Saturday, August 31, 2013

My Little Battleship?

Income. I'm not filthy space rich. I'd like to be but I'm not. Until Odyssey I made the bulk of my income through exploration. I considered this my main income. I did the pewpew at red crosses and occasional found shiny modules and valuable items. The changes to Odyssey changed exploration. It is easier. It is more poplar. You can get into it early. There is no more need of tanked ships to deal with NPCs in sites. There is no more need to duel box a scanning ship and a damage ship. Everything changed. A game was introduced. I spent a lot of time testing it because it directly effected what I had spent my time doing..

I also came to dislike it. I have not scanned since my last review of the Odyssey changes. I don't know why I dislike the system so much. It isn't bad. I think they have done a lot of fantastic things with the system and the UI. I do hate the mini-game. The spew containers are horrible. For some it is fun. For me, I found myself chasing after cans, hitting dscan, collecting wads of space junk and I just walked away. There is more to do than exploration in Eve and I decided to leave exploration for those that wanted to do it.

I could have stuck to just looking for the DED complexes. I debated it. But I was tired. I was tired of scanning and I had other things to do with my time. I had changing interests. I had other things to do. Other things to explore. I was also burned out on scanning. I was deeply, deeply tired of dropping probes. I was also very angry over some changes. I'm still spitting mad over the fact that probes automatically portal their way into your cargo when you leave system. I have a habit of boycotting what I do not like. Such as the Hurricane changes. Such as the homing pidgin probes. Or the fact that both my pod and freighter can see 'exploration sites'. Such as the fact that exploration was ripped out of the exploration system.

A few weeks ago I commented that I was going to learn to mission. My major steps have been accomplished. Last year I started making some alts. I've had various reasons for them. One in particular I've been skilling up. She has an interesting mix of skills and when I went to look at her I realized that she had the potential to be a fantastic mission account. She is an Amarr pilot and I was only a few days away from large T2 lasers.

The waiting for T2 lasers is a reflection of my understanding of the game. The way living in low sec and growing up PvPing has molded my world view shows very much in my molding of a character to PvP. Kaeda took pity on me and helped me understand what a mission fit ship would be like for level 4s. I don't comprehend it still. My PvE has been in low sec for so long and I've never done the high sec missioning thing past doing level 3's with Chella back with her shield Myrm.

Now I am entering into the realm of level 4 missions and I have no idea what to do. I figure that I should be embarrassed. I'm not. I've never been great at fits and min/maxing. I've come to understand the theory more but doing amazing things with fits isn't me. I'll build a happy, standard ship each time with zero creative ability. It is almost embarrassing because I pride myself on my creativity but it has boundaries. Big, big, being bad at ship fit type boundaries.

That is why I run to other people like a child with a skinned knee lusting for a My Little Pony Band-aid.

Kaeda helped me with a fit and went over the entire resits and other stuff that mission runners care about. It doesn't sit correctly with me. Hopefully, I will figure it out. Of course, after I got the ship together I realized that I did not have drone skills. Or navigation skills. Whoops.

At first I thought that it would delay my plans to venture into the land of level 4 income. Then, I decided that if people could get into battleships in a week I could have subpar Nav skills. I'd accept that I had 4's instead of 5's and my drone skills would catch up eventually. I plan to have logi on the field until I know what I am doing.

Now some may say but level 4 missions are whatever. They are. Sure. I'm fine with it. It is something I can do while doing other things like moving my freighter or in the evenings when I don't have time to participate in fleets because of work. I can also do it in high sec. I love low sec but sometimes I am to tired to do active in space things in low sec.

It may make me a horrible person. Beyond that, it is a part of the game I haven't experienced. I don't want to go back to incursions. I really, really don't.  The community isn't for me. I like to have my alone time doing things at my pace. I tire of hearing about this shiny module and how much ISK that person has. I will live in my poorness on my own.

Speaking of being poor.  I am about halfway to my jump freighter goal. Ueber was kind enough to roll off of his blink winnings (different from his hoard in Oddelulf) and let me use an Ark he had laying around until I get my own. He doesn't use jump freighters because of laziness. This means the chances of being called on to hand over my lease is on this side of not there until I have my own in a few more weeks.

Soon I shall chortle in a pool of level 4 mission running goodness. Or not. We'll see.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Eve Online Offline Online

There was a buzz and rustle through the community a few months ago when John Lander announced that he was moving divisions. Is CCP dying? Is everyone bailing ship? Oh noes. The tin foil was passed out and careful sculpted into helmets across the game. The move that Mr. Lander made was to CCP's Mobile division and some other stuff. Notice that I am a terrible reporter.

There were some cheers. Yay! Eve Mobile! What we all wanted. This is why CREST is good say the people who understand it. Some other stuff goes here. Read this article on Massively if you'd like. I'm fine with that. I'm an android user. My phone is normally at hand or in my pocket. I've even been told it makes phone calls. I'm not sure about that. I do love my internet connection. I'd love more Eve functionality in my life. I'd love my apps to be better. I don't rant and rave because I cannot code them so I am instead happy with the free product that I have. That doesn't mean I don't long for more functionality (mostly in the form of better corp market tracking).

Last Friday, I was heading off to Niagara, in a car and looking at my market orders thanks to Aura. I noticed that the Angry Oddelulf Newbie had purchased all of my liquid ozone. That was odd. What was he doing with it? I suspected restocking it for a higher amount which is silly but common. However, liquid ozone is very important to the heartbeat of non-high sec space. We have jump capable ships to move and we move them constantly. I like to keep it stocked in station for emergency cyno reasons as well.

He had purchased my stock in Oddelulf. I decided to solve the problem. I opened up Eve Gate and write Ueberlisk an eve-mail asking him to pull some of the liquid ozone out of the hoard he rested himself upon and list it since I would be away from game for several days. It took me two tries to write it. The first time I had an error and when I hit the x it clicked through to delete my message. The second time I sent it but as with all Eve Gate msgs from the phone it was an unformated mess because the html code does't work.

While Ueber got the message and I was able to manage Eve Online Offline, which is absolutely awesome, I wrote a simple tweet. There I said:
I am normally a massive CCP fangirl. I am very, very tolerant of things not being perfect. But I have my limits. Not being able to formulate paragraphs properly and the html I do painfully type in by phone failing half the time makes me angry. I found myself thinking, "mobile Eve online is great but I'd be so happy if Eve Gate, a fantastic idea, was not such shit to use on a cellphone."

Ten years ago mobile phones where not what they are now. I know that the last four or five years I have had high functionality with my cellphones. I use them for everything. Google has refined Android and web borrowing has become a smooth experience on my little hand held device. Eve Gate, what should be one of my primary connections to Eve Online Offline has not followed. I do not hear it spoken of. It's tucked away somewhere over there. Abandoned. Neglected. A poor experience.

I was flipping through my new corp messages on Eve Gate as well. Most of them are several hundred days old. It has the stark, empty feel of an abandoned application. What I did find was complaints about Eve Gate. The exact same complaints that people have now only two and three years old. The chances are very high that this dried up dead horse may have some juice left in the marrow if I beat it long and hard enough. I feel the need to be positive and try.

Beyond that, I have no idea what the Angry Oddelulf Newbie did with the liquid ozone. He did list some of it. Ueber however entered into the arena of market PvP and chased him out. I noticed that he purchased all of my liquid ozone from another station I had it listed at. He has not relisted it. I have no idea what he is doing with it. Drinking it? My prices are not the lowest in the region by any means. And he ice mines.

Oh well.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Angry Oddelulf Newbie

Oddelulf's angry newbie has me absolutely fascinated. He has managed to get into bickering wars with Ueberlisk now. This is on top of his rageing at Diz and Dave. They've been sharing logs of his ranting and rages. He is very, very angry at us for coming into Oddelulf and killing his unarmed, mining ships. He seems mad at Ueber for living there. He is also angry that people violence spaceships in low sec.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Nothing in Particular

At times I feel as if I should have deep thoughts on everything. That I should blog for a reason. That my habit of writing about whatever wanders through my mind leads me to write the most random things. Maybe I should look at serious posting. I could focus on wars and enormous topics. I could explain why my Jaguar fit is the best no matter what.

