25 December 2015

Season's Greetings

Drinking Horn and Homebrew
Merry Christmas to one and all. I hope 'Sansha Claus' was good to you. He was certainly good to my kids. I can't get close to my computer for discarded wrapping paper, toys and boxes. I've eaten far too much turkey, ham, stuffing, trifle, etc. I'm working on drinking too much. I'm on the mulled wine just now but I am looking forward to my tasty homebrew in just a little while - a dry-hopped IPA and a Peach and Passionfruit cider, if you're interested.

I've got some fun planned tomorrow with my son playing Story Mode Minecraft and Skylanders. This is the time of year for family so New Eden can wait.

18 December 2015

Pod and Planet Results

The Pod and Planet Fiction Contest results were announced today. I was delighted to learn that my story, Blood Frenzy, won second prize in its category. Congratulations to all the other winners. I'm still working my way through the stories but the ones I have read so far were really good. Well done to everyone who entered for managing to complete their tale in time. For me that was the bigger challenge with creating the short story. Readers telling me they enjoyed my tale was satisfying enough. Winning any prize really is a bonus and I'll be sure to spend the ISK on ships which get lost in an irresponsible manner. I'd also like to draw special attention to my corp mate Brodit's entry which I enjoyed reading but sadly didn't place.

The basic idea behind my story was true. As a corp we had more fun than we had expected running those Blood Raider sites over Halloween. Anytime we rolled a new hole and there were sites to run we genuinely did throw regard to the wind and flood in to the system fanning out to clear them as quick as possible. We did so in Combat Recons to minimise the chance people would spot us on d-scan. Sometimes we would fly with one visible ship to act as bait. The hope being someone would spot a Svipul on d-scan and come to kill it, not expecting a handful of Curses to also be in-site already. Sadly we never got any kills that way but the hope was there.

Unlike in my story, there was very little or no hoarding of the boosters and loot from the site. Everyone made sure that anyone active would have their little booster timer slowly counting down. I think we maybe all gained an extra 50,000 skill points during the event which isn't much when you really think about it. Still, the sense of community within my corp during this event made me feel proud. I have seen videos of people out in nullsec ninja-looting before their fleetmates got a chance and that's not the corp spirit I would want to nurture.

Amusingly I'm already considering the next entry to Pod and Planet despite that being a year away.

15 November 2015

Pod and Planet YC117 - Blood Frenzy

October 21 YC 117

I technically don't need to sleep. Capsuleers who spend weeks and months living in inhospitable solar systems behind unpredictable wormhole connections have invented an analogue to sleep. By turning off all ship sensors you plunge the brain into a state where it is forced to create imagery to fill the resulting void. It's not sleep but it feels like dreams and you only dream when you're asleep, right? Today I awoke as my Loki-class Strategic Cruiser gently filtered in external signals. As usual I was drifting somewhere deep in space. Comms crackled to life and my corp mate, a gruff Matari by the name of Bukur, noted my appearance in the standing fleet. "About time you showed up. Check your sensors. Do you see anything odd?"

It didn't take long to spot an unfamiliar 'Blood Raider Gauntlet' beacon being reported by my ship's sensors. This was disturbing. How had the Blood Raiders gotten into our system? None of our scouts had reported any activity whilst I slept, yet here we could see an encampment of the feared Blood Raider cult. Not only that, it was being broadcast for all comers to see, unlike anything else we normally found in wormhole space. "Come on then, move your arse and let's clear them out", I was jostled into action by Bukur.

Until I choose otherwise, while I am with my ship I am essentially immortal. This knowledge did little to calm me as we warped to the unfamiliar beacon. Whilst dying wasn't a problem, replacing the ship I was in and getting back home could be. Wormhole connections can be a fickle mistress and we currently had no known connections to Empire-controlled space. Landing at the beacon things grew stranger yet. The opposing force was a trivial fleet of frigates but they were guarding an acceleration gate. The Blood Raiders invasion party had not only managed to secretly infiltrate our home system but had also taken the required supplies to insert themselves into a deadspace pocket. Something I had never seen before in a wormhole system.

Clearing the gate guards and their reinforcements was no trouble for Bukur and my cruisers. We had to press on deeper into the unknown. I invited Bukur to be first in. He declined, "Why don't you risk your own bloody ship for a change?", a challenge I couldn't refuse even though I wanted to. In the deadspace pocket the challenge was marginally greater but once again the forces of the Blood Raiders were no match for a pair of capsuleers in Strategic Cruisers and they died rapidly. Of all the ships we destroyed only one of them had any salvageable cargo. The cargo was something neither of us had seen before. My ship identified it as a booster of type 'Blood Raiders Cerebral Accelerator' but was unable to give any further information about its effects. Maybe we hadn't yet passed the final hurdle into the unknown. Maybe we were looking at it now. Bukur volunteered to be first to try the booster. As he said, exploring the unknown was what we were originally out here for and it was a long time since we'd encountered the unknown.

"How does it feel", I was eager to know what the mysterious booster's effects were. The Blood Raiders were a slightly ghoulish cult and something purporting to accelerate your brain could mean just about anything, good or bad. The answer didn't help, "Well it's hard to explain, everything just feels more somehow".  While we were waiting for something more tangible than "feeling more" our ships alerted us to another Blood Raider beacon. I nudged my ship in the correct direction, "I guess we should deal with that as well. Maybe they'll have one of these accelerators for me to try", and with that I entered warp.

We destroyed this second outpost with the same efficiency as the first and, once again, the only thing we could salvage from any of the wrecks was the mysterious booster. Why were they here with a single booster? Was there something special about wormhole space the Blood Raiders needed to do something with this booster? Our pondering was interrupted by Bukur who realised his background skill training had ended some hours earlier than expected. On a hunch I quickly popped my own booster and immediately confirmed our suspicions by noting my training towards the final level of fleet commander was scheduled to complete almost two weeks early. The boosters somehow increased our capacity for learning.

October 23 YC 117

In the middle of today's operations a terrible thing happened. It was like the universe collapsed in on me. The utopian enlightenment I had enjoyed for more than a day now ended with a brain shattering crash.
"You might have warned me how bad this would be!"
"No idea what you're on about" was Bukur's response to my accusation, "my booster is still working."
This discovery led to some speculation as to why I was experiencing lower longevity in the effects of the Blood Raider booster. Could there be differences in purity or dose size? Was there some inherent biological difference between myself as a Gallente and Bukur as a Matari? Was there anything I could do to increase how long a single dose lasted? I resolved to dedicate some time to that later. The secrets of this wonder drug were ripe for discovery

My comedown was still in full effect and now, seeing how I had been affected, Bukur was incredibly keen to start building up a stock of boosters. We enlisted the help of more members of our corporation, explaining the wonderful benefits but leaving out the crushing feeling when the booster effects wore off. To be honest, once people heard their background training time would shorten they pretty much stopped listening anyway. With our fleet much enlarged we spread out exploring our constellation for more beacons. We deliberately collapsed one of our wormhole connections knowing this would likely result in a new connection to be formed elsewhere. As expected it did and we all raced each other to be the first into the new destination.

"Holy shit, get in here now", I was the first to jump in and couldn't believe my eyes. Not one, not two, but eight beacons were detected by my ship's sensors. The Blood Raiders had a good hold on this system and were likely far along with their plans, whatever those plans may be. Expecting his booster to run out any time soon Bukur sped past me and straight towards the nearest beacon. We had run no intel on the system. We didn't know if anyone lived there. Still the rest of us followed suit. This was very bad procedure for us. Anyone could be hiding in this unexplored system. If they were this could easily result in the death of all our ships.

