30 April 2013

FanFest 2013: Tuesday

After dispatching my wife and children to work, nursery and child minder respectively it was time for me to make the long pilgrimage to Iceland. This would involved walking, trains, buses and hopefully just one aeroplane. The one and a half mile walk to the train station struck home to me that it had been over ten years since I went back packing around the globe and I was long past accustomed to carrying such weight. It felt like I would never get to the train station but, of course, I did. There then followed an almost perfect set of connections which got me to Glasgow airport, through check-in and security with almost no delay, and before I knew it I was sitting with some corp mates and some Zebras drinking in the airport bar.

I'm not used to lunchtime drinking so after only two lagers I had a bit of a buzz going on. The flight to Iceland was rather boring although another fanfest attendee commented that the landscape while descending to land was "like landing in Mordor".

I did my shopping in the arrival duty-free area to get some wine and a bottle of whisky for my hip-flask. Two top tips: 1) When buying wine either make sure you have a cork-screw with you or pick a bottle of wine with a screw top. 2) When buying whisky buy something nice, don't pick a blended malt just because the name makes you think of Game of Thrones (King Robert the Second was the whisky). The final bus journey of the day seemed to take forever but I was finally at my hotel and in a pokey wee room. Hotel Cabin would appear to be so named as the rooms are the same size as the inside cabins in a ferry. An added feature was my window which opened inside the hotel.

Those blue curtains protect me from the hallway
After dropping my stuff and calling home I had a brisk walk to the Harpa conference centre followed by random direction changes trying to catch up with corp mates to go have food. While waiting outside Muan Thai on Laugavegur for more corp mates to find us we were treated to a display of how Icelanders handle shoplifters. An old, drunk guy had pinched a sandwich from the supermarket under the Thai restaurant. After a discussion with a large store employee the drunk guy decided to take a cheeky bite from his stolen sandwich. This resulted in the employee picking the old guy up by his armpits and bodily hauling him back into the store.

Tasty Thai food consumed and it was time to park ourselves in the Celtic Cross so the rest of my attending corp mates could find us. Over a short time everyone turned up and we parked in the little booth just to the left inside the door. We designated it a C3 as there was only one way out and in but we couldn't decided whether the rest of the bar was hisec or lowsec. Yes it's sad but yes we were drinking (and drinking, and drinking). It was brilliant to finally meet these people I've been hanging out on comms with for almost two years for some of them. Also spoke with people from other corps who were filling the rest of the bar. The atmosphere was great. Eventually we realised we were the last people in the bar and thought it might be a good idea to head home. We all had to be up for the Golden Circle tour the following morning.

24 April 2013

Geyser campers

Still on the golden circle tour. It is amazing how compelling it is to hang around for a jet of boiling water to shoot into the air.


Iceland clearly felt my disappointment at the lack of snow when I got here yesterday. This morning all has been changed and I'm walking in a winter wonderland.

Almost There

This was my phone's satnav signal approximately halfway between Scotland and Iceland. Yes, I truly am there. My mind is in awe of where I am.

22 April 2013

Fanfest: 2013

Dear Reader,

I am off to fanfest. I hope to return with tales of the wonders of Iceland, photos of CCPs outstanding hospitality, anecdotes of hilarious exploits and news of what's coming in the next expansion. Chances are, however, that I will be drinking far too much to remember anything and I'll be using the photos as much as you to work out what happened.

I'm actually quite nervous about the whole trip. I've never been to any sort of fanfest thing before. I've certainly not been to anything even close to this alone. To be honest I hate travelling alone as I find it is much less enjoyable when there is nobody to share it. Although I have a number of my alliance also going they generally have their partners with them so I don't expect to intrude on their holidays too much. My partner is stuck at home with our two children. Yes, we did consider all going until my wife learned what the average temperature would be and said "Sod that!".

                                                                                  See you there?

20 April 2013

A Bad Idea

The night was never going to go well. I started the evening playing Kerbal Space Program with my son ("play the rocket ship game, daddy"). I'm still getting the hang of building rockets that don't annihilate themselves on launch and, in conjunction with a wriggling child who likes to trigger stages at random, it took a few attempts to even get a decent orbit. Hours after my son went to bed I found myself on a trajectory to the Mun planning one orbit then home.

While doing that I jumped on my alliance comms to see what was happening. It was all very quiet so I continued on my journey to the Mun whilst chatting to the guys in one of the other corps. My projected route would take me within five kilometres of the surface so my plan to orbit became a decision to land and set up a space station. A space station because I would not have enough fuel to get back home. With my orbit decreased to land on the Mun I announce on comms "um, I still have 500 m/s lateral speed". A wise voice suggests "you might want to lose some of that". Commence long retrograde burn using all of my fuel but that still leaves me with a speed of 200 m/s. Well, there was still that one last bottle of fuel meant for getting home. Hitting the space bar I jettison my lander's legs - oops! Triggering the remaining engine and burning fuel as rapidly as I can to arrest my descent and ground speed at the same time creates a pretty explosion on the surface of the Mun. For pure comedic affect my ejected legs complete one orbit and crash next to me. Enough of that nonsense... to EVE!
Went to Mun: Didn't survive

Logging in I find my corp is almost as quiet as the corp comms channel. I needed to pay out peoples' loot and PI earnings anyway so settle down to that while others scan our constellation. Uncommonly, my PC decides to crash to a blue screen and takes forever to reboot. When I finally get back online I find significantly more people have logged in and plans are being formed to raid the sites of our neighbour. I race through the remaining payouts, significantly ruining the corp wallet as I do so. I jump into my site running Tengu and almost instantly the presence of a further two sets of probes not belonging to us is announced. I get my alt in a bomber to our C4a waiting for the arrival and hopeful destruction of the lucky scanner who finds us first. Distracted with payouts I uselessly fail to decloak, target or even get the name of the pilot who jumps in. Elsewhere, in c4a someone identifies the opposing pilots as belonging to Existential Anxiety - the highly effective splinter group from Transmission Lost. Realising we're outclassed for any PvP action, and hoping to acclimatise our new set of recruits to C4 site running, an ill-advised idea occurs to close the static before they get more pilots to us.