Or I could talk about the random things that interest me me. Like names. I find this much more interesting and shall go about indulging myself.

Having spent more time on coms of late then ever before, I've recently been struck with a familiar feeling of amusement as we talk to each other. There is something amusing to me about how calmly we call each other by our game names. It is not that I want people to call me by my real name instead of my game name. It is more the way we adopt our game name as our own. I've always noticed but being around a larger group it is more apparent.

Sugar is my main and when someone addresses me, no matter what alt I am on, they call me Sugar. This leads to amusing experiences like my wormhole theft with Vov when he calls me Sugar and I call him Vov and neither of us are on our characters named Sugar or Vov.

When Diz came to Vegas last October he insisted that he didn't want to be called Diz. I had no idea why. But we tried and failed to not call him Diz. Because he is Diz to us and the name does not sound odd. We sit on coms with each other day in and day out for days, weeks, months, and years. Our game name becomes our name and with that it becomes normal.

It becomes even more amusing when people develop nicknames for their game names. I'm often called Sug. I even sign most of my Eve mail that way when it is casual. Longer names make sense. DP for instance has a rather long name and thus the reduction. While Diziet is Diz what does one call Altaen when Altaen is easy enough to say. Yet, when someone calls Vov, Vic, I wonder what is wrong with them. It is obviously Vov for Viceorvirtue not Vic. Besides, Viceorvirtue is a perfectly normal thing to call someone and I don't think twice about it.

I also have to be thankful for self naming. Otherwise, sometimes, I'd not know how to pronounce some names. Of course, that goes out the window when they have a different common name then their character's given name. Or, if they are like Ender and constantly exist in a state of three to four character's but they are always considered one to the point that outsiders are frantically puzzled at who and what we are talking about.

Some names even require their own acronyms. That becomes even more amusing when Eve hits the main stream and serious news places must suddenly type "thebigredboat" or one of the many alliance names. I have to give them credit. They plow through the situation but I cannot help but give a bit of a smile when I read news articles keeping to our game names and alliance names. It must be easier for them when someone has adopted a more normal name.

The chances are high that I notice and appreciate this bit of randomness because I have always enjoyed names that reject common conformity. It reflects in the names of my pets. One of my cats is named Hollow. I named one dog Nox after the goddess and a second Nyx after the same goddess. Plus, I was amused to no end that they had the same name.

Eve, however, has another side effect. It forces us to become creative with our names. Unless deleted, names are locked to their original owner. There are no servers which allow for the simultaneous existence of 25 Gordan Icespark or whatever is a common name somewhere else. Everyone has to take some time to figure out what they want to be called. I doubt I am the only one that has a fantastic idea only to get the little red x at the character creator and to be told to reapply a dose of creativity.

Of course, lack of creativity can be amusing all on its own. The owner of the Retriever/Mackinaw fleet where they are all named 1 of many, 2 of many, 3 of many and so forth and so on has gained a lot of attention. Naming conventions become very popular just for the ease of character management. It does make alt identification easier at times. And sometimes people wind up accused of being someone just for name similarity.

Names do matter in Eve but only so far. Some people put a lot of thought into what they called themselves and some little. It is easy to pick a name to amuse yourself and find yourself called Princess for the rest of your Eve career without anyone batting an eye or thinking twice about it. The number of males called by very feminine focused names due to their mains amuses me almost every day. But my amusement does not lay in the fact that the guy has a traditional girls name. I am amused that it doesn't phase anyone. I also love it.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Thirst in the Desert

Arriving home rather late Sunday night I hopped in the bed and was asleep about thirty minutes after I got home. Then, up at five and off to do my twelve hours. Therefore, no Monday blog post. However, I am now sitting here musing over some ravioli as I look at TCS's stock needs.

Running a market to the public is creating an interesting (to me) visual picture of low sec. If I was running a market to only my associates this image would develop differently. However, I seek to reach beyond my own channel lists. My sales show that I am doing that indirectly. Something that pleases me. While I was gone TCS rolled about 2.7 billion in stock. It would have been a bit more if I could have refilled things that emptied. This covers everything from ganking gear to Retrievers. Some of my first run of fighters sold and I am out of a few boosters as well.

I often hear that low sec is a wasteland by those that do not live there. it is a desolate expanse where nothing is quite worth making a living there. A side note of that comment is that one reason that it is a desolate wasteland where nothing is quite worth it is because of the pirates. The hordes of pirates that flow across the low sec terrain is such that nothing productive can be done.

I reject this idea. I live in low sec and have from very close to my start. I live here. I am productive here. Why don't I count?

From what I can tell, I don't count because I am one of the pirates. Pirates are part of the landscape. I've used described the residents of low sec as fauna before. Often this description seems to be more apt than I intended. People come into low sec to 'do some PvP'. They set traps for the locals that sometimes succeed and sometimes do not. They spray on pirate spray and attempt to sprint their industrialists through to their goals hoping that we're asleep from gorging on those that failed to pass.

But then there is life in the desert. People will always wander the vast wastelands of the occasional oasis or city. I'm not sure which I qualify as. I'd go with Oasis considering my small size. Through my store I get to see that low sec is a thriving economy. It is a thirsty economy. Not just for the tools of destruction but the ones of every day life.

Listening to my boys chat they do lust for destruction. They want to log in and they want to have good fights. They want to have ships to fly and ammunition to burn. It sounds so violent. Cannot we just work together and do positive productive things? Sure. But PvP is Eve's fire. The ecological cycle demands the consumption and destruction to create renewal. If my boys never died and my boys never killed where would their suppliers be? I'm not speaking of ganking, for those whose minds only roll towards the flocks of red catalysts soaring through the high sec belts. I'm speaking of Pirate v Pirate. The fights and battles that rage in the silent, unobserved space of low sec.

If my store shows one thing it is that low sec is not a barren wasteland. It may be a desert. A harsh land full of intense heat that saps at the strength and slows movements. It may be parched stretches of land where one can easily become lost without knowing how to navigate. I do not debate that it is harsh or argue against the evidence left by ravaged corpses in the sand. It isn't the nicest place to be but it is amazing how some thrive there anyway.

The evidence of TCS over the last six months supports that. I don't think that Bosena is so unique that no other low sec area can thrive in a similar manner. Of course, my vision of thriving is different from some. I don't measure my metrics by how much I can make out of every instance. I'm sure I'd be rolling around in more ISK and not saving for a jump freighter if I did. For the dismissive crowd, my project isn't worth their time.

That is fine. It is worth my time. I live here. I thrive here. I enjoy this place. For now I am writing contracts and shipping items to save myself time. I have a lot of stuff to move and a store to get back on its feet. I have people to reship and ammunition needs to fill. I have a task list that is mildly daunting and puts a smile on my face at the same time.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Catching Up

Niagara is a very lovely place to visit. A lot of water falling into more water. I don't see it as a yearly visit but it is nice to check it off of my list.

Driving back from vacation has given me time to start catching up to what happened while I was away. Eve has a terrible habit of not stopping just because one happens to log off.

It seems as if my boys were productive. They killed things and were killed. It seems that they bit at Procurer bait and it went sideways and upside down after that. I haven't picked up the details but from the amount of trolling and harassment of each other they are quite amused. Then, the group that set the trap recorded it and wishes to announce that we are terrible and they are awesome. So shall it be forever. Also several new apps are in or accepted. New members are healthy for the corp. Hopefully they don't mind that we are so terrible.

3D won a Ragnarok on Blink's celebration. I'm sure he is peeing himself he is so excited. It means no more PvE for him. a true Eve PvPer dream come true. He doesn't have a taste for blinged out battleships and T3s so I suspect he will be fat and happy of the wallet for a long time to come.