Poor Blood Raiders could never had known what hit them as we rained death on their installations. It was a massacre. With our fleet swooping from beacon to beacon the Blood Raiders didn't stand a chance. By the end we had enough boosters for the entire fleet plus a couple spare. Everyone was basking in a warm glow having consumed theirs. They didn't know what awaited them once the booster was spent but I did. "Come on guys, let's see if we can find any more of these. Show them to keep away from our space", I tried to encourage people but they didn't understand my urgency. They simply crept away to their own private corners of space to enjoy the feeling. I was more driven. I couldn't get my mind away from the temporary nature of the booster. I needed to store more boosters. I almost regretted having brought the others into the system with all these sites. I should have kept them for myself. Just as I was about to return home with everyone else another beacon lit up on my sensors. I opened comms to let everyone know but then stopped myself. This site was mine. This would be my spare.

October 27 YC 117

It has been a few days since my last entry. There has been a steady decline in the appearance of our Blood Raider friends. At first we were able to keep our fleet well supplied with these drugs. Then the beacons started presenting themselves less and less frequently. At first this pressed us out exploring more and more. Then we started taking risks with our ships. We ignored all security protocols. On discovering a new beacon it was a race to see who could get there first. If there were multiple targets we spread out providing little or no protection to each other. It's a miracle we didn't lose anyone during these reckless exploits. Most importantly, however, we were able to keep ourselves dosed up on this Blood Raider mana. As we did each fleet member crawled off to their own private corner of the solar system to be alone with the drug. Socialising ceased to matter. I even started instructing my ship to wake me earlier and earlier in the hope I could fly alone and beat the others to virgin sites. I wanted to build a private stash. I was having to roam longer and further, taking all the risks of solo flight through potential hostile systems. Eventually it was evident that no new sites were being discovered and I retreated with my stockpile of boosters.

Waking up today an initial wave of panic washed over me. I spotted wrecks on my scanners and immediately assumed I had missed a now rare occurrence of Blood Raider detection. Panic was replaced by disbelief when I realised these were not Blood Raider wrecks I was seeing on my ship systems. These wrecks were of other capsuleer ships and there were a lot of them. Comms were quiet. Only Bukur was showing any presence in the corporation comms channels but he wasn't responding to my hails. In spite of the warm blanket of Blood Raider delight I had to investigate what had happened. With probes on my ship I was able to locate one group of wrecks. From markings I recognised them all as destroyed ships belonging to members of my corporation. In some cases individuals had lost more than one ship. Clearly whatever had occurred during my absence had been catastrophic for the others. As I sat at the edge of the battlefield I had a sudden realisation. If these were the ships belonging to people who had been attacking the Blood Raiders with me then there was a good chance of some surviving drugs in their cargo.

I was in the middle of the field of wreckage. Despite all the usual ammo, repair paste and other expected cargo, for all the ships I had searched there was not a single unit of booster. Either I was incredibly unlucky or someone had gotten to the wrecks before me. Normally, though, these wrecks would have been picked clean. With that thought fresh in my head sensors made me aware of another ship in close proximity to me. I identified it as belonging to Bukur and tried to hail him on the normal comms channels. "Give me your Boosters," he announced his hostility both verbally and by remotely disabling the warp drive of my Loki.
"Bukur, I don't have any left," I answered truthfully, "how about we go exploring for more?"
"There aren't any more. I was forced to take what drugs I could from the others but there's nothing left of those either. I need your stash."

Autocannon rounds started eating rapidly into my shields before I was able to pull range and reduce the incoming damage to more manageable levels. "Bukur, what are you doing?" I couldn't believe what was happening. Had our close knit group been eroded so far in such a short period of time? Had Bukur really destroyed all those ships searching for Blood Raider boosters? More imporantly, did he find any? The last question spurred me to action. I brought my Loki around to engage.

November 4 YC 117

It has been a week since I fought Bukur. It was a very close battle and more by luck than skill I barely survived. I blew up Bukur's pod as well to ensure he couldn't interrupt me while I searched his wreck. In it I found only two of the boosters such a heavy price had been paid for. I retreated with them to my secret corner of space. I was sorely aware this wasn't entirely necessary as nobody was left in the system with me. My badly damaged ship was on fire for longer than seemed possible before finally snuffing itself out. So long as I had my drugs I didn't care.

My entire ship crew of over five hundred had died rendering even the most basic of tasks vastly more difficult than normal. This wasn't a problem until the remaining boosters were exhausted. The cataclysmic crushing experienced at the end of the final drug was made all the worse knowing there would be no more. I cocooned myself in my ship for as long as possible before reaching the realisation that I had to find my way back to civilisation. Ordinarily this would be a trivial task but the damage to my ship and lack of crew greatly handicapped me. It took more than a half a day of scanning before I was even able to leave the system I had known for so long as home.

A further day of scanning saw me find my way to a wormhole which my ship sensors indicated led to inhabited space. I sat there for some time wondering what lay beyond. Had the whole of New Eden seen the same event which occurred in the microcosm of my corporation? Would the whole of my universe have been laid to waste? With my ship able to cater for my every biological need would I be destined to wander the empty space lanes alone for all time? The rush as the wormhole fully enveloped my ship did little to calm these thoughts.

I emerged somewhere deep in Amarr space many jumps from the old, familiar regions of space near Dodixie I had once called home. My fears built as I realised the system I had emerged in was empty. There were no other capsuleers there at all. I set route for Dodixie. Somewhere along the twenty plus jumps I must encounter another capsuleer. The real concern was whether they would be hostile as Bukur had been. I was relieved to find the jump gate to the next system was still active. That was a good sign that some civilisation had survived at least. Jumping though I was greeted with a lot of chatter on the local solar system comms channel. What's more, it was normal chatter. No threats; no hostilities; not even any wrecks on my scanners which could indicate capsuleer combat. Within two jumps towards Dodixie my fears of a total breakdown of society had been completely eradicated.

It appears the enhanced effects of the Blood Raider booster were limited to my wormhole and my corp. Nothing will likely explain the occurrences of the past week. Attempts to contact other members of my corporation have been entirely unsuccessful. Several have even left since I found my way to Dodixie. All those years of trust destroyed. What did we do?

13 November 2015

Crazies on SiSi...

For my Pod and Planet entry I logged on to Singularity for some screenshots. To my great amusement I encountered a rare SiSi hermit. To say the conversation was entertaining doesn't go any way to doing it justice. I'll just paste it here for your reading pleasure.

