16 October 2016

Opening a New Map

Out with the old
Intel is everything in wormhole space. Our daily routine revolves around scanning for routes. Presenting the chains we find as accessible maps is a massive requirement for us. In the beginning we used ASCII maps in the bulletin board. Then almost exactly three years ago we started using EVE W-Space for creating our chain maps. Unfortunately this requires the in-game browser to track each pilot's current position. On Tuesday the in-game browser was retired from the client and EVE W-Space lost a massive part of functionality.

Thankfully I had been preparing for this by trying other pieces of mapping software. I prefer to host the code myself so that ruled out Siggy from the get-go. The first option to try was the other well-known mapping project of Tripwire. It installed easy enough and I got it up and running with no problems at all. When I started using it I just didn't gel with the interface. With three years of EVE W-Space mapping left to right, I didn't like the top-down mapping in Tripwire. Everything also felt small, again likely caused by the emphasis on larger nodes for each system mapped in EVE W-Space. After one evening spent mapping with Tripwire I was done and looking for another option.

In with the new
One night on comms someone suggested a newer project called Pathfinder. I had a quick read of their website and agreed to give it a go. Once again, installation was trivial and I had the software mapping for me in no time. Right from the off I had the same complaint as with Tripwire regarding the size of the node bubbles. Unlike Tripwire though, Pathfinder has free placement of each system. You can click and drag the system type indicator (C1, C2, H, etc.) and move the bubble where ever you want. This means we could continue to work with left-to-right mapping.

Another nice feature is the page loads in system kills within the last 24 hours. This gives you an instant idea if there may be people lurking around to shoot at (or die to). One final feature I quite like is the route planner will use the mapped connections to calculate the fastest route somewhere, using wormholes if required. It is rather nice seeing the distance to Jita is eight jumps while I'm sat in a random nullsec watching nobody do anything.

If you are in the market for a new mapping tool and want to host it yourself I can thoroughly recommend Pathfinder. Or, if you're not as paranoid as me you can always use their hosted version.

26 September 2016

Drifters Abound


To quote my corpmate who took this screenshot in J130037: "Yeah, fuck that hole".

21 September 2016

Not Entertainment

The problem with new player retention was inadvertently pigeonholed on comms tonight:
"It's PVE; you do it for the ISK, not the entertainment"
'Nuf said

12 September 2016

The Hidden Chair

Almost everything was unpacked now but there was still no sign of the writing chair. Oreamnos had been asking everyone he'd seen, and spent hours digging through the computer inventory, but it was as if the chair had never existed. Walking past his writing desk for what felt like the millionth time since the new office was set up Orea noticed a small piece of white paper had been left for his attention; the writing simply said "Check out the view".

There had been no reason to open the shutters on the office's massive view port. He knew the view of a distant sun was hugged by artificial representations of the wormhole system's planetary orbits. Still, the note had been left for a reason and with nothing better to do right now he might as well take another look outside. An instruction to the citadel's computer made the shutters slowly roll open.

"Bastards!", Oreamnos swore out loud to nobody in particular. There, right in the middle of his window, occluding the view and bracketed by the computer as 'Unknown' was the clear outline of his favourite leather writing chair. "I'll kill them all!"

Image by Rhiana Kurosawa, aka prime suspect

7 September 2016

Unpacking

"About bloody time" Oreamnos though as he wandered through the mess of his new office. In the corner, recently uncovered, was an antique oak writing desk which he hadn't seen for weeks. Looking around he realised the battered leather chair which went with the desk was yet to be unpacked.

Stalking off, muttering about incompetent janitorial staff, Orea went to see if his new citadel contained a decent glass of rum anywhere.

26 June 2016

When Bloggers Collide

My friend and fellow blogger, Splatus, finally managed to vacation in the UK. After over five years of playing EVE together we finally got to meet in person. He also brought a gift which will give me many hours of reading enjoyment.
I also had a gift for him, a good beer and glass with the alliance logo etched on it.
It was great to finally meet someone I've been in almost daily contact with, through EVE, for five years. I was told it can't take so long until our next meeting but next time I've to go to the USA. I'd better renew my passport then.

31 May 2016

EVE Launcher for Linux

In the distant past I used Linux as my main home PC operating system. I didn't play many games back then and being able to run successfully on Linux was pretty much a requirement for me even trying a game. As my professional career gave me more and more freedom to play with various technologies on Linux I spent less time playing with them at home. This freed up time was soon put to good use and I started playing more games.

I still spent a fair amount of time trying to get a sufficiently performant experience with EVE in Linux. I could definitely get it working but there were always some niggles, not least was that my PC was getting old and the performance hit from running EVE on top of a translation layer made it worse. Ultimately I gave up and just ran EVE under Windows. I would occasionally foray back into EVE on Linux on various work computers but never got anything I would call 'satisfying'.

I randomly stumbled across a post in the EVE forums yesterday talking about the EVE Launcher being available for Linux. Apparently this is something that CCP Snorlax has been working on as a side project. It downloads and installs its own custom build of WINE on which EVE will run. The forum thread I linked, above, is pretty active so if you give this wonderful side project of CCP Snorlax a go and get stuck there's a good chance you can get some help there.

I've yet to try this myself. As always all I have running Linux is an ancient laptop. I hope to give this a go at the weekend but I'm pretty sure all it will do is turn the laptop into molten plastics.

30 May 2016

Opportunities Knock

Last month I wrote about CCP introducing what amounted to 'daily quests' on the test server. These have finally arrived on the live server and I'm happy to see that rats in w-space also count towards the gifted skill points. A few of us had hoped that the daily opportunity would be per character, thus giving us the chance to earn extra SP for all our alts. Sadly this is not the case and you can only earn 10,000 SP extra per account, per day.

I suspect this is to prevent more experienced players who don't want or need the SP from simply farming it. If you used all three characters to do this you could fill three skill extractors every 7 weeks. Selling those on would have given enough ISK to cover a PLEX. Essentially the monthly cost of playing EVE would have halved for people who didn't need this SP.