Ueber won one of the all dockable ship sets. No surprise there. I think he was going for a Titan but somehow I hope he will survive.

This is the second time I have had a short away from game break. I do not overly enjoy them. I do enjoy playing Eve. I don't return with some new realization reached where I throw down the chains of game play and run off to start hiking. The biggest thing it does is given me a break from the negatives while making me miss the positives.

For instance. I have given up a forum I was reading because the over all tone of negativity, bitterness, and arrogance has worn on me. I finally said screw it and closed its tab and deleted the bookmark. I edited my twitter list as well. I don't believe in closing myself off from information and opinions that are different from my own. Some of those just don't give enough of a return for absorbing their negatives and when I find myself wondering why I am reading them it is time to stop.

It has also broken me out of a gloomy cycle I was in, I believe. Taking time off is one thing but getting out of the house is another. My next stop will be Eve Vegas in October. But for that, I get to take the blog along on the ride.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Dat Rorqual Killmail

Oddelulf seems like a quiet system. It sits on the other side of a high security gate. It has two stations and three low sec points. It is an anchor to Molden Heath's largest low sec pocket. There is one asteroid belt and an Icebelt. There is a level 4 agent in high sec that will send you on missions there but out side of that it appears to be nothing more than a sleepy Low Sec system that people travel through.

Occasionally it winds up on the front page of Eve kill, however. Such as the Rorqual that was killed last weekend by the King, Ueberlisk.

Oddelulf attracts delicious delicacies into his trap. He has but to stalk his system and wait. This particular situation was that they lit a cyno on a station with a small undock. The Rorqual landed outside of the docking range and Ueber undocked in his vindo. Point, Vindi webs, and a call for backup. The Thanatos and Archon that came in on the cyno docked. They undocked in a Drake and Prophecy. It didn't work out. The Rorqual died.

I know the above because I went to Ueber to ask him what happened.

For the most part the kill mail did nothing but ignite the envy that happens when something big and shiny is killed. It took me a few days to realize that it was on the front page of Eve Kill. A few more passed before I realize that a large chunk of Eve would wind up looking at it. The realization struck when the comments started to wander into the land of weird.

For anyone that does not know, eve-kill uses the disqus comment application to allow for kill mail comments. These comments can add invaluable information into the fight. They are more often used for insults and rage. One cannot forget the smart comments as well. I do find much amusement in the witty statements. I'd love to have that type of sharp wit but I content myself with the butter knife of my thoughts.

It is odd coming under the public eye. There are the normal CFC (Cluster Fuck Coalition) and RMT (Real Money Trading) comments. There are some pokes at Ueber. Such insults always fascinate me. It is easy for me to forget that not everyone has Ueber as a daily part of their lives. They don't hear of his hunting habits as he scans down and stalks the innocent mission runners that think they can dip their toes into low sec, complete a mission, and take off. After all, there is only one other person in the system.

But the commentators do not know any of this and that is obvious. From the one about killing defenseless ships to the insults that Uber learn to PvP. People who do not know the story just fill in some blanks and have at it in the comments section. Maybe it was a battle Rorqual that exhausted all of its drones attempting to kill the defenseless Ueberlisk!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Game Life Balance

There are times when my writings take on quite a serious tone. To an extent, that seriousness is real. I like to engage in aspects of Eve Online that are not limited to the realm of video game. Hence my musings on social relationships and the actions of people.
My personal action is to go on Vacation this weekend. I’m rather excited about it. It comes with some interesting side effects related to Eve. Normally when I travel I take my laptop with me. Because this is a three day adventure put together for us by my husband, we are both going to leave our laptops (but take phones and tablets for we are but only so brave) for the duration of the trip.
Eve is a game that one can pick up and put down at ease. My biggest task is making sure my skill queues extend well into next week. Sugar will work on her laser skills. Chella will follow Vand’s path of a perfect Guardian pilot. Life is good.
But… I have an in game life that is affected. I run my market and after three sold days of neglect it will be a bit tattered in some areas. Because I work on Monday, it will not be fully patched until mid week I expect. This is not life ending or world changing but it is a fact. I need to make sure my POS is also is fueled and happy. I find the duel planning amusing. I must pack my bag and fuel my POS and write my corp a note that I will be away in case anyone was planning to ask me to transport anything and make sure there is enough dog food…
This is my first trip this summer. In another two months I will be off to Eve Vegas so this last minute thing is pretty exciting.
My blog will continue to post random things all weekend. It's well trained it seems.
And then, I'll post some pictures of Niagara. We're staying on the Canada side.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Ramblings: The Re-purposing of Offensive Words

Warning: I use bad (NSFW) words in this post because I'm pondering them without saying anything meaningful but releasing wandering thoughts to the wind.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

TCS: Dig In

I was asked, "How do you deal with market competition?"
My answer was, "I don't."

The real answer is more complete than that. I will get to it. The reason I say that I do not deal with market competition on the basic level is because I live with market competition. I do not actively attempt to control it. Instead I work with it.

If I was trading in a hub, I'd be in a constant state of competition with hundreds of other orders all trying to do the same thing to a small but constantly changing audience. I need to stand up and stand out from the crowd. The only way to do this is to have the lowest price. People shop with their wallets and they shop to save. The filtering options of the market window allow the buyer to easily select the currently lowest priced item.

Trade Hubs are like super centers. They are center points of the entire universe where people will cross paths without ever noticing that they crossed paths with anyone. Each transaction is an instant for those who do not live there. For those that do live in the hubs, mostly the traders, high sec warriors, and war dec crowd, the hub is their life but they are tiny motes.

But for those that live in them competition for the exact same thing is a constant, daily activity.

One of my many small, obvious discoveries has been that very few people want to run a market hub. People may want to sell things and make ISK from those things but they do not want to run the actual hub. The hub is not just a handful of crap on a market. It is a rich, fully formed presence. The forest must be looked at for the sake of the trees.

There are three main groups you will deal with.

Buy outs:
Buy outs come in a few flavors. The main one is that someone will see something on the market, grab it, and list it for a higher amount. This will tend to be focused on things like cynos and cyno fuel or shuttles. It is an easy turnover for the flipper. Because low sec hubs tend to be unstocked and tended seeing cynos and such looks as if someone just went about making opportunities for themselves. That allows the person that buys it to create an opportunity for themselves. 
You, as the person running the market, just ignore them. If they buy all of your item X and relist it for 1000% mark up let them. They gave you the profit margin you decided upon when you listed the item. That's great. You made ISK. Now go and restock that item. The flipper is stuck with an over priced item that will not sell. Their option is to undercut if they want the item to sell, often at a loss.
Most of the time they are not paying attention to the order. It is background ISK for them. it is just background ISK that they are not going to make today. Don't fight them. Just take your ISK and restock. If someone is attempting to market PvP your group (if you are stocking your home station) let them. Let them keep buying you out and you keep stocking it. ISK, ISK, ISK, ISK, ISK.

Under cutters:
Under cutters make your life easier. One of the things about running the market is that you are running the entire market. Unlike trading there is going to be less focus on the individual item and more focus on the global item. Unlike a trade hub an undercutter is often riding your market presence with items they have extra of or looted off another ship. They are probably going to .01 ISK you to get their items to sell. 
Let them. Having stuff on the market is healthy. People notice even if not consciously that X system is a good hub and they start to flock to that. While many people will happily field a dozen alts, a market is an enormous project. Having people move in and out and unload some of their excess goods is only going to make things healthier for the market later.
Sublisters move into your market. They are your friends because they will list under you and keep things supplied. This is pretty much going to happen in the convince markets. Ammo and super common modules. Instead of chasing them out, embrace them. The ammo market has a shitty margine. They are willing to play with the common ammo types and I've learned that it tends to sell cheaper locally than Jita. Let them play that game. 
Buy a small stack as a place holder if it is ammo. Enough that if their items run out yours will take over and people will not go without. Somewhere around 5-10k. If it is items a small stack of 5-10 will hold the point. The sell order is invested yes. And while making ISK may be the point, having someone else stocking and restocking ammunition allows you to focus your ISK and time in modules and larger scale items.