Oreamnos Amric > hi
Castielec > where u going buddy
Oreamnos Amric > just getting some screenshots
Castielec > be careful this is my space i might gank you
Oreamnos Amric > aha lol
Oreamnos Amric > sure you will
Castielec > you saw i what i wrote
Castielec > now watch yourself
Oreamnos Amric > TQ too hard for you that you need to claim space in SiSi?
Castielec > yes
Oreamnos Amric > fair enough :-p
Castielec > i claimed all this for myself
Castielec > its mines
Castielec > if i cant you you dead
Castielec > alright
Oreamnos Amric > depends if you can translate that to English
Oreamnos Amric > oh, was that meant to be "catch"?
Castielec > keep on playing with me
Castielec > i can show you better than i can tell you buddy
Oreamnos Amric > I'm happy for you
Castielec > stay out of my space
Castielec > or i will gank you
Oreamnos Amric > it's not your space
Castielec > like i said
Oreamnos Amric > I'll get some friends and come visit
Oreamnos Amric > we can play peek'a'boo
Castielec > oh really?
Castielec > like i said i run everything on here dude
Castielec > stay the fuck away
Castielec > or else
Oreamnos Amric > else what?
Castielec > i will watch list you '
Oreamnos Amric > eek
Castielec > and gank you everytime you log on
Oreamnos Amric > :quakes:
Castielec > yea you better be scared
Castielec > now stay out of my space
Oreamnos Amric > I will once I stop giggling
Castielec > or ill kick you out
Castielec > which one you want?
Castielec > take your damn pick buddy
Oreamnos Amric > kick me out...
Oreamnos Amric > ...of sisi
Oreamnos Amric > ...
Castielec > i will
Castielec > stay out my damn space man
Castielec > i claimed this shit for myself
Oreamnos Amric > I am genuinely happy for you. You claimed space on SiSi all by yourself.
Castielec > i sure have
Castielec > and i will take every alliance space in the game
Castielec > and own all of eve
Castielec > i already took catch
Castielec > i will go to the other parts and take them also
Oreamnos Amric > go you
Castielec > by myself
Castielec > buddy
Castielec > and you wont do a damn thing about it
Castielec > but stay out like i told you
Castielec > now watch your mouth
Oreamnos Amric > I'll need a mirror
Castielec > you need to stay away
Castielec > is what you need to do
Oreamnos Amric > stay what now?
Castielec > stay out of my fucking space
Castielec > now!
Castielec > grrrr
Castielec > woof woof
Castielec > grrrr
Castielec > grrrr
Castielec > woof woof grrr
Oreamnos Amric > where's your space?
Castielec > protecting my territory like a dog
Castielec > catch is my space
Oreamnos Amric > I was through it so fast I can't even remember
Oreamnos Amric > I wasn't in catch
Castielec > woof woof
Castielec > im protecting my territory
Oreamnos Amric > if you're growling like a dog I guess Catch is the right place for you
Oreamnos Amric > I can see you are
Castielec > grrrr
Castielec > im a fucking great dame
Castielec > grrr woof grr woof
Oreamnos Amric > you're sure a lovely lady alright
Castielec > now back off
Castielec > dont come back
Castielec > i will be watching you
Oreamnos Amric > how can I not come back if you won't tell me where to avoid?
Castielec > all of catch
Castielec > dont come back
Castielec > grrr whoof
Oreamnos Amric > Okay, got it. Make sure I stay in catch. Gotcha
Castielec > i said stay out dude
Castielec > dont play with me man
Castielec > i done told you
Oreamnos Amric > I'm not. You told me you had claimed the whole of New Eden on SiSi and I should stay in Catch.
Oreamnos Amric > didn't you?
Castielec > i stay the fuck out of catch
Castielec > im not done taking it all
Oreamnos Amric > ah, my mistake
Castielec > yet
Oreamnos Amric > why not? you've had time.
Castielec > after i take catch i will take other regions
Oreamnos Amric > you're in it for the long haul?
Oreamnos Amric > what will you do with the space others claim?
Castielec > yes iam
Castielec > they wont
Castielec > i will have all space
Castielec > and protect it all
Oreamnos Amric > well good luck to you sie
Oreamnos Amric > *sir
Castielec > just stay your ass out
Oreamnos Amric > I'll try. But you never know, we have been known to accidentally sov on sisi in the past
Castielec > you do it
Castielec > if you want to
Oreamnos Amric > Impass isn't close to Catch is it?
Castielec > ill fight whole fleets
Castielec > and win
Oreamnos Amric > I'm sure you will
Oreamnos Amric > and drink the blood of your enemies?
Castielec > yes
Castielec > woof
Castielec > woof grr
Castielec > woof grrr
So I must thank Castielec for turning what was going to be a boring wander around New Eden to take some screenshots into a most entertaining half hour. I have absolutely no desire to test sovereignty mechanics on SiSi now. Absolutely none.......

Really, none.....


2 November 2015

A pod with a view

Look at these poor, oblivious fools endlessly orbiting shattered lumps of rock.
There could be anyone watching them perform mass destruction on these harmless shards of stone.
Yet on and on they go, until the bellies of their ships are full to bursting.

31 October 2015

Geo 'Arrr' Vent

I had to go a long way back in the archives to find the last time I spoke about Geo on this blog. I couldn't even begin to remember what I've done in the 19 months since that last post. For certain I left Brave Newbies when they went to nullsec. Other than that the only thing I know for sure is painted in this screenshot.

If you recall, dear reader, Geo was created as my PvP character. I was too adverse to lose ships with Oreamnos so needed another character whose killboard I didn't mind destroying. The idea was worthwhile and I lost all the pointless fear of adding ships in red to Oreamnos' killboard. But where does this leave poor Geo? In short, he became my diversion from wormhole life. He was my go to character for mindless violence.

In The Bastards I met a decent bunch of people, some experts in game mechanics others less experienced in EVE but eager to blow stuff up. With them I've invaded wormholes, defended a sacrificial titan, and captured (and lost then recaptured) small parts of nullsec. Enough fun has been had to leak into the wormhole side of life and joint ops between The Bastards and Illusion of Solitude occur from time to time.

Just like as an individual player of EVE it's nice to have friends, as an alliance it's nice to have other alliances to call on as friends. The Bastards are our only contact with full blue standings and IoS call them friends.

27 October 2015

Recruiting yet again

It's been a long year and as with any game people online slowly atrophies towards zero. This means it is recruitment time again.

Z3R0 Return Mining Inc., proud founding member of the Illusion of Solitude alliance, is once again recruiting. Formed over five and a half years ago we have a wealth of experience gained from years of living exclusively in wormhole space. Our current home is a class 4 wormhole with class 3 and 5 statics which provide us with many opportunities to take advantage of. Mainly active in EU time with some East US coverage we do not focus exclusively on any one area of wormhole life. We prefer to take advantage of what we find each day, be that people to shoot, sites to run, or just sitting on comms talking nonsense to each other.

If you are interested in joining us you need to be a mature and relaxed player who doesn't take things like killboard efficiency too seriously. You must be able to warp cloaked and should have decent scanning skills. You should have reasonable shield and armour tanking skills and we can help guide you on your training. Whilst we try to avoid dying too often you should be comfortable with ship and pod loss, accepting this is normal for EVE. You should also have Teamspeak available with a mic and headset although you are not expected to use this every time you are online.

We are not generally active enough to PLEX your account each month so players expecting to do so will be disappointed. There is an expectation that you will spend the majority of your time basing out of our home system. You will also be expected to do your fair share of scanning. In return the corp makes it as easy as possible for you to earn ISK with corp buyout of PvE loot and all PI generated in the hole. This removes any necessity for you to haul loot out and sell it in order to be paid. We are not somewhere to park an ISK-making alt whilst you spend all your time on another character elsewhere in EVE.

If you are interested please fill out our recruitment form or contact me in-game for more information. The recruitment process involves an API check and Teamspeak 'interview'. Please do not apply directly to the corp until this process has been followed.

So what are you waiting for? Fill in that recruitment form today or add me to your watch list and ping me when I log in.

