Raiding

I missed Wilhelm’s post on raiding – I must have skimmed through my RSS feeds too fast, trying to catch up over the long weekend.

I don’t really have any deep thoughts on the matter, except to add my lone anecdote. In the post, Wilhelm says:

I cannot name a single raid in LOTRO.

I know one *raises hand*.

How about the Rift of Nûrz Ghâshu? An epic adventure where 12 bold explorers battle their way to the ancient evil contained in the depths of a mine, an imprisoned balrog named Thaurlach

Sorry, got carried away there. ;)

Anyway, just teasing a bit. The reason this comes to mind is that the Rift is one of the few raids I’ve done, in any MMO I’ve ever played.

Here’s some clarification.

AC didn’t really have raids, I think the closest large group high level content was the Lady Aerfalle quest chain on Aerlinthe island. I took part a few times.

GW didn’t really have raids, instead it had elite missions sprinkled around. Those weren’t multi-group, and portions of some were soloable. I did most of those, several times.

GW2 falls into a new design offering landscape events with no fixed upper limit on players and no formal grouping. These are also shorter in duration than typical raid content. I’ve taken part in a few Living Story events, a few wandering dynamic event groups, and a few dragon kills (Tequatl).

LoTRO, I mentioned above. The one LoTRO raid I’d always heard about when my kinship was active was Helegrod. But we couldn’t field 24 people for the Dragon wing so we did the Rift instead. Oh, the LoTRO Wiki has a list of raids, and I count 17 non PvP ones (counting Helegrod as 4 raids). Two of the ones in Angmar, Bogbereth and Ferndúr the Virulent, and Filikul in Moria, are essentially single boss battles with trash mobs, so they are quite short compared to a typical raid. I remember doing Vile Maw once… anyway, the Rift is the one I’ve done many times, although the last time was years ago.

WoW? I never made it to the end-game content. I did a few dungeons here and there, but by the time I started playing, it seemed like the only lower level characters around were alts of people that raided, so it was all about grinding to max level and it was hard to find a group to do any of the content along the way.

EVE? Well, I’ve never even been in a fleet with anyone else, so no “raids” or the EVE-equivalent of “ginormous space battle”. I am thinking of moving Aurora to a PvP corp as two wormhole PI farmers should be plenty.

I’ve dabbled in a bunch of other MMOs, but not enough to get to the “raid” content in them, if there is any.

It might seem like something drastic is lacking in my MMO experiences. However, as much fun as I had raiding in LoTRO in the Rift, I’m not really eager to become a raider. I had more time for playing MMOs back then; now I can’t imagine devoting 4+ hours 2 or 3 times a week to work through raid content!

LoTRO – Helm’s Deep

It seems like forever since I played LoTRO, and so I resolve to change that. I finally got around to entering the Helm’s Deep epic battle. And… without sounding like too much of a downer, I think I see why the player base didn’t get too excited over them.

It was sorta passive, a very detached combat experience. I ran around with Naerys and gave orders (not sure that was too effective) and spent most my time cranking ballistas where at least I could tell I was doing something constructive.

Small Ballista

Small Ballista

At the very end, I stayed near Gamling and fought whatever mobs threatened him. I kept my eye on the progress meter, which was stuck forever at 75%, but then it finally updated to 87.5% and then suddenly, the battle was over.

So… I wasn’t up for the next epic battle, one is enough for each play session. ;) I know the general criticism of these battles isn’t good; as for me I’d almost prefer they be more like skirmishes – I find those fun. I shouldn’t form my opinion just yet as I’ve only done 1, and see 4 more are coming up.

Well, one at a time and then onto Vol 3 Book 14!

EVE – Wormhole PI Laziness

TL;DR – just read and follow this document for some low maintenance ways to make ISK via Planetary Interaction.