The interaction of others does not mean you don't control the market. Eve is full of people. Instead of micro managing the market macromanage it. Don't look at every new entry into it as an infestation that has to be smoked out. While sharing is hard and many of us enjoy not sharing trying to chase away every bit of random interaction rarely works.

In my opinion, to run the low sec market you have to dig in and commit to the market. You grab it and hold on and use the potential to your advantage. Getting caught up in every individual item and every individual ISK will burn you out. To be productive you have to let go and instead of standing alone use people as your supports.  Most people who enter in lightly will do so in common modules. They are going to want their items to move.

Chasing them out can be done. Sure. Normally, in my opinion, there are better ways to expend time. The chances are very, very high that no one else cares about your market as much as you do so dig your feet in and remember that every day is a little bit different.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Le PewPew: Fraps It

The video was recorded by one of the logistics pilots. The fight is sped up but still lasts 10 minutes. The entire thing took about 25-30 minutes.

Sunday night, to my surprise, I wound up participating in one of the fleets fights that everyone else had been soaking in all weekend. I had resigned myself to a combatless weekend. My activity tends to peak and dip because I work every other weekend which has the side effect of missing half of the scheduled ops.

This one was organic, and the organic ones are often the best.

Diz had taken Naoru, LR, and Fried out in a kiting Omen gang. They wandered into Rise of Legion and Noir. having a fleet out. Maybe it was their normal gatecamp. I'm not sure. Diz called to us and we started to form up a response. The goal was to get a fight and that is often up in the air. We changed up our tactics this time. Instead of just diving into them and pushing we decided to match tactic with tactic.

We brought a stack of Guardians.

I commented the other day that we have logistic power. We do. What started as a 5 man response team rapidly increased. We were going up against a battleship and battlecruiser fleet supported by four Guardians. We responded with a T2 and Faction armor cruiser fleet to compliment Diz's kiting Omen fleet, a Falcon and three guardians. We managed to tack on a few more zealots and tap people on coms. Tilar poked her head in and was shoved into a Guardian and given a primer as we moved. Silver realized he had no armor heavy cruiser and grabbed a Guardian. Evel popped on, grabbed a Guardian and chased the fleet. By the time we reached Ennur we had five Guardians. Abnormal for us but this time, why not?

As Diz tried to keep them interested we had word of a cruiser fleet with logi from Self Sabatoge in the area. We lost track of them, headed to Skarkon, and discovered that they were jumping into the fleet on the gate. it seems that it did not go well for them and they bailed.  The bad part about bailing is that it sent their stragglers into us.

This distracted them long enough to set up for us. There was some concern that they would leave and dock. It seems that earlier in the weekend there was a standoff where Noir. decided to dock up and take shuttles out of the system. That didn't work for them as well as they may have hoped because: Ueberlisk. However, they set up for us, Diz engaged them and the armor cruisers jumped in.

I really love the people I fly with. Our two FCs merged seamlessly. We had a kiting fleet, an armor cruiser fleet, and the logistic chain doing its thing. People shut up, orders were rolling rapid fire and everyone did what thy needed to do. It was an amazing experience. I love the feel of the focus.

I was in a Stabber Fleet Issue. We engaged them and the fight went on and got messy quickly. ECM drones were everywhere and at one point our FC called us to clear all the EC drones off the field to stop our logistics from being jammed. Then, Rapier and with the Rapier came a cyno. For a moment, nothing came through, and then two Archons.

Now we had four Guardians and two Archons on their side and five guardians on ours. The amount of logistics on the field was ridiculous. Things were being shot and dying very, very slowly. We killed the Rapier and the Armageddon from under the reps. At that point the carriers landed jams on the Guardians with their EC 900s. Our logistics chain had a bit of a break in it and during that time we started to lose ships.

We lost two Zealot's in quick succession. Our hero Vexor died next. During this time one of our Dread pilots, using his cellphone as a hot spot, logged in and ran a Cyno down to the system. He accidentally offlined it, jumped back out to a station, on-lined it and came back.  The ecm swarm was thinned down some and the Guardians stopped being jammed. Our falcon was swinging in and out delivering jams and running around in armor to far for the Guardians to rep. The support ships did an amazing job keeping ships alive under the fire power and switching their logistics chains at need. I was just trying to shoot things that would't die under all of the reps they were receiving.

Dread pilots logged on and we hugged the carriers to keep them locked down.  I went down around around 10-12 minutes into the fight. I docked at the first station I could, jump cloned to Isto, reshipped, and headed back down. However, I was eight jumps out.

The cyno went up and our Dread pilots jumped in along with two people in Black Ops Battleships because they were late for the party. The other fleet decided to disengage. People were pointed and the Dreads got to blapping, and blapping, and blapping.  I was one jump out when  everything finished. I jumped into an empty field with a lot of stuff.

We called in the haulers. Alts were logged in and we ran to clear the field. Lots and lots of fighters were left and the capitals had to be looted. After about ten minutes of looting we had eyes on a fleet camping the Teon gate in Bosena. They had both sides camped. The FCs lost patience and left us to finish cleaning up the field and moved the fleet into position.

Our Dread pilots and those that missed the fight had decided that they needed to fly Vindicators. As we hit the Bosena gate our Vindicator bait undocked and warped to their fleet. They bit. We sent our fleet in. We were down to four Guardians and we took care of business.

That was an interesting fight. The vindicators kept making my targets vanish and I thought I was losing point. One of the oddest things found later, was the armor Caracal. Beyond that, we lost nothing and took down one of their two Scorpions. They had them way off the field but we got one tackled and locked down.

Glutted with the pewpew I staggered to bed. Van announced he had frapsed the fights and built the video embedded at the start of the post. I am no connoisseur of Eve videos but hopefully people will enjoy flying with us in it. The music he picked is electro-swing I believe? I've never heard of it but again I've never watched Eve videos to know what music is commonly picked.

 One of the biggest differences in this fight from many others I have been in was the amount of logistics we brought to the field. We did it because we were going up against a group who we rarely see with less than three logistics ships and I am not sure if I have ever seen them roam with none. I'm not used to that level of repair ability being spit out and its amazing how hard ships begin to be to kill under it. I was reminded of some of the high sec battles I read and the amount of logistics people bring to the field. It really changes the feel, speed, and flow of the fight.

For those that love ISK efficency, despite our capital welps at the start of the month we've rebounded nicely and we are hovering just under a a hundred billion ISK destroyed this month.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Origin of a Spaceship: Burst

Excerpt from: Origin of a Spaceship

The fossil records of the burst track it back to one of the oldest, non-predatory frigates. Located deep in the heart of the Minmatar nebula, the Burst were first overlooked as being pseudo-spaceships due to their odd structure and lack of apparent behavior characteristics. It was not until a comprehensive catalog of flora was being done that the Burst was observed in action.

A larg group of cruisers sank deep into the thick, dust of the Nebula. At the heart of these clouds spaceships uses the dust to scrape parasites from their hulls. It was at this time that the first swarm of burst were seen covering a cruiser fleet. However, these small, flat spaceships were not attacking nor being attacked. Rich beams of energy flowed across the cruisers who held perfect still as the Bursts scraped their hulls clean and appeared to repair basic damage.

There are a handful of spaceships that fit into the mutualism specialization. The Burst appears to have started its existence with a more herbivorous appetite to asteroids. However, do the the proliferation of a hybridized bioengineered frigate known as the Venture, the Burst had to adapt to survive. This has drawn it out of the heart of the Nebula. A highly social frigate that depends on others, Bursts have been seen to insinuate themselves into frigate and occasional cruiser fleets where they adopt the migratory patterns of their new fleet.

