Friday, May 31, 2013

The Drums of War

War Decs have been sent out. For the first time since I started playing I am not worried. I am not fretting. I'm not uncomfortable. I am also interested, for once, in the targets of the decs.

War Decs have been a touchy subject for me in Eve. I understand why so many people like meaningless decs that seem to be nothing more than a paid for hall pass to PvP in high sec. I have never cared for them. However, this time, I have interest.

Molden Heath has become home to several new, large entities. They seem to fly with each other or at least they have created social groups between themselves. The other side of the loop is full of blobs. Large fleets of people where not everyone has low security status. This makes any fight with them a matter of not only having to deal with larger fleets but also having to deal with gateguns and station guns. They will hug stations or camp stations and do their best to maneuver fights into gates because the gateguns give them an advantage. I can blame no one for this.

Enter the war declaration system. For a while, we will pay Concord to remove gate and station guns from our fights. We are what we are in size and in ability. We will take what strategic advantage is available to us. Like any other player of the game we too can use the mechanics of the game to our favor. Normally the gate and station guns are factored into what we do. But sometimes those factors change. Attempt to use the gate and station guns against us? We will remove them. 

Jump out to high security space? Sure. Until next week. Next week begins what will be, for some of us, the rise of our security status. Tactics will have to change for everyone. My game is not dictated by having a -10 for my security status. I am not a role player. I do not feel the need to give those who will bring forty ships against my fleet advantages because 'pirate'. Because someone wants me to give it to them? Because someone else wants to play 'anti-pirate' and wishes me to be their pirate?

No. We will identify ourselves as we wish. We will label ourselves as we are. The game is as much ours as it is theirs. Molden Heath is our home. These drums have already sounded across space to summon it's children home. The target rich environment is chum in the water for the sharks. Only the sharks are adaptable. They will adjust to the situation  change their tactics, and use their abilities to their advantage. Our advantage. 

At times like this, what defines a pirate? Some would say that we must have our outlaw sec status, we must endure gateguns, we must embrace what they want to have the advantage. We cannot ship up? We cannot step it up to change? Sometimes I wonder if people think that because we so cheerfully fly around in T1 cruisers and kitchen sink fleets that it is easy to forget that what we do and what we can do are different things. Or, it may be that the coordination and strategy surprises some. It is not exclusive to large scale organizations.

These are the moments where 'small gang PvP' is first in our description for a reason. Pirates we may be but pirates do not define who we are. Only we define that. What I have always loved about this group that I play with is that they do not shun tools when tools are needed. They may not be the first choice or the second. It may not be the most preferred game play or the most anticipated. But they will use what needs to be used and change and adapt as we need to change and adapt.

I was sad when 7-2 dropped war decs and we did not. The change in the fleet structure turned my participation into a liability for myself. Now, the ground is smoothing back out. My beloved fleet access has regained its flexibility.

None of this is personal. It isn't some type of fantastic vendetta upon which we have become obsessed. We're simply stepping up to the challenges before us instead of folding and running away as people seem to expect when they move into the area. The biggest negative about war decs is that other people will take them personally. Some become rather silly over the entire war target thing. That must be exhausting for them. I'm sure someone will say that this is just so that we can go to high sec and kill people and grief them so I will just say it now and that way hopefully, that check box is marked.

Testing Odyssey: Now to Wait

I've spent a lot of time playing with the Odyssey expansion. This is the most time I have put into the test server and the most time I have put into trying to 'help' Eve on the level of presenting input with features.

I find it funny that my most anticipated feature, the one that I thought I would spend the most time agonizing over, Tags4Sec is the one that caused the least worry. I played with it, focused on a few points but in general ran it past the people who are interested, we gave it our group blessing and now we can only wait to see how the tags themselves determinate into the game. I know several people in holding patterns waiting for it. They are to tired to drag their sec up anymore and floating on the edge of burn out with this a bright hope in the future.

Having found myself descending into snarky attacks and irritation on the forums and with the expansion just under five days away, I guess I'm done. I've lost my ability to keep my posts positive and neutral. With this effort of working on the test server I've learned my limitations. My temper will eventually fray and my self control drift away as it succumbs to frustration. I don't have anything left to say that hasn't been said. I've reached the point where I am arguing in circles that will not end. So it is time to stop. I had removed myself from active participation on the Eve Online forums almost nine months ago now. Now it is time to wait and see how the launch goes for the general game that does not go to the test server or spend their time in the feedback threads or even on the forums themselves.

Some changes and info to hacking and scanning. I'm pulling from the dev posts and adding the links.
I don't mind the change. I'm not in love with the mini-game and I'm not in love with chasing the loot cans but I don't hate either. What was making the entire thing suck for me was when I was not getting my bacon for jumping through the hoops. My latest run through SiSi gave me bacon again and that settled my general mood to 'fine'. Once I felt that the risk I would take would have the chance of being rewarded, I was happy again.

On the forums, the threads are full of negatives. Negative feedback is hard to swallow when that is all that you are going to get. However, when it is a change of this type, negative feedback is what you are most going to get because we are trying to find what is wrong and make it right so that the game itself balances into fun.

I don't mind the scanning system changes. I just want them to replace the functionality of the old system. I'm disappointed by the changes in the skills but it is all stuff that I can live with. I've taken to leaving my scanner on when on SiSi and I love the constant movement in space. I actually feel that flying in space, looking around, and jumping are all more fluid and cohesive and immersive with the scanning overlay and the jump effects. I feel more inside of a game.

Under all the thrashing and gnashing of teeth, the biggest concerns lay in the place of things being completed now vs being completed in the future. The Unified Inventory is the best example of this. It came out in a state that CCP felt was finished and functional. The player based moaned and thrashed and proved that it was not. They worked and worked and worked at it and now it contains the old functionality plus new functionality. I now use the tree and the ability to have separate windows to rapid fire move, sort, look for, and organize things like I was never able to before. It is now good but it took a while to become good.

All of these issues we are having with the current changes will probably be resolved by the winter with updates and additions and renewed depth. However, people want it done when it first comes out and that does not appear to be how changes like this are going to happen. I am going to believe that the scanning system will regain some more of its depth and flexibility  I also believe that the entire hacking game will become something more interesting as it expands. It just won't be on June 4th.

June 4th is the day for change. It will also be a day of screaming.

I've contributed. I've found a few bugs. Pointed at a few things. Had some things heard. Had others ignored. Now I'm going to dust my hands and wait and see how the launch goes. To bad that I work on Tuesday and will miss the start.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Ramblings: Reimaging High Sec

[TL;DR: Sugar ponders the concept of High Sec]

I started working on this idea during Fanfest when CCP Soundwave said, during his presentation, that he wanted to support people who wanted to live in high sec because that is the game that they wanted to play as much as any other area. I wrote for a bit and shoved it aside because it was to controversial feeling to me. But, today, after I read that the spawned containers from the new exploration mechanics will carry over the normal Crimewatch system, I decided to finish up the thought some.

