Archive for the ‘Dust Related’ Category

The Sea Change of TEST

Posted: March 22, 2013 in Dust Related, EVE Related

Good morning, (Sub)Dredditors and (Sub)Dredditor friends!

First off, my apologies for not posting anything this week. Generally, I use my blog writing in the morning as a little “warm up” for the rest of my work during the day (this is after I write in my paper journal, which is just for me). Things have picked up in the last week, though and chances are for about the next six weeks I’m going to have a slightly diminished posting frequency. Again, my apologies for this, but daddy’s gotta bring home the bacon, know what I mean?

In any event, I could not in good conscience not write a blog entry today. I began this blog with the intention of providing those who were interested in a line-member’s perspective of one of the most powerful entities in New Eden. The 24 hours surrounding this blog post, from last night until until tomorrow morning, are so important not only to Dreddit, or TEST, but also the whole Honeybadger Coalition, that I would not be fulfilling the imagined duties I’ve assigned to myself if I did not provide comment.

For those of you who don’t know yet, last night Montolio resigned as leader of Test Alliance, Please Ignore. While I can’t say I’m totally surprised (as Montolio said, leading such a large coalition changes you, and I’m sure he didn’t mean that it changed him for the better), the method and suddenness of his resignation was certainly a tad startling. Leadership seemed to be in a bit of a scramble last night over Jabber and other channels, attempting to calm the masses and let everyone know what was going on. BoodaBooda even hosted a Q&A session for Dreddit members immediately after the announcement.

I was in the Q&A session, but was only able to get a brief glimpse of what was being talked about. Of course all of this had to go down when I was in the middle of a roam (which, as you can see wasn’t terribly fruitful), and seeing as how it was my first time piloting an assault frigate into battle, it was a tad difficult to focus on all the politics going on while still trying not to get my new shiny blown up.

Luckily, BoodaBooda put up a post on the discussion boards (for those with Dreddit auth access) that summarized the whole thing. Booda is now CEO of Dreddit, with Fras taking command of TEST with the help if Ingen. There’s also a new guy taking the reigns of the HBC, and unfortunately I lost the Jabber ping where he introduced himself. I don’t think he’s in TEST (which may end up being a good thing) so I’m not terribly familiar with the guy (sorry, dude!), but I’m sure we’ll be hearing much of his name in the coming weeks.

It seems that TEST is going in a bit of a new direction with all these changes. Dreddit itself will be focusing on providing content for its members, with a new system for squad creation based on particular goals. These squads will be around for a few weeks enacting whatever deviousness they come up with, and then they will disband once their missions are complete. I think this is a fine start in providing some direction for our alliance, and I’ll happily sign up for anything that catches my interest.

The first of these little mini-quests we’re setting out on begins today! It’s also the reason I say the next day or so is going to be an important one for Dreddit. I guess, technically it’s going to be important for all of New Eden, because I’m sure everyone is going to be dog-piling into the Luminaire system all throughout the day. I think we all know why.

Beware, high-sec pilots! Dreddit is coming to Luminaire, and we will have a hand in this event. Obviously, what we’re seeing here is the beginning introductions to the final release of DUST 514. The events that take place today in the Luminaire system will make New Eden history, and we plan on being a part of it.

Perhaps it is providence that last night marked the beginning of a sea change for the HBC.

Speaking of, I’d like to take this opportunity to throw my own two-cents into the discussion. Unfortunately, due to being on the roam, I wasn’t able to contribute to the feverous discussion that was going down on the Dreddit Jabber. Basically, Booda was asking folks what they wanted to do as a corp. There were a lot of great ideas put forth (and a lot of crap ones… seriously guys, I don’t think many of us have time to be a nomadic corp), and I’d like to offer another possibility for content generation that will also help us get a foothold in the new FPS-connected reality that will be coming with the release of DUST.

We all know that eventually, DUST mercs will be a major part in determining sovereignty in null sec. This is a ways off (probably at least a year), but the beginning mechanics are going to bet set into place with the next DUST build, and the fighting that will take place may end up being interestingly close to our current base of operations.

We don’t know what region of low-sec DUST mercs will be fighting in, but there is much speculation that we’re going to be looking at Aridia. If this is true, then I’d like to ask my fellow Dreddit members to direct their attention to the Fabia constellation. That map right there shows you all the temperate planets in Aridia. You’ll also notice that the system of Sakht is a connecting system to null sec, with a gate to 1-S. TEST owns 1-S and it is often an entry point for our enemies into our territory.

My DUST buddy Kristoff tells me that NOS squad has been running around low-sec quite a bit lately, asserting our dominance. I know not everyone is interested in decreasing their sec status, but with the launch of DUST, our Subdreddit bros are going to need a place to call home, and I think it only makes sense that we provide as much support from space as possible to help them get a foothold. If we can gain control of all the temperate planets in Fabia, that means any attacker will have to go at least three jumps to hit one of our systems. This is very important to the DUST meta because every jump decreases the amount of attacking clones who survive the trip through space.

That’s my idea, anyway. It’d be awesome if Dreddit could lock down the Fabia constellation from space once DUST launches. There is a lot of details in an operation like this, but the benefits in the long run would be worth it. I’ll probably write more about this at a later date, but as I mentioned at the beginning of this post, work is piling up so I’ve got to leave it here for the time being.

I am not worried about our new direction. If anything, I’m excited about having some fresh leadership who’ve yet to experience the trials and tribulations that seem to burn out so many (you will be missed, Monty, for sure). I think we’re going to be seeing a lot more individual activity in the coming months from the member of the HBC, and I think this will make for a very exciting experience.

Until next time,

Happy Hunting, Everyone!

– JRD

Good morning, (Sub)Dredditors and (Sub)Dredditor friends!

A hint at a release of monumental proportions was given to us yesterday in the from of a Dust 514 dev blog. The information contained within said blog was enough to ignite an excitement in me for the game that I had not felt in quite some time. It was even enough to get me to log in for the first time in almost two weeks, and most of that time was spent chatting it up with my corp mates about the impending changes we’re going to see come the next build.