Fragile and small Bursts use the thick, dust of the nebula as camouflage. The cleaning and repairs that they do tot he hulls of other spaceships appear to give them loose type of security.

Points of Note
It appears that the flat structure of the Burst's exoskeleton allow it to hug large chunk of nebula debris as camouflage deep in the crimson depths of the Minmatar nebula. Not all spaceships allow the Burst neutrality and they often use their natural camouflage to good effect.

The Burst is a well established species but rarely does it appear on the outer edges of the nebula. The largest concentrations are found deep in the heart of well established systems. However, with its habitat overrun, the Burst appears to have entered into a species wide colonization effort to the middle edges to the edges of the Minmatar nebula where it uses association for protection.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Public Health Services

Eve is full of people who do services for other Eve players. It is another very fun part of the game. You are not limited to hitting wolves over the head and skinning them. You can supply the knives or offer to tan the skins.

The problem is that Eve is also full of evil people who will backstab you in a moment. That alone will make most people shy away from a concept like this. But, this is not the first group that has appeared and offered to be logistics for THC2 or 7-2 or any group that they think might need a logistics wing.

The idea of a logistics corporation is simple and elegant. First one has to realize that there is Logistics with a capital L. That stands for the spaceships that repair (heal :P) other spaceships. The action of doing logistics is more a player created occupation to function smoothly in Eve. Technically, the concept of Logistics Cruisers being a mobile repair ship makes sense for logistics capabilities. However, it is Eve and logistics is a word that has become technical language. Today, we are focusing on Logistics with a capital L.

Logistics in Eve involve a fair bit of time. The recent buff to T1 logistics has made what was a very steep curve of entry easier and more obtainable. While logistics cruisers and frigates have always existed, it was not until the re-balance pass last December that T1 logistics surged into the lime light and T2 logistics started their retreat to more specialized and serious engagements.

What this did is allow people to try logistics. Before, learning logistics was a long train and sitting in a logistic cruiser was a longer train. To truly make a T2 logistics cruiser shine logistics learned to level V was a basic minimum. It was a daunting task to become a healer and then it was a thankless task once it was accomplished. It also created the interesting side effect of logistics being a way to become invaluable to a group. It was a check mark on the resume.

Anyway, healers. Healers are important. But they are specialized. The train takes months and that is months that you are not learning other skills to improve other abilities to survive in Eve. The first group that I talked to wandered in and had a plan. They were going to find an active pirate organization and offer to become their logistics wing for basic protection in low sec. It would be a symbiosis that made perfect sense. After all, pirates are well known to sow destruction and sup from the cup of DPS.

But the opinion of pirates is often narrow. More of my corporation mates and associates can put a fully skilled logistics pilot on the field than cannot. Because logistics do not show up on kill mails finding out if people have logistics is not always easy. But we do. However, I can forgive them for not knowing that we are broader in ability then expected. It makes sense to offer it to us.

I think that the concept of providing logistics abilities to a corporation is more romantic then it is. It is a thankless task. You will lose ships. You will be primary. You will be expected to sacrifice yourself to get other ships off the field. I understand that there are contracts to be made and goals to be fulfilled but there is a difference between sitting on a field with every module overheated dying in a fire trying to save a corporation mate and being a logistics pilot who is helping out in a fleet for a spotty bit of protection.

Because protection in low sec is hard. We own and push and defend based off of our immediate strength and personal skill molded into a groups ability. Unless we are Ueberlisk.

And then there is a basic trust issue. Yes, there are awoxers. I know lots of people who awox. I don't really care. They are not corpmates. Your corpmates are the people you hang out with. They are the people you undock to go and save. They are the people you throw your ships away to help them and you think nothing of it. Your corpmates are the people who you buy stuff for or who give you ISK to buy things and you don't have to do convoluted bursts of trust.

Or at least. My corpmates are. That is the type of corpmate I am used to. I have no desire to find a different type. The side effect is that a group who is being protected will not have the same passion as the group that actually loves you. And they will not have the same trust. If we are putting billions of ISK on the field it only makes sense that we have taken the time and trained the people to take care of those ships. Hiring another group to come in and expecting that same level of dedication baffles me.

But, to approach the topic fairly and move away from my own passion for the people I play with and the things that we do, most people don't know my side of life in Eve. Our logistics pilots are amazing people who are very skilled in the game. It is not just target ship click on reps. It is as complex a fleet position as any other with independent and group actions, self awareness and situationl awareness all wrapped in an expensive, highly skilled package that is mostly unable to defend itself.

For high sec, I can somewhat see groups offering logistics. For low sec and null sec and wormhole space, I cannot wrap my mind around trusting a group 'hired' for logistics. It is such a sweet concept. It makes sense. It seems like a niche no one else has discovered. But some gaps are persistent. It is always possible that someone will develop a truly elegant solution to the problem. But while that solution is to find a pirate corp to live with and service, it seems one doomed to failure.

Where they do shine is Incursions. The incursion community is the closest comparison to a healthy, public logistics service. And even they fail. People lie about skills and fits. People stop repping. Awoxing happens. It is not a perfect system but as one that I have spent my fair share of time in, it does work. It is also a lot of work but it is highly appreciated and more fulfilling then burning in a fire in a low sec battle you don't care about for people that may not be able to help you achieve the goals you need.

Friday, August 16, 2013

TCS: Loss for Gain

In trying to explain the mission and method of TCS, I have moved towards presenting the corner store approach. TCS is an embedded business, confined to a particular area of town. The residents of that area of town are the clientele that come to the store. The store caters to the clientele not itself for its success. To cater to people the store has to become flexible.'

Most of the players in the game are in love with the games economy. They do not have to be aware of this love but a lack of awareness does not invalidate the truth of it. Without the economy stuff would not be important. Without stuff being important, nothing else in the game would be important. And importance does not mean that one wishes to take stuff to bed and cuddle with it to be reassured that there are no monsters under the bed. The importance is a driving force for every aspect of the game be it the great Sov wars or deciding which station to pick up a 500k ISK frigate hull.

Because someone will decide to pick one station over another due to one hull costing 500k and another hull costing 510k and both hulls being the same inconvince to activate when building TCS I function with some Loss Leaders.  I've been explaining about these Loss Leaders for some time. They aer normally hulls. However, someone in Gevlon's chat named it for me yesterday and I was thrilled. I've heard the term before but I have never worked in retail before and the term was not native to my vocabulary. It is a very good thing for someone wanting to create a market to think about.

Loss Leader:
Loss lead" describes the concept that an item is offered for sale at a reduced price and is intended to "lead" to the subsequent sale of other items, the sales of which will be made in greater numbers, or greater profits, or both. It is offered at a price below its minimum profit margin—not necessarily below cost.
Like much of business economics when applied to Eve, some amount of flexibility must be allowed for. It is, after all, a video game. People can succumb to their emotional reactions and respond based off of things that they could not justify in real life. And the society of the game is somewhat different from the society many of us live in day to day.

The reason I found Loss Leader to be a perfect term is that I was explaining to someone about being flexible with margins. I was asked, "You keep your margin around 10%-20%?" and I said, "Well yes. But not for everything."

No one has to come to Bosena to shop. That is the simple fact of running a market in Eve. They can go anywhere else to buy the same thing. Because of this, I have to bring into the equation to emotional response of my buyer.

A 10% Markup of a 500,000 ISK hull is 50,000 ISK. That would make that particular hull cost 550,000 ISK. For that person to choose my hull over the other station that sells that hull at 500,000 ISK I have other options. They can fit that hull completely at my market. Then the 50k ISK becomes a matter of travelling and convenience. Also, mix in the fact that this is low sec and flying an unfitted ship around is often not the best idea. At that point, who cares about 50k?

