Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Scent of Winter

I think the scent of January is waking the corporation. Holidays, DayZ, Minecraft, have all had their way with us. While none of these things will be put aside I think that our activity level will improve when people do not have as many social obligations as the holidays tend to bring for most people. The low activity level is not bad in so far as 'is 7-2 dying?' It is more frustrating for those who are active. Having been like a cold lizard, curled on a rock waiting for the sun, my activity level has been horrid.

The Nosy Gamer does weekly stats about game activity. He comments about Eve's plummet during the Holidays. I am not surprised by it and I did comment that I believed it was a side effect of Eve's player base.

My corporation is close. We know a lot about each other On Holiday days they are often intertwined with their families. People travel to see parents or spend time with their kids who are home. Our activities decrease because real life social needs increase. While the concept of the friendless gamer is a popular one, I play with a bunch of people who has busy active lives and choose to play internet spaceships as a hobby because they enjoy it. We all know when we get off work, we plan ops around people work and travel schedules, when we go  on vacation we leave notes on the forum so that people know why we've suddenly fallen off the face of the earth.

It is one of Eve's charms. Busy in the winter, slow in their summer. The opposite of other games. Family. Work. Responsibility all come before our spaceships. It is remarkably healthy, if irritating to our spaceship life.

Thank god for Jabber.

Next week I go on vacation. I'll get more into that later in the week. After that, deployment comes and I expect to be refreshed and back into Eve full swing. I've already made some contacts to churn out a few stacks of modules for my new store. Once the final location is revealed I'll be able to estimate what type of market I need to set up for the corp.

Vand is doing an amazing job with the contract market. We have almost 100 fitted ships up. I will supplement that with a full Tycoon V alt with all her 300+ orders available to stock the corporation market. This time I am going to separate her from TCS because this market will be started with my seed money. Last time I was carrying about a 4 billion ISK balance of items for our corporate market. TCS has grown recently and does not have that type of ISK available to liquidate for the corporation. I'll step in and finance it out of my personal wallet and take any profits in as my income instead of TCS income.

Last deployment I didn't PvE. This time I will bring along PvE ships (or what we consider PvE ships... other's who come to visit may disagree about our ideas of PvE fits...). I expect that we will not PvE but I will plan for it. But, because I didn't PvE last deployment I went six months without making ISK. This time around I'm going to try to stream line my booster business (I need to restock that because my last restock has been chewed through and I've been disinterested in hard core POS work) and my mobile store into part of my personal income vs my TCS income.

Now, TCS and I are the same thing but I try to keep my hands out of TCS ISK and items. Last time TCS ran both markets because my market alt who is also my Jump Freighter alt still propped up one corner of TCS. I've since corrected that and she is now free and clear to do my personal sales vs the store's sales. I feel ridiculous separating them on such fine lines but it is what I do.

The scary thing is that 300 available orders is not a lot of items to support my corporation. Last time I refused to stock hulls. People can order them as they need them from Jita and I just bring them in instead of stocking one of everything. I also refused to stock guns. Those again are items people can pre-order.  I think that I have a better handle on the task at hand but it is still daunting to get it into full swing. I'll get it taken care of.

Sugar will finish Heavy Assault Cruisers V by the end of the week. One of my alts will also be able to start her life as a booster with 4 out of the 5 trained to specialist V and the ability to fly two races of T3 (the only two I care about). She doubles as my booster maker (amusingly enough) which means I need to bring another alt into the fold who can manage the POS so that she can go with me. POS management isn't hard thankfully and she just needs to be able to make a stack of boosters. I'll sort that out tomorrow.

ISK. I need to spend ISK. I need to buy a boosting boat and fit that out so that I can try to support fleets. I'm nervous as hell about it but I want to be able to anyway. As long as someone holds my hand... because yes boosters how evil.

Okay! Lots on my mental plate but I'm feeling good about it. I'm going to curl back up on my rock for right now. It's comfortable here.

Monday, December 30, 2013

YC 115 Pod and Planet Fiction Contest

YC 115 Pod and Planet Fiction contest results are in. Rhevas took the Grand Prize.

I placed second which is where I was last year. The difference is that this year they allowed teh same person to win multiple times. This was not a rule last year. I do not know where the change came in. It may be because there were fewer entries or maybe the judges wanted to judge the stories. Winning stories were disqualified last year if their writer won a higher award in another catagory or something like that.

I wrote four stories and all of them placed to my surprise. What I wrote is as different and varied a hand as can be. I wrote as inspiration hit and the responses to them are just as varied. I am as bad at figuring out what people like to read for creative writing as I am at blogging.

Boots to the Ground; Fire in the Sky was my favorite entry and I spent weeks on it for it to do the poorest. ECM Nightmare was written in fourty minutes while giggling. In general I am strongest with first person view point it seems.

I think that I tanked Boots by trying to crush it into 5k words. Its a much bigger idea and I was so excited about it that I wanted to display it here. I think I will unravel it and stretch its wings.

What I have learned is that the stories that come the easiest do the best. It is the same with the blog posts. I know that I am not a complex writer. I like telling stories with sensable, likeable characters. I may be simplistic in my writing  because of it but I write what I like to curl up with and sink into. I like stories so that is what I try to write.

One of my reviews from last year was my need for editing. In was disappointed when I was told that editing was one of the tie breaking deals. I was overly optimistic that what I wrote would have more weight then what I did wrong with grammer and spelling. That is the overly hopeful dream of mine. That my dyslexia will not step in the way of things and everyone will understand what it is like not to see spelling mistakes or mangle words so badly it confuses Google.

That is a pipe dream. Instead of indulging and expecting such nonsense In went to people for editing. It is painfully humbling to do it. I try not to be prideful but laying my creavity down in that way hurts. I, thankfully have some amazing assets in the form of skilled people who understand my needs and are willing to give me what I do not have.

Wex was my editor. He spent hours and hours crawling through my words. Having done the editing thing for real he added a layer of polish I could not. That leaves my errors and gaps my errors as a writing.

In my desire to say thank you and express beyond words how much that effort means to me, I decided that I would give him some of my reward if I placed.

I'll be sending Wex some PLEX to say thank you. I do not think I'd have done as well as I did without his help.

Contests are stressful. This one is good for my writing. I still hate that contest feeling. I'll still enter next year and hopefully bring further improvements to the table.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

I Jump into a Jaguar

I put Minecraft down to PvP.

You see, I had just had an adventure that involved me getting stuck on a tropical island hours away from home slowly making my wayback. I had several random chance encounters that boggle the mind (I may write about them) and I was in route to my husband when I heard the boys get hotdropped and a falcon hit the field. Dinner plans went on hold for a little bit.

They were gatecamping hoping that this exact thing would happen. I'm hanging out on coms with them even though I am not actively participating in game. I heard Diz say, "We're going to have a fight here," as an Arazu jumped in. They pointed the Arazu. A Cyno went up and things came through. Diz started calling primaries.

I closed Minecraft (one can't idle, Zombies will kill you at night) and flipped Sugar into a Jaguar (having twenty fitted), undocked and joined the fleet (session change would slow my undocking so fleet second) and landed as the Widow died. I shot the Panther and burned out to take out the Manticore. It looked like the Falcon had already been taken care of. Super Jaguar to the rescue!

I don't think the Manticore expected me. I burned 74k to him, remembered to overheat my point, nabbed him, and chewed into him while drones were sent. I figured that the Manticore, who was lobbing torpedos, needed to die and that was the most effective use of my Jaguar. I took him down and went to assist the Proteus who jumped into high sec.

At that point things got weird. A Panther and a Talwar landed back, at range, from the gate. We pointed and killed them. Why that Panther came back, alone, is unknown. Next, we cleaned the field. I logged in an alt to clean up all of the T2 wrecks on the field. 50 million in salvage latter I undocked a hauler to finish looting the field. 48 million in loot later we didn't do badly with what the boys had looted we more then repayed for the lost ship.

The battlereport is a mess from all their killing during the day. http://seventwo.killmail.org/?a=kill_related&kll_id=21130543

For this fight: they had: Panther x2, Widow, Manticore x2, Proteus, Arazu, Falcon, Hound, Talwar.

We had: Sacrilege x2, Gnosis x2, Proteus (who changed to a Falcon), Exequror, and my Jaguar and a Sentinel popped in there sometime.

Diz did comment on Jabber that they probably did not expect the extra people to undock. That is understandable. How often have we roamed out and had a system with twenty people docked and only two poke their noises out or seem active?

Now off to make dinner for my very tolerant spouse.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

"And I call thee..."

The Almost Ganked Target > they won't fight me straight up, and I guarantee one of them will call me a cowrad for being too smart to go to low sec after them
The Almost Ganked Target > going into low sec after them is nothing but a trap... patience is my main weapon against them.. they WILL get stupid & blink first
I think cowardice is thrown around with the same gross disregard as honor. What is a coward? For some, it is a rational decision of self preservation. For others, it is the fact that a rational decision for self preservation was even made. In some way, disregarding oneself for loss is amazing and being sensible is not. I firmly ally myself with a coward.