26 October 2015

Get yer rigs oot

BB 68 - This is My Rig
What do you play Eve on? I'll show you mine if you show me yours! Are you pew-pewing on a laptop? Plotting universal domination on a 12 monitor set up? Mining away on a 50" TV? Is your set up located where your other half can speak to you or do you lock yourself away for hours in your Eve themed shed? How do you play your important internet spaceships?

When I bought a complete PC way back when I was at university I swore I would never again buy a pre-built computer. That was the effect PC World had on me. Since then I never have and get a lot of satisfaction from building my own rigs. Even if doing so is pretty damn easy these days.

Odd mouse position, plus sideways mouse, to minimise shoulder pain. Try it, it works.

This is my desk, which lives in my lounge. My wife insists on it being there else she "would never see me". This causes problems for being on comms so I try to minimise that when anyone else is in the house and awake. I have a pair of widescreen monitors and generally have the one directly in front of the keyboard containing a full-screen client. The monitor on the left will have some mix of Teamspeak, web browser and another client or two running. A third monitor would be sweet but my graphics card would likely struggle. In the background you can see my collectors edition rifter as well as a little Airfix Harrier GR3 I've been building whilst on some Black Ops stuff recently (damn they can be boring).

The main tower itself sits on the floor to the left of my desk. The desk has a cupboard which is meant to store the tower but that only serves to cook the PC in its own heat exhaust. The case is some random case I picked up from somewhere on the internet. It has a perspex side so I can see the pretty LEDs inside. This has the less useful side-effect of also showing all the dust that gathers in there. There is no optical drive because this is no longer 2001. On top you see my innuendo-laden Thrustmaster HOTAS X which I bought to play Elite: Dangerous. It's been months since it saw any use.

To the right you see what the perspex side lets me look in on (I may have dusted it for the photo). The mainboard is from MSI. The CPU is a quad-core Intel i5 running it 3.4 GHz. The CPU should be good for 4.3 GHz but if you look at the bottom you'll see a 600 watt PSU which is my guess at why that speed is unstable. To facilitate said overclocking I cool the CPU with a Corsair H20i water cooling unit. The GPU is an ageing Radeon HD 5770 which came pre-overclocked (I like things running overclocked you can see). The 8 Gig of RAM is Teamgroup Vulcan running at 2133 Mhz, and has pretty red anodising. Space is left in case I felt the need to go to 16 Gig, which I haven't yet. Finally the OS lives on a 240 Gig Crucial mSATA drive which you can see just below the Corsair CPU block.

So there you have my rig. With the exception of the old graphics card and PSU it is plenty of PC for me just now. It can reasonably run three EVE clients on the rare occasion I need to do so. I can just about get away with running two on full detail but three is a no no. I'm going to need to fit out a computer for my kids to share soon so it may just be more cost effective for them to get my old graphics card and I get a new one. That's what I'll be telling my wife anyway!

15 October 2015

Mission Complete

I better write about this quickly before CCP make changes to undo my achievement. A long time ago CCP took the wise decision to split the generic destroyer and battlecruiser skills into racial equivalents. This brought those two skills in line with all other T1 class ship skills. Of course panic erupted in the forums with people concerned they would become unable to fly their favourite ships once the changes came into play. CCP addressed this by announcing people who could already fly a given race's destroyer or battlecruiser would be gifted the appropriate racial skills at the old generic skill level. We were given specific details of the skill prerequisites which would ensure this happened. This triggered a race to train all the prerequisites and both destroyer and battlecruiser to V.

I succumbed to that on all three accounts. I almost didn't with my industrial character but at the very last possible moment I changed my mind and finished training battlecruiser to V mere days before the change happened. Post-release I logged in to find all my main characters with an extra six million skill points. Shiny!

Unfortunately, or possibly fortunately depending on your point of view, this sent me on a completionist mission with Oreamnos. I decided I wanted to be able to fly each and every subcapital ship in EVE - from the smallest frigate to the blingy black ops battleships. There were a few distractions on the way. Someone pointed out that sitting in the ships wasn't really being able to fly them. This got me training all the weapons systems to decent T2 level (Specialisation IV). At one point I also needed to get myself trained into Archons. CCP added a few new ship types, namely mining frigates and tech three destroyers.

Last week I got notification that Gallente Tactical Destroyer had trained its first level thus ending my epic training voyage. Many of the ships I have never flown. A few I possibly never will. I'm just happy that I completed this quest. The question is, what do I train now? Many of the cap ships are only three days training now but have you seen the price of those skill books?! I might have to think hard about that.

16 September 2015

Slack Jawed

Man, sometimes time just flies past and I realise I haven't posted anything for two full weeks. It's not that nothing has been happening, I just haven't had the time to sit down and write about it. I guess it's one of those things where my time to blog and my time to play EVE are shared and playing more EVE means less time to blog. Oh well, I'll try and write up the comedy successful failure to evict someone soon.

Channels galore!
One thing I have managed to find time to do is set myself up a Slack account. I've been aware for a while that tweetfleet had expanded on to Slack but I'd never found a reason to sign up an account. In the past week someone in my corp mentioned Slack and extolled its virtues to me. Easy to set up, better app support on mobile devices, reliable pings. It sounded pretty good. We've been using a jabber server for the three years the alliance has existed. While a group of us hang out and chat on that plenty we've rarely used it for pings and stuff. Mobile app support is pretty flaky too with a choice of Talkonaut on the iPhone or Xabber on Android, neither of which work particularly well with conference rooms. Other apps are on offer for both platforms but they were even worse!

We are now testing Slack to see if this works at least as good or better than jabber and this removed my excuse for not signing up to tweetfleet Slack. Having spent most of today in there (not talking much) it seems to be relatively chilled out, just like tweetfleet tends to be. Certainly it's miles less rage-y than the horrible EVE forums are. So come along to tweetfleet Slack and join the fun. You can find me there as @orea. Just be aware that the email address you use is visible to all so disposable addresses may be advisable.

31 August 2015

AT VIII Advert

If you were watching the Alliance Tournament on Saturday you may have seen the advert I put together for my alliance. The quality of some of the adverts shown during the tournament was amazing so my attempt pales in comparison to others'. This is not something I've ever tried before nor do I have particularly good tools for the task; I made this with Microsoft's free Movie Maker tool. I'm pretty happy with how it came out though. For next year hopefully I find someone who'll do something special for us.

30 August 2015

Alliance Tournament Betting - Day 6

Today was finals day for the thirteenth EVE Alliance Tournament. I went into the day expecting to lose most of my bets. In retrospect I should have realised that the chances of me winning a good few were high. Given the teams playing today were the four top teams in this tournament there was probably as much guessing going on setting the odds as for people placing bets.

The Bets

Pandemic Legion to beat The Camel Empire (match 1)
Exodus. to beat Warlords of the Deep (match 1)
The Camel Empire to beat Pandemic Legion (match 2)
Exodus. to beat Warlords of the Deep (match 2)
Pandemic Legion to beat The Camel Empire (match 3)
Pandemic Legion to beat Warlords of the Deep (match 1)
Pandemic Legion to beat Warlords of the Deep (match 2)
Warlords of the Deep to beat The Camel Empire (match 1)
Warlords of the Deep to beat The Camel Empire (match 2)
Warlords of the Deep to beat The Camel Empire (match 3)
Warlords of the Deep to beat The Camel Empire (match 4)

As close to half the bets won against the odds as is possible when betting on an odd number of matches. I won back all bar 4.5 Millions ISK of the money I bet. More important than that, the quality of the matches I watched was outstanding. I thoroughly enjoyed watching today even if I did miss a couple of the fights at the start.

