Sunday, March 31, 2013

Rambling: Push and Pull


[TL;DR: Sugar muses random things about corps and people and the ebb and flow of the Eve social group]

Corporations are fragile. The membership is a fine balance. It seems to but take a simple event or two for the members to stop logging in and the corporation to start to die. Inactivity is always a possible bitter end and so we strive to avoid inactivity with activity.

But sometimes activity can be the cause of inactivity. It is almost an accidental side effect.
I was thinking on this after having a discussion where someone could not get a concept through to me. The concept was about moving to an area to engage in lots of PvP. The area would be hostile and undocking would almost assuredly mean fights. The numbers would be over whelming but when the group got together they should be able to rain down explosions from the holy fires of turrets and launchers.

It sounds exciting. It sounds like why so many of us start Eve. Nonstop battle. Nonstop war. It sounds delightful.

But is it? PvP in Eve is stressful for many reasons.  From managing the logistics of ship replacement to the exhausting, soul sucking task of herding cats (aka the fleet).  It wears people down.  I've watched the enablers log out of a solid week or more after a heavily planned campaign due to burnout.

I asked one question, “But what do they do when no one else is on?” What do people do with their time when they are not in these glorious battles? What do they do to relax. To hang out. To bond?

With that avenue closed they may choose to spend time on another alt or not play at all. Well, to keep the group together they play other games. This straightens the group. It often creates an external social environment that is incredibly strong. Friendships are forged. But the Eve corporation becomes a ghost of itself. Is a logged out corporation the same as a logged in one?

I also don't mean the eve corporation created from an outside source coming into Eve. That entity is different from the one created inside of the game.

The answer was nothing. That was what other characters were for. If they could not engage in their volatile PvP environment they would do something else on another character. That is what they signed up for. That is what they expected. I can see that.  But, having expectations and living those expectations are two very different things.

I am highly attached to Sugar. Sugar is a restricted character. To get around those restrictions I have a plethora of other alt characters. None of them are Sugar. None of them can do what she does. None of them feel the same way. Sugar is my favorite character to play and that is why she is often docked at a station chatting while I am busy doing other tasks.

However, she can always undock and go and do things. If Sugar was restricted heavily, I’d find myself dissatisfied. I do things with Sugar because I enjoy doing things with her. I enjoy playing Eve. While people want to go on about how ‘stupid’ the game is and how ‘terrible’ the game is something makes them log back in. I’ll dub it enjoyment of the game. As ignorant as my deduction may be, I am going to assume that they enjoy the game at some level.

The corporation may die or it may come back to life when factors cause an environmental change. With the environmental change the restrictions are lifted and people return to doing what they want to do. Doing only one thing, even if very interesting, becomes boring. Even if that is lots of meaningful PvP and PvP is what they love and the only thing they want to do. Not being able to do anything else can become too much of a favored thing. It has the feel of eating candy until one is sick.

How much are people inadvertently hurting themselves by trying to tightly lock into a focus? It is that bridge where the game goes from fun to work. Someone should not, in my opinion at least, embarrassingly admit that they enjoy exploration. They should not have to add that qualifier onto "I like doing X in Eve (I am embarrassed to say)". Or worry that the corporation will take issue with playing the game.

I don't know. I don't know how other groups function. I've, for the most part, only have had THC2. I do what I want. That includes doing what other people want because I agreed to that. On these things, I can watch and wonder from afar.

Friday, March 29, 2013

TCS: Keeping Stock and Order

Warning: The price you have chosen is 59.57 % below regional average. Are you sure you want to enter this order?
I click yes each time. I know that my prices are 59.57% below the regional average. The regional average is ridiculous and I am fighting a one person war to correct it.

My slow roll concept is going very well for me.  It is creating a lot of daily work but as the store profits I will be able to buy larger amounts of stock and decrease my amount of daily effort.  Or so I think.  At the moment sales are doing very well and people are buying things left and right, sometimes more than I expect. Someone just purchased eight expanded cargohold IIs. I only realized later that I was out of cargohold II's. Someone else snapped up all of my drone damage amplifiers.  Another person drank all my isotopes off the market. 7-2 decided to have gank day and consumed a lot of random modules when they did so.

I keep selling Feroxs.  All of the local ones are very over priced so people buy mine.  I guess they want till a quiet period to get them out of low sec.  It is only a warp to the high sec gate and freedom from low sec.  I didn't realize how tempting the lower prices one jump in would be for people but all of us have seen it.  A pod or small ship jump in and a fast undock and warp back to high sec. Kira is burning through stabs he says.

I am focused on stock.  Keeping track of stock.  Keeping the market stocked.  Trying not to overstock and in general manage my budget.  As things sell out I replace them, using the profit to invest in larger quantities of commonly used items and to slowly branch out.

Most of that branching has been into hulls.  Everyone wants to have hulls available to buy when they need them.  That need is not consistent and hulls tie up a lot of ISK.  On top of that the profit is narrow.  On common hulls I am a bit higher then high sec.  I'm not going to take an ISK hit to compete with them.  On not as popular PvE hulls but popular PvP hulls I am often a good bit lower. I've had one argument so far. One person that whined that prices were to high. I was pissed. My total profit on that particular battlecruiser hull was 500k ISK after my fees.  That's it. Just to try to keep the hull costs competitive.

I sometimes wonder if I encounter market bots.  I sat in Hek buying ammo the other day.  Someone had purchased every single drop of medium projectile ammunition I had on the market.  I try not to lazy buy. The pennies count too much.  So I picked orders and watched as they were instantly replaced with the same numbers.  Vanished and next refresh they were back.

Communication is hard.  This is mostly my project but I have been open to others picking up pieces of the market.  However, people have a terrible habit of announcing that something is depleted without making it clear that they are going to restock it.  This leaves me with random excess here and there.  That, for the most part is fine.  I'll just refill the market once the other lists get low.  It is still a bit frustrated because I am trying to make my process smooth.

To smooth the process I have my little triad of market alts.  I created each one, plugged in cybernetics to IV and sent her off to Bosena.  I remapped them to trade.  At this point, I had to spend some money to buy them all implants and skill books.  But now they are all settled in, their skills training up.  This will allow me to turn my market alt into just a buying/transport alt and my The Cougar Store character's will all handle the market and sell as the store (corporation).

To prepare for that, I needed an office. I promptly discovered that all of the offices in Bosena were taken. Black Fog even had an office.  Oh the tears...  I do not know what makes an office die. I think that they sit around, unrentable, even if the corporation is not paying its bill. It was very frustrating   To create my plan of having the corporation function as its own, independent entity I needed that office.  That way the character's could deliver to each other and I could write contracts to the store to pay myself back for shopping.  I really want to keep my ISK and the store's ISK separate so that I can see how the store is doing.

The true solution is for CCP to make it so I can rent offices when I need to.

However, after begging a few people and not getting anywhere, Diz shut down THC2s Bosena office because we were not using it and for unknown reasons he loves me even thou I'm irritating and go off on tangents all the time over random things. I snapped it up and the Cougar Store is officially settled in with an office and three employees and everything.

I spent some time playing with the corporate management tools.  I set up the various hangers to help keep me organized   Sell orders, buy orders, deliveries. The corporation is just me and my own alts so everything is a director and life is much, much easier as I transition sales from my personal market alt onto the store employees.  I set up the wallets as well and I thought everything was all nice and neat and settled until I tried to have one of my TCS employees post the first sell order.

I hope to have buy orders up soon for things like expanded cargoholds and cynos.  My income ISK is tight due to the hulls on the market. However, I see some flexibility opening up after this weekend.  I am trying to get everything stocked up to the gills because my work weekends do not give me a lot of time to make what is basically a 2-4 hour round trip of buying and selling at Jita.

I'm playing with Eve Mentat.  I feel like an idiot with it.  I'll hopefully get things figured out. I've learned about corporate APIs as well.

I might undock something other then a freighter or an Orca again.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

My Own Looking Glass

Someone wandered into Bosena the other day while I was docked and noticed me in local. They said hello, and I said hello back because I am friendly that way. After that point the conversation wandered off onto a strange path that has left me confused. He asked about a 1v1. I said "No" as I am prone to do. He then said that he had read my blog and was looking for my weaknesses and trying to separate that out from my propaganda.

That made me blink for two reasons. Normally I am tickled a various assortment of pastel, sweet smelling colors when I meet people in game that read my blog. This was a bit of a change.

The first is why anyone would look for my weaknesses? I lay them out rather clearly most days. They are here all over the blog.  But more so if he is looking for my weaknesses he is coming to attack me? I guess?  I know that a side effect of babbling all over the internet and not learning STFU to III or IV is that some people are going to decide that they need to come train me to level V on their own.

But, I don't think that I portray myself as something to find weaknesses in to take down. That is what really left me puzzled in the end.  But, I may be blinded with my own arrogance.