Earlier tonight, I was spinning around an idea wrapped around "when is it time to dock up?" I didn't get far with that initial thought. I don't really know. I dock when I want to dock. The idea came from the fact that a particular group has taken to avoiding the boys after several steamroller attempts. The boys would like for them to continue to undock and engage after a few (one sided) good fights. This particular want is one often seen echoed. Undock. Undock. Undock into me. The boys know that no one wants to be stomped over and over again but the hope is always there. To me, them undocking after a certain point is just silly. Docking makes sense. While the term was not used in the above discussion, I know many, many other people that would immediately spit out coward.

So, what is a coward?

Coward

  • someone who is too afraid to do what is right or expected
  • someone who is not at all brave or courageous
To define it one has to look at what courage is.


  • the ability to do something that you know is difficult or dangerous
How amusing. If we move in the line of the exact definitions then to be cowardly is to be courageous at times. For the amount of ridicule and analysis, scorn and disparagement one makes for decisions that are not full of aggression and explosions, walking that other path is courageous.

Is it not wanting to lose your stuff because someone else wants you to? Is it not taking a fight you do not want to take and are not prepared to take against an enemy that is in a better state then you are for said fight? Is it just a term used to insult people who are irritating because they play a different way? Is anyone really a coward in a game? Some would say, "they are just pixels!" Sure. I do not think that is in dispute. What is is how one wishes to use those pixels.

In the opening conversational snippets that particular person avoided his gank. Two things happened. 1: We did not have enough people. 2: He was shield repping his freighter with the Orca. Combine and shake and we all died when he was in 3% structure. Oh well. It was something to do and we got a bit out of it playing with the new warp mechanics in a mixed sized ganking fleet. We are often willing to take a chance and eat the potential loss for the possible success.

I found his comment amusing because of the 'going into low sec after them' comment. It is smart not to follow us into our den. While in the charming forum of smack talk such things are suggested the barrier of low sec to high sec is like a wall. I do not know what mistake he is waiting for us to make. We make plenty of them. Such is why there are days when the killboard banner needs to be a bucket with a red paint brush. I doubt I could convey that to him. The barrier of insults has been created and grows higher with each step.

There are cowardly acts in the game. I, personally, tend to see them as the ones who speak the loudest and run the fastest. They have placed themselves into the same game with the rules of bravery and caution. I don't expect a miner who is being ganked to be 'brave'. I do not expect someone out doing PvP and avoiding PvP to risk the thing that keeps their in game bills paid. After all, I play to play. Not to be courageous. Not to be a coward. I do what I want to do because I want to do it. A sin in the eyes of many.

Of course, one is not supposed to talk about those things in public. I'm not supposed to say that it is silly to call caution into question when the person is trying to avoid conflict. No more then I should question the smack talk and the insults. Yet, I ponder them when I hear them and find myself wanting to dissect the words for what they are actually saying even though I know they are not what the speaker means.

The moral of the story is that I shouldn't look at smack talk in local when tired in the evening.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Preplanned Consquences

I had a nightmare last night. I was running, with my husband, through some building. It was reminiscent of a hospital. There were security doors in the hallways that locked with a white chain. I wanted to lock the doors but he said that we'd be fine just locking the one. I let that happen and of course the guy chasing us T1000 style is fast approaching. We close, chain, and lock the last door and start digging through the room for the items we needed to build something. There was something Minecraft about the items because they needed to stack (I've been playing most of my Minecraft time with him). The bad guy just gets a dremel and saws through the lock faster then we can stack whatever we are doing. I woke up with a start, pissed off thinking, "Damn it! He procrastinates in my dreams too!"

I'm a planner by nature. It shows up on my dreams, in day to day life (my trip planning is amazing) and in Eve. Such as my use of contracts to move items in game. On my work days I often write Red Frog Contracts and stock things up in Teon to jump to Bosena on my first evening off. Sometimes, that waits till the next day. The goal, however, is to have everything purchased, moved, and set up to restock the store in an efficient manner.

I'm not perfect but I am good at it.

Eve is about using your strengths. Chatting in Eve Uni chat the discussion was about how people are all over the place and not able to find a path and settle down on that one path. It is frustrating to be sure and one reason it is frustrating is because people are imposing unreasonable limitations on themselves. Eve is a game about many things. Those things are self defined and self created but they are far from singular. For anyone to attempt to put themselves into one mold when they feel the lure of other things calling is to set themselves up for failure.

My advice during the conversation was to be good at a few things. I am a good explorer for instance. I can make my living off of it and travel by it easily. I am good at running my low sec market. I am good at planning and doing logistics and moving things. I am a good tackle pilot and an acceptable interceptor pilot.

These are things I can say that I am good at in Eve. They allow me to not suffer from a static game environment. They also allow me to use my personal strengths and personality to compliment my game play style. It is one of the reasons why comparing yourself to others is such a bad idea in this game.

It may sound odd to discuss personal reflection in a video game. I would agree in a game on rails such as Prince of Persia (I love that series). In a game where decisions are presented to the player, self reflection happens. Expand that concept out to a more sandbox based game and who and what you are as a person steps in more and more. You can be more or less then you are by choice but what you are will dictate what you do. Even success and failure, to an extent, have elements of selective choice. And really, why set oneself up for failure in recreational activities? Unless it is a fetish of course. :)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Qualms

Behnid brought up a point in a common and one reflected in a blog post about a lack of bloodlust. Often I speak about killing all the things. However, there have been hurdles that I have had to make in my game play. There are times that I have not wanted to shoot things. It may be one of those topics that I am not supposed to talk about. After all, what is a video game but indulgence in the things that we cannot or could not do. I cannot direct armies to conquer a continent as I do in Civilization nor can I spend my evenings saving the world by shooting zombies. Yet, I enjoy these violent activities and PvP in Eve is no different.

All PvP is not created equal. I do not mean on the chest beating level of who does what in combat and what is a valid fight. I do not speak of the disparagement made towards the type of PvP people chose. I more speak of the activities themselves. They are all different. To PvP in high or low or null, to gank or war dec or duel, are all different types of PvP. Like skittles, they all have a different flavor and sometimes you like the grape ones (low sec) and push the lemon (trade hub duels) to the side.

And like a skittle individual types of PvP have different textures. A crunchy shell, a chewey inside. You may eat them one by one, suck on them, nibble, or only eat the delicious perfection of grape and strawberry. For Behnid to not want to pull the trigger on a Venture is not strange. Not everyone falls into PvP in the same way.

When I first started to kill things I had a lot of problems attacking neutrals. I understood conceptually killing people who hunted us and people who were in our system. It was our home and we defended it even from casual people. I just didn't understand things like gatecamping and cyno blapping. It was a bit before I started to shift out of the thought process of having a reason to act with violence, even if I was making those reasons up to myself.

I still struggle with when I want to kill. I only like to PvP when out hunting. I do't spar with my corpmates and friends. I do not take 1v1s. I do not o to public brawls. I have not yet had the courage to try a public roam. I do not do these things because those types of spaceship violence do not appeal to me. I participate in ganks to support a fleet goal more so than having a desire to gank. I do not have any more moral or emotional qualms about what I do. I just have interest ones.

I've been thinking about PvP a lot. I haven't been in the mood to do it. This last month at work has been extremely stressful for me. I find PvP to be a stressful activity. I know that some people log in and blow up spaceships to relax. For me, PvP is a social time with people who I enjoy spending time with. It, however, also comes with a ton of stress that I am just not interested in adding onto my plate right now. I don't find anything about it relaxing and often wound up wound tight as a kite. I still enjoy it but I do not have the mental energy to expend to reach the enjoyment.

I do not think that being interested or disinterest in a type of PvP is any different than any reason to pick any target. Look at a mission ganker. Some gank for profit. Some gank to gank with no thought of profit. Nether is right. Nether is wrong. They have different motivations. As different as a lemon skittle from a strawberry.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Corruption of Ideals

"There are no faces behind the spaceships anymore." Brando told me.
"Were there ever?" I asked.
"The anti-pirate mentality is one of persecution. At the time, it was massively important. I've become the thing I feared, without even noticing." He told me. "It was a genuine process that I had not been aware of until yesterday and it has taken more then a year."
Morals. Values. Focus. Reason. Goals.  They are all lacking in the basic structure of Eve. Nothing forces them on us but our own humanity. The sandbox exists as a shell full of interactive abilities and nothing else. When a player enters the game they are equiped with whatever they had, as an individual, before they entered but they are not given anything more. The player is not given morals. They are not handed values. There is no reason for them to do any particular thing. They are cast out into the game and everything that they do has to come from everything that they currently are.

In a way, choosing particular paths in Eve comes easier than others for these very reasons. To move into Faction Warfare is to take a side in a fight. A side that has a history and a background. It comes complete with allies, support, and work. To become an industrialist is to build and create. To rip from the world the basic building blocks of the game and mold them. It is a very productive job. To mission, to incursion, to go and participate in the vast raging battles of Sov Warfare are all there at ones fingertips.

I've grown up Pirate in Eve. My soul is seeped in aggressive, PvP. Even as I learned to play those around me were giving up even a semblance of enforced game morality. They stopped ratting for their security status and sank into the pits of flashy red outlaw status. The last shreds of protection that CONCORD offered were discarded because retaining them was simply not worth the effort and lost opportunity. Although security status increases have improved many still eschew a positive security status and become comfortable as outlaws.

