Tuesday, 2 June 2015

The Problem with Eve Veterans is....

I don't understand them. This isn't a rant about bitter vets. I find them rather adorable. Trapped within their experience in the same way a new player is trapped but with their respective inexperience. No, I am talking about the nice or at least the helpful sort. I am not ranting about these either. This is just an observation. Generally, when I speak with them the experience is mutually frustrating. They will deliver sage and detailed advice that I find completely unhelpful and misses the point. From their perspective, I ask questions that appear completely illogical and/or dumb. 

In my bones I know the issue lies with me. I know I view problems in a different way from the majority of of people. That doesn't mean I am special or intellectually superior in any way. While not in the majority, there are many people solve problems the way I do. In practical terms I am just as likely to come up with the wrong or right answer as anyone else and in an everyday sense it makes little difference. But fundamentally I do not think in a logical way.

When approaching a problem I first think of concepts. So far so average. But it is only a a cursory thought because I quickly move onto the relationship that a concept has with other concepts. These are far more important to me because they define purpose and better describe the concept and complexity.

I'm losing you aren't I. A simple example.

Task: Find somewhere to live. 

Most people will think house or apartment. So do I. They will then think of the number of bedrooms etc,. I won't. At least not at that point. I will be thinking of shops, electricity, gas, telephone, cinema, schools, buses, trains, work location, neighbourhood, landscape, etc and their relationship to the house. Here I will be using past experiences of different unrelated scenarios to make the links. If that all lines up and seems viable then I might just be interested in what is inside the house on a basic level.  This of course makes me an infuriating person to buy a house with. Telling your partner you don't like the once in a lifetime bargain mansion because I won't be able to park my car at the station does not generally get a sympathetic response.

The upside to my madness is I can get a sense of the bigger picture quite quickly in most areas of life. However, the solutions I might come up with often appear unconventional and will not necessarily be the established way of doing things. It will make perfect sense to me because I have seen them applied in different areas but communicating the mental leap as a logical process defies explanation. The downside is that perspective isn't always useful and can deflect from getting the immediate task done. Project managers always struggle with me.

And this is what I find in Eve. Veterans know how to get today's task done and the ships and fits to do it with. It is tried, tested and it works. The good ones will willingly share that information with you. But that isn't a question I will ever ask - although the phrasing of my question might give that impression.
A post Carnyx Astero. This is not an Echelon
 A recent example was when I came across the Echelon hull. It was a gift hull in the past with some benefits appropriate for exploration but limited in many other ways. Quirky to say the least. But I could imagine a particular scenario where it could be used in a niche way alongside the regular tools for the job like the Astero I use. I tried to test my thinking on a friendly forum but made the mistake of assuming they were following my thought process. Unsurprisingly, the advice I got back (with one notable exception) was to forget the Echelon and use an Astero.

An Echelon. This is not an Astero
So a generic solution to a point problem. Not wrong, but not helpful either. Disheartened I left it there. I assumed they ithought I had never heard of, understood or even used an Astero before. What I was really asking was about exploration in the widest possible sense. At least that was what I thought I was asking. Why else would anyone ask about the Echelon without that context? goes my thinking. But like I said, this is my challenge. There is nothing wrong with Vets but unfortunately I will never understand them.


  1. a) This is why corporations are good, so you can talk to people who are both sympathetic *and* will give you the benefit of the doubt that you maybe know enough to be worth a full discussion rather than a 1 sentence "use an astero" reply.

    b) Eve vets are incredibly resistant to new hypothetical theories. On the other hand they're incredibly accepting of, and quick to imitate, new proven concepts. It isn't because they're old conservative fogies or bittervets, it's because when you know eve you realize that the possibility space is too big to try everything. And testing out other people's ideas is a lot of work. Talk is cheap, the proof is in the pudding.

    So if you have a great new Echelon idea, you need to go out and show it works yourself before strangers will take you seriously. (And even then they may not take you seriously, either because your idea is actually bad for reasons you don't understand, or because they're true bittervets. A major cause of bittervet disease is when you've seen the same bad ideas over and over for years and you start to think everyone else is dumb because they can't see what's obvious.)