Finally Tally

Bet: 1350 Million ISK
Won: 1053 Million ISK
Overall: 297 Million ISK down


I came into this experiment with around 400 Million ISK in EVE Bet credit which was gifted to me from a couple of EVE meetups. My intention was to seed myself more interest in watching the Alliance Tournament than I've had in the past. The side intention was to see just how viable betting exclusively on the underdogs in each match was. I succeeded in the primary goal. In the past I've half-heartedly watched the AT but not really understood what was going on or cared enough to find out. In 2013 at Fanfest I told a CCP employee who worked on running the AT that I felt sorry for him as EVE is a terribly boring game to watch. This time around, however, I was yelling at the TV (I had twitch streaming on 40 glorious inches of LCD); I had my son watching some of the matches with me while I tried to explain what was going on; I even had one of the kids in my street hooked (he climbed in through my window to watch more when I didn't realise - I turned around from my PC to see him sitting on my sofa watching a match!). In fact my son (who's 6) was upset that he had to go to bed and miss the final three matches! I call that op success, particularly because I'll get to watch the final three matches again so he can see them.

As for betting against the odds, well as you can see that strategy cost me almost 300 Million ISK. To be fair that's only a quarter of everything I bet so it isn't as terrible as it may seem. Possibly by doing a bit more filtering on the teams I could have lowered the losses but really I don't think that would have worked too well. Funnily enough EVE Bet seem to know their stuff. The little ISK I have left shall be randomly blown on some silly bet to see if I can get lucky. Just now I can get 2.81 on Galway to beat Kilkenny as Hurling...

It's been a great three weekends watching these matches unfold. It was brilliant watching my friends in The Bastards do so well. It was good watching Ministry of Inappropriate Footwork doing well too as I've flown with some of them. I cheered for Glasgow Dunlop outsurviving the rest of his team in a Scary Wormhole People match. This has been the first year I've known people in the tournament and I'm sure that's helped with my enjoyment, but the betting sure added on top of that too. Now, with that over, I need to keep well away from watching anything of anykind otherwise I'm sure my wife would love to take me into an arena and punish me with rapid light missiles of any kind.

I can't wait for AT XIV!

29 August 2015

Alliance Tournament Betting - Day 5

I was pretty sure that as the Alliance Tournament progressed my strategy of betting on the underdog was going to become less and less successful. Today really proved that point with three quarters of my ISK disappearing into smoke.

The Bets

The Afterlife. to beat The Tuskers Co.
End of Life to beat The Gorgon Empire and Spawn
Test Alliance Please Ignore to beat THE R0NIN
Phoebe Freeport Republic to beat Hard Knocks Citizens
Tactical Narcotics Team to beat The Tuskers Co.
The Gorgon Empire and Spawn to beat Shadow Cartel
Exodus. to beat THE R0NIN
Hard Knocks Citizens to beat Triumvirate.
Warlords of the Deep to beat The Camel Empire (match 1)
Nulli Secunda to beat Pandemic Legion (match 1)
Warlords of the Deep to beat The Camel Empire (match 2)
Nulli Secunda to beat Pandemic Legion (match 2)
Warlords of the Deep to beat The Camel Empire (match 3)
Nulli Secunda to beat Pandemic Legion (match 3)
Shadow Cartel to beat The Tuskers
Hard Knocks Citizens to beat Exodus.
The Tuskers Co. to beat Warlords of the Deep
Nulli Secunda to beat Exodus.

As you can see about only two of the 16 played matches gave me any return. A further two matches were not played which meant I got the 20 Million ISK bet between those back as well. All in all a terrible day for betting against the odds.


Bet: 1240 Million ISK
Won: 947 Million ISK
Overall: 293 Million ISK down

Just one more day to go...

23 August 2015

Alliance Tournament Betting - Day 4

You all know what's going on now. If not, you can read day 1, day 2 and day 3 to get up to speed.

The Bets

Shadow Cartel to beat Pandemic Legion
Tactical Narcotics Team to beat Nulli Secunda
Triumvirate. to beat Warlords of the Deep
Exodus. to beat Camel Empire
Vox Populi. to beat Hard Knocks Citizens
Phoebe Freeport Republic to beat R.E.V.O.L.U.T.I.O.N
Ministry of Inappropriate Footwork to beat THE R0NIN
TEST Alliance to beat The G0dfathers
End of Life to beat Dead Terrorists
Project.Mayhem. to beat The Gorgon Empire and Spawn
Agony Empire to beat The Afterlife.
Out of Sight. to beat The Tuskers Co.
Nihilists Social Club to beat Hard Knocks Citizens
R.E.V.O.L.U.T.I.O.N to beat Northern Coalition.
Brave Collective to beat Ministry of Inappropriate Footwork
Easily Excited to beat Test Alliance Please Ignore
End of Life to beat Dream Fleet
Project.Mayhem. to beat M.I.F
The Bastards. to beat Agony Empire
Out of Sight. to beat Rote Kapelle
THE R0NIN to beat Shadow Cartel
The G0dfathers to beat Pandemic Legion

As is becoming familiar with this betting strategy I lost ISK. I'm resigned to losing all the ISK I had in EVE bet by the end of this experiment. Given it was free ISK I don't mind. Even better, I only need to win a further 30 Million ISK to be able to bet on all the remaining matches in the tournament.


Bet: 1080 Million ISK
Won: 906 Million ISK
Overall: 174 Million ISK down

22 August 2015

Alliance Tournament Betting - Day 3

Last weekend I announced my intention to bet on the underdog in as many Alliance Tournament matches as I could afford to. After a weekend of 64 matches I was 133 Million ISK in the red. There are only 44 matches over this new weekend so it should prove a little cheaper for me. So with no further ado, here's how day three went.

The Bets

Tactical Narcotics Team to bear Vox Populi.
Phoebe Freeport Republic to beat Nulli Secunda
Triumvirate. to beat The Afterlife.  
The Tuskers Co. to beat Warlords of the Deep
Dead Terrorists to beat Exodus.
The Gorgon Empire and Spawn to beat The Camel Empire
Confederation of xXPIZZAXx to beat Hard Knocks Citizens
It Must Be Jelly Cause Jam Don't Shake to beat Nihilists Social Club
The Explicit Alliance to beat Northern Coalition.
R.E.V.O.L.U.T.I.O.N to beat RAZOR Alliance
Brothers in Arms Alliance to beat Brave Collective
Drop the Hammer to beat Ministry of Inappropriate Footwork
Easily Excited to beat Circle-Of-Two
Test Alliance Please Ignore to beat The WeHurt Initative
The Methodical Alliance to beat Dream Fleet
End of Life to beat Curatores Veritatis Alliance
M.I.F to beat Verge of Collapse
Togethor We Solo to beat Project.Mayhem.
CAStabouts to beat The Bastards.
Suddenly Spaceships. to beat Agony Empire
Scary Wormhole People to beat Rote Kapelle
Out of Sight. to beat SpaceMonkey's Alliance

Once again there were definitely more losses than wins. The difference is the odds seem to have been longer on those teams which did win. I spend 220 Million ISK in bets. I won 213 Million ISK back. Oh, so close to actually breaking even. Running tally: 860 Mil ISK bet; 720 Mil ISK won; 140 Mil ISK lost

17 August 2015

Alliance Tournament Betting - Day 2

In my previous post I announced my intention to bet on the underdog in as many Alliance Tournament matches as I could afford to. Day two of AT XIII saw another 32 matches resulting in me spending another 320 Million ISK. Thankfully I still had free EVE-Bet credit from the Edinburgh and Glasgow meetups so I'm not yet burning through the little ISK I earn each month.

