-go, instead of no one wanting to attack ANY district in fear of being curb stomped by any random top 10 corp that might show up in lobby.)

Now, if your corporation own a tasty piece of land, other players will try to set up shop within the district regardless of the tax, either because the materials extracted are necessary, or the players are dicks and want to drain your shit. This will mean an owner will have to decide on a balance between tolerating their presence (potentially screwing themselves by having reduced yield) or destroying/raiding the new facilities.


This is what CCP had us all envision several fanfests ago. Using Dust mercenaries to remove PI infrastructure from the planets!

Assume you own a district and someone you don't like (maybe even a fellow corp mate? Who knows?) set up facilities that overlap yours and are hurting your bottom line. You want him gone. You go to his structures in the planet viewer, and initiate an attack contract against any of his facilities using clones your purchased from the open market. There will be a delay between the attack order and the actual battle, depending on the size of the installation.
  • Extractors, Production facilities - 1 hour
  • Cargo Hubs - 2 hours
  • Space Ports - 24 hours
  • Command Center (>24 hours during the owner's set reinforcement timer!)
Command centers will have an additional attribute that EVE players can set when installing them: a reinforcement window. This will behave identically to the one in Dust. Keep in mind, the above timers are only that short because the player has set up the facilities within a district YOUR CORP OWNS. See "Raiding" below for details on how matches work for facilities NOT within your district.

Battle will occur AT LEAST 24 hours from the initiated attack, during the Player's Reinforcement window. He can then put the match up on contracts to his corp, alliance, friends, or the public. He "pulls the trigger" on who to accept, similar to EVE's war-assist system.
Also, to avoid EVE players blue-balling the Dust players by removing structures that are currently under attack, the structures will enter a "locked" mode that makes them unable to be edited until after a defensive victory.


What if you want to harass someone's PI, but don't own the district and don't have the manpower to take on the District owner? This is where the concept of Raiding comes in. 

The procedure works exactly as with the Eviction concept above, but now all matches start on the defender's reinforcement timer, and attacking a Command Center is not permitted. ONLY a district owner can completely evict and EVE player from the surface of a planet through this means.

An outside corp wants to either destroy the extraction facility or simply hijack its output for a day. Since Corp C (the aggressor) does not own the district, the match will take place during the Player's reinforcement timer he has set in his Command Center, at least 24 hours from when the attack is launched.

But what if you just want resources/money from facilities and don't want care about removing them? Well, I'll explain, in greater detail, how to accomplish this below.

Nuke it From Orbit or Rape and Pillage?

The matches for these types of removals (raiding AND destruction) must be different and complete destruction MUST tie into EVE Online.

Firstly, bring back multi-stage map idea, Skirmish 1.0 (as its become known)! This is an excellent time to utilize it. The defender should have infinite clones and its a race against time. There should also be a choice for the invader:
  • Destroy the facility
  • Steal assets
With Skirmish 1.0, the attackers have to complete two stages to win, in both Destroy and Steal, the first stage must be completed. This will open up the map to the main facility where the choice by the attackers must be made. 

Steal Assets:
If they wish to simply steal some of the resources (>24 hours worth to the Player-set reinforcement timer), they must have their MCC dock with the facility by keeping defensive Null cannons offline to prevent MCC destruction. In addition, they must ensure their clones are not depleted. If the attacker wins, the EVE player is locked from modifying their reinforcement timer until the NEXT reinforcement window (>24 hours from the battle, mind you), and the structure can not be removed or modified in any way. Also, the items created in this window (or currently stored there) will be liquidated for 75% their average market value, and the ISK awarded to the raiding corporation (or those that paid for the contract).

Destroying the Facility:
Destroying the facility should be simpler, but REQUIRE EVE interaction. After stage one is completed, and the facility becomes accessible to the attackers, a squad leader must plant a physical beacon inside of the facility. This beacon must be visible to everyone on the map and has a countdown of 2 minutes, and also stalls the approach of the MCC (it doesn't want to destroyed, after all). The beacon can be hacked (and thus removed) by the defenders and must then be replanted by the attackers. In orbit, an EVE player equipped with Tactical Hybrid/EMP/Laser L (Battleship-sized weapons) must be connected to the district for the entirety of the countdown and then must fire after it hits 0. The match is ended, the facility is obliterated by fire.