In a way, we are the villains of the game. We are an easy choice to hunt if one is going to hunt players. The game itself punishes us for our crimes. We're called criminals and our actions cause reactions. I have met many, many a player who wants to bounty hunt and chase pirates. The shiver with the excitement of going after the darker element of the game is very appealing. It is almost as appealing as being that element.

Anti-pirate is perhaps one of the most common goals I hear after mercenary. I would say that people want to be the hero but it may be more correct to say that people are used to being the hero. There has been a swing in games where one is a more ambiguous character but few games have allowed a player to be evil. Those, I think of fondly. Dungeon Keeper. Overlord. Considering that my character choice is often rogue, theif, assassin, the jump to pirate makes sense.

There are others that fall from heaven. 7-2 is made up of people like this. Dirty Protagonist and Titus Veridius, the founders, had a very interesting goal with 7-2. And they sought out to create that goal with the individuals that they needed. Such was the corruption of players and their fall from the heavens. The backgrounds of the individuals in the corporation as an interesting mix of anti-pirate and pirate and lawful neutral. For those that were good they were very good. They followed rules of engagement against hostiles, they patrolled space, they resisted the urge to slip in a bit of evil and accepted reprimands and punishments. Some even role played and took their path with a calm, professional seriousness.

For those that were bad they were very bad, but we're not here to talk about them today.

My discussion with Brando was an end of a path that I had started on months earlier. I had been interviewing our various ex-anti pirates. With the acquisition of Robinton Jax and Prettyboyfloyde we had become a complex beast of a corporation, full of layers within layers and enemies who were now friends. For those who have not lived in Molden Heath they would not understand the strangeness of Flyode giving Diz intel while riding in a fleet with Sard Caid. They'd not understand how strange it was for Altaen to discuss burning down the universe or watching Dave Lash ride herd with Aliak for Recruitment.

The transition was not always smooth. There were some bitter memories that had to be moved beyond in some areas. Kaeda logged in one day after a few weeks away from the game and said, "Robinton was my last kill mail." Aye. An odd thing that was. We'd fought them for years but we had never really gotten to know them. They were not allowed to associate with us. Morals again. Values. Don't mix with the enemy. We knew them from the other side of our turrets, from the brilliance of the explosions, and the quickly said 'good fight' in local.

When they approached us, quietly and politely to ask if they could apply, I was excited. I did not know them but I wanted to know them. For people who I had never curled up on coms with to talk to late into the night I should have been more reserved. But, I wasn't. It seemed right. After all, while the exterior paint on 7-2 may say pirate to many our core was a PvP corporation. I could see them struggling at their ties long before they applied. "When will they?" was the question in my mind.

And how quickly they fit in. It was not surprising. There were others in the corporation who shared the same path. Their welcome was warm. The were handed a corporation ticket and told to go forth and kill. And they did, with glee. It was as if they were finally able to stretch. At some point they had grown in such a way that they no longer fit their old forms. And now with a great stretch and a flare of ammunition they stepped into piracy.

But what of their path? It was a bitter thing. Their old home felt betrayed. And while we had no problem with them keeping their old associations, to many of their old associations did not want them. As they felt bitter rejection it was tempered by sweetness of a new home. I've always said that we don't hold anything personal. Seeing their absorption into our corporation and community was a a highlight to that fact. It was not an easy jump for them but it was the right jump. In sadness came joy. A revitalization of their game play.

I asked Robinton to sit down with me and tell me what the change was like. He was kind enough to create a long write up for me that I read several times. Pinning Floyde down was harder. But he chated with me. The overwhelming response I read was, 'Freedom'.  Over the years they had developed a taste for PvP. They had also becomes experienced veterans of the game. It was hard to see potential targets go. But they did, because they respected where they came from.

Altaen had been lured in a while before. A Secret Santa exchange got him onto the forums and from there he found the DayZ thread. That hooked him in and a relationship built off of respect and violence was born. DP and Titus had gone out and wooed all they could for their corporation. It was about the people who they wanted to coordinate their efforts with not about what the people labeled themselves. For, to come to 7-2 was an abandonment of the past and an acceptance of the future. With that would come an acceptance of the here and now. A change of culture that would both open and close doors.

 I often joke about killing all the things. While it is said in jest it is also true. In a lack of rules there is freedom and with that freedom comes cost. For some, it has been the loss of past friends. For role play or real beliefs, some cannot look past the player for the character. I have seen every single one of my corpmates who were once anti-pirates at one time or another treated as a hostile enemy by a memory of their past.

It is a long fall, the one from grace. Fortunately, it has had a soft landing.

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Pocket Pirate

I was once scared of outlaw players. what a delicious shiver the thought sent down the spine. player pirates. People who spent their game time hunting other people. Violence in its rawest form. Beautiful in its attack against the social norm. it is a rather romantic image but player pirates are what they are, vicious in their game play even if sweet in their true temperament.

Back when I was new, I remember my little industrial corporation's caution around THC2. Later, in Eve Uni chat, as my security status plummeted I'd be called out for what I was. Pirate. Outlaw. Killer for no reason. it was all true even if i never felt the pirate at my core.

The interesting thing about being a 'PvPer' or at least a low sec resident, is that inevitably, people approach you to see if you are interested in killing someone. The answer is both yes and no. Am I or mine interested in killing someone? Yes. That is always yes. But, are we interested in killing the person that someone else wants dead? Only if it is interesting or easy to get to.

I'm on the inside looking out when it comes to piracy. It is normal for me, so when people approach me with offers, I often find myself saying, softly, "We are not mercenaries."

I have no scorn for mercenaries. It seems as if it can be quite a fascinating, intense play style. However, not all PvPers are automatically mercenaries. While many people will happily kill for money there is a difference between the ones who do it for their profession and the ones who will happily take ISK because it tastes nice. If one were to randomly ask one of the boys how much ISK to kill something the number normally starts at 500 million on the low end. They tend to toss out a billion on average. If someone wants to be safe from them it tends to start shooting up. It is not that they are listing an actual price for their services. They are more listing a price that will overcome their desire to kill in a wanton fashion.

Every time someone approaches a member of the corporation to see if we want to kill someone I find myself thinking that they want a pocket pirate. Like the popular pocket pets toys they are something that you have access to when interested and put away when not. Because, really, you don't want a real pirate. They will kill things all over your back yard and eat your corporation while peeing on your asteroids. It is quite frustrating to have the real thing.

I may be to honest for the taste of others. I'm not into scams and lies. I do not mind scams and lies. I just do not care for implementation of them myself. I'll tell someone that we may happily third party. That means they to will be at risk on the field. While some may wish to cozy up and get us to agree to work with them there is to much of a feeling of an invisible leash. If they can just get us into their pocket thy can turn us on and off at need and be safe from us. Most understand although I've had a few sulk because we didn't respond to what they wanted when they wanted us to. Those are the ones I feel are looking for pocket pirates. We are not an asset that ones picks up off the market and places into a container when done.

That would be bad form for my boys. They do need to be fed regularly and played with or they waste away.


I cannot blame anyone that wishes to get onto our non-aggressive side. It is a sensible thing to do. Nor do I mind that they ask, I just tell them, "No." I have a lot of respect for people who come to us and see if we are willing to work an operation vs trying to get permanent status with us. We just do not, for the most part do short term operations that are wafted in front of us like a steak (or tofu for Altaen). PvP is not just undock and kill all the time. Our fleet commanders put a lot of time and energy into planning. Our logistics guys put a lot of time and energy into supply. Most operations that we plan in corporation have several days if not a week or two for people to plan and prepare.

With Planetary Conquest and Dust the Dust corporations have been trying to figure out how to leverage the local pirate corporations to their support. I find it a fascinating bit of a dance being played by the diplomatic section of the game.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

TCS: Looking for ISK

I noticed that I was not selling Procurers. I noticed because I sold three. When I saw that Procurer bundle sell I went, "Huh, I haven't sold those in a while."

Since I started selling Procurers back in the spring or summer they have sold well and steady. Better then Retrievers. The reason is that I could be more competitive. Procurers sold for 11 million in JIta. I sold them for 13 million. They sold in Teon for 15 to 16 million. That 2-3 million ISK jump was enough for people to buy their procurers from me.

Teon now sells them for 13 million. So does JIta. Obviously that says something about the Procurer backlog that happened last year when they rebalanced the mining barges. Maybe some of the stock has been chewed through. However, it said to me that my days of selling Procurer for a profit were over. I now keep one in stock in case someone wants to buy one as a nice bait boat. After all, the main goal of the Cougar Store is to provide the residents of low sec with what they need.

That happens to be haulers at the moment.

I've discussed before that Bosena is drives down Teon's costs. Teon and Gulfondi being the main production hubs in high sec Molden Heath.  When prices even out I stop selling things that are better off purchased in high sec. When there is a big price gap, I sell those things at a steady rate. Eventually, the gap thins or Teon starts to undercut me and I stop stocking it if it is a nonessential item. My sell orders are important.

