Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pod and Planet Fiction Contest: My First Entries

I've spent a lot of my game time for the last five days working on my entries for the Pod and Pilot Fiction Writing Contest. I currently have two entries. I submitted them for the contest a few hours ago.

I have added a link to them on my menu at the right. The category I am writing for is called "A Day in the Life" and described as such:

A Day in the Life – True, somewhat true, or made-up tales of player character miners, mission runners, manufacturers, pirates, scammers, spies, and other heroes, rogues, and opportunists of EVE.

The first entry I finished last night. I put on some music made sure everything and everyone in my house was fed and leaving me alone and burned through the writing. The story is not long. It ended around 2.5k words. I blinked, pushed back and asked my boys if they were willing to proof read for me.

They said yes. I sat down with them and we talked about things. There was a lot of honesty and a bit of soul bearing in it. Asking people to critique ones work is hard. Critiques are good things. They let a clear set of eyes see things. Still, when one hands over a pure creative endeavor it can be hard to watch it pulled and pushed open. Hono and Dher and MacG came through for me like I was pointed on a gate and going down fast.

The people I play with are wonderful. There was a lot of productive criticism. I changed things. I edited. I fixed typos I would not have found. I restructured some things and I stepped back and put it up. The second I finished today and MacG has been kind enough to skim through it and do some clean up. The third is halfway done. I will finish it on my next days off I suspect. I'm often to tired on my work days to produce much of interest.

That was the point where I realized that I was nervous. My blog is something I started to keep track of my memories of the game. As time passed it expanded. Even now, it is most often a reflection of my days or my thoughts. I ponder topics and follow along in my game life and the game lives of those around me. I never expected it to be read when I first started. I have been startled and pleased to develop what looks to be a steady readership that takes the time out of their day to peruse the words that pour from my fingers.

This is different. I'm an avid reader and often consume 1-2 books per week depending on length and workload. It used to be 3-5 but employment is a cruel master. I've never attempted fan fiction of any kind. The closest I have come is some paintings a few years ago from another hobby of mine. Now, I was crossing into waters that I had never been before. I was pouring my raw creativity into a mold and setting it aside for others to judge. I even had little worries about writing things to early and waiting to the last minute. Is there some type of 'game plan'? Then, before I drowned myself in ridiculousness thoughts I decided it didn't matter. I'd let the work flow as it flowed and hope that it stood upon its own self.

It is uncomfortable. The internet is not a kind place. I've know it for years and of late I am given frequent reminders. There is a difference in accepting criticism for something like a personal thought or event cycle and offering, I don't consider myself an internet journalist. I just write about Eve and the people around me and the things that go on.

I don't know how much further the creative fiction writing will go after the contest. For now, I am attempting to capture the feel of playing Eve in text. The writing is my game of Eve for the moment. My energies are focused on it. It is a brilliant motivator for me. I have subject and focus and time limits. I'd like to see what I can create during this time. Things like winning and prizes. They are what they are. I think I will 'win' regardless in what I gain from this process. It is a new thing for me. A humbling thing for sure but an exciting one nonetheless.

The Path Divides

Clear the Sky sat above the asteroid belt. Under her stern, Asghatil I burned dark umber-red against the blackness of the Oraron Constellation. The pyroxeres asteroids were pale, illuminated to a washed out creamy brown by the yellow sun tucked into the systems center. Lasers ripped through the massive chunks of rock as the retriever sucked the ore deep into its gullet.

Encased in her pod, Clear Play was insulated against the relentless throbbing of the ship. The dull, non-ending drum of the ore crushers was lost to her. Instead, she measured the asteroids and redirected the lasers. Each moment was precise and calculated. Numbers flickered across the scanner as it measured the mineral concentrations locked deep inside of the asteroids. Clear Play directed the lasers in rhythm with the numbers, each movement focused on maximum yield from the rocks cores.

In the corner of her HUD the position of her Hobgoblins flickered past, their patrol relentless. A red icon flickered alive. The targeting arrays illuminated and her attention was diverted. The hobgoblins, tied into her own awareness reacted even as she looked to see the danger. A tiny frigate, black against black had attempted to creep through the belt. What harm it held she did not know. The targeting system locked and the hobgoblins left their complex patterns in brilliant spurts of green energy as they swarmed the frigate.

For a moment, the belt was illuminated by brilliance. Then, the pieces scattered the force that had created them hurtling them into the void. Bits of what had once been a ship bounced against Clear the Sky's sides. The massive retriever, plated and armored shrugged off the miner irritant. Clear the Sky might not be a graceful ship, Clear Play, thought smugly, but she was a living ship. Her sides were scored by dozens of attacks. Unsuccessful attacks.

“What are you doing, girl?” asked a deep voice. The com channel, always open, carried the voice of its speaker.

Clear Play smiled. “Mining.”

“Mining are you? I guess you are busy then.”

“It depends.” There was something in his voice. Something teasing and questioning at the same time. Clear Play was new to the life of a capasuleer but she was not new to life in general. She was also not new to him.

“I have a job for someone.”

“Oh?”

“I need some stuff hauled into low sec.”

“Hello Chase,” said a crisp clear voice. Ramulas Salnaid, CEO of her corporation Industrial Illusions, chimed in. “A hauler into low sec?”

“I was seeing if anyone was interested.”

“Well.” There was silence. “We have a patrol planned. The Sansha push has been particularly nasty since the last incursion. Perhaps after that, we can sit down and discuss terms.”

“I’ll go.” Clear Play was surprised by her own voice. “What do you need done?”

“Sky,” began Ramulas. "I will discuss this with Chase, later. He can pay the corporation a fee for it."

“I have a spare iteron, Ramulas. I won’t use any corporation assets. Besides, my throax is being refit.”

"He is a pirate, CP."

"And he's never been anything but helpful to us." Clear Play flickered her channel and opened a direct line between Chase and herself. Her voice was strangely steady.
“Tell me what you need.”

***
“You sure about this?”

“You said you’d get me through.” The locks released her ship. The iteron twisted on itself. The long, tubular ship was almost agile as it slid out of the docking ring and drifted through the open bay doors into space. She distracted herself by shipping him the bill. One hundred fourty million ISK had vanished from her account in moments. It had been converted to fighter drones, ore and ammunition. Her wallet sat bleakly at sixteen million isk. If betrayal were to happen now would devastate her.

Her wallet flashed. One hundred fifty million ISK was transferred in. A knot she did not realize had formed loosened. “What is that ore?” she asked as the ship met open space. The conversation distracted her from the traffic. There were so many ships. She had been to Rens twice before but always in her Atron. Now, as she twisted her hauler to avoid the massive shape of a Charon and slid under the shadow of a Fenrir that followed an Orca she focused on her flight path.

Her ship wallowed. Gallente technology was fantastic when it came to hauling but the design was terrible. The more compact forms of the Sigil and Wreathe would have handled things more gracefully. The Iteron Mark IV she was using did not have central stability thrusters like the Iteron Mark V. It rolled to the sides and she put her trust in the stabilizers in the cargo hold as she worked her way clear of the undock. Who controlled it? she wondered. They let ships spew into space without a thought for order.

Around her, a half dozen ship icons flared red. Clear Play bit back a shriek. She automatically slammed down the warp activator. Deep in the bowels of the engine the Iteron's warp core spun up. Light consumed her ship . The camera's shut down for a second as they attempted to process the view. Then bits of a shattered Badger slammed into her Iteron's shields. The Iteron leapt into warp. Particles trailed behind her for an instant as she left the expanding cloud that had once been a Caldari Badger.

Her heart thudded in her chest. In warp she was safe. The Iteron had landed, jumped, and entered warp again before she began to calm down. Focus. She was not dead. Whatever reason the Badger had been attacked was no concern of hers. Her Iteron plowed through space. Once it got moving the tubular structure ate up the AU through the systems. No one challenged them on the gates. The space she passed through was unfamiliar. The deep red nebula that houses the Minmatar Republic swirled around her. She had never been through this area before. The systems were quiet. None of the people here knew the Badger pilot. Nor would they have cared. It was just another spaceship destroyed. A statistic that most people planet side would never even notice.

"CP? Where are you?" her com snapped her out of her brooding thoughts.
"Leaving Rens."

"You can have them wait you know. I'm not fully sure this is not a trap."

"A trap for what? The stuff they paid for? If they pop me they lose their own ISK. I don't think my Iteron is worth that to them."

"I understand that. But they are pirates."

"And they have never been anything but straight forward and honest with us." What she bit back was that she trusted Chase more then she trusted her own CEO. Things had not been adding up lately. The last fleet mining trip that they had made, Ramulas had announced that the corporation vote was to keep the ore for the corporations ship building project. Only, no one that Clear Play had spoken to could remember being asked to vote on the topic.

"How much are they paying you?"

"Ten million."

"We can discuss the corporation's percentage when you are done in case you lose your ship. The standard five percent tax rate will probably do. If they can get you back out in one piece."