I had setup 3 factory planets: import materials, process and output various P4 commodities (Sterile Conduits, Nano Factory, Broadcast Node). According to my spreadsheet (haha, I’m playing EVE, right?!) I make about $90K ISK profit for each of these. Exact amounts vary depending on costs of the P2 commodities, but it’s roughly $90K ISK after import/export, market fees, etc.

If each factory planet can crank out 48 gizmos a day, over three planets, that is *drumroll* 4320 a month for just under $400 million ISK profit. That grows to just over $500 million a month if I built a 4th planet, and grows further if I bring in a third character.

Obviously I’d want more factory planets, but they can only go on Barren or Temperate planets, so in the system I’m in, there can be only 2 per character. It would be huge profit in a system with 6 available Barren and/or Temperate planets!

But, there is a downside… the logistics of feeding those factory planets. It involves a steady amount of purchasing materials, shipping to the wormhole, distributing around planets, collecting products, shipping to market, and repeating. Basically every day or every other day, I need to haul to market to buy/sell for another batch. There is a large outlay of ISK to buy the required goods, so my bank account(s) would constantly see-saw up and down. This isn’t bad, but shipping valuables both ways increases the window where something bad can happen.

On the other extreme is the lazy man’s approach, better documented in the link at the top. There, just make some each P2 commodities – since I have lots of Gas and Storm planets, I make Coolant and also Mechanical Parts on the Barren planets. I seem to average 350 units of each item per day, on a 3-day cycle.

Technically I set my extractors on a 2 day 23 hour cycle; that way it ends at say 9 pm, I reset them all by 10 pm, and then 3 days later they end at 8 pm to 9 pm again. If I set a 3 day cycle, if I reset the extractors 30 minutes late, it would finish 3 days later, 30 minutes later. Thus I would slowly creep later and later… however on the 2:23 cycle if I’m a few minutes late, it’s fine, and if I’m not too late, I have a buffer to work with and keep my PI reset at a consistent time.

Anyway, this setup has several advantages. It’s for the lazy, first of all. I only need to reset the extractors every 3 days, and haul to market every 2 weeks or so. I’m not that in to shipping PI items back and forth as my dominant gameplay form. Here, all the Coolant and/or Mechanical Parts are profits to realize – I don’t have a large outlay buying raw materials, so I’m only carrying valuables to market, not shipping items back to the wormhole. My bank account thus slowly grows rather than swings back and forth, which is good for my sanity.

Buying large numbers of a dozen or more items is annoying in the UI as well – the purchase goes through for the best price and you may not get the amounts you want, so then you have to buy the difference, etc.

So for now, this is what I’m doing on Summer and Autumn. They are both training Interplanetary Consolidation to 5 – that 6th planet for each will directly bump my profits up! – and perhaps Command Center Upgrades. Having extra grid is nice but that isn’t holding my back, except for one gas planet due to lengthy routing. Still, an extra planet would be better than extra power grid right now.

Aurora is training up various spaceships (Cruiser to 5, then Battleship to 4, then HM/HAM to 4) and missile skills. It turns out soloing Sleepers isn’t time effective in a Cruiser with Light Missiles so I’ll work those other one up for a while. It’s the waiting game for skills to train. Part of me wants to join Aurora to a PvP corp and do some group combat. I figure 2 wormhole PI farmers is good enough.

EVE – Wormhole Industry Update

I’ve been in the wormhole about a month. Much of that time I’ve spent getting used to things, scanning, getting better at scanning, making many many trips out to K-space to haul stuff into the wormhole, juggling inventory, buy a few backup items and hauling them into the wormhole, etc.

So while it hasn’t been a month of concentrated Planetary Interaction, I did finally get things setup and producing.

I’m in a wormhole with 1 barren planet, 1 temperate planet, 3 gas planets, and 3 storm planets. The only tier 4 (Advanced) commodity I can make from those available resources is a Nano-Factory.

So I have Autumn producing synthetic oil, superconductors, and polytextiles. This works out since I can make synthetic oil on a storm planet, superconductors on a storm planet, polytextiles on a temperate planet, and get reactive metals plus build the hi-tech production plant on a barren planet.