I guess doing it this way is probably a good thing. However, given the alt-centric nature of EVE, it would probably benefit newer players to be able to accelerate the training of the two alts they get on an account. Maybe CCP could allow the bonus SP to be per character providing said character has less than five million SP? Then new players would be able to rapidly train the low SP, highly specialised alts most experienced players have access to.

23 May 2016

Sovless Goons

I've been watching with vague interest at the whole World War Bee thing. Along with most of New Eden I put an alt into Pandemic Horde. I didn't do that because I have any particular hatred of Goons/CFC/Imperium, rather it was the easy route in for random fights. I can't say I've been particularly active as I'll always log in to my wormhole corp. first. There's been some fun roams, some total whelps, and a couple of totally boring moments sitting doing nothing. As I've mentioned here before the propaganda flowing from the war has been excellent. To my mind that's been the best part of the war entirely.

Throughout the war so far the basic scheme of things has been thousands of Money Badger's shouting "Grr Goons" while taking sov from said Goons. On the Goons side they've been readily declaring how they didn't want that sov anyway whilst getting somewhat excited about Horde tears and crushing victories over "strategic Thrasher fleets". To be honest I've been somewhat disappointed by the Imperium response. I've been around since 2009 and there's been some impressive shows of force by the then CFC which has been totally lacking this time around. What could have been the next great war in New Eden has been a damp squib where the largest and most experienced coalition has been excited about shooting fish in barrels.

Today it was highlighted to me that Goons have finally reached their target. They currently hold sovereignty in absolutely zero systems in New Eden. No matter what happens now it is incredibly unlikely that we will see any Goon supercaps in battle any time soon. They no longer have the infrastructure available to them to rebuild any losses. We are all poorer from this turn of affairs. Nonetheless I hope that with zero systems claimed Goons now feel ready for the fight back. With no sov, they truly satisfy the conditions to stage their uncatchily-named "War of Sov-less Aggression".

16 May 2016

Citadel Death Rate

It's been just over two weeks since the first Astrahus citadel was anchored. Many since then have been aborted before they made it to fully operational status. I thought it would be interesting to trawl zkillboard and look at the Citadel deaths so far this month.

I had thought the majority of citadels would die very early in the graph as everyone scrambled to kill the shiny new thing in-game. It turns out the rate of dying seems to be increasing. In retrospect I guess this is because the price has been dropping. More people are either willing or able to risk the cost of launching these new toys.

I can't help but notice w-space is particularly unforgiving for people launching a citadel. I wonder if that's a function of us wormhole dwellers allegedly having too much ISK. I'd need to check the classes of hole these citadels died in. The C5/6 dwellers certainly can afford to drop the 1.5 Bn ISK on a citadel. The more casual groups like my corp have to think twice about it.

I'd be interested to see how the number of aborted citadels compares to successfully onlined ones. To see seven citadels died in w-space yesterday seems concerning on the surface. But if that was seven out of 70 anchored then all is well.

I look forward to us anchoring our first citadel but I'm going to be watching silly season on these kills to pick an appropriate time before we even attempt to put one up.

9 May 2016

Death to all Citadels

As I recently posted, I was definitely not going to suicide a noob ship on the Perimeter citadel which ended its final reinforcement timer last night. Here is the edited video of me not doing exactly that, set to Permaband's latest tune.


3 May 2016

To kill a Citadel

My picture post on Sunday showed one of the first citadels in New Eden. I can happily report that it successfully anchored and was fitted up to become a fully armed and operational battle station. I also mentioned on Sunday that there were four pending wardecs against the anchoring alliance. These are now up to six active ones. Inevitably, this happened:


I am very certain that those 24 battleships fully exceed the 5000 dps cap on an Astrahus and there was no noticeable defence fleet that I saw. Nonetheless they took the Astrahus through it's armour and into the second reinforcement timer of six days.

If you want to witness the destruction of this hisec citadel you should get yourself to the Jita gate in Perimeter by 23:10 this Sunday (May the 8th). I've a pretty good idea that system is going to be pretty packed. I can in no way confirm nor deny that I'll have an alt losing a ship to Concord to whore on the killmail. I couldn't possibly suggest that you do so too.

1 May 2016

Citadels are here

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present for your appreciation the first Astrahus citadel (that I've stumbled across) in its construction phase.


I'm not holding my breath over it's longevity as there are already four wardecs on the anchoring alliance. I can neither confirm nor deny the accusation that I have an alt sitting at zero on it to whore on the killmail...

19 April 2016

Free To Play EVE

Here's the prediction for an announcement at Fanfest this year: As of Citadel's release we will no longer need to pay our monthly subscription to play EVE Online. Instead we will only have to pay for characters we want to train. If we don't want to train new skills we stop paying.

The evidence is from the dev blog FANFEST 2016 - BRING ON THE WRECKING MACHINE! where they list the cosplay PLEX prizes in terms of "years of training time" rather than years of game time. Check out the image to see it for yourself:

So, dear reader, what do you think? Is this irrefutable evidence that EVE is going free to play and pay to train in the near future? Answers on a postcard.

14 April 2016

The March Of The Newbie

The eternal march of the newbie is continuing in EVE Online. Not satisfied with streamlining the new player experience, CCP are adding in the essence of a daily 'quest'.


It's about bloody time this happened. To someone with a character as old as mine a pitiful ten thousand skill points is nothing. It is less than 0.01% of my current SP and I've only been playing since very late 2009. To a new character who is all excited and enthused about getting into their next ship faster 10k SP is massive.

As far as I'm concerned this is a genius move by CCP to aid new players along in the game. I would just like to request an additional 20k SP daily for Sleeper kills in w-space. I promise we'll try not to shoot too many of the intrepid newbie explorers (crosses fingers).