It was the post that helped spur me to debate Ripping off the Rails to allow Low Sec a greater definition as well. If the previous progression bar of high sec to low sec to null sec and/or wormholes is to vanish then the acceptance of high sec as something other then a newbie area has to start if all areas of the game are to 
become a functionally, integrated environment.

Eve is very much a little world. It becomes more and more so as it ages. Thousands of people live together inside of the game. We form societies  associations, friendships, groups, hangouts, games, and business. You can join random fleets (RVBGanked or the Bombers Bar) or take classes Eve Uni/Agony Unleashed) or go to war. Or you can get a job (Red FrogPushX) and go forth and make money or attempt to create your ideal job or reality. I find it interesting that people consider high security space to be a training zone or a tutorial zone or a newbie zone. I have been reading arguments and discussions over making players leave high security space and experience other parts of the games. Arguments focused on ways, both stick and carrot, to get people to leave the starter zones. These are endless debates. They go on and on, back and forth on forums, on blogs, and I believe on pod casts and in chat rooms. People have to leave high sec. They must be lured or beaten into low sec, null sec, wormhole space, anywhere but high sec. Yet, I have always been puzzled by why people are so adamant that high sec is not a viable place to play and live out your Eve existence. It obviously is.

I do not think that Eve, as it currently functions - a richly detailed world with thousands of options and possibilities - would function as the game that we enjoy without high sec being so full of people. My thoughts say that it could not function the way it currently does because it currently functions upon the fact that the game is non-linear. 

High sec is not safe. To many people spend too much time making sure that does not happen. It can be safe in the way that civilized, policed areas are. You can fall victim of random violence. You may exacerbate your chances of being a victim of that violence by filling your freighter with 20 billion in loot or you can try to keep that number around a billion and make the chances of you being a target less. High sec is like living in a very nice city such as New York or LA. A place where people flock to go and live in tremendous numbers and find themselves the victims of random violence. Yet, they continue to stay for all of the other things and because of this society functions. One can say that they feel high sec is 'to' safe but that does not mean that it is safe. 

(Even as I write I watch the boys ganking miners in high sec over and over again as they announce themselves in local and people still pay no attention to the warnings handed tot hem on the platter of local chatter. And still they do not understand why or where the violence comes from.)

If high sec was a true newbie zone, we’d all be automatically moved out of it. We would not advance inside of it. We would be stuck in the gifts the tutorial gave us until we left it. But you can reject the tutorial and run off into the street to get hit by a car immediately because you didn't know to look both ways before crossing the street and no one told you to check because no one was there to hold your hand.

t just seems that Eve is too economically focused to not have a large, stable population of working, law abiding citizens.  People who work and consume. People who turn into targets. The mentality of those who live in the presumed safety of decent society is vastly different from the mentality of those who live in a more survival based existence. And as titillating as all war and all battle all the time would be, the game does not function in that manner. 

People would be reduced to a very hand to mouth existence because the plush consumer would  be removed from the food chain. The new player would focus only on survival and soon be pushed out into the vast unknown. The vast unknown would have greater rewards but it would have a vastly multiplied risk. A risk great enough to consume the current reward.

As Eve stands right now it is not worth the time of people who live in high sec, without the desire to enter the consumptive process of lower and no security space, to go to that space. Even with the greater reward it is not worth the multiplied risk. The risk increases in a sudden drop off and the consumption process is so fierce that more people would be consumed then would thrive. The worth of stuff is going to be different for every person. You need stuff. You consume stuff. Stuff is not infinite. But someone has to consume it. Right now people argue about the power of moon goo and the ISK of vast alliances. But that will change. Next it will be the worries about ice materials and the sudden strain of those suit clad new co-workers being gang members who have had their tattoos removed. No matter what it is someone will always be unhappy. That is okay as well. Some people will always be risk averse in some manner. On the flip side, some people are almost success averse and flaunt their low wallet numbers the same way someone flaunts their high. The consumption and acquiescent of stuff is endless for all sides. Not all groups will consume the same amounts in the same way. It is the nature of the beast.

People form cities. They form towns, councils, markets. People create security forces well defined or not. People want to go about their lives with some security. And some people do not. They either leave society and go off to live in the mountains (wormholes) off into the vast tracks of ranches and farms (null sec) or out into the edge of town to cross to the wrong side of the tracks (low sec). Some never want to leave the bright lights of the city and they stay (gankers) and live in the stark shadows cast by the city lights.

High Sec is not going to go away. It has a place in the game. That place may shift and flux but it will not vanish. There is no end game. There is no funnel. The sandbox is a sandbox for each player. If the sandbox is to be respected on one side it has to be respected on the other. But that same sandbox can be used. It can be pushed to push and force the situation. People will always have beliefs and goals and the game has given us many of the tools to attempt to pursue them. However, failure is also an option. It is one of those things that drives us to plan.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

TCS: For Want of Hulls

With the changes that have come to Molden Heath and the deluge of new residents into the area, sales at my store have changed and stressed my buying habits. The lease of my Jump Freighter could not have come at a better time. I am finding myself hard pressed to keep up and balance what I need to add or expand upon.

A moment about my life. I know that most will assume I do not have one. However, sometimes  I open the cellar door and climb from the basement into the light (although I prefer darkness being my natural habitat). I'm a daily Eve player, but I am not able to play many hours each day due to my work schedule. I work 12 hour days and on the days that I work back to back I have a 4 hour window between getting home from work (if I am on time) and going to bed. On those days I cram the store in. What I have started to do is I buy items on one day and I move them or ship them down. This allows me to post them the next day during my next block of time. It keeps me only a day or two behind. For the most part this is not a big deal. With hulls, it becomes a more tricky subject.

TCS does not create infinite profit just because it is a market. Most of what I see in my wallet is simply the re-liquidation of what I purchased  A small amount on top of that is the profit the store makes. For modules this is not a big deal. I can buy a stack of ten or twenty to last me through a few days. With hulls, when there are buying frenzies, I can only replace until the profit increases enough to expand.

The sudden changes to the area have left me needing to move more and more hulls into the market to feed the sudden and unexpected demand. I find gaps in my market frustrating  In these moments I have to accept my humanity. It is rather irritating. Hulls are already the area that I am least competitive.

Or, I should say, T1 hulls are.

I have noticed that T2 hulls tend to be over priced on the local market if they are there at all. While it is only in ones and twos I am trying to dribble down a selection of T2 frigate hulls because that is what I can currently afford. CovOps, Assault Frigates, Interceptors, and Stealth Bombers are my main choices right now. They tend to sell quickly and I can normally undercut high sec by a nice margin. Often, because I attempt to stock all four racial variants  I have the market to myself in this area.

I have also had my first unhappy customer. Normally  I'm called an idiot for not setting my prices higher. Sometimes there are complaints when I am not the lowest price. I, as always, point out that I am working off of my Jita prices. So, the person that I do not know but is known well enough to the area to be in my social channels who has spent the last several days commenting about what shit my store is was an unpleasant addition to my life.