I won’t go into too much detail on the nuts and bolts of how planetary conquest will work, because I’m sure you’ve already sunk your teeth into that dev blog (and if you haven’t, you really should), but instead I’d like to touch on the implications and this will have, and perhaps speculate on how the meta game may evolve.

The basic gist of it is, for the first iteration of planetary conquest mode, they’ll be turning one of the low sec regions into a giant game of Risk. If I had to guess which region this would be, I would say have a look at either Placid, or Aridia (coincidentally, my first home in EVE Online was in the Maalna system in this region). I imagine it will have to be one of these two regions for a few reasons. It could be Placid, because a lot of the whole “Uprising” event has happened in and around that region (two battles in Placid, at least). It’s got a few faction warfare systems, but most of them are just plain lowsec. We also know that there will be 250 districts upon first launch of this game mode and if we discard the temperate planets held by the faction warfare systems, Placid offers us 33 conquerable planets. With between 5 to 24 districts per planet, 250 divided by 33 gives us 7.5 on average, which sounds about right to me.

Aridia is more of a long shot, I think. The reason that I include it is because it is the only region that is completely low sec, and if you look at the other regions with low sec systems, splitting those systems between faction warfare and nonfaction warfare doesn’t leave us a whole lot of planets to fight over. Aridia has no faction warfare systems, so it’s a little more isolated. It’s also got 75 planets, which is more than enough to accommodate the 250 districts… actually, it has too many. If each planet had only 5 districts, we’d be looking at 375 districts…so.. scratch Aridia (OK, yes I’m doing this on the fly, but give me a break, the dev blog was only posted yesterday).

So all you would be commanders of grand armies, I’d suggest you get yourself familiar with the Placid map, as it seems to me that’s probably the region we’ll begin our territorial claims.

I’m very pleased with the details of how planetary conquest is going to work. It does not have everything I had hoped for (*sigh* I pine  for persistent districts we can run around in to get a feel for the terrain), but it is a solid step in the right direction. If the first iteration of planetary conquest turns out like what was written in the dev blog, I think CCP is doing a great job at taking baby steps in introducing Dust into the world of New Eden. By making the conquest of planets into a sort of real time simulated board game, they’re going to give Dust mercs a real sense of presence in New Eden, while at the same time not over-zealously exposing EVE to the possible instabilities of a brand new market.

This will be a really good test run for one of the most important aspects of the game. FPS players love talking a big game on the forums about things like KDR and warpoints, but now we will finally have something to truly boast over! The merits of a corporation / alliance will be there for all to see in the territory that they control. For those non-EVE pilots here who are unfamiliar with null sovereignty, may I please lead you to this map, which shows who owns what. As you can see, it’s not difficult to tell who the major powers are. I eagerly await the day when we have something similar for Dust.

More exciting, is the fact that this new type of game will be available in the next build! That means the true meta of Dust 514 will begin soon, and I shudder with anticipation. There hasn’t been too much mention of a release date, and I had thought there was mention of something happening sometime in March (though, I could have sworn I heard the same thing for February). I’m pretty sure they said builds would come every 3 to 6 months, and since we’re in month 4 now, that still leaves us with possibly two more to go. With FanFest fast approaching, my assumption is they’re waiting on that to make their big reveal. This makes sense as the 10th anniversary is a pretty big deal, so I’m sure they’d like to make some pretty big announcements there. Chances are, we’ll probably see these changes come to our PS3s around the same time as the EVE summer expansion comes out. It probably makes sense from some kind of marketing angle to release them at the same time.

In any event, it won’t be long, my fellow Dust Bunnies, before this game gets a lot more interesting. Now that planets and resources are starting to become involved, there’s no limit to the types of drama, deception and intrigue we’ll be able to experience. Truly emergent gameplay is on it’s way ladies and gentlemen; I hope you’re as excited as I am.

Until next time,

Happy hunting, everyone!

– JRD

Good morning, (Sub)Dredditors and (Sub)Dredditor friends!

Recently I’ve been engaged in some ~super secret squirrel~ activities in EVE, which have turned out to be quite prosperous. As a result, I am no longer space-poor, and will soon be happily stocking many varieties of ships that I fly in our staging system of NOL.

Because of these ~projects,~ my Dust time has been severely limited, and as I think I mentioned here before, I’m finding it difficult to come up with a reason to log into Dust at the moment. With only 4 maps and two game styles to play, there’s a sorely lacking feeling of accomplishment at the moment. I’ve gotten my support skills to a nice point, and there are only a few more level Vs I need to get before I start wondering where to put my skill points. I know there’s always the grind to take into consideration, but I do not play CCP games to grind. I play them because of the potential for emergent activities, and the sandbox nature of a wide open world.

No worries, though. We’ve got a new build upon us, and from what I’ve been hearing from the devs, this new build is going to make Dust feel like a completely different game. While I do not think we’ll be seeing any nullsec interaction with this new build, I am hoping for some more meaningful battles as far as things like faction warfare go. I’m really really hoping that we’ll get to see the map generation tool at work, and will have a wide variety of different terrain to pitch our battles on.

I fully understand that CCP is working on making the shooting mechanics of Dust as solid as they possibly can, and I think that’s a good move. But in my slowly growing boredom with what we’ve got so far, and my perhaps quicker return to the space setting I am more familiar with, I’ve come to realize a few things that make EVE such a great game that I hope will eventually make its way into Dust 514.

One of the most important things I’ve realized is EVE’s amazing amount of variety of things to do. I’ve been playing this game for close to three years off and on, and in that time I’ve had my hand in manufacturing, mining, PI, null sec pvp, and exploration, just off the top of my head (I’m sure there are a few I’m forgetting).

Out of all of those, only one actually involves direct player vs player conflict (the others most certainly offer pvp, but it’s of a different sort…everything in EVE is pvp one way or another). Granted, this is an activity I’ve constantly participated in, unlike some of the others, but I am really bad at it and rarely meet with success.

