Sunday, September 30, 2012

Character Update: 10 Months In

I spend a lot of my time writing about everything but my characters technical bits. However, ignoring them completely would be silly. I am a duel to triboxer most days (I'm so sorry Hong please still talk to me at Eve Vegas and don't hide from me for being evil). When I speak of myself it should also be noted that my I is spread across multiple me. It matters because I can accomplish the tasks of a small group.

The other day, after debating my little episode with the live event and my gank and revenge situation I started to think that my 'outlaw' security status may be a good thing for me. I've lost the mild protection of the gates and station guns. People will now shoot me because it is free. There will be no more hesitation as they debate if they want to deal with gateguns or GCC.

It is an enviormental push. Its moved me from debating my probability of escaping a situation to expecting every situation to end up in conflict. That puts me into a different mindset. I tend to ponder and debate and plan and fret when I am faced with decisions and choices. When I have to act, then I do and sort it out later. The difference is my personal choice in the matter. (And for my corpmates, trying to tell me or order me to do X Y or Z won't work).

A bit about my Me

What are my character's up to? Since my blog has no rhythm or rhyme to it, I figure that dropping in periodic updates as to who/what I actually am character wise is a good thing. I spend a lot of time encouraging people to go out and try things or do things in game. Showing where I am in terms of skill points and time played is useful (I hope) to other newer players who may still be caught up on the false fallacies that they can not yet do things. I will not say that an older player cannot do some things better but I find that people underestimate the productivity that they can achieve.

I do not at any point state that I am some type of lone ranger badass. I have fantastic people that I work with and that help me achieve my goals. I fully believe that my circle of friends and acquaintances both in and out of corp and alliance have been the keys to the success that I have achieved so far in the game. I can truthfully say that I have reached the point where they are now receiving the benefits of raising me as a productive member of the game and their corporation. Its like I now have a part time job and can supply my own lunch money and buy my own clothing. This does not mean that I will buy the new crop of recruits ice cream. I'm a selfish creature at heart.

I'm a fully fledged Eve Teenager now. Chella has topped 15 million skill points. Twenty million is actually there, on the horizon, in Febuaryish. I still remember when one million was a far off goal and five million was what I thought I needed for anyone to even consider taking me into a corporation. Ten million would hopefully mean I had a clue. (It didn't by the way)

I want to say that I have no idea how that happened. However, saying that will probably give me a few pointed responses on how. I know how it happened but it is surprising. At some point I became okay with my skill progression. The time to finish a skill stopped bothering me as much.

I don't have perfect skill plans with perfect remaps and +5% implants. I'm just not that person. Sugar and Chella roll with +4's and my scout with +3s. I need to move her up to +4's. I will do that soonish I believe. I'm debating getting Sugar and Chella 5's soon but that is more to open up my potential fitting options next year.

Chella is chugging away with Gallente BS V at the moment. This amuses me personally because she has medium hybrid turrets at 3. Not even T2 smalls. I dove into drones early, back when I didn't understand about secondary and support skills. She has 145k worth of skill points in gunnery. Chella will finish Gallente BS 5, go into Advanced Spacehsip Command to V, then cruse through Capital ships to 4 and then Carrier to 5. Once that is done, whenever that happens (I just don't care that much anymore) she will remap into getting perfect drones and fighters. Then, Navigation. For now, she is locked down as a logistics and cloaky hauler pilot. It is a good place for her to be.

Sugar is a pewpew character. It is what I created her to do. She is currently chugging away at Command Ship 5. After that, I will finally move on to Large Guns (if something else does not distract me.. destroyer 5 might be an idea..) which will give me access to Tornados. Yay. I need to get this done before the Hurricane Nerf leaves me potentially shipcurious. I'm hoping that the nerf won't be too bad but I am bracing for the worst.

After large guns she stands at an interesting position. Do I learn battleships? The answer right now is very clearly, "No. I don't want." Therefore, I am tentatively thinking that she will next start on Gallente ships and weapons. I'm looking forward to flying my cynabal. Also, whenever I finally reach the point where I am willing to dip my toe into battleships, I will be preset to fly my Machariel.

Whenever that will be... next year maybe.

My most interesting problem is my scouting alt. My scouting alt has developed in unexpected ways. Back when I did my Tengu project I had to train into caldari cruiser V. I also have T2 missiles and such things. The project failed. I have and had no idea how to be a missile boat and wound up frustrated, depressed, and unhappy. I gave up my project and went back to what had been working. After many beatings with the tengu stick and wrestling with my own desires I have decided to go with the legion.

Wat? The tengu would be better! I agree. I am sure that it will be. I believe the people who have explained to me why it is the best choice. However, I play Eve because I like to play Eve. When I play Eve, even as I am overly serious, ridiculously passionate as well as victim to bad days and moodyness I still enjoy my gameplay. I'm just weird about it. Part of my weirdness is that if I don't like the ship or want to fly it no matter how good and perfect it is, my rainbow of joy becomes monochromatic. I have to want it.

I don't want to fly a tengu. I have spent the summer attempting to convince myself that I did. I don't. I wanted a legion from the get go. Well, my alt is about set up to fly said legion that I want so badly. It makes me happy. It may not be the best decision by a pure game point view but I have never been a pure gameplay type of person.

But now I have this character that's skilled into two races cruisers. I am debating doing three things with her next. One: Logistics. This will give me access to Basilisks and Guardians. I already have a character that can fly Oneiros and Scimitars. Two: Recon. This will give me access to curse and pilgrim and (sigh) falcon. ....

I had to go and blot my tears of shame in the bathroom for a moment. Forgive the interruption...

Three: Leadership. This would turn my legion into a boosting legion (I guess) and not the best choice at all but the one that I want to make because it makes me happy. Of course, there is the worries and thoughts of off grid boosting nerfs in the future. For PvE I'd have her on grid so it'd work out. It might not be useful but it'd be fun.

Having access to characters that can fly all four racial logistics seems to be a good call to me. Having a legion will just make me happy because I've wanted one. Therefore, it is also a good call.

(all is subject to change on a whim)

Other Stuff?

Recruitment has gone well. We have recently enrolled a nice group of peeps. Now it is an adjustment phase for all of us. The bitter vets must get to know them. They must get to know the vets. Ender hopefully will remain tolerant and stop stroking the kick button.

It's a bit confusing right now. On one side I want to be helpful and supportive and tuck everyone into their hanged after PvP. On the other I'm like, but I'm new! I don't have answers! Thankfully its a group project. People are fleeting up together and supporting each other. Everyone will hopefully give everyone else a chance and see if they are good fits for the corp and the corp for them.

All these people keep the corps public chat on energetic. Join in game channel -THC2- to visit or hang out.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Tools of Forethought

It is a gorgious day outside. Again. I can't remember a fall quite this lovely. Then I remembered that I have spent the last ten years working at night. Noon, where I am now, choking down a terrible lunch while taking a moment to myself to ponder Eve, is something I'm not used to seeing. It's pretty. It makes working weekends suck a little bit more.

But, Eve.

As part of my pondering and momentary escape from my work day, I was reading a thread where someone else whines about gankers ganking haulers being unfair in high sec. The Eve Online Forums, as always, are an interesting and terrible place. However, after the mining barge changes I am no longer so glib as to believe that HTFU is the tune that is sung.

This isn't about the ganks themselves. I do personally approve of them. In the many long conversations about avoiding ganks the use of the MAP feature is pointed out over and over again. It reminded me that I managed to fix an issue with my maps routing when Diz was kind enough to scout me out of null sec this morning, saving me from being trapped there forever. I'll get to what I broke a bit later on.

Eve's maps are an incredible source of information. I believe (and I am writing this in a messy way because I really haven't looked) that the lore discusses stargates gaining information from the ships. This is why we have local and why it can tell us jump counts and ship and pod kills and stuff. I think. Thankfully, I don't care about lore overly much so I can just point out that this is some of the information the maps can give you.

We travel a lot in Eve. When I tried out Guild Wars what killed it for me was spending fifteen minutes running back to the place where I died to die again. I know the answer was to be a better player but that was beyond me. I got tired of running back to where I died and that is what caused me to lose interest in the game. With Eve, travelling is important, often boring, but it works for me because space and vast distances and because I'm a total fangirl.