Or am I blinded to my own propaganda?

As far as I am concerned I don't do propaganda.  I don't do posters running around trying to sway people's opinions. I'm a rather firm believer in people thinking for themselves. If I have to think for you its just a bad day for everyone.  I just talk.  My stream of conscious habits have been pointed out before. So perhaps it is more accurate to say that I think.  Not everyone in my corporation agrees with my views.  I don't agree with all of theirs.

Is that propaganda?

The blog banter the other month was about propaganda.  It is not something that I am into.  That is why I spend a lot of my time trying to be simple and honest here. But, Eve being what Eve is, I should not be surprised that some would assume that I am carefully crafting my words to create some type of viewpoint for people to regard me and/or my corporation and/or alliance.

Yet I do not. I'm pretty happy with just babbling about my day as it happens.

But who believes me?

What a circle that creates of argument, thought, counter thought, and assumptions.  In a weird way.  A very weird way.

Shopping in Eve

Shopping in Eve is one of the most unexpectedly time consuming pastimes one can have.  The bad part is that there are dozens of things in the game to make shopping easy and it is still time consuming.

In most games, I find whomever is the 'shopkeeper' and go to them.  I spam dump my items to them and I buy whatever they happen to have for me. I'll flip through stats and decide if they have better things or just useless junk.  I am only equipping myself. I may want some apples and healing potions, maybe something for endurance and something for magic and some spell ingredients   Once done, I tuck things into my pouches and go forth to conquer the hoards of lions roaming the plains.

In Eve, I go shopping at a station. I may go locally or I may go to a trade hub.  I then look for what I want.  If I am silly I will stroll through the hundreds of thousands of items and my brain implodes from the overload. Normally, I will use the search bar.  When I add in my poor spelling and some of the crazed item names I get a lot of confusion and some random search responses.

It sucks.  However, items are lovely and have links.  You can drag items into chat, click on them and show market information, and poof the market details appear for just that item.  This is the fastest and most effective way to shop if you do not have a quickbar saved.  I've only just ventured into the usefulness of the quickbar for my store.  When buying stuff all of the time, the quickbar becomes exactly that. A list of items that you placed on it.  You can even drag your items from cargo onto the quickbar and it adds them. It is glorious.

The obvious problem here is not shopping for myself. It is shopping for other people.  Eve is full of acronyms and shorthand technical speak.  Naughty has a beautiful example of it in her bio where Diz is giving a list of items.
"Diziet Thomas >2 lse 2 invul med cap booster mwd nos 3 med nuets sm nuet cdfe egress port rcu pd"
Now, what Diz listed was:
  • 2 Large Shield Extenders 
  • 2 Adaptive Invulnerability Fields
  • 1 Medium Cap Booster
  • 1 Microwarp Drive (probably 10mn)
  • 1 Nosferatu (medium or small I don't know)
  • 3 Medium Neutralizers
  • 1 Small Neutralizer
  • 1 Core Defense Field Extender (probably medium)
  • 1 Egress Port Maximize (probably medium)
  • 1 Reactor Control Unit
  • 1 Power Diagnostic Unit
No idea what he was fitting or buying at this time.  However, it is both short hand.  Add in the fact that different people will say things in different ways and it can take a moment.  Now, I knew what that list was.  However, if I am shopping for you and that is the type of list you give me to buy and transport for you, you are an ass.

I have to type all of that in. Or, as is more wont to do, I type in a bit and have to search for the exact thing. I may have to ask T1? T2? Which meta? Did you mean Adaptive Invulnerability field, adaptive nano membrane  energized adaptive nano membrane, or...? Argh!

This terrible frustration can be easily alleviated by linking the modules wanted.


This can be done in chat or in an eve mail. The buyer can just click the item, select show market details and buy as many as they are asked to buy. It is so very easy yet asking people to do is often like, "wut?" It is nothing but laziness and it pisses me off because the person buying is often doing a favor.

Of course I may be overly picky. I could also cut people off and no longer be helpful. Or I could charge people for my time. Maybe stomp my feet while swinging my hair around and pouting. Or whatever else. It'd just be a lot nicer if people took the time to give a proper shopping list.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A Look Over Bounties

People are charging off to examine Odyssey.  I'm still eyeballing Retribution. I may be slow.  I'm fine with that. I also don't want to look at Odyssey.  Watching Minmatar receive another nerf is unpleasant and I still can't speak about Hurricanes without a few years escaping.  Even with a new expansion coming dropping Retribution and walking away from it would be silly, or so I think.

I'm wondering about bounties.  The old bounty system was a ridiculous  abusive mess.  The new ones has flooded the forums with tears enough to satiate almost any appetite.  The payout was reduced to a sensible 20% of the cost of the ship and lost modules and also split across the fleet or killers.

There was a lot of hope that bounty payments would help to feed PvPrs.  I pulled my bounties for the last two months and the results are a bit anemic.
  • 2013.03.24 20:24:30         Bounty Prize      357,937.58 ISK  
  • 2013.03.24 06:04:20         Bounty Prize      35,035.00 ISK     
  • 2013.03.24 05:59:21         Bounty Prize      712,376.32 ISK  
  • 2013.03.23 01:15:18         Bounty Prize      14,503.91 ISK     
  • 2013.03.10 23:55:09         Bounty Prize      96,139.85 ISK     
  • 2013.03.10 23:48:55         Bounty Prize      677,854.62 ISK  
  • 2013.03.10 10:47:37         Bounty Prize      142,857.14 ISK  
  • 2013.03.10 08:37:26         Bounty Prize      111,111.11 ISK  
  • 2013.03.10 07:00:20         Bounty Prize      1,061,113.20 ISK               
  • 2013.03.08 02:12:43         Bounty Prize      5,555.56 ISK       
  • 2013.02.24 07:06:16         Bounty Prize      1,239,143.79 ISK               
  • 2013.02.24 07:01:16         Bounty Prize      13,701.54 ISK     
  • 2013.02.24 05:25:20         Bounty Prize      16,666.67 ISK     
  • 2013.02.19 01:42:56         Bounty Prize      119,485.56 ISK  
  • 2013.02.10 04:44:04         Bounty Prize      462,368.55 ISK                  
  • 2013.02.09 20:43:49         Bounty Prize      66,438.47 ISK     
  • 2013.01.30 01:52:02         Bounty Prize      129,417.91 ISK  
  • 2013.01.27 07:33:16         Bounty Prize      45,833.33 ISK     
  • 2013.01.27 07:21:46         Bounty Prize      1,666,666.67 ISK               
  • 2013.01.27 04:53:17         Bounty Prize      1,277,508.06 ISK               
  • 2013.01.27 04:48:17         Bounty Prize      10,000.00 ISK     
  • 2013.01.27 01:49:42         Bounty Prize      12,500.00 ISK     
  • 2013.01.27 01:06:32         Bounty Prize      11,111.11 ISK     
  • 2013.01.27 01:01:32         Bounty Prize      11,222.22 ISK      
I am what I consider a normal, average every day pirate.  I fly in small gangs and I shoot everything that moves.  I fight as many pirates as not pirates. If I was trying to feed myself off of bounties I would starve. I'm not sure that 20% is enough.

Or am I not average.  For example. Uebrlisk kills everything and lives a bit better life as a pirate then I do.  Sometimes he kills 2 billion isk marauders and collects 250mil bounties from them.

Is Uebr the measure or am I? Or is it something else?  Do we balance to Uebr's level of badassery or my level of mediocre?  Or is it just right?  Are bounty payments just a pretty flashing icon to remind me that someone just exploded when a big fight is going down?

The avoidance of abuse is important. However, if it is to be more then pretty window dressing I am not sure that these numbers hold up as something that someone can point to as a viable lifestyle to fend for themselves.  Not everyone can be Uebrlisk, King of the South. 

If bounties are just an occasional bonus, cool.  If they are supposed to be a true motivator, maybe my expectations were higher.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Le PewPew: Towers, Talos and Timers


It was a busy Sunday.  Before we spent our time as evil, station camping pirates we had other things to do.

7-2 had a tower that we had helped reinforce coming out. Everyone logged in. For a Sunday morning, our presence was quite respectable. We had about a fifteen to twenty person fleet with half a dozen dreadnoughts and a few carriers on standby. It was about my normal wake time but it was early for the guys further west and late for the ones from Europe.

But we were ready, and waiting. And then we found out that the form up mail was two hours off.

Whoops.

The fleet disintegrated. People went back to sleep. Others went to play other games. We knew that chances were low that the turnout might not be quite as solid the next time. Fast forward two hours and DP gets the party started.  He is a very hyper active fleet commander.  Once he decides to start moving everyone needs to be on their toes because he is moving at full speed.  He was moving the battleship group into place.
Earlier, the call had been somewhere between armor cruisers or heavy cruisers and blops dropping.  The armor battleship decision came as an unpleasant surprise to me.  That is how I wound up in an armor Talos heading for a fleet that was rolling into Bosena.

