31 January 2012

Shooting Sleepers

After this afternoon's double hisec discovery I was intrigued to find out what my corp. mates were up to this evening. I had been otherwise engaged and paying no attention so I was surprised to find a small number of people active but not actually doing anything. I quickly realised I had a strong desire to shoot at something.

Sadly nobody was willing for me to loose off several rounds of rockets at them so we considered our options for killing Sleepers. A quick chat came to the realisation that we probably didn't have enough ships present to run our combat sites efficiently, so we checked the alternatives. Still a couple of Ladar and Grav sites. Well, needs must.

Jumping into the first Ladar site with two Drakes and we make short work of the handful of frigates present. As my first taste of Sleeper combat in our new home this was something of an anti-climax. Was that really it? Okay, second site and this time a slightly more challenging mix of frigates and cruisers. The draw of activity proves to much for the rest of my corp. and we also field a slightly more challenging offensive fleet of Tengus in addition to the Drakes. The result is, of course, a rapid and overwhelming defeat for the Sleepers.

Now the real excitement begins - sucking gas. Unfortunately I don't have a ship set up to partake in this paramount of excitement, so I have to pass the honours on to a corp. mate while I head back to the tower to have a drink and a sleep.

30 January 2012

Unclaimed Space

Today I decided to partake in some mindless scanning. It's been a while since I've had the chance to properly get stuck in to checking out the tactical situation in our wormhole, and probably the first time since moving to the class 4 system. It was a nice and easy reintroduction with only five signatures: three sites already scanned down so just needed their codes updates; our static already scanned; ooh, a K162 to explore.

A quick check in our static revealed a system which should have static links to a class 3 system, which would give a very good chance of a route out to known space. Could be interesting but the K162 attracted me more. Depending on who you listen to, the very existence of the K162 meant someone had been to visit us and I want to know where they came from.

Jumping out the K162 took me to a system with a static hisec. Oh my, we're only two jumps to a hisec system. But what's this on my overview? A Territory Claim Unit... in a wormhole... um, last time I checked you couldn't claim wormhole space in an official manner. It would take a braver (or possibly more stupid) capsuleer than me to warp to the TCU, but just by chance I land at the planet nearest to it. Narrowing down d-scan shows there is a tower with many guns and a warp bubble in very close proximity to the TCU. Nice try guys but I don't think I fancy your trap.

There are more important things to take care of, namely finding this hisec route. Like my home system, this one only has five signatures. Discarding two ladar sites as uninteresting I find both static wormholes and a third exit wormhole. Bookmarking the statics I find myself again drawn to the mysterious K162, warping to it and landing at zero exactly at the same time as a Helios. The helios jumps through with my close behind eyeing my missile launchers hungrily. Emerging on the other side I quickly check the overview to see the helios warping off. Damn it, not quick enough. Oh, wait. I'm in hisec...

I report back to the home system with the plethora of hisec routes available to us and head back to station for a cold drink and a shower. Maybe I'll head back out in a little while - I still haven't shot anything for a while.

27 January 2012

Captains Quarters Unnerve me

Living out in wormhole space I have very rare occasion to visit the captain's quarters included in the station docking fee. On the rare occasion I do find myself visiting such an establishment I suffer a certain amount of anxiety whilst watching news or the latest holoreel on the giant screen.

It has taken a certain amount of time for me to pin down the cause of this anxiety but I believe I finally understand the problem. The layout of all the captain's quarters position you with your back to all the entrances.

The Orca pilot didn't see anyone coming

Now I don't know about you, but personally I like to keep an eye on all the exits. Outside my pod I am more vulnerable that I would normally be. I don't care how unlikely it is for someone to come if through that door, on a station such as Jita 4-4 I want to make sure I'm safe. To make matters worse, I've yet to work out how to close and lock the main door back to my pod. So I find myself sitting with my back to an open door. Tell me I'm just paranoid.

Unsurprisingly, the Amarr and Caldari examples are the worst. I guess there is some arrogance in positioning your back to any unexpected guests. Equally unsurprising is the Gallente quarters are the least affected by this unnerving layout. It is only natural that we Gallente would design something properly.