I've been handing the new players dotlan maps and telling them to keep it up in a window in the background so that they can easily reference their location. Knowing where you are is important when you are calling for help or responding to help. What system, what gate/planet/belt/station. It needs to be immediate. Help is rolling but it needs to know where to go. Also, people will discuss systems like the neighborhood they grew up in. Knowing where you are and what is around you is a basic survival skill.

The map is a neglected, strategic tool by some. What the forum thread has been pushing is the idea of checking out where you are going before you go there and recalculating a route to take another path. This reminds me of the assistance one of our newer members was receiving about getting to Jita in a safe manner from a veteran hauler.

It is not about being completely safe. It is about mitigating the potential risks in a reasonable and situationally aware manner. Space is full of pirates. If one chooses to haul valuables one must think of oneself as a loot pinata and hunted by those pirates.

The map can be changed and layered at will. Waypoints can be calculated and routes run. Systems can be checked. Alternate routes can be planned. Like going around a massive accident on the highway, sometimes the backroads are a better and faster path.

From the 3D mobile version.

To a tiled view.

To the spots where ships have been destroyed in the last hour. You can look to see where explosions have just happened and go, "Wow, maybe that isn't a good idea. Maybe I should look at the killboards and see what is going on. Maybe I should turn off autopilot and turn on intellect." I'm not a supporter of high sec being safe. Some will accuse me of just wanting to run and get kills. They can pull all of the high sec kills off of my killboard and we can discuss each one and why it happened. If someone finds one, let me know.

Since it is a pretty day I want to have pretty thoughts about a lovey story.

A place where a massive freighter pushes through the darkness, weighed down by massive stores of material. Out in space, quiet and waiting, a fleet of ships wait. Starlight reflects off of their hulls. They are quiet and contained, patience is a skill that they have learned.

Near the gate, a small ship sits cloaked. The pilot watches his HUD. He to waits. Everything is still for a moment. Then a light forms at the center of the gate and it erupts into a eye tearing release of energy as a ship transports from one system to another.

Only that ship is not the hauler. It is a small, fast scout that scans the systems. It communicates back to its fleet that it can see the quiet ships that wait in the system. It communicates "Danger".

Now, does the hauler pilot jump in and blindly hope for the best? Is he asleep at his auto pilot, off playing with the exotic dancers that he is transporting to Amarr? Is he new to the pod pilot life and believes that concord will save him? Or does he send a series of commands to his navigation systems and chart a route around the potential, lurking threat?


The current call is for more EHP. Now that the mining barges have them, other 'harmless' ships want it as well. The suggestion was that it should take 40-50 people to take down a freighter due to its size. Huh? It does not take 40-50 people to take down a capital ship and they are bigger, meant for battle, and able to equip a tank beyond their natural one.

For comparasion reasons I shall use Gallante ships. A Thanatos carrier has a mass of: 1,163,250,000 kg. Base structure HP of 150,000.

A Moros dreadnought has a mass of: 1,292,500,000 kg. Base structure HP of 218,750.

A Obelisk freighter has a mass of: 940,000,000 kg. Base structure HP of 120,000.

The freighter is a shell around stuff. Their introduction into the game allowed miners to move massive stockpiles of minerals and ore. However, people have taken to moving massive stockpiles of everything in them.

(Looks so sturdy with all that bulging cargo hold)

One of the arguments being made in the thread is that CCP Soundwave said ganking was not supposed to be profitable. Therefor, by making it take 40 ships to kill a ship in high security space, it will not be profitable. I find this logic to be flawed.

One must back up to use the comparison. This was part of the explanation used about mining ships. When a ship that cost about 5-15mil ISK fully decked out and took a few weeks to train into killed a ship that cost 200 mil ISK to fly and took 3-4 months to train into and then from drops and salvage made 20-50mil ISK a kill, one (if they care and I didn't but I'm not CCP) can perhaps understand that equation

A freighter cost about 1.5 billion ISK. It takes about a month of training to sit in one.

A T2 fit Talos/brutix/tier 3 Battle cruiser takes about 79 days to fit just the T2 guns. It costs the gankers about a billion ISK of ships on field and well trained pilots flying that billion ISK to take down a freighter. The freighter pilot will effect his freighter if he has some of his core skills up to increase base armor and shields. The hopes are a drop. So, one has to pick a ship carrying more then 2 bil isk in cargo with a hope of it dropping. People see kill mails like this and scream that they are winning Eve to hard and it's not fair. However, there are also kill mails like this.

The solution is to use your maps, plan your routes, have your scouts, don't turn your freighter into a pinata and use caution, even in high security space. It is not safe security space. I pray that it does not happen that way.

It is spaceships. It is piracy. It is Eve.

Edit: I forgot to add what I broke. For some reason, my waypoint squares that show the colors of the systems was turned off. I did it accidently a few weeks. I'd been playing with the map control panel to find it again. Today, I managed to right click my way to success on the actual screen. I love those little colored boxes. They help me not stupidly jump into high sec.

Morning Antics

I logged on as I ate breakfast, something I am wont to do. There is a fleet sitting on an alliance and a bait drake sniffing around. They've had a pretty good hot dropping evening and I hope maybe I can grab some action before I headed to work.

Nothing comes out of the hunting, but a small fleet does enter the system our titan is sitting in. A Raven enters the system accompanied by a falcon and a hurricane. It's like someone rang the dinner bell. Heads swivel and pupils constrict into tunnel vision and we bolt for the gate that the Raven has headed to.

The Raven jumps. He had a hurricane and a falcon to accompany him. Our fleet lands, 2 tornaods, 2 hurricanes, a sleipnir, some smaller things. They were planning to jump into null sec.

The chase takes three systems before our inty pilot gets in front of the Raven and tackles him on the gate. The rest of us jump in. The falcon and hurricane with the Raven take off. The Raven manages to crash the gate. The inty pilot gets away in 100% structure (how does that happen?) which means like 1 hit point left.

On the other side of the gate he jumped back into the part of the fleet that had held. He didn't make it to the gate the second time. It turns out that they had killed him twice, in Raven's, already that day.

Then, I decided to push the limits of time. They wound up dropping in on a Talos and I joined in. The bait drake was engaging the Talos who was playing gategames. The drake got away from him. We lit the cyno and dropped. The Talos jumped right into the fleet. I held off in case he made the gate so I managed to not get on the kill mail. It is doubtful he expected that outcome of his gates with the drake. Then had to frantically bolt back to low sec so that I could log off and get to work. Diz was nice enough to escort me back.

Mornings are amusing time for these games.

Friday, September 28, 2012


[TL;DR: Sugar = Moody Today]

In a way I am gearing up for Eve Vegas. I was having a girl moment as I pack my bags and realized that my straightening iron is totally broken all to hell and financially order another one from Amazon.

Somehow it snuck up on me. A week from now and I get to meet people. Sadly, one of my corpmates has had his work schedule changed and can no longer make it. It is disappointing but there will be other opportunities in the future.

I've spent some time debating how I wanted to capture things in my blog. Then I decided to get over it and stop fretting and let it happen as it happens. I do expect there to be a bit of a change to the general tone and information that I normally babble about due to the intermingling of my daily life with a saturation of internet spaceships and Vegas.

Hopefully, it will be interesting. Eve is having a thing. It makes me sad. I barely have the energy or tolerance to deal with the AT. My game has been invaded again by sports. I've already closed out a few channels and may have to take another hiatus this November and December. Maybe it will be good for me. For a moment I debated not playing at all, but that would be silly.

Instead I made sure that my alliance had the news, exited some of my channels, and started getting my bags together. Laptop, tablets, cables, router, wireless card, backup power supplies, mouse, keyboard, all important things that go into any woman's bag. I have to figure out if I am missing anything now. You'd think that I was going somewhere that wasn't another state in my own country with plenty of stores.

I've also learned that the side effect of letting ones mistakes, ignorance, and learning be a public thing is that one will hear the same correction a dozen times. A side effect of choice. It becomes an interesting experience, resisting the urge to hide mistakes and at the same time avoid being overly defensive as people correct me over and over again.