You see, we got distracted.  Diz contracted me a ship because I don’t fly battleships.  I’m going to have to give in and get myself a Megathron or something I suspect.  (It didn’t hurt to write that so I must be over my issues).  The situation I got myself in with that Talos is such that I want better options.

Randy was moving from Klingt to Bosena where the fleet was forming. He wound up in front of another large fleet.  He sat at a pounce, they warped off and jumped. He figured they were waiting for him.  After a lot of discussion the fleet mentality shifted and DP did full charge into this other fleet to save Randy.  They were mostly battlecruisers and we were all battleships (but me).  Randy jumped and they were not on the gate.  That was because they had jumped into Bosena and we landed in the middle of them.

A Loki is called out as primary and the party starts.  As I burn for the Loki someone screams Domi Navy Issue, grab it.  The tackle in me grabbed it.  It grabbed me back.  Then it opened a cyno.  Suddenly, I am primary, an Archon drops in. I start to  burn as we finish off the Loki. I pres my little 'armor needed' fleet button. Maybe? Hopefully? I am also capped out.  I am not used to that. So I was webbed, neuted, and pointed, and in structure when DP called for our triage.  

You see, we were prepared for a POS bash. Our dreads and carrier support were locked and loaded.  They found themselves with an Archon and dreadnoughts on the field, counter dropped.  However, my little hope that I would live didn't work out. I died and warped off.  By the time my one minute timer was up and I could dock they had killed everything they could hold down including the carrier.

The other group goes, “Did you know we were going to drop?”

“Nope.”

They then invited one random member from each corp into a conversation and asked if we wanted to fly together until their next operation.  This was their first attempt at a triage carrier.  The answer was no and the conversation closed.  We had a POS to go take down.

I got another Talos. Sigh.  I not only died super early and missed the entire fight I was the only one on our side that died. I am not used to being primaried. I had to hold in my sulking. There was other things to do. Off we went to deal with the POS that had come out of reinforcement.

This all started a few days ago.  I was running through one of the more back end systems that has no station and there were around 8 people in there.  I found out that they had found one of 7-2’s POSs offline and popped the silo and taken a bunch of moon goo.  I logged in to try to get a hold of 7-2 but it was early in the day and before I could rally anyone they had stolen stuff and run away.

That was fine.  7-2 and THC2 went and reinforced their POS in the same system.  That was the POS we were going to take down.  To counter that, they reinforced one of 7-2 small POS.  That was fine.

When we got there, they had Osprey repping the shields, Augoror for their battleships and a random mix of battleships. We landed and started to lay waste to their logistics.  Some died, some got away.  For the next half an hour or so we played games.  They peeked out of shields, Altaen alphaed them from his Tempest Fleet Issue.  Eventually, he killed half their Logi.  We started to wander around the tower, left, repaired, came back, got shot by the tower guns some more as they wandered around their ball.

Finally, they decided to play. I think they just wanted us to go away. They uncoordinatedly lurched out of their POS shields. I don't know if they just decided to sacrifice their battleships so that we would go away or what.  They all died, even the last one that tried to make it back into the shields. With that part over, we warped off to one of 7-2’s POS.  They gave GF in local and started to put their ships into their hanger assembly.

I don’t think they realized that we were taking their tower down.  This wasn’t a bash to get a fight as it often is.  It was not friendly I smack your tower and you smack my tower day. As they GFd us in local we cynoed in our dreads and carriers.  Back to the POS we went and they kind of went, ‘eep’ and started to Evac their stuff as the dreadnoughts started to take the tower down.  When they first reinforced it it took forever due to hardeners.  For some reason they had taken them all offline.  The tower melted under the blap attack.  We then destroyed their mods, took their stuff, and planted a small tower in its place.

Operation success.

TCS: Will it be sustainable?

I am fond of saying that I do not know what my readers like the most about what I write. I consider it my own fault. A side effect of the fact that my topics wander and spin about in random directions. My entry into this low sec market idea seems to interest a lot of people. It interests me too!

Let me answer the own question in the title of my blog. Yes. It is making money. From the trends that I see it will continue to increase in its amounts.

In the first week and a half I have made about a billion ISK. I consider that a success. I don't know if it actually is.  The amount of items I have turned over to reach that is staggering. I have funneled all of that money back into the store to increase its stock. The pay off I that most of what everyone needs is available allowing me to branch out into a wider range of stock and needs. My plans for personal repayment do not start for 1-3 months depending on how the store is doing.

Right now, if my estimate is solid, 4 billion a month is not a bad income to me. To some, it is dirt poor. To me, who averages about a billion after all of my expenses most months, a steady quadruple in my monthly income is not unappreciated. However, I expect the store to make more money if I’ve made this amount and still have stocking needs.  I'm also trying not to focus on liquid but focus on having what people need in amounts that will allow me to restock once or twice a week.

I feel appreciated by the people I started this project to benefit the most. My ego is full and satiated at all of this petting. Yes that matters. I really didn't need to set up a market for myself, I normally keep myself over supplied. I have received many compliments over my stocking and tons of appreciation. Due to my prices people are more prone to shop at my store instead of making their own Jita prices.  Hell, I had to shop at my own store the other day to refit some ships. It was weird to buy things for myself but damn it, I had everything that I needed on the market and that was cool as hell.

What is my markup? About a 10-15% markup after taxes and fees. With hulls I make sure the price covers my fees and taxes and that the rate is competitive with other ships or, for grossly overpriced ships, very undercut. Hulls are the hardest thing to move but something I have to have.

What am I doing to earn the money I make?

Well, I do all of my own logistics and buying. I buy in Jita and jump my 30 jumps to Molden Heath via Orca or Charon. This saves money because I am not paying a freighter service and my delivery is fast. Holes that appear in the market are cleared up that day or, depending on time, the next.  I try to deliver the best prices. Sometimes this means I take a side trip for a particularly cheap ship sitting on the market a few jumps off the major space lanes. This savings is passed onto my buyers.

I have sworn that I will not undercut myself. Items may sit and that is fine.  If I am not gouging they will eventually sell. It was hard at first but I am standing firm and my resolve is strengthening.

My boys have been very supportive with gate guarding for me when I bring in the freighter or Orca. They don’t grumble or complain.  It also means the get their hulls faster. There is no better way for me to move them and no faster way for the market to have what they need on it.

I find that people prefer the relaxation of buying instead of trying to do direct to direct sales.  I have another rant about shopping for people.  I’ll write on that later. There is some use of my form which makes me happy. The bulk of it is still, ‘Sug the store needs this,” and “Sug can you stock that,” but I’ll take the feedback however I can get it. It is invaluable.

My original concept was to sell to ‘my people’.  I will say ‘my people’ don’t even make up a quarter of my sales.  I’m selling cyno fields and jump fuel at a steady rate. I need to pick up a shuttle blueprint because I sell them like candy. My next random addition will be small containers. When I buy modules I buy the T1 versions as well. Often, they are not on the market and once there people snap them up.

My conversation with a new player drove home to me some of the differences of Eve. He complained that there were no 1mn afterburners on the market here. I said yes there was. But his complaint was not, “Sugar how dare you not stock the market for me?” it was “I want to buy stuff and I can’t and that’s irritating.”  People expect the market to have stuff and many people do not realize the full extent to which stuff enters the game and eventually their hangars.

That’s fine. I’m having a grand time with ‘my’ store and running this market. It’s fun (for me). My trifecta of trade alts is brewing away. Once they have their tax and fee issues sorted out I will transfer the store into their hands. The end goal should give me around 800 available orders if each one trains to Tycoon IV.  Plenty of room for expansion and both buying and selling.

I have not dipped my toes into battleship hulls.  They are still a down the line.  Right now I am selling around 300-500 mil most days in between my logins.  The weekends seemed to double.  These are vague numbers based off of my buying habits.  It isn't profit it is just stuff selling.  The profit sits on top. I reroll it all back into buying larger quanities of stock.

2-5 battleship hulls would tie up all of that expansion ability.  Instead, I am dipping into cheaper T2 ships.  I've started with covops frigates and a few assault frigates.  I will expand from there.  I'm still very focused on highly used ships because I need the return sooner to allow expansion to continue.  Right now someone can fit out their battleship but not yet but them.

My last little expansion was into drone modules.  The amusing part is that I remembered how hard it was for me to find a drone navigation module back when I got one for my Myrm.  When I checked the area market there were none available.  As soon as I listed them they started to sell.  It feels weird sometimes as stuff starts to vanish as soon as it is listed. I keep buying larger and larger stocks of scanner probes, both faction and basic.

But it is addicting. My Aura app keeps crashing when I attempt to view transactions. It makes me sad. I love the vicarious viewing from work.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Le PewPew: The Unfriendly Molden Heath?

