Monday, September 5, 2011

Balancing the Books

Dennis Hutch had stepped up into the top seat when its founder had died of a lethal overdose of brick wall, taken while under the influence of a Ferrari and a bottle of tequila.
--Douglas Adams

These pilots are masters of arbitrage, profiteering, and generally making a space-buck off the sweat of another man's brow.  Join this career if you prefer to sit in a leather executive chair, smoking a cigar and counting your billions as the proletariat does the real work.

I'm pretty sure these missions are supposed to represent the career path of Trade in EVE.  I'm not really sure how, considering the Player driven market is sort of difficult to create NPC Missions around.  I guess I'll find out though.  The missions are back on the X of 10 path, with all of them being calling "Balancing the Books."

1 of 10

Granted: None

Reward: 49000

Bonus: <1h 16m for 52000

Collateral: 154.8993

Please note the decimal point in the Collateral amount.  I didn't at first, and had to pick my jaw up off the floor after thinking I was being asked for 1.5 million.  I blame the EVE font.  The mission is a simple Courier run one jump over with a Data Sheet.  I guess they didn't want to give me anything too overwhelming on my first day.

Turning in the mission at my destination starts the Salvaging tutorial of all things.  The tutorial includes such gems as  "Your industrial career advisory agent will provide you with a Civilian Salvager module," even though I'm running missions for the Business agent right now.  I also enjoyed reading "You have done remarkably well. Here are two skills that should help you with your salvaging career." before providing me with the Salvaging and Survey skill books while I was just autopiloting as I read the tutorial.  If this is remarkable behavior, this game should be a piece of cake, right?

2 of 10

Granted: one unit of Civilian Salvager

Reward: one unit of Tormentor

Bonus: <1h 42m for 54000

Oh!  Now it makes sense.  It's going to be about eight hours before I can use a standard Salvager I, so I thank whatever Amarr gods are out there that this isn't another Stasis Web debacle and move on.  Of course, not wanting to be outdone, accepting the mission starts the Acceleration Gates tutorial.  Yes, yes, I've seen plenty of Acceleration Gates by now.  While I do understand that this could be the second mission I've ever run in the Career Tutorials, it would be nice if it could detect whether I've seen a specific tutorial already.  I mean, it won't give me items more than once, so clearly it's keeping track.

Of course, the New NPE has really made the Acceleration Gates tutorial completely obsolete anyway.  Seizing upon any opportunity to drive this point in further, you can clearly see that the New and Old NPE were developed separately and don't even acknowledge the existence of one another.  Anyway, back to the mission.  I salvage some stuff, I kill some other stuff.  This mission has less to do with Salvaging standard wrecks and more to do with using it to unlock a container as in the Exploration sites.  Retrieving a Black Box from a container, I complete the mission.

3 of 10

Granted: None

Reward: one unit of Salvaging

Bonus: <1h 56m for 62000

Wait a minute.  Salvaging?  Didn't I just get that from the Salvaging tutorial not five minutes ago?  I can't even inject the first one yet, what am I going to do with another one?  Come on CCP, at least make it look like you're trying.  Accepting the mission starts the Reprocessing and Refining tutorial...which I've seen already.  Of course, I could have done this before I did the Industry tutorial, but there should still be some way for it to know that I've already done the Industry missions.

In fact, I'm still not sure what these Business missions even represent.  My agent tells me that even for people who spend all day buying and selling it's important to know where the items came from, and that's why I'm about to go kill some Pirates and mine an asteroid...O....K....if you say so man.  I high-tail it out of there as soon as the Pirates show up and which gives me a checkmark in the "Mine from the very specific place I tell you to" field of the mission, go back and give him some Tritanium.

4 of 10

Granted: one unit of Civilian Codebreaker

Reward: one unit of Hacking

Bonus: <1h 12m for 48000

I'm being sent to go kill Pirates and Hack stuff...kind of like an Exploration mission, but without the exploring part.  I'm really starting to question which of us is the cigar smoking billionaire and which of us is the proletariat in the relationship I have with my agent.  Accepting the mission starts the Hacking Tutorial.  Please note, this is different than the Advanced Hacking tutorial that I had during the exploration missions, which actually made sense there.  No, this Tutorial provides me with the Contracting and Negotiation skill books instead.  While I do appreciate those, they seem completely unrelated to the task at hand.  I can't even use the Contracting skill while on a trial and Negotiation is more useful to mission runners than traders.

I take my Punisher to the mission itself, which feels like overkill.  It is.  There's only a single NPC present, in a Pirate version of a Rookie Ship no less, and I could have probably just ignored him for all the effort killing him takes.  After a few dozen attempts from the Codebreaker (I seriously question how New Eden survives if everyone but the Military are using Civilian Modules) I finally get in and can complete the mission.  It would be nice if CCP could scale the difficulty on Hacking attempts to make these tutorial ones easier to accomplish.  Sitting around for three minutes staring a module cycling is not my idea of thrilling gameplay.

5 of 10

Granted: one unit of Overdrive Injector Systems I

Reward: one unit of Expanded Cargohold I

Bonus: <1h 12m for 51000

It's just a basic Courier mission, this time six jumps away.  As that is a fair amount of time, and because I still can't use any of these modules, I go on a bit of digging about my lack of Hull Upgrades and its apparent replacement by Weapon Upgrades.  Some Google-fu turns up two interesting sites.