I stopped selling haulers before their rebalance. They sold well for a while and then just stopped selling. I ignored them with the rebalance. Recently, I decided to relist them and noticed that hauler prices in Teon had soared across all of the various types. I spent handful of ISK and stocked half a dozen of each type. They are currently selling fast. I expect this will happen for a few more weeks or a month or two before Teon's prices drop and my hauler market stagnates. Until I do it again.

Finding  market holes is lucrative as any trader knows. With all I have learned I could buy and resell at hubs. But, I don't. I am rather occupied with my store and keeping it from capsizing on me as a project. I may learn slowly but eventually, I normally get there.  What is nice, is using that same type of trading in my already established market. It takes time but the time invested is starting to show pay off in a lot of interesting directions.




Saturday, December 21, 2013

And Shaming....

Why is one of the most frustrating words. It can be played against someone to great aggravation. It can also be the gateway to understanding. It is a door step that I stand upon. I'm a curious person. I am somewhat insatiable. I absorb knowledge about things I don't even like because I enjoy learning.

On twitter, I found myself plying the Why? card. I stopped myself because it looked aggressive and picky. It is easy for a simple bit of curiosity to dig in like a thorn. that is not going to get me anywhere. I want to know the answer but I cannot find out if I aggravate the asker.

There is a lot about Eve's social opinion and activity that I seek to understand. Smack talk is one of my most common topics. I struggle to understand it and try not to place my value judgement on it. I do not understand it but I know that I cannot judge people who indulge in it by my standards. Their standards are not mine.

These social rifts abound. For some, I am evil incarnate because I have an outlaw security status. Others would classify me as a bad person because I associate with gankers and I would defend those gankers to the end even thought I do not wish to gank or grief.

It may be that I stand on two sides of the same opinion and that I am not meant to occupy two places at once. The discussion, as it started, was about someone bringing a Recon to a frigate fight to get out of said fight.

I dislike the things I dislike as much as anyone else does. I dislike being Falconed or Blackbirded out of a fight. It is a terrible mechanic and awful to suffer through. But, I don't call the person who did said Blackbirding or Falconing out. I may, if I have a choice, simply chose not to engage them the next time because they do not play on a level that I find enjoyable.

Just as people call 7-2 blobbers because we will hunt in packs. They invalidate all of my boys who are solo machines because they do not shun the fleet flying that makes 7-2 what it is as a corporation. They do not have to like us but I tire of the superior sneers from those who 'play Eve right'.

I do not understand why any group decides and declares that another groups play style is wrong, something to be ridiculed, or mocked. I suspect a lot of that is me and my view of the world. I may not have the moral fortitude to hold onto ideals well enough.

About two months ago I started writing a draft called, "Should Eve be fair?" I've never moved far past its start because it is a hard topic to approach and a title that may be to open. I do not think that anyone expects Eve to be fair except for the new and the naive. But, so often we react as if somehow it should be fair. Or, social pressure is thrown at the person to make them conform. Conformity of ideals, habits, and actions should come from a group that has an established focus. Such as a corporation. If I am a special snowflake in 7-2, I will be removed from the corporation for not adding value. It is something I agreed to. But, I'd never take that and tell someone that they had to behave as I/we did/do or that they should at any point of time.

For some people dying is losing. In a game with no true winner lose clause people make them up and apply value to them. I hate when someone says we lost a fight because of ISK efficiency. I personally hate that metric. But, I bite my tongue because that is their metric and they have their rights to it. I do not understand it but I accept it. I cannot ask or expect them to take my path upon themselves. It is not my game that they are playing. I will not shame them because I hold different values. After all, they are not playing my game and I am not playing theirs.

-Brought to you by the tired, grumpy Sugar.

A Book or the Library?

"Thankfully I have never done the tutorials, but can I assume that at the point where,
"He turned in the mission and now could not get back to his wreck." the tutorial has not gone over making bookmarks? Or even if it has, why did the game not make him bookmark his wreck?
To me, this case isn't about survival or even loss, it is about bad instructions. Eve is a product and the worst thing you can do is give bad or no instructions with a new product. People will assume their frustration is the products fault. If this guy could have gotten half his loot, maybe he could have blamed himself for not reading the mission, but instead EVE kicks him when he's down right from the start. I get that we are getting into how learning is painful and most people don't have a tolerance for that pain, but maybe they could spread the sting out a little more?"
Anonymous @ December 20, 2013 at 4:33 AM

I will admit, it has been a while since I did the training missions. They take me forever to do, so I avoid them. I think it took me about four days to finish them all with Chella and head out into the world my first time. Sugar made it halfway and I asked myself, "Don't I know enough to skip this?" Obviously I did. I'd been playing for almost a month by that point.

Yesterday while reflecting on personalities and the frustration of a newbie it as pointed out to me that some of the information that might have helped him out or made the mistake more his own fault was missing from the tutorial missions. I thought about it and nodded at the validity of these statements.

The dumbing down of Eve is one of the great fears. There are others (goonswarm, Eve is dying, CCP is going to turn into Blizzard and Eve into WoW) but dumbing down Eve is a knee jerk reaction that I have to admit I have felt.

The creation of a more accessible Eve and the dumbing down of Eve is not the same thing. Every time I feel myself puff up and feather, I remember the first time I put my POS up. I was almost in tears when I finally asked Razor, after three hours, how to make my reactions actually start to react. Nothing had hinted at or made me aware that I needed to drag and drop icons. Nothing.

The subject of losing ones wreck was part of the situation. If he had been able to get back to his wreck he would have learned about loot drops. However, he would not have had to do th "to bad so sad" wave that so many of us have had to do for a wreck.

The newbie missions do not discuss bookmarks. I do not think I learned about bookmarks until after I moved to low sec. Book marking from inside of the People and Places menu was another discovery. I did the jet can and bookmark the can thing for a long time before I learned about bookmarks in warp.

I believe there is a CSM member who ran on the platform of the new player experience. This would be their territory. I will be honest in that my disappointment with the last round of elections when it came to focus of the members has left me apathetic to the entire thing. However, whenever we discuss accessibility there is also a discussion of force feeding information. How much should be there? I find that I waft back and forth about this.

Should we try to list all of it? That is unreasonable. Some? How much help should be there? My fluffed up peacock ego says, "I know how to play" and that "enough" information should be there. My rational side says all of it. If someone wants to read what to do they should be able to. They should not have to leave the game and go to goggle and type things in. The instructions on how to do things should not only be found in 10 years of patch notes.

If someone can skip out of the tutorials at any time there is not a need to have less information. They are not trapped. When I re-installed Skyrim this last time I picked a mod that let me skip the very long intro interactive movie. I didn't need it and sitting through it was irritating.

Eve really does need better help files and an updated Wiki. In this fight for accessibility as they clean up the UI, Polish and add functionality that things scream for, create sounds to increase our awareness through a broader range of senses, why have the help  files and the Wiki stayed so far behind?

I am reminded of why people lose their pods their first few times in low sec. If I remember there is one line or comment about warping your pod away after you lose a ship and that is it. People dont warp them out before they have never had to and there is only a vague refrence in one mission they may not have done because it is one of the advanced combat missions.

It is that line between what the game should offer. googling is an option. I use it frequently but when in the middle of a teaching section one doesn't expect to google for supplementary information.

A funny thing is that I was reading some posts by CCP Affinity who is a content creator for Eve and does this type of thing. hmm. I will leave others to be critical. I'll take the path that it may not have been through about. There is a lot of things to write about and update in Eve. I didn't really think about it despite the fact that bookmarks are a part of my daily life. I don't think an entire tutorial needs to happen but something as simple as teaching people to bookmark wrecks (especially theirs) wouldn't be terrible.

Thank you Anonymous for the good, productive comments. I can't give you name credit or I would.

Friday, December 20, 2013

What Type of Player Comes Calling?

What does it take to play Eve Online? Or, perhaps, it should be what does it take for a person to enjoy the gameplay of Eve Online?

Last night, I was watching a new player ranting in Eve Newbie chat. He had died in a rookie mission, one of the ones that tells you you will die. He turned in the mission and now could not get back to his wreck. His wreck, of course, had everything he had accumulated this far.

Now, this is a common series of mistakes. Loading all the things into the spaceship makes sense because the ship is your avatar and normally you carry everything with you. After all, you die and just reload or run back from your spawn point and pick it up. Only, he learned it doesn't work that way in Eve. Because he turned in hte mission and does not yet know about bookmarks he is short of luck. "But I have no stuff!" he wailed. Everyone explained that Eve automatically gives you a rookie ship and he can do his mission in that. They told him that he has to read the mission guides for the tutorial missions and someone even sent him enough ISK to buy another Rifter.

He was still mad. Can he skip the tutorials? People tell him to do the tutorials and read them completely and that they will tell him that he was going to lose his stuff and not to risk it. Suddenly, the entire game was sexually attracted to its same gender, it had a limp, and he was going back to League of Legions because this was terrible. He was told, rather politely for Eve, "Good luck, have fun." I didn't try to convince him to stay. When after help and explanations he guidance one can only rage, Eve may not be for them.

But it made me think, what does it take to stay? He said he liked the game. I believe that he did. He liked it until he died and lost his stuff. When stuff retriever turned out not to be a minor inconvenience but a solid loss the game was terrible. There were recovery options but they were not acceptable. Damn the game, damn it.

