18 October 2013

Sisters are doing it for themselves

There's been a bit of excitement in my corp with people keen to get their hands on the new Sisters of EVE cruiser, the Stratios. There's less excitement about the frigate, the Astero, as we already have covops frigates and cloaky bombers. The Stratios, on the other hand, looks like a worthy replacement for some current scanning boats. It's better than a Covops frigate because it can fit guns. It should be better than my trusted cloaky Loki because it will hopefully be cheaper. Also, dying in one won't result in skill point loss. It does remain to be seen if I can tear myself away from my precious, rhyming cloaky loki...

When I was on SiSi the other night it was to check if the new anchorables were up yet for us to see. Sadly they weren't so I played around with getting the golden pod and then with the improved warp acceleration. I then set to finding the unskinned models of the SoE ships which I read were available. So you don't also have to dig around to see them, I present the screenshots I took for your perusal.

Astero Frigate

Stratios Cruiser
To be honest, the concept work showed skins which didn't look a million miles from the very white nekkid models above. Just add some red stripes here and there. I do look forward to seeing these fully skinned and live on TQ during November. I also look forward to the names and designs for the SoE Battlecruiser and Battleship which everyone should start clamouring for around November 20th..

17 October 2013

Quietly Scanning

I logged in to find nobody else online in my corp. Even alliance chat was silent when I waved hello. As CEO there's always plenty administrivia to take care of, but I decided to hell with that. Recently I was asked about getting EVE W-Space working by one of the guys in another hole in the alliance. After messing around I got it working fairly quickly and we've rapidly adopted it as the mapping tool of choice. Although I've scanned in groups using the new tool, tonight I decided to give our new mapping tool a proper workout alone. I would be able to learn its idiosyncrasies and just maybe find a bug or two to report and/or fix.

Starting with a clean slate in our home system I rapidly scanned down gas, gas, gas (yawn), wormhole. Our lone static unsurprisingly spat me out into a C3 which had six sigs to sift through. Someone in the alliance had already been here in the past as EVE W-Space showed me where the online POS should be. The intel was right and I stopped by to make a POS perch. I also mapped where the other, offline POSs are before launching probes. It didn't take long to identify the sigs as two Relic sites (boring) and three more wormholes in addition to the route back home. The wormholes filled all three K-space flavours - highsec, lowsec and nullsec. I jumped through the EOL hisec one first just to get the location, I repeated this for the lowsec and nullsec. All very boring and not a ship in sight to maybe shoot at.

With still nobody online I was considering giving up and calling it a night, but I really wanted to make a pretty map of our constellation. With the highsec EOL I decided to go scan the nullsec and see where it lead to. Ah, only one signature and it's where I just came from. Lowsec was marginally more exciting with two more wormholes to visit - a C1 and a C3. Neither hole had any life in it so I decided to give up and go home.

(post timed to make sure this intel is outdated)
I achieved my goal for the evening of getting to give EVE W-Space a decent workout. It's a really nice tool drawing pretty maps and making it very easy to share intel without expecting people to become ASCII art experts in the bulletin board. There are some quirks which need ironed out which is not unexpected for a code base as relatively new as this. One example is jumping into a new system isn't always detected and you have to fill in all the information manually. If the auto-detection works you get a window with most of the useful information pre-populated. It's a minor thing and when I work out a pattern to the behaviour I'll see if I can fix it. If you live in w-space and don't already have a nice tool to map your chains out you could do worse than setting up EVE W-Space for your corp.

15 October 2013

The Goose laid a golden what?

I don't often wander on to SiSi to play with new features or practice. A lot of my alliance swear by going there to try new doctines and such like. I'm of the opinion that EVE is something I do to relax and any 'practice' can take place on the live server. Sometimes though, there can be something worth jumping over there just to have a sneak peek. Yes, I opened my Collector's Edition Christmas presents early - bad Orea.

 This is my pod. There are many like it, but this one is mine. It is my life. I must warp it away lest I lose my life. Without me my pod is useless. Without my pod, I am useless. I must align my pod true. I must align faster than the enemy who is trying to lock me. I must warp away before he shoots me. I will. My pod and I know that what counts in war is not the round we dodge, the noise of our structure alarm, or the fire we trail in a narrow escape. We know it is the good fights that count. We will live.

This is my future golden pod. There and not as many like it, and soon this one will be mine. It is the shizzle. I must lose many ships to dazzle the enemy with its brilliance. Without me my golden pod is still the shizzle. Without my golden pod I am merely a 'green-dweller'...