5 April 2016

Another WWB Desktop

'World War Bee', as the current war is known, is probably the big thing happening in EVE for some time now. My last post was a bunch of propaganda linked from Reddit and I was going to leave it there for the image sharing. However I just saw Rixx Javix posted a fantastic wallpaper over on his Eveoganda blog. It's rather nice and I set it as my desktop image right away. However that didn't work for me due to the high-key nature of it. So I lazily opened up MS Paint (for some reason I don't have GIMP on my desktop PC) and butchered Rixx' image to the following inverse version. It's not as clean as the original but it works better for me. Enjoy.



3 April 2016

World War Bee

Anyone who reads my blog will already know I don't care much for nullsec politics. By and large I am in wormhole space because I don't want to deal with the drama of massive corps and giant fleets. What I do enjoy, however, is the propaganda which accompanies a good nullsec war. It's been a couple of years since the last great war in EVE but now we have 'World War Bee'. I thought I'd share some of the propaganda, from both sides, here.

From here

From here

From here

From here

From here

Desktop image from here

However this war ends, both sides win with extra fleets and ship explosions. CCP wins being able to pimp the widespread conflict as a marketing theme. Ultimately who ends up with what areas of space is of little consequence to me.

28 March 2016

Enslaving false gamers


BB 73 -The Other Eve Game?
So soon(tm) we will have Eve Online, Valkyrie, Gunjack and the as yet untitled FPS to replace DUST514/Project Legion. Are we missing anything else? Are then any other games CCP should be looking into? Colony building simulators in the style of Sim City or Rimworld. Should it be on a grander scale link Civilisation or Stronghold Kingdoms. How about RTS games ala Command and Conquer. Survival games such as Rust? Planet based combat like World of Tanks? Would you like to see other game types expanding the Eve Universe or should CCP stick to what it knows?


For a long time CCP had a single title, EVE Online. As anyone with a half a clue knows it isn't the best idea for a company to rely on a single product to keep the lights on. CCP recognise this and over the years have tried to create new titles on par with EVE. World of Darkness never saw the light of day. Dust 514 will be cremated in six weeks. This leaves CCP with EVE as their main money maker. Valkyrie and Gunjack have yet to take off properly. I'll believe in the FPS replacement for Dust when I see it. Clearly CCP need more titles out there. The EVE universe is massive. There is potential to create just about any game genre and set it somewhere in New Eden.

For a long time I've been hearing that gaming is changing. There is a certain elitist mentality that says 'proper gamers' are the ones on PC, Playstation or Xbox. The people who play games on their tablet or phone aren't 'proper gamers'. I used to agree. As time has gone on I've realised that the games on tablets are still games regardless of the complexity, graphics quality or depth of gameplay. There are legions of people out there who don't want to sit at their PC and play EVE. Those people want to sit on their couch and dip into something simple for 20 minutes while waiting for something good to come on TV.

There are some aspects of EVE which would fit nicely into a tablet environment. Market Trading and the planet interface side of Planetary Interaction are two that spring to mind. Let's face it, how often do people doing either of those tasks actually put themselves at risk?

Space Empire Market Trader


Your aim is to make as much ISK as possible. You start in Jita 4-4 but can pay for transport to other stations. The transportation can either be cheap, slow and fulfilled by NPCs or more expensive contracts hopefully fulfilled by Capsuleers in New Eden. Buying and selling is against the same New Eden markets the rest of us use. Players could stay in a single station simply trading on the market there but the real riches are going to be buying in one location and selling in another.

There are positives for EVE itself. As these traders aren't looking to fit ships there will be less of the positive reinforcement of the trade hubs we see today. New hubs will gradually appear where there are many capsuleers.  In Jita itself, the increased number of traders will give rise to greater competition which could push prices down. A new career would appear in New Eden of 'taxi driver' as well as reinforcing the 'space trucker' role seen in corps like Red Frog. Finally, the 'score' in this game is the amount of ISK a player has. These players are all seeking to have the highest 'score' which gives this ISK-sink qualities.

Space Empire Factory Manager


You are an interplanetary factory manager. Your job is to maintain the production capacity of capsuleer installations around the universe. You are hired by capsuleers to keep their PI running at all times so they don't have to. Your score is the amount of ISK you earn. This is a true sink as there would be no way to return this to the economy.

Imagine never having to update your PI again. For a token ISK payment each of your planets goes into a pool of planets which require management. Random people on tablets will be shown your planet and update your extractors to find the best location for the extractor heads. They export the PI to the POCO if it's needed. All you need to do is fly your Epithal over there and collect it. Genius.

More games please


In case it isn't obvious I am all for CCP further exploiting the New Eden universe to create more titles. If these can be hooked into the live universe we all live in then even better. Even if they can't then I am all for more titles such as Valkyrie and Gunjack. It would just be nice if CCP could release it on hardware I already own.

21 March 2016

18 March 2016

The Road to Discovery

A long time ago I gained a degree in a biological science. I really enjoyed the time I spend in the lab doing science stuff such as ELISA tests, PCR or running DNA though gel electrophoresis. Apart from one seasonal job as a government scientist I sadly never followed my studies up with a science career. Naturally I was rather pleased when I heard CCP were going to add a 'citizen science' feature into EVE. It sounded like something I could get my teeth into, time permitting.

Project Discovery lets you donate time to the real-world analysis of human proteins. In game it is masquerading as analysis of Drifter cells. There is a token payment of ISK which I would probably have loved to be receiving as a new player. On the first day I did 45 samples and ended up with about 2 million ISK in the bank. I have made a point of trying my best to analyse the samples. EVE being EVE, of course, there will be players out there simply burning through the images as rapidly as possible with little care for accuracy. This is a shame because what CCP and MMOS are trying to achieve is a fantastic thing. I really hope they have good statistical analysis going on in the background so we don't create a conduit for dumb, selfish EVE players to mess data up in the real world simply because they want to maximise the dreaded ISK per hour metric.

Spare time progress is slow

15 March 2016

Who watches the watchlist?

These people don't watch me :-(
After a false start the latest update of EVE was rolled out on Wednesday last week. A large number of changes were introduced in that update but the one I want to mention is the fundamental change to the watchlist feature.