Is it the player or the game? In some games it is the game.  Most of the time it is the player. I pondered his ranting and raging for a moment and compared it to situation in my own out of Eve game play.

My husband is a gamer. He is not a hardcore gamer but he is a completionist. Not an achievement completionist. He likes a game with a lot of story and he will play the game over and over to get all of the storyline out of it. He plays Skyrim and Fallout to the point that Bathesda's content creators would burst into tears of gratitude for it. He does not play Eve.

Both of us are currently playing Minecraft. Let me explain what happened last night.

My husband has decided to move away from our little village a bit. On the way exploring he found sand for me. I need the sand for what I am building. He collected the sand, got lost, and died when he fell down a hole. He got very upset. He respawned and immediately ran back to his stuff and almost make it back. Frustrated at being lost, the night time, zombies, and the terrain he started to rush with only a small amount of health. He wound up falling off a cliff and dying again. At this point he was super mad and frustrated at the game and how dying like that and the frustration and planning of nighttime took fun out of the game for him.

Frustrated at him being frustrated, I went to my house, harvested my grain, went to the rookie house we have set up, harvested that field, made myself some iron weapons, emptied my inventory, loaded up on food, checked the coordinates and headed out. On the way there I coordinated with everyone on the server to sleep through the night cycle to maximize my travel time, and eating to keep energy up made a full sprint to him.

We found his stuff. I then did recon back to base, coordinated with the other players to push the night cycle again, and we got back home with minimal losses. The entire situation was, to me, an example of why I am an Eve player.While I don't like to lose things, planning and tactics are part of the game play to me. My husband bolted naked into the forest enjoying the block landscape. He wants to play the game not fight with it. Survival is not the easiest play style and watching his frustration as he loses stuff and his frustration that things happen (such as getting pushed into a lava pit by a Spider because he was up at night because he felt he could handle anything attacking him) has been an eyeopener. I take that same situation feel frustrated and just slog back at it. He doesn't like the slog. I find the constant battle to keep what I have gathered fascinating.



What draws us to Eve and others away from it? There is obviously something that we get out of Eve due to personality. It is something that we can show another person but they must have in themselves. As I was relaying the above adventure in chat Vov says, "He'd hate me." And yes, he would. Vov is a griefer and comfortable in that position. My husband would hate being ganked  because he would only want to enjoy Eve the game and not Eve the MMO.

How often do we hear that line? "I just wanted to play" people say. Well, they are in an MMO and you cannot make that decision for them. Yet, the people who are still out there, playing, even as they bitch and whine about griefers, have at least some of the core personality needed to play in Eve successfully. In there is enjoyment from challenge and acceptance of loss.  Pixelsthe game may be but the time and energy put into interacting with those pixels are valuable.

In some ways a stressful game for relaxation does not make a lot of sense. But, that is how some of us enjoy our so called 'down time' although it is better defined as personal time. It is the time that we seek engagement and mental fufillment. My boss commented the other day that you cannot train people to multitask at a high level of awareness and expect them to happily sit quiet and unstimulated until you are ready for them. We tend to seek out what will engage us. For some of us, it is a game of more complex survival. Such is the reason for the enjoyment of DayZ even in pure Alpha.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Skills are Still an Uphill Battle


December has just been a nasty month of work and I made it even worse by plugging in log skills in Eve. While I often preach the positives of the skill queue I also need to fess up to the negatives. Sometimes, long skills just suck. Sometimes skills just suck. That is how I felt when I managed to not only screw up being ready for a fleet on time but also not able to fit the fit because skills. Rigging skills this time. Something manages to kick me in the face just when I think, "Hey, I'm not doing so bad." The solution was an implant. Only, I've always avoided implants and fitting mods (for the most part) and needing to use it was strange. I won't discuss how much ISK I tossed in the fire in frustration trying rigs because I suck at the out of game fitting problems and was rushing because I was late for the fleet.

I'm proud of finishing Tactical logistics Reconfiguration up there. It is a great skill. I turned around and plugged in Gallente Carrier V behind it knowing full well that someone will say, "you should just fly an Archon and not waste your time. We don't drop triage in Thannys." Plus, I'm only halfway through Jump Freighter V (36 days left) and I just want to lay down on the floor and have a bit of a tantrum tonight.

Most of that is just frustration and embarrassment from not being able to fit the T2 rigs on my ship. I'm that kind of person. I want to be a quiet, productive member of a fleet. The moment I need help I start feeling bad and I always need help with fits. Now, the boys are good and tend to put up fits for prescheduled fleets. Normally I put it together hours and hours and haul for people. I didn't today, because I had other things to do and I have a case of the blahs in general.

I finally got to Zealot. I felt terrible. I don't blame the Zealot I blame my poor preparation and last minute wiggling and frustration. I don't like ship fitting. I often feel a bit ashamed that it does not drive me to joy. I see people posting fits and long discussions about them. I like the complexity of the ship fits. I may just be lazy with so many wonderful people with fantastic fitting abilities. But, I've never been into fits. I had no idea that Diablo has equipment sets people slave over. I often picked things by them complimenting what I wanted to do vs being the 'best' thing.

Having skill points and the ability to fly things and having the ability to flow them are oh so not the same thing. As Chella chews through her Capital Ship training plan I don't feel nearly ready to even think about dropping a capital ship. It is not the probable loss it is the responsibility when we're putting that type of asset on the field. But, I'm going to have to make the jump sometime. I'm glad that we've started doing training sessions on the test server (even if I missed the last one because of work). Did I mention that I have an alt almost ready to plop her butt into a Dreadnought? I have no idea how that is going to go. I figure, I will train for it and go from there. That is similar to how I go about most of the game with all honesty.

I'm in this odd place where I have skills that I need and skills that I need to get and things that I can do that I do not know how to do yet. Everyone enjoys Ishtars for instance. Yet... how do I fly them? I've never handled sentries. I need to use a stationary weapon while kiting with my ship. Okay... I have no idea what to do. Blargle?

New things are good, even when they are frustrating. Fleets are good, even when I'm in an advanced state of high maintenance stress. I liked the Omen more then the Zealot but that is because the Omen is fast and agile and I have a thing for that. I just feel that I do not appreciate the ships as I should. I was so excited to Zealot because in my mind anything amazing over frigate size is like flying a Large Jaguar which is quickly becoming a staple

And sure, one day I'll have a lot of skill points. I can sit and smirk and chuckle when 40 million SP newbies whine about bargling Zealots and how to Ishtar and how they can't fit things. I'll be able to say, "blah million SP club checking in" with a knowing smile. However, today, I am stuck on this side of time and whining about it :P

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Ranting: Corporate Bigotry

[TL;DR: Sugar is tired of people treating certain people like shit and has decided to start saying something about it.]

There is knowing of people and there is knowing people and then there are people who have your back. There are people who scream to for backup and know that they will get backup every time. They will do projects with each other. They will come to trust each other. They will share chatrooms with people and spend their time discussing things that are not Eve. They will bring their successes and their failures for commendation and sympathy. They become more than the other players that occupy your game with you. They are your friends.

The problem is, sometimes they are corporate bigots and you don't know until it is too late.
Bigot: a person who strongly and unfairly dislikes other people, ideas, etc. : a bigoted person; especially : a person who hates or refuses to accept the members of a particular group (such as a racial or religious group)

Full Definition of BIGOT
:  a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially :  one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance
Oh yes.  I pulled out a big, vicious word and applied it to a video game social group. I spat it out as soon as I was told about the subject that got me worked up. I used it. Therefore, I am going to own it.

I often try to avoid using strong words when discussing things in Eve Online. It is a game after all. I don't care for people saying that I am probably a criminal in real life because I pirate in game for instance. What we do in game does not define who we are outside of the game. For some it does. It always will. People will judge you. Sometimes it sucks. Sometimes you don't care. Sometimes it just makes you scratch your head when you walk away.

The words of strangers can be an irritation. If not smack talk would not work so well. But it does because words bother some people to the point of rage. Yet, at the end of the day, the words of a random stranger have very little meaning. It is the words of non-strangers that have the power to punch someone in the back of the head at the most unexpected time.

In a game of betrayals friendship gains great value. Not everyone we know is in our corporation and alliance. Over time with the movement of people we tend to have our social connections flex and stress as people move on. While some may be inflexible and feel that the only friends are corporation and alliance, most of us are able to disconnect the person with the corporation.

And some are not. The immediate thought may be, "But Sugar, I hate X group and I will foam at the mouth about them because they are my nemesis!" While, I (stupidly) may suggest that people look at the individual not the corporation or alliance, I also know that the ticker matters. We do assume our corporate identity to some type. If someone I do not know comes across me I expect them to see me as a member of 7-2. Those are not the people that bother me. It is the people that I already know and who already know me that stop seeing me as Sugar and start seeing me as a member of 7-2.

Let's take a step closer to the topic.