That’s fine, though, because if I’m ever discouraged, or bored, or just want something different, I can forget about what I have been doing, and take up something else that suits my fancy (recently it’s been in the trade business).

In Dust, right now we have one activity. Shoot reds.

This is a good activity.

But with all that New Eden has to offer, I just can’t wait until our Dust Bunnies have the opportunity to partake in things like resource gathering, manufacturing, trading and exploration. I know these are things CCP is working towards, and I’m sure they’re a bit farther down on the ten year plan, but I still can’t help titillating our ground forces with possibilities the future holds.

Most of this excitement I have does come from the ~secret squirrel~ activities I’ve got going on at the moment, and I wish I could go into more detail about things like emergent gameplay, but sadly this info is op-sec, and not for sharing with the masses (I’ve got to protect my secrets, you know =).

In any case, I can only leave our eager Dusters with this; eventually there will come a time in the next year or so where you will be able to play Dust in many different ways. It will not consist of simply getting your gun-off or reviving dead comrades (logibros represent). The career paths of industry mogul, trading guru, and political mastermind will also be open to you, among many more.

Good times are coming for New Eden. I hope you’re as excited as I am.

Until next time,

Happy hunting, everyone!

– JRD

Good morning, (Sub)Dredditors, and (Sub)Dredditor friends!

Last night I got myself into a squad of Subdreddit regulars, with Heretyks, Orca Amsel, Promethius Modulus and myself bringing swift death to the enemy ground forces of TEST… actually it was more of an evening of testing my new fit, dealing with enemy prototype suits, and discovering some interesting bugs in the new patch, but I’ll get to that in a moment with my after action report.

First, an update on my logi-bro improvements. The other day, I finally accrued enough skill points to sink into remote armor repair III (as a logibro, I really should have done this earlier). My next goal is remote armor repair IV, which will bring all my equipment skills up to IV, making me quite the versatile logi. This upgrade in skill has allowed me to switch out my normal triage repair tool, for a brand shiny new BDR-2 repair tool. This takes my repping ability from 31 hitpoints per second (hp/s), to 33hp/s. This may not sound like much of a jump, but I can tell you thanks to all the sweet sweet triage and guardian points that it is well worth it if you can fit it. Not only that, but it takes my vehicle repping ability from 56hp/s all the way up to 98hp/s meaning it’s also great if your squad wants to roll around in a tank. While I didn’t get a chance to rep any vehicles, Orca and Heretyks were often found in heavy suits, and with reps on them, I was getting +30 WP ticks instead of my normal +25 WPs, and the ticks were coming in much faster. Definitely worth the upgrade.

But there has been a trade off. My normal suit is the ‘Sever’ logi suit. It’s a BPO, so it costs me nothing to run (minus modules, of course), and has the same stats as your basic Minmitar Logistics suit, except it has three equipment slots as opposed to two. This allows me to faithfully fulfill the three sacred roles of the logibro, repair, revive and resupply. Normally, to fulfill these roles I’ve got a pretty reliable fit with the triage repair tool, the gauge nanohive, and the KIN-012 nanite injector. The thing you have to remember, though is that the ‘Sever’ still has the basic stats, meaning the CPU and PG, even with both my electronics and field engineering skills at V, is still lacking compared to more advanced suits.

The KIN itself has pretty high CPU requirements, but bringing my comrades from the brink of death to 50% armor is invaluable (especially when I’m reviving a heavy), so replacing it was not an option. In order for me to fit the BDR-2, I had to make room for CPU. So I made a new fit, saved it as “Super Healer,” and replaced the gauge nanohive with a compact nanohive.

The difference here is two nanohives. Crud. The gauge is great because it lets me throw out three nanohives, meaning if I decide I want to defend a particular spot, or objective, I can place nanohives all around choke points near the objective and normally this results in blueberries getting the hint that I’ve created a good defensive position. However, now I’ve got to be more thoughtful in my placement of the nanohive, because I’ve only got one. But this lead me to another decision…

I have written before about the Type-II Minmitar Logistics suit. I really liked it, and was quite impressed with its speed. However, with only two equipment slots, there was no room for nanohives, and while I had made a good Type-II fit, it was highly dependent on the situation. If I started a skirmish match, I’d use it at the beginning to make a run for all the objectives (this suit can easily keep up with a standard scout suit), then use it until I died, then come back in my 0-ISK ‘Sever’ fit (all militia stuff). The Type-II fit would cost me 65,000 ISK a pop, but if I start a skirmish and go to the end (especially if I hack a few objectives in the beginning), I would easily make that money back and then some. The suit itself would only see action once a battle, though.

But that may change. It dawned on me that with my ‘Sever Super Healer’ set-up, I only had one nanohive to give, and once it was thrown out, the ‘Sever’ is pretty much a slower Type-II with a bit more tank (they both have an armor repairer in one of their lows, but I switched out the plates on the Type-II for biotics, since speed is the name of the Type-II game).

The Type-II, on the other hand, with increased CPU and only two equipment slots, can easily handle a BDR-2 and a KIN-012, on top of being as fast as a scout. With an advanced shield extender and complex damage mod in the high slots, it’s still got a bit of tank in the shield, and I’m still just as deadly with my GEK (maybe more-so, with my speed advantage).

So now I’m getting into the habit of asking my squad if anyone is bringing nanohives while we’re on the barge. With the surplus of logibros in Subdreddit, this normally isn’t an issue, and if someone else has the nanohives covered, I’m going to be rolling up in my Type-II.

The BDR-2 plus KIN-012 is freaking awesome, by the way. Heretyks was in a standard militia heavy suit, and when he went down, I was able to revive him, then throw reps on real fast, and he went from being dead to being at full armor in less than 3 seconds (could have been 4 or 5…we were in a hectic situation, as you might imagine when having to revive a heavy…). Once we’ve got squads of six, I’m terrified of the idea of 3 heavies with 3 logis in this kind of set up backing them up. Just with one BDR-2 on them they begin to be able to soak up a massive amount of damage.