For as long as I have been in New Eden we've been able to add contacts and tick a little box which also puts said contact on a 'watchlist'. From that moment on we are notified when that contact goes on and off line. For my first couple of years in New Eden this watchlist was solely used for tracking friends or people I wanted to get in contact with for some reason (e.g. a recruiter for a corp). When the little notification appeared I could convo the person to say hello.

Once I moved into wormholes the watchlist took on a whole more important role. With a local channel you can see when people log off by their name disappearing from the system when you know they can't have left any other way. In wormholes we don't have local so the watchlist filled that intel gap. With the watchlist we could easily see when a potential target had went offline. This let us know we could stop waiting for them to go do something where we could potentially kill them. Watching patterns of people logging on and off also gave a fairly accurate insight to which characters were alts of each other. If you see three characters log on and off within a few seconds it is a pretty safe bet they are all just one player.

In this regard, removing the watchlist is a rather large nerf to wormhole life. Now we won't be able to know with any accuracy if someone is cloaked up in a given system or actually logged off. We won't be able to watch an industrial ship head out to hisec and know whether he is just being really slow at coming back or if he logged out. We won't be able to add all the members of a small corp to instantly know when they come online, useful if we're doing bad things in their home system. Guess what though? I'm totally okay with all that.

To add someone to your watchlist all you needed was a character's name and you could find out instantly if they were online or not. You didn't even need to have seen them in space to know. There wasn't anything you could do to prevent others adding you to their watchlist either. It was perfect intel and it was free. There is no place in New Eden for that. One of the things I like about living in wormholes is the difficulty associated with acquiring information about your surroundings. It takes proper teamwork (or a ridiculous army of alts) to effectively scout your chains. With the removal of the watchlist the onus on good scouting just increased.

10 March 2016

Ghosties

At some point many months ago the pirate ghost sites were introduced to New Eden. As a wormholer I didn't really pay much attention to these new sites. The other night one of these pirate sites appeared in our home system, possibly for the first time ever, so we got a small hacking fleet together.

Now that right there is a pretty easy warning to be had. Even if you gloss over the running-together of "above" and "board" it is fairly clear the Serpentis don't want us warping to the site. So, what else are we supposed to do? That's right, our small hacking fleet warped right in.


It turns out that the Serpentis aren't quite as accommodating to guests as I may have hoped. Bob protected me and my shield booster kept me on the shiny side of dead. Something scared the Serpentis off before they could finish me. Nonetheless I came out of the experience knowing to respect the Serpentis defences more than I have to date.

7 March 2016

Vote CSM

In case you missed it in the EVE launcher we are currently in the middle of the voting period for CSM XI. I had been going to make some pithy post complaining about my lack of care for the CSM this time and selling my votes for ISK. I decided that with two friends running for CSM that would be somewhat disingenuous of me. I do actually care about at least two slots on the CSM so I should use my votes accordingly.

Somewhere I read that the official Goonswarm voting list is designed to screw the CSM. As weak a voice as the CSM has I think that's a pretty dumb thing to do. If you have a realistic view of what the CSM is, a focus group, then you realise that they shouldn't be expected to 'achieve' anything other than be a useful and representative focus group for the majority of players. Hopefully as many Goon members will follow the voting regime dictated to them as pledged to the Goons' Kickstarter campaign. That leaves the vast majority to vote for the good of the game.

If you have no idea how to vote I recommend Nashh Kadavr, Brodit and Steve Ronuken at the top. Beyond that try Rixx Javix's recommendations for further inspiration. Most importantly though, go vote now.

29 February 2016

Brief Break

I took a brief break from EVE this past 10 days. I had been reading about an epic adventure going on in Elite: Dangerous, the Distant Worlds expedition. The people involved in that project are flying with approximately 1000 pilots to the opposite side of the galaxy. Their route will take them some 80 thousand light years before they reach the destination. When I learned of this epic quest I thought I would try and catch up with them and then join their main fleet.

This turned out to be a pretty optimistic and foolish idea. I don't play E: D enough to have much money in the bank. I fitted out my ship with the best jump drive I could. This got me only 15 LY per jump. If I'd known how far away the overall journey was at that point I'd have given up there and then. Over the course of the past 10 days I spent way too many hours each day jumping five systems at a time then scooping fuel at a sun before continuing on. I made it to checkpoint 1 fairly quick and felt smug. I would catch them up in no time. Getting to checkpoint 2 probably took 16 hours of continuous play. It was at this point I realised quite the scale of the journey. I had travelled one eleventh of the way to the centre of the galaxy. Getting to the other side was double that!


I soldiered on through the past week jumping system to system whenever I had some spare time. I was slowly closing the gap on the main fleet but I was starting to think I would be lucky to meet with them before they reached the end of their outwards journey. I don't even want to think how many hours I spent jumping away from the main bubble of inhabited systems. The journey stopped being fun and became a proper chore. In my head I still wanted to catch a group of people I was over a month behind.

It was a nice day yesterday. I was doing some maintenance on my motorbike while pressing on with my mission in Elite. I would do my 5 jumps then go do some more work outside while refuelling at a sun. It was going well until a neighbour visited. Then another. So we sat outside and chatted. After about an hour I suddenly remembered about my ship refuelling at the sun. I came in just in time to see it overheating through solar exposure and my life support failing. Ah, bollocks! I was 11,000 LY from any chance of repairs. No way I could cover more than 1000th of that distance in the five minutes of oxygen I had.

Boom!!

It had taken me a week of not-insignificant time to get so far away from the start. It took less than an hour of distraction to send me all the way back to the beginning. I felt a lot more punished by that than anything EVE has ever dished out to me. Elite: Dangerous picks up a lot of criticism for a lack of content being built in. In the true nature of a sandboxy game the lack of content is largely created by a lack of imagination. I salute the organisers of the Distant Worlds expedition. They are better people than I for the journey they organised. Maybe I can scrape together more credits, buy a proper exploration ship, and join them on their next epic adventure.

