Archive for April, 2011

28
Apr
11

Stacking Penalties

Stacking: harder in real lifeTalking to new players, I encounter many misconceptions and confusion surrounding the concept of Eve’s stacking penalty system. Some don’t understand what the stacking penalty does; many others do, but don’t see why it’s in the game. I’ll try to get everyone up to speed, but the second point will take up the bulk of this article.

Basics

The basic idea is that stacking penalties reduce the effectiveness of multiple ship modules affecting the same ship attribute. Eve University has a basic explanation, eve-wiki has a better one, but they still only provide a brief overview.

What stacks without penalty?

  • Implants (except for  Snake implants)
  • Combat boosters
  • Damage Control
  • Skills (including piloting skills that give ship bonuses)
  • Engineering boosts (CPU, capacitor size and regen, powergrid, shield regen)
  • Anything that adds raw numbers (i.e. armor plates, shield extenders) rather than a percentage
  • Shield and capacitor recharge
  • Cargo hold size

What definitely is stacking penalised?

  • Weapon damage and rate of fire percentage bonuses from modules or rigs
  • Weapon range bonuses
  • Sensor range and scan resolution
  • Speed
  • Agility
  • Shield percentage changes and repair bonuses (rigs, shield boost amplifiers)
  • Armour percentage changes and repair bonuses (rigs, regenerative plating)
  • Resistances
  • Electronic Warfare (both boosts, and the effects)

Note that penalties are stacking nerfed as well as bonuses. This makes multiple capacitor power relays a viable option for shield-tanked ships, and means that target painters and shield rigs stack against each other (don’t worry, your signature radius will still be huge; just slightly less huge)

Everything else is a maybe.

Why are modules stacking penalised?

The quick answer is, “because players are min-maxing bastards.”

A longer answer is that players like to optimise their ships for their intended role. If their ship is designed to kill things quickly, they will want to fit modules that maximise its damage capability. Similarly, if the ship is a bait ship, tank is maximised at the expense of everything else.

However, the problem lies with percentage bonuses.

Graph showing the runaway increase without stacking penalty

Without stacking penalties, things soon get out of hand

With a non-percentage bonus, each additional module provides the same increase in a linear fashion. Add two 1600mm plates, and the enemy will take twice as long to chew through them compared to only fitting one. In the graph above, it’s the grey line.

With a percentage bonus, each module you add becomes more powerful, based on the number of existing modules. This rapidly gets out of hand. The red line in the example is how much damage a ship would do with tech 2 damage modules without a stacking penalty. Note that the graph only goes to six modules, but in some cases, a full eight could be fit (and in the case of an Iteron V and its rigs, often are fit). Increasing a gank ship’s damage to more than triple would just wreck game balance; as would buffing resistance bonuses for tanky ships. It would be (and by all accounts was) an un-fun game full of extreme fits with less interesting gameplay.

To solve this, CCP added module stacking in the Red Moon Rising expansion in 2005. As can be seen, adding a single module remains unchanged; adding a second keeps the slight boost due to percentage compounding, but the third module is back down to the linear level, and it gets downhill past that. This has the effect of nerfing those modules down to a near-linear progression, meaning that the defensive modules such as plates and shield extenders can catch up, but if you don’t fit them, you aren’t destroyed instantly.

In summary: you may hate the fact that module stacking makes your fit not as awesome as you’d like, but you wouldn’t like the alternative.

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28
Apr
11

The Philosophy of Passive Income

Tarigal’s philosophy on passive income:

If you make all your isk doing boring shit that you eventually come to hate, that isk grows exponentially in value because you will want to avoid doing the boring shit again. […] Establishing passive income solves [this issue] as the pilot is now making isk with a positive personal value.  Isk will no longer have a negative personal value associated with boring work.

Eve is not just about making isk, but knowing how to lose it well.

Full document here.