...I'll stop with the bad rehashing of the Rifleman's Creed now. If you want a golden pod implant you should probably get yourself over to the EVE store now and preorder the Collector's Edition box set.

Also note the engine trail has changed colour between the green, apparently Gallente-powered pod and the seemingly Caldari-engined golden pod. I wonder if that's intentional.

9 October 2013

My Precious Ribbons

As many of you may know, us wormhole dwellers don't make any bounty ISK from killing sleepers in w-space. The exploding of red crosses is simply the first stage in earning our living out here in the deepest darkest recesses of inhospitable space. Once the sleeper drones have been sent to their final sleep we have to loot and salvage, not because it makes extra ISK, but because that's the only way we make any ISK. The main items of interest from looting are 'blue loot' (so called because of their blue icons) and melted nanoribbons. Thankfully blue loot is taken care of from NPC purchase orders around New Eden which means we are guaranteed a certain payout for running sites. The coveted melted nanoribbon has a price dictated by market forces.

Mountainous 12 Month Profile
Selling melted nanoribbons today makes me a very sad capsuleer so I've stopped. If you take even the slightest of glances at the above graph you will easily be able to tell why. From a twelve month high just three months ago we have fallen to a twelve month low today. Recently I could sell a nanoribbon for as much as 6.4 million ISK yet now I am lucky to get 4.4 million. That's almost a third of the price vanished into thin air.

What is causing these low prices? Nanoribbons are a key component in T3 ships. The decreasing prices must be due to an oversupply of ribbons. You can also see the graph tapering off in volume sold each day as fewer and fewer people elect to sell their ribbons on the market. Yet still the price is in decline. My theory is New Eden currently has a dire lack of conflict. I don't follow the news on nullsec politics particularly closely but I'm not aware of any large wars going on. No Tengu fleets eating up ribbons while trying to claim more territory to install dirty renters into. This makes me sad for two reasons: One, EVE is a game build around war and conflict so without war and conflict EVE is lacking something. Two, I can't sell my nanoribbons and make vast chunks of wealth for my corp. So, when and where is the next big conflict coming from? Mittens, it's over to you.

8 October 2013

Cry, babies

The complaining nature of the average, vocal EVE player seems to know no bounds. At every twist and turn there are people threatening to cancel their twelve accounts and go play My Little Pony online just because CCP elected to change some minor aspect of the game. Heaven forbid they actually make some broad sweeping change that would mean people had to, you know, play the game rather than make ISK some other easy way. More recently the pointless bitterness has spilled over into CCP planning to give out very rare or non-existent ships as prizes via Somer Blink. This may or may not have been the best executed plan ever by CCP but the fact remains that CCP own all these groups of pixels and can do what they want with them as they see fit. Nevertheless, CCP relented and changed the prizes to a different pattern of pixels which is apparently just fine.

Much ado about nothing

The latest stupid bitter debate that has kicked off is CCP deciding to give Somer Blink some Ishokone Watch Scorpions as a 'thank you' for their work towards promoting EVE to the community and also sponsoring in-game events. The latest batch of complaints is, in my opinion, just a weak arsed excuse to continue the previous assault on Somer Blink and CCP. While there may have been a point to the Gold Magnate and Guardian Vexor argument, complaining about CCP giving these ships to Somer Blink is bat-shit crazy. The ships exist to be given out by CCP as gifts. CCP can do what the bloody hell they want with them. The crux of the argument seems to rotate around Somer Blink is a profit making organisation and is already being rewarded enough. Now the last time I checked there was no way to move ISK out of the game. ISK is an in-game thing - it's not real, people! Ain't nobody making anything there, dipshits.

I really hope I'm just missing something here? I'd be pretty happy to bet these self-serving complainers would become amazingly silent if CCP gave out Ishokone Watch Scorpions to them as well. Jealousy is a terrible thing. Somer Blink does do good things to promote EVEOnline. CCP are right to encourage that and if you want one so bad how about putting your energies into something constructive rather than bitching all over the forums. Failing that, if all you really are capable of doing is spewing toxic vitriol over the forums then just maybe there is a place for you in Equestria after all.

7 October 2013


On Saturday my fellow Scots over at the Crossing Zebras podcast hosted a community free for all in the infamous Asakai system. Given the first I knew about this event was the posts on my alliance forum suggesting ship fittings what else could I do but haul a bunch of ships there and prepare to die lots.