Somehow (ignoring him) I managed to struggle through and climb out of my darkness to continue to click "buy" in Jita. I've been chasing down members of R1FTA and harassing other frigate pilots asking them "what do you need?" and "what do you want?" I never thought that it would be so hard to get people to tell me what they'd like to have around but it is much harder than I expected. I feel like an attention whore as I chase people down almost begging them to talk to me and tell me what will make their life easier. I often get, "don't know" or "later" or just silence.

I just try to remind myself that working with people is not always the most straight forward of tasks and I collect the information as I can.

In other news:

With TCS net value at around 12B (only 300m liquid at this time) I decided to give myself my first repayment for 250m. I'm keeping the repayments all documented. I'm not sure what I will do once TCS is fully in the black. I'll figure that out once I get there. Maybe I will start to write myself a paycheck?

As I Lay Down my ISK

I was speaking with someone who has been away from the game for the last six or so months. He was wondering if he could come to THC2. We had a chat about that and as we discussed ships I told him that one of the most basic necessities would be skills to fly a cruiser and the ability to T2 shield or T2 armor tank said cruiser with guns right behind it.

"I thought pirates were more into frigates?"

I blinked at that. My own personal taste in frigates has been hard to indulge in low sec. Of the 831 things on my killboard 285 have been killed in frigates. 8 of those kills have been with a T1 frigate (Rifter) 8 with a T1 frigate (Incursus during a fleet of Incursi) and the rest have been with T2 frigates/Interceptors. Most of those kills have happened post Retribution now that frigates are able to mitigate gategun and station gun damage. This is all because Molden Heath is not faction warfare based low security space and the group that I flew with, until Retribution, were a battlecruiser heavy group. Post retribution, cruisers are a more common sight. However, it was never about frigates.

I consider us as much pirate as the next group of low sec PvPers. We are not pirate roleplayers. We are a solo (except me) and small gang fighters who live in low sec because low sec is where we like to be. However, I've never limited pirate to frigate.

Now, frigate fighting is its own play style  The ships are small and fast, the fights frantic and edged by fine degrees of skill (both skill point and player skill). They also have the lovely side effect of being cost effective. Cost effective is good. Not everyone enjoys making ISK in Eve. For many, it is a necessary evil. For others, pixil money makes us happy.

But ISK is the great motivator in Eve. From agreements that turn nullsec into a series of treaties to target choices in a fleet due to killboard efficiency. However, we all perceive value differently. For some, being able to afford what they want right now is all that they care for and others wish to create vast projects and complex economic empires. The two both hinge upon ISK.

As much as ISK is the great motivator it is also the greatest aversion. Miura Bull, a fantastic frigate pilot wrote some thoughts on upscaling into pirate frigates. Even veteran pilots who have been around since before the sun was born such as Kirith Kodachi admits to feeling the pressure that ISK places upon their ship decisions.

One of the lies of ISK is that it whispers to us of value due to price alone. However, value as in cost  is also based upon supply and demand as well as rarity. Some items are valuable only because they are uncommon not because they are good. Other items have a high value simply do to their cost of creation. Because Eve does not spawn spaceships out of the void for us the cost of making that ship is added to the cost of acquiring that ship and acquisition does not always mean going down to the nearest dealer and picking up a new ride.

Are people stupid for flying expensive things? When someone upgrades a ship, to one much more expensive, to deal with a situation is it because they cannot deal with the situation in a smaller ship or because they decided to change their tactics? And is it so terrible of them to do so? Is placing an expensive ship on the field some type of insult or admission of inadequacy?

I see it often, disparagement against more expensive hulls. Yet, a faction or pirate hull does not the pilot a god make.

I will be investing in Hurricane Fleet Issues after the expansion. It will be my go to DPS ship as it once was before. And yes it will be expensive compared to some other ships. Some people may call me various slurs for bringing a faction ship to the field. Or, more likely, from some of the things I have seen of late they will.

I guess I will bring disappointment down upon others. I've tried to play the game where I always did what I was told to do and flew what I was told to fly without any personal input  It is not to say that I will reject fleet doctrines when they come but if we are going to kitchen sink it up I will undock something that costs some ISK and I will feel no shame as I do it. I am not bringing the ship to the fight because I have to use it otherwise I cannot possibly engage, I am bringing it because that is what I want to fly of the things that I can fly properly.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Odyssey Testing - Much Improvements to Relic and Data Sites

I'm still Testing Odyssey. I think that our cries are being heard in pieces if not the entire thing people may want. Free Q&A  is a bitter point that pops up on the forums, often when the players massed words are being ignored by CCP. I know that we are providing a lot of feed back for CCP. I'm doing it in a hope to be heard on at least some of the issues that pop up. Even if it is just fixing the sites so that I do not rage out again over the sloppy insertion of objects. Even if CCP hired Q and A people to do what we do those people wouldn't play Eve to understand the fundamental broken aspect of things.

Note: There are no longer gate fire animations. The gates just stay the same and people appear in the system. This seems bad to me. I commented on it in some feedback thread somewhere. I posted on twitter as well and was asked to submit a bug report.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Rambling: Rip Out the Rails

[TL:DR: Sugar muses on the out dated defines of low security space.]