"This is my ship, Ramulas. My time."

"Your time is the corporation's time. We had an accepted security mission for the Ammatar Mandate that you are now going to miss. Our corporate standing with them is of utmost importance. We rely on our refining rates to keep going. Also, your retriever came in with room in the ore hold. I don't like that you abandoned one job to take another that could have waited. We will discuss this later. Good luck." She stared at the empty channel. Anger started a slow burn. She closed the channel. She didn't have time for that. He could not force anything on her. She might be his employee but she was a free agent. Let him lord over his non-capsuleer staff.

"I don't know why you stay with him."

"You heard."

"Aye."

"He gave me work."

"Yeah? So? He needs you more then you need him."

Does he? She changed the topic. "I'm in system. Where do I go?"

He let her change the topic. "Transmitting the gate to your autopilot. There are several gates here. We're going to go nice and slow in case we turn around and meet a fleet." The system name was illuminated in dark yellow-orange in the upper left side of her HUD. "I'm on the other side of the gate. It's just me here. System's nice and quiet Come on through. D Pole D is scouting us through."

She had already made her choice. The Iteron was barebones. She was fond of it. Without the money to rig it she had only managed to expand the cargo area to squeeze in the order. Deep breath, she told herself. It was only a ship. She had paid it off quickly. This was an opportunity. A chance that she might not get again. If she was going to carve her own path she might as well start somewhere. She didn't want to hover under the corps wing forever. She ordered the jump.

"The destination system is 0.3 security status. This is extremely dangerous and Concord police cannot guarantee your safety there. Do you want to proceed?"
Turning back was no longer an option. "Accept." Somehow her voice did not shake. She could taste her fear in the back of her throat. The gate filled with light. Her ship, transported by technology older then she understood, was thrown across the bleak void between stars.

***
Low Sec. That fine innocent looking line where Concord could not keep control. It looked exactly like high sec. The only immediate difference was the lack of faction police at the gate. She had never noticed them until they were gone. The gate was barren except for a singular hurricane set in a slow, lazy orbit.

"Hold cloak. When I tell you head to the next gate," Chase told her. The hurricane broke its orbit. The rusted wedge looked like a blade as it turned. "It's clear for now but let's make sure." Dark orange gouts of energy poured from the engines and accelerated it into warp."

She waited. It was very quiet. The local notification list was empty. She had never felt so alone. Space felt colder here. The energies from the gatecloak dissipated. She aligned the Iteron towards its next destination and let it pour on the acceleration until it hovered under warp speed.

"Hit the gate. DPD has trouble up ahead. You need to keep rolling. Don't stop no matter what you see."
"Okay." She pushed the Iteron up and over into warp. The gate receded behind her. The gate that she landed on was empty. It was almost enormous. The massive, tubular structure was all angles and heavy support structures. It opened at one end like a sharp edged flower, the tips piercing space to support the massive burst of energy needed to transport ships from one region of space to the next.

The next system was also empty. Clear Play again set her Iteron into warp. She was still alive. Three systems deep into low sec she was fine. She decelerated from warp. A ships thruster slammed into the Iteron's front. The ship vibrated with the impact and slew to the side. Clouds of vaporized metal and plastic swirled around the ship. Wreckage was everywhere. For a second she froze. Chase's calm, deep voice played in her head. "Don't stop no matter what you see. Just a little problem up ahead."

"Problem?"

"Nothing we can't handle. I want you to warp directly to the gate. Preset your jump coordinates and set them to activate immediately upon minimum proximity. Then hold."

The Iteron jumped.

She landed in the middle of a battle. Five kilometers away, a Drake exploded. The gatecloak held as she stopped, her eyes wide. Chase's hurricane dove between the twin peaks of the gate. Autocannons spat volleys of death. Past him, a Rapier spun in a fast circle, a Naga caught in its stasis webs. The battle cruiser spat plasma fueled hybrid ammunition at the hurricane. The hurricane's shield's absorbed the damage as it arced over the helpless Naga.

"He's dead," D Pole D said a moment before the Naga erupted into blue flame and energy. It's two halves tumbled away from each other. "Idiot."

"Hold." Chase said to her. Clear Play realized her gatecloak had faded. "His friends ran."

"I'm on it." The Rapier vanished off of her sensors. "They weren't going to stay for a decent fight anyway."
"That's because you scared them all."

"Hardly. Drake, Naga, Hawk, Harbringer against a Rapier and Hurricane and they ran. They are not here either," he added. "Clear I'm going on ahead."

"We're passing a null sec gate. Stay alert but keep burning DPD will tell us if anyone comes."

"It's clear," said the recon pilot. "Smooth sailing all the way home."

***
She had never been so happy to see a station when she docked.

The last unassembled firbolg was transferred towards the docked carrier, high above. Clear Play wiped her forehead. Tons of ore, dozens of fighters and crates of munitions had been unpacked. It was her most expensive delivery she had ever made.

"I don't think that I want to stay with Ramulas."

"That's up to you," Chase told her. He watched the firbolg loaded into the carrier's bay. "You can stay, sure, but that life isn't for you."

"I like mining."

"Sure you do. No one said you don't have to." The firbolg tucked into the carrier he looked down at her. "But, Ramulas didn't step up to make this haul. He's been all over us but you ask him to put out and he shuts up. You are so new your ships still shine and you were willing to haul this for me. Your CEO wasn't going to do a thing."

"I could afford to lose it."

"I didn't doubt that. You're new not dumb. You didn't die."

"I still have to get back home." The task was daunting. Who would have thought that a low sec station would feel safe?

"You made it once you'll make it again. Everyone has these ideas about low sec. They expect to die so they do die. Self fulfilling and all that mess. Sure there are pirates everywhere and ain't no sweet Concord to come and keep your tail safe. None of that matters. None of its necessary. You dragged a hauler down here and didn't die. That's better than many and braver than most."

"I'm glad I didn't lose your stuff."

"So am I. Stuffs replaceable though. I've lost more stuff then this. I'll do it again.

"I don't know what to do." Her words were soft but somehow he understood what she meant to say.
"Doesn't matter if you know or don't know. It's your choice. You can stay where you are and fill Ramulas' wallet or you can come to us and learn how to make your own way. Neither's right. Neither's wrong. Only you get to decide. Not me. Not that arrogant dude you work for. Not anyone but you. Let's get food before we send you home."

She trailed after him her eyes on the Chimera above them. The carrier barely fit into the hanger. It was a city of its own larger than the town she had been born in. Powered down, thousands of tubes snapped into its body. Fuel, power and supplies flowed through chutes and across ramps. Repair crews were replacing the hull plating alongside one engine.

Make a choice...

She ripped her gaze away and trotted after Chase. Dinner sounded good and, perhaps, some new friends.

Monday, October 29, 2012

True Story!

So much ridiculousness and yet so fun.

I spent the morning trying to make some ISK. I failed for the most part. Not put out, I logged everyone off but Sugar and my little industry character. She had stuff to do reference her industrial abilities. I was then sending her a few regions over to set up a secondary spot to haul in a particular ore with a particular mineral need in it.

CCP has given me the option to mine almost risk free without paying much attention. It is ridiculously easy to mine these days. However that is not my rant or my story.

I had her out chomping up the ore that she needed. My little retriever is tanked. In my primary window I've been writing. Its been a productive evening for that. My first little random fictional entry is almost finished.

As NPC rats pop up I kill them. I've never been one for sitting there and tanking the damage. Plus, the flickers of red bother me. I noticed that one NPC was 30k off of me. It was not approaching. A second look made me blink. It was a hauler spawn.

Exciting. Hauler spawns are NPC haulers that carry minerals. I turned my retriever and took chase. However, it was faster then I was and stayed 30k off of me. My targeting range was also very poor. I couldn't catch it. I had given up a prop mod for tank. Frustrated, I warped off and warped back. Still, I was to far away and unable to catch it.

There was only one answer.

My industry character cannot fly much worth a damn. She can T2 tank a barge. However, she does have T2 combat drones. I docked up, ran to the next system in a pod, spawned a noobship, hopped into it, went back, loaded up the Velator with its two drones. I tried to fit a prop mod but I have not learned anything for that! My natrual noobship speed would have to do. I undocked.

This was going to go down. This hauler would be mine. There was only so fast that it was going to be. But was it still there? Had someone else noticed the deliciousness that was free minerals floating out in space asking to be exploded?

I landed with my noob ship and started my approach. It tried to flee again but my noob ship burned in at a flaming 300mps. I had tried to put a prop mod on it but I didn't have the skill training for it. Whoops. Now, bare to the world for all but its noobship basic skills I burned for the hauler my gaze intent and hand ready.

As I got close enough I targeted and released my drones. My two warriors swept down upon it and started to pewpew it to death. Suddenly, a support ship appeared! My Velator was agile and raced away. My civilian gun rattled off shots of something that never runs out! The hauler was down. Quickly my drones refocused and shredded the assistance ship.