17 February 2016

Light years away

I recently noticed the CREST endpoint for getting a character's location has been enabled. As I understand it this is the first step of many towards removing the old and creaky in-game browser. In case you don't know, the in-game browser allows websites access to certain information about the character logged in. I won't go into detail but suffice to say one of the bits of information is the current location. This is particularly useful for mapping tools such as Dotlan's radar function. In wormholes we have our own mapping tools so we can have up-to-date representations of our current constellation and chains. When CCP first mooted the idea to remove the in-game browser the wormhole community was pretty adamant that we would need some other way to find pilots' current location for use in these mapping tools. I have never done anything with the authenticated CREST API. In fact, I've only ever worked with the single sign-on feature in the past, and that code is some nasty mess I threw together. This meant it was time for some learning.

It's pretty easy to move from pure SSO to requesting CREST access scopes. I just had to put the scopes I wanted into the 'scope' parameter in the redirect URL. Once I did that I could use either the one-time access token to request a piece of information from the CREST API, or be more sensible and save the 'refresh_token' as a reusable token to use against the API.  Of course, writing it here makes it all look so easy. I have a terrible history working with APIs so it was a bunch of trial and error that got me to this point. During that trial and error I started talking to the 'systems' endpoint as an easy thing to request. It was while doing that I noticed the systems are listed with x, y and z coordinates. With coordinates for all the systems in EVE I got slightly sidetracked with working out how far away my home wormhole system is from the main EVE cluster. So, to the numbers.

Firstly a calibration test.

  • Sobaseki to Pakkonen has a straight line distance of 37,446,080,319,997,000 of whatever magical units CCP used for New Eden.
  • From the Dotlan jump calculator I can see that corresponds to 3.958 light years. Dividing the large arbitrary units number by the smaller light years number gives a factor to convert between the random CCP units to light years.
  • Pakkonen to EC-P8R has a straight line distance of 80,133,438,607,125,000 which reads as 8.470 light years when divided by the calibration factor.
  • In Dotlan, Pakkonen to EC-P8R shows the same jump as 8.47 light years.
This looks pretty good to me. Time to move on to calculate the distance from my home wormhole to Amarr (because screw Jita).
  • Home to Amarr has a straight line distance of 11,958,622,357,432,000,000 mystery units.
  • Dividing that by the conversion factor yields a distance of 1,264.010 light years.
It's a pretty long single jump between my own corner of Anoikis and my preferred market hub of Amarr. To have my freighter make that jump in one go I would need my Jump Drive Calibration skill to, um, level 1,259. That's quite a long train. I think I'll stick to traveling through holes in space.

Oh yeah, and the location endpoint? Turns out my alt is in Jita...
{
    "solarSystem":
    {
        "id_str": "30000142",
        "href": "https://crest-tq.eveonline.com/solarsystems/30000142/",
        "id": 30000142,
        "name": "Jita"
    }
}

13 February 2016

Tell me about the rabbits

Scan a QR code like this to enable Google authenticator
On Tuesday a new ability came to New Eden. By spending some Aurum (yes, remember that stuff) you can now purchase a skill extractor. This item can be used to extract half a million skill points from your capsuleer brain which, in turn, allows you to sell them on the open market. On the other side of this transaction you have pilots who want a quick injection of skill points. They can spend hard earned ISK and purchase your half a million SP and inject it into their head as unallocated skill points. If you've ever been given a ship or fitting for an organised roam and realised you couldn't fit some of it you'll probably be thinking this is a useful new feature. However, the cost of the skill injectors was around 620 million ISK last time I looked. Whilst it's an investment in your character it still seems a whole whack to drop just to fit a module.

Of course, EVE being EVE, it occurred to me this introduces a whole new vector for upset should you be misfortunate enough for your account to be hacked. Until this week it was only your ISK and assets which were at risk. While I never had my stuff stolen in that way I imagine it would be a nightmare to log in and discover everything gone. Since the skill extractors were introduced there is now the potential to log in and discover that in addition to losing all your stuff you may also now find a drooling mess of a 5 million SP pilot who can't even fly a shuttle any more. Oh the joy to discover that. To be fair, it would cost around 40 billion ISK to extract 100 Million SP but from what I hear those rich, rich nullsec ratters are quite likely to have wallets that fat.

With this in mind it is no coincidence that on Monday I logged all my accounts into the CCP account management page and enabled two-factor authentication. Two-factor authentication is becoming increasingly common all over the internet. For the longest time people have been setting terrible passwords to protect their accounts. With two-factor authentication you either receive an email or use the Google authenticator app to generate a number based on the time you are trying to log in plus a secret shared between your app and CCP. This number is used in addition to your rubbish password to log in to your account. This means there are two pieces of information a potential hacker needs to use to access your account which should significantly reduce the likelihood of getting your account hacked.

Do you want to risk logging in and finding your pilot reduced to Lennie Small levels of intellect? Do you even know enough about rabbits to answer Lennie's questions? Do you have any idea what I'm referencing? If not then get your two-factor authentication sorted today.

2 February 2016

Local Chatter

paranoik vutra > hello
paranoik vutra > I'm gay
If it hadn't been for the flippant comments we'd never have known one of our wormhole connections was being rolled. I had just finished watching Deutchland 83 (watch it, it's very good) and was considering an early night. However, there is always just one thing to check in New Eden before I hit the sheets. As soon as I logged in I'm told about the chatter in local, told there's a crew rolling a hole, and told about the Vindicator, piloted by the chatty pilot, sitting on the hole being rolled.

We scramble into action. What do we need to kill a Vindy? Battleships of course. How do we stop him from just jumping away through the hole he's rolling? A command destroyer jump field! We get ourselves shipped up and wait for the next transit of the rest of the hole rollers. A Raven jumps in, crawls excruciatingly slowly back to the hole and jumps out. This is our trigger. Rhianna warps his command destroyer in on the Vindicator, activates the jump field then yells at us to warp to him as soon as the 100 km jump takes effect.