26 January 2012

Visions Of New Eden - II

I'm in a Myrmidon somewhere
Just over a year ago Master Sansha Kuvakei staged an invasion of Concord's home system of Yulai. This escalation lead to the regular incursions occurring all over New Eden on any given day. On this massive push into Yulai by Master Kuvakei over 1700 capsuleers were present to resist...

...I was one.

25 January 2012

Random Rats

If there is one thing that mystifies me, it is the incredible predictability with which Sleepers in an anomoly or signature will attack. This is not an unusual think to encounter around New Eden, but the increased ferocity with which Sleepers organise themselves would seem to lend itself nicely to some unpredictability in the tactics them employ.

To illustrate, if I find myself in a class two wormhole system running a Perimeter Checkpoint I know I will find a couple of sentry guns, a couple of cruisers and a couple of frigates. I also know killing the final cruiser will result in reinforcements arriving. I also know the reinforcements will be two classes of cruiser and which class will be the trigger.

It seems to me there is something artificial about this situation. I would have expected a more random variability in the composition of sleeper fleets and arrival times of reinforcements. Don't get me wrong, this predictability is great from a capsuleer point of view. As long as I am able to withstand the onslaught of damage coming from the initial forces, I have the information to control the field. Life is good.

But still, it almost seems like the attacks follow some predetermined template and not any form of sentient logic and intellect which is capable of analysis and learning.

24 January 2012


Gradually over time I am becoming more inclined to seek out a kill rather than shy away from it. Tonight I decided to just spend a little time massaging the output of my workers down on some of the planets in our wormhole system. While in warp to the POS I noticed a scanner probe on d-scan. A quick check with the only other active pilot in the system confirmed it was not a probe belong to us. He cheerfully suggested it might belong to the Anathema who just appeared on d-scan, followed by a further 4 scanner probes.

Hmm, the planets can wait...

When I landed on the POS I turned tail so I could cloak back up and not scare the poor defenseless creature away. The shared corporate locations revealed three wormholes in system so I warped to the top location hoping to catch the Anathema leaving. Sadly there was no Anathema there or likely to appear there; this location no longer contained a wormhole.

Okay, he'll be on the second locat... damnit, no wormhole.

Third time lucky, but now I was distracted with cleaning up the shared locations and arrived in perfect range of the Anathema but unprepared. Hell, did he jump through or cloak? Why was I not paying attention? I'm sure I could've locked him up. I console myself knowing he'd probably have jumped through anyway before I could send him a present or three.

I sense what little hunt just happened has gone slightly stale as I jump through to see if my little friend is through there. Checking d-scan reveals nothing. I bounce to the next wormhole provided by out intel and jump through. Still nothing on d-scan. I hang around for a couple of minutes checking d-scan regularly but see nothing. Jumping back one hop I hope for some contact but there is none.

Oh well, back to managing planets.

23 January 2012

Wormhole Stabilisers

So the CSM think wormhole stabilisers should be added to the game to make invading wormhole systems easier? Rather than follow my instinct to jump up and down and complain about this being a terrible idea I decided to think how this should actually work. This thinking lead to a discussion with my friend splatus over at A journey through the mind. The resulting thoughts were something like this.

Stabilising Effect
To create a stabilising effect there should be a requirement for a presence at both the entry and exit points of the wormhole. The idea being to create awareness from anyone watching d-scan that a stabilisation effort was in operation. This creates a flash point for conflict if so desired.

Achieving the effect would involve anchoring and bringing online a destroyable structure on one side of the wormhole. The time required to bring this online should not be particularly long, say three minutes. This structure then enables the other side of the wormhole to be targeted by one or more of a new high-slot ship module. It is this module which provides the actual stabilisation effect.

The stabilisation effect would be something similar to the vamp modules used to drain cap from ships. In this instance it would be draining 'mass input' from the wormhole at a set rate. Applying additional stabilisation modules to a single wormhole would increase the rate mass input was drained from the wormhole but should be subject to similar diminishing returns as stacking modules in a ship. Basically this creates an increase in the maximum mass which can travel through a wormhole, but beyond the initial mass limits there will be a time-based 'repair' effect which needs to be taken into account. Should there be a point where the total mass traversed through the hole minus the 'repair' effect is greater than the initial maximum mass supported by the wormhole then the wormhole will close.