I approached the wreck and my reward? 12k of Trit! Free minerals! I tucked it into my cargo hold and headed back to the station. Content.

I'm going to go back to writing now before MacG finds out I stopped and drags me back off to my fiction.

The Gank Alt Nerf Bat

The Easy Gank Alt Nerf Bat has smacked down and I don't think many people expected it. I did not.

Yesterday, I received the e-mail news letter Eve Online Volume .82. It had one thing that captured my attention.

New additions are coming to the Buddy Program soon, including Open Invites, allowing you to share a unique public link that anyone can use to obtain a 21-day extended trial of EVE Online. Just like the existing invites, when the new player subscribes, you get an extra 30 days of EVE game time added to your account.

That didn't seem to bad. It looked like the permanent links might not generate a PLEX if people used them to gain game time. I could live with that. In fact I decided that I would immediately put up a link on my blog if they came out with the program. Some game time would be nice. I was fine if it was not PLEX. Plus, it was a good way to get even more advertisement out for Eve.

Then today I saw this tweet about the change. A Dev Blog was up reference the new Buddy Invite changes.

That brings me to another important change. With the introduction of open invites we are removing all limits on Buddy Program invites and removing the PLEX-for-PLEX reward option. That is, if a Buddy Program trial is upgraded using PLEX the inviter will not be eligible to receive a PLEX reward as a result of that trial upgrade. We're sure you can understand that this is a necessary measure to protect the integrity of the Buddy Program. We are examining options for widening the pool of available rewards and rewarding those who succeed in attracting many friends to EVE through the Buddy Program.

Oh my. I did not expect that. I did not expect them to yank the PLEX reward for PLEX activation.

The buddy system has long been used to invite people to Eve. The PLEX reward was used to upgrade people 'for free'. You invite a friend, they get their 21 day trial. You give them a plex. They redeem the PLEX. They now have a month of game time on top of their 21 days. You receive a PLEX because they subscribed. It was a free system that gave people a nice little bit of time to get their feet wet without having to make that finical decision until they were well addicted.

That was a good thing. As noted by Sard in my comments and not said by myself when first posted, it will not affect those who are inviting their friends to invite their friends. I believe some out of game social groups use this option to help their newbies get a 51 day 'trial'. They still can. The question will become where the game time is going. CCP developing some other 'rewards' or perhaps even an alliance/corporation reward focus would be interesting.

The side effect was the free alts. These alts have many uses but one of them is ganking alts. In a month a Catalyst or Tornado alt could be made. CCP has rules against recycling alts for sec status loss but they do not have any rules about no longer using an account because of it.

Each alt had a life span of a handful of ganks before they became useless. They are not skilled up as a normal player. They are disposable characters. Their accounts lapsed into the darkness once their use was over.

And CCP just smashed that particular ploy right out of the game.

Only weeks ago it would have been faction warfare alts that the finger was so heavily pointed at. Perhaps, the blame can still be laid on their existence. Yet, their existence was the result of a poorly thought out mechanics that was left alone to the point that it was easy to wonder if CCP wanted it in the game.

What will this do to the PLEX market?

Ill Gained Goods

The Cheetah sat in the darkness. Quiet. Still. Its engines were cold and its systems silenced. Light refracted off of its surface. Visually, it was no more than a ripple in space. One missed by eyes and sensors alike. Tucked deep in the dark pathways of the system it waited.

"Obelisk inbound." The words flickered across the pilots vision. Deep in the center of the ship wrapped in the confines of the pod, the pilot watched. Two hundred kilometers away, the massive freighter that the pilot had been watching dropped out of warp a mere fifteen kilometers away from the gate.

The Cheetah's engines flared to life, their energies dissipated and cooled before they were exhausted into space. The pilot entered coordinates. The small ship twitched and leapt into warp. It dove towards the Obelisk and slid out of warp only a few kilometers behind, at a spot picked days before by the pilot. The tiny ship moved forward and dropped its cloak as a large fleet dropped out of warp ahead of the barge. The busy system masked its sudden approach as it wound past a Noctis and slipped under the long, cargo laden length of an Orca.

Passive scanners flared to life. The ship slid by the Obelisk. It's engines pushed it in a smooth and steady path towards the gate. Information began to flicker across the HUD. The Cheetah pilot smiled from within the confines of his pod. On his view screens the Obelisk vanished in the distance, its path arrow straight for the gate.

This had been worth the wait. The Cheetah transferred the jump coordinates to the gate. The gate flared to life and the small ship shot across vast distances to land deep in another system. Uedama's customs cruiser flickered past the Cheetah. Its scanners found nothing aboard other than the pilot and his empty cargo hold. His information, not illegal anywhere in space, had already started to transmit to the fleet waiting somewhere between the system's planets.


***
"Sunborn Song. Obelisk. Inner Zone Shipping. On a long haul from Diodixie. Right on schedule," So-so announced to the rest of the fleet. "Wake up and preheat. We have a live one. Estimated cargo value, seven billion."

"Seven billion in what?" asked Mookay.

"I don't care if it is seven billion in corpses and kisses. As long as it sells," Blink Off snarled. "Shut up and pay attention." The rest of the fleet pinged their awareness. They were ready. Ten Talos sat in the darkness. They were all new ships. Ridiculously new. So-so had a mild pang of guilt that they would never meet their true destiny in combat. Their mottled gray and green forms were dull against Uedama's dark blue nebula. The neutron blaster cannons that sprang out created dull, squat lumps across the smooth hulls. Dark, strange shapes illuminated by the nebula's background glow.

Vibrations rippled through the ship as hybrid charges were loaded. The giant, plasma filled canisters rolled into the ammunition racks. They glowed with a faint luminosity. The refill slots were empty. This would be a one time project.

A Catalyst idly orbited the fleet. Its unbalanced wedge oddly graceful as it swept in a slow, lazy curve that brought it within meters of the massive Orca that waited with them. "Don't bump me, Rollz."
"Wouldn't dream of it. That's for Capkaka." A target beacon appeared above the HUD icon for the Machariel that sat a bit away from the fleet. Visually, the massive battleship, darkly mottled was almost invisible where it sat in a pool of shadow. Or it would have been invisible to someone silly enough to use their eyes to see. So-so's view spun around, spun out from the fleet his attention focused on something else.
The distraction. So-so keyed up and whispered, "Go."


***
On the other side of the system, a small catalyst fleet landed on the gate to Ikao. The three ships arced like silvery green scythes in the darkness and opened fire on an Iteron that had dropped out of warp only a moment before. The barge buckled under the condensed plasma that exploded across its system. Other ships spun away from the carnage. Engine trails tore through the clouds of vaporized metal. Then it cracked along its axis and exploded in brilliant blue flames.

A moment later, massive battleships appeared and the three Catalysts exploded even as their guns spat out the last unneeded bursts of ammunition.

The broken Iteron burned in space. Beside it a Viator decloaked. Its squat, bulky form slipped past the carcass of the barge. Experienced crews worked like the fluid machine they flew. In moments, the wreckage was empty and the Viator vanished from sensors. Green tractor beams lashed out from the Noctis shadowed under the gate. The wrecks of the catalysts vanished into its maw, the pieces churned and reprocessed.
Amidst it all, the CONCORD fleet swarmed. The massive ships scanned the area, their guns still cooling. The pilots were already gone. Their Catalysts written off. The target's eight hundred million ISK haul was tucked into the belly of the Viator. The Viator pilot burned for a station, his cloak screening him from hostile eyes. The distraction was accomplished.

A single icon flared brilliant on the Cheetah pilot's display. Within his pod he smiled. The freighter had landed in system.

Across the system the Talos flickered to life. As one unit they turned, graceful in the weightlessness of space.   Their engines flared to life as they moved as one, synchronized unit. Below them, the Machariel twisted, incomprehensibly agile. Its engines pulsed bright light and it vanished from immediate scans. Behind, the Talos pilots held their formation and waited. Patience warred with excitement. Experience won. Just.


***
The Machariel landed on the gate. The massive battleship was a long shadow even in the light. It immediately swung around and accelerated out of the mass chaos of ship traffic. Small ships, close to the gate but in its way slammed against its shields. Energy met and mass won as they were catapulted off path and careened into other ships. In moments, all was disorganized and the battleship arced up over the space lane and paused. Many ships, intimidated by its size moved away from it. The traffic developed a mild curve to it and the pilot laughed to himself.

He was always amused by those that feared what they did not know. No true Angel Cartel would sit so calmly above a feeding ground such as the traffic that the gate created. Hopped up on sooth they had the self control of gnats. Plus, the gates swarmed with faction police. No Angel Cartel ship could duplicate the complex identification of a pod pilot. That information was relayed publically and his ship was registered. He had even insured it with the Secure Commerce Commission two days ago.