Everyone has a thin line that they walk. For some the descent into piracy is unacceptable and for others leaving an aggressive lifestyle is unfathomable. In a way, extremes can be understood because they are extreme and reactions will always vary. Eve is nothing but collections of social groups. Even thought not involved in social groups are parts of social groups. Opinion is anchored on definition. The hatred for miners or the distaste for PvPers is a lump sum of a whole. "Don't tell me you mine," someone may wail as if their world view has been shattered by their parent when they found out that there is no loot fairy because Bob ate her.

However, sometimes people lose perspective. They lose the perspective of the person that they have known and flown with for years. Or, they find someone who has never done anything to them and assign them every vicious thing they dislike Because how dare other people do things! How dare they! Let's transfer all this anger to a target we can reach even if that target has been nothing but a solid friend until fifteen seconds ago when someone dared do something unwanted. Rawr! Burn them! That person now sucks! They suck a lot! Who cares if they are a great friend and you know them well. One of their corporation members gatecamped/blobbed/scammed/pirated/mined/drank white wine/or whatever else that was disliked and now they are a piece of trash and who the hell ever liked them and pout, pout!

It pissed me off. While people change they should be given that opportunity before judgment is cast upon them. I find nothing as disgusting as eliminating a friend because frankly someone's head is shoved so far up their own ass that they can no longer see the people around them. And I am sick and tired of attitudes. Therefore, I solve it by having my own. Still, I'm tired of it. I'm tired of the sneering, the scorn, the nasty comments made to people who they chose to hang around with. I don't care if people want to hate groups they don't know. I don't expect everyone to like each other.  Hate away. But to sit and spit venom on your friends that you know because heaven forbid you didn't like something one of their associates did?

I do expect people to give their friends of several years a chance to be the person they knew before they write them off for the actions of a third party. Am I hopeful? Yes. I am. I expect things like people to be more important then flying style for an instance. In expect people to see their friends first and their spaceship habits second. I'm dumb that way and happy in my stupidity. I have to say that I would be happy if I never cast someone off just because their corporation did something I didn't like that that person was not involved in.

Rarely do I pull the 'its just game' card. I happen to hate it. But, some times it's applicable. It is a game. It is a game where we do things because it is a game and that is the proper environment to do these things which are options. I often write more about the people in the game then the game. My anger isn't something that happened to me. I'd be calmer then. No. It is someone else that has been shunned by a flying partner and it made me mad. So very mad. Harm me I'll deal. Harm those that I care for and I'll make the universe burn.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Abandonment of Battlecruisers

We killed a Rorqual the other day. Wrong place. Wrong time. Wrong decision. And he died. It was my first Rorqual kill.

Kaeda was out in a Myrm doing Myrmidon things. He was eight or nine jumps away? Ten? The Rorqual was dead by the time he was two jumps out. Before the warp changes he would have made it to the kill.

While some would take this as a time to discuss the habit of pirate types killing unarmed ships and swarming to the kill like sharks to chum, I'm more interested in the changes. Kaeda (who is a frigate/cruiser pilot predominantly) said in disgust, "This is the last time I am roaming in a battlecruiser."

The slow warpspeed is terrible. I was in a Talos later that same evening. I killed stuff in it but I started to daydream as my ship warped. "I'll get there," I found myself thinking. "Lalala." It was funny because I had an adrenaline rush from planning to go out and fight. I was shivering so hard that I had to put my jacket on. But, the warp speed was so ungodly terrible that my attention drifted because I was waiting.

When I first moved into low sec I was directed to a battlecruiser. No time in frigates. Cruisers were a stepping stone. Low Sec and a large part of PvP was battlecruisers online. They were powerful, flexible, capable, and cheap enough to do what needed to be done. It was Hurricane and Drakes online and they were amazing. Everyone knew what everyone could fit and it was fleets of battlecruisers slamming into each other everywhere with the occasional battleship for support and damage and cruiser for heavy tackle. I learned to tackle from a hurricane.

The cruiser re-balance was amazing. And they made battlecruisers obsolete. They could take them on and they did. They were battlecruisers light and played and skilled properly they worked just as well. Even with the price increases they were still accessible. Eve is a game of great, finical leaps. From 500k for a frigate to 10 million for a cruiser to 40+ million for a battlecruiser to 150 million for a battleship.

Beyond those grand words come actual facts. Cruisers just preform better even though battlecruisers should on paper. And therefore we've taken to flying cruisers. Rubicon introduced a change in warp speeds and battlecruisers became slower than ever. They are just not appealing anymore. And, I don't think that is a bad thing. The most fustrating aspect is that battelcruisers except for the attack ones, do not fit their name any longer. That has been a sore spot with me for a while. The attack battlecruisers fit the definition of a battlecruiser properly while the combat ones are more heavy cruisers.

I think that the pyrmid shape of ships is good. However, I wonder if battlecruisers are a bit lost right now. Beyond the attack battlecruisers the old staples are just not what I see on the field these days. Sometimes they take them out and to good response. The rep Myrm, the tanked, webbbing Cane. I will not deny that viable fits exist and the Drake is still a PvE staple and I see them on the field. Maybe it is just what I do these days that a heavy assault cruiser makes more sense then a battlecruiser for viability on the field. The battlecruisers have their tricks but even those tricks are kind of sketchy in the days of warp speed changes.

Supposedly the metrics of use are fine. I know that I do not and cannot view the entire game all at once. I'm glad of that. Still, it is frustrating. I would like to know how they are really doing. I don't even own a Hurricane anymore (small lie. I have one that was part of a great battle I once wrote about. It has an old fit and is still in Klingt and shall never leave) and never are the fleet comps "lets go battlecruisers" unless they mean Talos/Tornado/Oracle.

I miss them. I don't know if they will ever come back in the force that they once were. But then, it seems that there is a focus on a pyramid with frigates at the bottom and Titans at the top and the nerf bat shall bap until that shape stays.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Just Say Yes to Hostility

One of the easiest things to do for any person is to drown in their own environment. Not the literal act of drowning where water enters the lungs and stops the processing of oxygen by the human body. This is the act of someone seeping in their own environment, be it cultural, social, or anti-social. It can be conscious or it can simply be the assumption of day to day life. There are arguments of nature vs nurturer, what you are and what you have learned to be and how the integrate into the core personality of a person.

I describe myself as "growing up in low sec" because it has affected how I see things. It is not a bad thing but it is a real thing that should be recognized. Point of View is exactly that, a point of view not the entire thing. I often find myself puzzled in conversations.

Why do we do what we do? It is an endless question that circles round and round. In games we often do what we do because we like it or it intrests us. Working off of that simple concept it becomes easy to understand why we clash so violently in what we want to do.

I was asked over the weekend why a group like 7-2 is not in nullsec. I was even asked why we don't join up in the big wars. I sputtered in shock. I was shocked becuase it is not a question that needs to be asked from my point of view. I would ask, why would we want to do any of that as a small group? To me, we'd be drowned in the culture and controls of some bigger groups and who wants that?

Well, obviously someone else does. For some, null sec is the goal of Eve. It is the be all and end all of everything.  I used to get angry, when I started, and I was told that people who live in low sec fail to survive and thrive in null sec. They didn't know me! and my boys and what my boys could do! How dare they! I moved past that as I learned that it was all just a matter of opinion, taste, goals, and everything else that makes us individuals.

But cultures do clash. Of late, to my great puzzlement, we get requests for blues. I've always been very public about the fact that 7-2 does not do blues. Yet, as people request it, and I tell them as politely as I can no, I'm puzzled by it and I should not be.

I should not be puzzled because I know better. I know that not everyone does the same thing. That goes for what we do as a corporation as well. Not everyone wants to have a very limited blue list, a small associates list, and try to stay in a constant state of violance to the detriment of everything else. Some people want a secure environment in the middle of that violence.

Some people just want violence.

Blues limit violence (for the most part. I'm not going to wander into the complexities of betrayal). The search for social stability is normal. I should not question that which makes sense simply because I do not actively participate in it. But, I wind up questioning it because it is a direct conflict towards my corporatios goal of having lots of people to commit spaceship violence upon.

Most people have taken it well. I guess that asking for blues is a common thing.  The oft lamented state of null sec points to this. Eventually, I guess I will stop being surprised by it. Not everyone has to feed a corporation with the PvP appetite of 7-2 or sees hostility as a warm, vibrant part of the game.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

TCS: Making Wishes

Today is a wish day.
I wish that when I sold items from the corporate hangar it showed as the corporation selling items instead of the individual corporation member.
"You are way to hopeful that they'll fix your thing," Ender said to me. And yes, there is truth in his rational thought process. But my process? It is not a rational one. It is a simple want. I want it. To an extent I roleplay my store. I want people to buy from TCS. I want them to figure out how the billboard code works and let me advertise on a the billboards. I want to do fun things like that! I want my market to be more fun then I am already having. I love this 'store' concept I've built. It is one of the very tangible things I pride myself in having and maintaining in Eve.

Since returning from Syndicate, I've upgraded my other TCS Employees to Tycoon, increasing my market order load. Right now, Bosena consumes about 700 orders for me. That is with me not stocking some things like fuel and ozone. The spreadsheet denizens .01 ISK me out of that market. It is fine with me, I have plenty of other things to keep listed. But it is a lot of stuff. I miss things and forget things. I may have to look into some type of more complex spreadsheet because Eve Mentat randomly misses items that run out. Then one of my boys will notice an absolutely random item hole in the market.

