Looking to the future of EVE Metrics

EVE Metrics has become a disorganised, sprawling project. A year or two ago I set out with the idea in my head to build something like EVE Central, but for as much data as possible. I’m a data junkie in a way- I’m the sort of person who gets a bit of a kick from being able to see complex relationships between seemingly unrelated data and do that sort of analysis on a large scale. In short- <3 databases. I set out to do this with very little Ruby/Rails experience, a fairly solid MySQL experience after my earlier projects doing high-volume event logging using Garry’s Mod for Half-Life 2 to provide an audit trail for an FPS-based roleplaying environment, and a modicum of webapp experience.

What I hadn’t really considered was the market. Read on to read a short bit of background and find out where the site’s heading.

Continue reading Looking to the future of EVE Metrics

Passive alignment and other myths

There are some things in EVE that people seem to take as fact which are quite simply not.

My pet hate on this front has got to be passive alignment. For those who aren’t in the know, this is when you align to a point in space (say, another stargate), at zero speed. The idea is that when you hit the warp button, you will enter warp faster than if you were pointing in another direction.

Now, this doesn’t work. If you’re pointing exactly 180 degrees away from the warp-out point you’ll warp as quickly as if you were pointing at it. If you don’t believe me, go undock and try it.

The exact equation involved looks like this:

TimeToWarp=-ln(0.25) * Mass * Agility / 1000000

A little explanation- the mass and agility of your ship are equal contributors to the warp time of your ship. The other element- the natural logarithm of 0.25-  is why you warp when you’re 3/4 of the way round your ship’s speed indicator, and not at maximum velocity. This equation will give the absolutely correct (not accounting for latency) time to enter warp no matter the orientation of the ship involved.

Some of you might be screaming “But the ship has to be pointing in the right direction!”. Well, you’d be right in a way. EVE models, fairly accurately, ships and everything else in space as balls. They’re spheres with a fixed radius, and that’s how collision and all that stuff is worked out- just simple sphere interactions. Now, your ship is obviously not ball-shaped. You’ve got those stonking great big engines on there! And they only fire in one (or three, if it’s a Kitsune) direction(s). So logically, the time it takes for those engines to get to where they’re pushing in the right direction must have an impact, right? WRONG! EVE doesn’t model that! EVE assumes that your engines are pushing you towards wherever you want to go, not in the opposite direction to where they appear to be pointing. The model of your ship- that is, the bit you see- is actually only attempting to respond to the actual vector of your ship to give you a smooth experience.

Direction is important to your ship’s vector, but not the model. What you see is, most of the time during warping, crap. If your ship is stationary it has effectively (and this is where most people give up) no direction. It is directionless. The vector’s magnitude is zero and as such any addition to that vector (by your engines) result in that vector instantly snapping to that direction. An analogy, if you will. Let’s say I have a marble. I put it on a flat surface. If it is stationary then it takes me no extra effort to push it to the left or right. If it’s rolling to the left and I want to push it right it takes extra effort, if I want to push it to the left.. it’s already rolling to the left. This is about as good an analogy I can come up with for alignment.

This is why your alignment time as reported by EFT and so on is always correct, no matter where you’re facing. The only thing passive alignment will do is tip off the enemy as to where you’re going to go if you need to run, making the whole practice doubly useless.

I know there’s been a few notes on how passive alignment doesn’t work, but I’ve seen a lot of people talk about this recently and it’s really been bugging me, so there you have it- the definitive rant, compiled from both my own notes and experimental efforts as well as Entity’s post on the topic.

Why ECM ships don’t need a nerf, and how to fix ECM properly

CCP, you may have spotted, are planning an ECM nerf. Now, I’m biased in this- I fly support. I’m rarely seen in fleet fights because I’m in a buzzard 250km from anyone else, but if I’m there I’m in a Scorpion or a Kitsune. I’ve not gotten a killmail since 2008, for crying out loud. And therein lies my point.

The changes to Scorp, Falcon and Rook assume that ECM pilots just fit ECM as a side benefit of their guns. This is simply not the case in the vast majority of situations. None of the EW ships are particularly strong with a decent quantity of ECM- using racial jammers you need 4 midslots of ECM, and trying to generate a tank out of your remaining mids doesn’t tend to work well. The goal of the ECM pilot is to reduce the damage output of the opposing force by disrupting target locks and removing one or more ships from the battle in terms of actually dealing damage to your team.

Now, there’s one situation and one ship that has received a lot of attention.

Falcons are fairly legendary for having the ability to lock out to ~200km and to jam from that distance with good strength. This is a great asset in fleet fights and smaller engagements like gate camps where having a few distributed ECM platforms around the place to break up hostile fire concentration can swing the battle to the defenders. However, in smaller fights it can lead to ‘problems’ where the hostiles will be set up for close range high DPS situations with a Falcon or two dotted around the battlefield at long range, well out of the attacker’s range. Problems like the attackers not being able to shoot anything.

What is the solution to this, you might ask? Well, CCP’s answer is to turn the Falcon- a paper-thin, untankable (This is a Caldari ship- shields are all about the midslots, which is where your ECM goes. One or the other, chaps) fairly nippy cruiser that can cloak- into a close-range brawler. Otherwise known as ‘primary’. Unless you jam 100% of the targets 100% of the time, you’ve popped already in 99% of situations. Your cloaking advantage is useless, your tank doesn’t exist, your DPS is tiny compared to, say, a HAC.

Then there’s the Rook, which CCP want to turn into a longish-range platform. But wait- drone bay? Why does a long-range platform need a frakking drone bay? It’s enough for one sentry drone, but that’s about all you could concieveably find useful as a Rook pilot. At 80k or thereabouts, you’ll still die nice and fast but you’ll at least be able to do some damage with your one sentry drone and heavy missiles.

No nerf would be complete without planned changes for every good ship, though- the Scorpion gets messed around with too! No more optimal range bonus for the Scorp- it’s getting brawlerfied too. Now, I’ve got a Scorpion set up for W-Space. Strong tank, a little ECM, and cruises for contributing to the longer-range targets DPS-wise. Now, a torpscorp might work well if there were some more hardpoints/highslots added, but your tank would again destroy your ECM. I’ve only got 3 multispecs fitted, along with two SDAs. It’s not a PvP-worthy fitting, by any means, and reduces the Scorp’s usefulness greatly.

Now- enough ranting. How do we fix ECM properly, to give smaller gangs a chance against these obviously overpowered ships? Fix ECCM. Give Remote ECCM a huge boost, either in strength or by making it an area-of-effect module. Of course RECCM is useless- RECCM providers will simply be jammed. Why not make RECCM a shield effect, similar to a heavy interdictor, and a highslot module instead of a midslot module? Pick a ship class that has a grey area in terms of it’s role and choose that as a specialist platform for RECCM. RECCM shielding could give all ships within the bubble a boost to their sensor strength, making them more resistant to ECM.

By making RECCM a more viable option for players and making it a clearly defined fun role to play, ECM gets more interesting, other pilots get jammed less and are happier, and balance can be restored to small gangs with the addition of a RECCM pilot or some extra ECCM modules on snipers. Nothing needs nerfing; the battlefield just needs evening up to give RECCM pilots a chance to swing the battle back to their side.

Edit: Dev update- they’re not going to nerf the Falcon to short range, and are making the Rook the brawler instead. Unfortunately they still seem to think Scorpions can survive at anything less than sniper range, and that they should not be able to fight beyond 140k. What the fuck?