Speaking of damage, we caused quite a bit of it last night, including finding a pretty interesting bug…

As I said earlier, it was Heretyks, Orca, Promethius and myself, me running the Type-II logi I’ve been talking about for most of the games. We had a good first match, an ambush that got incredibly close near the end, with us winning by maybe 2 clones. I love games like that.

It’s worth noting a little something about the new spawning mechanics. I’ve heard a lot of complaining about them on the forums, but from my experience last night, I’ve got to admit I think it’s a huge improvement. In the first ambush game we played, once we had a good defensive position set up, we would spawn with the rest of our team, meaning it wasn’t long after I got put down that I could be right back on the front line keeping my teammates backed up with the 3 Sacred R’s. And not once did I spawn and die immediately to enemy gunfire (well… it MAY have happened once, but MUCH less than it used to).

It was the next match we queued up for that we had one of the more interesting fights I’ve had thanks to a bug that I assume was caused by the patch we got yesterday.

So, Heretyks, Orca, Promethius and I queue up for another ambush and we load up the war barge. Something is off, though. It’s eerily empty. Only us four are on the war barge, and as we look to see who we’re going against, we see only another squad of four on the other team, a squad from a corp called Prototype Technology…something (sorry guys! I was lazy and didn’t write your corp name down). As the timer counts down, no new players join either side and we boggle at the idea that we’re about to play a 4v4 impromptu corp match. Should be interesting…

Enter Manus Peak. In case you haven’t realized by now, Dust maps are pretty large. Knowing we had to stick together, but with two heavies we were going to be slow getting around, Heretyks orders in a dropship right at the start of the match. I wasn’t terribly concerned at this point, because I had not heard of this Prototype Technology corp, and I thought that this whole 4v4 would be an interesting change of pace from the larger battles we’re used to. Also, I had teamed up with all my squadmates before, and knew them to be capable warriors.

While we’re waiting for the dropship to arrive, I see the Prototype guys blip on my radar and go to cover our position. I know where they’re coming from, and with my GEK and complex damage mod, I knew I could cut a few down before they got to us.

Now, either the Prototype Technologies dudes saw they were going against a Subdreddit squad and decided to go all Napoleon Complex with their best goods, or they take their name waaaaay serious. I say this because as I was guarding the hill, waiting for the dropship to land, I see four prototype suits running straight for us. I learned a valuable lesson here.

Prototype suits have a shit-ton of armor. We were in no way prepared for this assault, and I’m sure they were running complex damage mods themselves, because it wasn’t long before I was face down in the dirt, unable to help the other three as we became overrun just as the dropship was dropped off. They dispatch my equally surprised brethren, and then begin hacking the dropship that set down. How embarrassing.

Prototype Technologies, however are not familiar with the terribleness of TEST, and did not realize this was all part of our devious plan. You see, once they were all in the dropship, it was quickly disposed of by either one of our heavies, Orca or Heretyks… I think that happened, anyway. I was waiting on the spawn timer to count down when I heard chatter about our hacked drop ship going down. It may have actually crashed into a mountain instead of getting shot down…whatever, still part of the plan.

After this tragic attempt, Heretyks decides to go for another as him and I both spawn on the other side of the map. Orca and Promethius quickly join us, and this time we’re actually able to take off in our dropship and head for the top of the building that’s at bravo on the skirmish map. No one had uplinks on their fit, so right before take-off, I ran over to a supply depot, hacked it, and changed it into my Jihad fit (the only one I currently have uplinks fitted on). So, our plan is to land on the top of the building, then I’d throw down the uplink, and that’s where we’d fortify our position.

Let me preface this by saying Heretyks is an awesome dropship pilot. I’ve seen him make some crazy maneuvers, and even (almost) avenge my death with a well placed kamikaze nosedive. Getting up to the top of the building would normally not have been a problem.

But, with only 4 enemies on the map, you’re pretty much always a target, and a dropship is not the most inconspicuous object flying in the skies above. As we were making our way up, we begin to draw a crap-load of fire, and I watch as our armor is quickly depleted. Heretyks is able to position the fiery dropship directly over our insertion point, and we all bale for the rooftop.

And we all make it!

Landing on the rooftop, I look around to see all my comrades have safely made it out of the burning wreckage, and I go to whip out the uplink so we can start getting to business.

Then the dropship wreckage lands on me.

And I die.

So, no uplinks just then. Also, as the only logi at that time, it wasn’t long before only Heretyks was left on the roof, with Orca, Promethius and myself having to regroup on the ground.

That’s what really killed us in that match. The first few minutes we were overwhelmed and surprised by an opponent in superior gear. After these two little engagements, we were trailing in clones by quite a bit, but thanks to being able to get two uplinks going on the roof, we were able to rally ourselves and started dishing out the damage.

They had taken up a position next to a supply depot, and would switch out suits whenever they took any damage. Once we figured this out, we were able to get good sites on the depot and finally started racking up some kills.

In the end, we took the mission countdown timer to zero, with a score of Prototype Technologies having something like 65 clones, and us with 56. While we were able to maintain field control for the last half of the match, we just couldn’t rebound from the thrashing we took at the beginning.

Maybe I should start looking at the prototype logi suit…

Anyway, it was a great mach, dudes! Even though what we experienced may have been a bug, it was a completely different gaming style than you normally find in the larger matches. It’s what we call a happy accident. I actually wouldn’t mind seeing this type of option available in the final game, a sort of squad vs squad ambush. I know there’s been quite a bit of talk on the Subdreddit forum on the official message boards about people trying to get regular squads together. A game type like this would go a long way for a squad looking to get to know each others strengths and weaknesses, as well as teaching them to rely on each other.

In any case, it was quite an eventful night last night as far as Dust is concerned. Now I’m just eagerly anticipating this new patch I keep hearing about…

Until next time,

Happy Hunting, Everyone!

– JRD

Boots on the Ground Episode 01

Posted: February 25, 2013 in Dust Related

Good morning, (Sub)Dredditors and (Sub)Dredditor friends!