Meeting people and new situations always make me ponder a topic. I've never lost that kid part, where some things feel like the first day of school in a new place. Will they like me still? I hope so. Will everything be fun? I expect so. Today my in game mood is very poor and it is darkening everything like drops of black dye in a glass of water.

For now, as I plow through the rest of my work weekend the upcoming week of vacation helps to sooth the nervous and excited jitters. I started a minor blog cleanup project I have said that I would do for a while. I stopped tagging my posts and I need to start again as well as add tags to older posts. I also need to edit and clean up a lot of the older things I've written. I'm no grammar or spelling goddess by any stretch of the means. However, I can attempt to make things a bit more coherent. I won't make any promises.

The interesting part of going back through and editing is the memories. It is one reason to write. To remember.

There is a line that amuses me to no end. I wrote "I'm going to spend some time missioning with some friends and learning low sec with some pirates." That is one thought/dream/wish/hope that did come true. It reminds me of how terrified I was of Ender and cautiously enthralled with Diz and dependent on Lue during that time. How much I liked the game but how endlessly hard it was and how terrible I am at it.

I am also almost pained by the memories of how terribly poor I was. I am terribly poor now to many people that I know. Then, however, I was the special kind of poor that comes with being new. I was struggling to crest 100 million ISK. Every time I did something happened. I even gave someone a loan of 30 million ISK that they never noticed. They needed it to finish paying off a ship they had gotten from someone else. I was treading to keep my finical head above the water in the game. Its a rather painful memory, the struggling. I think I wanted him to notice that I had helped. I'm pretty sure, if I lay open the emotion to pure honesty, I am sad that he never did.

And, I remember how I kept checking my character every day to see if I was still in the corp. I was terrified that I'd be booted for being useless. I wanted to keep that corp ticker with such an intense passion. I wanted to not just have it but to be a valuable member. But, I had so little to give that I expected everyone to wake up and wonder why they had let me hang around and shoo me off.

I've often said that I have no intent to leave THC2 until I am kicked. That is still true. Even when I have days of intense frustration I'm amazed at how much I care about my corporation. Hence, why I have the frustration. Work with people is hard, in game and out of it. People are still people. Face to face or online, the interactions of humanity are a complex and exhausting task.

Today, I am exhausted. My own memories wear me down. Then I fretted about PvP because I was not doing very much. Now I fret about PvP because I feel that I do so little compared to those around me. In general my fretting level seems to stay the same and just changes topic.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Don't Get Mad. Get Even.

When you are jammed, it is such a terribly painful thing to watch your ship burn.

For those who do not participate in Eve or PvP let me explain what a 'jam' is. ECM is a module for electronic warfare. It is perhaps, one of the most hated of the various electronic warfare types due to its ability to remove all locks on ships and stop you from getting anymore locks on any ships while it cycles. A 'jamming' ship can have multiple modules that jam a target thus putting the victim into a cycle where they can not shoot anything.

You flounder, helpless in space as your ship burns around you and there is nothing that you can do. Normally you are also pointed (unable to warp away) webbed (unable to use speed to your advantage) and being shot (therefore dying). Not being able to shoot back, or use ecm drones or do anything but sit and die sucks a lot.
The other electronic warfare modules interrupt your pewpew abilities. They lower the range that you can shoot at. They make it harder to shoot targets. They make it ten times longer to target something to shoot it. But none of the other types of ewar lock you down in your ship.

Sure you can just use other things to try to get away from a situation, but everything relies on targeting. One ECM ship can shut down an entire small fleet. It is one reason we loathe them so much in small gangs.

The Actual Story

I got myself ganked. I was being careful but the stars align and shit doesn't work out sometimes.
After the live event Cafty asked me to do a soundbite for him in which I say that he is a badass. I obliged cuz I'm cool like that. While chatting with them on coms they had two rokh land on their station.

They asked if I was available. Excited I said yes and burned my way over to Bosena. The Rokh were playing docking games. Crafty asked me to tackle and shoot him as if I was a third party coming in to assist. I said sure but the rokh pilots disengaged. After another attempt or two over about twenty minutes they decided to give it up. I had been scanning and trying to be ISK productive while incorporating my new corpmates into my life habits.

Well, I was scouting myself back. The gate was clear, I moved my scout and jumped Sugar in only to land on a fleet. A fleet that had been in a pounce. A few jumped through but then they stopped. I sat there cloaked and said "Fuck". I was still on coms with Masty and Crafty but Crafty was afk. Masty advised a burn back to gate situation. I decloaked and went for it. Everyone aggressed me. This was good because it meant that they could not jump with me. I made it back to gate in 60% armor or so.

Sadly, for me, on the other side was a cyclone. I hoped I could get off before he pointed but he landed point. That was fine. I started to burn out of range and drop my drones to break his lock when a falcon decloaked and jammed me. I was well and truly done there but I kept running away as the cyclone chased me. Then the gate stared to fire and the rest of the fleet arrived. Jammed and scramed I became damped and webbed as well. It is one of those times when you wish they could kill you a bit faster and more competently. It was embarrassing how long it took me to die. I went down and got my pod out and to a safe spot.

Crafty returned just as I died. He told me to come back to Bosena and we'd get me into another cane and go and kill them. As I made it to Bosena the Rokh pilots decided that they wanted to request a 2v2. Masty and Crafty obliged them. They didn't like the Machariel part of the situation and made sure to cry about it in local.

With my alt I was watching the group that had killed me. They docked up when a 40 man eve uni roam came through the area. Said roam had killed crafty a bit earlier when he chased them down to try to pop a few of their ships to amuse himself. They posted his loss mail in local. Considering he tanked 135k with 32 people shooting him, I thought it was an impressive lossmail. It seems that some do not agree.

Anyway, with Eve Uni out of the area we set up our plan. I became bait since they had already killed me once. They didn't want to take me as bait. I ran about a bit trying to find them and they slipped out of the system. The direction that they took reminded Masty and Crafty that they had chased the same group the day before. Okay then.

With a good idea of where they were going we headed that way. We did realize that we were scouted which was why they had run (maybe). However, we knew their falcon pilot thanks to my killmail. Their falcon pilot was not with them when we got into system and set up on the gates. They were somewhere in a safe spot. Our scout dropped probes and found them. Fight time.

I was warped in. I landed on top of the group as masty or crafty said, "grab a battle cruiser." Grab one I did. The myrm was the slow one to the punch with warping off. I pointed him and locked him down. He was fighting back and his drones chewing at my shields. Then there was a call to hold off damage. We slowed it down and kept him right around structure as their falcon jumped in. A moment later, their entire fleet landed. Falcon courage, that.

Beautiful. We finished off the myrm, pointed the other ships, and started to go to down. The cyclone was primary. I think I was primary back. Masty got jammed. Crafty alphaed the falcon. Things were dying. I was dying. The cyclone went down. We started on a drake. I was in low armor and then structure. Masty dropped ecm drones on the drake. Point was dropped and I bailed.

As I made it off grid they cleaned up the rest of the battlefield of another drake and a Caracal.

Revenge was mine. Their entire fleet was down and my hurricane was on fire and almost dead. I had overheated my Damage Control Unit. I made it out in 65% structure with my guns at 98% burn. (So that I stop getting little notes about how one one can not overheat a DCUII... I overheated all of the things in those last moments. That is what I wound up writing so I will leave it there.)

The ship! The ship! The ship is on fire!

Their entire fleet was down and I had made it out. Crafty was laughing and told me to keep the cane. He was proud of me. All buffer tank out baiting and bailing in structure with my modules almost destroyed. Good day. We cleaned the field and I staggered back home. I docked up, happily. This ship I think will be a bit of a trophy.

Live Event: Angel Cartel conduct planetary attack in Oddelulf!


It seems that CCP had a live event today. I logged in and in one channel some of the guys were chattering about an event going on in Oddelulf. I was not sure if serious. A live event, in low sec and in Molden Heath? Wat?!

This is the 'news' story of the event. I jumped into a Jaguar to go and see if this was a real thing or random lies. As I ran towards Oddelulf I got this link to a forum thread about it. And a website about Tech 4 News?

How cool. Masty and Crafty were killing all the things. I pushed my Jag and hopped into system while asking for a fleet invite.

I decided to land far out so that I had some room to take in what was going on. Local was crazy with 45 people in it. All sorts of stuff was on the field and I think people were killing NPCs. Whatever. Pewpew! I decided to try to chase down a rifter that I hoped was not paying attention.