"United Star Federation primarily works within NRDS everywhere in New Eden except in Molden Heath and Great Wildlands where we are testing a new R.O.E. we call ECHO (Engage: Criminals, Hostiles, and Outlaws.)"
Have we made people mad?

Is it bad that I was surprised to read this? Unfriendly? The Heath? Really?

But then again, we were camping them into the Bosena station. Okay. Maybe that is viewed as unfriendly. We shot at them every time they undocked. Some can call that hostile. Everyone on grid was a flashy red outlaw. Okay, so United Star Federation may have a view point a bit different from my own about Molden Heath.

The thing is that they came in system, we poked our heads out of the station to see who was there, they docked, we stayed undocked, and now there was a bit of a situation where they tried to undock and we tried to kill them.  It wasn't a real station camp. We live here a lot these days.  In fact, I was working on my store and getting ready for bed.  All of the earlier activities (separate post) had left a few holes for me to fill in.

However, the fleet chatter was such that I got on coms and undocked to see what was going on. This group kept trying to undock, we kept trying to kill them they kept redocking. Every minute or two someone would undock and redock. During this time someone quoted the above from their corporation bio.

Because I was listing things in my other monitor I noticed that my wallet was flashing.  I’m a bit addicted to watching stuff sell. I flipped over and noticed one of them buy a cyno and fuel. I warned everyone. To which someone said, "That is cool intel."  That it was indeed. Then I watched another buy some overdrives and someone else buy a shuttle. We were not sure if they were planning a drop or just trying to get away from us.

The shuttle did undock. He then discovered that his insta undock was not far from one of ours. He ran back to the station. I think the idea was to provide them an insta undock. But if he had, we would have been there to greet them. Camping them in was only amusing because that is a station we spend a lot of time at. They undocked a throax. “That is the one that purchased the cyno,” I say.  “Spread out and burn him down,” orders the FC. We get him into quarter structure before he managed to redock.

But then a wild Eve Uni fleet appeared!  Well their one scout did. They had passed through earlier so we were well aware of the possibilities.  He warped off and came back.  They had been through earlier and killed some of the boys who were running around in battlecruisers.  With the one scout, in a Wolf in, we stopped playing as much with our station campers.  Allowing aggression for something stupid like a shuttle would give Eve Uni plenty of time to point and burn down our people.

So we watched.  Local spiked and the Wolf reappeared   One of our new guys decided to chase the wolf in a Slasher.  I don’t know what he was doing.  As he chases the Wolf down and I’m waiting for him to die the rest of the Eve Uni fleet lands.  We suggest he leaves since he somehow managed to not notice the fleet.
However, during this time, Razor was making his way up to us.  As Eve Uni warps to another pounce to eye us, he gets jumped by another local group.  We turn, uninterested in our station camping and wondering how bad the situation will become when Eve Uni chases us, and go to try to save Razor.

He dies while we are in warp. We land in the middle of their fleet. The call to engage begins. They were shield nanoish. We were armor tank station camped kinda.

This is where I think I messed up. At one point, their Tornado skims 2k from my Throax and I had him targeted. I was heading to the primary. I really feel that I should have grabbed that Tornado and burned him down while I had the chance. I almost did and decided to go for the primary because I was a DPS ship. However, I'm still torn over that decision because I had to chse down the primary and by the time I got close enough I was ordered to chase the Scimitar. Our Aurgorors were on the field and they were trying o kill them. Ren and Fried did a lovely job of keeping each other alive as we begin, in our armor cruisers, to chase the Scimitar.

MWD + Throax + low grade snakes made me surprisingly fast for an armor cruiser. The Scimitar was just faster.  However, he was evading two people coming from different directions. An ill placed dodge on his part landed him 2k off of me. Point and double web and ECM drones for effort. I guess I had him locked down because everyone started to try to kill me. It really was shoot Sugar day. However, Ren and Fried kept me alive as we killed the Scimitar. A Stabber had me locked down and I had the Scimitar locked down so it was a matter of DPS and logistics.

With their logistics down they started to bail.  It was a good call on their part.  With their logistic ship down and our two find and healthy we would have just worn them down if they had stayed.
By the time we made it back to the station the other fleet has take their chance and run.  Eve Uni was also gone.

Having stayed up past my bedtime and did the responsible thing and logged off.

What does Odyssey have for Low Sec?

CCP announced Eve's newest expansion theme.  Everyone immediately started to write and write about it and rip apart the bit of information they had to guess what the future might bring.  I looked at article after article ticking up on my reader and decided to wander off to do other things.  I read the splash page.  It is blue and very pretty.  I approve of that.  But, they discussed exploration.  That tickled a memory I had been repressing.

I haven't commented on the plight of the removal of static complexes from low sec. There is a lot of anger there and I try not to post when angry or point rants and rages.  I've never thought it would get me far.  The chances of being listened to seem greater when one is attempting to communicate when I'm not tempted to call people names and snarl and stomp my feet. We received some response, gave a lot of answers, opinions, and feed back and then heard nothing else.  The last reply was at the end of January.

What does this have to do with Odyssey?

On January 30th, Fozzie said:
"We in Team Five 0 have also been working hard to produce designs that would improve traffic and combat throughout lowsec, starting with all the crimewatch improvements we released in Retribution that improve life for every pirate, and continuing with our designs that were detailed in the CSM minutes. We can't commit to the next stage until we have the theme selection process internally and with the CSM finished, but we're dedicated to building upon what we achieved for lowsec in Retribution."
That was the last day our thread received communication.  There is a second post where Fozzie also points out the increases in ship kills since Retribution. It is agreed that everything is dying. However, that didn't change the fact that non-faction warfare low sec was less inhabited and drying up.  Faction Warfare was active and it was bringing in the people.  However, not everyone in low sec lives in Faction Warfare space and while it is wonderful that faction warfare is successful the rest of low sec had nothing.

However, the new expansion is about Exploration (at least).  That makes Fozzie's January 7th post more interesting to read in hind sight.
"Back in the day when most of the DED complexes were moved from static spawns to the exploration system, the 1/10 and 2/10 plexes were left static because it was thought that leaving them accessible for people who had not yet learned how to probe would benefit new players. A happy side effect of that decision (that most of you are very familiar with) was that the lowsec plexes became geographical landmarks that give people a location to fight over to a certain extent.
However during this last release we went over some of the available data to look at how the 1/10 and 2/10 plexes were serving their various purposes. Our metrics made clear that they were not living up to their primary purpose as interesting pve content, with the majority of the completions performed by the same small group of experienced players, some of which were clearly farming the content. The decision was made that special casing these plexes from the rest of the DED system was no longer worth it, and that the content would serve its primary purpose much better and to a much wider variety of people as exploration content.
This of course meant losing some of the interesting and positive gameplay associated with the 1/10 and 2/10 plexes, just as the old removal of the 6/10, 8/10 and 10/10 statics removed interesting gameplay in its time. However with hindsight it's fairly clear to us that the benefits of the old static plex removal outweighed the harm, with the content being run by many more people than could ever use the old farmable statics. The benefits of this change will be wider access to the pve content provided by these plexes and hopefully more people exploring lowsec as a whole (although less concentrated than previously). The downsides of course are a reduction in the number of geographical features that make some systems unique, as well as the easily seen focal point for players in space. We feel that as a whole this change will be a net positive, although I completely understand that it may not seem the case to those people who strongly benefited from the previous mechanic.
One idea that came up from the CSM discussion that I would like your opinions on (no promises at this stage):
What would you guys think about the plexes being reintroduced with the same size restrictions but without the NPCs (or without the NPCs in the final room) as a simple location for size restricted pvp decoupled from the DED loot?"
There was some discussion on this.  However, with hindsight and new knowledge I wonder if that is what we are going to get.  Or at least, something along those terms.  Now we have a theme of exploration.  Ripping out 'problem' areas to revamp them would be a first step.  Of course, leaving their bleeding husks behind as they gasp for a few breaths of air has been an unpleasant side effect.

No one can throw us a bone.  To say, "hey guys we're doing stuffs for you" and those things not happen will only create more problems. We want it. It would be great. But, realistically  that is not the conversation I expect CCP to have with us.  The unfortunate part is that people tend to become hopeless and walk away, head down and another layer of bitterness coating them.

Eventually, CCP will feed us more details. I'm going to hope that positive information will crop up for low sec.  Because right now, whenever I hear low sec it is in synchronization with Faction Warfare.  "low sec has faction warfare" and "faction warfare fixed low sec".  No.  Not really.  Faction Warfare is a part of low sec just as Amarr space is a part of high sec.  It is not all of low sec. I don't care if Faction Warfare is the best ISK and Faction Warfare has this and has that.  Not everyone wants to live in Faction Warfare space but they still want to live in Low Sec.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Hunting Deadly Cat in the Night

This is more than a tale about Jaguars.  It is a story about Jaguar girl power.  If this causes hives and a burning sensation I can only advise taking some diphenhydramine and some type of soothing cream before you try to read this.