Although the suggested ship fits had been on our forums for ages it was still the night before when I finally bought all the ships, mods and (most of the) drones. I decided I wouldn't stage out of Asakai's single station as it would probably be camped to hell and I at least wanted to be able to fly around looking for fights as well as fleet up with my alliance. I looked around and decided to stage my ships in Rakapas as that was the closest, non-hisec system with cloning facilities. I was reminded by someone how hard it should be to get podded in lowsec and, combined with discovering I couldn't reach from Jita to Rakapas in one jump with my jump freighter, decided to stage out of Okkamon. This would conveniently be on my route back to Asakai from Rakapas should I be unlucky enough to get podded. In the more likely situation where I found myself without ship but pod intact I would only have one jump to reship.

With all the hulls and modules bought in Jita and jumped across to Okkamon I left Geo to the repetitive task of fitting the ships up to be combat ready. Thankfully there is now a 'Fit' button on the in-game loadout browser making this task easier. Please CCP, could you make that group and load the guns too? Oh, adding my tobacco, spirits, wine and janitor automatically would be nice too. Once the ships were all ready it was time for Orea to make his nervous sojourn into K-space. I think I've mentioned before that Orea has a real fear of systems  featuring 'local'. That fear (or possibly, "beer") didn't stop him flying his cloaky, scanny loki right into a lowsec system where lots of people were staging for a fight. It's only lowsec though so it all worked out fine.
Dare to fly a Noctis down there?

The clock rolled around to 19:50 on Saturday. I got myself on comms, logged in and fleeted up. Sending Geo in a Hound to scout Asakai I was in and rolling around the safe spots I had already prepared. Once the rest of the alliance was all shipped up we met up and started nosing around for some trouble. Already there was a massive wreck field at the sun and we kept pouncing down to brawl with some of the other fleets adding to the wreck field. We were doing so well until another of the alliance was coming in from hisec. We headed over to the Ikoskio gate and were landed on by an armour HAC fleet from BALKAN and friends. We died.

BALKAN and friends.

I quickly reshipped and got myself back into Asakai. The others were not so well prepared as me and I spent a while bouncing around safes again. I should have went back for one of the disposable frigates I took to Okkamon but by the time I thought of that it was too late. We had a another good run killing some famous names and having a blast. Fighting had largely switched to a small faction warfare complex. These only let frigates use the acceleration gate but the mass of cruisers at the gate were doing their best to stop that happening. After a good run we lost all our ships again to the combined might of, um, everyone. Having learnt my lesson from last time I decided to blow a couple of the Incursus I took with me. The first one landed at the small plex just in time for me to realise I hadn't reordered the modules into a sensible manner. I activated my cap booster instead of my dual reps and died without firing a shot. Reshipping into another Incursus I reorganised the modules en route. Landing again on the small plex gate I was intending to take on Xander Phoena. He turned out to be 45 km away so I picked the nearest target and at least managed to shoot him before dying and getting podded. I have no idea how I got podded, I never yet saw the pod, just went from ship to session change to white screen to floating corpse...
Not my best angle.
The rest of the crew were reshipped and ready as I swung past Okkamon to pick up another cruiser then onwards to join them. The event was in its dying throes and targets were few and far between. We went from plex to plex and down to the sun looking for looters. It really was all over though and just as we were about to call it quits ourself I spied a lone Hurricane sitting at the medium plex. I had barely called it when I found Orea in a fleet warp to pounce on the poor guy. Of course the 'poor guy' had friends who conveniently landed on us when he was half into armour. Try and we might to take the 'cane down with us his logi-bros got him repped up nicely and our fate was sealed.

The 'Scoreboard'
Looking at the 'scoreboard' we killed more than we lost but we spent more ISK doing it. Who cares? I didn't go to Asakai to win any awards (although I did score points most on my alliance killboard for the event), I went there to have fun and fun is exactly what I had. I kicked the crap out of my security status. I can't remember how long ago it was last below 4. It's still pretty healthy at a heady 2.9 now so I won't have to go ratting in nullsec any time soon. The other thing I got other than having fun was adding a raft of notable names to my short list of kills - Bagehi, Mangala Solaris (twice), Sindel Pellion, House2twist, and of course Xander Phoena who joins the vanishingly rare ranks of people I've had a beer with and also exploded in EVE. My thanks go out to Xander and the others at Crossing Zebras for arranging this and I cannot wait for the next bout of pointless violence.