Last year I wrote a post called In Defense of Low Sec where I floated out my idea that Low Sec couldn’t be fixed and improved until it was defined better. I didn’t have any defines for it I just had a concept that trying to fix it in the middle instead of at the start would not do anything but create another random wave of imbalance. And imbalance is worse than a lack of improvement to me.
Of late, as I’ve now spent the past year and a half (with plans to stay where I am) in low sec I’ve been able to experience other people’s trials and tribulations, successes and failures in low sec space. I’ve watched various issues pop up again and again and I too have lamented at what seems to be the neglect of low sec space.
However, reading up on the threads about the new hacking game and the changes to the loot tables for Odyssey I had something click a bit. Right now, it seems that CCP has listened to our screams of protest over the wads of trash they were giving out for loot and improved the drop rates. I will go and test it tomorrow, when I am off of work. This is not about the loot rates, another post will cover that. It is about the places where people were finding the loot.
The reports for the largest gains were of course, in null sec. The gains were large enough that people were expecting them to be nerfed quickly.  The gains reported in low sec were good but not as good at the ones in null sec.
My mind put together the pieces I already know and I went, “Oh. That may be a problem.”
The worry that the loot drops in null sec are too good come from the fact that many, many areas of null sec can be farmed by its inhabitants. It is a perk of possessing Sov Null space. However, like anything a perk such as that can easily be focused on in such as a way as to throw things into imbalance.
The assumption is that the loot drops in low sec will not be as good as the loot drops in null sec because it is low sec and not null sec.
And I realized, that a lot of the reason Low Sec is not properly defined is because Eve is sitting on the decaying rails of a theme park concept.
Eve is a Sandbox! We scream it from the Heavens. We hit CCP across the head with it. We parade ourselves across the internet chanting this concept. However, when Eve was first developed its structure, like the structure of so many things was based upon other concepts and expanded beyond that. For a long, long time the progression of High Sec to Low Sec to Null Sec made sense. Wormholes were added and they became the 4th space and the most dangerous space when it came to pre-created game play.
Eve does not exist upon its bounds of created content. The health of its Sandbox is its lack of linear content for the bulk of the player base. The players have created a world where a new player can go anywhere and be anywhere with anyone at any point. The game play mechanics have often supported it with roles for small ships that are valuable at low skill levels. If the concept has evolved to one where potential profit is wrapped around the risks taken then the archaic rails rotting underneath the massive sandbox that has developed above it need to be dug out and removed.
Low Sec is not an in between state of null sec and high sec. It was developed as such but it has not evolved as such. It is an independent area of the game based off its mechanics. It has perminant residents. Residents who do not want to ‘move on’ to null security space nor ‘stay curled up’ in high security space.
Wars are waged, ships are destroyed, the kills  per ship related numbers are high. While one can say ‘they shouldn’t expect to live on the land’ I will pick up their discarded ‘sandbox’ theme. Wormhole residents were not expected to evolve into a complex, highly skilled society. I doubt null sec was expected to become a big ring of mutual agreements and diplomacy.  Jita is also the center of the game. These things happened and grew organically and often adjustments were made, such as Jita’s system population cap.
I have spent a lot of time pondering income in low sec.  I’ve pointed out that we have resources that we cannot access. Things like high value moons. When Odyssey hits and the new moons are added I do not think the valuable moons will be owned by low sec residents for very long. I expected the null sec powers to sweep in and take anything static of value as they currently do. I have no problem with this. It is also the nature of the sandbox. I may not like it but I do not find it to be wrong or bad.
But, if our static resources are good enough to be taken by those who control vast swaths of space with their powers, powers that they need to finance, our space seems to be good enough to live in and be used. That is where my thoughts wandered when people praised null sec drop rates.
Why is low sec reined in by being better than high sec and not as good as null sec when the inherent danger of acquisition of non-static goods (missions, exploration, belt ratting) is as high or higher?
I’m not asking for officer drops. I’m not even asking for improved faction spawns. The fact that low sec is empire space, if mostly lawless and unpatrolled has meaning in the area of things such as that. I can easily accept lore for why it doesn’t happen. I’ve pointed out before that I think mission payouts and LP payouts need to be tweaked. I also, think that the drop tables need to be looked at as more than ‘middle ground between high sec and null sec’ with the exploration tables.
I also think low sec should have more than two types of DED site. I feel that we should have the low end sites as high sec does and we should also have two or three of the higher end sites. There seems to be no reason for 6/10 and 7/10s to not spawn in low security space.  I can understand, via lore, that higher end sites are out away from the edges of Empire but not the most basic of middle ground.
The cliff from high sec to low sec is a canyon, not a step for a player. The ability to regain what is lost needs to exist in the space where the loss is made. As long as missions and sites continue to be ‘not worth it for the risk’ the area will continue to hover in a confused, in between state.
 Low Sec needs to be freed from the cracking, decayed rails that once structured its basic concept. Even the ghetto has jobs.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Situational Preception

"How is Teon these days?"

"Oh its fine. Just some ganking of Mackinaws and Orcas in the belts going on."

"Then its not fine, is it?"

"Oh? I guess not?"

My view point. Oh, how my view point is not what it once was. Maybe it was when I was positioning my Procurer in as a warp in for an Orca gank. Perhaps it was the wormhole corp theft. I'm sure it was longer ago than either of those two events. How steep the hill of opinion has become. Without thinking, in an idle response to a question, I did not even see my own answer as abnormal.

The amusing part is that I find the Jita undock to be a place of terrible, brutal violence.  It makes me shake my head as I warp off to my insta-undock over the violence issues in high sec. The flood of duels and warp disruptors and scramblers flood the screen. Ships explode everywhere and it is a scene of chaos at all times. How can anyone live in that environment, comfortably? I often wonder as I trundle back down to low security space.

Yet, low sec isn't safe. It is just familiar  It has times when it is slow or quiet. I don't often get to experience those. More often than not, being out in space means someone is actively trying to kill me or I them. I want to do my care bearing but it comes at the high cost of awareness and attention and often losing what I was working at due to being hunted. Now, Molden Heath is even busier and that makes it harder to have those quiet times. My 'normal' day time schedule drops the bulk of my play time right into the areas prime time.  If I was more PvP focused, as in, PvP was the reason I played Eve or my only interest, it'd be fine. As it is, I just adjust and adapt because that is all you can do when you just want to carebear.

However, the masses that have been attracted to Molden Heath are not all experienced at living outside of high security space. For all of its violence  high sec is a well understood dance. If no one is at war with you, and your current value is not abnormally high, and you are not in a mining barge, your probable change of being killed is low. It creates habits of people leaving their ships out in space. They go AFK in their pods.

And they bring those habits to low sec. I think more die from the AFK ships and auto-piloting ships than from gategun mechanics due to so many of us possessing a negative sec status. When people tell them, "go to low sec and shoot whatever you find to learn PvP" it would be nice if they added in some gate and station gun warnings.

The mentality of living in low security space is different. Numbers in local are often uncomfortable. Unknown ships are a danger. Someone will shoot you for no reason other than wanting to. Neutrality is not a shield.

Sometimes I tire of that constant, sense of danger. Yet, whenever I leave it, I find myself not as engaged. I really do need to become a better hunter. It will help ease some of the stress. Yet, I find myself puzzled by those that do not see or feel that 'feeling of danger'. But then, I had an interesting conversation with someone about how seriously we take the game and how that affects the outlook on what a person does and how they do it.

Still, the flow of people not expecting violence is almost a flood some days. Planetary Conquest is having the most random side effects.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Falling Immortal

My name is Seraph. It is not the name that I was born with. I doubt it is a name that I would have given myself.

It is a name that was given to me.

I was named my first day. As the doors opened on the drop ship and I found myself standing on the edge with the wind a vicious shrieking swirl around me. I was told that I looked up to the sky and spread my arms as I leap into the air and shot towards the ground like the hand of vengeance with the after effects of an orbital strike echoing my passage.

It sounds poetic, doesn't it? It did to me when my squad leader named me. It does each time I look up for one instance before I look down. Down to the battle and fight below. This time above the sky is a dark sheet. There are no stars out. A thick cloud cover mutes the light. Yet, I know, beyond it are the stars. Across the liquid depths ships streak through the night. They are more Seraphim than I.

With that thought I launch into the air. Graceful. Powerful. Flight is mine. My leap is powered by my armor. My body tucks and rolls. Was there a time I could not fly? A point in my life where the freedom of freefall was unfamiliar to me? I streak through the air, the wind hot against my outer armor and the shriek would deafen me without my helmet. Below is the ground. Explosions rip across the buildings as they expand by the second. What was a small point becomes larger, and larger until it consumes my view between the plumes of smoke and clouds of debris. The ground rushes towards me and I should be afraid. I should taste death at this time. I should know of it.

But I do not. And I never will.

Even as my servos kick in and slow my descent I've already twisted into a crouch. My rifle slides into  my hand, The motion is smooth.  do not notice it. It is an extension of me. It is a part of my hand as much as my hand is a part of my arm. I do not think. I move.