Naughty Cargo was having a bad thrasher day.  She is new to the corp.  She started with R1FTA and is focused into her smaller ships.  However, it was just a bad Thrasher day for her. She kept losing them.  After she lost the last one and was really down I looked at her problem and decided I had a solution.

Jaguars.

See, Naughty was not losing her Thrashers because she is stupid.  It is because she needed a better align time, agility and speed then she was getting.  Destroyers are a great concept but for running as light, fast tackle they leave a lot to be desired.

We were docked back up and resorting the fleet.  I had done some shopping the other day, so I tossed her my Jaguar in a buffered fit and told her to give it a whirl.  A few moments later she is in joy on coms over the speed and agility.  Yup, problem located and better ship installed.

It was one of those days when fleets are in and out.  With Naughty refit we were back out and our first test was a group of Ishtar doing a site.  They ignored or did not see the combat probes.  Ren was flying an interceptor and he and a drake were sent in to pin them down.  As he established point Naughty and I hit warp, landed, burned through the first room, landed, and established secondary points as the rest of the fleet piled in.  We lost one of the three and their logistics ship bailed at full speed.  Not bad considering the sheer amount of time it took us to get to them.

Working with another Jaguar is fun.  Naughty and I have complementary flying styles.  Working with more than just me as tackle is amazing.  With the interceptor and two assault frigs we were ridiculously good at chasing things down.  This came to light a bit later.  It was two in the morning for me, and I wanted to stay with the fleet but I had to start to readjust my schedule for work on Monday. I've been off for a week and the thought of a zombie Monday morning back to work at six in the morning was unappealing.  I had a mature moment.

Fortunaly, it was somewhat short lived.  The fleet was reforming with a few new additions and waiting for people to catch up.  As I left to go dock, I passed through a Talos, Tornado, Scythe fleet.  It was only two jumps away from the boys and it seemed to be heading towards them.  I turned around and they sent a scout to peek to find them at range from the gate.  The fleet went to the gate and started to work on a warp in when they warped to the gate, turned around, and headed back to where I was.

It was an unexpected pincer situation.  I had planned on leaving but I could not resist.  The FC sent the interceptor and Naughty in her Jaguar to try to catch them.  As they raced across system the gate I was sitting on fired and a Tornado decloaked 28k off of me.  I had a point. It was a very simple situation.

I pointed the Tornado and started to try to stay alive while the Talos tried to blap me off.  Ren came in his Ares with Naughty right behind in the Jaguar.  Suddenly, Ren made a mistake that lost him his ship. He thought they were running so burned to chase, lost transversal and was instapoped by the Tornado.  Naughty grabbed the Talos and the fleet started to burn them down.  The Tornado started to burn and I was doing all sorts of weird range things trying to avoid both him and the Talos.  Thankfully the Talos went down, the Scythe died at some bit and they finished taking out the Tornado with me in low shields from a few lucky shots.

I went off to bed and Naughty wound up having a fantastic night as the primary tackle without losing her ship.  What she had been trying to do in the Thrasher the Thrasher just could not do for her.  With a bit of a ship change her entire fighting concept snapped into focus.  When I logged in it was to people telling me what an excellent tackle job she did for the fleet, landing them several important kills and getting off the field when she needed to.

Good job all around.  This is the fun part. Even if the bitter vets, with their crustiness complain that the Jaguar used to be better, its what newer players have and we work with what we have.  I think we are finding success in it.

A Tale of Two Newbies

I had two very different experiences with two new players the other day.

The first encounter started after LR announced that he had again killed and podded someone.  It was the second time that day and the third time in the last two or three. I checked the character's age and decided that they were, indeed new.

I will shoot a new player, I admit.  Eve is to much the game of alts not to shoot that rookie ship or shuttle. However, I do send them eve mails and occasional start up conversations if I think they are new.  Often, I am ignored. Sometimes, I help people out.

I can only assume that it was inevitable that my ego would catch up with me.

I sent this guy a conversation request and said hi.  He said hi back.  Everything seemed good.  I asked him if he was new because I noticed that one of my corp mates had destroyed his ship and pod several times. Because of this, I thought that he might not be aware of warping the pod off to safety and things like instant undocks to avoid pirates that may be camping the undock of a station.

"I don't know what any of that means," he told me.

I started to explain. I started with the first part, pods. I explained that pods pretty much warp instantly and a large ship takes forever to target one.  So, if he is losing his ship he can just warp off.  As I explained about spamming warping to a celestial he interrupts me and says, "I don't have good reflexes. I normally don't play combat."

Now, he is in a low sec system and shopping at my market, but okay.  As I try to suggest instant undocks he goes, "I'm going to go back to my missions, thanks," and closes chat.  I just sat there with my fingers waving lifelessly over my keyboard.  I opened and closed my mouth a few times and oh well, I guess.  I let him go, back off to do missions in low sec.  I felt kind of bad but, well, I tried.

The second was a conversation that popped up.  As is per my habit, I accepted.  "You don't know me," was the start, "but Lain told me to hunt you down for help."  Lain is my carebear turned little vicious weekend PvPer.  He sends people he likes to my public chat so that they can get some help with Eve and meet new people.  I'm a firm believer that having some type of social circle helps keep people in Eve.  A chatroom can serve as a great grounder when it has people in who will answer questions and just be social to help the new player not feel alone.

He proceeded to crack my head open and try to scoop out all of the knowledge that he could.  I left a bit dumber and with scars but it was positive stuff.  He got engaged in conversations.  There was the eternal "Can I plex my account from the start," discussion of playing for work vs playing for play when you are young and it ISK doesn't just flow.

The second made up for the first.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

AFK Stalkers

AFK cloaking is quite the issue for some people.  People sit in your system, cloaked, and you do not know if they are trying to kill you or not.  If you undock and kill things they might try to kill you.  This makes people not undock because they might lose their ships and don't want to be farmed.  They don't want to encourage the person by giving easy kills.  However, locking down the system is also appealing to many because many Eve players love inconveniencing other Eve players.

This is seen as a problem because it can not be directly confronted.  The unknown is possible ship loss.  People dock up and feel under siege  The solution of go out and do what you are doing anyway and risk losing your ship doesn't work for many.  Some do. Some get in trouble for it maybe.

But as an outside observer I never thought much about it other then wondering why they didn't just work with the situation.  I still wonder that but now I also understand how incredibly irritating it is as well.  While being AFK cloaky camped in my system does not stop me from going about the rest of my life it is a very irritating situation to be in.

The neighbors have decided to start leaving a cloaked alt in our home system.  At first I thought I was just paranoid.  But day after day has stretched into week after week. Its been a month now.  Maybe more? They even switch them out.  The alt is an out of corp scout but the killboard reflects ownership nicely.

My first thought is, am I/my corp really that interesting?  Why would someone put a character in system, cloaked somewhere, for hours every day.  Are they really watching us?  If I am to assume that they understand that we will continue to do whatever it is that we do regardless of them, what are they doing?  Did we make them mad by ignoring them because they already bring 2-4 guardians to the party? Are they so geared up for killing us that they are willing to wait for hours and hope that one of us undocks to do some PvE without paying attention?

What are they getting out of this?

I don't know.  It wasn't until they started showing up in Bosena as well, sitting AFK in space for hours that I decided my paranoia was founded.  My paranoia isn't "oh noes I can't do anything" but more along the lines of why?  Isn't it boring? It is not as if we undock legions of blinged, pimp ships.  They managed to tackle a drake in an anom.  Said drake killed them and bailed before the rest of the fleet (with guardians) landed.

Are we some kind of exotic prey because we ignore them now?  They don't talk to us.  They just seem to watch us and its weird because I don't think we are that interesting.  It is almost stroking my ego but mostly it is making me wonder why or what they are getting out of it.

They haven't shut us down.
They haven't been killing us.
They haven't been doing anything but watching and occasionally trying to jump someone.

They did incap Razor's POS mods but left the POS alone.

Fried commented on it as well last night. I'm glad that it is not just me noticing it.  They have followed us to Bosena and spend time watching us and trying to grab our individuals.

Whatever works for them I guess.  Attention is attention?

Friday, March 22, 2013

Rambling: Elitism - Opinions and Thoughts

[TL;DR: I responded about elitism  turned it into a ramble, babbled for a bit, think it's a lot of the way people view it for more bad then good, and made a salad.]

Yesterday, I wrote a post that was supposed to be a tongue in cheek review of Crimewatch and the way it has reshaped a lot of PvP in low sec.  It was also a follow up in a way of the day before when I commented on my decision to spend time and focus on frigates now that I was able to be a valuable member of a small gang low sec PvP fleet in a frigate.