As I've stated a million times between the EVE and Dust514 forums (and this blog), the strength of Dust isn't its shooter gameplay, or its free-to-play model, and it is especially not that it is available on a single console... It is the EVE interaction that will make this game stand out. Trailers show massive battles happening over planets, with shots to and from the planet. I've been fortunate enough to have a couple skirmishes above a district in an attempt to thwart bombardment attempts against my Dust guys, but they were no where near the scale shown in trailers. If CCP wants to make EVE players care about Dust enough to fight above the planets and risk Supers getting blown to bits by orbital artillery, they need to start affect EVE players' bottom lines. Starting with PI installations is a good first step.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Is a FTP EVE Online Possible?

For fuck's sake...

It's been a bit since I've written a post here, but I think Kaphine's last article did a good job summing up what was keeping us busy. Currently Tso's is deployed to Molden Heath in an effort to support our 1500 or so Dust players and to grief the ice mining operations in Teon that Brusanan has been doing for months. I'll write another update (hopefully) before the end of the month with more details about Tso's, but that's not what sparked my interest in doing this piece.

Two articles, one from EVENews24, the other from TMC, have mentioned a free-to-play (FTP) model for EVE Online, which you should know is a subscription-based game. If you didn't know this... sorry to break it to you, but you've been running up your mother's credit card and it won't be too long before she finds out.

The EN24 article itself isn't the interesting part relevant to this conversation, but the post by the ANONDEV in the comments:

If this is to be believed, and this is actually an insider with information, I'm really curious how Zulu and Soundwave envisioned a FTP EVE. And so, I will grace you all with my take on how this would be possible.


As mentioned in the TMC article, everything created for the NeX should be in the game. I'm also of the opinion that clothing, when equipped to a player, should be destructible when the pod is destroyed. For this to not cause immediate outrage, items that exist now must be multiplied by a fair amount, around 20 or so. With the equipping process of the clothing, it makes having spares useful if you wish to dress all jump clones the same. And with pod kill mails, it could be one more thing to rejoice over when you see a monocle was equipped.

Custom Paint Jobs

While I like the idea of being able to paint your ship any way you see fit despite CCP's fear of flesh-toned Thoraxes, I also think there is a technical hurdle to leap over. Since the idea is for vanity, a player would want other players to see the paint job. This would require every single ship to have additional color attributes attached to them so each client could render it the proper color. And that's just if players could only choose pre-existing patterns/colors to apply to specific subsections of a ship. This could get really out of hand in large fleet battles.

The simplest solution to this specific problem is to make it something that is only visible when doing "look at" on a ship, similar to turrets being rendered now.

Of course, the TMC idea of selling pre-existing paint jobs is most likely the easiest, except the ships need to be treated as the raw hull with an equipped item instead of an "Ishukone Watch Scorpion" class ship. It should be a Scorpion with an Ishukone paint scheme "equipped" to the ship, where the paint would be visible on the kill mail and add to the value. I support everything being destructible, so there should be an amount of "paint" a pilot can purchase and equip, with different sized hulls requiring more paint than others. Shuttles needing 1 bucket up to dreads needing 100 or something, selling 100 buckets of paint for 1000 Aurum or so, with potentially cheaper ones through loyalty point stores of the factions.


Holy crap, an idea NOT mentioned on the TMC article! Is it an original thought? Probably not.

This is where EVE would truly move from subscription model with some micro-transactions thrown in, to actual free-to-play.

Allow AUR to be purchased directly through dollars/pounds/euros OR through the breakdown of PLEX. Currently PLEX breakdown is the only way to create AUR in EVE. However, in Dust, AUR can be purchased outright. AUR can then be used to buy boosters, skinned versions of various gear (that is the same as existing gear you earn through skill training, mind you!), and militia-level BPO's (for convenience of not restocking items.)

Now, AUR in EVE should be a way to activate skill training, have full market/contract/ISK transfer access, and the ability to utilize multiple accounts at the same time. In a way, this uses many of the limiting factors of a trial account, coupled with a new, all-important skill training lock-out. Since SP is king (for some players its the only thing that keeps them subbed), this would motivate individuals to dump some of their ISK (or $) into AUR to train, even if only a couple days at a time.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Am I some kind of Orca aggro magnet?

This is a mostly a copy-pasta from a post I already made on Reddit. To downvote it, go here:

I posted this after an engagement last night where we killed an Orca. It was my second Orca kill with a Tristan from canflipping in two days, and my third in a month. Plus it was a particularly good story, so I decided it was worth a post on Reddit. I wrote up an article about it, and then went to bed.