27
Apr
11

Postponing an Outpost

Was swanning about on the weekend, doing Serpentis Hubs when the Random Number Generator bestowed upon me not one, but two Shadow Serpentis Fleet Staging Point escalations in a nearby region.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to run them because most of my alliance is away on deployment while I skill up for useful combat ships and the isk to fly them. As the escalations were sprinkled with neut towers, I wasn’t game to bring my Tengu in, so I decided to err on the side of caution and let them expire.

Yes, I am a wimp 😦

Energy Neutralizer Tower

21
Apr
11

Freighter Pilot Implants

DerMuffin mentioned his displeasure at his inability to pimp his freighter to go faster, to which I replied, “use implants”.

This spurred me to investigate which implants are actually good for freighter pilots.

Help! Im being bumped by a gigantic slug!

There are three different play styles for freighter pilots: those who AFK autopilot around the place, those who do manual piloting, and those who use jump freighters.  The autopilot drops a ship 15km from each gate, meaning that a maxed-out Obelisk pilot still takes about 150 seconds to fly to the gate and warp. Manually-piloted freighters don’t need to coast 15km to each gate, but do need to align before they warp. This can be nail-bitingly slow if you’ve just undocked from a station in Thakala after cynoing in, and are trying to warp to the safety of high-sec space. Jump freighters, on the other hand, don’t have to worry about aligning while they cyno about, but may have to slum it when flying in high-sec space.

However, as it eventuates, the limited slot selection that CCP has provided for implants suitable for freighter pilots means they will probably all end up with the same types of implants.

To this end, the recommended series of implants are:

  • Slot 6: ‘Rogue’ Navigation NN-6xx (1% to 6% Max Velocity) or
    Slot 6: ‘Rogue’ Warp Drive Speed WS-6xx (5% to 18% Warp Speed)
  • Slot 7: ‘Rogue’ Evasive Maneuvering EM-7xx (1% to 6% Agility)
  • Slot 8: ‘Noble’ Mechanic MC-8xx (1% to 6% Hull Hit Points)
  • Slot 9: ‘Gnome’ Shield Operation SO-9xx (1% to6% Shield Recharge Rate)
  • Slot 10: ‘Noble’ Hull Upgrades 10xx (1% to6% Armor Hit Points) or
    Slot 10: Skirmish Warfare Mindlink (15% Agility as fleet booster)

Why those?

Frankly, because freighters can’t fit modules that are affected by any other implants. However, breaking it down:

Slot 6

CCP nerfed a lot of navigation implants by moving them all to slot 6 where they become mutually exclusive choices. From a freighter point of view, the only choices are max velocity or warp speed. A 6% max speed implant would shave at most 8.9 seconds from a 12.5km autopilot trek (which nominally takes 150 seconds to traverse). Note that the faster your freighter goes, the less time you’ll save with the implant.

In contrast, a 29AU warp at 0.7AU/s takes 41.5 seconds, or 35.1 seconds with maxed HY implant. That’s only 6.4 seconds.  Why 29AU? It appears to be the average distance between two highsec stargates. So, the warp speed implant won’t save you as much time than the velocity implant, but that time is saved regardless of whether you’re autopiloting or not. Note that this calculation doesn’t take into account the time spent getting up and spooling down from max warp speed. Estimating that at 7 seconds, that means a normal warp is 48.5 seconds, and a 18% warp speed implant would shave 8.73 seconds from that.

In summary: unless your normal route has short warps and you autopilot it, then choose the warp speed implant.

Slot 7

Agility is the biggest drawback to freighters. They need agility to accelerate to warp speed, so an implant can shave about 2 seconds from a 36 second align time, and save a bit of autopilot time as well, since you’ll get to top speed faster.

Slot 8

The shields and armour on a freighter is only a small fraction of the amount of hull hit points it has, so  a hull implant will make a real difference in effective hit points.

Slot 9

This slot doesn’t have much of a choice for non-combat pilots, so a shield recharge implant is the most relevant. Since your shields are

  • thin
  • not going to recharge much while being ganked

then it is OK if you don’t even bother with implants in this slot.