He waited and did his best to project harmlessness. Nothing to see here. He even had his guns withdraw into the hull. Harmless pirate battleship just waiting for an assignment. His corporation was even innocuous. When he had registered the ship, he had registered it under Tri-Hub Transportation Support. It was a shell organization that pretended to hire out escorts for industrialists. He was rather pleased with the information advertisement he had made for it. Several hundred million in deposits for fleets he would never send to the reassigned locations were already nestled into the corporations wallet.

Patience. He waited. Such ponderous ships, freighters. He had done a few courier jobs early on. That short amount of time had consumed his tolerance to fly them. Back when he was told "Welcome to immortality. Get a job." Somewhere across the galaxy he had a Hoarder rotting in a hanger. He had walked away from it, boarded his Slasher and jumped into null sec. A few hours later he woke up in his vat clone bay but he walked past the Hoarder the second time. After that, he never went back. He had to wait a short eternity before the mark landed out of work. If he did not have the time ticking below his left eye he would have wondered if the ship had warped elsewhere. It had only been minutes. They felt like hours. Each second a minute upon its own. When the last one ticked down the freighter landed. Its warp engined died down and it started its ponderious progress to cover the last fifteen kilometers to the gate. Propulsion systems flared in neat patterns as the ship's AI entered the space lane and started to move the freighter towards the gate. It was a predictable pattern that. The AI's on these ships always behaved the same way. Predictable. Patterns. Familiarity breeds complacency and all of that. The Machariel slipped into motion. For most ships it would be impossibly fast. For this one however, Capkaka chuckled as his velocity mounted. Out in the system somewhere, quiet and still, Larc was tied into a very special Tengu. The Machariel arched over the ship lanes in a clean, neat trajectory. As the ship's velocity crept up past three thousand meters per second it slammed into the freighter.

The ship's AI reacted. The shields flared. Inside, cargo containers tightly held by the gravitational units rocked. The freighter unbalanced, attempted to correct. The engines attempted a staggered sequence to compensate. They failed and it started to tumble. Capkaka spun the Machariel around. It twisted like a cruiser. It looked like a ball as it rolled. Approach calculated, Capkaka spun around for another run.


***
"Pil Shorn, you have the warp in?" Invisible to the freighter pilot, the Cheetah was just three thousand kilometers away. The freighter's massive body blotted out everything else. If he had been watching the view screen he might have been intimidated by the size of the ship that passed him. Instead, dozens of commands relayed minute adjustments to the Cheetah's position. "Whenever you are ready."

"Fleet prepare for warp." Nine 'X's flickered down her fleet list. Everyone was prepared. Ready. Focused. "Fleet warp." There was a pause. Then space stretched. The massive warp engines engaged. Power poured from them and hurtled the fleet across the system. Distance became a matter of instances. Warp was fast. Too fast. So fast. But not able to be sustained between systems. However, inside of a system it worked just fine.

The Talos slipped out of warp just as the Machariel rammed the freighter again. The helpless ship rolled. Propulsion engines flared bright green-blue as the ships maneuvered away from each other and towards their prey. In the distance, nearly one hundred kilometers away lay the gate. It was so close but today, for the freighter, it was too far. Its autopilot was helpless against the game the Machariel played with it.
"Target." The locking icon flickered for a second as the scan captured the freighter. The guns swirled on their mounts as they spun up ready to spew their charges across space. Now came the sensitive part. If even one pilot was stupid today they would lose this. "Hold," So-so breathed and pressed the fire button.
A warning popped up. Bright and friendly its message was at odds with its appearance.

"This action is an attack on your target. Attacking this target is a crime, will result in a security status penalty for you and will bring CONCORD to enforce the law by destroying your ship. CONCORD will kill you! Do you wish to proceed with this dangerous action?"
"I am a dangerous action," So-so told the warning. The warnings were irritating.

The freighter tried to react. Someone had woken up. The Mechariel continued to treat it like an over sized ball. Each time its thrusters pulsed the massive battleship slammed into it again. The shield collision caused the engines to stutter as the navigation system recalculated the load balance and again attempted to correct the ship's course. The warp engines started to spin up, but they were never able to balance themselves before the Machariel made another pass.

"Ready?" Another series of X's flashed by. Each ship icon flared purple. They were all targeted. All ready. So-so would have taken a deep breath if he could. "Accept CONCORD's stupid warning. I'm in the mood to smack a loot pinata."

The turrets twisted on their mounts. Bright gouts of Void Xenon grade hybrid charges exploded into space. The turrets ratcheted back. Heavy coils absorbed the recoil and snapped the next charge into place. Space exploded in light as the freighter's shields absorbed the barrage of altered plasma that rained down upon it. They flickered and warped. For one second they held and then distortions started. Gouts of plasma punched through the shields and the ship buckled as the charges slammed into its body.

The shield compensated and then failed. The relentless onslaught of plasma continued. The turrets started to glow red from the heat as they were pushed beyond their specifications. So-so growled as gouges appeared along the freighter's side. They peeled back, showing its structural core. Slabs of metal and shrapnel exploded around it, slamming into the fleet of Talos.

The Machariel tapped the freighter one last time. Its own shields saved the freighter from damage. The energy was transferred and the Obelisk spun as its armor peeled away from it. "Go go go go go!" So-so howled over the coms. "CONCORD is here!"

The earlier distraction had done its job. Its armor in tatters the freighter started to disintegrate. It's own mass, no longer supported, started to twist and buckle. The pilot could only hope to be saved. It was the bleak hope of the lost. Even as CONCORD's massive battleships snapped into view he tried to find a strand of hope to grasp onto.

Shutdown commands were sent to the Talos. Engines hummed down and cooled. The ships were locked down as frigates swarmed them with stasis webifiers.

Ooni exploded first. One moment his ship was there, the next it was a brilliant blue super nova. For a second it was as brilliant as a sun. Then the scattered particles slammed against the other members of fleet. As the first bits of disinigerated Talos slammed into the fleet First Say's ship vanished into incandescent blue brilliance. His pod warped out, safe under treaties older then CONCORD.

Grim determination gripped them. One by one the fleet shattered under the attack. So-so went down. He slammed his pod into warp. Behind him, the others kept their focus. As he stared at the rear camera another explosion lit up the battlefield. It was larger and brighter than the others.
The freighter was down. From within his pod, he grinned.


***
Even as the freighter exploded so did the remainder of the Talos fleet. The shattered hulls gave off a dull glow. The plasma that coated its exploded ribbing and shattered form. The structural plates slow to cool. Capkaka scanned the ship. "Oh yes. The drop gods have been kind."

"Landing." Neatly, six blockade runners dropped out of warp into the field. The massive, armored creatures swarmed the wreck. In moments, they grabbed and dragged freighter containers and loose debris into their holds. They aligned even as they pulled in cargo. When each was full the pilot immediately warped to a preselected safe spot. Each pilot had their own. CONCORD swarmed the field but did not stop the looting of the wreckage. They did not like it but they allowed it. A Noctis appeared after them. Unwieldy and awkward it spun around the wreckage. Armor plates, circuit boards, consoles, wiring, they all vanished into its hold. The simple ship spun, safe from CONCORD as it touched nothing the freighter had carried and rendered its wreckage down to a handful of scattered particles.

Only then did the Machariel leave. The solo catalyst pilot followed. He had been a backup plan in case the freighter developed a sudden case of friends. Bored by his lack of action he followed the Machariel's path away from the battle field.


***
Far away, in the golden lit quarters that So-so called home, a stick of incense burned itself out. The last bit of ash settled atop the alter.

Bob, the Drop God's face smiled from the carvings.
-----------------------------------------
-Sugar Kyle 10/29/2012

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Ill Gotten Goods

Ganking happens.

Sometimes it is low sec. Sometimes it is high sec. Sometimes it is null sec. Sometimes it is expected. Sometimes it is not. It is the best of sites. It is the worst of jumps. It is having a full hauler. It is watching your pod eject as your ship explodes around you.

I don’t gank in high sec. Yet. I add the yet because I realize that those days are numbered. Eventually, my natural curiosity is going to win out. I am sure that it will happen after the new crime watch changes are in. I am not overly capable of doing the smart thing and trying to do it now when things may be a tad bit easier. I’ll have to be more careful about it then. I don’t think it’s a bad thing.

For now I am the receiver of ill gotten goods. At first I wrote stolen. Yet, as I tilt my head and debate the word I do not feel that stolen is the proper description for the booty. Someone I know has been ganking haulers for the last few days. He alphas T1 haulers. Overloaded, under tanked, the cargo optimizers and cargohold expanders turn them into paper. The alpha volleys turn them into paper going through a shredder. He ganks for enjoyment but being the rational person that he is he also ganks with an eye to at least break even if not come out ahead. That is a goal not a must. The two should never be confused when one looks at motivation. He makes his own game. His game just happens to be the expense of others.

There are lots of discussions about killboards and their value. I’ve often said that it is not about the killboards it is about the kills. When we are in chat and he posts his latest hauler, it is not because everyone is going to pat him on the back for the herculean effort of ganking a hauler. No one was frightened of that Iteron V fully loaded to the gills with nothing but expanded cargoholds fitted. The congratulations are that a kill happened. Good job. Exploding spaceships.