As promised last week, Subdreddit media aficionado Starfire Revo lead the charge in producing some fan-made television for your entertainment consumption needs, with yours truly as one of the guests, along with some more Dust names that you may recognize. I was joined by Subdreddit Warlord and Fearless Leader, dent308 as well as Kane Spero, leader of The Imperfects, a highly regarded corp and current tournament champions. Fellow Subdredditor Horus Forge helped me rep the Subdreddit name, and Cerebral Wolf of Goonswarm joined with some great viewpoints on where we can expect the meta game to go. That’s enough of an intro, I think. We had a really great discussion on where we think Dust is heading, so I encourage everyone to give it a listen. Now, without further adieu, I give you…

BOOTS ON THE GROUND: S01E01

I’d actually like to take this opportunity to expand on a few ideas I threw out during the show, but if you haven’t watched it yet I’ll try and give some context. It’s been a while since I’ve been on a podcast, and as a writer I think it’s a tad easier for me to get my points across in text as opposed to an impromptu conversation.

So something that I brought up sparked a lot of conversation during the show, and I was quite surprised this was an idea that the others hadn’t been thinking of as a possibility. This is the idea of persistent battlegrounds (i.e. the districts we’ll be fighting over). I brought up the idea that mercs should be able to spawn in a district at any time, even if a battle is not going on, as long as their corp owns that district. Apparently, this was a new idea to many of my fellow guests, and I found this surprising because I always assumed Dust would have persistent maps we could run around on if we owned them.

Maybe it’s just my EVE way of thinking, but if we own a star system, we can go there at any time. More importantly, so can our enemies, if they can make it there. Dust being an MMOFPS, I just never imagined we’d be forever stuck in our quarters unless there were bads attacking our stuffs.

This is even more important for the idea of a “home-field advantage.” Our capital system of K-6 has one station in it above a barren planet. I don’t even remember what planet it is (number wise… we can’t name them in EVE). But when Dust is fully implemented and ready to go, I always imagined that the pilots would dock in the station above the planet, and our Dust bunnies would be in merc quarters stationed on the capital district of that planet. K-6 being our “capitol system,” with “K-6000 Pilots in Dreddit” being our “capitol station,” I don’t think it would be too far of a stretch for us to have a “capitol district” that would be just as familiar to Dust bunnies as Washington, DC is to USA armed service members. Heck, this would be a great way to begin the introduction of city building on planets, which I’ll get to in a moment with my PI thoughts.

Anyway, the important part of this whole thing is that any district owned by a corp that has CRUs or other clone services should allow corp members to spawn on it at any time as long as the defender limit isn’t reached. So, for the upcoming build that will allow for 24v24 matches, if nothing changes between now and the time we have districts in null (which I assume won’t be the case, but for simplicity’s sake, we’ll say this is the limit), you’d be able to spawn up to 24 individual players on a given district at any time you’d like.

This would be great for squads to practice tactics together, as well as for entire corps to get a feeling for the maps that they have important resources on. This will give them that home field advantage for when other corps or alliances begin to eye their precious resources and start dropping mercs in hopes of conquering their planets.

Which brings me to my next point. If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I dabble a bit in PI. PI, as it stands now, could be a way to “Seed the Universe” in an awesome, player generated way. We didn’t go into this much in the podcast, but I had a long drive to think about things after the show, and one of the things I came up with is PI system that heavily links Dust and EVE players.

Imagine this: You want to get started in the PI field, knowing that with the arrival of Dust, planetary districts have changed the mechanics a bit, and added new resources important to the production of Dust equipment. You’ve got yourself a few planetary command centers, and are scouring your local systems for a free spot (I’ll get that that in a moment). Finding a planet you’d like to set up operations on, you load up the planetary view we’re all familiar with.

Only this time, the scan option is not there. Instead, you see 17 different districts, 15 of which already have command centers on them, meaning you can’t place a command center on a district that already has one. Hey! PI suddenly got a little more competitive. Having people have to compete for a spot may even open up an incredibly deep meta game, where you support you colleagues openly, but you have your eyes set on a particularly lucrative district a friend of yours has (of course, we’d never do this to our Subdreddit bros). Your friend wonders to you openly about why he’s constantly having to deal mercs being contracted to target his system specifically. I can just imagine all the sweet sweet meta that would come from this.

Moving on.

You select one of the available districts to build on, and suddenly the planetary view zooms into the district and you are presented with an exact copy of the map that Dust bunnies would play on, if they were invading that district. No one has built anything here (obviously, that’s why you can now build here), so there are no structures, just a randomly generated terrain piece that CCP has been talking about in their whole “Seeding the Universe” idea.

However, now the scan tool is back, and instead of scanning the entire planet for resources, it scans this map and presents them in a similar fashion as when you’re scanning entire planets. All the resources a planet has should appear somewhere on the district when you go to scan for them (I suppose we could relegate specific resources across the planet as we do now, meaning some districts would have access to more resources than others… which would be even more interesting to the meta game).

Once you get an idea for where all the resources are, it’s time to start building. We’ve got command centers, resource extraction units, storage facilities, launch pads and factories already in PI. If we could get Dust models of these buildings, placing them would be just like placing them in PI now, except we’d be placing them directly on maps that Dust bunnies will be playing on. Perhaps important structures like factories become the “A, B, C” capture point objectives we see now on the maps. Not only should you be able to purchase these structures on the open market (instead of them currently just building themselves on planets), but we should also have access to CRUs, Supply Depots, turrets and other Dust structures. Mercs could spawn at either the command center, or a CRU, and you as the owner of the district could place certain restrictions on who can and can’t spawn there (your entire alliance, only those from your corp, only those you contract, etc…) You could freely place these structures anywhere you choose on the map. Here we are, having EVE players literally building the maps that Dust players will be battling over.

Honestly, this is how I always saw Dust going. It’s also how I kind of imagined CCPs vision panning out, but then I am not privy to the inner workings of CCP, so maybe they’re going in a different direction. Still, I think a system like this would not be terribly difficult to implement, given what we have now, and it could go a long way in not only giving the Dust mercs a sense of purpose, but also helping to fix null with the whole farms and fields idea.