A 10% markup on a 50m ISK hull is 5 million ISK. All the same factors apply but suddenly the five million starts to matter a bit. After all, you could grab the hull and then grab the mods and move them. Why is that priced so much higher then everyone else? If there is a wide variance of prices up and down that is one thing. If there is not and one price glows 5 million over every other listed prices, people start to go, "hmm."

A 20% markup, a markup considered acceptable because of 'low sec' is 10 million ISK. Now we are looking at 1/5th of the cheaper hull cost in markup alone. While it may be valid and explainable the buying public doesn't care. It is their ISK after all and why should they give you 10 million more than that other guy in that station who has a more reasonable price?

If I were to stand upon the true and honest facts and say, "Well I went to Jita, purchased it, moved it to low sec, listed it, maintain market alts, maintain a corporation, maintain six hundred orders, used my time and energy, and this is my lively hood in Eve," while valid the answer is, "So what?" or "It isn't my problem."

I'd love for it to be their problem but it isn't. The Eve buying public has a budget. They earn their ISK and spend their ISK. That ISK has tangible value to it because they need it to continue to play Eve. When you mix that up with low sec you have a group of people who buy each ship with that ship already written off. That is why people buy in fits and my ammo sales are normally 1-2k units. Why fill your cargo hold up with ammo you will never expend?

That is why when ever someone asks me about starting or what I stock I suggest that they do not focus on individual items. If you are selling in a cut throat market and buying just to resell then your margins are your point. You have a finite list of items you are going to work with and manage. When you are running a market you are catering to the needs of the environment you are in. Each person is not one possible transaction but dozens or hundreds. It is about time and repeat business. As unappealing as it may sound to others you need to give a fuck about what those people flying around out there want. They will entrust their wallet to you if you don't abuse it.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Ramblings: "It's not you. It's your ship"

This is turning into one of my more active months since I started playing. Halfway through August and I've been involved in a lot of fleets. The killboard does not reflect this activity. Such as last night, when during a rather frantic moment I dropped fleet so that someone else could join fleet because we had a squad issue and their ship was more important to the immediate fight than my own.

It's kind of like dressing for a party, preparing for a fleet op with preset doctrines. People start to trickle on and everyone settles into the station. Fits flick back and forth and trade windows open and close as everyone changes and adjusts themselves to what they need to do. If it is a planned fleet there is a plan. There is a fleet doctrine. There are goals inset upon the basic agenda. That agenda, as it is every night, is to destroy spaceships.

And the adrenaline. When a fight is about to go down and the shakes hit. I find that I don't get adrenaline rushes constantly these days but when about to jump into a fight they often hit. And as coms plots and plans everything levels out into what we are doing. "Kill the Sleipnir. Point the logi. Push the Falcon off the field."

In all of the fighting and all of the shooting more often then not it is not personal. When watching Vov enrage the locals the other day I was struck by the highly personal way that people took it. I am not saying that they should cheer that they were ganked. It is unpleasant to be ganked. What I often see, in the tear dripping rage, is that it is taken personally.

PvP is often not personal. It can be. We were discussing killing FCs yesterday. And many, many groups fight for reasons and goals that are personal to their corporation or alliance if not themselves. But, I speak of much of PvP in general. While there are people who have targeted particular pilots or groups, a lot of low sec PvPing is about killing that Hurricane/Drake/Talos/Hawk/etc.

I wrote about Diz and Naoru receiving linguistically mangled rage soaked eve-mails from a player who's ship they had destroyed earlier that evening. I know that soft words and coherent explanations will not help someone actually feel better because we didn't care who they were when they were exploded. Even when going after a group with a more basic intent, it is often because they are an opportunity more so than an actual desire to harm said group.

Just as people come into low sec to go 'pvping in low sec' as their corporation states that they offer. While they are trying to find pirates they are not looking for me to satisfy their explosion lust. It rolls back to why we gank haulers. Because they are there. Because we can. Because it is what we do.

Among some of the pirate bloggers there has been a discussion flowing around about what is a pirate. Many of the Eve pirate community as small gang and solo PvPers. They do not consider themselves pirates. Some do. Some do not. It is a somewhat personal title. I gave it to myself for instance but under most hands I would not qualify as a pirate. The game mechanics identity many of us as outlaws. We are not interested enough in PvE to maintain a high security status without an exterior motivator.

I had words and thoughts about piracy. And then, Ueberlisk called for backup to kill a Thanatos. There Uber was, doing what Uber does, which is kill capital ships (and everything else) that venture into the waters of Oddeluef. As we killed it, and his Domi that he tried to do something (help himself from a herd of Talos + Vindicator?) the carrier pilot asks in local, “Ransom?”

It was Uber’s kill. He has called in assistance to make sure it dies. It is his call to ransom or not. He was not interested and said carrier died. But the offer of the ransom set the sludge of my mind moving. I have been involved in a ransom or two. Normally, we take the ship vs ISK. It isn't often. It isn't something I think of. When I dive into the fight it’s to live or die but someone is leaving as an explosion. It is a wanton indulgent quest for a fight. 

We may be pirates. Or anti-pirates. Or day trippers. Or just PvPers. But all of the labels in the world will not cover the berth of reasons why and how people PvP. And sure, it is personal. It is personal to the PvPer. Two people in glorious sync who fight well togehter or against each other may have incomprehensibly different motivations for why they are doing the exact same act. I cannot explain to some people the warmth and pleasure I get at dressing up for a fleet. Someone will always whisper, "The solo kills are the best".

My tastes may change. I may one day agree with that. But even then as I venture out into the honorable land of solo PvP, I will be after the persons ship. Becuase most of the evil creeping of piracy isn't personal. Even if they want you the chances are they want your ship. Some people distinguish themselves as an individual. Some always will. But at the end of the day if you ask people who they killed when out on a roam, they will say, "Drake, Harpy, Ibis, Cynabal, Typhoon." They will recount the fights and sum up the battles and unless an individual has managed to stand out, who they are will never be noted.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A Handful of Thanks

Yesterday, I wrote about my plans to pick and save up for a jump freighter of my very own. I have been working off of leased spaceships for the last several months. It has worked out for the most part with occasional patches of inconvenience. The inconvenience  is just a thing. The convenience more than make up for them.

However, my quest in Eve is a lot about independence and proving myself to myself if not other people. A lot of my projects and activities in game reflects this attempt to be okay by myself without needing anyone else to do things for me. In it are echos of my real personality.

But I need to get over myself some days. And yesterday, I was clearly reminded of that.

I was reminded about the people in my Eve world. Not that I had forgotten them but how important they had become to what and who I am and what and who my blog has become. When I first started writing I tended not to use names until Ender came down and told me he wanted his name in print. After that, I slowly started incorporating the people that I play Eve with into my writings. They were not just 'a corpmate' or 'CEO' or 'FC' but they became the people I talked with, lived with, and worked with on a daily basis.

Anyone who reads my blog meets the people that I play Eve with. They are a part of my day. While I may be self centered I cannot ignore them. They make may day. And therefore, when the out pouring of assistance until I could afford my own Jump Freighter came out, I was stunned. Not stunned 'I don't believe that people would help me' more stunned that more people than I realized read my words and leapt to assistance in an overwhelming wave that smacked me in the head.

And then my stubbornness kicked in. A year ago, someone was very nasty to me when I wouldn't do something they wanted. We had a disagreement and their reaction was to throw my courier contracts in my face and tell me that if I was not going to be productive and assist why should they waste their time doing my stuff? Not only did that hurt my feelings, the courier contract was for the gas that I needed to make boosters which I made for my corporation and alliance. In fact, my booster sales have long been a source of argument because I was making them at cost.

Therefore, mad and butthurt I vowed upon an alter to the dark goddess.... well I told myself at least, that I wouldn't get into that position again. I used the motivator to expand more. I'd run two blockade runners for hours moving hundreds of thousands of M3 and contract to Black Frog at an ISK loss before I asked that particular person for assistance ever again. I'd biomass first. Etc. Etc. Etc.