The Bets

Pandemic Horde to beat Confederation of xXPIZZAXx
Northern Coalition. to beat Shadow Cartel
It Must Be Jelly Cause Jam Don't Shake to beat Forsaken Federation
R.E.V.O.L.U.T.I.O.N to beat THE R0NIN
The Explicit Alliance to beat A Band Apart.
The G0dfathers to beat Hard Knocks Citizens
RAZOR Alliance to beat The Kadeshi
Nihilists Social Club to beat Pandemic Legion
Tactical Narcotics Team to beat Circle-Of-Two
Brothers in Arms Alliance to beat WAFFLES.
404 Alliance Not Found to beat Drop the Hammer
Vox Populi. to beat Test Alliance Please Ignore
Easily Excited to beat Clockwork Pineapple
Brave Collective to beat Phoebe Freeport Republic
That Escalated Quickly. to beat The WeHurt Initative
Ministry of Inappropriate Footwork to beat Nulli Secunda
M.I.F to beat Triumvirate
Nerfed Alliance Go Away to beat Dream Fleet
Gone Critical to beat End of Life
Togethor We Solo to beat The Afterlife.
Black Legion. to beat Verge of Collapse
The Methodical Alliance to beat Warlords of the Deep
Quebec United Legions to beat Project.Mayhem.
Curatores Veritatis Alliance to beat The Tuskers Co.
Affirmative. to beat The Bastards.
Dead Terrorists to beat Rote Kapelle
Out of Sight. to beat Exodus.
Alternate Allegiance to beat Suddeny Spaceships.
CAStabouts to beat The Gorgon Emprie and Spawn
Scary Wormhole People to beat Chaos Collective
Agony Empire to beat The Camel Empire
-affliction- to beat SpaceMonkey's Alliance

Compared to yesterday there were a few more matches where the result went against the odds. I guess this was a result of first match losers squaring off against each other and the difficulty of predicting how those matches would turn out. As a result I got a decent amount of winning come back to me. It still wasn't enough to break even but it came close. For the 320 Million ISK I placed in bets I got 306 Million ISK back. That means in day two of the tournament I only lost 14 Million ISK. Total lost so far is 133 Million ISK.

Next week there are 22  matches each day. I have enough ISK sitting to bet on the Saturday and either need to win or deposit a further 110 Million ISK to bet on Sunday's matches as well. With a bit of luck maybe I can start eating back into my deficit as well.

15 August 2015

Alliance Tournament Betting - Day 1

As you are likely aware the first round of alliance tournament matches started today. For the first time since I started playing EVE I actually have people I know flying in the tournament. This has really boosted my interest in watching the matches this year. People I have met IRL are spread across Dead Terrorists, Scary Wormhole People, A Band Apart, Ministry of Inappropriate Footwork, and of course The Bastards (who are so close with us they might as well be part of IoS anyway).

In addition to the increased interest in watching some matches I also devised a cunning plan to get myself emotionally involved with the rest of them. From the various EVE meets I've been to recently I had acquired a reasonable balance with EVE-Bet.com which was handed out as tokens. With that ISK I placed a 10 Million ISK bet on the longest odds in all 32 matches scheduled for today.

Who said there's nothing good on the TV?

The Bets

SpaceMonkey's Alliance to beat The Camel Empire
That Escalated Quickly. to beat Nulli Secunda
-affliction to beat Agony Empire
Ministry of Inappropriate Footwork to beat The WeHurt Initative
Chaos Collective to beat CAStabouts
Phoebe Freeport Republic to beat Clockwork Pineapple
Scary Wormhole People to beat The Gorgon Empire + The Gorgon Spawn
Suddenly Spaceships. to beat Exodus.
Alternate Allegiance to beat Out of Sight.
Affirmative. to beat Rote Kapelle
The Bastards. to beat Dead Terrorists
Qubec United Legions to beat The Tuskers Co.
The Kadeshi to beat Pandemic Legion
Project.Mayhem. to beat Curatores Veritatis Alliance
Easily Excited to beat Brave Collective
Nihilists Social Club to beat RAZOR Alliance
Drop the Hammer to beat Test Alliance Please Ignore
Black Legion. to beat Warlords of the Deep
404 Alliance Not Found to beat Vox Populi.
A Band Apart. to beat The G0dfathers
Tactical Narcotics Team to beat WAFFLES.
The Methodical Alliance to beat Verge of Collapse
Brothers in Arms Alliance to beat Circle-Of-Two
The Explicit Alliance to beat Hard Knocks Citizens
End of Life to beat The Afterlife.
It Must Be Jelly Cause Jam Don't Shake to beat THE R0NIN
Gone Critical to beat Together We Solo
Forsaken Federation to beat R.E.V.O.L.U.T.I.O.N
Nerfed Alliance Go Away to beat M.I.F
Pandemic Horde to beat Shadow Cartel
Dream Fleet to beat Triumvirate.
Northern Coalition. to beat Confederation of xXPIZZAXx

You can see from the colours above (green meaning I won ISK; red meaning I lost) that by and large the odds assigned by EVE Bet were generally accurate in their estimations. I always knew this would be the case; the question was whether the higher odds on the bets I won would outweigh the many losses.

I spent 320 Million ISK betting on the 32 matches. I collected 201 Million ISK in payouts. Thus, I lost 119 Million ISK. To be honest, this wasn't as bad as I expected. I really thought I would get nothing back. My biggest saviour was The Methodical Alliance who returned 73 Million ISK after beating Verge of Collapse. As a bonus it means I have enough ISK left over to repeat the same experiment on day 2 of AT XIII. Let's see how that goes.

5 August 2015

Below The Airhorns

In fleet tonight we got to talking about the wonderful music in the EVE client and lamenting the loss of the jukebox feature from yesteryear when someone brought this up:

Now I realise this isn't new and everyone except me has probably seen it before. However I felt it was my duty to share this to the minority of you who might have missed it before.

27 July 2015

At Rebukes

It's been too long since I took part in a blog banter. It seems appropriate that my return should be to talk about something which I've ranted on comms so much about I was sure I'd also blogged about it. Alas, it seems I hadn't so here we go.

BB65 - Attributes and Skills
Does Eve need attributes? It's been discussed a lot recently. Unlike other MMO's your characters attributes don't make a difference in day-to-day gameplay. They simply set how fast you train a skill. Is it time to remove attributes from the game or totally revamp their purpose? Do they add a level of complexity to the game that is not needed? If you really need to use a 3rd party application to get the most from it should it be in the game? Should they be repurposed with each attribute adding a modifier to your ship? Are attributes a relic from the past or are they an important part of Eve - You make your decision and deal with the consequences?

Including attributes seems one of the most obvious mechanics in a role playing game. By allocating points to different areas of your character you can customise and influence how well or how poorly they will faire in a given set of circumstances. If we take charisma, for example, someone who allocates a lot of points to that particular attribute will do so in the knowledge that they are paving an easier life for their character. They should expect easier and more profitable tasks than some mouth-breather lacking in both charisma and deodorant (they probably rent nullsec space to mine anyway). Equally, someone with perception knows they will gain much by understanding a given environment to a better extent. They can use that knowledge to better pick targets to shoot and/or routes to sneakily take.