Today I was happy to see that it got a pretty good response. I had some stuff to do this afternoon, but I figured I had time to log in and harass some miners before I left. Within half an hour I had YET ANOTHER FUCKING ORCA ENGAGE ME, and so I pinged Belligerent Undesirables again and had a couple people come to help, but they weren't actually needed. It was a fairly easy kill.

So here is the original post on Reddit, and I will make a quick writeup about the last Orca at the end of it.

The original Post:
I am normally against this kind of attention-whoring over kills, but I think this has now become too amusing not to share. The story I'm about to tell you happened tonight, and it is my 2nd Orca kill in a Tristan from canflipping in 48 hours, and my 3rd in about a month and a half. There is something about me (probably my stupid face) that makes Orca pilots so angry and violent that they can't even take the time to dock up and switch ships before lashing out; they just have to punch me in the face right then and there (with drones).

So this all started when I stole some metal scaps. Yeah, I shit you not. The highsec rat loot that this Orca died for was worth less than 25k ISK in total.

There was a reasonable sized mining op comprised of Procurers and two Orcas. When I went suspect, almost immediately I was aggressed by one of the Procurers. When I started shooting him back, one of the Orcas decided to join in and help. I quickly switched my point over to the Orca, keeping my drones on the Procurer, and pinged on Ventrilo and in Belligerent Undesirables for backup. I was actually relieved that I only had to kill an Orca with a T1 frigate instead of the Procurer, since Orcas are easier to kill than post-mining buff Procurers. Within a minute or so, I realized the second Orca had sent his drones after me, but they couldn't actually catch me to start a limited engagement (for the first Orca I actually had to slow down to let the drones catch me and give aggro). I didn't have a second point anyway, so I just let his drones chase me for a while until common sense hit him and he pulled them and left, along with the Procurer. Yes, I literally had two Orcas aggress/try to aggress me to save a Procurer, who decided to attack me over some metal scraps that I guarantee he didn't want anyway. I love miners.

It wasn't long before he pinged for his own backup and they showed up to try and ruin my fun. This is where it gets entertaining, so I am going to do my best to give you an accurate blow-by-blow of the events. Disclaimer: Many of the details are fuzzy here. I did my best to piece together what I remember of the fight, but I am sure they are not 100% accurate.

Before my backup started arriving, a Rupture arrived on the field. He aggressesd me and I originally sent my drones after him to scare him off, but I realized he was too well tanked, so I decided to just put my drones back on the Orca and hope I could tank him. After a minute or so of not doing any damage at all to me, the Rupture decides to leave.

Shortly after that, a Megathron Navy Issue lands on grid and aggresses me. Needless to say, his guns were not hitting me at all, but his drones started doing a bit of damage so I took some time here to kill off his drones and the ones belonging to the Orca. After that I just went back to shooting the Orca, and pretended the Navy Mega didn't exist for the remainder of the fight.

My backup finally started arriving on grid, and around the same time the Rupture pilot came back in a Talwar. The Talwar started attacking, but he was hitting me hard, so I couldn't ignore him. I was in a shield-tanked Tristan, and the only logi I had on grid was armor logi (which didn't get used during the entire fight, other than for bumping). I sent my drones after the Talwar, but he was dying very, very slowly. When another one of their corpmates landed on grid in a Blackbird, I ordered my backup to start bumping the Orca to prevent him from warping off, and I started preparing myself mentally for the inevitable jams.

The Blackbird started jamming me, and I did my best to keep fighting the Talwar in between jam cycles. Finally he warps off, and I send my drones back on the Orca. At this point I am completely permajammed by this Blackbird (who is at 180km, BTW. Thanks CCP.). Fortunately my backup is doing an excellent job keeping the Orca bumped, and my drones are slowly eating away at his shield.

After a minute or two the Talwar comes back. He starts shooting at me again, and I manage to lock him to quickly send my drones after him before I am jammed again. He is slowly taking down my shield, and I can't lock him to even see where his health is at. Since the Orca doesn't seem to be going anywhere and I am permajammed anyway, I decide to burn way out to try and regain some shield and see if I can get outside the Blackbird's lock range. Once I hit 50% shield I burn back in, and the Talwar warps off before I can even get another lock on him. For some reason he didn't return after that.

So after the Talwar leaves I immediately get jammed again. Now my drones just sit there stupidly in space, not doing anything. I am orbiting the Orca, but I have no way of aggressing. I am permajammed by this damn Blackbird, and my limited engagement timer is slowly ticking away. I order half of my backup to go try and bump the Blackbird farther away from me. Two minutes left; I am spamming the hell out of the lock button.  One minute and thirty seconds; Still spamming lock, as a Jaguar lands on grid. The Jaguar aggresses, and my drones auto-aggro him. 30 second left, and I am already starting to mourn the loss of an Orca kill. But then finally, the Jag decides to leave, and for some reaosn my drones go back to shooting the Orca!