The flare of energy as my descent slows surrounds me. It explodes out as I land and jump, cover fire already laid as I sprint across the field. Behind me, the rest of my squad lands. My overview ticks them off as their icons flare into existence. I notice, but I notice it somewhere in the back of my mind because I am too busy surviving.

Even as the grenade lands beside me I’ve twisted aside. Up is an option and it is one I take. Over is my path, across the armored vehicle as I jam my rifle against the crease of armor behind the gunners head. He falls forward, his hands spastic against the trigger for a moment. Plasma splashes across the ground leaving hissing holes behind.  I’m already gone, red icons splashed out across my screen as my targets are acquired.

I know they are there.

They know I am here.

Let the dance begin.

The heavy units have landed. The ground shudders with the thuds of armor and the roar of the HAVs are deafening. I fall back and swing wide to the edge of our formation. There are more of them but sometimes numbers are not such an advantage. I went up again and then down as I slide past a surprised rear guard. His surprise was short lived as steel sabot shatters  his armor and pulverizes flesh. Even as his squad noticed he was down I was among them. My death dealing deliberate atop the red sunsoaked roof.

Going in loud has its advantages. These precious instants of surprise were mine. My gun spits and bodies fall. I withdraw even as they react. Agility. Skill. Knowledge. It is all that holds things together sometimes. But even they can be overcome by eagerness. And eagerness meets me in a shower of brilliant plasma that spatters against my armor, shattering it and melting my body. I’d scream. But why? It won’t help. It never has. I fall back, a leg compromised. But experience is mine. I twist as I fall and drag myself over the ledge. For a moment, one moment, I am free as shots pass over me.

But an uncontrolled fall is not flight.

I slam into the catwalk even as my last grenades went off on the roof above me. Inside my suit my soft body cannot compensate like the metal and synthetic exoskeleton that I wear. I try to suck in breath and instead choke on my own collapsed lung. That moment sucks. The one where you need to breath and cannot. It never gets easier to experience. You just know that it’s not the end. The panic is still there with its soft edges and fuzzy colors. But you can ignore it. It isn’t useful to anyone and will only make things harder later.

Thankfully, there are nanobots. The pain goes unnoticed through the red tinted haze that is my awareness. They slip into my body and begin their repairs even as I crawl to my feet and slide into the shelter of an overhang. I can hear the rhythmic thuds of the heavy weapons as they work past my location. This is one ambush that will not be sprung. The whooshing roar of an exploded vehicle echoes against the walls around me. The air is tinted red with flames. They cause the dirt to look almost black and suck the color from the scant foliage that has survived this long.

“Seraph?” Collosus sounds calm. They know I am still in play. I flare my locator. I can’t speak yet. It’s still too soon. Footsteps shake the catwalk. I prepare to aim when Collosus’s identifier flashes across my screen. He is fast and efficient, that medic. In moments my body hums with nanobots as it knots at speeds that would disturb me if I had not become so used to them.

I pull myself to my feet and take a deep, pain filled breath. Collosus is already on the move. He is like a ghost as he slips through the gunfire and tends the fallen. Most rise but a few are out of play for now. Those he passes. His job is to keep as many people going as he can. We have a limited supply of bodies. Pain and patches is the name of the game this time.

Like me. Back on my feet I’m down the catwalk and sprinting across a road. I ignore the soreness. My body is almost repaired. The pain is a ghost of a memory from biological status systems I no longer need. In moments, I’m behind the cover fire that erupts from the forge guns. I apply a burst of speed to catch the transport as its about to land. I roll onto the floor and hands pull me into a seat.

“We’re out numbered,” says Green Alert to those of us who can pay attention. I don’t tell him that I had noticed. He is not really asking. He’s calm. But he is always calm. “That doesn’t mean shit. We just have to move fast. They are not the only ones with friends. We have a series of objectives and we are going to hit them loud and proud. There isn’t time for guesswork or cleanup. They are dropping new bodies faster than we can. Our transports are delayed in space and our reserves running out.” Even as he spoke an explosion landed in the middle of our heavy armor. Bodies went flying as suppressive fire burned down a trio of light assault vehicles.

Their signals flickered out. I frowned. Besides me, Run Runner shifted a bit. His armor was almost black from soot.

That happens sometimes. Those delays. The battles above our heads are as ferocious as the ones we throw ourselves into. Only, in many ways, they are worse. Neutral parties prey on the space lanes. They don’t care for our objectives or our goals.Most have been so long from a planet they could not remember what a breeze felt like . They have never sucked in the burning fumes of a exploded cargo transport or felt the burn of shrapnel shred their body. They are encased in a protective shell strong enough to beat back the cold death of space.

“I want armor to clear to the objective. The installation needs to be secure. It is the only reason we're here. The weather isn't that nice. They are clustered around it. A strike is available if we can get the beacon on their position.” I hold out my hand. Green Alert only nods as he gives me the beacon codes. My specialty is getting into tight situations. Sometimes I get out.

The drop ship leaps into the sky. We adjust with it. We are used to it. It roars forward its guns pouring fire down across the battlefield.  Behind it, the heavy armor and vehicles reinforce the cleared path. It is only moments before the landing pads spread out and with a nod to Green Alert, I launch myself into the sky.

This is not flight. This is the dive of a predator. I slam to the ground and spring forward with the momentum. My gun in my hand. No ammunition conservation. It is push. Push. Push. I dart and I dive. Bodies fall and more replace them. I slip around a shed and slip my knife from its sheath. For a moment, it is stealth. I watch the sniper. I am so close I can see down the long scope of his gun at the heavy armor he is about to take down.

Except that he dies first. I rip my knife free and move past his body. There is no time to gloat. There never is. There are things to do. The replay is for later. The here and now matter. I need to get to the target. We’re fully committed. I duck back behind the support and use the line as my cover.

The installation is tucked back against a cliff. I slip between a gap in the reinforced wall and make my way behind them. They are distracted by the incoming fire. Temptation is hard. I could kill so many now. But there are more. More than I can kill. My satisfaction would bring failure here, in the shadow of my objective. One deep breath. Then two. I bring myself under control and slip towards the objective.

The attack is pressing them back and keeping their attention. Most have are here to protect the installation. I round a corner and am surprised enough that I fire my pistol into the face of someone. I don’t know who. I step over his body to find my goal. "Seraph, you in?"

"Yes." The battle was behind me, now. The whump of explosions and the rattle of rifles a dim echo from my alcove.

The orbital bombardment code glows before my eyes. I send it out. A light flares across my visor and that of everyone else's as the code is accepted by our support above. A timer starts as they target. I don’t care. They are falling back and the installation is here. I can gain access now, allowing the next push clear entry.

“Seraph, are you clear?” Green Alert did not earn his name idly. He sees all and knows all. I smile.