Slot 10

Slot 10 has the Warfare Mindlinks, which are incredibly awesome but only if you have a fleet member in system so the bonuses turn on. If this is realistic, then a skirmish warfare mindlink will cut 5.4 seconds from your align time. However, a friendly web will cut a lot more off your align time so it might be a bit pointless.

If that doesn’t appeal, then adding a bit of armour is a fine alternative.

Example Cheap Selection

is a flat 3% implant set for about 40 million ISK and will save you about 13 seconds per system while on autopilot.

What about implant sets?

Slots 1-6 can also accept implant sets, which individually provide small bonuses, but also improve geometrically as you add more implants of the same type.

The two relevant implant sets are

  • Nomad set, which provides a bonus to agility, and
  • Ascendency set, which provides a bonus to warp speed

Generally, the Ascendency set is slightly better, because a webbing alt can help with agility issues but unless you’re strictly in-system, you’ll always need to warp a long distance. Both sets are pretty expensive, so I can’t really recommend them for general use.

19
Apr
11

Virtuozzo, Moderator Extraordinaire

Virt evidently isn’t satisfied with being moderator on Failheap; he has started a Google Moderator discussion to crowdsource ideas for Eve.

Check it out.

17
Apr
11

Enjoying a Tengu

The Tengu series:

  1. Tengu Subsystems
  2. Fitting a Tengu
  3. Enjoying a Tengu
  4. The Salvage Tengu

0% rigged.
0% Scourge Fury.
75% fit.
100% carving up rats.

Great success!

14
Apr
11

Fitting a Tengu

The Tengu series:

  1. Tengu Subsystems
  2. Fitting a Tengu
  3. Enjoying a Tengu
  4. The Salvage Tengu


Fitting a ship in Eve Online is a lot like playing with LEGO; things sometimes don’t fit, you get halfway through an edifice and realise it looks terrible, and scrounging for parts is part of the fun. However, when you build a spaceship out of LEGO, you can only blow up other people in your imagination. Score one for Eve.

However, there’s a few things to check before you undock for the first time…

Skills

To fly a Tengu, you need skills to be trained. Assuming you have the prerequisite support skills to fly a Caldari ship without embarrassing yourself, the only skills that are up for debate are the subsystem skills. I suggest that the minimum skill level required to fly a Tengu effectively is:

  • Caldari Offensive Subsystems V
  • Caldari Defensive Subsystems V
  • Caldari Engineering Subsystems IV
  • Caldari Electronics Subsystems IV
  • Caldari Propulsion Subsystems IV

Offensive and defensive subsystems should be maxed because the most common mix of subsystems provide massive benefits for each level trained, so why not max them out.

You can limp along with engineering, propulsion and electronics subsystems at IV for a fair while, although you’ll eventually find that engineering subsystems at V is worth it for increasing your cap stability. Electronics subsystems V is mandatory if you’re probing or jamming but you can get away with less if you’re just shooting things. Similarly for propulsion systems – if your tank isn’t breaking on IV, then training to V can be left until later.

Granted, most people eventually skill all subsystems to V, so enough said about subsystem skills.

Rigs

You can swap the subsystems in and out of a Tengu, but you can’t detach the jury rigs without destroying them, so it’s important to choose wisely.

Most Tengu fits use the Accelerated Ejection Bay, which lacks a drone bay. This makes killing frigates an important consideration, since they’re also the ship classes most likely to web and warp scramble your ship, with tragic results. To combat this, a Medium Warhead Rigor Catalyst or Flare Catalyst will mitigate the damage reduction frigates experience against heavy missiles. This is even more important when using Scourge Fury heavy missiles, which require assistance to even hit cruisers for full damage. Alternatively, a Bay Loading Accelerator will just pump more missiles at the target, killing faster via brute force, but chews up a lot of calibration points.