Seems reasonable so far? Well in EVE we get none of this. Character attributes in EVE are the forgotten ginger stepchild of gameplay in New Eden. For your farsighted minmaxer these numbers are mana from the stars. Given a 6 year list of skills you can eke out every little bonus and shave weeks off your 2191 day training plan. As for charisma affecting your interaction with NPC mission agents; nope sorry. Does perception increase your awareness of which ships in a site might be the trigger? Hell no! Well definitely Willpower will help you keep your ship together under adverse conditions (read: heavy sustained incoming fire)? Ahahahaha, you make me laugh so hard...

In EVE attributes exist solely to punish the many and reward the OCD few. Once upon a time I used to plug all my plans into EVEMon and tell it to calculate the best attributes for the first year of this plan. I've heard of people who worked the other way and would move their skills around to cluster similarly affected skills into the same year. They would then avoid training skills which didn't fit into the bonused attribute pattern. They would forgo flying certain ships because to train them would negatively impact the number of skill points they accrued in a given year(!). What game punishes people for wanting to try something new? Seriously? So for the longest time I set all my skill points to an average where they mostly have the same number. I buy +3 implants to train a bit faster. I don't punish myself for choosing to train some leadership skills when I'm set up to train missiles instead (charisma + willpower vs. perception + willpower). I'll live with few skill points per hour and I'll be a happier player for it.

As far as I see it there is no interesting choice created by attributes as they stand. The timescale we get to remapping (annual) is so long that new players will totally ignore the option for fear of overly slowing themselves down. Either that or they will go full minmaxer and avoid anything which makes them a better pilot/have more fun playing EVE because it means they have 73 less skill points than they would have had in the first place.  Now don't get me wrong, I'm not necessarily calling for attributes to be removed from the game. An alternative is to increase the effect they have on the game as hinted at near the start of this post. For example would it be more interesting a choice if you can train skill x faster because of your intelligence but you'll earn less ISK from missions because you reduced charisma to do so? How about taking less incoming damage because your perception is high but this is at a speed cost to training for that Archon you always wanted?

I guess my feelings towards removing or revamping attributes are ambivalent in the true sense of the word. The only thing I can say for sure is leaving them in the game as they are is both pointless and meaningless. Hell, let me remap every month and I might reconsider. If there really is no developer time to write something new to take their place (as with clone costs) then they should simply be removed. Make New Eden a simpler place for the new player at little cost to us veterans.

22 July 2015

The main EVE_NT

This year seems to be packed with EVE meets for me. So far I have been to Fanfest in Iceland; I went to the Edinburgh meet organised by Glasgow Dunlop; I also went to his Glasgow meet more recently. Next I will be heading 'abroad' again to the #EVE_NT meet in Nottingham, England organised by my friend and Bastard for life Mr. Nashh Kadavr. The event itself (should that be EVE_NT, ho ho) takes place on the 19th of September at the Antenna Media Centre, Beck Street, Nottingham. It is scheduled to run from 11 am to 11 pm although it remains to be seen how much of that I actually last.

I'm really looking forward to this one. Whilst the Edinburgh and Glasgow meets were really good the EVE_NT gathering feels more like a mini-fanfest. There is swag for guests, a charity raffle, even a tournament. On top of that there's going to be a lot of other EVE players having a great time chatting about the game and comparing notes from opposite sides of epic battles in space. If you are in England in September and interested in going you should check out the website, buy tickets, and add your support to the EVE-O forum thread. For the first time ever my wife is coming to an EVE meet with me. At least one other corp mate is also taking his missus so hopefully they're going to have a good time too. Worst case, our hotel is quite near so I can always get her home then sneak back out for more shenanigans later on :-)

I look forward to meeting yet more EVE players there later this year. You should come too, you know you want to!

15 July 2015

Glasgow Meet

A couple of Saturdays ago I managed to finally make it to a Glasgow meetup. I've been trying to go for ages but never yet made it. I decided to put in extra effort this time after the organiser, Glasgow Dunlop, identified me in Iceland as the person who keeps saying they're going to come through for a meet. I had the additional incentive that I would get to meet some people I know from the only additional alliance I have alts in - The Bastards. Despite moving to a new house and having plenty of boxes to unpack I had permission from my wife to disappear for a whole day and get drunk with a bunch of other internet spaceship captains.

Come the day it looked like fate wanted me to miss yet another Glasgow meet. First our car refused to start and it was through sheer willpower alone the battery didn't die as I churned the engine over and over and over.... Once it grumble to life the oil warning started flashing. FFS! In 5 years that car never once wanted oil outside a service. So I found the oil which by some miracle was left accessible and not packaged into a box somewhere at the back of the garage behind several tons of children's toys. By now there was no chance I'd get to the train station in time. I had 8 minutes to drive the 10 minutes to the station. Exactly 10 minutes later I got into the station carpark just as the train also arrived. I abandoned the car with the door flapping open and ran for the train. As the train pulled away I could see my wife still trying to extract herself from the back seat. Oops!

I have a history of getting lost in Glasgow. I managed to meet up with Ithica Hawk by using the powers of Whatsapp. He successfully guided me through Glasgow to the Hillhead Bookclub where everyone else was gathering. There was a good number of people already there so we grabbed some beers and got chatting with folk. Glasgow Dunlop presented me with a voucher work 300 Million ISK with Eve-Bet. Nashh Kadavr then inducted me as an honorary Bastard by giving me a t-shirt embroidered with The Bastards' logo. Of course I immediately changed into this.

Over the course of the day more and more people arrived including CCP Logibro and CCP Leeloo who were carrying a combined 40 kilos of swag! More drinking and chat about EVE was the order of the day until at some point we were all herded inside for the raffle draw to distribute swag. By this point I had swapped memory capacity for beer so can't remember all the things that were given away. I seem to recall the shiny new EVE Source book being passed around. I got to take home a foil pack of cards for the EVE trading card game as well as winning a set of high grade slave implants. The latter I will never dare plug in to my head. The draw went on for a long time emphasising the sheer amount of swag provided by CCP and EVE-bet.

At this point some of us were invited to a BBQ in some distant suburb of Glasgow. We decided to kidnap CCP Logibro and I was reminded by reading twitter that we slid him on his chair through the bar to the door before bundling him into someone's car and heading off on a long car journey. At the other end we were provided with very tasty sausages, burgers, kebab skewers and more alcohol. A perfect end to the perfect EVE meet up.

Thanks go to Glasgow Dunlop for organising such a great EVE meet. He put my own attempts at starting a regular EVE: Edinburgh meet to shame. Thanks also to EVE-Bet for the free ISK to blow on bets. Thanks to CCP for sending CCP Logibro, CCP Leeloo and all the swag. We promise we'll return Logibro at some point. Thanks to Nashh Kadavr for The Bastards t-shirt which my wife keeps having to prise from my back in order to wash. Finally, thanks to the Hillhead Bookclub for allowing us to invade their wonderful establishment for the day.