  2. Speaking as a vet ;-)

    Our alliance has training PvP corp and so we regularly have to accommodate different level of skill points and experience into our fleet doctrines.

    A common question we get is in fleet doctrine X can I use ship T1 Y instead of ship T2 Z? Even with a mass of e-fitting talent you'll usually find the T1 variant will be short on one of the following range, tank or dps and so the response is please fly a support ship, (ewar / tackle) and skill up to the recommend fit.

    - Vexor Navy Issue in Istar fleets nice dps but reduced tank / sentry range.
    - Stabber FI for AHACs, low tank / resist and poor dps.
    - BC's for AHAC, low resist / sig tank and poor mobility.

    Why is this an issue? An experienced opposition FC will either call primary the weakest tank or select an engagement range / speed that will remove / split your dps through the weakest link.

    That said you can run fleets of x using type z of T1 ships but usually its the FCs call and he will make adjustments to the engagement profile he is willing to take on.

    Now in the case of using a specialist setup as a solo-er, (PvPer / PvEer) I found doing as you want is usually the best way to go. In the case of PvP learning the comparative weaknesses will only hone your skills and disguise you as a wolf in sheep clothing. Its amazing what you can kill in a standard T1 frigate if you pick your fights.

    A Merc

  3. Those are some excellent constructive comments. Thank you. I am not sure how my reply will do them any justice. Here goes...
    To Anonymous A.
    a) Interesting point. I have been fortunate enough to have been in two enlightened, innovative and successful Corps. Both of them have excellent educational support and are sympathetic to member’s needs. To achieve that consistently, they had to make a logical judgement based on their experience to condense Eve into doctrines, fits and procedures. But while l learned about the doctrines, fits and procedures, I wasn't exposed to the underlying logic. So I try to figure it out for myself. This is where it can start to go wrong as I could (and have) come up with different answers. Now I am an awkward sod. I won't do anything willingly without understanding why it is right. Inevitably that means challenging someone's experience and role. This is where the frustration sets in as the situation appears like an ungrateful student versus officious tutor even though both characterisations are untrue. So a corp just isn't for me.
    b) Completely recognise what you say there. Vets can only teach me what Vets know and trust. But your point does actually hit on the point of difference. I don't mind spending time testing ideas. The skill queue on one of my alts is 161 days long just to ty out another idea I am working on for example. This actually seems reasonable to me. But it is a hard sell without proof certainly.
    On your last paragraph I again take your point. But I don't have a good idea about the Echelon. I might have a broader good idea though. That idea could involve the Echelon. The hull is secondary to the idea although it could be an enabler in that context. But it is that context I have difficulty explaining to Vets. If it works I will be happy to share  I might share if it doesn’t work too.
    To Anonymous Vet
    What you say is the sort of explanation I like. You give me the answer as well as the working out in the margin. Here you are talking in terms that are more like a chess game than a 1v1 duel. You understand the tools, the job those tools need to support, the position you need to be in to fight and the counter moves to anticipate. I'm completely out of my depth here but always willing to celebrate my ignorance. So from what little I know about AHAC's (and it really is a little) you probably need something asymmetrical (like a Guardian?) to counter them or some long range Tengu sniping? Point being, I would be the awkward one questioning why we were using AHACs at all despite them being the thing over the last few years. This is not to dismiss what you say. I go down the solo route as you suggest but I am trying to integrate my three toons so that collectively they punch above their weight. The total being more than the sum of the parts, so to speak. In that way I am being my own FC albeit not in a fleet context.

  4. Fittings and doctrines are the tools of the PvP trade, you need to know how to wield them,(knowledge) and practice the use of wielding, (skill). Many Alliance fits are based on the optimized solution to a particular problem in the form of costs, application and ease of use. The whole Ishtar doctrine is / was a classic example of this.