However, he noticed and got into warp just as I hit my scram! Damn it! Next!

The field was flowing back and forth with people. I buzzed about and attempted to get a warpin on people for the RANSM boys to come in and do more beating. My goal was simple. Tackle all the things.

They were regrouping and trying to probe down a fleet that was somewhere in system with a safe. Having chased down several ships to have them run, someone in a noob ship landed right on top of me. With my mighty Jaguar I went "ROAR!" as I tackled and destroyed it.

For a moment it was very quiet. Space ship wrecks errywhere. I was trying to chase down something or another.

Then more people started to roll in.

I got called to the sun. While we went to regroup and see if we could get back on field. There were four of us (Domi, Domi, Maelstrom, Jaguar) and a whole fleet of them. We landed around 70k off of them. That was just too far. They tried to alpha my Jaguar but again it was too mighty! While the Maelstrom started to pewpew at them I warped off and tried to get a better reentry angel to maybe land on a Falcon.

But it was to no avail. They managed to take down the proud pirate warriors of RANSM and Crafty fell after tanking over 247k of damage in his Maelstrom because he is a badass. We were just not able to get the people and positioning to break their fleet and open up the situation. Very frustrating.

The forum thread we updated with our glorious destruction but the forum admins deleted it. It was not in their RP mode I guess. Very sad. I also make the assumption that they don't want people to not come to the low sec events because of the entire pirate contingency.

But that is sooo Eve! Live Event that turns out to be a Dust 514 promotion is attended by players and interrupted by pirates. We had pretty much no idea as to what was going on other then bodies in low sec, undock and kill everything.

This is the Kingdom of Yarr. Welcome.

Small Aside: I had a nice visit from a blog reader yesterday and a good chat. I appreciate the support, advice, and suggestions that I have received to improve my blog and make it a more pleasant experience for those that are kind enough to keep up with my ramblings.

Edit to add: Turns out that forum section is a role play section. Never looked at it before. Who knew. Oh well. All the things are still exploded.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Dense Weights of Responsibility

Of late I have wondered what makes a good FC? When does one step into that? What ratio of losing your fleet for your own learning is acceptable and when does it become unacceptable? I don't have any answers. These are just some of the thoughts based off of interactions I have had and and my own thoughts.

I have a lot of respect for FCs. It is a weighty responsibility.

It isn't something I am trying for. At the moment, my desire to do so does not exist. However, of late, I have seen people discuss learning to FC when they are very new to the game. Very new. Only a few weeks in. It does not seem as if FCing is something that you try out like a shield or armor fit on your ship. The trust that MacG gives me when we go out and do PvE is amazing. Sometimes I live up to it and other times I fail cascade all over the place. While that is Fleet Commanding I don't consider it 'FC'ing.

I will blame CCP for this one. Fleet Command is one of the career paths that they say you can have. I guess it can be. I am sure that the large null sec FCs are coveted goods. I know that I love a competent FC and that not everyone is one. Just saying jump, hold, and don't bump the titan are not enough skills to be a good FC. My reaction is to automatically assume that it is not something someone dives feet first into on day one. Yet, reading some of the arguments back and forth on the forum in regards to letting new members fleet command, I think I may be a bit narrow sighted on the topic due to my personal feelings of what I think I can do vs what should be done. (I like long sentences as well).

Fighting in Eve is not a linear progress. It is fluid and interchangeable. Incredible things may happen or one may find themselves ROFL stomped into the ground. Bad and Good battle it out but they are affected by chance and probability and WTFBBQ. Even PvE takes a little bit of experience and coordination in many situations. Incursion fleets function like clockwork due to a very rigid command structure. Without it, they often fall apart and fail cascade the entire fleet into blingsplosions.

If I do not feel that I can properly carry the responsibility of others I am loath to pick it up. But, I admit, I am a cautious, practical soul with almost no spontaneity about me. Someone has to be boring otherwise the world would tip over. I can't see trying to fast track myself to leading fleets now much less so when I was a month or two old. "Everyone is ready to die," seems like an odd justification to me. I still wish to bring the chance of success.

"Would you fly if I was the FC?" I was asked by someone. He understands the caution in which I approach things. My instant response was, "Yes." I didn't hesitate. But that was because of who it was. It is a trust thing on many levels. It is how I trust someone to use me that dictates my willingness to fly in their fleets. I do not mind being used. I dislike being wasted. They are different things.

The fleet is composed of people. There are responsibilities from mentoring the newest members to reigning in the most impatient. Keeping people together, focused, listening, and calm are all as important as calling out targets. A fleet may or may not be successful without a fleet commander but a fleet commander is not successful without a fleet.

Because the idea has been wandering through the back of my mind, I've been watching various conversations I might otherwise ignore. One person who, to me, seems to want only to FC as their future in Eve seemed to have a hard time remembering that the fleet is composed of members. While his own knowledge and experience matters greatly he also has to take in the knowledge and experience of all of his members. As the conversation progressed it seemed as if he would forget that his 'fleet' was actually a group of people with a series of abilities and different pieces of personal knowledge.

This is where fleet types began to change. I do small gang stuff. I'm not going to rub my ignorance over large null fleets. In small gang things people have many tasks. While you may have a dedicated scout, scanner, tackle, logistics... so forth and so on... the various individualism need to know what they are doing and what they need to do. Tunnel vision is a problem. He had many ideas and thoughts but his fleet itself had no experience to support his ideas. And then, to test his ideas he wants to take his fleet in and throw them in and see how it works. "They know that they may die," he says. I attempt to understand that for some, that method works as I swallow my displeasure for it.

I think I prefer the entire fleet commander on probation type route. Where there is an experienced FC there to take over if shit hits the fan. I like a crutch, no lie. I find my confidence in others more then myself for these types of things. But that wanders back to learning styles. From the observation of others I will gather more information than from slamming my face into a situation and counting how many teeth I left on the floor.

But, despite my hesitation, I've had to take on more of a helper/teacher role as we absorb new members who are on in my time zone. Its good and bad I guess. It gets me out doing more then I might alone. It's bad because I worry nonstop. I've stated clearly that I'm not some solo badass that is going to go after everything seen for 'yay PvP'. They can find someone else for that.

There is always the whole, "You are taking this a bit to seriously," response. Thankfully, I can always answer, "Internet spaceships are serious business."

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Days in the Life of Low Sec

I don't always get to be the predator.

Command Ships IV has been learned. MacG asked me out to do a Minor Angel Annex with him. I decided to give it a try. I can say that it went quite well. The faction spawn did appear and he was nice enough to drop a shiny. However, it was a cheap worthless thing valued at about 3mil ISK. Damn. With a large number of large wrecks on the field, I decided to dust off my Noctis and undock it to clean up the area and make a little bit of ISK in the process. Like many things I have done in Eve, I haven't given up salvaging because I dislike it. I just have not had the opportunities to do it as often as I would like.

My biggest mistake was using Sugar to fly the Noctis. Every one of my characters can fly it. I even have it set up so that it can flip between all of them without any fitting changes. I am just used to salvaging in low sec with Sugar. The problem is, Sugar is my only combat toon. Eventually my others will catch up with the pew and the pew but they have other paths that are more productive to me at this time.

For the first room there was only blues(friendlies) in system. When I entered the second, I puttered off of the warp in (as in my habit) and started slogging towards the faction wreck which was over 100k from the warp in spot. It is not the fastest way to salvage but I'm used to moving around. With wrecks all over field finding a position to clean the room takes a bit of management.

I puttered around, my salvage trailing behind me when I noticed local went up with a neutral. DSCAN showed sisters core scanner probes. Well. The site that I was in was finished but it had not despawned which meant that I could be scanned down. The wrecks would tell anyone that I was in a scanned down site not a mission. I did not see the ship on scan but I decided to monitor the situation. A Noctis is a tempting, tempting target.

Maybe I should have warped back to station and just waited. Instead, I made sure to get clear of any clouds of cans. The scanner probes were pulled in. This would be the time where they would leave or find me. I decided to take the safe bet. I dropped my tractor beams, hit my MWD off into the distance, and cloaked. Sure as shit, about a minute later they warped into my mission in an Ishtar.