My ideas and opinions on this blog are very much geared around the part of the game I play in.  I know that I am not well informed about other areas and play styles outside of low sec piracy and the aspects of gameplay that spawn from it.  I'm not overly informed about low sec piracy as well.  I don't ransom. I don't solo. I don't actually pirate.

What I do is play a video game where I am part of a small group of players with a majority focus on PvP.  However, I am not restricted to this role and that is why I have gotten into other things such as capital ship production  marketing, exploration and I occasionally write about how much I enjoy mining.

I went back and forth in some comments and the topics of elitism cropped up.
"Your PvP opnions don't irritate me, really, as much as they serve as yet another example of pvp elitism (especially the tech 2 elitism) that has taken a sadly firm grip on the mind of pvpers. I saw this out in null, and I see it amongst the non-null pvp crowd, too. I fell into the trap myself, refusing to pvp until my skills were perfect (which never happened) until one day I realized I was paying a subscription to just sit in station and ship spin because I let others' opinions of when a person 'should' pvp dictate my fun."
My first thoughts were I'm note elite and I'm cerainly not tech 2 elite.  What the hell?  I stepped back, looked around, thought about things, made a salad, and came to the realization that it certinly can seem that way from the things I say.  Jaguar. Cynabal. Sleipnir. Scimitar. Interceptors. I won't fly ships without T2 guns.

Ahh, yes. This could be seen as elitism   I don't discuss Rifters and Slashers and I abandoned the Hurricane. I even mine in a Mackinaw and my scout runs around in a Legion and before that an Anathema.  T2 ships are a very large part of my blog and I had not noticed.

I didn't notice because the decisions I have made are made because I have to be my own solution to a situation. I spend my time 95% alone and 5% in fleet. I fly T2 things because they are niche spaceships and a jack of all trades will not do it when I am the only one there doing things.  To me, this makes perfect sense.  I fly assault frigates and interceptors for fleet because I am normally the only tackle ship.  I need the tank of an assault frigate.  I need the speed and options of the interceptor.  Their T1 equivalents are not good enough for me to carry the burden on my own so i have to make a decision.

I do not consider this elitism but I can see how someone, not in my shoes, can see it as that as they flip through the words I splash across the internet. I can only hope that they also temper it with my acceptance of new players and my refusal to judge people by their skill point values.


But that still leave the heavy, lurking word of elite on the field.  I wrote a long ramble about it.

Origin of a Spaceship: Warp Disruption Fields

Excerpt from: Origin of a Spaceship

Warp Disruption Fields (See also: Bubbles)
  • Pseudo Predatory Flora
  • Subclass: Mobile 

Identification:
Warp Disruption Fields can be identified by their large, globular shape.  Translucent, Warp Disruption Fields have a blue sheen to them. The exterior field is non-static and material can pass through.  There is no tack or rebound and movement is freely made through the exterior membrane. 

The exterior membrane will appear to be fragile and ripple. However it is sturdy and not prone to collapsing upon itself.  

There are multiple sizes of Warp Disruption Fields.  These various sizes indicate maturity and longevity with higher chances of mature spore release for larger Warp Disruption Fields.
Sub-Species:  Interdiction Spheres are a short lived, fast spore Warp Disruption Fields cultivated internally by spaceships.

 Properties:
There is no stickness or rebound and movement is freely made through the exterior membrane   However, internal properties destabilize spaceship warp cores. The root system forms a central node at the center of the globe.

Although classified as Flora due to their seeming lack of sentience, Warp Disruption Field have formed a parasitic bond with some spaceships.  This bond allows a handful of Spaceship species to harbor younger Warp Disruption Field and use their abilities to destabilize warp cores in their hunting.  From internal examination of specimens it appears that the Warp Disruption Field feeds off of the spaceships capacitor and power grid in a harmonious relationship. 

The sub-species Interdiction Spheres are short lived, fast spore Warp Disruption Fields cultivated internally by spaceship. These fields are ejected by the ship and briefly flare to life, releasing their spores before vanishing.  They are easily differentiated by their lack of a solid root base at the center of the Warp Disruption Field.

Location:
Warp Disruption Fields absorb energy.  In inhabited areas they can often be found clustered around jump gates, stations, and artificial structures.  These non-natural objects attract the Warp Disruption Field.  They can start to cluster at times; becoming a nuisance and must be cleared out of the area.  This purge was done on a large scale in settled, empire space.

Warp Disruption Fields can be found in proliferation in null security space.  In these areas, while clustered around manufactured energy sources they may also be found near suns and planets.

Intentional cultivation of transplanted specimens has caused a population to inhabit wormhole space.  This population can now be considered indigenous.   However, due to the sporadic nature of settlement in wormhole space they are prone to migrate towards any structure in large amounts to draw enough energy for pollination.

Other Points of Note:
Warp Disruption Fields are commonly known as 'bubbles'.  This term is only used amid the capsuleer pilots.  However, the common influence of their vernacular has caused some confusion on planets. This obliterated the sale of 'bubbles' the children's toy made of soap due to mass fear that small children would be consumed by these toys.

The roots will be at the heart of the sphere.  This must be removed, be uprooting or destruction.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Crimewatch Tanked My Sec Status

I stand before you this day to cast judgement down upon CCP and their Retribution Expansion and the changes it has made to the way the denizens of low sec maneuver through the daily trials and tribulations of their space. Let me say, with firmness of thought and stance that these changes have brought forth consequences that expand across the entire region.  That these changes have taken Pirates, souls who skirted the grey line into the full red span of Outlaw Status!  That they have plummeted past the point of redemption their souls darkened and hardened as they stare with cold eyes at the gates of high sec which has cast them so firmly out!  Let me also point out that it is upon these changes were done with this intent in mind!  Before you I cast a story that will chill the hearts and rip away the innocence of those that hear...

Now, someone might go back through things like my blog and other such places of 'information' and point out that my security status was quite unhealthy before crime watch.  I will grudgingly agree.  However, I would like to say that crime watch made it worse.  Before, I hovered around -5.  I sometimes bounced above. I sometimes bounced below.  With the introduction of Retribution my security status plummeted and so far it has continued to go down.

Why it is all Retribution's fault:

The biggest change Crimewatch made to low sec was that gateguns stopped aggressing after the player left the grid.  This opened up a major change in game play for low security space.

Frigates - Once destroyed by gate guns had a chance to tackle and leave.  This could always happen before but the 15 minute aggression meant that the frigate pilot would need to be repaired between each gate and risked dying each gate. Now, once they leave the field they are ready to reengage with the next fight.

Roams - Roaming is faster.  A lot faster. I cannot explain how much faster it is (except to give numbers and examples).  Before, each engagement was dictated by a 15 minute timer for GCC (Global Criminal Countdown) to end.  Until this ended the fleet was constantly shot by gateguns.

Ship Types - The re-balance of Cruiser's was well done.  It opened up the playing field and let people put a more varied fleet composition out there.  They cruisers also became more agile and had more tank.  Mixed with the gate gun changes allowing strategic warping the fight plans changed.

Drones - Now they do matter.  Running from drones in a frigate is something you have to think about.  I've died to them a few times now.  The gateguns ignore them.  This also allows for a fielding of ships that rely on their drones for damage.  Before, with all honesty, they sucked because the gateguns shot their drones which was as if someone just came and snapped off their guns.  It was a lovely strike for drone boats and brought many vicious smaller ships back into the hands of low sec residents.

What does this have to do with my sec status?

We kill everyone now. It used to be, "Kestrel. Not worth it.  Ibis. Don't try for it.  Vexor, not really we have better things to do."  Those things were all limited by the 15 minute freeze the fleet would have to deal with whenever it shot something.

Now it is shoot all of the things.  All. Of. The. Things.  This made tackle important.  To shoot all of the things we need ships that can lock and point those things.  Small ships have a ridiculous habit of leaving the field before large ships can lock them. It is obnoxious.  There the Talos is, its massive large blasters swiveling as huge canisters of ammunition load and bam, the ship is gone before they even get into position to obliterate it!

Anyway, tackle.  Now that tackle can leave and come back and leave again and all the things must be pewpewed my sec status is terrible because all the things include rookie ships and pods.

Pods still hurt the sec status quite a lot in low sec. I fly tackle so my job is to tackle the pod.  Tackling is an aggressive action so I get on the pods kill mail and take the sec hit.

So why shoot pods? I don't know.  They are there.  They are part of all of the things. People don't warp them off.  If they warped them off I'd not shoot them.  But people just leave them there so we shoot them.  Yes we could not shoot them.  But people could also warp them off.  We all make choices. They, not to warp. Me, to tackle the pod.

Thus, it is fully and without doubt, the fault of the Retribution expansion that my security status hovers but a breath above -10.