    Now you do indicate an interesting point, in our Alliance we actively train our pilots in our ship doctrines because you need to master the knowledge before you can address the skill. However on rare occasions have recruited "vet" pilots who have misconceptions on fits not realizing the environment it "lived in" has changed.
    The T1>Navy>T2>T3 chain is only "better" in that engagement profile increases, (what you can fight and win.). If you fly a specialist T1 / Navy ship you learn the craft and be more selective on what you attempt to engage. Prior to the arrival of the confessor we had one of our better solo pilots was winning fights in a T2 fitted, T1 Amarr frigate against Navy / faction frigates.
    In Eve you specialize, this has seem to have been forgotton over the last years.

    To go back to your original predicament, you do have a few options.
    a) You can go with the tried and tested soloing with passive alts, (sounds horrid.) Typical trick includes 1 alt booster sitting around a POS or an alt in a cloaky falcon or just cloaky eyes somewhere. The main advantage of this approach is that your toons are for the most part out of immediate danger and so can concentrate on your main's ship.
    b) You can tripple box with cheap throw aways if you have mental dexterity, engaging with something tanky and have your two alts undock and warp at range to rep chain you up or Ewar, (Celests are cheap & nasty.)
    c) Blops dropping although more skill intensive its less repeatable and expensive outlay.
    d) If you can really tripple box then a RR setup, I've seen some interesting tripple RR domi's engagements. However if you flash it around expect to be hot dropped after a while.

    The thing to take from here using your alts in an actual engagement you need to put them in something tanky so you can react or far away that you have time to react.

    A Merc


    1. Much to digest here. In many respects I can't disagree with you. But my perspective is different. Fittings and doctrines are important tools and I accept that you need the skills and knowledge to use them. Tools help you complete a defined task more productively. Understanding the task helps you understand the best tool for the job. You wouldn't use a spanner to dig a hole. The better you understand the task the more you can refine or specialise the tool to improve productivity. This is what you tend to find in Eve. This is where the Astero answer comes from and I understand that. You can even break down the task into subtasks. This happens less often in Eve and is exactly the point you make about specialization. I thought the "Worlds Collide" tournament was very telling in that regard at Fanfest. From what I heard it wasn't the case that the Chinese didn't understand logistics. It was more a case of they didn't want perform the role. Like finding someone to be goalkeeper for a football (soccer) match, it is not something you would solely associate with China.

      Now I rarely PvP. I really enjoy it if I am left with no alternative but I usually avoid it or just explode. It's an RP thing similar to Signal Cartel's Credo but with an eco angle. Yeah I know but just humour me. I've not put it into words yet because I've not proved to myself that it is viable way to play the game. But that is essentially the journey I am taking through Eve. So while not against PvP (eco warrior!). I sort of regard PvP like a fox hunt. Great fun if that is your thing but a truly terrible way to control the fox population. PvP then is also a tool in itself that may or may not be appropriate to achieve a higher parent task.

      Perhaps you now see the problem with I have with communicating with vets because where I am coming from is counter intuitive. So when I am talking about optimising the three toons they don't necessarily need to be on the same field of play or engaged in PvP. But they will need to be coordinated. Realistically your option (a) is the only sensible choice I have to manage the toons. Besides, multi-boxing would consume extra CPU cycles and would therefore be bad for polar bears :)

    2. I think I understand where you coming from on the PvP aspect. Its part of the game you enjoy but don't pursue it as your primary content, (it may be exploration / mining etc.).

      If that is the case I suppose the majority of your engagements are where you are at a disadvantage as the defender. You see a desire to be able to efficiently counter either directly or indirectly these threats based on your current skill point pool and perhaps have some fun in the process :-).

      Another trick you could use depending on ewar skills is a kitsune with the information links, you can jam out any Frigate class hull from 100km. I guess you could cloak it though you have to be sure to be able to tank 5-8 seconds of damage on your main ship before you can escape.

      A Merc

    3. I think you do sir :) Interestingly the last successful PvP engagement I had was in a Griffin. Successful in the sense that I controlled that particular battle and could extract myself on my terms. So the Kitsune example has resonance.