Well, hello there. He was about 30k off of me. I was off in a random direction but I got the adrenaline rush of panic. In my mind's eye he knew where I was and he'd come decloak and pew me to death. At one point I almost uncloaked and tried to warp away. I got control of myself and kept drifting. "MacG? Ren?" I asked. MacG undocked and headed for me. Ren was afk watching football. The Ishtar sat there and all I could do is curse my stupidity and hope that I hadn't left to obvious of a trail as to where I might be.

Why had I not used another character? Sugar could have been in a combat ship ready to take care of business. I was trapped between panic and frustrating. It was a weird place to be. However, MacG's undocking spooked him. He warped out and said, "see ya" in local and jumped out.

MacG stayed on grid with me while I finished up. Sugar will be giving up the Noctis.


Dher got us back into a wormhole again. This one was six hours of grind grind grind pewpew. However, at hour six the residents of the first wormhole woke up. See, we were two in. The first one from low sec led to a C3 that led to a second C3 and both were quiet and full of sigs. After clearing out all of the mag and radar sites we started to chew through the 40+ sigs spread between the two wormholes. We were in the second layer when we our scout in the first one (so confusing all of this) sitting on the low sec hole saw several Domi's on scan.

We waited to be discovered in our wormhole. But, he didn't go and check his out holes. Instead, two domis, a domi navy issue, and a tengu started to run sites. Naturally, we now needed to go and try to gank him. Our little fleet was 5 drakes, 2 canes, and a ferox (who we kept wondering if he was with us. Poor Fried, for some reason his Ferox puzzled the fleet) with two scimis. We, obviously, could do anything. Especially, after six hours of PvE. "Do we want to try for this guy?" asks Dher. "YES!" "Okay then."

Our cloaky scout found the anom that they were working on. We waited on the wormhole. He got within 30k off and we entered the wormhole and cloked. Once he was 15k off we warped to him.

Drakes for the domis and canes for the tengu. As I landed and started to target the tengu cloaked. The furthest off domi made it off grid. Everyone else just sat there and we chewed through them without him ever fighting back. Due to the fact that all of the names were nearly identical, it looks like it is a one man wormhole op with two less domi's. However, he probably makes a ton of isk and he got the tengu off the field. It was not a sparkling fight. But it gave me a chance to duel box a combat and a logistics ship. Its a lot of work.

Being Reckless

I spend a lot of time being cautious. A lot of time. Every now and then my caution filters completely fail and I decide to say, "fuck it!"

I was doing a bit of a business contract a few systems over. I was rolling in my Jaguar because I love that ship. As I ran through one system I said, "Wow there are thirty some people in here?" just as I hit the gate and landed on top of said 30+ person fleet.

"Oh, hi there." The local Russian corps that we have not yet managed to get along with. They had rolled through earlier in a 20 person fleet. It had swollen to 30 some. Batttle ships, battlecurisers, logistics, falcon. I bounced through the gate and warped to a safe.

They followed through and said. "кто ганг видет" in local which google translate said meant, "gang who sees". So, I said, "или капли?" back which was the google translation of, "or blobs?" I figured out what station I needed to be at and docked.

Then, I decided to run back home back through their blob. I was 95% sure that I could make it. I was being brave and I was having a "screw you if you think you can camp me in system", moment. I undocked. A scorpion was sitting 56 off of me on the station. "Oh Hai!"

Off I went in my ever so powerful Jaguar.

And land on the gate, red flashy as all hell. Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!

They jumped through with me. They had 3 or 4 ships on the other side. I gathered myself and took off as their entire fleet came through. Cuz, I am Jaguar! RAWR! They waved in local and I gave them a heart back as I bounced into the next system.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

MacG's Story: Wormhole Days

Dher decided to pull me out of my comfort zone some and I let myself be pulled. The results were... mixed. The day would turn out to be about Null and Wormholes. Dher feels that I need to be pushed some to see that these areas are not all that bad and worth investing time in. I'm well known to turtle up when I am comfortable so as a compromise I attempt to go and do things with people that I trust to see if I'm just having bad experiences on my own.

MacG found a C3 wormhole in our home system.

With the call of iskies on the for front I was lured into our little carebear fleet. Its like bait. An isk left in the hanger. An isk left on the floor of my hurricane. An isk leading to the keyboard of my logistic account. Next thing I know we're in a wormhole, doing anomalies in a little cane and drake fleet with scimitar support.

The NPCs like to switch aggression and such things. Hurricanes are not the best choice of this but its what we decided to use. MacG and I had to chase down the sleepers while the drakes just sat there and shot everything. The site appears to have people that live in it although their killboards were not very active. The wormhole was also undone. There was 20 anomalies and 4 radar sites. We were isk hungry and over the course of 4 hours we did everything.

Towards the end, it was getting rather painful. Lots of whining "are we done yet" while Dher snapped the whip and kept us on task. I was thinking, "oh why oh why did I do this to myself..." four steady hours of grinding PvE is not my idea of a fun evening.

We staggered out. Our cargo bays were drained dry of ammo. The slavager was full to the gills. Slipping back into low sec was like walking into your house after helping someone else move and they didn't pack their stuff first. It took four or so hours before we were finally done. The end discussion was that it was incredibly boring but the ISK was good. I had not yet seen the ISK payout and I was still consumed by how boring the entire event had been. I'd rather mine. Dher said he'd do them by himself. MacG said he'd happily do both. So I gave MacG to Dher. The world is a more balanced place now.

The payout came to almost 400mil each. With MacG now belonging to Dher and enthralled with the new ISK thing he went out to seek more ISK. Now his Saga begins.

MacGregor's Adventure

MacG is a trooper. He also likes ISK more than I do. After we had finished the 4 hours of wormhole grinding, Razor found another C3 and began to entice people to come do that one as well. My answer was, "aww hell no." Dher and MacG were much more reasonable and started putting together a fleet.

MacG went in to scan down all of the sites and mark everything. While he was checking an outgoing wormhole it collapsed behind him, trapping him in a C5. Whoops. He was determined not to self destruct and find his way home. I had to go to bed but in the morning, I asked him what happened. This is his tale.

MacGregor Corson Gershwin > ok, it's like this. we were in a c3, and I scanned a wh to a c5. I entered, and it promptly collapsed cause it was EoL. (I had read the desc, just didn't realize that whatever it said meant "uh it's about to collapse dude, don't go in, prolly"

MacGregor Corson Gershwin > so there I am in my brave imicus w/ my cloak and probes and no way out but 1. SD (where's the fun in that?) or 2. scan my way out or 3. *ragequit*.

MacGregor Corson Gershwin > 1 and 3 are obv right out, so 2 is the win.... I start scanning the C5 and find 22 sigs. 22 sigs that I have to scan down each one and determine if it's a wh. but i'm a scanny ho, and scanny hos gotta scan...

MacGregor Corson Gershwin > I scan them all down, along the way finding 3 whs. According to, the first two were a c5 w/ a c3 static and a c2 w/ a null static. The last wh, and coincidentally, the last sig tos can, was a c3 w/ a low static.

MacGregor Corson Gershwin > ofc had to jump into each to find out the J#, but wth. it was wormhole day.

MacGregor Corson Gershwin > so. I'm in the c3 static and hit the 1st pobe scan. 11 sigs. The 1st one I scan down is the static to low which lead me to. dun dun dun dun! low sec 11 jumps from Klingt.

MacGregor Corson Gershwin > took about an hour and 15 from oh shit to oh hai!

MacGregor Corson Gershwin > the boys (diz, dher, raz) had a good chuckle at the evenings (mis)fortunes and off to zzzs I went fan bloody tastic.

MacGregor Corson Gershwin > course I was lucky I wasn't dumped on the ass end of new eden, but hey... was a good time.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Our Total Destruction?

"Who has leadership five?"

Obviously, that wasn't me. It sounded fancy and skilled. It turns out that I do have leadership five. Whoops. It wasn't a big thing. Razor spoke up and was given control of the wing so that we could handle the invites for our alliance mates. It was a group op.

The original was was for hacs, ruptures, and SFI. I went with a SFI. While I was afk waiting for a moment during the waiting time it turned into a fleet or ruptures. Mine was eight jumps away and oh well. I felt bad. Like I broke the look of things.