That is where I come in. I’m not some major player and flipper of goods. I’m not a market tycoon. We are called pirates for a reason. These times may be the most tangible manifestation of it. If one were to visualize it, there would be a smoky room with low ceilings and a card table with hard eyed dudes smoking around it. Someone would step in and drop a bag in the center of the table. Everyone would eye it and then eye the newcomer. Someone would hang him a cigarette and a beer and life would go on as they inventoried what was there and made offers.

While not as exciting, I often make offers for the loot that drops when the kills are posted. I’m not in it for the modules and other easy to access shinies. I’m in it for my industrial needs. Loot does not just mean officer modules. I picked up a stack of blue print originals, blue print copies, and megacyte for an amazing price the other day. He gets instant ISK without having to sort, price and move the goods. I get goodybags that remind me of attending birthday parties as a child.

While tears may fuel spaceships ISK buys them. And oh my are ill gotten goods fun. I now have a well researched Noctis BPC, three hurricane BPC and a stack of unresearched BPO in ammo and frigates. I too have some t2 ammo and fuel blocks. The fuel blocks are a bust. To make the BPC I will spend the same amount as if I were to just buy the fuel block. I don’t make planetary items. But, one of my new corpmates does. I purchased the entire stack for one price taking the good and the bad with it. Then I dig through and chortle at the lovely goodies.

I love this cycle.  I love that about this game.  I’m having seedy back ally deals (or chatroom).   It is another reason why we kill stuff.  There is so much focus on griefers and war decs and noob ganking that people miss the simple reason why any pirate would stalk the space lanes (other then tears).  

ISK.

I do so enjoy this game.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Its Like a Rainy Day

I tried to do three things reference Eve and writing today. I failed at two and succeeded at one.

My success and setting up, organizing, and chopping through half of my second 'story' for this contest. I can only hope what I write is acceptable. I am looking at building permanent pages for them. Once I am satisfied, I will add another link set to my side bar. Or, perhaps, I will add a side bar to the left side finally. I'm not sure. I am pretty sure that I will finish up the first one tonight or tomorrow and hopefully the second by Monday evening.

My first failure was my continuing failures to write about Blog Banter 40. I wrote a lot. Pages and pages of words. Yet nothing I wrote captured the topic of the blog banter. The topic, as I understand it is:

"Given the scope of the sandbox, what part should eSports play in EVE Online and what other formats could provide internet spaceship entertainment for spectators and participants alike?"

I cannot write about this. I have spent the last two days trying. All that pours from my finger tips is my absolute unhappiness with sports and what sports do to the environment. I tried to carve those into something but my words carried nothing but my own emotions on a wave of sadness. I can not write about the topic for how I feel about the topic. I have no answers to the question just emotional reactions against it.

My second failure was writing an organized concept of what happened this morning. Again I wrote a lot of words but they are more expressions of moments of thought vs a coherent concept. Perhaps later, once things have settled and I am able to experience the situation in its entirety things will change. For now, I've learned a lot about my corporation and myself. Things that will hopefully make me a better gatekeeper to those who wish to see if they want to join us.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Contests of Words

There is a fiction writing contest hosted by Telegram Sam and backed by CCP.

I've been tossing around some random short stories in my head. Now seems an ideal time to spend the next month working on them and seeing how I do.

The contest has two categories, Lore and Non-lore stories. I know nothing about the Eve lore. I am also not overly interested in it. I find that interesting. The Lore is not bad but it is like reading a book and watching a movie. They have the same information in them but it is different. Eve's Lore compared to playing Eve are like that for me. The Lore sets up the basic structures of the world but the written lore is not the game that I am playing and love so much. I want to write about the game that I play.

However, after I got down the series of short stories I have in my head I will look at the Lore if I have energy for more. I love science fiction and writing something 'true to Eve' has a fun appeal to it. I have five or so weeks to get some stuff written and submitted. I'm going to play with the permanent pages option to host them here. I won't spam the blog itself with any more then I already spam it with.

The question I ask myself is, "Why enter?" I'm not competitive by nature. It is more of the goal that it gives me. I love writing and I have tons and tons and hundreds of thousands of words of various stuff written but I am terrible at focusing and finishing things. An exterior goal point gives me something to focus on.

I read about this at an interesting time. Blog Banter 40 has been released. I was looking forward to it and when I saw the subject matter I sighed and backed away. It feels hypocritical to want to join into the writing contest and so dislike the Tournament. Yet writing with the hopes that some people will read and enjoy is different from competing in a 'sport' with a goal to win or beat other people.

I did settle down and play Planetside 2 for a bit. I'm still not sucked into the FPS game. The frantic drop in with almost no explanation on how the game works I found frustrating. I had to keep stopping and searching to figure out what things were and what people meant in the chats. I then died a lot. I killed nothing. I have a satisfaction level of not really excited about it. I also long for tutorials, or a help section, or something to let me consume basic information. This press buttons and figure things out as you go does not worth for me at all. Oh I'm sorry I'm shooting you, I had to figure out that to 'heal' people as a medic I have a healing gun. My bad.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Winning and Pewing, a Good Day

Blink is one of those offline/online Eve Online games. I logged in to see that they had hit their 400 trillion point and were doing their celebration give aways. So far, the green box has been most kind to me so I selected the green box again.

A Phantasm. How cool. I only know of it as a ship ren sometimes flies and kills people in.

It was a good start to the day. I was puttering around doing Radar sites. I found three Radar's in one system and I wanted them. I wanted them badly. As I finished scanning a Helios came in and dropped combat probes to scan. A sacrilege came in after that and sat in space for a bit. I debated this. The sacrilege is an Amarr heavy assault cruiser. It was possibly standing between me and the potential ISK from the radar sites. Unacceptable. If he jumped on me I would kill him or at least try. I had ISK to make.

However, he docked up. That was fine. I kept dscan nice and active as I completed the Radar site. I did a second one and local swept up with a fleet from R1FTA. Ren told me that there was another fleet of Solar Citizen's at home and then a second fleet. He undocked in a Tornado to do some long distance kill whoring when he saw that RANSM was engaging the Solar Citizens. I popped open teamspeak and dropped into RANSMs com channel as I landed onto the gate and hopped into the fight.

A fleet invite later and a typhoon and two drakes were down. It was a mess for a moment figuring out who to shoot and who not to shoot. That was quickly cleared up so that I wasn't blapping fleetmates with the invite. Because, when I landed I targeted everything and then sorted it out. The rest of their fleet bailed. Really, I had very little idea of what was happening other then my secondary boys were fighting stuff and I wanted to join in.

At the same time, they got word of a fleet in Heild that the R1FTA pack had just engaged. We headed back that way to see what we could see.

This is what a gate looks like that has had a fight on it. R1FTA takes fights. Great group of pilots. R1FTA went down and the fleet scattered before we got in system to take the fight. Too bad. Sadly, that fleet scattered and it was late night for the Euro contingent. I said, "I'm going to head back home and hopefully not die on a gate this time."

Hhahaha. Jump gate. Fuck me. Deimos X3, Guardian x2, Zealot, Loki x2, Omen Navy Issue on the gate. Sigh. I made it back to the gate and jumped through and got into warp before they made it. Bad news, I was trapped in a stationless system.

More people were logging in and I asked for an assist Sugar fleet. DP orginized 7-2 and they got into some type of battleship thing. Lue also logged on and upshipped and everyone came to see if they could kill the pack. It took a while and the group was camping the gate. However, when 7-2 spiked local they bailed and were gone to a station. They decided to peek out the station and we went to camp them.

They undocked an Armageddon. Oh, we had guardian's to and station games were something DP was willing to play for a minute. They undocked stuff, we shot stuff and DP moved some cynos down and readied some tracking-blapp dreadnoughts. (an aside for my non Eve/Low/Null/Captial ship experienced readers. Tracking blapping dreds is one that has enough tracking speed to pop subcaps relatively quickly, especially battleships with a quckness reference the size of their guns. Big guns tend to = poor tracking in Eve. I noticed I was descending deep into Eve babble.).

Then they undocked. The armageddon, a navy armageddon, the deimos, a thanatos. It was on. They took down DP as our first cyno failed due to a minor typo and not enough fuel to light. The second cyno landed and the dreads dropped in. The Armageddon went down but they had enough time to deaggress and get the rest of their ships docked or warped off. Damn.

This time, I crept back home before I landed on another fleet.

Then, I finally went back and finished my two Radar sites. I warned MacG off of them. That sounds a lot harsher then it is. What I really did was, when he asked where I had scanned, tell him I had two undone Radar sites in one system and no one in that system that I'd like to finish once I was done with the fleet. Because we share that way, being the amazing interactive corporation that we are, I was able to finish up with the fleet and head back home to clean out the sites.