The time a wormhole can stay open should not be increase. Possibly the stabilisation effect should have a side-effect of reducing wormhole lifetime. It should never be possible to hold a wormhole open indefinitely. Finally, when a wormhole eventually closes, the anchorable structure will be destroyed unless already removed.

Destabilising Effect
If we are to have a ship module and anchorable which can increase the stability of a wormhole then there should also be a sister module which has the opposite effect. Currently a wormhole corp will collapse a wormhole by running calculations on a spreadsheet while jumping plate-fit battleships or Orcas through. Having a module to simplify this task would be a massive improvement in the game experience while not particularly changing the actual dynamic involved.

As with the stabiliser effect, the destabiliser should be a two part process. Part one is anchoring and bringing online the structure on one side of the wormhole. This could even be the same anchorable used in the stabilising effect to keep outside parties guessing if the wormhole is being closed or held open. Part two is running one or more of another new high-slot ship module. This time the effect is to inject mass to the wormhole. Think shield transfer this time. Again there should be a stacking penalty to prevent instant closing of a wormhole.

The maths for this modules is easier than for stabilising. You add mass using this module and also by pushing ships through the wormhole if you want. Eventually the wormhole will close, destroying the anchorable if it is still in place.

Two new ship modules and a new anchorable to give capsuleer a little more control over wormhole life. The first may make invasion easier but slightly more visible to the observant occupier of a wormhole; the second will make life easier for wormhole residents but at a slightly increased risk of being noticed while closing an unwanted wormhole connection.


20 January 2012

Setting Up

Having completed my move into our new class 4 wormhole system it was time to start setting up some mining operations on the planets. We are quite fortunate to have a good selection of planets to work with, however this means I have too much choice what to actually make. As a result I sat doing nothing for far too long without making any decisions.

I know, I'll just make POS fuel while I decide what I should actually do.

The problem with sticking to POS fuel is that, while we need a reasonable reserve, it is rather bulky to just keep manufacturing and storing. Sensible limits will have to be created otherwise we'll be fuelling POSs just to store fuel. So for the short term this is a sensible option, but I need to make products refined to a higher level.

Ideally I should make products that are of some use to my industrial friend, Dhal, so maybe I'll just ask him what he wants to do. That way he'll suffer the financial hit of purchasing expensive blueprints, and not me.

Is this not pretty?
In the end, I only set up two planets as the process to do so can be quite repetitive and boring. It would be nice to just employ a foreman down on the planet to make sure stupid things like not routing the output of a process didn't result in it vanishing mysteriously. But these are the challenges we face until this particular capsule interface is deemed worthy of an upgrade.

19 January 2012

Visions Of New Eden - I

I've captured many images during my time travelling around New Eden. I hope to share some of these here as well as capture new shots for your viewing pleasure. I thought I should start with the image used for the background to this blog.

The above shot was taken during a random fleet gathering organised through Eve Radio early last year. I can't remember many details from then other than I helped kill an Absolution, a Hurricane and a Hyperion in Rancer. Saying I 'helped' is probably overstating my involvement; I mainly orbited at silly speeds in a Tristan because I was too excited.

18 January 2012

Blog Banter 32: Non-Consensual Combat Restrictions

This month's Blog Banter comes from Drackarn of Sand, Cider and Spaceships

"A quick view of the Eve Online forums can always find someone complaining about being suicide ganked, whining about some scam they fell for or other such tears. With the Goons' Ice Interdiction claiming a vast amount of mining ships there were calls for an "opt out of PvP" option.

Should this happen? Should people be able to opt-out of PvP in Eve Online. Should CONCORD prevent crime rather than just handing out justice after the event? Or do the hi-sec population already have too much protection from the scum and villainy that inhabits the game?"