One interesting side effect of that towering pile of market orders is my growing comfort level with modules. I've learned a lot about a lot of things. Yet, there is always more. Altaen pointed out that I didn't have brawling rigs for frigates. Now, I am stocking them and seeing how they sell.

I also have to face my biggest evil in game (after solo PvP). That is the missiles. I hate missiles. I feel stupid with them. Their names (which I know are less complex then they used to be) and which ones people actually use and which ones they want and that I need a dozen types for every single launcher and ughhhhh run on sentences rule. But, the boys want them, and I slog through the missile market, slowly learning and absorbing them and what they do. After all, Drakes still sell and I should not neglect the missile market! But how it ties me in knots! I try to learn from the missile users but they just prattle off a half dozen indecipherable names, my eyes glaze, and I thank them while the information oozes out of my ear.

I also started re-listing industrials. They stopped selling for a while and I stopped listing them. However, Robinton pointed out that Bosena gets an insane amount of traffic from high sec warping to the station. I decided to do a trickle feed of haulers again and they have started moving nicely.

And yes, I stock warpcore stablizers.

P.S. I am comfortable with believing that these improvements wishes will happen when they finally touch the corporation interface. I just want to make my wishes now.

When I am in Minecraft I am in Space

The best part is that I can calmly and honestly blame Susan Black for all of this. It is quite refreshing.

Susan commented that she has been playing Minecraft and that she is playing on an Amarr server. This caused Altaen to say that that sounded cool and me to go, "I've been wanting to play community Minecraft." A quick message to my husband and a "npnp" back and we were in business with a community server for our corporation and friends.

Brando gave it a try and sank right in. We logged in with a PvP survival mode. It turned night, Zombies and Creepers chased us and we managed to get established, build a newbie house for new members joining into the game, sort out a Minecraft channel on coms to compliment our DOTA, WoP, Civilization channels, and we were in business.

I've now done logistics on Eve, chatted, and not undocked at all because I am building my house out of sandstone in a sand poor area. Of course, we played Minecraft all yesterday evening and today which caused Altaen to scold us and say he was rejecting Miencraft forever due to low fleet participation. What darkness have I brought into our lives?

While it is a shiny new toy I expect for us to play and then most stop playing with a few that play a few times a week.

Our Molden Heath community has grown from an Eve community to a larger, out of game community. When people tire of Eve they stay and maintain the relationships they have made as they play. Others, play other games when time commitment will not allow them to actively participate in the type of Eve that 7-2 focuses on. Everyone plays together and that constant interaction creates a stronger bond then corporation or standings. I find myself thinking of things very communally. Someone new was on coms and I popped up to say hi and see who was visiting "us".

And it is amusing that everything is Eve themed in our games. The gate to the Nether is called the Bosena Gate. Vand's horse is named Sleipnir and Naughty's after the rulers of NPC Empire. In Civilization often people name cities after neighboring systems from our home.

We did drag ourselves away from house building and farming and fighting zombies to have Eve time. A Jabber ping went out and we herded off the Minecraft room to the main room and logged in to assist a fleet. That turned into a scouting trip around Molden Heath where we tried to jump a group running level five missions. We failed to grab them due to mission gates and aware people (the horror). However, we found an unsupported capital fleet bashing a POS on the way back home.


This was a wild dash by our scout to pin some down and the read of the fleet race to support. It worked out. Suddenly dreadnoughts.

http://seventwo.killmail.org/?a=kill_related&kll_id=20930430

It's late now. Vand is riding Sleipnir off looking for a desert. I don't know what they want with a desert but everyone wants one. It is a full PvP server but we work together to do things and we share most stuff as well. The PvP aspect makes us pay for our mistakes. When we fight a monster we have to coordinate or we kill each other. It lets us set traps and in genearl do what we want to do, which, is mostly, get along.

But one has to leave open options, yes?

Friday, December 13, 2013

New Mail: New Player Needs Income

Making money LS
From: Erwenna
Sent: 2013.12.12 19:02
To: Sugar Kyle,  
Hey,
Just found your blog and since you claim to be an advocate for LS, I thought I just might ask for your help/advice.
I love this game but it just seems to me I can't find a way to last on it. For a simple reason : I don't know how to make money to support some ambitious goals : I wanna fly a Legion. I don't care about how and why, I just like the looks and the concept of the ship. 
I heard about a few ways to make money but I can't put my head around it. Say exploration. I like the sound of that. The tutorial was fun. It was also way too short and vague. Can I just do it with a frigate ? do I need a BC or a BS ? if yes how am I supposed to fund it ?
I won't get longer, I just which the veterans on EVE would give some actual tips on how to make ISK (without having to count heavily on donations and help from other players). People talk about incursions, ratting, WH, complexes... all of which can't be done when you're new around.
Thanks for reading.
What a huge question. I can only hope that someone(?) will take pity on both me, and the asker, and add to the possibilities, ideas, and options. I can work off of what I have done and what I know others do or have done. I am a terrible mission runner for instance and my knowledge of anything beyond basic mission running is non-existent.

I was sent an Eve Mail about ISK making. I went, "huh", and decided to try to tackle it. One of the amusing things is that I started to write a post a month or two ago that started out, "Detta and Vov disagree with me about ISK a lot. I just lay back my ears and growl in my corner. They are both much richer then I am but I still don't agree with them all the time."

The question of what is and is not rich crops up a lot in this game. You have those who look down from their mountain of wealth and sneer.  "10 billion is poverty," some will say. Others have nothing but joy in their hearts and 500 million in their wallet. While the theoretical beauty of the concept is good and well none of it puts ISK into the belly.

One of the first rules about making ISK is that you have to invest in your ISK making activity. I don't mean billions or even hundreds of millions. I don't even, fully, mean ISK investment. It may be time to properly learn skills (scanning/hacking) or skills to make ISK (mission running/ratting) or learning the market or learning PI. Whatever you do, you have to ramp up towards it. While it is possible for new players with a lot of work to make a PLEX in their first month and step into the billions, it tends to take time and dedication. However, that can be fun as well.

To touch on the mail:

Let's look at the Legion. Flying a Legion is ambitious but not improvable. I love the Legion. Many people will tell you to get something more useful like a Tengu for money making. I have to say it because someone else will say it. I'm with you on flying what I like because I like it.

It will also take a bit of time to train into. While that is happening ISK can be made to buy that Legion and afford a replacement Legion as well. At this stage in the game, being able to replace it if it is lost is very important. It is what will stop a huge blow from turning into a crippling one.

Exploration: 

You can start exploration in a T1 frigate that costs half a million ISK. The basic modules are not very expensive and the scanning changes have made the entire process much easier. Exploration has several parts.

Data/Relic sites: These sites have the hacking mini-game. There are no NPCs. They exist in high sec, low sec, and null sec, and wormholes (but I think they have the npcs?). The sites are harder to scan the lower the security rating of the system goes and the hacking game gets harder. So, easiest in high sec, harder but not super bad in low sec, hard in null and wormholes. High sec has a mind boggling large amount of competition.

From Data/Relic sites you will get salvage (both T1 and T2) and various bits and pieces to do things like build items used in T2 module production, blue prints for various modules and structure bits, occasional skillbooks and random stuff. Sites in high don't net much income, low is a few million a site, null and wormholes it gets a lot better. However, those items will have to be sold or built if they are blueprints. It is not an instant money maker but it makes money. It takes a lot of patience and interest. Explorers tend to love exploration.

Combat sites are DED complexes. These are similar to a mission but you don't receive it from an agent. These sites will require a combat ship. In high sec you can do them in a frigate to a cruiser depending on the site. Assault frigates are perfect for covering all the types in high sec. They have a chance to drop a meta module that will be worth a few million ISK on its own.

In low sec you will need a battlecruiser and after that it turns into a game of understanding how to PvE and live in low sec. That is its own guide and I cannot recommend a new player or a player with a tight income to risk a battlecruiser in low sec for a hope of making ISK. When talking about raw cold hard ISK things like risk vs reward matter. What a battlecruiser can earn you in PvE vs the chance of the battlecruiser being scanned down and killed by pirates is such that the battlecruiser is not worth the potential loss.

I can go into it but the higher end sites 5/10+ are harder than most level 4 missions and just keep getting harder. I'm not going to go into detail about them because they are not the core of the question of "make money now and become solvent".

To do exploration there will have to be a time and ISK investment. It is not a huge one for a T1 frigate. The skill commitment will take a bit more time to learn the skills for the mini-game. There are tons of exploration guides out there that will walk you through the various bits.

Exploration also covers gas sites. In non-wormhole space gas sites are used to make boosters. Gas mining is boring but can make some ISK. Wormhole gas mining is pretty lucrative if I understand it correctly but comes with the whole risk of wormholes. This, however, is a great hobby for a Venture to have a low cost entry point.

And to make it a bit more complex there are combat gas sites which are a mixture of hacking and combat (and they are not low level things) that have the potential to drop expensive skillbooks.

Also ghost sites. These are hacking sites (using relic/code breaker) modules that have the potential to explode and spawn NPCs. Fun.