But whatever. I was a bit faster so I'd hang behind and if they decided to come for me they'd run right into the face eating wall of ruptures. That would be a good day.

We were taking down a POS and a POCO about 10 systems out. They were both coming out of reinforcement and the goal was to get fights. We were not going to take down the POS hopefully just fight the people trying to repair it. I think. I didn't really know what was going on. I had been hanging out when DP told me to get into the fleet. After a bit of foot dragging over feeding my dogs, I did.

But... let me move back a little bit in time to explain some ransom circumstances.

A few days ago, the boys had a communal go and bash a POCO fleet. The POCO belonged to a group named Toxic Waste Industries. It seems that the people who lost their POCO were very upset about this. Razor said, "Did anyone else get that mail?" to which the rest of the corp that was on said, "No." He forwarded this to us:

Title: Reconsider
From: Lashmur
Sent: 2012.09.20 23:36
To: (everyone on the kill mail)

Dear Pilots

Good job in getting uninted to flip the pocos, Is clear that you dumpasses can do it alone, with more than 3 alliance to make the job done. We try to join your alliance but you know what better that way that you reject us. Thats why we are Toxic Waste Industries we own our shit. Toxic Waste Industries always grow in this moments like this. To you all, If you think we are done, you fool yourself. Toxic Waste Industries is stronger than ever and we would fight no in your term, would be in our term.


If you persist in including dumbasses Corps and Alliance that don't exist anymore we would have to bring our friends and we would clean the house and you would be so fucking poor of isk that you only have isk to buy frigs, because Goonswarm Federation and Test Alliance Please Ignore don't play fucking games

That was quite an angry eve mail. It is not uncommon to be threatened by 'big friends'. In fact, I remember being told by another person earlier this year that they were going to come and wipe us out after we killed their battleship. They never showed up. I remember that Diz killed someone and they swore that their alliance was going to destroy us. We never saw them either. Diz even gave them our home system and prime time hours. Beyond that, it seems that this entire incident upset Toxic Waste Industries. We got hands on one of their internal eve mails.

Sent: 2012.09.20 08:37
To: Toxic Waste Industries,

Fellow Pirates,

We've been going uphill last few days. Somehow the bad scrubby Toxic managed to pissed off Capital Punishment, Mean Coalition, Mountain Sprouts, Gunpoint Diplomacy, Zero Hour Alliance, The Devil's Tattoo and even Black Legion. Those l33t dying trainwrecks united all together to bring down our lonely poco. And this makes me very and very proud. We found the l33t G-Spot.

It's clear that these chicken faggots share blue status, intel channel and it's clear they're united against us:

They've had it with us and they want us out. Now all our hard losses made total sense. We lost ships, but we also killed. Killed as many as the whole l33t alliances and we killed them, totally full of themselves bunch of eve pussies. Congratulation! Their inability to deal with us solo proves our victory.

So what are we going to do now is up to us to decide. We definitely got the situation here. Lets have the council meeting any time soon and choose the course of actions.

Once again congratulations for everyone especially new people. You're in the epicenter of the eve true pirate war.


Can't say I'd ever noticed these guys before. From their corp name, I was shocked that they were not an industrial corp feeling 'griefed' by the low sec pirates being in the low sec area. Instead, they are a pirate corp upset by other pirates in pirate areas.

Back to the fleet. The rupture fleet staggered out of the system. Some people were still trying to catch up. But we were a nice little group of ships. Five guardians and 20 something ruptures and me in my SFI.

The first situation was a POS and the fleet hunkered down inside. Our rupture fleet was not going to take it out. Sadly, the fight was a bust. They stayed inside the shields with a small defense fleet of 10 ships of various mixed types. Member's of TEXN were logging in. We told them what was going on and people shipped into stuff and started to burn across space while the fleet rallied and reshipped for round two on a POCO.

The owners of the above eve mail were bashing the POCO. We wanted to jump their fleet. They had a bunch of battleships, some battle cruisers and some other stuff. Sadly, as we headed to them we were scouted. The battleship fleet bailed from the POCO and ran to the station. Our plans foiled for a second time, we decided to go and smack the POCO ourselves.

The POCO went down. Smack talk filled local. I just switched away from it. The fleet swirled around for a bit waiting for GCC to end. There was a discussion about putting up a POCO to replace the one that was down. Otherwise, we had done their work for them.

In the end TEXN decided to take up the task of planting another POCO. The fleet rolled back to try to jump the people repping the earlier POS. That didn't work out. It was a fun fleet despite the lack of pewpew that we engaged in. Once we were back, the fleet broke down and TEXN went to replace the POCO.

Only, when they arrived they found that Toxic Waste Industries (I'm not going to follow his example and create a link every time I write the corp name) had attempted to deploy a POCO of their own. I said, attempted because they forgot to anchor it or they didn't have anyone with corp anchor skills available. Whoops. TEXN scooped it up and redeployed it under their corp name.

Then, Boko decided to write them a letter reference their earlier letter.

Re: Reconsider
From: bokonnon
Sent: Toxic Waste Industries (+ everyone who was on the original mail plus Capital Punishment.)

Dear Sir,

It pains to me to hear of Toxic's failures yesterday. POCO deployment is a very complicated and delicate evolution requiring some level of skill and pilot coordination. Very scrappy of you to attempt but I suggest waiting until your organization figures out how to fly ships before delving into the world of structure deployment and operations.

Being as limited as you are, we did take pity on your group and successfully deployed the POCO you attempted to drop last night in the prepared location. The anchoring mechanics are very difficult to understand so no one can fault your pilots for failing to anchor it. The POCO is now available for your use, but we are not exactly in the business of providing these services to everyone. We have had to set the tax rates slightly higher than average to cover the costs incurred with this support.

Don't thank us, we are here to help. Although we were never actually as inept as Toxic, everyone has to start somewhere. I'm sure given enough time you will rise to at least the levels of other mediocre alliances in New Eden. Feel free to drop in anytime if you would like some additional education on the more advanced topics of space combat.



He set the POCO tax to 95%.

I had no idea that I was 'l33t' much less the fact that there was an Eve True Pirate War going on. It is nice to be caught up on facts. I kind of feel special. l33t Pirate Queen? Hmm.

I spent some time researching their kills and losses. Eve Kill is down which is frustrating. But on TEXN and THC2s corp boards, I see one loss of one hurricane to Toxic Waste Industries. I'm a bit puzzled.

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Answer is: Yes

I can't resist. Scanning my blog search words I came across this.

The answer is, "Yes." :P (technical answer is know your aggression mechanics first so that GCC and gate/station guns do not blap you from the shadows.)

Whoever searched that, I wish they'd send me an in game message. It's fantastic.

As for the what to do, the answer is whatever you want to do or would normally do.

But, big giggles over here.

What Does One Do in Eve?

TSO Requiem (The Fifth) Beethoven's Last Night

I have been having one of those little days of doing lots of random things that are all geared towards doing stuff on various levels. However, they are so scattered and seemingly interconnected and in a way seemingly unproductive that I pondered: What does a player do in Eve?

One of Eve's most confusing characteristics is that there is nothing that has to be done. Aion is my newest and latest comparison tool (I have never played Wow). When I log in, I have little quests to do. I can do random things to improve my character but I always have my little quests to do.

There is none of that in Eve. Optional will be the word of the day.

Eve's mission running is the closest resemblence to a classic MMO's or games questing system that the game has. But Eve's missions are for the most part single instance things. You can go to any agent that you can access, ask for a mission, complete it, turn it in, and walk away to never meet that agent again. NPCs seek you out every 16 missions for 'storyline' missions that effect your standings. All in all the mission system is 100% optional and a player never has to interact with it if they do not wish to.

What do Eve players do? The game is a sandbox game without direction. There is an interactive world out there. NPC factions, security status, faction status, NPC corp status, high sec, low sec, null sec. You can fight, mission, mine, haul, build, trade, explore, fly around, chat, spin your ship, develop offline applications... its and endless list.

We use the term Sandbox but doing some searches on it Wikipedia had an article about Nonliner Gameplay.