Now, I know this is already really long, but there was one more point I wanted to touch on that got brought up during the talk show.

The War Barge.

On the show, we talked about the idea of being able to drop CRUs onto an enemy planet to allow your mercs to spawn there and make raids targeting enemy infrastructure. I also said I thought this should extend to the MCC, and the MCC should be an in game item that can be purchased and placed into a large hull (maybe a blockade runner being able to fit one), and launched onto a planet the same way you would launch a CRU, except the only limit to the clones in the MCC is how many you want to buy. This means the MCC can act as a mobile base for a full team of mercs to land on a district, then once that district is taken over, they can move the MCC to an adjacent district to continue their campaign. These battles would continue until the attacker has conquered however many districts they want, or until the defenders have successfully destroyed the MCC.

When talking about launching MCCs from space, Cerebral Wolf brought up the important point, “but that’s what the war barge is for.” To which I asked the question, “Yes, but how does the war barge interact with the EVE client?”

“That is the big question,” Cerebral agreed. Technically, the war barge is a Dust corp item. It’s the corp’s main base of operations, according to CCP, and it’s something that’s going to be flying around the systems of New Eden that will allow the Dust mercs to get from place to place.

But no one knows how it’s going to be flown. Will EVE pilots be able to interact (i.e. blow it up) with it? I don’t think you’ll find an EVE pilot who thinks we should have untargetable, unkillable, freighter sized ships zooming all over the place, so how can we handle and implement this war barge idea?

So, what I’m about to propose is probably fairly radical, and I’m eager to get some feedback from you, dear readers, on what you think about this.

Let’s scrap the war barge. We haven’t seen anything about it in months, and to be honest, with the work CCP is putting in on basic gameplay, I’m guessing there hasn’t been much developed on it. So let’s forget about a large ship in space that can be flown by Dust mercs. I think that’s just too much for us to deal with at the moment.

But let’s keep the idea of the war barge.

The idea being, “a large ship that’s constantly online and provides a mobile base from which merc corps can stage from.” Anybody else know of large ships that are constantly online (or… ok, never docked…)?

That’s right, capitals!

Let’s make capital ships the equivalent of war barges. Any capital ship will do. A corp can choose anything from a Nyx to an Avatar as their “flag ship.” The interiors, where the Dust bunnies will spend most of their time, can be different for each ship (and probably fun for the level designers to design around). Yes, this would require the Dust corp to have a capital pilot. In fact, they should probably have several, and have a rotating list of pilots so that no matter what time you’re on, there’s someone who can fly the capital to wherever you want to invade. Chances are, these “capital war barges” will spend most of their time safely inside of POS shields, but when it’s time to go to war, they’ll join the rest of the fleet in order to lead the ground invasion.

Yes, this requires more of a Dust / Eve connection. Yes, this means that if a corp wants to get a foothold in null, they’re going to need a capital. There’s the operative definition, the indefinite article *A,* capital. It’s a large investment for a Dust corp, but remember it’s only something you need if you’re playing the null game. An alliance who wants to play the null game must invest a massive amount of income on an entire capital fleet. I think it’s not too much of a stretch to require a single capital for a Dust corp to enter the null game.

Alright, I’m done. If you made it to the end of this post, many thinks for entertaining my silly ideas. It was great fun being on Boots on the Ground, and I hope to see you guys again on the show sometime soon!

Until next time,

Happy hunting, everyone!

– JRD

The Times Are a Changin’

Posted: February 19, 2013 in Dust Related, EVE Related

Good morning, (Sub)Dredditors and (Sub)Dredditor friends!

My title for today’s post is probably a little melodramatic. It’s not like today’s going to change things too drastically. For those who don’t know (maybe many of my Dust Bunny friends), today is patch day and the release of Retribution 1.1. With it comes some ship balancing, but more importantly we’re getting a new module for ships specifically targeted to you armor tankers out there.

The ancillary armor repair (AAR) module has dropped, and many people (such as myself) have shifted their PI efforts to produce the nanite repair paste (NRP) that the AAR is going to use for fuel. This has caused the cost of NRP to skyrocket in anticipation of the increased demand, and many in the EVE economic discussion board believe this to be a bubble. Over the past month, the cost of NRP has gone from it’s normal 22,000 ISK per unit, up to as high as 40,000 ISK. The folks who are saying it’s a bubble point out the fact that Jita prices have dropped to about 35,000 as of the time of me writing this blog, and who knows, they might be right. I’ve seen some claim that the AAR hasn’t been terribly useful on the test server, so perhaps the AAR will not see the use I’m hoping it will.

But then, I think the people on the market board bluff a lot.

I wish I could find the blog (I read most of them, if you’re on Eve Bloggers, I probably read you) I read last week, but a quick Google search isn’t coming up with much (and I actually have some work to do today, so I’m a tad short on time to find it), but the gist of it was that the AAR module allows for some absolutely ridiculous DPS tanking. Something like an incursus being able to tank over 1,000 DPS. The author of said particular post basically made the case for it being OP. I hope he’s right. If not, meh, I’ll just go back to producing coolant. I only use two of my five planets to make NRP (those two used to produce coolant), and the other three are still chugging along making mechanical parts. I figure it’s always safe to have a diverse portfolio.

While my EVE activities this weekend were focused on gettin’ that skrilla, Dust provided for a welcome release from number crunching.

Subdreddit has been super active lately as we work on integrating our newbros into this new and complex shooter. We, as a corp, have been producing some great content (if I do say so myself) over at Subdreddit.com in the form of videos and tutorials and such. We’ve got that website and this blog going to keep our people up to date on what’s been happening.

Another cool thing you can look forward to is Subdreddit’s new Dust talk show! Multimedia mastermind Starfire Revo has offered to host this talk show, and while we were hoping to film the first one this weekend, a few schedules couldn’t line up so we’ve postponed it for this coming Saturday at 2pm EST (I think there were talks about having it live streamed… that would be pretty fun). Starfire will be your host, and for the first episode you can expect our Fearless Leader Dent, Corp Officers and Morale Instigators Talos Alomar and Horus Forge, Dropship Pilot Extraordinaire Baal Roo, and myself, the blog guy (someone suggested the title Propaganda Master… I like it.)