So now there are no immediate threats on the field. The Navy Mega still is still around but isn't hurting me. I am still permajammed, but at least my drones are still doing damage to the Orca, who is now into armor. And finally, my Suspect ends right as more of the Orca's corpmates start landing on grid. At this point all they can do is watch.

You might be wondering why I haven't mentioned any of them shooting my drones at all. That's because during this entire engagement, the only one who had the sense to try shooting my drones here was the Orca, but he only did it occasionally, and never at the right times. Everyone else just left them alone to slowly kill him, uncontested.

Now at this point I am having one group of support bump the Orca in one direction, and another group bump the Blackbird in the other direction. Slowly he is starting to miss more and more jam cycles, until eventually he has had enough and warps off. I spend a few minutes watching the Orca's armor go down relatively quickly, while keeping an eye on the Blackbird's limited engagement timer and watching DSCAN for him at the same time.

When I finally see the Blackbird back on scan, there is less than a minute left on his aggro. I give my support a heads up and start aligning out. He lands on grid without about 30 seconds left on the timer, and I immediately warp out. I bounce off the sun and warp back in. As I am in warp watching the last few seconds of his aggro timer count down, I noticed something else: The Navy Mega's aggro is going to end before I land back on grid as well. I hadn't noticed it, but he must have deaggressed somehow shortly after the Blackbird warped off.

So I land back on grid with no more hostile aggro, and that was the final nail in the coffin for the Orca. He was into structure, and all of the backup he had on grid could do nothing but watch. As a last-ditch effort he brought in a Scimitar to rep his shield for a few cycles until my support scared him off, but it failed, and eventually they all just gave up. When he hit about 80% struct, he initiated self-destruct, and that was how it ended.

His wreck was filled with maybe 50m worth of crap, but his corpmates blew it up before we could scoop any of it. I didn't care. It wasn't about the ISK anyway.


One thing I found amusing was that looking at his Orca fit, he was structure tanked. He took the time to fit a tank on his Orca, but then as soon as I hit his tank, he decided to self-destruct instead of letting his tank do its job. Oh well, all he did was save all of us some time. I can't complain.

After the Orca died, they decided they had not given us enough entertainment just yet, so they decided to shower us with tears in local chat (with our encouragement):