A game that is significantly nonlinear is sometimes described as being open-ended or a sandbox, though that term is used incorrectly in those cases, and is characterized by there being no "right way" of playing the game. A common consequence (intentional or unintentional) of open-ended gameplay is emergent gameplay.

I believe that defines Eve quite well. With the lack of a 'leveling' system and a steady passage of time towards charater development goals as long as the subscription is paid, Eve's gameplay becomes about the player's personal development within the game. It sounds serious. Thankfully, internet spaceships are serious business.

Doing "what you want to do" takes some time to develop. It is almost its own skill. The removal of direction and the need to learn leave a person adrift for a while. Progress can only be personally marked unless goals are accepted from another player, such as a corporation CEO or a Corporation's Recruitment requirements.

It also opens up non traditional gameplay career paths for players. Eve's wiki page for its career path is very bland but expected from what you would expect from the game.

Careers: Military

1 Pirate
2 Mission Runner
3 Defense Specialist
4 Faction Warrior
Careers: Industry
1 Miner
2 Builder
3 Salvager
4 Researcher
5 Reprocessor
Careers: Business
1 Seller
2 Reseller
Careers: Exploration
1 Hacker
2 Archaeologist

From the top, it looks pretty good. Piracy is totally legitimate. But here are some random things the lost does not cover that players do.

Careers: Corporations

Logistics Manager
Internal Security Specialist
Careers: Logistics
Deep Space Hauling
Corporation Hauling
Careers: Business
Corporation Theft
Jump Clone Services
POS Anchoring
Carrers: Out of Game
Third Party Applications
Third Party Websites

As my corporation's first contact recruiter (they don't let me let people in. I am the gatekeeper.) I spent a chunk of time together doing write ups on the applicants for the decision makers to peruse. Yes. In a video game I did paperwork and wrote a report about it. It almost sounds terrible. Thankfully, I found it to be a pleasant and productive experience that has the added value of enhancing my in game time with new corporation members. That is a far cry from "Bring me the hides of 16 Zulaga Beasts."

I then managed my industrial stuff, did some calculations on building a few spaceships, spent some time doing exploration sites and downloaded the test server to go test the new changes to keep myself current on the situations that matter to my gaming. I tentivly set up a meeting with someone, updated the corporation forums with the latest news and in general felt that I was very productive. Yet, I have no Zulaga Beast hides to turn in to my quest person. No battles. But I enjoyed myself and I felt productive and accomplished with my game time.

I've been playing for nine or ten months now. It starts to get harder to define myself within a box. "What do you do?" Well... a lot of stuff... some of it interesting to others some of it interesting only to me. That's the beauty of it.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Improvement of the New Player Experience

After writing a long, long rant, back to my normally scheduled random posting. Today, I decided to approach a probable terrible idea.

Yesterday, after some time in a thread with a self entitled 'everything is wrong in eve and tis a terrible game' person, I decided to write up an opinion/review of the new player experience.

The above player used other games to base their opinion on why eve's tutorial was terrible. I decided to use my own recent experience in another successful MMO to compare the two. I've been playing Aion (not successfully, I just made it to level eight after 2 weeks). I also used it for comparison because it is a themepark MMO and that is where a lot of eve's player base is going to have gotten their feet wet in playing.

As I typed up this review I wrote something that struck me. I was writing about how I was mindlessly running around and I wrote that, "I could see that the NPC titled 'general goods trader' was a merchant." I then compared it to eve's market button. As I did that I had a little moment of realization over a big difference between eve and other games hit me. Eve has an avatar area that most of the game works hard to forget about. Most games focus heavily on the avatar. This should not be a realization to me, but I play Eve. Spaceships are how I am used to seeing myself.

Eve now starts new players out in their captain quarters. Players are given a familiar aspect of having an avatar and walking around. there are some interactive options. WIS (walking in stations) is a pariah to be mentioned to the eve community at this time due to the still powerful echoes of the Incarnia disaster.

However, the captains quarters are here. I remember exploring mine and clicking everything. I expected more stuff to happen. I figured I wasn't getting it. Click click click. Walk walk walk. Nothing. Hmm. Okay, whatever. Spaceship down the hallway!

The Idea
What if more happened in the Captain's Quarters. I am not asking them to code new objects but I am asking them to make items more interactive like the television and ship hologram is.

If I click the bed it should ask if me I want to log out of the game.

If I click one of the panels, maybe with a market icon swirling over it like the ship holograph, I should get the market.

If I click something else it should open up my wallet.

If I walk down to the hanger, on the control panel there should be another hologram that shows me my inventory since it is now its own magical NEOCOM button.

All of the NEOCOM buttons, or at least most of them, should have an interactive spot in the captains quarters. Again I don't say that they have to make new items or add anything to the captains quarters. just make things clickable. New players explore their environment. They explore the safe spot they start in by looking around, walking around, and clicking things. Most players eventually get obstructions on how to leave the captains quarters behind. That is fine.

I'm not talking about eve in general we're talking about accessibility to the various menus that we need to do things in a format that new players will easily grasp.

There is a lot of time being spent focusing on how to make the tutorial better. How to say things. Where to have our buttons point. But, a lot of eve is very hard to teach through an automated tutorial menu. I've been struggling with the fleet window lately. It's not intuitive at all. It's terrible. So is the POS menu. But, because I know that right clicking is always the option and I understand the basic mechanics of the game, I'm able to struggle through them and turn to Google while muttering curses under my breath.

But that is not what we want for a new player. by giving them interactive things in the captains quarters, a new player will self teach themselves that items exist. By clicking on something that makes the market come up, they will now know there is a market. if the tutorial wants to pop in and direct them to the NEOCOM then, great. However, people will self learn some of the very basics in an automatic natural progression that they understand due to prior experiences in other games.

/end idea

Mission NPC changes = Fleet, New Players and Lowsec hit Hardest

There is a dev blog out as to changes in the mission AI. It has already wrung tears out of me. I have a lot of problems with the change. It is not that I think that there should not be change. I believe that this fix is not going to do it as people think it will. This is a lot of long reasons on why I don't see the aggression change as a fix to making PvE more engaging but a sideways nerf to fleets, lowsec, lotsa nullsec and new players.

This blog is called low sec lifestyle because I live in low sec. it is not called pewpew lifestyle because pewpew is not all I do. I live in low sec like people live in high sec. I do everything here but sell my goods. I am one of a small group of people that like here.

Of late low has had some interest n the areas. Improvement. It seemed like people were starting to care about the imbalances in the various areas. However, I fully believe at this time that a flat introduction of NPC mechanic changes as stated in the dev blog will only be a detriment to low sec and null sec.

Tthe changes to the NPC mission AI is geared towards making the NPCs change their targets. Tthis is already something that happens in incursion sites and sleeper sites in wormholes. Both of these things are considered high end gameplay .

This change will mean that normal mission NPCs, belt NPCs, exploration NPCs, DED site NPCs and anom NPCs will also change. I have a lot of problems with this.

let me state that there was an exploit not that long ago where someone set up a nice system of doinga particular set of missions afk. there are also setups that can handle most missions in an afk manner once agression has been spanwed. a lot of these changes are geared to fix that problem.

let me now say that these people are not everyone.

High Sec
When most people think missions they think the high sec mission runner. This person does endless nonchanging missions. If they max out they can make 100mil isk an hour. They are doing this solo. They have picked a ship and learned the missions. They do it textbook style. Changing the NPC aggression mechanics will not affect this person unless they are a Dominx pilot. Dominx are battleships that use drones. Drones are now going to be randomly targeted by NPCS. This also affects Rattlesnakes. Another ship with a massive tank and functionally all of its DPS from its drones. Any ship that shoots via its drones will now have its guns shot out from under it, randomly. This means recalling and redeploying the drones.

Management is good. It stops people from going AFK. However, once the drones are done the ship will have to leave the mission and buy more. I guess that qualifies as being out of ammo? Except you can't load your entire cargo hold full of drones to deploy over and over again. Your drone bay is your limit.

Level 4 mission runners are a well hated group. The ISK per hour is considered too good, too easy, to simple. The missions themselves are too predictable and to boring. This change means nothing for most of them. They stay exactly where they are. This will not making mission running more dynamic and more interesting for them except that their drones might get shot.