I’m not sure where we’re hosting it at the moment, but you can be sure that come next Monday, I’ll have a link to it in my post.

Now, for a little action report.

Yesterday evening I had the pleasure of squading up with Rynx Sinfar, a beta vet and prolific Subdredditor, along with some new folks I hadn’t met, Knarf Black and Friendly Woodsman. Woodsman and myself were both logibros, but I have to admit… he’s got a more approachable name for a Dust Doctor.

“Excuse me sir, it seems I’ve happened to have gotten my arm blown off in the most recent artillery barrage. Could you point me in the direction of our doctors?”

“Of course, my good man! We have two available at the moment, would you rather see the Friendly Woodsman, or the Doomprofit?”

It’s kind of a no-brainer.

Rynx is a spectacular heavy, and he had brought our big guns to the action, while Knarf rounded out our combat capabilities in an assault suit (and also did a fantastic job as squad leader). Besides the fact that my corp mates are great at what they do in and of themselves, I think this mix of dropsuits is particularly effective. We were constantly in the top spots on our team, and we didn’t lose a single match (even when we came up against a SVER True Blood Madrugar… you guys love those things, don’t you?)

This mix works out well for a number of reasons. When we were all together, Woodsman and myself could keep both our reps on Rynx the heavy, allowing him to step into the forefront and soak up a massive amount of damage, while Knarf covered the rear and called out squad orders. There was a great moment when the entire enemy team spawned on a CRU because it was their only option available, and while they were all rallying up around it, Knarf called down an orbital, decimating at least 75% of their team, while flushing the rest out and into the path of Rynx’s heavy machine gun. I think we as a squad made their whole team respawn in a matter of about 10 seconds. Nice work, dudes!

Another reason I really like this mix is that it allowed us to be a little more flexible in what points we wanted to capture. I’m sure most of us are no strangers to the schizophrenic nature of blueberries, so tactical decisions fell onto our shoulders. With our setup, we were able to comfortable split the team in two, with one logi following our assault guy, and one logi following our heavy guy. If necessary, we could easily split up and take two objectives at a time, making sure our more combat focused brethren were constantly repped, repaired and resupplied.

This was so effective, in fact, that at one point in the previously mentioned matched, the entire enemy team decided we needed to be taken out. Delta was the only blue letter, and us four were hunkered down around it determined not to let it fall into enemy hands. This was actually a few minutes after that orbital I talked about, and the enemy had spawned on Charlie with the intent of bringing their entire team down on our last letter.

Not only were we able to maintain control of Delta from the onslaught of enemy spawns, but we distracted them so much that a few blueberries were able to capture Alpha and Bravo with ease due to lack of anyone guarding them.

All in all, I’d say it was a good game.

Until next time, faithful followers

Happy hunting!

Gettin’ ‘Round Town

Posted: February 15, 2013 in Dust Related

Good morning, (Sub)Dredditors, and (Sub)Dredditor friends!

Yesterday evening I was able to listen to a bit of the Podside Podcast, a welcome respite from the commotion of the D.C. metro system.

During the discussion, the topic of how Dust mercenaries would actually travel around New Eden came up, and it’s really got me thinking on how CCP plans to implement this system. I am not a game designer myself, so I don’t have any notion that whatever I may suggest is a good idea at all, but as a player of the game I have come up with a few ideas I would like to see put into it.

Much has been said about the idea of the “War Barge,” that it would be a Dust corps base of operations, and where they staged from. Honestly, I can kind of see this being the equivalent of a null sec station. Stations are where pilots stage out of, and it’s an alliance (or large corp) asset that requires many people working together to actually create. I suppose the big difference here is that the war barges are supposed to be mobile.

The thing about that is, how on earth will it be implemented? These war barges are going to be hopping around our systems, in space. Who will be the pilot? How will it move? What about those on the war barge? If it’s attacked, they can do nothing but sit, watch, and then die in a bubble along with all the stuff they keep on the war barge (which, if it’s like a station, could be a significant amount of assets).

The war barge should also be piloted by Dust mercs, it just makes sense. The barges are their babies, like the stations are ours. But does the PS3 even have the capabilities to have a ship flying around in an Eve client? I really have no idea, but it sounds like such a monumental task, I just can’t foresee us having actual control of our Dust barges any time real soon. It may be a thing that can only be handled on the new PS4, and seeing as how I just bought a PS3 for Dust, I don’t know how long it will be before I really want to throw down on that new PS4 (plus, it’s not coming out until later this year at the earliest). I imagine something like the war barge may have to wait until Dust has fully moved to the PS4, meaning the PS3 users are going to have to account for less than 1% of all total Dust mercs.

Who knows how long that’s going to take.

So I’ve come up with some ideas for moving Dust mercs around, specifically for null sec operations, that won’t require a war barge, but still gives us a sense of place and distance that is currently lacking in the Dust build. This idea also hinges on the other idea I had that the districts we’re fighting over in low and null have to be persistent. Given the opportunity (through CRUs or other means), you should be able to spawn on any district, at any time no matter what the situation is (as long as the number of defenders haven’t capped, so, going by current games of 16 vs 16, if there are 16 corp members spawned on a district, you wouldn’t be able to spawn there). Maps can’t be like they are now, where they are only activated when a fight is going on. There’s just no way we’re going to be able to get a sense of place if that’s the only way to spawn on a map.

Assuming planetary districts are persistent areas we can interact with and build on whether there is a fight going on or not, I’ve got some ideas for foot troop movement that I hope aren’t too terribly difficult to implement.

I know a lot has been said about keeping both Eve and Dust as separate games,  playable on their own without having to rely very heavily on each other, but I think we need to be honest with ourselves about this. If we really want true consequences for our actions in interfering with each other between games, at least in null sec, I think the two games should have some strong connections. If two alliances go to war with each other, and one alliance chooses to use Dust Bunnies, and the other does not, the alliance who chose to use mercenaries should win every time (without some truly miraculous events, either stupid mistakes or ingenious tactics).