Where I docked. I left my scout on the gate for some reason on my other monitor. I noticed a drake gatefire. I was about to ask MacG if he wanted to try for it when DP jumped in system in an assault frig. Then more gatefires and I see DP tackle a typhoon. I know that meant the rest of his boys were right behind him. I undocked, opened teamspeak, warped to the gate, logged into teamspeak, and helped out. The one person who was in fleet that was neutral to all of us pointed me, but it worked out, I didn't die and I blew them another kiss goodbye as they headed back out.

Fun day. I downloaded the Planetside 2 beta to play it with a co-worker. I got a key but I wound up to busy blowing up spacehsips to try it out. I'll have to load it up later tonight and give it a whirl.

Sec Status is back down to -5.6. It had gotten all the way back up to -4.7. I'm amused.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Horror and Fatigue

My laser specializations finally finished and I got the T2 medium lasers I had been waiting for to activate my Legion in "bigger, tankier covops" mode. I was excited. Then I stared at the horror on my screen.

I paid ISK for this.

W.T.F.

Thank god I play scrolled out. I know that each configuration is a different look. This one is the configuration I want for the Legion as Big CovOps project. The unexpected side effect is that it is truly, terribly, terribly fugly. Eve is just one of those games where hideous things are not cast aside.

In other world shattering exciting events...Kittens asked me to get him some skill books. I was in Rens at the time and the Rens prices were terrible. I hopped over five jumps and picked them up at a decent price. I then flew the 15 jumps back to drop them off. I opened my cargo hold to trade and saw that I had forgotten to load the books into the ship. I took a break to make dinner which just turned into complete fail came back, went and got them and dropped them off. I do like to complete the tasks I promise.

Sigh.

I'm going to bed.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Event Coordination

I am putting together a thing for my boys and extended family boys in two weeks.

It is dipping my toes into a more complex event coordination. Earlier this year Diz had a fleet concept idea but it never came through. The ships for it are still somewhere in some station. Anyway, it just never happened. I'd been anticipating this fleet for some time. Of late, my personal confidence level has grown in indirect ways. I'm ready to be Diz's coordination and planning. He just has to FC it.

I am trying to put it together. I'm am rather worried that the entire thing will be a flop. I just need people to show up and join fleet. I am providing the ships but I can not provide the people.

I just spent a lot of ISK on this project. I'm vest for it to be a success. By a success I just want good participation and people to leave fleet when we are done with a smile. I am hoping that if I set it up, they will come.

Dher said I should tell people what ships to bring. I vetoed that. I've learned that asking people to come prepared is a preassigned recipe for fail. I've written posts and today I am sending out a detailed mail. Yet, I know the day of, people will be like, "Oh! What are we doing? I don't have a ship." despite the two weeks of notice.

And that is fine. I just need their bodies and their participation.

I also need to grind up more ISK since I just spent ISK on the fleet. I am debating adding a donate to the Event Holder line at the end. Perhaps that is to silly or I am greedy. I'll figure that out if it is a success or not. Even if it is successful and everyone gushes about how wonderful it is, I won't be personally backing this type of thing on the regular.

Thinking about logistics... I did a Jita run the other day to pick up my orca pack and drop it off where my indy toon lives. I asked if anyone needed anything run up there is back. Its a 30 some odd jump trip so it takes a moment. Ender goes, "Take up my faction stuff?" I'm like, "Sure" so up pops a trade window. I dump it into my hold and then look at it.

It took me until Gallente space to clear the spots from my eyes from the shiny light erupting from all that bling. The non shiny items were not Ender's. Surprise. I also had a death grip on my jump/warp/cloak until I got there.

I jumped thorugh Uedama as well. The sheer amount of concord on the gate told me that there had been a gank. Go, go cloaky hauler.

Nex time I'm gonna put a bill limit on it or something. Gah.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Multiboxer Multiplication Error

There is a program called ISBoxer that allows you to run multiple accounts as if they were one account. It is a useful tool for mining or running all the same type of ship to do something. CCP allows it because even though the program is giving the commands to all of the accounts the puppet master is still a player and not a bot program.

When the fleet commander screams, "THIS IS A GIFT FROM GOD! KILL EVERYTHING!" the situation has reached an interesting level.

I logged in and was immediately jumped by Hono and Emes reference a 5/10 they had found a few systems away. Only, they thought someone was doing it already. I sent them to investigate and logged on my own scout to see what there was to see. They are getting a lot better about intel but I still double check.

The site was being done by a tengu. There was a Harb from the same corp on one side of the gate and a Myrm on the other with 5 other people from that corp in local. Then, local starts to spike with another fleet. I tell the boys to cloak their scouts and get into safes. It is way too busy for us to chase the Tengu out of the site, fight the Myrm and Harb and deal with the five unknowns with just the three of us (Me the teenage noob and them the newbie noobs).

The fleet passed and I forwarded on the intel. 2x legion, 2x zealot, loki, 3x guardian and some other stuff That was how I got caught up in the 7-2/Ransm/mix fleet that was going for this group. DP asked me to ship into something with armor and catch up to them because the fight was going to go down as soon as they could jump them.

I followed and two systems later they jumped into the fleet and engaged on a gate. They had guardians. We had guardians. They had heavy cruisers. We had heavy cruisers. It was a good fight and DP is going at 100 miles an hour but he is nice and clear. I land and join in. Just as the first Zealot is going into armor a wild fleet of Tornado's lands at 0 on us.

At first, everyone panics a bit at the Tornados on grid. Then DP realizes that they are at zero and he suspects they are all one dude. One dude multiboxing 12 or 15 Tornados. Tornados at 0 on a heavy cruiser gang rolling around with after burners.

DP screamed in joy. "We're okay!" he informed us. "Start killing them." Sorting through all their names was a pain. It doesn't help that I reset my over view the other day and haven't fully finished cleaning random trash off of it. "They can't hit us!" he sang out.

After the third or so Tornado went down they started to pull range. "POINT EVERYTHING!" We had kind of forgotten about the zealots and loki and guardians. With the tornado's trying to get away we tried to kill the rest of the gang. They had plenty of time to deaggress and started jumping back through the gate.

The tornado pilot was in his own corp inside of the alliance. It looks as if he runs a tornado fleet by himself. Today, that didn't work out for him. Everyone blinked and a general, "What was that?" was asked in local.

Then, DP headed the fleet back towards Bose. I asked, "Where as we going?" and he remembered I lived in the other direction. At the same time, word of a typhoon playing undock games with a thanny to rep it popped up. DP suggested I stay. I agreed and we trotted over to find a typhoon aggressing people on the undock and undocking his thanny to rep himself.

DP tried to bump the thanny off station but it docked. The typhoon tried to deaggress but he forgot to pull in his drones. His drones kept attacking us and he kept getting his timer reset.

With that, I went home shaking my head over the tornado fleet. Then I headed off to install my new cabinet organizers in the kitchen. DIY for the win. Then I'm going to go and finish cleaning up my overview. The drone spam made finding the primary a mess.

A Story Told Two Ways

Now for the purely silly. I love corp chat. I adore the random things that happen there (even if I often cause them).

This is the real version of the story:

I got back in from doing errands and logged in to see Dher say that we had a bunch of sites to do. I immediately said, "Not it," because I assumed it was wormhole grinding. He assured me that it was not wormholes but some anoms.

Okay, I don't mind that. I slipped into the Sleipbear and logged in my logi. We collected up MacG and one of our newer members and puttered to the next system to start making ISK. We burn through the site and the expedition is given to me. Dher asks me where and I stare at my journal and go, Akkio. It was about 12 jumps from where we were.

I reshipped into a cane and we headed out of the area. We had to jump through Ennur where a corp has recently moved in. That was not such a big thing. I was duel boxing and just trying to split my attention properly. Dher was doing fleet warps but for some reason Sugar landed on the next gate and Chella landed 20k off of it.

As we landed and jumped a fleet started to land on the gate we were on. A lot of smaller ships. Dher and MacG got off. I was trying to get Chella warped away and Sugar off gate and Sugar ready to fight and Chella safe. There were combat probes out where Chella was and I had no clue what station to dock at and Dher is telling me to get to a safe spot and my concentration started to implode.

The fleet chased after MacG. They did not count gate fires or local I guess. I decloaked as they all streamed in the wrong direction and just left the system to face danger there. The next system was empty but no station. I got Chella docked and pulled up dotlan to check if the *next* system had a station. It did. I went for it, found the system empty and docked Sugar as well.

Once safe, we looked to see if we could get Chella through. That group was determined to sit the gate. I assume that they knew they had the fleet split up. After about ten minutes we sent Chella back home and continued on our way.

The escalation was unkind to us. It did not progress and the drop was about 150 mil. We slipped back home without incident.