Clear is such a lovely word. A clear sky is lovely. A clear conscious is comforting. A clear shot can change the entire game. Clarity is often sought but rarely gained. “I won’t be clear today. We won’t be able to push them back without the bombardment.” Like echoes my scans show that they are closing in. The heavy armor is fanning out as it withdraws. My visor shows it as beautiful shapes as the blue and red icons swirling around each other.

He was quiet for a moment. I could feel his sorrow at what I had asked him to do. It warmed me more then anything else would. We did not voluntarily leave anyone behind but sometimes it was not a voluntary choice. “I understand. Peace and Honor, Sister.”

“Peace and Honor, Brother.”

Can an angel sing? Of course they can. My song was the beacon that slashed through the atmosphere. My chorus was the fleet above me, hidden by the atmosphere. I was the conductor of this song. My wand was the console. My fingers rippled across the interface even as my implants churned codes to and through me. A whump sounded nearby and then I staggered under the shock wave as our transport erupted into a ball of molten metal

The timer ends.

Now it begins.

The skies illuminate above me. The lights sears a harsh outline on the keys even as my fingers flicker across them. Time has run out for me.

I can hear the scream of the atmosphere as it is violated by raw energy. As the last access code shatters into the computer’s core my reality becomes a brilliant, searing image. My own form is shadowed around me as great wings of energy obliterate everything in their path.

Myself included.

But I am an angel. They call me Seraph for a reason. For I will fall again from the heavens. My guns are my sword. My servos are my wings. And the fury of heaven will be called at my command again.

Because I am immortal.

Fiction Friday?

I keep seeing Draken at Sand, Cider and Spaceships, do fiction Fridays. As a follower, with little individualism  I've felt that I'm left out of a loop I didn't know existed. I decided I would have my own Fiction Friday and here it is!

Actually, most of it is BS other than wanting to do Fiction Friday because it sounds cool. The idea came to me during the presentation of the Origins Trailer at Fanfest. While some found it well done but uninspiring my mind was burning with imagery, ideas, possibilities, futures, characters, and events.

Today, I hide behind a shield of 'interpretation'.

This story is a bit different. It's based in the Eve world but not Eve Online. Instead, today I tap into Dust 514.

Falling Immortal is my interpretation of playing Dust 514.

I like military books a lot, wars, ground fighting, armor, cyborgs, solders  Dust inspires that for me int he world of Eve. Instead of spaceships I have the nitty-gritty heat of the fight. The dust solider's landing was my inspiration. I tried (and may have failed here and there) to use a current tense. I have never tried this before in any of my writing. I've normally disliked books written this way. Yet, to try to capture the immediate speed and the flicker of motion that is a First Person Shooter I switched to it and I personally, like the results.

It excites me a bit. I updated Dust and ran a few matches. I don't know what I was doing. I did kill at least one other person. I know the game is deeper into the meta but I just wanted the sweep and the feel. I still can't get into Dust 514. It is a first person shooter. I am not drawn into actual game play no matter how cool I find everything else about the game. However, I am not bored by the concepts and ideas contained inside of it. Thinking about it, visualizing it, feeling it, interacting with it through Eve Online... that I enjoy.

I then injected a bit of music into it. While I am not big into music, certain stories get caught upon strands of music and it helps to carve the feel of them.

Evanescence - "Going Under"

I'm going under 
Drowning in you 
I'm falling forever 
I've got to break through


So go on and scream
Scream at me I'm so far away 
I won't be broken again 
I've got to breathe - I can't keep going under

I dive again

I know that I am not writing true to game play. I do hope that I captured to feel of it and brought it to life some. It is an attempt at something very new. I release it to fly or to fall.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Odyssey - Disliking Relic and Data Sites

I wound up having a somewhat bad morning in Eve where I forgot what I was doing and lost a ship and some boosters because of it. Trying to do to many things at once was not the best idea I had this morning. I next found myself having issues with Eve Mentat pulling my corporation sell orders. Tired, I decided to go back to the test server to see some of the changes and try out the new scanning game.

First: The new launcher deployment I'm getting used to. I keep logging myself out because I am used to hitting the PLAY button and after that, logging in. I'm somehow with it. I also don't care for the new position of the server numbers or maybe it is how it is laid out. I think the server population county should have its own color so that it stands out against the rest of the text.

However, due to the extended downtime CCP is saying sorry and giving out free skillpoints.
"During tomorrow's downtime we will add 50.000 skillpoints (representing roughly a day’s worth of intense skill training) to the character with the highest number of skill points on each active account (the presumed main)."
A change discovered by someone testing and confirmed when they sent a bug report: T3 (Strategic Cruisers) cannot enter 3/10 and 4/10 complexes. I'm not a fan of T3 cruisers. I have a legion as my probing ship simply because I needed a decent probing ship that had the tank to not die to 3 NPC frigates as my Anathema did. I will now probably switch back to an Anathema. It is cheaper then the Legion and I no longer have the need for that expensive ship with the changes to radar and mag (now relic and hacking) or whatever.

Scanning has caused a lot of anger. I'm not surprised. The system was complex, full of obscure knowledge and random things that you learn or don't learn by hit or miss. Once you became comfortable with it, it was a quick and efficient system. Add in the skill training and it was very immersive in a technical way. You spent a lot of time inside of the star map's system map. The probes also flare out in a 2,012m circle meaning you can cloak in the middle of them.

Things I've Noticed:

  • Moving stuff is much smoother now. It makes a lot more sense then it did. They listened to feed back.
  • Count down is back on the probes. They are not immortal.
  • Probes are STILL magical and auto return to cargo hold. I hate this.
  • Resizing probes by moving the bubble on the screen is easier then resiting them from the menu. The menu deselects all the probes after each action. Something I find irritating.
  • 100% scanned sites are saving properly now when you move the probes off of them and rescan elsewhere
  • Jump gate effects no longer minimize your windows/hud/overview.
  • The undock button has been moved to the station services menu. Its much, much much larger.
  • I launched 7 probes just fine
I was not finding a single site to try the new mini game. Frustrated  I was bouncing from system to system and I get a message that the test server is going down for an unscheduled reboot. Sigh. Once it came back up it had to patch and then I was off again on my quest.

That is when I noticed something interesting. My cosmic signatures that I had scanned down earlier in Egbinger were there again on my scanner overview. It must have remembered them? Curious I jumped to Muttoken, where I had also scanned. It seems that no it is not what I have scanned before. The system scanner automatically shows you that there are unscanned signatures in space. I don't think I fully realized this before. Now it seems that not only are the normal warp-to-able anoms on the scanner but also it is showing sites that need to be scanned down.  

I decided to drop probes and check. It seems to be so. Now you know how many signatures are in system by the initial system overlay scan. That is kind of blah. It takes away a lot of the wonder. The excitement when a site is found. The exhaustion when someone else has already done it. Now jump into a system, let the system scan itself, warp to the next gate and go. I stopped and scanned the systems that had no signatures on the scanner just to see if I was missing something or wrong. Nope.

I went to a Radar aka Date site and there were 3 NPCs. What happened to no combat in the Data/Archaeological sites? I must have missed that post in the threadnought or another dev post that has sprung up. I spent my entire time pointed and being shot by the NPCs in the first site.