Blog Note: Orginization

I am terrible at tagging my posts.  Terrible. I forget every single time. I then promise myself I will start to tag. I do it for a bit. I forget again.  The only conclusion is that tagging does not work for me and I have to develop another method of internal organization.

Because there is a search function to search inside of the blog, I've started turning posts into topic format.  Hopefully, this will become more common for topic posts.  Normal just post posts will remain randomly titled as they always are.  Because I have no idea what people read and if people want to skip over topics or find topics easily I'm trying to categorize them.

Right now I kind of have a few topics I'm trying to use with regularity.

Rambling: First: These will almost always have a TL;DR. These are thought posts.  I don't know what else to call them.  Normally I dig around in my own mind and thoughts and coat the blog all over with my personal opinions on various aspects, often social, of Eve.  I have no idea why I write these.  I am also never sure how they will be taken.  Putting up a deep, personal opinion can be hard (for me).  I do it anyway.  I often expect these posts to be laughed at and trolled.  These are the types of things that I can fill chat rooms with blocks of text over while people stare at me in somewhat horrified, stunned "wtf".  I get passionate about things with no one to ramble to about them. This way they can be easier skipped!

Origin of a Spaceship: These belong to the Origin of a Spaceship 'book' I am creating. If anyone is curious, this is an ongoing project that I am trying to put up one topic per week.  I welcome topic suggestions.  If you like it and want to see something turned into randomness from my imagination, send me a mail/make a comment/whatever.  The project is evolving as I figure out how to properly structure the information into the books format for easy reading.

TCS: I think this is the header I will use for the Cougar Store and all of my learning about running a market, trading and my whining about hauling things. I will whine. I promise.

PewPew: I tried to think of something snazzy and cool but I always call PvP pewpew so I might as well stick with what works.  This way when I write about my adventures in shooting spaceships it is a bit easier.

I won't grant the CSM with an entire sub title but I will try to title CSM posts so that they are easy to skip for those that don't care about it and/or are tired of hearing about it.

Now, I may try to go back and edit some posts with proper topics. I won't promise because every time I think I'm going to do that type of thing I don't.  Anyway, with this little rule set I am creating for myself people should be able to select their subject matter with a bit more ease unless they just read everything.

I try to limit myself to no more than three posts a day.  Normally, most of what I say isn't exciting or time sensitive.  That way I will just slot them over into other days.  I post daily but I don't drive myself to it. I sometimes have skip days and late posts.  I will also continue to dedicate myself to gizoogling the major patch note releases.

And thank you for the comments fixing the typos and mistakes and general things that fill every single thing I write. I'd love to promise that it is only an occasional thing but that would be a lie.  I do try to improve and believe that the general quality of my writing has reflected this.

Thank you for reading! I hope to continue to entertain (for good or bad) with my antics through this game.

Future in Frigates

I love being a frigate pilot for combat. I adore it. One of the personal benefits for me of crimewatch was that I was able to ship down into an assault frigate and still be useful on the field due to gateguns deagressing. It also came at a time when the Hurricane, my PvP staple of choice was being nerfed and I needed something different to try. The only other thing in my book that I enjoyed flying as much as my Hurricane was my Jaguar.

The Negative Side of Frigates

Frigates are a bread and butter staple in Eve.  Most people have stacks of them hanging around their stations and various systems.  They are fast, agile and cheap.  This makes them useful and easily obtainable.  Replacing frigates does not take as much time and energy as replacing larger, more expensive ships.  (Note: I'm excluding Pirate Frigates) from this conversation.

Tackle ships are important.  Tackling, in Eve jargon is stopping a ship from entering warp and escaping the field.  This is normally done through the use of warp disruptor or warp scrambler modules.  A small fast ship with a fast locking time moves in and holds down the target while the rest of the fleet, often much slower and with slower locking speeds disposes of said target.

The thing is that small ships are inherently fragile.  This is not a bad reality but it is reality. It means you die quickly.  It means you cannot stay on the field. It means that battles are often short, short things.  It causes some people to hesitate when they are supposed to go in.  Being knocked out of a fight isn't fun.

It also means frigate fights are often fast things quickly dictated.  That is not inherently bad in and upon itself. However, people tend to like more.  Durability deters them.

And I will say it because it needs to be said, frigates are small and not fancy.  The focus on bigger and better is such that people look at frigates as an entry level ship and something not worthy of their time and energy once they moved past them.  Many frigate pilots will prove them wrong time and time again but it does not dismiss the view point.

Many people use that fragility as a push.  It helps them focus and work towards not giving into that fragility.  It can challenge the skills and leave a lot of satisfaction in its wake.

A Desire for Flying

I know Eve is not a simulator.  I don't need it to be. I still enjoy flying in the three dimensional world.  I sometimes just fly around.  I weave and bob and arc and fly through structures and around the angles of the stations.  I orbit larger ships and dive through the center of gates.  I fly because I enjoy flying.  My engine trails soar after me as I streak across the darkness.

I don't get that feeling with larger ships.  Every time I undock in bigger ships I'm disappointed in them the first time I turn.  The sweeping speed just isn't there for me.  I don't know what I expect sometimes, when I undock. However, I don't seem to receive it.  I've been searching for the pleasure I hear from other's as they undock their ships and I don't have it.  I miss the twirling elegance of my frigates.

A Love of Support

Of late I've been playing a good bit of Diablo III with my best friend.  We are a smooth, effective team.  It makes sense, we have been gaming together for 15 years.  But we often take the same paths.  She goes in for a brawler tank/dps role and I take a ranged/support/fragile role.  We always do this.  Eve is one of the first social games I have ever played without her.  That may be why it has taken me so long to realize that I do the same thing here that I have always done. I play a support character because that is what I enjoy.

When it comes to frigates that means I go in as tackle.  It is a bit different from my normal ranged approach. I've always wanted to do the sniper thing in Eve.  I also like kiting things better then brawling.  It is how I have always played but I have not played Eve in that way for the most part.  Once I realized that and started to work myself into the area that I wanted to be in things have improved.

It can be difficult.  A small gang has its needs.  Most of the time that is a balance between the damage you can receive and the damage that you can put out.  Without that core filled things a lot harder.  My corporation also seems to favor brawling and this is even more important in that set up.  Mix in gate guns and there are needs that must be satisfied that I have had to work towards filling as a member of the group.

I focused on that and ignored what I really wanted to do.

Spaceships in the Future

I need to learn how to fly my ships. I still do not believe that I have a base level of competency at it. I am horribly embarrassed that I wound up completely frazzled and lost track of where someone was trying to duel box my Scimitar and Sleipnir with someone else when a third party crashed the site.  Trying to keep range on everyone and everything and not die at the same time was an experience I will happily never try to repeat   Duel boxing PvP is not for me.

But is also highlights one of my biggest problems.  I have to often allowed my decisions to be dictated by others.  When you start the game and know nothing that is very good.  Yet, I've kind of floated along and done as I am told.  It has been productive and given me a level of success but it has not given me the personal abilities or confidence I need to work past my self confidence issues I have with my playing ability.

I'm working from the bottom up.  This time with more focus on what I am doing and try to develop some abilities I can be confident in.  I still have plenty of other things to fly to fit for fleets and particular needs.  However, my own interest is with frigates.

I'm taking one step sideways to work on this.  I'm remaped for guns but I decided to shove Gallente frigate V into the mix to give myself access to Gallente interceptors.  This will widen my flavor of tackle from 'Jaguar' as it is currently.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Observation of a Ganker

Vov ratted up his security status. I have to admit that he came along on one of our fleets the other week and we tanked his sec status in ridiculous ways.  With his security status up, he decided to play with the new aggression mechanics and do some ganking. As a firm subscriber to industry by piracy I am very excited when this happens. It is like goodies falling from the sky at super discount prices from the back of a box truck with graffiti on the side.

When I popped on the other day he offered me a Nocxium drop. It is a lovely cycle. He gives me first dibs.  If I take it he can just toss me a contract and he instantly has ISK. No sorting, selling, market orders, or transporting needed. I get discounted materials.  Its great for everyone but the hauler pilot that lost his ship.

That leads to an observation he made the other day. As he is sitting on a gate, scanning people that come by he keeps seeing a particular pattern.  The T1 haulers that are tanked have nothing of value.  The hauler will have no cargo extenders, shield extenders, invuls running, a propulsion module and a cargo valued at under 100 million ISK.  Without the tank they would not be work killing by a Tornado.  With the tank they are most certainly not worth it.

The T1 haulers moving over 300 million ISK are full of cargo expanders and cargo expander rigs.  It seems to be some type of strange, unspoken rule.  The T1 hauler that mcirowarp drives, cloaks, aligns, and then warps has 100 pieces of Tritanium inside of it.  The one with almost a billion in Nocxium is puttering along with no tank.