I get mad sometimes. Really mad.

That all wanders down into me standing (well sitting, with complete honesty) there receiving a flood of offers to use peoples dusty jump freighters. And my first reaction was, "Nope!". But the offers kept coming in and I realized I was being immature to say no to everyone and I was not accepting the compliment that they were paying me to hand off the (third?) most expensive hull in the game to me to help me out.

That is why I needed to get over myself.

I'm going to accept one of these kind offers and keep TCS working as the smoothly oiled (hahah) machine that it is. I will continue to work to save up for my own jump freighter ASAP. But, during that savings time, I will not make life three times as hard for myself as I need to because I am a prideful creature. That is stupid and a bit disrespectful to those that think I am trustworthy enough to hand off their expensive toys.

It is easy to get wrapped up in paranoia about Eve. The stories of dark, murky backstabbing are amazing. The tears are sweet. Sometimes, you can press your finger tip to your monitor I collect the precious drops. But, Eve is full of a lot of stories. Stories about helping and assistance and trust and friendship as well. They are just as real and true and deep if less flashy and dramatic. And while people may start playing for the tears and drama I think most of us stay for the friends.

And this is my thank you to them, for today.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

TCS: The Taste of ISK

As odd as it may sound, I am not perfect. Occasionally, I fuck up. Fortunately it isn't overly often with my market. But it does happen now and then. I wind up with my face in my keyboard sighing nosily. Like the other day when I was quad boxing and accidentally sold all of my large guns to a buy order at half price instead of listing them for sale. Blah. It was a forty million loss on my side and an inconvenience to other's who had requested that particular module because they were setting up fits.

I have also taken a few hits due to the Odyssey market woes. I wound up with a handful (around 5) of over priced T2 frigate hulls. I ate the loss and got the hulls sold. The market seems to have settled back down. Most of the time it is extra zeros when listing ammo, leading to excessive fee losses. Nothing world ending but frustrating all the same.

I know I don't share as many numbers as some would like. I don't keep that close a track of them. TCS has been growing nicely. It became self sustainable quickly. Sometimes growth is fast and sometimes it is slow. Over most of the summer, my market has been shared and that cut a bit deeper into the upward profit trend then I expected it to. But in general, TCS has been growing. I started paying myself back and have done so to the tune of about 1.5 billion ISK out of the 5.5 I invested into the store.

Yet, despite my efforts, I have reached the newest hurdle in my market.

I need my own jump freighter. My lease has been taken by its leasor so that he can have his life. I have plenty of people who are willing to do jumps and hold the gate for me. But, those few sweet months of unfettered Jump Freighter access were addictive. I also have a good bit of stuff to move around. Carriers are amazing for fitted ships buy 10k M3 of fleet hangar space is no more than one of my cloaky haulers.

Currently, I have the choice of 3 jump freighters. Chella can fly Obelisks. My alt can fly Providences. My hauler/JF pilot can fly Rhea or Providence. I'm debating going for an Ark but I am not sure as of yet. I went for the Charon cuz it was more bigger and because Rhea was prettiest. However, CCP beat the Rhea with an ugly stick for some unfathomable reason and it is now bleh, ugh, boooring.

How I miss thee glorious colors of sparkling mist filled dawn....

What I am going to do is start to siphon off ISK from TCS into a savings fun for a JF. It will do two things. It will give me a JF and pay of my debt to myself at the same time. Win win. Otherwise, I would just blow the ISK on more ships (I have 100 fitted ships between Isto and Bosena) or sitting in my wallet because I am a balance watcher.

It seems that it will solve both problems and be the stores first official investment.

I was wondering if I should liquidate some stock. Liquidate as in not buy as large a volume the next time around while siphoning off the ISK. I have no idea, yet, how to make my savings account from my sales. It is not a matter of keeping track it is more a good average of what I need to do to build up some six billion ISK.

I shudder just to think of the cost. I may be able to supplement it some with other ISK making activities. I tend to work well with focused goals such as this. I debated liquidating assets but I think that it will be more interesting to create the ISK for this project.

I do feel that I need the JF. Bosena consumes hulls now at a steady rate. The store is established enough that it is no longer a question of 'can this work' but one of 'are there enough people willing to do this?' I sell Procurers for instance. I sell them under high sec cost. People come from high sec to save that ISK and buy a bunch of stabs and run back to high sec. I help that happen. I let that happen because low sec is more than the pirates.

Its the pirates and the anti-pirates and the randoms that think there are no pirates. Its the people I like. The people I don't like. The people I don't know. Its the null sec people who use it as a waypoint and Black Frog hopping back to high sec. I refuse to be irreverent because I live in low sec. I refuse to live like a Fallout map where no one can even sweep the damn floor of all the burnt ass paper everywhere. High Sec may consider us to be monsters and null sec may want to sneer at us and wormhole space, well really, they come to play all the time in our part of the sandbox. But the only people who are going to improve low sec are the people who love, live, and care about low sec.  I consider myself one of those people.

And if anyone is interested in a low sec market startup blog with a RP twst, visit Guns and Banjos. They can call low sec a wasteland where no one lives. But, I think, the community can do better for itself if it wants to. And of late, it seems to want to.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Circular Social Links

For a Sunday I woke up early and excited. I had things to do today and sleeping in wasn't one of them. I was up, skimmed Jabber on my phone and woke up. The dogs were let out and let back in. I consumed a peach and drank some water and headed to the gym. I've taken up swimming and try to do 30 minutes in the pool on my days off for my exercise and I've made it a mandatory thing to get that done before I indulge in games. With my swim done I ran home, got cleaned up, made lunch, took a picture of the sleeping cat sleeping on my sleeping husband, and made breakfast.

Once everything was done, head set was on, team speak active, and jabber chat open. I was ready. Once 1200 hours hit, people were on, a new channel was made, and we loaded up Civilization V.

Eh? Eve?

During the Fountain War, whenever Eve made headlines or someone tried to explain who and what the groups were, they often said "from reddit" and "from the Something Awful forums". Many discussions have been had about the strength of an in game community coming from its out of game community.

Eve is a game of time. While there are many things to do often times the laundry list of goals can crush the soul somewhat. One of the most common complaints from new players is that things take time. For an older player they become so used to time that the immediate at times loses interest. It is easy to become bored even when there is a lot to do. A lot of Eve's stuff is planning and logistics and I listened to a very enthusiastic but burned out player comment that 'everything takes so much to do'. While that is a charming point of Eve and what draws you in instead of a grind of wolf killing, it can become wearisome for people who want a bit more immediate gratification.

The other day, I was involved in two intense fleets. Both left me sitting in my chair, shuddering as adrenaline started to pump as we landed on grid and started the engagements. I actually thought that I was cold, I was shuddering so much. It took me a moment to realize that I was just pumping that much adrenaline out in reaction to the excitement of the fight. Eve is full of gratification but is is often not that immediate.

That is where out of game communities come in. By having other games to play with your Eve social group (be that corporation, alliance, or just friends) the link between a player and Eve is maintained. The call to a battle can give a player the instant gratification that they seek. I was listening to someone who joined Goonswarm during the Fountain war and he discussed a particular battle where several hundred people 'rage logged in' to go to a fight. That event happened because of the out of game community and the connections that we make, be it jabber, forums, steam, text messages, or whatever method we use to communicate. For them, Eve becomes a game of immediate action where they drop in to fight and log off to do something else.

I'd love for everyone to just want to log into Eve constantly but that is a silly hope. I've come to understand how many players most desire a slice of Eve. It may be someone mining calmly while watching television or it may be the ganker that logs in, fills a tear bucket, and logs out. But Eve's nature is to absorb and drag you in. Once that gank is done you need new ships and supplies. You may have them but it is Eve, you will run out. Not everyone is going to enjoy that resupply and that is where the community kicks in.