At this time exploration at this extent is not considered 'good' money. But what is good money? A few million a day/hour? Enough to replace a cruiser?

How do I fund this?

If you haven't done the Sister's of Eve Epic Arc mission and you've just started the game, do it. Its some cash in your pocket and a good way to stretch newbie legs.

Eve has two things that most players do to get themselves started. Mining and missions. Both have low entry requirements and are more time sinks then anything else. Mining actually makes more money then mission running at first. Mission running requires some dedication to working on standings and learning how to fit ships. Once that is done mission running becomes a steady, solid income.

Mining, while everyone screams, don't do it, its terrible, is done because it is easy, low cost of entry, and you make a few million ISK per haul in a Venture. You can sell the raw ore and make money. Wash, rinse, and repeat.

Mission running makes money in 4 ways. There are bounties. Bounties are spontaneous ISK generation into Eve. Then there are loyalty points. A bit of time and energy is needed to learn how to spend them properly to bring in the best return. Next is loot from NPCs. Selling the loot or refining it and selling the minerals gives a small but constant influx of money. Next is salvaging the wrecks. Again, this brings in money.

After these two things the game is your oyster. So, let's think about how to pry it open.

Flexibility of thought is necessary in Eve. In all of the above things I listed I discussed having to sell things on the market. The market in Eve is its heart. It is the pulse of the game. It pushes the flow of loot and items that we need to actually play. Almost everything you do in Eve will be about selling things on the market. The market is large and complex enough with supply and demand that many people try their hands are becoming a market trader.

These people buy low and sell high. There are many blogs dedicated to learning how to make money on the market. They do everything from moving items from point A to point B to sitting in a big trade hub buying and selling things and making a profit off of it. Traders are commonly known as the richest people in Eve because they understand numbers and how to make money. Many traders start with very little and work their way up.

Markets for ISK is a blogger who started making money in May and has charted his progress and what he has done.

Grinding is always an option. Vov is a min/maxer. He does a grind with such a ruthless efficiency that ISK flows out of it. I can't do that and don't have the mind for it. Instead, I did things like salvage. Salvaging was my godsend at the start. A lot of level 4 mission runners do not touch their salvage. They are going for a min/max goal of bounties and loyalty points. They leave their salvage out in space and the enterprising salvager can ask for it or scan them down, bookmark their sites and come back for that salvage when they are done. It holds a mild element of danger (you go suspect) but can be fun and interesting to do. It also improves scanning ability by getting out and using the skill.

PI (Planetary Interaction) has a low bar of entry and reasonable returns. Again, there are tons and tons of guides and walk through and videos to help you manage your planets properly and make money off of them.

Join a corporation: Although you don't want donations and handouts most of the training corporations teach you how to make money as part of their general program.

Steal and scam. They may not appeal but they are options and some people make a lot of money doing it.

Make friends. Going at it alone, especially at the start is freaking hard. The game is engineered from a group aspect. From battles (bring more friends) to logistics the game function on people working together. I spent my first months in deep low sec, salvaging level five missions with Lue absorbing what knowledge he was in the mood to share. Part of that was that my standings gained and eventually I could pull missions as well which gave him more missions to do. It was a circular system that we both benefited from and a lot of Eve is that way. Not that anything is wrong with being solo but it is hard work.

To Wex's disgust, I have to mention Faction Warfare. It can bring in good money for little cost and low risk to everything but your morals (depending on what they are).

Work for people. Take contracts and haul them. Its boring but its money. You also have to be careful about taking these contracts. A lot of them area scams aimed at getting you to take over priced items into an area where you will die (such as low sec and null).

Creativity is how most of us wind up making our ISK in the end. Stealing, working with others, taking what isn't worth it to someone and making it your own are all building blocks for more ISK. Eventually, it proabbly will not be worth it, but when poor, the sustainable activities are all there and available to you. Not all of them require a lot of skill points or ISK to enter into but may require social skills or technical abilities.

This list is off the top of my head this evening. There are more ways that people make money that I never have tired or thought to do. My goal in this list isn't to make billions in the blink of an eye but cover some common ground of sustainable activities that will bring in a consistent income.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Second Blogging Year

Year two, hmm? The blog hits two on the 18th, but I started it a few days before and decided to steal the start date. I'm the only one who cares even mildly about this technical aspect of things yet here I am, justifying myself for absolutely no reason. :) Of course I could rage quit between now and the 18th, invalidating everything that I do as I transcend and erupt like cold fusion across the Eve Online Official Forums.

How interesting that is to me, as the writer of all of this. I decided to do something a bit different. I made a little recording of myself. It isn't fancy. It's me, my headset, and Audacity to record me. I thought that after two years and over nine hundred posts I'd try something new. I spent a while doing tests and thinking of things to say. I started to cry some after listening to myself over and over again.  Nivin was kind enough to link me a nice article from Scientific America about how the voice sounds different when heard back. I know this, but it still sucks and I find the entire process rather embarrassing but I did it anyway! :P

I brought a domain name last week. Some may have noticed. www.lowseclifestyle.com is now a thing. It is supposed to work without the www as well but that is still not picking up correctly. That is my husbands task to fix. He is the DNS lord after all. When it transferred over my blog list vanished. No idea why. Because of that, I've been piecing it back together with some changes. I am trying to use Feedly more too. But, I think blog lists are important. I get a lot of traffic from them and I discover new blogs all the time through them. The blog is still hosted by blogger. lowseclifestyle.blogspot.com will continue to work. If I ever let the domain lapse the real site will pick back up. I've watched bloggers leave and decide to let everything they wrote vanish. I find that sad but some people have to shoot their memories in the back of the head I guess.

Enough of that. This is my narcissistic moment. When I get to revel in the glory of my words. Ahahhaahha. Not really. I've asked those closest to me to beat me with a stick if my ego ever expands to the point that I can't get through doorways or use public transportation due to the side of my over bloated sense of self worth because I write words and people read them. They love me dearly and have promised to beat me thoroughly if it becomes a problem. I will admit that it is nice that people link me and drink my words. The daily hit count is probably the greatest motivator to write moar and try to improve my quality while keeping things interesting for both the people who grace me with a piece of their day and me, who has to listen to myself write all this stuff.

When I started the blog, with no task but to record being a newbie, I had no idea I'd still be writing two years later. I've been keeping some type of blog or journal for most of my adult life. I had about a year long break between my last project (about raw feeding dogs and cats which I wrote for three years) and starting Eve. At the time, there were not many current new player blogs. Over the last year or so more and more have popped up, to my joy. There are few things more encouraging then for a new player to read the things that happened to them happening to other people. The technical stuff is vitally important but Eve is so cold and vast at first. Knowing that you are not the only one who wound up in that situation helps in my opinion.

December is a reflective month for me. Not because it is the end of the year. The year thing is an arbitrary decision for our calendar. Other cultures celebrate at other times. The cycle of the Earth about our Sun does not stir me to reflect. However, reaching the achievement points of each year played, and to an extent, written, does. I like where I am. I've been a bit down the last week or so but even as I wallow in my funk (of mood not body odor) I know that I'm not in a bad place in game. I think I'll perk back up soon.

There is no rhyme or reason to my writing. I tend to write in spurts. Sometimes I'll have an entire week done. Others, I write day to day or a post or two and schedule them out. Sometimes, I sit before bed, hashing out a topic that has me struggling a bit. Sometimes I write a topic in an hour. Other times I chew away at it over a week or more. That's why I have so many damn drafts. I tend to have lots of singular posts. Things that I wrote cuz it was a thought. Those get moved around a lot when I have issues to write, rants, responses, or reports.

My husband keeps suggesting I put up adds. I just smile and nod at him and don't do it. I'm not interested in that. Ads annoy me. My blog isn't here to annoy me. It may annoy some people but that is their call.

I also sometimes wonder if I should advertise. I see people posting their blog posts on Reddit and Twitter. But, I can't let go of the feeling that I'd just spam. I couldn't see myself every single day going, "Words!" or two or three times a day in case someone missed it. Sometimes I post stuff I really liked, but mostly that is Origin posts. I just feel like I'm jumping up and down screaming for attention if I were to every. single. day. post that I wrote another post. I'm bad at advertising. I also don't absorb advertising well. I just figure if I tend my little corner of the internet it will grow. That principle has worked in general so I'll stick to it.


I also know I don't only write about low sec. I shall forever be amused at the person who convoed me to tell me I didn't write about low sec and he was disapointed. I know that I wander off and onto other Eve related topics. I do sinful things such as Build Orcas and Try Incursions and mine and write fiction and stuff. But, since low sec is my home and my focus I think I'll keep the blog name. Someone has to advocate for it and I'm willing to do it as much as I can. I don't believe in waiting for other people to do the things that I want done as much as I might wish for that to happen. I was greatly disappointed by the CSM elections when it came to low sec and the lack of representation. I don't think I'm that person. I don't feel that I know a thing about the game and I know I don't have the personality to do bullshit political kissy face and election engineering. Take me as I am or don't take me at all but I won't be some false puppet spouting pretty lies and social engineering myself into someone elses approved mold.

I think that is about all the random things about me and my blog and its focus that have come to mind at the moment. Back to my regularly scheduled random.

Thanks for reading.