Green tick for some, not for others

8th March 2010 – 5.39 pm

Getting back to the corporation tower in w-space, I notice our new recruit is out mining in the system. The directional scanner finds his Retriever mining barge in the system, which I recognise by its name, as well as picking up the presence of a few jet-cans. I form a fleet with him so that I can fly the Bustard to his location to pick up the mined ore. I could just warp in to the gravimetric site, picking up the bookmark for its position in the system from our shared can, but the rock he is mining could be a hundred kilometres away from the bookmarked point and being in the same fleet lets me warp directly to him. He accepts my fleet invitation.

As I look for the Bustard in the corporation hangar I realise that fleet bonuses can now be applied for being in a legitimate fleet, which includes mining bonuses. I ask the miner what level his mining foreman skill is, knowing that my own is rather low. Indeed, my colleagues skill is higher than my own, increasing his mining yield a little more, so it makes sense to make him the squad booster for the mining operation. But the Bustard is a brick with booster rockets when turning, and I would quite like my nifty boost to ship agility to be in effect, which requires me to boost the fleet. I don't need the mining boost, so I wonder if I can finagle a way to get the best of both our skills.

I move myself upwards in fleet rank, placing me at wing commander. Setting myself as wing booster then gives me all the boosts I get from my leadership skills, whilst keeping my miner colleague as squad booster. But when I ask if he is still getting the boost he says he isn't. I suppose that makes sense, as he no longer has a squad leader. Only having two fleet members restricts our options somewhat. Also, I believe the best boosts available across the fleet are applied to all relevant fleet members, and even if I'm not sure how the 'best' booster is determined I'm fairly sure it wouldn't apply my agility boost and my colleague's mining yield boost separately. I'll just have to endure the Bustard not entering warp a couple of seconds sooner, which is far from a hardship. But the user interface grates again.

I didn't much enjoy being shot at by 'blue' pilots, and I write at the time about the deficiency of the interface in showing the other pilots as allies without any indication that the relationship is not shared. If there is a visual way to indicate an ally, I maintain that there should be a way to visually discriminate between mutual allies and an aysmmetric relationship. Rather than a solid blue square, perhaps a square divided along adjacent corners, with one triangle's colour denoting your relationship to the pilot, the other the pilot's relationship to you. The asymmetry of the interface turns out to be the same with fleets.

There is no way of determining if the fleet you are in is legitimately commanded at all levels. I get the green tick of validity when I place myself as wing commander, but am given no feedback that my mining sqaud member is no longer in a valid fleet because of my change in rank. I have to ask to find out that he is no longer getting the booster bonuses. This makes determining a legitimate fleet hierarchy more awkward than necessary. It may only affect relatively inexperienced commanders, but without useful and immediate feedback the problem of determining legitimate fleet configurations will persist for longer, as it is more difficult to apply corrective actions if a problem remains unseen. For a fleet, it may be useful to apply a coloured translucent overlay to the fleet window. Fleet members in a legitimate configuration can be highlighted in green, those not in a legitimiate configuration highlighted in red, in much the same way that the overview shows capsuleers with low security ratings and corporation members. If this information were available at a glance, it would be much easier and quicker for pilots to form good fleets.

As it is, it takes some communication between me and the miner to ensure his mining foreman skill is helping his yield. Forming a legitimate fleet is far from a critical situation for this simple, two-man mining operation, but I would rather not have any complications should I want to form a fleet quickly for possible PvP. Hauling ore in the Bustard from the gravimetric site to the tower, and then hopping in my own Retriever to help shoot rocks, gives me the time to reflect on the inadequacies of the user interface. It keeps me occupied whilst mining, at least.

  1. 2 Responses to “Green tick for some, not for others”

  2. The interface like the rest of EVE is predicated on the fact that you have already completely read and understood the manual.

    Um... yeah... when I find one I'll send it on to you.

    By Kename Fin on Mar 8, 2010

  3. Indeed. And when there is not a convenient manual, or even when knowledge relies on an antiquated system of 'help' pages, the UI ought to be sufficiently transparent to gracefully guide the user to learn.

    There certainly have been improvements to the UI, and I am sure more will come with time.

    By pjharvey on Mar 9, 2010

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