FAPT: Pirate Logs

Been much too long since I’ve written one of these, which I’d like to blame on a lack of good ideas crossing my desk (so to speak) but is really just because I’ve been a bit lazy about searching them out.

So sue me. You’d get tired of searching after scrolling past the 3856934th “IDEA: NERF AFK CLOAKING” thread too.

Anyway, Pirate Logs. Who remembers these, raise your hand? If your hand’s up you’ve been playing for quite a long time, as these things have not dropped in ages. They used to be intended to lead people to the old static complexes, or something, which was rather pointless since everyone knew where those were anyway. After all, they were static. At some point – probably when CCP shifted the static complexes to scanning – they were removed from the game and forgotten.

Until now, apparently. A player by the name of Andrea Griffin wrote a post proposing they be brought back and repurposed. The idea, quite simply, would be to add to exploration, a different way to find content similar to what CCP is adding in Odyssey, but distinct in flavor and hopefully in mechanics, to keep it interesting.

Great idea. There is not a single bad thing I can say about this, and I hardly even have to say anything good about it, because the poster identified virtually everything already.

  • It can introduce players to the idea of exploration and expeditions.

  • It can encourage more high-sec players to explore lowsec. They can see that expedition right there in their journal, calling to them. They know exactly where to go.

  • A new market segment opens up for trading ship logs – people who won’t want to do the expeditions can sell the logs.

  • It helps tell stories in Eve. Some of the ship logs are funny, some are creepy, but all of them add important bits of flavor.

  • It’s easy to iterate on.

  • Most of the work has already been done.

Just about the only thing I can think of to add to this is that if they were to drop in nullsec (and I really don’t see any good reason why they shouldn’t), it’s a tool with which to tune ratting income. Want it higher? Leave things as is. Or maybe it’s high enough already, so they can nerf bounties again (thus reducing the faucet) and leave the sale of the logs or the loot gleaned from them to make up the difference. Sounds like a win-win to me.

Count on this being something I’ll be bringing to CCP’s attention as a future means of iterating on their new exploration features.

And before signing off on this post, I’d like to mention how great I think the new exploration feature is. They’re quick to find and complete, which is a boon to the more casual player. They require active engagement, both to break the lock and to grab the loot. If CCP hits their mark (and odd as it sounds to say, I have faith that they will, or will quickly revisit it if not) they’ll be rewarding to a solo player, and proportionally more rewarding to a small group of players, thanks to the “space pinata” mechanic for getting at the loot. More importantly, that small group of players has to be a small group of genuinely individual players. Unlike other notionally “group” content, multiboxing won’t gain you much. You might be able to get some increase in income if you’re really fast, but you’ll be better off still if the second pilot really is a second player. That’s a big deal, as encouraging players to bring actual groups instead of more alts, yet not punishing them by cutting into the per-player income, is one of the large obstacles to true “group” content in the game.

I expect we’ll start to see more of this style of thing over the coming expansions, and so long as new mechanics can be kept distinct and flavorful from the older ones (that is, I don’t think “space pinata all the time!” will be interesting), I definitely welcome it.

FAPT: Rogue Drone Faction Loot

Feature of the Arbitrary Period of Time is a look at an idea from the forums, good or bad, that I feel merits further exploration or derision. It’s arbitrary instead of weekly because I said so.

Our first entry here comes from… myself! Yeah yeah, give me a break – I’ve wanted to start this series for almost a week now, but have struggled to find an idea I felt was worth the time to write about. And yes, I know how arrogant that sounds; on with the post.

In my CSM candidacy thread (by the way, I’m running for CSM8, but odds are you’re one of my ten readers and you already knew that), I was asked by a former drone regions resident how I thought the space should be fixed and whether CCP is paying enough attention to them (the answer to the latter, by the way, is “no not really”). In my reply, I voiced my opinion that of all the issues CCP has yet to address on his list, faction loot is the hardest one to tackle. The problem has a lot to do with the laughably shallow pool of candidates for faction loot. There are five drone oriented modules in the game. All have officer variants now, but there’s only reason to use four of them (because who’s going to use an officer Drone Control Unit, really?) and worse yet, only faction Drone Damage Amplifiers would likely see any heavy use. Compare that to Guristas, who have (by my count) 37 regular items, plus a full range of officer and deadspace loot, plus faction ships.

By the way – infested ships, please.

So, part of the problem can be solved by making the faction drones not suck. Right now the best of them deal damage equal to Tech II (albeit split; an Augmented Hammerhead deals thermal primary, kinetic secondary, for example), with 10% higher velocity and an admittedly impressive 50% higher EHP. Now that’s not terrible, if the price were right. I could see using a flight of Augmented Warriors in my PvP ships if they cost, say, 1.5-2m isk apiece.

Unfortunately, they cost 55m. Each.

So that’s one problem. The faction drones cost too much and, frankly, are only barely worth it even if they were reasonably priced. So, rework them to drop the cost and give them a damage boost to bring them in line with the idea of faction ammo.

That’s the boring part of the idea though. Even if the drones were worth using, they are themselves still only the rough analogue to faction ammo, so the actual item pool remains far too shallow. Thinking about fixing that is where the fun began. The lightbulb moment was when it occurred to me that there is no good reason to limit Drone faction loot to drone items. After all, to quote myself, “thematically speaking, the rogue drones are a sentient AI with advanced computer technology that are constantly evolving by assimilation of whatever technology they come across, and thus are a hilarious hodgepodge mix of technology.”

Take it and run with it. Start with the things that don’t have any faction equivalent right now. Faction (and officer!) tractor beams and salvagers. Tell me with a straight face that those wouldn’t sell like hotcakes to carebears in Empire and I’ll tell you you’re a liar. Faction versions of the Inferno modules, like the ancillary reppers and boosters, the Micro Jump Drive, and anything else they add in the future (I hope they do continue to expand that theme, incidentally). Faction Warfare Links… with queens and hives and whatnot, wouldn’t it make sense that links based on or modified by drone tech would be even more effective?

Maybe save that last one for after (if) boosters are ever forced to stay on grid…

Anyway, if we still don’t have an adequately large enough pool of items at that point, so what? Expand into the existing faction item turf. “Hilarious hodgepodge of all kinds of random tech”, right? Just put a rogue drone spin on things. For example, a Stasis Webifier with considerably longer range, but a much lower web factor. A line of Cap Boosters with 200-300% normal capacity, but a 50% longer cycle time. A Power Diagnostic System optimized for capacitor recharge, or capacity, or shields, at the expense of the other stats. I’m just spitballing here – there are all kinds of ways CCP could run with the idea, and while they are not endless, they are (I think) rather interesting.

And that’s that. Next time I’ll use someone else’s idea, I promise. If you stumble across something you’d like commented on, shoot me a tweet at @mynnna_eve or evemail it to me and I’ll take a look!