How about the next group of mission runners? Fleet mission runners. There come in several flavors. Often lower skill point characters combining their skills and abilities or corporations taking out lower level players and working through content with them. What normally happens is that the tank ships go in and get the aggression and the lesser ships go in and blow shit up. With randomly changing aggression mechanics every player will have to be able to have a certain about of well roundedness to it. So no more high DPS paper tank ships. I can deal with that. I am not worried about that.

I am worried about the lower level player in a destroyer. With random aggression changes he faces an incredibly high chance of popping for being in content that is 'above ' him. The balance for that should be the logistic ship. However the logistic ship is now considered a 'higher threat' and has an even higher chance of taking that aggression. That means we need two logistic ship just to keep a logistic ship on the grid to do... you know... logistics.

But, I'm not worried about high sec. I'm not. They don't have to deal with people trying to kill them as low sec/null sec does. Wormholes already have this system and wormhole content is not where you expect new players to spend all their time getting their feet. The content there isn't that hard. I feel that fleets being larger and socialization is a good thing. I suspect that less socialization will be the end result. People would prefer to solo then thin their ISK per hour even more amid a larger group. I'm worried about low sec and null sec.

Low Sec
I am worried that low sec and null sec content will become to exclusive for newer and lower skill point players.

Let's start with level 1-4 mission running in low sec. Very few people do them. The risk vs reward is not enough to replace the ships the pirates will destroy. Most of them do it solo. Changing the aggression mechanics will not change this.

However, when you leave this pocket and move to level 5 missions or ded sites that do not spawn in high sec everything changes. These sites are almost always group activities. Ships that can do them alone don't do them fast.

Why don't I see this as the answer?

So why am I whining? I am already doing the mission with several people.

Yes, now I have to add another logistic character into the mix. I now need two logis for any serious content so that they can keep themselves up. They are going to be seen as more of a threat. Logistic ships are cruiser sized. They are nice ships but they are not some awesome baller tanked creature. When a logistic ship is targeted it can go down qickly. The entire reason to take them is to have them repair. Now the NPCs are chasing them off grid. A fleet easily fail cascades.

By CCP Foxfour:

Logistics ships do generate a lot of threat as far as the NPC are concerned and will probably switch to them pretty quick. As for exactly how this will change your strategies, well that we shall have to wait and see.

So taking the proper fleet composition is now seen as more engaging content.

The next thing that it affects is newer players.

When I started missioning I missioned with an experienced player. I was in a caraylst and only a few weeks old. we went into level four missions. I was told to kill frigates while the big ships killed the big things. I felt like I did something.

When I got into low sec I was taken into level five missions. I killed NPCs and salvaged. speed and time were of the essence. people often tried to kill us. We spent a lot of time leaving missions and waiting for groups to pass. Learning to balance the mission and the living in low sec was part of the entire process.

When I got to doing exploration sites I did them with a DPS tanking ship and a covops ship. I've lost a dozen covops ships to NPC spawns. That ship was made out of paper. Many times I did the site by kiting NPCs and popping the containers and then bailing. This was a challenge to me.

As I got older I trained my own logistics ship. I was able to tank the rooms only with my logi. often times I still had to bail a few times.

Move forward to almost current time and I spend a lot of time doing the things that others did for me. I tank the rooms while my newest corpmates supports with frig and cruiser killing or he kills towers or he pops the cans. Often I can only stay because of my logistic ship. I have logi five trained to keep her cap stable. With NPCs changing their aggression he will have to wait until the site is cleared of NPCs. That means that kiting them and speed tanking them won't do anymore. I have to get htem far away from him, I have to have a logi with him, or kill them all first. I can function with that. Its harder and makes the fact that half the time you don't get anything even more frustrating but its doable.

My Biggest Worry is Exclusion of Low Skill Point Players

With the new changes bringing a new player into any type of serious DPS won't happen. Bringing a small ship in won't happen. They would have to at least be in an assault frig to have the time to get off the grid before they died. This creates an exclusion to lower skill point characters that is currently overcome with a properly balanced fleet. This is one of the major problems I am having.

My logistics ship would be heavily targeted. This means that a second logistics ship would have to be added to keep the first up. logistics ships are already weaponless. for a tough site I am running all of my high slots with repair modules. now my logi will have to leave as will my dps ship.

What is the point of this? Two logis on grid? Two of everything? No new players in anything that they cannot solo? No new players in low sec and null sec doing NPC missions? Or only if there are 2 or 3 logis on the field?

Not everyone solos their NPC experience. The world is not defined by the level four high sec mission runner. While there is a call to have engaging content the people that want to be engaged are the people that are less affected by the content change.

I cannot help but believe that this is a nerf to income not a buff to the pve experience. By slowing down PvE or flat out eliminating content from certain types of players the ISK faucet that is bounties will slow down.

Friends Equal Harder Content

Iit is a nerf to fleets. we spend endless amounts of time telling people that they matter. That they can come and assist in a mission. Now, unless they can fly this and fit that to damn bad because they will instantly pop if the aggression switches. Also, with the changes the fleet will need to be larger from the start which means people will go for the solo choice instead of the nerfed ISK choice. ISK per hour will dictate how people decide to play. They will figure out how to do some content solo faster than other content slower with less reward.

Players want to be engaged only when it is not a detriment to their rewards. Low sec calls for a higher risk due to people trying to kill you. Now you have harder content and people trying to kill you. By the way, it also nerfs the people trying to kill you because now they have to try to kill you and manage the aggression changes.

The Small Guy is Screwed

No more hero frigs tackling stupid carriers. Before assistance can arrive the NPCs will have popped the frig. The carrier sails free into the sunset to continue its solo derping everywhere.

No I don't just hate PvE

I cannot think that this is thought through. I am not saying that pve content has to suck but this is a quick fix to a problem that I feel is different from the one stated.

There is a little statement tossed in there about making pve more like pvp on the thread. This is why the NPCs need to switch targets and prioritize. Because then PvE is more like PvP. Of course. I'm sure that the NPCs will be taking down all the falcons and blackbirds jamming them. Just. Like. Pvp.

Just Problems

Suddenly, fleet requirements become like incursions. People have to post their fit and maybe they can come along otherwise they are going to die. where is the beauty in taking a lower skilled player under ones wing and letting them cut their teeth on things. Now they will die. They will die a lot.

I wonder if ccp knows their own content or have the wails of high sec mission running been so high that they are blinded. They are testing it themselves. I asked if they are trying to PvP each other. No they are not. Okay, then you are not testing anything but you doing missions in spawned stuff. The incursion nerf had the 'unexpected'(?) side effect of destroying the low and null sec incursion running fleets. The risk vs reward made it not worth it.

In low and null sec you are already engaging in pvp. People hunt you down. You hunt people down. taking NPC damage already has you at a disadvantage. We already do that when we take GCC. Oh yes, now jumping someone in a mission or exploration site means that hte attacker has to deal with NPC damage. No more small stealthy ships sneaking up on people and holding point. Now they are insta blapped by the NPCs.

No more people coming into missions and baiting the mission runners. Ninja salvaging is regulated to combat ships. It is certainty not for newer players anymore. No level 4 missions for them to come salvage in their little dessie. You can't scan down a wreck to go and salvage it. So salvaging as a profession now means you have to find a mission runner, run in, book mark, and bolt. How.. thrilling. I guess that is the engagement that the Ninja Salvagers have been flooding the forum for. I must have missed those threads.

No more Noctis on grid to get the field cleaned up before people come and kill you in low sec. Salvage is now consensual in general. Guess the guy who whined about ninja salvagers being an exploit has won with a backhanded fix.

I am reminded of when employers punish an entire department for the crimes of a few.

I will log into the test server this weekend and play. I hope I'm just angry and frustrated and totally wrong. But holes are being poked quickly. People are dancing. "Yay missions are more interesting!" How are missions more interesting for the average solo players? They are not. They are only harder for new players, fleets, and decrease the reward given in lower security space.

That's why I'm not onboard with this. I don't feel that it is a better way as things are currently structured. But it will, I believe, dry up some of the ISK faucet that is the bounty system and that is a more major player in this then is being spoken of. And I'd probably be angry but more understanding if they said, "We need to make it harder for the ISK to be earned" then saying, "This is more engaging for you." Because what I hear is, "New Players not allowed."