The mini game is much more polished. It is still click click click but stuff now happens. I managed to get a spawn. The little tools work. I think the entire thing is stupid. It is not engaging at all. It is a rediculious click fest. I find more interest in chasing down the spreading cans then this 'mini game'.

I realized that my cargo hold was already full so I don't know if I actually got anything. I did grab about half a dozen of the little containers that spew out. I docked, dumped it and went to do more of the site. Only it despawned on me.  I went to find another one and that is when I learned that I am also very bad at scanning suddenly. I keep losing signatures. I don't have any of the scanning modules attached to my ship and I wonder if that is what I am missing. If so, that kind of sucks. I finally found a site to do and immediately ran into problems.

The site structure is not changed. This causes the new hacking container that spins to spawn inside of the large collidable object. It is ridiculous.

  •  I want to correct a slight misunderstanding. This was a miscommunication between me and Soundwave about the NPC removal and I apologize for not spotting this earlier.
  • NPCs are not being removed from wormhole sites.
  • We are only removing NPCs from "normal" k-space hacking and archaeology signatures (NPCs will only spawn in those sites when you fail at the challenge).
  • No changes are being made to NPCs in wormholes or COSMOS or other hacking/archaeology sites.
  • The reason for the removal is to allow explorers to play the game without having a combat ship on standby.
I guess my dreams of an Anathema are gone. One of my failed hacks caused a can to explode, damaging me through shields into armor without my shields going down much. It looks like if you fail the hack twice, it blows up and damages you. Again, dreams of fragile CovOps ships doing these sites, poof. Most of what I collected was also complete garbage. I was stunned.

When I warped out the entire structure exploded. Fancy way to despawn I guess. My drop was complete shit. Not only was I barely able to grab anything because of the broken structure but what I did grab was absolute trash.

That was from a data site. There are several types of cans that it spits out. More than a bit grumpy I went out to another system to try again, hopefully on a non-broken site. I stopped to fill out a bug report because I was mad and I'd be pissed if it made it like that onto the main server. I file that under 'broke ass shit'.

The clicking isn't what I call fun but it is what it is. This means you can scan down a site someone else is in and steal their cans. When you tractor in the cans (an automatic option upon double clicking if they are close enough) when it hits your cargo hold a tiny icon appears just under the safety button that shows you what you got. I only noticed this because an NPC was busy killing me due to my horrible ability to use lasers.

Hoping that I was just having bad luck I forged on to try to find some more 'data' sites looking for the decypters that make them so worthwhile. So far there are materials cans, equipment cans, scrap cans, and data cans. So far, everything I have picked up has been trash. I don't always get decent drops in Radar sites but this is useless, worthless junk. After doing 3 Radar sites and 1 Mag site (I'm too irritated to call them by their new names) and fighting through mini-game after mini-game, chasing cans, clicking and clicking and clicking and all of this in low sec (also being scramed by rats and such things) my haul was a waste of my time.

I expected to write this long thing about how the changes to mag sites and radar sites were totally worth it and how they would give greater value to group play without punishing groups by splitting small drops. However, solo players would still receive the same average reward. It was win win for everyone.

I am incredibly disappointed in my experience with the scanning system today on the test server.

Right now, I want to know where all the encryptors are and after that, is this really supposed to be worth my time? Normally, I get some machine parts, some blue prints, a decryptor or two and many some random things. In a mag site I wind up with handfuls of low value salvage. This, is pathetic and not worth my time or anyone else's time to do these sites. I can only hope this is not the final drop roll because I'm rather disgusted with the time I spent doing this. The quality and profibility of Radar and Mag sites have just tanked. I'm hoping that I just had an abnormal day and poeople will get decent amounts of stuff somehow. I've had plenty of days where I didn't get much useful but something about getting heaps and heaps of trash bothers me. 

Now, according to CCP Soundwave the loot tables are better and they readded faction tower BPCs to the mix.
"Loot table was doubled and more items were added (cap rigs, faction towers etc). It's more valuable than current TQ."

I decided to end my session by looking at the new podding animation. It is very clear now that you are dead. No matter how scrolled up there is a big, flaming explosion in your face. Your corpse then floats around as a black outline and a notification in the bottom left hand of the screen notifies you that your clone is activating and to update it.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

TCS: Pushing Prices

When I started Eve, I had no intent to get into the market. The market, as the complex economical system that it is, was not a blip on my Radar. I had the sense to go to another station if I saw a cheaper price and I learned to move items to buy orders for better prices but I was not and never though that I would be as into the market as I have become in the course of this new adventure.

I don't think that I'm a market guru. My basic situation is simple. I buy it at one location and list it higher at the next. Yet, I've gone from a simple plan of having some stuff to a market that gaining momentum as people are drawn to it. Listing items today, I noticed something that I'd started to see a few weeks ago. Now I am seeing it across a broad spectrum of the market around me. The people of high sec have started to under cut me by .01 ISK. 

I am over joyed.

I never promised that I would be the lowest price in the region. I cannot do that. Nor, do I feel that I have to do that to fight for my market share. The difference of .01 ISK might keep someone in high sec but it will not lure someone out of low sec. The residents of low sec are my priority and that is where I need to focus my time when I do have a price war with someone. What I promised was reasonable prices based off of Jita sell orders.  I feel I am delivering that.

Even if someone is .01 ISKing me or whatever handful of change they are tossing to be below my price, in the grand scheme of things, it does not matter. If they feel that they have to undercut my prices in high sec to get sales I am winning the battle.

My entry into the market in the middle of March is very obvious. Everything starts to flatten out as I forcibly push the market down by maintaining my prices. My own price fluctuation are a reflection of Jita's price fluctuation  I couldn't keep this particular module stocked more then 72 hours for the first few weeks the store was active.

Because TCS is a social project I will introduce items upon request. If the item sells I will continue to stock it. If the item does not move I will apologize but note that it is too special snowflake of a request. I have a lot of listing power but I don't have endless abilities.

However, when I do undertake these projects I often see situations like this. The Molden Heath area, in general, is devoid of rigs. I've been working them into my game plan which seems to expand every single time I turn around. That is a different topic, however. What I point out here is that this rig is not an unreasonable rig to list nor an expensive rig to list. However, the two other listings, one is in High Sec and the second belongs to the group that has recently moved into Klingt. That is what I do not want TCS to do to people. 

As I explained (probably over explained) to Naughty when she was debating selling her loot in Bosena instead of Rens, I am making my ISK by volume. For a fast, immediate ISK injection TCS is not always going to be the best place. I turn over a large amount of goods every day (around 500M-1B a day now) but I do not sell lots of one thing. If someone comes for a fit they may only need 2 Warrior II's to complete their flight. Therefore, if she is selling two flights of Warrior II's left after a fight she'd slowly get the ISK over several days. I do not think that this is a bad thing but I want her to be aware of the differences between managing TCS as a supply entity and being able to go to Rens or any active hub. It is not that it is a bad thing it is just a different method of ISK accumulation. TCS is about time and volume and the combat of over prices wares. 