****************************

This is the dramatic version from corp chat (Edited into a more readable form, all discussion captured from its original poster as written):


Diz logs in and waves to the group.
Dher waves to Diz.
I cry out, "Diz!! It was terrible!" instead of greeting him properly.
In the background, Dher begins to laugh.
I throw myself on Diz.
MacG snickers from across the room.
I start to cry from the terrible stresses I had been through.
Dher says, "I'll let Sugar tell u... it'll b more dramatic"
Diz comforts me. "OMG," he says. "This sounds very bad!"
Knowing that Diz loves me, I begin my tale of woe. "There I was, all carebearing it up and helping out like a good person."
Dher slips in with, "Actually, it was entertaining."
I ignore him as I relive the events. "I only want to help others and be part of the team. And, I was doing the pewpew of the HORRIBLE HORRIBLE pirates that try to invade empire!!"
Diz is paying close attention. "OMG!" is all he can say.
I continue, my pace frantic. "When suddenly I was overcome by a voice that said 'go find isk in Akkio' and Bill snapped the whip and said I HAVE CARRIERS AND DREDS TO BUY. And I fretted but it was okay. But ,lo and behold as we entered the darkness of Enur a wild blob rampaged onto the gate, splitting up our fleet!!"
Diz is shocked. "Ekk!"
I am gripped by my own memories. "With Sugar on one side and Chella on the other I was over come! My fleet was shattered and my girls fled into the darkness! They are no longer together :("
Diz gasps, ""Ekk!"
Still caught in the thrall of my own tale, I continue, "And we fled! And escaped said blob while hiding in the dark shadows from another that slunk by with dark fiery eyes and flaming fangs! slowly, Chella climbed the mountain and descend back into the comforting embrace of Klingt. It's quite terrible." I then burst into tears.
Diz can only ask, "did you not pack the holy hand grenade with you?"
Dher shook his head. "Much more dramatic"

****************************

No clue why they keep me around sometimes. :) I'm also going to mention Ender because it seems to make him happy when he pops up in the blog. I do need to write up the roam last night and go into intense detail about how he left us behind....

The best part about writing this is that someone will assume that this is how I actually am in chat day in and day out.

Hate Mail Update: Petition Created

Mr. Malachai Thorne Eve-Mailed me back this evening, continuing our conversation from earlier.

*******************


Re: Re: Re: Re: Fuck you.
From: Malachai Thorne
Sent: 2012.10.21 03:31
To: Sugar Kyle,

Nah, you're a douchebag. You attacked someone that was clearly afk, had no valuable cargo and in a ship 2 or 3 classes below yours. And then you killed my pod, which is like a turbo douchebag thing to do. You gained nothing by doing that, only the satisfaction of knowing you inconvinienced someone else. Which makes you a douchebag.

Oh and btw, I sincerely hope you do get raped. What would be even better is if you or one of your loved ones have been raped, that would bring me endless mirth.

*******************

I did not respond. Petition submitted. When I read it I made the decision. When I pasted it to corp chat the boys asked me petition it without delay.

So, Eve is a game. It is a game of loss. And loss gets people get mad. As someone that engages in PvP I understand that I do, on occasion ruin the day of others. It is an endless argument back and forth about safety vs non-safety and being prepared vs being oblivious to your surroundings.

So often, the rage I see in people comes in two main flavors. Those that are killed in high sec and those that are killed in gate camps. Both times, while I do not understand the rage I do understand that they were in positions where they did not expect what happened to them to happen. Right or wrong, situationally aware or not, the environment a player in can affect their response to a negative action.

The oddest part about this entire thing is that I was reading a post the other day from a female blogger discussing some of the sexist content in WoW that she found offensives. While this is not the game's storyline it is still a sad fall back behavior. I've been debating the view point of the WoW bloggers reaction to the in game story and its 'place' in a game. I wonder how she would feel about this reaction from a person vs the content she was bothered by in the games story.

When this random person decided to respond with rage to a loss his fall back was to wish cancer and rape upon those that harmed him. He did not know that I am female. He simply picked two of the most horrible things he could think of and wished them upon a random stranger for upsetting him. I rather pity him.

I made the petition simple. I wrote it up as "abusive language" under the Harassment section of the petition page and pasted the entire string of eve mails. I'll let CCP handle that side of the equation. I decided not to respond back to him. It'd be poking him with a stick if I did and stirring shit to stir shit.

CCP GMs responded to the petition 4 minutes after I sent it with a form letter that said they would investigate the situation but they would be unable to share the results of the investigation with me due to account privacy issues.

That was about what I expected. Now, unless he comes back with more I've washed my hands of it. My blog will return to its normally scheduled batches of random posting about whatever flickers across my mind and game.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Hate Mail

I don't get hate mail often. I was going to wrap this up into a little blog about the roam but I decided to make it its own thing.

The short and sweet of it is: We killed a Vexor that landed 15 off of a gate and sat there.

So, we shot it. Then when the pod didn't leave there was a mild race to pop it.


Fuck you.
From: Malachai Thorne
Sent: 2012.10.20 08:23
To: Bisben, renecito, Sugar Kyle,

Why the fuck would you do that? I hope you get cancer.

At first I was shocked. I read the title of his eve mail and started to read another eve mail by someone I knew that was nice. After the moment of confusion (I shouldn't have been awake) I figured out what was going on. I shared his response with the boys and decided to ignore his tone to answer his question.


Re: Fuck you.
From: Sugar Kyle
Sent: 2012.10.20 08:34
To: Malachai Thorne,

Hello,

Your Vexor landed 15k off of a low sec gate. A small gang fleet full of negative sec status people were sitting on that gate. We stared at your Vexor. It did not move or warp off. We then pointed you and finally destroyed your ship.

Your pod then sat there. Hurricanes and a drake do not point a ship quickly. However, you did nothing to save your pod. After a very long point time, you were also podded.

Situational awareness is important if you are going to travel in low sec. Landing 15k off of a fleet on a gate and sitting there when a fleet is sitting there is going to cause you to lose ships. Please do not confuse that with a gate camp.

Your corporation is a null sec corporation. Low sec unlike null sec is not full of intel channels and corporations with blue standings. People will kill you for just being there. Not only were you there, you were sitting in a tactically poor position and seemingly AFK or not aware of your surroundings.

There was no reason not to destroy your ship.

-Sugar

I was rather pleased with my response. I sent it off. Then I received this notification.
You have been added as contact
From: Malachai Thorne
Sent: 2012.10.20 08:34

Malachai Thorne has added you as contact with Terrible Standing

Well it seemed silly of him and a waste of a contact. However, he was clearly mad.


Re: Re: Fuck you.
From: Malachai Thorne
Sent: 2012.10.20 08:35
To: Sugar Kyle,

Fuck you, dont try to rationalize being a douchebag. I hope you get raped.

Not really acceptable. I was debating if I should respond or not. Ender said, "correct response Sug.. As a women I find the thought of being raped offensive and I'm gonna report you to ccp :)"

Tempting, but I chose to take the super high route and treat him as if he was mired in abject ignorance.


Re: Re: Re: Fuck you.
From: Sugar Kyle
Sent: 2012.10.20 08:44 To: Malachai Thorne,

Hello again,

It is not a rationalization for being a 'douchebag'. Your first eve-mail, however impolite, asked why your ship was destroyed. I explained why what happened to you, happened.

Often times, a roaming fleet will ignore a t1 cruiser such as your own if he makes any attempt to remove himself from the situation due to the 15 minute GCC counter. However, sitting still 15k off of a gate is simply too tempting a target.

Destroying ships is what we do. Despite your anger and rather inappropriate requests for negative things to happen to me, I hope that you will be more careful in low sec and null sec as you maneuver through and to gates.

Also, a future suggestion. Rape is a very touchy term and one that I suggest you remove from your litany of insults and poor wishes in the future. The cancer one is along those lines. There are many negative in game things that you can wish upon my person.

-Sugar

I'm not sure it's a petitionable type thing. I don't really understand this behavior. We did not smack talk him. In fact, we did not say anything at all. The "fuck you" that flashed up when the mail came in made me blink a bit. Unexpected event all around.

Friday, October 19, 2012

By My Own Two Hands (mostly)

Industry in Eve pulls at me. It is not an isk thing it is a building thing. I am one of those people that love legos. I can build things. I love the process. Sim City, the Sims, Civilization, Black and White...any game that gives me the tools to create has anchored me and dragged me in.

While Eve's world building is a tad bit more subtle then Sim City, it is still a game in which creation of things is very important. I wrote a thing when I got my Sleipnir about making it vs buying it. I discovered that I could not make it. I found that I was disappointed in that and I've since started working to correct that.

My latest decisions have been for my high sec industrial goals of stuff building. I decided that I wanted an Orca and a Charon.

I've always wanted an Orca. Well, at least since my 5th or 6th day in game when I first met one. Ever since I've desperately wanted one. My issue has always been price. I am a cheap, cheap person. When I first started Orcas cost 400mil ISK. At the time, the cost of replacing my Myrm was enough to send me into stress sweats. Later, when I could afford it the price had soared to 600 million. At that time, it would have been a quarter of my liquid ISK. When I had more ISK the price was up to 700 million. At that point I said "fuck it".