[03:36:11] Elam Ciaran > Fuck you =P
[03:36:16] BE3DEXOD > Kill: Phist Butts (Orca) :P
[03:36:38] Elam Ciaran > *golf clap*Shouldn't you kids be getting into bed?
[03:37:05] Jarod Garamonde > TEARS!!!! TEARS!!!! YES!!!!!!
[03:37:14] Phist Butts > Too bad you're too chicken shit to do that in low sec
[03:37:46] Jarod Garamonde > dude.... the hell we don't
[03:37:48] BE3DEXOD > Well, Orcas generally don't hang out in lowsec
[03:38:04] Phist Butts > And appaerntly neither do you
[03:38:07] Selina Crendraven > WTS ORCA 800 MIL
[03:38:11] Phist Butts > Might get yourself hurt
[03:38:23] Jarod Garamonde > I gots your drones
[03:39:37] Elam Ciaran > The only reason you fucking shit eaters are alive right now is because the game mechanics are protecting you.
[03:39:56] Selina Crendraven > Hey man, you seem a tab bit mad.
[03:39:56] Phist Butts > lol
[03:40:00] BE3DEXOD > Yeah, I know. I hate when I know how to use game mechanics to my advantage.
[03:40:39] BE3DEXOD > Funny how the 6 or 7 people shooting me at once didn't save the Orca when the game mechanics were on your side in the beginning
[03:40:42] Phist Butts > Haha, he might be now, but at the end of the day, you are the shit eaters that can only exist hiding behind concord
[03:40:42] Elam Ciaran > Wel, I'm about to use a credit card to mine. Hope you like non-stop war decs.
[03:40:51] Jarod Garamonde > I couldn't help but notice your tears. They run deep. SHARE THEM WITH ME!!!
[03:41:17] Selina Crendraven > Welcome to Eve friends, where you're not safe anywhere. Even in High-Sec!
[03:41:24] BE3DEXOD > Phist Butts remember that comment in a few days
[03:41:31] BE3DEXOD > When I start burning through these:
[03:41:32] BE3DEXOD >
[03:41:37] Phist Butts > Any where people are chicken shit, even on the internet
[03:41:46] Selina Crendraven > Reported for harassment
[03:41:52] Phist Butts > Try toughening up sometime, and come play with the big boys
[03:41:59] Phist Butts > Have a good night
[03:42:03] Elam Ciaran > Bring it. I've actually got a job that pays real money and doesn't depend on me being an asshole. I do that bit of my own free will.
[03:42:05] Selina Crendraven > Play with the big boys? You're mining an ice belt
[03:42:06] Jarod Garamonde > HTFU, carebear
[03:42:18] BE3DEXOD > I know, you big boys who spend all day mining in highsec
[03:42:30] Elam Ciaran > I'm gonna fuck you until you quit playng this game. Then we'll see who's tears taste the best.
[03:42:34] BE3DEXOD > lol
[03:42:46] Jarod Garamonde > My job depends on me being an asshole.
[03:42:52] Selina Crendraven > Elam Ciaran reported!
[03:42:54] Phist Butts > TSA?
[03:42:58] BE3DEXOD > Elam Ciaran you are the reason I grief in Eve
[03:43:08] Jarod Garamonde > I'm an Artillery Spotter... I don;t even have the decency to LOOK at the people I'm killing before I do it
[03:43:10] BE3DEXOD > Your corp just became my new favorite corp in Eve
[03:43:12] Phist Butts > Selina, find some more ways to hide beind the game
[03:43:23] Phist Butts > Weak people need that
[03:43:26] BE3DEXOD > Are you guys recruiting? I have a few awox alts who aren't doing anything, and I saw you had a second Orca there.
[03:43:30] Phist Butts > Here and in real life
[03:43:41] Selina Crendraven > What am I hiding behind?
[03:43:44] Jarod Garamonde > says the Orca pilot that sits and boosts miners all day
[03:43:51] Selina Crendraven > Bro, you lost an orca, please cry about it some more in local
[03:43:56] Selina Crendraven > maybe you can petition it and get it back
[03:44:00] Phist Butts > I'll let you reread what you don't understand
[03:44:17] Phist Butts > Hey guys, I know you think this is AOL messanger, but I have things to do
[03:44:19] Phist Butts > later
[03:44:35] Selina Crendraven > "Is a big boy; cries about spaceship loss in video game"

And like I mentioned, this was my second Orca kill, with a Tristan, from canflipping, in less than two days. The previous kill can be found here:

For that one he was tanking me for a long time, and I actually had to move my Orca alt 20 jumps to the system we were in so I could refit for damage and race against the clock to kill him before downtime.

And then the first Orca kill happened a month and a half ago:

He aggressed to save two corpmates in Retrievers who engaged me. The Retriever pilots switched into a Sleipnir and a Drake to try and save the Orca, but they landed on grid about ten seconds after my Suspect ended. The Drake actually Concorded himself aggressing me, while the Sleipnir just watched the Orca die.

Well, that's all I have to say for now. Hope you enjoyed reading about it.

TL;DR: Miners are bad at Eve.

So anyway, this morning I spent a few minutes canflipping while I was reading the Reddit comments, and within a few minutes I had another Orca aggress me. Seriously, what the fuck? How is this even possible?

So I took a screencap as proof, since at this point even I am having trouble believing this is happening:

I posted that on Reddit while I pinged in Belligerent Undesirables for backup again.

After about 5 minutes a Wolf showed up. He started hitting me really hard, and I thought I was going to lose the Orca. I sent my drones after him but shortly afterwards I had to burn out of his range to avoid his damage. I was about 60-70km away from the Orca at one point, and my disruptor was deactivated, but instead of warping off like he should have, he was cocky and decided to stick around to watch me die. The only problem was his terrible friend in the Wolf was forced to warp off when he hit sturcture. He was dropping so fast I'm not even sure if he had a tank fit.

So I burned back and pointed the Orca again before he had the sense to leave, and after a few minutes my aggro to the Wolf and Suspect were over. One of their corpmates showed up in a Talwar to give me killrights, but after that it was just an easy, if not slow, Orca kill.

Some cool guys from BU did show up with bumps and logi, but in the end they weren't needed. This was the easiest Orca kill of them all, despite the Wolf.

So yeah, 3 Orca kills with Tristans, from canflipping, in less than 3 days. I have had worse weeks.