However, I also need to make fertilizer, and that needs to happen on a temperate planet. Since there is only 1 temperate planet, I outsourced fertilizer production to another character, Summer.

Anyway, so far so good and resources are definitely more abundant in wormhole planets than they were in empire space (especially hisec).

Finishing the Nano-Factories will require Summer to pick up the fertilizer, then swap ships to Autumn who will then import that plus the other tier 2 (Refined) commodities to my factory planet setup.

Speaking of that, I didn’t optimally layout my buildings, and as a result I’m 8 MW short of having 10 extractor heads:

Factory Planet

Factory Planet

8 MW! Argh. And that’s after I moved a few building closer to the launchpad by juggling routes, building replacements and shorter links, then destroying the extra. The 2 buildings with the longest links are the Hi-tech Production Plants and they are cranking away all the time; I don’t want to destroy/rebuild closer for fear of losing resources.

The annoying thing is how close I am, combined with the fact that Command Center Upgrades 5 is like a 17+ day train.

Well, I’m not missing too many Reactive Metals by only have 9 extractors instead of 10. It’s more that the next factory planet I build won’t be sloppy so it will fit 10 extractors.

Nano-Factory sale

Nano-Factory sale

Anyway, I managed to build 52 Nano-Factories, which I sold for 26.7 million ISK profit. I’ll keep better track of all the expenses and time involved for the next batch of commodities I sell.

EVE – Wormhole Relic Site

I finally scanned a relic site on an evening I had some spare time to explore it. It went well, but slow, so I’ll make some changes before next time.

I warped to the site to find 2 Awakened Escorts, the first wave of Sleepers guarding the site. Aurora was in a RLML Caracal which worked, but not very well. I found I could tank the damage of 2 or 3 Sleepers while killing one, and then have to warp off to repair armor and let my shields regen. Still, I made slow and steady progress and after ~45 mins or so, switched to my Buzzard to start salvaging wrecks.

Salvaging Sleeper Wrecks

Salvaging Sleeper Wrecks

This took about 15 mins to finish up.

Finally, time to try my hand at the relic sites with the relic analyzer!

Unfortunately, after beating the mini-hacking game, I opened the cargo to find… nothing. This made me remember I had a cargo analyzer, so I used on the other 3 sites and also found nothing at all.

Except there was one more wrecked ship floating around, a Derelict Talocan Frigate. I don’t remember fighting it so perhaps it was also part of the relic site.

I couldn’t open it, and before getting frustrated and leaving I tried the relic analyzer and up popped another hacking mini-game. I was rewarded with a Wrecked Hull Section for my efforts.

Exploration Loot

Exploration Loot

So my total haul for this exploration evening fit into the cargo bay of my Buzzard. I was able to sell everything at a hub for a total of 12.1 million ISK profit.

That’s decent, and it was fun to collect. I understand exploration is kind of like a lottery, sometimes you don’t get much but once in a while you hit it big.

Now, things to change: RLML is too slow. In the same trip where I sold this stuff, I refitted to Heavy Assault Missile launchers and Mjolnir Heavy Assault Missiles. I’m hoping the extra DPS takes down the Sleepers faster, making the whole thing take less time, which makes me less vulnerable to somebody passing by and jumping in.

Second, I’ll try working the relic site before looting wrecks. I was bummed 4 of the 5 cargo holds were empty (I’m counting that Derelict Telocan Frigate as part of the relic site), but maybe there is some timer and the loot despawned while I was salvaging wrecks.

Another possibility is a cloaked player just hung out while I fought all the Sleepers and zipped in while I was salvaging, but I had D-scan up and was checking it every 30 seconds. But, it is possible.

Basically, next relic/data site I find, I hope the HAM Caracal clears the Sleepers faster, and I’ll try analyzing the site before salvaging wrecks. Another thing I did is buy the Caldari Battlecruiser skill book; it’ll take a while but I’ve read the recommended wormhole ships are Strategic Cruisers or Battleships. I need Battlecruiser to 3 before I can train up Battleships, and then I’ll need a whole lot of bigger missile skills as well.