Rhianna's command destroyer dies before our Battleships get halfway through the warp. The power of dual webs on the Vindicator prove too much for his oversized prop-mod to cope with. Epic has inexplicably jumped into a Thorax so he arrives next and also dies rapidly. This is enough distraction for the Vindicator pilot and my Hyperion lands along with Ponder's Rattlesnake. We get points on the Vindy and start pouring on the damage.

My Hyperion is feeling the pain. The Vindy hits really hard and readily overwhelms my two armour reppers. I'm overheating everything, the Vindicator is in half armour, I am in a much worse state and explode all the same. Just as I warp my pod off we land another Hyperion on the Vindicator. By this time the enemy has drawn in support and they now also have a Tengu and Gila on field with us. I reship to provide some logi support to our own remaining ships. Before I get there the combined weight of the three hostile ships ends Ponder's Rattlesnake. It's too late for the Vindicator pilot though and he dies 10 seconds later. I cheer loudly, much to my wife's disgust who comes down the stairs to glare at me and close the door more firmly. The fight isn't over yet though.

Vindicator - Rixx Javix
The hostile fleet now comprises of a Gila, Tengu, Falcon, Bhalgorn, and a new Vindicator. We still have a Hyperion and Prophecy on the field with my Oneiros trying to keep out of range of any hostiles whilst also trying to keep my friends alive. I get some reps on the Hyperion before the Falcon jams me. Being jammed proves useful as it lets me focus on something other than trying to rep the friendly ships. I notice the Tengu getting mighty close to me. He points me as I align away from him and put my prop mod on. I watch hopefully as my speed climbs to match and then exceed his. I kite the Tengu 30 km or more from the fight before he gives up the chase. During this time we get our Hyperion out. That just leaves our Prophecy and my Oneiros. As I look for a way to get close to the Prophecy to send more reps he announces on comms that he isn't pointed any more and warps off. With nobody to keep alive I also take my leave of the battlefield.

And thus the fight ends. We put 'gf' in local and keep eyes on their fleet. They take some time to withdraw as their route home is critical on mass once the Bhalgorn jumps through. We contemplate jumping their second Vindicator away again but the toll it took on us first time was probably enough for one night. The final score on the killboard is two billion killed for one billion lost. It took us four ships and was definitely a fun fight. Damn those Vindicators are tough.

28 January 2016

Brodit for CSM

Brodit joined my alliance in the winter of 2012. He came in through our then training corp, spent a few months there learning the ropes and then moved up to my corp. He's probably one of the few people where that progression actually worked as intended. In 2013 I met the man and his wife at a little "boutique meetup" I organised. Seven EVE players turned up for a sit down meal and some polite drinks. Since then Brodit has been to all but two of the EVE meetups I've been at and he's been to plenty I didn't go to. He's been to several Fanfests and it was he who knew the good places to go when a number of my alliance first went in 2013. Brodit is not running for the CSM on a specific platform. He doesn't intend to filter people out based on high/low/null/wormhole residence. If you play EVE and want to talk to a CSM member about any issue, Brodit is aiming to be the de facto choice for everyone.

For the entire time I've played EVE with Brodit it has been pretty clear that EVE has a special place in his heart. Nothing in the game seems to get him down. Anyone who reads my blog knows I am proud to consider the corp a generalist corp within the confines of wormholes. Brodit is the epitome of how we live in Zero. He's pretty much up for anything. If he doesn't know how to do it he'll listen and learn or go find out what the craic is.

I saw a comment in the forums which is trying to pigeon-hole him as a wormhole resident and miner with little to no PvP experience. While he might be a little crazy he certainly isn't nuts enough to be much of a miner in wormhole space. If there's a PvP fleet to be had Brodit is there. I've found him in nullsec with us, lowsec, yes some mining, site running, he's also the main man when it comes to planning our switch to self-built citadels. There's no part of the game he seems uninterested in.

As a genuinely nice guy I have no idea why the hell he wants to run for the CSM. As I alluded to in my previous post I greatly view the CSM as a destructive force in an active player's EVE career. Brodit's a much nicer guy than we EVE players deserve as a representative, but if he really wants to get on the CSM I'll back him all the way. Even if a term on the CSM destroys his will to play it'll happen with a smile, and he'll probably be back three weeks later.

23 January 2016

Nashh Kadavr for CSM

I've been aware of Nashh Kadavr in EVE for longer than I have been blogging. I used to read his blog a long time ago and was fortunate enough to head to his leaving party in 2012. At some point after that he came back to New Eden and took control of The Bastards, a corp which another friend of mine had close connections with. In the past 18 months events conspired to draw The Bastards and Illusion of Solitude closer together. I had the luck to get to know Nashh, first on Teamspeak as we agreed on some joint operations with both our alliances, followed by in person at Fanfest 2015. Nashh is running for CSM on the platform of Lowsec, eSports and Community Meetings.

As long as I've been aware of Nashh he's been a dirty pirate. Lowsec is often seen as an area left forgotten by the developers. Nullsec is seen considered the be-all and end-all of the game with all the development time focussed there. Given the length of time Nashh has in lowsec it's pretty clear he'll push the lowsec opinion across with the force it deserves. Why do I care? Well my alt, Geo, is a dirty pirate who flew with Nashh for over a year. Wormholes are my first love but I do like a bit of lowsec piratey shenanigans too you know. I definitely prefer that to the politicking metagame of nullsec.

The eSports aspect of EVE is something Nashh has been putting good time and effort into. In other games eSports is big business, you only have to look at the spectacle of some League of Legends tournaments to see that. EVE is sorely lagging behind in this aspect with only the annual Alliance Tournament well known. People also know that tournament has a high bar to gain entry with alliances spending tens of billions of ISK. This year we also had the Amarr succession trials and Nashh is part of a team which organises the successful #EVE_NT Collides tournament. If EVE is to make headway into the eSports arena properly we need more of these tournaments and this needs CCPs help to make happen.