If you’re more concerned by tanking ability than DPS, then you’ll probably fit Capacitor Control Circuits instead – especially since your shield booster will be substantially larger than on a DPS fit.

Modules

With a ship as expensive as a strategic cruiser, it makes sense to fit faction modules where CPU or capacitor is tight. Of particular note are deadspace shield boosters, which are incredibly cap-efficient for their size and are often (ab)used in Tengu fits.

Now, onto some fits. I don’t claim these are optimal, but they’re representative of the sorts of popular fits that Tengus are configured for.

6-Launcher DPS Fit

[Tengu, pve slightly ganky]
Tengu Defensive – Amplification Node
Tengu Electronics – Dissolution Sequencer
Tengu Engineering – Augmented Capacitor Reservoir
Tengu Offensive – Accelerated Ejection Bay
Tengu Propulsion – Fuel Catalyst

Caldari Navy Ballistic Control System
Caldari Navy Ballistic Control System
Ballistic Control System II
Ballistic Control System II

Heat Dissipation Field II
Domination Shield Boost Amplifier
Gistii B-Type Small Shield Booster
Y-S8 Hydrocarbon I Afterburners
Ballistic Deflection Field II
Gistii B-Type Small Shield Booster

Heavy Missile Launcher II, Scourge Fury Heavy Missile
Heavy Missile Launcher II, Scourge Fury Heavy Missile
Heavy Missile Launcher II, Scourge Fury Heavy Missile
Heavy Missile Launcher II, Scourge Fury Heavy Missile
Heavy Missile Launcher II, Scourge Fury Heavy Missile
Heavy Missile Launcher II, Scourge Fury Heavy Missile

Medium Warhead Rigor Catalyst II
Medium Capacitor Control Circuit I
Medium Warhead Rigor Catalyst II

Tank: 700 DPS Guristas
Gank: 700 DPS with my skills
Cap stable (just)

This fit is for anomalies, level 4 missions and general ratting, where you don’t need to tank excessively. For example, this fit can run a Serpentis Sanctum without needing the second shield booster active, but needs the second shield booster in Angel Sanctums.

Six launchers provide maximum offense but capacitor may be an issue. Note the judicious use of faction fittings to save on CPU enough to fit the dissolution sequencer. If you don’t want to bother, just fit a CPU efficiency gate and deal with the reduced targeting range.

This fit has dual small deadspace shield boosters, which are extremely cap-efficient and cheapish. You can swap one with another shield boost amp (or use the slot for a utility mid) if you want to go cheaper but still cap-efficient, or upgrade to a single Pith booster for additional tanking ability.

5 launcher tank fit

[Tengu, pve cheap tank]
Tengu Defensive – Amplification Node
Tengu Electronics – CPU Efficiency Gate
Tengu Engineering – Capacitor Regeneration Matrix
Tengu Offensive – Accelerated Ejection Bay
Tengu Propulsion – Gravitational Capacitor

Caldari Navy Ballistic Control System
Caldari Navy Ballistic Control System
Ballistic Control System II
Capacitor Flux Coil II
Damage Control II

Domination Large Shield Booster
Caldari Navy Heat Dissipation Field
Domination Shield Boost Amplifier
Ballistic Deflection Field II
Ballistic Deflection Field II
Large Peroxide I Capacitor Power Cell

Heavy Missile Launcher II, Scourge Fury Heavy Missile
Heavy Missile Launcher II, Scourge Fury Heavy Missile
Heavy Missile Launcher II, Scourge Fury Heavy Missile
Heavy Missile Launcher II, Scourge Fury Heavy Missile
Heavy Missile Launcher II, Scourge Fury Heavy Missile

Medium Warhead Rigor Catalyst II
Medium Warhead Rigor Catalyst II
Medium Capacitor Control Circuit I

Tank: 2000 DPS Guristas
Gank: 550DPS
Cap stable at 46%

This fit trades the sixth launcher for a huge capacitor, enabling the use of a large shield booster for a ridiculous amount of tanking. This fit should tank all Level 4 missions, provided the hardeners are adjusted accordingly.