EVElopedia and EVE-Wiki seem to differ on what the Cash Flow for Capsuleers missions will involve.  Since EVElopedia is the official site, I'm not surprised that it's information matches my experiences exactly.  What does interest me is that EVE-Wiki tells me that at some point you received Hull Upgrades in mission 7 followed by mission 8 giving you Weapon Upgrades and a Heat Sink, which would have actually made some sense.  My guess is that it was changed at some point, with the original design passing through CCP's Quality Assurance department, but the changes going in unquestioned.  It's the little things CCP, death by a thousand cuts and all that.  Back to the mission at hand, the Courier mission presents nothing exciting and I'm soon back with my agent for the next one.

6 of 10

Granted: one unit of Mass Production

Reward: one unit of Miner I

Bonus: <1h 2m for 41000

The rewards for this one seem just a bit odd to me.  The mission itself is to provide a single unit of Tracking Computer I to your agent.  Accepting the mission starts the Market tutorial, and the mission just expects you to buy it and turn it in.  This is probably the closest thing to an actual Business mission we've seen so far though, so I can't really complain.

Thankfully for me, I already know how to use the market, but if I didn't, the tutorial would still get me there.  It does include the sound advice that "Never buy anything you can not afford to lose!  It is inevitable that you will lose ships sooner or later. When that happens, it is important not to be completely broke as a consequence and able to recover quickly from the loss."  While this lesson may seem obvious, the sheer number of people I've seen ransomed that literally begged for their ship because they had spent every last ounce of ISK they had on it would seem to prove otherwise.

The mission goes smoothly, although it is worth noting that the Tracking Computers available in this station are priced for 949.24% above regional average.  Yeah...somebody's making a killing off the Newbies.  The tutorial gives me the Trade and Retail skill books for my trouble though, so I still come out way ahead for getting them for the price of a Tracking Computer, even at ten times the normal price.

7 of 10

Granted: one unit of Civilian Analyzer

Reward: one unit of Afterburner I

Bonus: <1h 10m for 53000

So what you're telling me is that CCP had no idea how to fill the Business guy with ten business related missions?  Yeah, I thought so.  Starting this mission begins the Multiple Acceleration Gates tutorial.  Yes, yes, I've already experienced multiple acceleration gates in a mission, and there's nothing fundamentally different about activating one after another...or is there?  This tutorial also includes the note that "Often, acceleration gates will be locked until you have cleared out the enemy ships in the area."  Here's a grand idea, how about removing the Acceleration Gates tutorial completely as the New NPE covers it and replacing it with the Multiple Acceleration Gates tutorial both here, and earlier when I ran into my first series of Multiple Acceleration Gates where they were locked until I killed all the NPCs surrounding it instead of having the information that it was locked be in a pop-up instead of the tutorial?  There, problem solved.

The mission is predictably easy.  I am in a Punisher after all, and this is the Business least that's what it told me when I started it.  I seem to be doing an awful lot of blowing stuff up for a Businessman.  My use of the Analyzer takes about as long as the Codebreaker did, but at least it gives me a chance to type while I listen to the sound of it failing repeatedly in the background.  Once it's done the job, I turn the mission in to much fanfare.

8 of 10

Granted: None

Reward one unit of Limited Social Adaption Chip

Bonus: <20m for 12000

A Charisma Implant?, I guess if I was actually looking to train Trade skills it would come in handy.  Of course, if I was really want to increase my training time I'd probably invest in more than a 30k Implant, but never mind that.  The mission's only a one jump courier mission, so I guess the pay is worth the work.  Completing the mission starts the Implants tutorial, which already knows I've done it in the past since it doesn't give me a Cybernetics skill book this time, but still feels the need to repeat itself.

9 of 10

Granted: one unit of Expanded Cargohold

Reward: one unit of Production Efficiency

Bonus: <15m for 11000

Back on the road to actual Business missions, all I'm asked to do is buy two Afterburner Is and give them to my agent.  Due to the incredibly small window for the time bonus, I actually miss it when someone Private Convos me and tries to recruit me into their Nullsec Corp.  I didn't want to be rude (or blow my sneaky sneaky cover) so I humor the guy...and run over time on the mission.  That guy totally owes me 11kisk.

10 of 10

Granted: one unit of Infrared S Blueprint (Copy)

Reward: one unit of Sigil

Bonus: <6h for 242000

Accepting the mission starts the Manufacturing tutorial, which I've already had, but is probably warranted as even if you had run the Industry missions first you might need a refresher by now.  Unfortunately for me, I lack the Isogen to deliver 50 units to the agent...and no one sells it here.  Seriously, why are there no minerals for sale in this system?  I even double check the loot I have for some Isogen rich Modules, but come up short.  Six jumps round trip to the nearest Isogen on the Market and I've finally started the job.

It's going to take a while to finish, but there's plenty of time on the time bonus for this one.  The Sigil is nice, although it would probably have made more sense to only provide one Industrial from the Career Funnel, and it fits better with the Industry path.  I'm not really sure what reward would have made for a Crowning Moment in the Business path.  Perhaps one of the more expensive skill books for trade, although I'm sure that wouldn't feel very glamorous to a new player.  At the end of the day, the Business missions really suffer from a lack of clear direction on their part, but I'll speak more on that later.

I feel like I've still got another post in me about the NPE.  Next post will include a general overview of the entire thing, and then maybe, just maybe, we can get back to some Piracy on this Pirate Blog.  Wouldn't that be something...



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