A first pass is made with a Scorpion while another corp mate jumps in a Domi and I get in the hole-closing Armageddon. I land and jump out just after the Domi leaves and just when the Scorpion comes back from its second round trip. The Domi jumps back and I hit jump just as a Legion lands on grid with me. Bugger... I burn down and cloak hoping beyond hope that I'll tiptoe away. The Scorpion does the same but upwards. The Domi tries to warp and gets tacked while a further 12 ships jump in behind it announced by our eyes in C4a - "Proteus, Proteus, Proteus, Legion, Prophesy, Claymore... ah screw it". The outcome is inevitable and I get to find Orea's medical clone nowhere useful. We exchange 'gf' in local and ask if they're going to FanFest and if they would mind closing the wormhole on their way out. They say they'll try and offer to sell my corpse back to us. I'm not sure someone in the corp hasn't taken them up on the offer...

Pedro > i will be the proud owner of a orea corpse in about a week
Pedro > sorry studley but i didnt want yours:)
Hesper > hahaa
Studley > You made a good choice.... my corpse was already used
Pedro > eeeewww
Orea > that clone was getting fat anyway

As usual a comment is made by them about us taking the losses with good humour. This is something that comes up again and again. It's almost like a disappointment to some that we don't get all annoyed and rage at them. Do people really get that upset about losing ships in w-space? I can almost understand it for people in hisec, but out here it's kill or be killed.

With the old c4a closed our surviving Scorpion pilot scans a route out our new connection and a mere 26 jumps later I am back home with a fresh new clone. How does that cliche go? "Didn't want those ships anyway"?

8 April 2013

A Very Neat POS

It was still quiet in corp when I was out and about on Friday. We had a terrible route into deep lowsec and some new members moving up from the academy corp. My intention was to head out to lowsec and see if I could find another wormhole in the lowsec system leading somewhere better. Jumping into our c3b I noticed several ships on d-scan. Aware that there had been Noctis activity earlier in this hole I decided to swung past their POS to see if any of the ships had pilots. Sadly none of these ships were piloted but what I did see was so disturbing I had to make a video.

See those almost perfectly spaced batteries? I was greatly disturbed by those. And not one, not two, but three perfect arcs of said batteries! These people clearly have way more time and/or patience than I do. This almost makes me think any improvement to the POS anchoring system should be opposed. Just think of the monstrosities that people will create. I already have one corp mate talking about setting up a POS with a Pac Man face.

3 April 2013

Sleepers and a lock out

It was Friday night and our home system had been filling up with anomalies all week, thirteen anomalies to be exact. It was decided that we would have a hole cleaning session and maybe make some ISK. We've been living in our C4 for long enough now that shooting sleepers is just a pretty light show backdrop to a random conversion over some drinks. That said, even burning through thirteen anomalies and a radar site does take an awful lot of time, drinking and conversation.

I don't think the Sleepers like me here
All told it took a few hours to clear out and loot everything with nary a tense moment as I was neither watching a wormhole nor acting as FC. I could just sit back and shoot what was indicated as the next target. There were a couple of pilot substitutions as the night wore on given the length of the Op but by 4 am it was declared mission success and the corp loot hanger was a lot fatter.

By this time someone had been off exploring in our new static which we had deliberately kept closed during the site sweeping activities. For whatever reason it was declared a terrible neighbour and the call came to close the hole and look for something better. I volunteered myself to jump into an Armageddon to speed things up just before heading to bed. First pass through the hole and back went fine. Second pass I forgot to turn on my MWD and this was going to be my undoing as upon the completion of our second pass the wormhole went critical where we would normally expect it to collapse.

At this point the method to finish the job is well documented and involved an Interdictor and its bubble. However, as noted above, there had been alcohol consumed and I decided that turning off all the plates on my geddon would drop my mass enough to allow a return trip. How wrong was I? After I jumped the wormhole lasted just long enough for me to think it was all good, and then it collapsed dashing my hopes on rocky shores. At least we had scanned from C4a to C4b so I headed that way hoping nobody was watching. I got into C4b with no problems and, deciding that scanning in a geddon at 5am whilst intoxicated was a bad idea, went to bed.

I wish we could occupy these lovely structures
Waking somewhat sleepily the next morning I resumed the hunt for K-space. It turned out that the owners of C4b were either on vacation or liked having lots of signatures to scan. In a moment of sheer luck I found their static C3 connection quite easily and took a break for lunch to hopefully throw anyone off the scent who had seen my probes. Post lunch, and with a scream of "banzai!!" I warped to the C3 hole and landed around six clicks from it. Stupid deadspace signature variances. Battleships move increasingly slowly the more you will them to speed up. Still, I jumped through safely and found the other side clear. Even better, this C3 wormhole had a static lowsec - sure a hisec would have been sweet but I was really expecting 'Bob' to be cruel and deal me a nullsec static.

Of course, the other thing this C3 had was twenty signatures to plough through. Rolling up my metaphorical sleeves I got to work. Twenty signatures in an Armageddon is never going to be fun though, and it wasn't. Eventually I found there was only the one other wormhole to my entry point and that took me to Naga in Aridia. Damn you Bob. Still, at least it had a station where I could dock up and go about my day. I was happy to leave my escape from Aridia to another time.