12 July 2015

Drunk n Roam

This was full...
The art of the drunken roam has long existed in New Eden. If you've watched the This Is EVE video you'll be familiar with someone saying on comms "Um, how do I warp to something?". The idea is simple, you take a ship and a bottle and/or cans of alcohol into hostile space and fly around drinking until you die. Of course there has to be rules otherwise this becomes no different to the average roam you've been on:

  • If you jump a gate you take a drink
  • If you dock you take a drink
  • If you undock you take a drink
  • If you change modes in a T3 destroyer, take a drink
  • If you lemming through a gate take an extra drink (in addition to the one for jumping anyway)
  • If you die you finish your drink

The above covers most reasons one should take a drink however there are always ad hoc rules which people create during the course of an evening. This creates an ancilliary set of rules:

  • If you invent a new rule you take a drink
  • If someone else invents a new rule you take TWO drinks for being too stupid to think of the new rule first

With the above bases covered there are two guarantees: a) You will have a brilliant night of playing EVE, and b) If done right you will wake up the following morning in physical pain and wondering where your wife and family are.

Ow my head hurts!

6 July 2015

A prisoner offline

I am currently on an involuntary hiatus from EVE. In fact I am pretty much disconnected from the internet in general. It seems moving into a brand new house is a mistake when it comes to maintaining contiguous connectivity to the internet at large. It appears to come as a shock to the single company responsible for pretty much every phone line in the UK that people moving into a new house will want a phone line. Three weeks after first telling them I want a phone line (*shock*) and they can only tell me they think they might be coming today to fit my line. I won't know for certain until after 1 pm. The tell-tale clue at 1 pm is the engineer not having bothered to come.

Of course I can use mobile internet** to fill in the gap whilst I wait for the 'real' internet to be delivered to my house over two narrow strands of copper. Unfortunately it appears my network decided this particular ex-field I now live in didn't need high speed mobile internet. I tried it and get a 10 second ping time to Google. FML. Kill me now.

My young son and I have been making Minecraft videos for a few weeks and we sat down to create the next couple of episodes. This should be doable because I host the server locally and record voices by plugging both mics into the same PC and using some virtual mixer software to sort the levels out on everything. Sure son, we can do that. Except we couldn't. First I needed to re-log his account into the Minecraft servers. By some miracle I managed to use the GPRS on my phone and get him onto the server. I swapped the phone onto my laptop and tried to log in. It took more attempts but eventually it worked. The his account got kicked from the server. I couldn't log in to the server. My nerves started to fray. I went around in circles getting more and more agitated before admitting defeat. In the meantime he was going to go off and watch stampylonghead videos on YouTube....... (and you think EVE players get upset?!)

So I've resorted to offline games. That's not too bad as I seem to have preloaded a bunch of random games from Steam at some point. I think they are all Humble Bundle games. I have absolutely no idea what any of them are. I picked one at random - English Country Garden - to see what the information said it was about. Much like the EVE server logs, the game info. said nothing. It appears that side of the games library in Steam is a webpage which is unavailable offline. Aargh!!! It turned out to be a fun, abstract, 3D puzzle game which you should totally try.

So it appears I'm addicted. Possibly my whole house has a data addiction and being disconnected is killing us. Conversations which normally end with "let me just Google that" have us stumped instead. How did we manage before the internet was everywhere? Actually, I probably know. I'm watching way more crap TV than I should - my house tends to go to sleep around 10 pm and I get to log in to EVE - crap TV is taking its place. But crap TV is no replacement for EVE. I miss my corp and alliance mates. I miss the drama and giggles on comms. I miss the very few blues we have and losing ships to random ganks or my plain stupidity.

I miss EVE.

**Posted over GPRS, which took bloody ages

21 June 2015

Moving On

I've been struggling to find time to enjoy EVE recently. I still hang out with my alliance in our Jabber server and I've still been making the regular fleet night I run each week. Beyond that I just haven't been motivated to log in much. This obviously carries over to the posts I make here which have dwindled down to less than one a week. Obviously with less time to play EVE there is less stuff to write about. If you add to that the little I do play is trying to recoup the two billion ISK I've lost in the past six weeks then I really do have little to blog about just now. Site running doesn't make for interesting reading.

In my alliance I always maintain that real life is more important than EVE (usually stated as "RL>EVE"). This is true and is the underlying problem for my EVE malaise. In 'RL:Work Edition' I am really busy pulling a new and rather large project under the wings of my department. In 'RL:Home Edition' I am in the process of buying a new house. I seem to be drowning under a tidal wave of paperwork with each new day bring something new to sign and send money away for. Some times I can't help but wonder if the whole thing is a long Jita scam, possibly a bonus room type of thing where they'll keep sending me more and more things to sign until I finally crack.

Not relevant to this blog post
But wait, did I say I'd lost about two billion ISK in six weeks? How did I manage that? The biggest single loss was my alt's Orca. This was lost due to drunken impatience after a hole-rolling incident which saw me stuck in a busy Molden Heath system. Instead of being patient I tried to flee to a quieter nullsec system to scan myself from. That was a mistake as the locals had the wormhole bookmarked, followed me through and popped me. Just over two weeks later, whilst running sites to recoup the cost of buying a new Orca I was caught by pilots from ArB Llc. This particularly stung as they used to be in my alliance. I'm sure they got a buzz out of killing my Gila but my wallet didn't. The final loss in this litany is also the first PvP fit ship to die. One of my corp mates had a Vexor sitting at the sun as obvious bait. Our plan was to get in, kill it, and flee before their cavalry landed. We managed parts one and two easily enough but the cavalry landed and killed my Proteus before I could leave. Swapping a Proteus for a Vexor seems fair enough to me. Did I mention I'm crap at Chess?

All is not lost, however. At least some of the RL woes are coming to an end. Pretty soon I'll be in a shiny new house (if the developer gets their finger our and stops sliding the date back). This should give back a lot of my evening time as well as take all the related things I need to remember out of my head. In the meantime I've taken some alts on a deployment to nullsec for some fun. Of course, I couldn't possibly say what that is as nullsec is all about the Opsex. Well, something like that anyway....

8 June 2015

New Icons

Just about a week ago the new overview icons landed on Tranquillity. With any change to the EVE client there tends to be a lot of bitching and whining and these new icons were no different. I caught a bunch of it on release day from our alliance Jabber server and thought nothing much about it. I just filed it under the same category I file most posts from the official eve-o forums, namely 'waa-waa-somthing-changed'. Let's face it, online gamers like to bitch a lot.

Later last week I logged on to be told to get myself into some dps quickly as there were a trio of Myrmidons running sites in our 3a1. A little bit of questioning later and it turned out there had been some to-and-fro with the guys running sites. We fully expected a trap but the only way to be sure it's a trap is to spring it. Mustering the few people we could at a relatively early time for us we went in. Comically, we warped to the wrong bookmark for their MTU at the first attempt. We then re-warped as a single group and landed in the right place on the second attempt.

As I landed on grid I was looking for the ships to call targets on and I couldn't see any. I knew they were there but I had no idea I relied so much on the overview icons to distinguish between things. In my head I thought I used the names column. Eventually I picked out a name and called primary on the basis that was all I could see. Our scout on the gate counted in the six ships which jumped in to spring the trap on us and when we realised we wouldn't even get a single kill we did our best to leave the field. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

It was around about now I joined the holy-shit-these-new-icons-suck club. I am still sure a large part of the problem was lack of familiarity but I also now know a huge part is that I run my UI at 90%. Switching to 100% scaling I could see the icons much clearer and actually distinguish between different ones. OMG, CCP, did you even test this with UI scaling?

And yes, I do feel bad for asking that question.