Kills are up int he air for gankers.  The loot fairy does not always grand them the drop. One drop was over a thousand T2 drones. The drones did not drop.  Poof. They are gone forever, weeks of hard work vanished.  How do I know it is weeks? The ganked target said so. Now it is gone. That is not the interest part. The interesting part is that his business partner convoed Vov and thanked him for killing his business partner.

Eh? Some shady backhanded deal? Is this a story of darkness and evil?

No. It is a classic story of stubbornness  Said hauler pilot had decided to take the fruits of their labors out in an untanked T1 hauler to the market.  His business partner suggested they pay a hauling service to do that because of the value of their cargo. "I'm not paying anyone to move my stuff! Nothing will happen." he says and undocks powered by blissful ignorance.  Two minutes later he is ganked on a gate by Vov.

There is an impending change for industrial hauling ships coming. What direction CCP will take it, I don't know. A popular opinion is that they will make it harder to gank these ships at the request of those killed. I was discussing Orca fittings with somoene. They were disapointed at how 'small' the cargo capacity for my Orca was. "I thought it was bigger."

70k M3 of stuff and 400k of assembled ship seemed like a lot to me. However, I went and looked at fittings.  "Oh," I said, "This is what you have seen." An Orca can indeed be expanded to 100k m3 of space with cargo expanders and rigs. Yet, it makes them thin as tissue paper. My own Orca fit is tanked. I just need to live long enough for Concord to respond.

I also intelligence tank. I don't fly billions of ISK worth of goddies in the Orca. I only got mine after the change where the Fleet Hanger became scanable. I never had an unscanable Orca. I don't bemoan lost days I never had. I fly intelligently (I hope).

Of course, as a side effect of ganking people set Vov's kill rights public.  He goes, "Sugar, are you in Bose?" I answer, "Yeah."  "Okay, I'll be right there."  Five minutes later Vov appears in a rookie ship. "Activate my kill right and pop my rookie ship."  "Okay."

He had to walk me through the kill right activation.  A moment later his rookie ship is destroyed and he just has to wait out his timer before he goes back to ganking.  Not everyone will have those types of social connections but for a pirate being a pirate with other pirates the solutions are simple.

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Cougar Store - Grand Opening

I am glad that I decided not to pick a pirate oriented name for my blog.  My time in low sec is more than the pewpewpew.  Others write about pewpew in a more interesting and in depth manner then I do.  For me, as much as I enjoy it, there are so many other things for me to do in low sec and in Eve beyond the pewpew.

Opening the Cougar Store is one of them.

I named my market the Cougar Store.  I run it, I'm female and not that long ago someone accused me of seducing young men of New Eden.  Now, I was shocked.  As a Pirate Queen I have no need to seduce anyone.  They come willingly.  However, the lable, even if I am a tad bit young for it, was hysterical enough that I immediately demanded it for a title.  This has snowballed a bit and the new low sec market that I have started up is called the Cougar Store.

You can view our information and order form here.  This lets people communicate with me. I've handed it out in a few intel channels.  My favorite entry so far is from Vov.

  • Prototype Semi-Automatic Shark launcher
  • Faction sharks with laser attachments.
  • 100 Large angry sharks

I also had to write a response that hugs are perishable items but all employees of the Cougar Store carry them and will issue them upon request.  We don't want degraded, poor quality hugs to sour anyone's opinion of our establishment.

It has not quite been a week but I already have a lot of thoughts and things to say about this project.

Ramblings: What is a Good Fight?

[TL;DR: Sugar mulls over topics of personal reasonings]

After a fight, in local, the participants often say "gf". GF is the abbreviation for good fight. It is a polite way to recognize the other side and the combat that happened between each. It is a wonderful way in which people engage each other beyond the immediate aggression of the first explosion.

Or so I wish.

It is also (and often) used with a thick layer of sarcasm. This transference of sarcasm can be for both sides of the fight.  It can come from the party that annihilates an opponent and it can come from the person who suddenly found themselves facing a situation with no pleasant outcome.

A few months ago I toiled over the question. I wrote a lot of words that I never published because I was trying to understand the motivations of some of the neighbors. There is a fine line between wondering and whining. I know which side I stand upon but balancing it for others is not as easy. The neighbors like their Guardians. They will leave them logged out in space and log them in if a fight happens. They will bait with a cruiser and bring in two Guardians to rep while they kill the other ship who cannot push damage through the repair speed.  It is a frustrating situation and eventually people stop fighting them because of the lack of progress. I sat there, frustrated one night and asked why? Why do they fight that way?

Eventually, I had to realize that what a good fight is to one person it will not be to another.  I had to drag myself out of the social circle that I was inured to. It does not have to be the one ship stomped by the blob scenario   It can be as simple as the fact that the good part of the fight for some is winning the fight.  How the fight is won does not matter. It is destroying the other ship and getting out in their own.  For some that is a good fight.

For others a good fight is about comparable skills. They want to go up against opponents and work at what they are doing. They may win.  They may lose. The outcome may sweeten the pot but it was never the reason they were on the field in the first place. They were there to clash their ship against another ship. To fight and receive satisfaction from the experience.

Or it may be those that fight out numbered. They may win, escape, die but as long as they made a good showing of themselves they are happy. It may be that they micromanaged their overheating and used every last resource before their ship went down. They may win the ISK war, destroying more in value of the opponents ships then their own.  hey may escape the situation and find the thrill in their ability to remove themselves from the situation even if there is no ship loss.

It may be not losing one's ship because losing the ship is always the unpleasant choice.  I watched someone asked, "Why do you play station games?" and he was honest in that he did not like to lose ships.  That meant he fought in the safety manner for him.  Insults and ridicule did nothing.  Losing much removed the pleasure of the game from him. While loss may be a fact of the game it does not mean that people will automatically embrace it.  In fact, the aversion (or risk aversion) is created by the very mechanics of the game in such a basic way that it should come as no surprise that people will react to it.

And as angry making as it may be, sometimes the good fight is the one not taken.  The one escaped from.

I have taken to describing my own boys as 'hungry'.  They are hungry for spaceship fights.  It leads them to take a lot of very aggressive actions that I personally would not take.  I spent quite a while frustrated as I attempted to understand why they took some of the fights that they did.  Or why fight some opponents who always have the same tricks up their sleeves (falcons, logi, blobs).  Why, why why?  And only recently after trying to listen with an open mind and hear what they said beyond my own thoughts did I start to realize that they were more drawn to the combat.  The conclusion was a separate thing.  The positive conclusion was extra pleasurable but more often than not they preferred to take the fight if there were slim changes then skip the fight just in case.

That was their fun.  In that discovery I found my own.  I learned to join fleets and focus on what I was doing more and not worry about dying. To say no if I was uncomfortable with the situation.  My example here is suicide roams.  I do not like them.  I understand that I may or may not make it to the end of the roam. I do not derive pleasure from running around with the goal of losing everyone to end the roam and I had to accept that just because others found this a fun pass time did not mean I had to.  Nor did it mean something was wrong with me for not enjoying it.  If I was going to afford others the  right to have fun as they desired I could also afford to give myself that same respect.  It is all too easy in this game to do things you do not want to do because you feel that you should do them.  There comes a time when this starts to drain the pleasure from the game.  It can be PvP, it can be PvE, it can be the corporation that one joins.  It has to be defined personally.

I can't define a good fight for someone else.  I might be able to provide that good fight for them but I cannot define it. I cannot rage at the person that always has a falcon.  His win clause is different from mine.  To belittle and ridicule someone for not taking a fight that I would take is to belittle and ridicule myself for not taking a fight that someone else would take.  It also means that someone else can not define it for me.  I cannot be convinced that something I do not enjoy is fun because someone else enjoys it.

And while 'playing a game' is the end excuse for 'it not mattering' these things are excuses to not define a reason for an activity any further. It does matter to me.  It does not matter that I lost my spaceship in the video game. It does matter that I enjoyed myself. If I do not enjoy myself then it does matter because I do not want to replicate that experience and continue to not enjoy myself.

My good fight may line up with someone else's good fight but they will never be the same. As simple as it is, accepting it has allowed me to stop reflecting upon it with confusion.  If baiting a ship and jumping it with a blob is what someone wants to do that is their good fight. If fighting with logistics and falcons that equal the dps on the field is their good fight that is what it is.  My good fight is mine.  Slurs will not change it.  Ridicule   does not matter.  I no longer need to ask myself, "Do they really think I am an 'insult here' and a 'slur here' because I will not let them dictate their win conditions?"  The answer is no.  They do not really they only hope that I will succumb to my emotions and need to defend myself.

I don't need to ask why because why is answered.  What is not understood or shared by me does not make it invalid for another to understand or feel.

A fight is what you make of it.  Like many other things in this game the decision falls directly into the hand of the player.  However it is picked up, held, viewed and interacted with is an individual thing.  We can only hope to interact in such a way that we enjoy ourselves and enjoy our game.