The Community side of things is also something close to Nashh as he organises the twice-yearly #EVE_NT meetup in Nottingham. I went in November last year and had a great time. I was rather wasted by the end and spent a slightly sobering night trying to remember where my hotel was. In my opinion CCP are pretty good at supporting these events. I tried, unsuccessfully, to start a regular pub gathering in Edinburgh and CCP advertised my event and sent down some swag. Nashh is looking to push this further and make it even simpler for players to organise their own events. As far as I know EVE is pretty unique in the level of out of game gatherings players organise. Encouraging and facilitating people to start more of them can only lead to great things for all of us.

His platform aside, Nashh is a mental bag of energy who probably needs a term on the CSM to crush that energy from him. Everyone seems to come out the other side of a term serving in the CSM destroyed. If you vote for Nashh he should have the energy to last most, if not all, of the year without burning out. Hell, if this outgoing CSM is anything to go by he could be the only one left on it by 2017!

18 January 2016

CSM everywhere I look

Once upon a time, when I was a freshly minted CEO, I had the privilege of having a member of the CSM within my corp's ranks. The venerable Trebor Daehdoow served four years on the CSM and still found time to play many of the various roles possible within New Eden. To us he was an industrialist, I believe in Dirt Nap Squad he scratched his PvP itch. Only he knows what other elements of the game he got up to. I was genuinely sad when he decided it was time to move on from Zero, not least because I lost someone I could make little comments to about problems with the game. I always hoped those problems would at least be considered to be aired in the direction of a dev or two. Since that day I have had only a tiny amount of direct interaction with a CSM member and that never amounted to much.

Many people either know nothing of the CSM or have been disillusioned by past and current CSM members. There's been allegations of insider knowledge being used to gain advantages, kick outs from inactivity, and the usual people just bitching that they don't think that the CSM is doing anything and encouraging others to bitch too. While I agree the current CSM hasn't been the model council we deserve I also don't believe nothing good came from them. At the very least it is important for CCP to have a sounding board to use to bounce controversial ideas off and get rapid early feedback. This hopefully prevents the rest of us being exposed to too many unexpectedly horrible changes.

Today I find myself in the presence of not one but two CSM hopefuls, Messrs. Nashh Kadavr and Brodit (of no surname) are both standing for election in the next CSM. I was going to write a single post covering both of them but it has grown far too long. In my next post I'll talk a bit about what I think is good about Nashh, and then follow that post with one about Brodit. Stay tuned.

13 January 2016

Resolutions

I don't make New Year resolutions. In the past I used to and would invariably break them. Possibly somewhat ironically the only resolution I ever kept was one year deciding I wasn't going to make another New Year resolution ever again. The danger I always found with them is you make a resolution to try and change something, e.g. going to the gym three times a week, and when you break that commitment one time it's all too easy to give up entirely. This year is no different and I have nothing planned. That's not to say I don't use the start of the year to make changes. The month of January is supposedly named for the Roman god Janus. Janus is the god of beginnings and transitions and upping the number on a calendar seems as good a reason as any to get stuff done that I've been parking my arse on for too long.

For ages I've run a website I wrote to help me with corp management. It started as a site where members of my corp submit loot, ore, gas and PI to the corp buyback scheme. We used to use a Google spreadsheet but that was incredibly time consuming to process twice a month. My solution was to write a site where people can copy'n'paste the contents of their hanger and tick the names of people the loot or whatever should be shared between. I wrote about it here a long time ago so feel free to go back and read that. More recently I started to merge another spreadsheet I use to track corp members, their API keys, hangers allocated to them and, of course, whether they've paid their dues. I had gotten partly through that but stumbled with Real Life™ getting in the way. With January rapidly looming I decided to draw a line under the half-finished extension.

January started with the completion of the member tracking. Not only do I now have everything I need in one place the corp members can also log into the site and see how much ISK the corp owes them in payouts. The site also automates taking corp dues to pay for POS fuel and publicly lists (shames) the people who didn't yet pay. As a final piece of functionality I also broke the login system away from our forums and introduced EVE-SSO so my corp mates and I can use the one password to log in to even more things EVE-related. In truth this last part was needed to allow the balance display but it's a nice feature in itself.

Having completed an outstanding task from last year it was time to look forward. It's been ages since we actually had a new recruit who stuck around. The most recent new member of the corp came across as part of an agreement we have with our friends in The Bastards. I'm largely terrible at recruitment, either being too slow to talk with people or just plain can't be arsed with it. So with a new year on us it's time to work at getting people in the corp and dragging our fleet sizes up a little. Our first new member joined yesterday. We've got space for three or four more people who make the grade. I'm not going to beat myself up if it doesn't happen. I'm not making a resolution to recruit n people every month. I just decided to get with the program and try and get more people in the corp to spout nonsense with on Teamspeak and maybe get around to making a little ISK each month.

Want to fly with us? Join the IOS Recruitment channel and be fun and interesting. With a bit of luck I'll still be in the enthusiastic mood and get you signed up real quick.

8 January 2016

Marked for Death

Can you see it? It's small but perfectly formed. Look closer. Closer still. Found it yet? Yup, that's pretty much what I went through trying to find the killmark on my Svipul. If you're still struggling it's on that large, square, rusty plate around the top middle of the image. It's a single wee red/white plook of a marking (ignore sets of double orange lights).

I'm proud of that kill mark. It's the first kill mark I've gotten where I didn't die right after. This makes it the first one I've actually gotten to see. It is also marking my first solo kill of 2016. Mostly it's marking a very amusing kill. We were bored of our static C3 with very little happening. There were a couple of ships appearing and vanishing on d-scan but we'd given up hope of finding them. The decision was made to roll the hole for something new. We were nearly there when one of the hole rollers announced he was getting shot at by a pair of Stealth Bombers. I warped to the hole in my instalock arty Svipul planning to either jump through and rescue the hole roller or pick off the bombers if they jumped into our home.