Although I now live in wormhole space, I had mostly been a carebear during my two years in New Eden. My first experience of non-consensual PvP was two months in. I was jetcan mining in Scolluzer and someone flipped my can. Although I was still pretty green I understood what had just happened and why. Also, being a noob, I went away and fetched my Iteron hoping to loot the jetcan while getting up to warp speed. Needless to say this didn't work and I suffered my first loss. The upshot of this was I went off and learnt how to not be a victim to this again. I have only lost two subsequent ships to what I would call non-consensual PvP. Others will disagree with me as both of those were under wardec. I call them non-consensual because I didn't want to be wardec'd.

This looks like I'm building up to say there should be an opt-out option, but I'm not. Eve Online is a PvP environment - like it or leave it. Almost everything you do in New Eden can affect someone else in a negative manner. PvP exists more than just in space. Anyone who trades on the market and places better buy and sell orders is engaging in activites against other players - aka. PvP.

In order to fully opt out of PvP you need to stop using markets, contracts, running incursions (competing with others to get into fleets or competing with other fleets to clear sites). What is left in the game then? It's pretty damn hard to undock if you can't buy a ship or fittings.

Yes I know, the people whining actually mean getting their ship blown up in hisec. But that is part and parcel with life in New Eden. If someone in hisec chooses to gank you then you are safe in the knowledge that the authorities will deal with them... eventually. If you have high value cargo that you don't want to lose to a gank then make sure your ship can survive long enough for the authorities to turn up. Don't fly around in an untanked Iteron V stuffed full with Sisters Core Scanner Probes. Essentially do what I did - learn how to be safer. This is part of existing in New Eden.

I believe the balance of safety in the game is roughly where it should be. With the exception of random wardecs, it is possible to have a pretty safe time in hisec as long as you don't do anything too stupid. Life in New Eden is all about risk and reward. Without the risk what value does the reward actually have?

Science Bit

Within New Eden there are many pies to stick your fingers into. To this end I have a close friend, Dhal, who endures the noisy neighbourhood of Jita to fulfil his life goals of making ships and ammo. Some of it for me. Dhal's dream is to build strategic cruisers, but that is a long-term goal requiring ISK which he tells me is in short supply. Apparently learning the skills he requires takes a lot of ISK as well as time.

His current occupation is researching 'tech 2' blueprints. Apparently, once you have an original standard blueprint and access to a POS this can become a profitable area of work. The general flow is to make a copy of the original blueprint and then use the copy, along with relevant datacores, to hopefully invent a 'tech 2' item related to the original item. Sadly this only produces a limited run blueprint copy so invention is an ongoing task. Finally Dhal will take the blueprint copy and turn it into the finished item ready for sale. Of course this ties up more capital until the product sells.

In between each of these steps are long periods of waiting. Personally I think it all sounds boring and rather complicated. I prefer to leave the science stuff to him while I am out exploring the far reaches of wormhole space. I also never did understand why he doesn't just make a permanent copy of the 'tech 2' blueprints he invents but I don't like to ask again.

17 January 2012

New Beginnings

I completed the move into our new class 4 wormhole system last night. Having spent the last week or so hanging out near Jita left me feeling slightly shell-shocked. Wormhole life has left me more accustomed to an empty local communication channel than the constant spew of vomit that flows from the den of inequity that is Jita 4-4. Visiting Jita is essential as it is the definitive one-stop-shop for all one will need when in New Eden.

Last night presented an excellent route into the C4 and I took full advantage. I always feel nervous piloting an uncloaked ship through wormhole systems. The first two ships through were Drakes which would allow me to fight back a little should any unfriendly pilots decide to engage me. In a wormhole it is important to remember all pilots are unfriendly unless they are in your corp. It is even worth checking your blues will honor the blue status 'just in case'.

Third in was a Covetor which made me a little more nervous. If anyone caught me in that I would be receiving a fiery express delivery back to my medical clone. I mean, who could possibly avoid popping a defenceless mining ship? I know I couldn't. Happily this transited the connecting route from hisec to home perfectly safely and I made the final journey out to collect my scanning Tengu - the ship I call home.

All went well and I now have a full complement of ships in our new system. This will allow me to take part in any corp ops which present themselves. More importantly, as I am now home I can get down to the serious business of making ISK from planetary interaction. The enforced vacation to hisec has left my wallet a little light.