My desire has not waned. I feel envious when I see other Orcas. But, I am not sensible enough to simply drop the ISK and satisfy my desires. I am still very, very cheap and cling to each ISK as if it is my last drop of water in a desert. My solution was to build myself an Orca. It would take much longer to accomplish, if I worked out the ISK per hour I'm sure it would not be optimal, but it would be a good project with a nifty cookie at the end.

I was directed to this site for ship building costs in terms of ore. It is a neat link and one I shall have to play with further. I also searched contracts and purchased an 'Orca Kit'. Because the Orca is a Capital Ship, building it requires more layers then ore to blue print. The kit is a set of researched blue print copies for all the pieces needed to make the ship. I add ore and bake. Researching causes a blue print to need fewer resources to make the end goal.

It will take me a bit to mine enough ore for the Orca. To save myself some minerals I will ask the boys to do my refining. With perfect refining skills and standings with the station they will get more minerals returns from refining the ore then I will. Also, we have perfect capital ship builders in corp as well. Its a project that will take a few weeks to accomplish while giving me a nice little 'doing stuff' feeling. Once that is done, I'll start on the Charon. Some time will pass (much time) and I'll one day have these ships pop out the oven ready to do my bidding.

Teamwork, people, group efforts, it's interesting stuff. This morning, as I worked on looking at Orca kits and got Dher to help me pick the best one I dragged around two of our youngest members to run exploration sites with me. It gets them out and moving around low sec, learning how to listen, discussing tactics and movement and scanning and developing healthy survival habits. Some mistakes happened we discussed them and moved past them. Learning isn't about perfection its about improvement.

Its 'paying it forward' I guess. I have to admit that Ender was right and I'm doing what others did for me. I sent them off with 150mil more in their wallets for their split from the loot we gathered over the sites. I could have soloed everything and kept all of the gains for myself, but that was never my point. I love my ISK and I love my ISK making, but these times of social fleeting as some of my favorite ways to burn time productivity.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

What is a RPG these days?

I have been reading reviews about Dishonored. I like how the game looks but I am not into First Person view point games. Yet, I adored Fallout 3/Fallout New Vegas. It seems that in the right enviorment I can enjoy them. When I think First Person I think First Person Shooter. That is not a gaming style I enjoy. Dishonored, however, is billed as a First Person Role Play Game and my intial reaction was "I don't roleplay, how silly."

Then, I thought about how hypritical that sounded. "EVE Online is a massive multiplayer online game" according to its own website. I play the hell out of Eve. Yet, I play a game that is called a roleplay game without feeling that I roleplay at all. Was I right or wrong or just suffering from a matter of my opinion?

To define role play in games I'll use wikipedia and the dictionary.

role–play verb \ˈrōl-ˌplā, -ˈplā\
1: to act out the role of
2 : to represent in action

After reading the definition I did not feel that it fit. Eve is a game. I'm not stepping away from that. But is it a role play game? Most MMO's start you off and you decide on a class. Your class is who you are. No matter how well you play or how bad ass you are you are always defined and held within that class.

Eve hands you a race and sets you lose in space. You can immedatly decide that you dislike your races options and jump ship for new and exciting other stuff.

pre·tend   /prɪˈtɛnd/ Show Spelled[pri-tend] verb (used with object)
1. to cause or attempt to cause (what is not so) to seem so: to pretend illness; to pretend that nothing is wrong.
2. to appear falsely, as to deceive; feign: to pretend to go to sleep.
3. to make believe: The children pretended to be cowboys.
4. to presume; venture: I can't pretend to say what went wrong.
5. to allege or profess, especially insincerely or falsely: He pretended to have no knowledge of her whereabouts.

I am loosely classified as a pirate but I have often pointed out that I make a poor pirate. I may make an excellent pirate queen (my random self labling I can not escape so I might as well embrace), but I make a poor pirate over all simply because I am not fully and only vested in bring a pirate. I will happily take on other roles. The game does not restrict me to piracy nor do I self restrict to piracy.

Eve is more of a god game for me. I world build, using multiple charaters to complete predetermened tasks that I have set for myself to engage and amuse myself. None of my inner view of the game feels particularly roleplayish to me.

I will point to Eve University here. They are not a role play corporation. They are not a group that pretend to be teachers and pretend to be students. They are doing these actions. The teachers have taken on the role of instructors. The students have taken on the role of students. The personnel staff have taken on the role of management. They are not actors and actresses pretending to create a university environment.

What is a role?

role   /roʊl/ Show Spelled[rohl] noun
1. a part or character played by an actor or actress.
2. proper or customary function: the teacher's role in society.
3. Sociology . the rights, obligations, and expected behavior patterns associated with a particular social status.

Within the game some people are doing not pretending. Some are pretending as well. But does the existence of role play within a game mean that the game itself is a role play game? Eve has created a society of people that live and do things within a game. Is my CEO pretending to by my CEO or is he accepting the role of running the corporation?

Am I pretending to be Minmatar? While "Winmatar" may be a used phrase, is it role play or is it rooting for the home team? When someone uses, "We" and "Us" in regards to their favorite sports teams are they role playing or stepping into the social sphere of their chosen organization?

Am I actually Minmatar (with ni the game). I'd say no. The Minmatar have a history. I've never taken the time to read it because I don't care. Being Minmatar does not trap my character into one and only one track in the game.

Maybe it is the avatar? Or maybe not. The avatar is something that I rarely see unless I want to take pictures from the captains quarters. Yet, I do not view myself as a hurricane.

The hurricane is my ship that I control.

That is not to say that people can not role play in the game. They do. But, it is a choice that they make and not a restriction the game places on them. Conversely, a game that does force role play only does it in a mechanical sense. The players may not vest themselves into a behavior of role play but instead play the character's role while they move through social interactions in their normal manners.

In a roleplay game such as Diablo 3 I do not have issue with piloting my avatar through the activities inside of the game. I do not bring any personal feel into that situation. I am not that character in the game. I'd not make those decisions. I'd not have that person as a friend or that one as an enemy. I can not see myself in that persons shoes. I'm a voyeur with some minor manipulation of the environment.

While roleplay can and does happen in Eve, for me it is not something I think about. I am a 'what you see is what you get' type of person in game and out. I have not assumed the mantle of something else beyond myself. I do not connect Eve with roleplay by definition because Eve does not fore the player into a preconceived role to play. A player can chose to make that decision but it is a choice option.

Sure, I could counter argue that Eve still imposes restrictions on me. But, then I could say that life does the same thing. I don't get everything I want every day just because the 'world is real' and 'Eve is a game'. I'm stepping past that because it is an argumentative point for the sake of being argumentative. I could also say that any attempt at silliness or 'yarring' is roleplay and attach large exclamation points to it. I also sometimes dance and sing in my house. I do both terribly. One could call me a roleplayer at that time but I would consider that moments of levity and play. Roleplay, in which someone enters into a charater is a bit more intense then a brief ballroom spin about the kitchen or a yarr in chat.

Is the role-play tag on the MMO lable an artifact? Something added on from habit because of a prexisting understanding of the definition? In a day and age when Call of Duty is called a role play game, where does Eve fall?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Meandering Through the Day

I was looking at my kill board for the month. Halfway through the month and I have seven kills. What does that mean? Nothing. Things have been busy. Long work week, Vegas, another long work week, losing my days off to more work stuff. I've been making isk however. Unlike a fleet I can drop in and out of PvE. Plus, some of my future plans are rapidly coming together and they need ISK.

It isn't that I haven't been PvPing. I've had a lot of misses lately. There was a blackbird the other day. One more volley and he'd have gone down. But he landed his jam and warped off. Ahh well. He was smart enough to dock otherwise I'd have had him waiting through the jump timer at the next gate. None of that pays for Chella's skill books. Capital Ships is 360mil ISK and Gallente Carrier is 450mil ISK. She will need Advanced Spaceship Command in a week (46mil ISK) and a month later, Capital Ships will come knocking asking for payment.

My goals for this morning were kind of shattered. I had planned to set up my legion and upgrade my CovOps pilot. She almost died four separate times the other day to spawns from uncracked cans. I was tired of it. However the deployment of Inferno 1.3 did not go as smoothly as planned. Woe is me. Lost gaming time in my already lost day off. How I suffer.

Somehow, I managed to endure and get it all done when I got home.

I have decided to branch my industry effort out a little bit. My current stuff is churning away nicely. I had a discussion with one of my boys about research and such things. I run a medium POS. I can't fit much more onto it then what it currently has. If we were to get into research I'd have to upgrade. However, I can do some moon mining during its idle time and take the modules off line that are inactive except for the build.

I would be mining a completely crap moon material. But, it'd be something in the background. I have done absolutely no research into this and given it about 6 minutes of thought. That often works best for me so I'm going to go ahead and see how it works. The initial investment was small.

Hopefully this weekend, some pewpew.