I'm not going to trot down to Klingt and list a market there. If they wish to overcharge their corporation and alliance mates, that is their choice. At least they will not be the only price in the region and people, if they look at the market, will be aware that the prices available to them may be a far cry from their only option.

Denial of Service

[20:32:38] Virtueorvice > Kill: Bilasyn Bongarest Aideron (Cormorant) no orbital strike for you

Vov so neatly sums up one of the parts Planetary Conquest. With the groups that are coming in and out of the area our tactics have changed a lot. A lot of PvP often turns into an ISK war. The most expensive ships are taken down first. Even if an entire fleet is lost, if the ISK lost is less then the ISK gained it is often considered a win. It is why expensive ships are used for bait and the bait takers try to kill it and go before the baiters arrive. ISK is dangled as a lure and the culture has grown up around it.

But, time is also a factor. There is a limited amount of time on grid to make decisions. If one wraps themselves up on displayable statistics, such as ISK efficiency they limit targets. However, if one moves beyond that simple measuring stick the possibilities become much, much more interesting.

Orbital Bombardment ammunition appears to be, so far, small ammunition. This has led to a large numbers of destroyers on the district beacons waiting to unleash their strike onto the Dust player's below.  I was reading on a forum that currently, the Eve ships are represented by blue and red squares in the sky. I am curious if any non-allied ship is seen as red or ones engaged in battle or only those that belong to the other side. It would be fantastic if the grid represented the neutrals in some way. Grey squares, oh noes! The most deadly squares?

Killing the possible bombardment ships and getting out before their count has already become a pastime of some. Some have fierce defense fleets and some have none. I've ever heard whispers of Titans sitting on the district, equipped with small guns to do bombardments. I want to disbelieve that.

It is a tactic however, that creates a situation for the fleet doing the bombardment. Keep us off the field or equip the ships better to get off the bombardment. By flying a small, fragile, cheap ship to minimize loss the door to also opened to create loss.

I've finally gotten around to plugging in Large Projectile Turrets V.

Sugar Kyle, coming soon, in a Tornado near you.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

I be Jumping

Unexpectedly, I find myself in possession of 3 jump capable ships (4 counting the Sin) and a total of five capital class ships. The Orca counts (technically) as a capital ship. It is the baby capital. The Charon is also one too! They require capital ship construction to build.

Beyond that, I have Snowflake, my Thanatos who I can fly (if not that well yet) and use for a suitcase. There is my new Chimeria (not yet named), who Kenrin was kind enough to rig up for me before Odyssey hit and my rig cost went from something reasonable to 3 times the cost of the ship. I now have a leased Jump Freighter which will improve my life and give me a new level of stress at the same time. However TCS will now be stocking more, larger hulls.

Capital ships have an amazing ability. That is their jump drive. That drive allows them to cross vast amounts of space in a few breaths. It is what allows Pandemic Legion to hot drop your cruiser gang from their staging system. It is also what makes cynosural fields the life blood of a capital ship pilot.

The entire realization, as I logged in and moved the Rhea out of its mothballed location and to Bosena for later sorting out, that I am not only a capital pilot (Chella and another alt if we get technical) but I am somewhat familiar comfortable with the basics of moving them. That's as far as I'll go. But moving capitals is not something that everyone spends their time fretting about. However many do and I am now one of many.

I forget that a large portion of the game has no interaction with capital ships outside of the fleets of Orcas and Freighters that flow across the space lanes of high security Empire. That capitals may be a mythical creatures of vast power and size. I forget that not everyone knows the tense stress of being a capital pilot and the various levels of helplessness that it also entails. They don't spend their time pricing cynos and liquid ozone and making sure to have hoarded piles of isotopes in important positions. I never needed isotopes. What were they? Now I have piles of them everywhere because I am terrified of running out. The fear of being stranded. The expensive, fragile box that relies on a fully different account to make it from point A to point B. And those points have limitations as well.
I think one of the first things any capital ship pilot does is make a series of cynosural field capoable alternate characters. These characters are scattered around space, with a stack of ships in their hangar ready to undock and create beacons to move, or to save, the capital ship pilot. And you always need more. However, these beacons work under a series of their own laws.  I am no cyno expert. I won't do anything adventurous with a cyno. Not when someone is trusting me to get their capital where it needs to be. That includes myself.

 As I have been taught, a capital ship appears within a 5k circle (square?) from the center of the cynosural field.  If said ship hits a structure it will bounce. Capitals are slow. Very slow. Slowing down from a bounce is hard. "Why am I going so fast?" they ask, waving their nubbly little legs (if Moros) and going, "weeee" as the actual pilot goes, "nooo!" When cynoing into a station the undock needs to be large enough to allow the ship time to count down its 10 second dock counter and dock before it bounces out of the range of the station if the cyno is poorly placed.

Positioning that cyno is important. It is something that has to be taught and worked through. Blindly asking someone to light a cyno may wind up with a multi-billion isk disaster. I once nipped this in the bud when I saw someone ask someone else to light them a cyno. The lighter agreed. I happened to know they'd never let one before and had no idea what they were doing. The scent of a jump freighter or carrier careening out of control will attract sharks from systems away.

Or next door.

The above image  looks as if it is a gorgeous Amarr station back dropped against the bestness of red space. Lean forward and inhale. One may scent death in this image. If one is to look closely the ghosts of countless capital ships moan as they circle the station looking for its minute dock radius.

Let me introduced you to Oddelulf, Station 1, home of Ueberlisk, the boatman and King of Oddelulf.

Sleep with one eye open 
Grippin' your pillow tight 

Exit light 
Enter night 
Take my hand 
We're off to never never-land 

Now I lay me down to sleep 
Pray the lord my soul to keep
And if I die before I wake
Pray the lord my soul to take

Hush little baby don't say a word 
And never mind that noise you heard 
It's just the beast under your bed 
In your closet in your head 

Ueberlisk lives in the top station in Oddelulf. This station also happens to be a kickout station. The undocks on stations like these is very, very small. However, people like to cyno their carriers and jump freighter's onto the station and undock them. What seems innocent suddenly... is not.

Sometimes this happens or that. Sometimes this happens and then that when someone tries to rescue themselves. And he hunts as well so this, and that happens to. But the amount of absurd things that happen on that undock amazes me. They are not only bad cynos they are bad station choices. All worries that you have as a capital pilot that you do not have (as much on the station thing but still concerns) with regular ships.

That is why it is important to teach people how to place cynos. I have all of my accounts cross training as cyno pilots. I've been working to create a stable of emergency cynos in every accounts hangar in case things go bad and someone needs to undock right now. It takes a week to get it done and it is invaluable. Capitals are our logistic workhorses outside of high security space. I'm not arguing or commenting on force projection or the old days that existed before I spawned into existence and started blogging everything I laid my eyes upon.

If your life is going to involve capital pilots, ask someone to teach you how to place your cyno and learn cyno to IV. It may come in handy at that most unexpected time. If it comes down to an emergency exit cyno being needed you want everyone capable of helping the capital fleet bail.