Note the modules used for cap-stability – swapping in some capacitor rigs would make the fit less awkward if you wanted to roll with this fit all the time. Options with this fit involve using a cap booster instead of the cap-related modules, downgrading the shield booster size (or upgrading to a large deadspace booster) for cap stability, or just managing your capacitor by pulsing the shield booster.

W-space remote repair fit

[Tengu, shield rep]
Ballistic Control System II
Ballistic Control System II
Damage Control II
Capacitor Power Relay II
Power Diagnostic System II

Caldari Navy Photon Scattering Field
Caldari Navy Photon Scattering Field
Invulnerability Field II
Invulnerability Field II
Large Shield Extender II

Heavy Missile Launcher II, Scourge Heavy Missile
Heavy Missile Launcher II, Scourge Heavy Missile
Heavy Missile Launcher II, Scourge Heavy Missile
Heavy Missile Launcher II, Scourge Heavy Missile
Heavy Missile Launcher II, Scourge Heavy Missile
Large S95a Partial Shield Transporter

Medium Capacitor Control Circuit I
Medium Capacitor Control Circuit I
Medium Capacitor Control Circuit I

Tengu Defensive – Adaptive Shielding
Tengu Electronics – CPU Efficiency Gate
Tengu Engineering – Capacitor Regeneration Matrix
Tengu Offensive – Accelerated Ejection Bay
Tengu Propulsion – Intercalated Nanofibers

Tank: 1120 omni damage with 1  incoming shield rep
Gank: 480DPS
Cap stable at 45%

This fit would be used for buddy-pair Tengus in wormhole space. Cap warfare might be an issue, in which case the low slots can be altered to provide more cap buffer, or tech 2 rigs installed. Due to the nature of wormhole space, it’s generally not worth pimping it out too much.

Exploration

[Tengu, High Sec Probing]
Ballistic Control System II
Ballistic Control System II
Ballistic Control System II

Pithi A-Type Small Shield Booster
Ballistic Deflection Field II
Invulnerability Field II
Codebreaker II
10MN Afterburner II
Pithum C-Type Magnetic Scattering Amplifier

Heavy Missile Launcher II, Scourge Heavy Missile
Heavy Missile Launcher II, Scourge Heavy Missile
Heavy Missile Launcher II, Scourge Heavy Missile
Heavy Missile Launcher II, Scourge Heavy Missile
Heavy Missile Launcher II, Scourge Heavy Missile
Heavy Missile Launcher II, Scourge Heavy Missile
Sisters Expanded Probe Launcher, Sisters Core Scanner Probe I

Medium Capacitor Control Circuit I
Medium Capacitor Control Circuit I
Medium Gravity Capacitor Upgrade I

Tengu Defensive – Adaptive Shielding
Tengu Electronics – Emergent Locus Analyzer
Tengu Engineering – Augmented Capacitor Reservoir
Tengu Offensive – Accelerated Ejection Bay
Tengu Propulsion – Gravitational Capacitor

Tank: 240 DPS Omni
Gank: 505DPS (not using scourge fury)
Cap stable at 35%

This fit is from a friend’s exploration alt. He has this to say:

You can tweak it however to fit your wallet. e.g. Drop the expensive shield booster and passive EM hardener for 2 cheaper faction boosters. This fit works on the premise that you do Radar sites, otherwise you can drop the codebreaker too for a boost Amp. For me, this is also cap stable. I carry a EM Active hardener, Covert Subsystem and COCD in my hold for if I get a lowsec escalation.

What’s handy about exploration is that the modules you find can be used to pimp your Tengu further.

Travel

Obviously in Highsec you’re after a big buffer and good resists to prevent being alpha-striked on the Jita 4-4 undock, but elsewhere, you’ll want to take more stringent measures.

A fit dedicated to scouting and travel can be seen at Jester’s Trek.

Next up: how does it fly?