I landed as the hole roller announced he'd jumped back home. The Bombers didn't follow as the hole went mass critical on his return jump. We had some debate. Should I jump through? What were the chances of the hole dying? Ah, sod it, YOLO! Through I went. Nothing was on my overview or on d-scan. I held cloak while getting my bearings. Then a Manticore decloaked probably expecting a HIC to be finishing off the critical hole. He got more than he expected. I actually thought that I had died as my camera was perfectly in line with his ship when he exploded. It took a moment to realise I still had modules. Once I did realise, though, I locked the pod and moved the pilot closer to a trade hub in the fastest way I know. Local chat said it all

[ 2016.01.06 23:04:11 ] Mikah Darmazaf > lolz
[ 2016.01.06 23:04:16 ] Oreamnos Amric > :)
I hung around the outside of the hole for a few more minutes waiting to see if any response would be formed. We also knew there was a scout in our home who would likely be wanting to leave and I would have the best chance catching him. It became rapidly clear he wasn't going to jump out so I went home ready to clear the way for a HIC to finish the hole. As I jumped home in my low-mass T3 Destroyer I collapsed the hole myself. Damn that was tight on mass! I was a little shaken by how close that had been. Two transits of a hole by a destroyer was all it took. It's a good job that scout didn't decide to fly home.

3 January 2016

Starting YC 118 in Style

Sometimes you just have to kick off the year as you mean to continue. There are lots of corps out there who are dedicated to a single activity, almost to the point of ridiculousness. Industrial corps who ban their members from NPSI roams; Mercenary corps who refuse to let their pilots earn ISK from missions when they are between contracts; PvP corps whose rhetoric demonises running sleeper sites to the point of ridiculousness. These corps punish their members for being seen to enjoy any more than a single, blinkered area of the game. Hypocritically they all privately have their own 'carebear' corps and/or characters which they use to earn ISK - the very activity which is vocally derided as a terrible thing to be doing. In Z3R0 Return Mining Inc. we are also blinkered in on a single activity. In particular we aim to have fun and a laugh on comms regardless of what we find to do in-game or how badly we do it. It may come as a surprise to corps who obey the afore mentioned anti-ISK-earning indoctrinations but it really is possible to do this without being a bad person.

Last night we had one such night. Everything started fairly slowly with me logging on alone. I found our home system was swiss-cheese with K162s and set about scanning everything down. Our C3 static was quiet and had a few teasing Frostline sites. I had been getting bored of those but a few nights ago I got a Vindicator BPC and a 650 Mil ISK officer module of some description (now for sale in Jita). Picking up a billion ISK in a few minutes did wonders for piquing my interest again. Just as I started running the Frostline sites another corpie logged on. Now I had someone on comms to chat with the game was much more fun. We cleared up the Frostline sites without any exciting drops and moved on to exploring the rest of our chains.

Ponder started scouting out the C2 K162 whilst I went to our other static to see what delights that held. I found lots of gas and very little else. Ponder found potental targets flying a Stratios and an Epithal. We decided Ponder's find was much more interesting so I shipped into something invisible and headed to the C2. Sitting just inside our hole home I awaited Ponder's intel as to which POCO the Epithal would invariably warp to. Sadly when he did warp it was in line with two different planets so I had to take a guess and go to the more likely Barren planet. I chose badly and nobody ever landed. We still had eyes on the Stratios so we stuck around for a while longer. He showed no signs of moving and we gave up hunting in favour of ninja-sucking some lucrative C5 gas.

By now we had ex-corpmate Epigene on comms chatting and then a wild Studley entered from the north to join us stealing gas from the C5. The details of 'stealing gas' is fairly simple. From warping in to a gas site you have 15-20 minutes before the sleepers spawn. In that time you get as many pilots as possible to suck as much gas a possible as quickly as possible. At this point we had five pilots in Ventures in the gas site plus a sixth providing boosts to speed up the rate of gas extraction. As is the common case in w-space this was three people with two characters each. By the end of the first gas site we had earned around 50 million ISK each and had a brief intermission in sucking to scout another corpmate back home from hisec.

Back in the C5 we were almost at the end of our time for the second gas site when our boosting Gnosis was pointed and tackled orbiting the hole home. We cut our sucking short and headed back to reship into something more combat capable than a mining frigate. Thankfully the Gnosis got away but we lost sight of the offending Stratios. A little scanning later and we found a new K162 leading into our home. Of course we went in to investigate and in addition to the Stratios I saw a Prophecy on d-scan. With the ships we had we felt confident that was a fight we could take. We left an uncloaked Proteus on our side of the hole and kept our other couple of ships out of sight. Our opponents moved their Prophecy up to just inside their hole and their Stratios engaged our Proteus. At this point the rest of us decloaked and warped in to fight. This was our first mistake as the Stratios immediately jumped through and both it and the Prophecy ran away. Bugger! Really we should have gotten him to jump through before decloaking the rest of our fleet so we could have something tackled on the other side and unable to run.

A little bit of baiting from us and sniping from them followed but it was clear they wouldn't engage us in a brawl. I decided we should try and provoke some action with combat hole rollers. At this point we realised the second mistake we made of hanging around for too long. Unfortunately the baiting would appear to have given them time to get friends in who landed on their hole at the same time as Studley and I started rolling it. We had their Astarte into half armour when their logi landed. They also had jams from a Falcon, neuts from a Curse plus a load more DPS from a Hurricane, Vigilant and Deimos. It was clear we were toast and even after that I seem to recall they had more ships landing after I got my pod off the field. Good fights were exchanged in local and we decided to call it a night as it was nearly 1 am locally for most of us.

As far as the night went we had scanning, shooting red crosses, gas sucking, being hunted, doing the hunting ourselves, and finally getting whelped by a superior force. It's pretty hard to get a wider range of activities crammed into a single evening in New Eden. Your blinkered mono-activity corps might be better at the single thing they do in this game we love but I like to think in my corp we get to play a lot more of the game than they do and have a lot more fun in doing so. Welcome to YC 118.