With the Odyssey expansion in full effect, and factional warfare space moving into full zone control mode between Amarr/Minmatar, I decided to move back to Molden Heath to see how my old home was doing with all the changes. With Dust 514 interaction, tags for sec and exploration being the in thing at the moment I was hoping there’d be room for an old pirate to ply his trade once more. I had also heard that Black Rebel Rifter Club as well as possibly Stay Frosty were moving into the area, which hopefully would yield ample targets for some PvP fun.
Stay Frosty hasn’t materialized, however in the past weekend alone I ended up putting countless hours in belt piracy, exploration complex and mission busting, gate and station PvP, you name it, all the old lowsec PvP fixings. Changes to the region with Dust in particular have drawn so many players into lowsec that the region is reminiscent of years ago, in the 2008-2010 times where piracy was a viable profession in the game. While I don’t believe there’s enough valuable stuff to be had in lowsec for this kind of activity to be sustainable, between fresh exploration content, Dust offensive and defensive related fleets and tags for sec, there’s at least a reason to be in lowsec in some numbers. I’ve been glutting myself in action, in part for fear that this will be a fleeting experience gone in but a few weeks’ time.
Related to my previous entry on sentry turret mechanics, part of my experience has been using sentry avoidance as much as possible to explore gameplay options with the current status quo. I haven’t run into many occurrences with which avoidance was a factor in a “fair” or “equal” matchup, rather enabling my alt to apply sustained EWAR from his blackbird on a multitude of targets with impunity, using gate pounces to only have minimal downtime while warping away and back to the fight. That said there were an appreciable number of engagements versus passive or reactive PvPers that allowed us to take the initiative by using avoidance, and give up their sentry advantage. However in these cases fights were usually ganks even with sentry intervention, as our intelligence advantage of being “the locals” meant we were able to form counter fleets to just about everything that flew through the region.
More insidious has been the use of my alt account to apply non-aggressive support effects to myself and other fleet mates during piracy work. Typically my alt has been flying a Vigil (5 midslots) with meta support modules such as remote sensor boosters and ECCM casters to help us catch fleets or resist EWAR; an incredibly disposable combination for the effect afforded. With it we’ve been able to catch a few ships that otherwise may have slipped away from our ganking attempts, as well as provide a very inexpensive means of boosting our ships against EWAR. I’ll probably be trying T1 logistics frigates or cruisers next, as the risk versus reward of friendly support effects, without any sentry interference brings on the notion that you’d be stupid not to be doing this, much like use of off grind boosting alts for PvP.
Flying with my alt in this manner has been a refreshing change of pace compared to the strictly solo approach that I’ve adopted over the past few months for streaming. It also reminds me of how disconnected I’ve been with your typical EVE PvP of silly notions like flying smart, being patient and application of overwhelming force. I’ll probably attempt to incorporate some elements of this play into the future with my streaming, as I’m always in an arms race with individuals using my stream to counter my efforts.
Other than that, there’s been some patch woes related to Odyssey, related to interface lag and the new onboard scanner. While changes to the UI have been positive, something in the patch has introduced considerable desync with myself and everyone I’ve talked to, with effects such as ships having no pilots in space, ships becoming unlocked during combat, warping out under tackle, blackscreen on jumping through a gate or exiting a station, and overall horrific interface lag on the order of 0.5 to a full second of delay on actions.
Related to the onboard scanner, the graphical effect leaves scanned sites in space as brackets you can mouse over to bring up a tooltip, with various options such as saving the site as a bookmark or warping to it. If you have onboard scanning hidden, once the initial sweep of the system is complete, the brackets will hide after a few seconds. The utterly maddening aspect to this feature is that if you’re attempting to mouse over brackets in space, such as to warp to the star, a planet cluster, what have you, is that if a site bracket is next to the bracket you’re trying to interact with, the tooltip will pop up, blocking your interaction with celestials in space. In simpler terms, onboard scanning is interfering with player’s ability to interact with objects in space, retarding efforts to rapidly conduct actions that are vital to PvPers such as I when time is of the utmost importance in conducting PvP.
I don’t advocate for onboard scanning graphical effects to be removed, however if they have been set to be hidden, I feel these infuriating tooltips should be disabled until the onboard scanner is set back to its “on” setting. Also, FFS CCP bring back noticeable stargate jump animations to Minmatar gates. Not being able to see a gate fire when Gallente gates are just as noticeable as they were in the past is unsettling.