I often spend my time doing logistics work, which I enjoy, to assist people who do not enjoy it. While I may not receive anything directly from the ganker ganking for his own amusement, I do receive something.  Eve may be better with others but many activities are done alone. What I receive is an active, interested social group that logs in for social engagements.

You also learn a  lot about the people that you play the game with. Considering that in small gang Eve, at least, you need to know the people you are working with to produce the best results, it is an interesting observation in people and interaction. Finding myself in a game with at least one highly competitive player was uncomfortable to some extent. But once I relaxed, away from the win loss intensity of Eve and relaxed from my seriousness, it was a lot of fun.

And those links ripple further than Eve. My coworker who is also a gamer is a Something Awful member and plays Planet Side 2 with Goonswarm. He asks me about the Fountain war when it was on because it was such a constant topic on his Planet Side 2 come. He isn't an Eve player because he knows he'd be sucked in. Yet, I still have this three degrees to Kevin Bacon Esq feel to him.

(In case anyone wonders I am two degrees away from Kevin Bacon due to a coworker working on a film set and having him thank them in person. If I understand the methodology correctly.)

And for the Civ game?

DP put up a request for an epic, ridiculous, game of Civilization V for his birthday and we gave it to him. 11 hours later, I had to quit for the night. I was playing Japan. I wound up besieged by barbarian hoards early on, slowing me down. Not used to wonders I proceeded to not build any and lose out on the race falling to the bottom of the rankings quickly. I was then flanked on two sides. I made friends with China and we started trading while I kept Russia locked to the south. Rome, Berlin, and France were on another continent.  France came out as a super power first and proceeded to rampage all over the map. I managed to conquer one NPC state and develop my entire area. We had a two hour slow down while China had guests over for something and then Russia and France went to war slowing the game down.

I  wound up gifting my entire empire to China once I had to leave the game to thwart Russia for being so damn aggressive and constantly saying that he has no experience with Civ V while blowing through everything as I stumbled around. We were super quiet about it and no one noticed when I gifted everything but my capital city which he had to siege to take. It took them two rounds to catch on to what we did. Russia assumed I received ISK for the trade but Germany guesses correctly. It was time for me to go to bed.

It was an amazing amount of fun. I hope DP's birthday Civ V game was what he wanted. Next time we need a smaller map for a slightly faster game and maybe fewer resources. And there will be a next time. Just as Altaen and I are playing through Portal 2 co-op.

Guest Blog: Opportunity Cost

"Calculating people are contemptible  The reason for this is that calculation deals with loss and gain, and the loss and gain mind never stops. Death is considered loss and life is considered gain. Thus, death is something that such a person does not care for, and he is contemptible.

     Furthermore, scholars and their like are men who with wit and speech hide their own true cowardice and greed. People often misjudge this."

-Yamamoto Tsunetomo, Hagakure

Hello, I'm That Bitter Bastard who managed to piss off the Pirate Queen, Sugar Kyle, in a rather heated discussion over what amounted to quantifying opportunity cost.  She has graciously offered me the opportunity to guest post here on her blog.
The main point we disagreed on is that I suggested rolling in transportation costs at Black Frog Freight rates into the price of goods.
Now, to clarify where I'm coming from:  I do not run a lowsec store catering to all the needs of the local residents.  I have lived in lowsec for most of my eve career on my main, that includes handling my own logistics for ships and fittings.
Opportunity cost is defined as, "the value of the best alternative forgone, in a situation in which a choice needs to be made between several mutually exclusive alternatives given limited resources".  It's the basic relationship between scarcity and choice.  Opportunity cost is not simply money/isk, but can also be valued as time, effort, stress, invested assets, and risk.
Eve Online is filled with people who do not value their own time, reasoning that the minerals they mine are free, the time they spend hauling is free.  This leads to the situation of most T1 ships selling below their mineral build cost (pre-patch building to cut out the anticipated extra mineral addition to BPOs notwithstanding).
There is no singular "right" way to value ones own time and effort, but I am of a strong anti-"Minerals I Mine Are Free"/"My Time Is Free" mindset.
Handling logistics for a small handful (12-15) frigates is mildly tedious work with a blockade runner, slightly less so with a deep space transport.  However once the volumes required escalated to multiple destroyers, cruisers and up, the task of logistics rapidly escalated to tedium I was unwilling to endure or even able to fulfill, reduced to flying each ship out manually.
This is where Black Frog Freight (BFF) steps in.  For those unfamiliar, BFF provides transport of goods up to 320k m3 to lowsec for a mild fee of 75m for 1b collateral and so on.  It became trivial to buy up all the necessary ships and fittings, contract it to BFF, and go have fun.
I'm quoting BFF for the reason that they are the biggest public competition for lowsec logistics.  Much like Jita is New Edens price index, BFF sets the "haul lots of stuff to lowsec" effort/assets/risk index.
Given my choices for handling lowsec logistics of:
1). BFF the goods in, thus outsourcing the risk, time and needed assets (Jump Freighter) for the volume at x isk/trip.
2). Do it myself, assuming the risk, time and needed assets (blockade runner or deep space transport).
The x isk/trip is my opportunity cost if I do it myself, essentially I'm paying myself the transportation costs.  This is counter intuitive.  Not accounting for opportunity cost is to value ones own time, effort and risked assets at zero.
To put it another way, lets say I haul 20 Rifters out to a lowsec system and put then up for sale at 1m each, a mark up of ~0.5m from the nearest trade hub.  From that 0.5m per hull is the amount that I'm paying myself for the time, effort and risk I took to get those ships into position.  For a FW participant who lives deep in the warzone that might be an acceptable premium compared to his or hers other options.
What might this look like for say, cruisers?  Cruisers have a volume of 10k m3 packaged.  BFF has transportation volume of 320k m3 for 75m isk.  So I'd be able to contract 32 cruisers and have an added cost of ~2.35m per hull if I intended to resell.
Battleships?  50k m3 each works out to be 12.5m per hull.
And so on.
This choice was apparent when I was in Faction Warfare.  I could either spend a couple hours hauling my own stuff in or I could run a couple L4 missions and be done in one hour to pay someone else to haul of it in.  That is opportunity cost in a "Eve is Real" example.
How does this compare to buying a Jump Freighter for hauling?  Assuming the cost of a Jump Freighter is 6.3b (not factoring in the cost of skill books, training time, and jump fuel), the break even point is 84 jumps.
A brief anecdote to all of the above:  When I started T2 manufacturing, I had a small POS, 20 manufacturing slots, 30 science slots and a small collection of blueprints.  Not much.  I converted FW LP into datacores for my own use and hauled most of the rare and expensive materials from Jita to Heimatar (yes, I had my own little bout of "LP I farmed are free" moment).
Eventually I gained another account and a few more manufacturing and science slots and the sheer volume of stuff I needed outgrew my patience for hauling.  So I outsourced to Push X and Red Frog Freight who could haul in a great deal more volume and take on the risk inherent in high value transport.
The cost of transportation added in a small amount of overhead that could not be incorporated into sale price.  
Now, part of my opportunity cost in manufacturing goods and opposed to inter-regional trade is the goods in Rens tended to have increased margin over Jita prices thus the transportation cost was already covered by selling locally.
How about from the consumers point of view? Some of those choices might be:
1). Does my pirate organization have a logistics wing?  If so then it's likely there will be little to no upfront isk cost.
2). Do I or a corpmate have the skills for a hauler of sufficient quantity and either an alt or a corpmate to scout me in?  Do I have the time and energy to put into the task?
3). I always have BFF available, to a destination of my choice but I'm at their time table for transport.
4). Is there a lowsec trade hub nearby that offers the goods that I want at an acceptable premium and location?
In all 4 examples there's competition between the various resources available and their scarcity (location, time, effort, cost, assets and risk) that each player ultimately must decide which is more important and pay the opportunity cost for their decision.

My thanks to Sugar Kyle for this opportunity and you, the reader, for your time.