So, in order to have real troop movement, we need two things, both of which are already currently working already in both Eve and Dust. The first thing we need is a piece of equipment that will allow your mercs to spawn where you want them to. Right now, we call these pieces of equipment CRUs. There is also another piece of equipment that allows spawning and is mobile called the MCC, which currently is what our skirmish games revolve around.

The second thing we need is a delivery system, which is also already in the game. Eve pilots have been delivering hot molten death to their enemies all month!

The system I’m envisioning utilizes both of these things, and can provide two different kinds of invasions.

The first kind of invasion is more focused on smaller corps, who favor hit and run tactics. What you would do, is buy a bunch of CRUs and place them into the cargo hold of your favorite covert ops ship (any ship, really, but let’s think tactically here). Yesterday, I did some quick calculations (I was an English major, so they’re probably wrong) and came up with the idea that a CRU is, in reality, about 12 cubic meters. My blockade runner, The Centurion Pigeon 3, can fit 3,750 cubic meters of cargo when it’s fit for null sec travel. That means I could put 312 CRUs in it’s cargo hold.

That’s probably too much. So the volume of CRUs would have to be inflated to balance how many CRUs a cargo hold can carry.

So now I’ve got a cargo hold full of CRUs in the Centurion Pigeon, let’s say 15 of them are in there. Doing what a blockade runner does best, I’m able to infiltrate past enemy gate camps and deep into their territory. We’ve chosen a tactically advantageous system to invade, and The Centurion Pigeon 3 is hiding cloaked up in said system, which is deserted. And then begins the invasion.

If I have 15 CRUs, that’s at least 15 districts I can warp to and then drop the CRUs from orbit. I can place one in each district, or I can put 2 or 3 on a district to make sure my foot troops will be able to spawn and attack the district, with the idea of taking it over. Let’s say that, while there are no enemy spaceships in the system, the evil spais in TEST have relayed the intel back to enemy alliance command that Dreddit plans an foot invasion in a system, so they’ve got their own mercs (maybe hired?) already there and waiting. When the CRUs are dropped from orbit, they can see them hurtling down from the sky (like they do now), to give them an idea as to where the CRUs landed (remember, if you don’t control the CRU, it doesn’t show up on your map).

Now, another quick caveat. No more red zones. At least not in null districts. We’ve all zoomed out to see how big these maps actually are, and I imagine these maps are supposed to represent an entire district. If you get to the edge of the map, you should still have the option of going further, but what happens is you would load the next map that represents the planetary district adjacent to the one you were in. It’d be kind of like loading a new zone, for those of you who ever played Everquest (oh my God… that was so long ago…). If there is no district adjacent in that direction, then I’m fine with an invisible wall.

So the invasion is on, and we’ve decided on a particular planet in this system that needs conquering (or, perhaps this kind of invasion would not allow for the capturing of enemy buildings and resources, just their destruction, and in order to capture it, you’d need your MCC, which I’ll get to in a moment). Because the drops are random (hey, shooting from orbit is difficult, we’re lucky to hit the right district!), we want to drop 3 CRUs in each district, just in case the defenders are able to get to one or two of them and hack them, just as they currently work. However, as soon as the friendly CRUs are online, our army of already ready mercs sees the option to spawn there from their merc quarters (this would need some kind of interface), and can then join the battle instantly. Assuming I’m able to drop all 15 CRUs across, say, 5 districts, we’ve now got 80 Subdredditors causing havoc on the planet below. Sounds like fun.

But CRU’s are weak, and easily hacked to transfer ownership to the other team. That’s why this kind of invasion should be used more to disrupt the industry and day to day workings of your enemy alliance. Chances are, if the defenders are smart, their whole strategy revolves around getting to those CRUs and hacking them. If there are no more friendly CRUs in the district, that part of the invasion is over, and the defenders have won (for today…).

Now, how about a full blown Sov war? Instead of a stealthy covert ops deploying CRUs behind enemy lines, now we’ve got a whole fleet of 500 battleships, battle cruisers, and all sorts of other fun ships one finds in a giant fleet. We’re truly at war now, and war requires taking of the enemy systems and resources.

Enter, the MCC. I am not sure exactly how big the MCC is, in comparison to Eve ships (ugh, no sites put the axis info up?), but the delivery system would be similar to the CRUs, except it would requiring being fit to a specialized ship. I’m not sure which ships this would best be suited for (Blockade Runner? =D), but I’m sure it would require a bit of discussion.

I’m sure everyone remembers that really awesome cinematic trailer from last year’s fan fest, that also happens to be the intro movie that plays every time we start up the game. Remember when the Amarr ship was being shot at by a bunch of rifters, then it drops off this kind of… drop ship into the atmosphere where 6 heavies come flying out to activate their inertia dampeners and looks super badass?

I imagine the MCC delivery system to be really similar to that.

Now! The MCC is a whole different story from the war barge. The war barge needs to interact directly with Eve ships while it is in control by Dust folks. That’s a difficult thing.

MCCs, on the other hand, shouldn’t. Like CRUs, while in space they would be at the mercy of the pilot carrying them, but once deployed on planet, then it would be awesome if someone in a command dropsuit were able to control the movement of the MCC, where it drops cover fire (because it should have some weapons to help out its invasion force), and what command centers it docks with in order to take control of the district.

Because the MCC cannot be hacked, like a CRU, and is much more difficult to destroy, this is the piece of equipment you bring when you expect to be taking control of the planet.

So there you have it. This was what I was kicking around in my head for the last few days. And, if you just scrolled to the bottom because you didn’t feel like reading all the words I bled for you, you’re a horrible person.

But here’s the TL;DR.

TL;DR: MCCs and SRUs should be Eve assets that Eve pilots can place on planetary districts, and it is these items that Dust Bunnies spawn from in order to move from place to place in greater New Eden.

Until next time, happy hunting everyone!

– JRD