EVE – More Hauling

Someday I’ll finally finish moving stuff *sigh* and then not have to deal with it for a while.

Moving a Cruiser

I decided I really needed to get Aurora’s combat ship into the wormhole, so I could try things like “kill the sleepers” and search relic/data sites. So I popped out of the static exit into Moselgi, and began the long tedious process of traveling to Jarizza where Aurora left her Caracal.

Aurora was flying an Iteron, a shared Industrial ship between my 3 chars in the wormhole.

After getting there, I repackaged the Caracal, tossing away a rig or two. Then I dragged the Caracal into the Iteron and got an error message about the Caracal exceeding the 6000 m^3 of space.

ARGH!

I forgot to check the size of the packaged Caracal. I had been moving frigates around earlier and all of those packed down intoe 2500 m^3, it didn’t occur to me that a cruiser would not fit. Unfortunately for me, cruisers package down to 10000 m^3, and that’s more space than the cargo bay of the Iteron.

There I was, hopping mad mostly at myself for not looking at the ship attributes, but still needing to get the Caracal into the wormhole. So I assembled the ship, bought the two rigs I had just destroyed in order to re-fit the ship, loaded up all the modules, and started flying back to Moselgi.

After another tedious amount of time, I arrived in Moselgi and warped to the K162. But there was nothing there. I checked and double checked but didn’t see it, so I finally docked into some spaceport and swapped over to Autumn, who was in the wormhole.

In a few minutes I had scanned down the N110 exit, and found that while I was out trying to get Aurora’s ship into the wormhole, it collapsed and reformed. The new hisec exit was… Oursulaert, a mere 16 more jumps away.

Sometime, EVE seems like it messes with you out of spite.

I finished up bringing the Caracal into the wormhole, staying up past my intended bedtime. I put off retrieving Aurora’s Buzzard until sometime in the future.

Basically, if you are thinking of moving into a wormhole, plan better than I did. ;) Maybe have your PI character move a packaged exploration ship, modules, and a few command centers in a hauler, fly a combat character in with their combat ship, switch to the hauler and exit back to K-space to pick up another packaged exploration ship, then return.

That would help some, and so would having your chars plus their important stuff in the vicinity of each other. As I recall, my chars were fairly spread out and I moved them into the wormhole one at a time over a few days. So the system the K162 was in kept changing.

EVE – Wormhole Gas Harvesting

One thing I’ve noticed from scanning in the wormhole are gas sites. I always ignored them but I had a few minutes and went to take a peek.

Gas Cloud

Gas Cloud

OK it looks cool but didn’t look too exciting. But I didn’t really know much about gas clouds, so I went to the Eve University wiki and did some reading on gas cloud mining… well it looks like a worthwhile activity after all!

So Aurora left for K-space and bought the Gas Cloud Harvesting skill, and miscellaneous modules for her Venture which was a reward for one of the tutorial missions. Then came the usual logistics of flying all this stuff out to the wormhole, which is somewhat tedious. I figure eventually I’ll have enough gear in the wormhole to not have to keep spending an evening shipping things around, and lets just say I’m looking forward to that day arriving. ;)

The next night I had a chance to try it out, as my wormhole scan revealed a gas cloud.

Gas Cloud Mining

Gas Cloud Mining

Warping to a gas cloud starts a timer – 20 minutes later Sleepers show up. So I decided to sneak in and harvest until ~15 mins or so, at which point I warped away.

My harvesting process involved targeting the gas cloud (after making sure Harvestable Clouds was checked in my overview) and then enabling the Gas Cloud Harvester modules. I also had dscan open and scanned every 30 seconds or so… you never know who else might be in the wormhole looking for a fight!

Fortunately I harvested in peace and warped back to the station to store the Fullerite C-50 gas I had collected.