Life in Eve: Junkies

 

March was a really, really good month for our corporation. By most any standard, it was the best month the corp has had since it was formed, and aside from the dry statistics, there’s the more interesting fact that we had gotten fairly well-known in the warzone.

“Props to you and your guys, Ty,” said one enemy pilot in local comms. “You guys always bring a fight.”

April… has not gone so well.

Really not a fan of this month.

Here’s a sample of our comms this month:

“Can I take on a Hookbill in this Atron?”

Answer: no.

“There’s a dragoon in the medium complex… can we even fight that?”
“Let’s… give it a shot… I guess?”

This was two guys in slashers. The Dragoon had backup.

“They only outnumber us by two.”
“And they have gang boosts –”
“And they have boosts, so really it’s worse than that.”
“By a lot –”
“By a lot. Yeah. Should we engage?”
“…. yeah.”

We did. It ended about how you’d expect.

“It’s horrible odds, but… whatever. We’re only two jumps from Auga to reship.”

Good argument. Then…

“We’re only three jumps from Auga to reship.”

Which was funny.

“We’re only four jumps from Auga to reship.”

Still funny.

“We’re only five jumps from Auga to reship.”

Less funny.

“We can always fly back to Auga to reship.”

And now it’s just grim.

In fact, in the last couple days, everything is grim. Tone of voice. Topics. The sense of desperation.

The desperation of a junkie.

In April, so far, the Corp has already racked up about a third of the losses we had all through March, and have snagged about one-twentieth of  the kills (my personal ratio is even worse, at least in terms of losses).

It seemed due to the simple fact that there are less fights available: the Amarr have been particularly scarce, especially in groups anywhere close to the size/composition we can realistically engage, and when we get anything that looks even sort of doable (if you cross your eyes and squint), we go for it.

Most of the time, though, what we decided was ‘sort of possible’ was really nowhere near that, but we go for it anyway.

Because March turned us into junkies, and April is making us go cold turkey.

Consider: in March, I was involved in at least one hundred fifty fights, give or take. Not all of them were recorded, because one side or the other ultimately managed to escape, but that’s a (low) estimate of the number of times a fight loomed. Probably, it was closer to two hundred, so let’s split the difference and call it one hundred eighty.

That works out to six fights a day, give or take, during March. Every day, six jolts of adrenaline (yes, adrenaline dumps from MMO PvP: an experience — for me — all-but unique to Eve).

A guy can get kind of addicted to that kind of thing.

We’ve got guys in the corp who, in February and March, have gotten in more fights than all the rest of their time in Eve, even if you count shooting NPCs.  It’s fun. It’s exciting. There is really nothing else in the game like it.

Then it just… stops. You are left with only bad opportunities to get your fix. Very bad opportunities.

And we’re taking those chances anyway. Of course. We’re junkies.

It’s not… good.  The frustration from not finding fights is bad already, and coupled with the stream of bad fights ending badly…

Yeah. Not good.

Time to make some changes.

Life in Eve: Voting for CSM 8

The elections for the eighth Council of Stellar Management (the CSM: a  group of players elected to represent player interests, face to face, with CCP) are coming up, and I wanted to talk about them a little bit; something I haven’t done with past CSMs.

Does the CSM even matter?

One of the common threads of complaint about the CSM is that it’s all just a smokescreen for CCP: the CSM doesn’t have any real say, they aren’t taken seriously as stakeholders, they squander their influence on stupid things, or gain influence only in exchange for shilling for CCP to the player base at every turn.

Maybe that’s all be true, or maybe none of it’s true.

Doesn’t matter.

What matters is that the mere existence of the CSM is an unprecedented thing in the MMO industry. It may not be the perfect iteration of elected player representation and/or conduit to the developers, but the first company to try something very rarely gets it all right. The point is, it’s an opportunity that very few players in very few MMOs are given at all, and Eve players would be stupid not to take advantage of the opportunity it presents.

Eve players are not known for being stupid, nor are they known for passing up the chance to take advantage of any possible opportunity.

Put another way: get off your ass and vote.

Speaking of which, what’s up with the Trickle-down voting system?

There’s a new voting system in place for this year’s election. It’s a bit odd: the only thing I’ve seen that even kind of sounds like this is the way Oscar voting is handled, which may be the only overlap on a Venn Diagram of “Oscar Race” and “Eve Online”, ever.

Basically it goes like this.

  • Every active player account gets a Single Transferable Vote, or STV.
  • Instead of voting for a single candidate, you pick up to as many as 14.
  • Whoever you put in your #1 slot will get your vote unless they don’t need it (either because they’re already in the top 14, or they have no chance in hell of getting into the top 14).
  • If they don’t need your vote, it will slid down to the 2nd person your list, and keep sliding down through your list until it gets to someone who can benefit from the vote, or your list is exhausted.

Some people will tell you that it’s important to fully fill out your preference list to 14, to ensure that your vote does something, but I disagree with this. For me, this system breaks the candidates into three groups:

  1. Candidates I think would really bring something special to the CSM, especially given the new design strategy that CCP is using for their upcoming releases, who might not get on the CSM without my support and the support of non-bloc voters.
  2. Candidates I don’t want to get my vote, who I refuse to put on my list anywhere, because I don’t want to run even the slightest chance they will bring their input to the CSM.
  3. Candidates who I don’t feel need my vote, because they should be able to get on the CSM with the help of their support base, or not at all. In short, this means that while I personally think Banlish is a good CSM candidate, I’m not putting him on my list because he’s the official TEST candidate and frankly if he can’t get his Alliance all pointed the right direction at the voting booths, that speaks to his overall effectiveness — it’s not a hole I’m going to dig him out of.

So who am I looking at?

  • Candidates excited and motivated to participate. Every election, the CSM seems to acquire about 5 active members, and 9 hunks of deadwood.
  • Candidates that bring a strong, coherent vision of the game that is different from the inevitable nullsec bloc candidates.
  • Candidates that are knowledgeable and communicate well about many aspects of the game.
  • Candidates that aren’t there to represent a single aspect of the game. CCP is now rolling out expansions with broad themes that will encompass changes to all aspects of gameplay in New Eden: there will be no “Wormhole Expansion” or “Nullsec Expansion” — as such, a single-flavor candidate is too one-dimensional for me, so no wormhole candidates or other specialty candidates with no obvious knowledge of other aspects of the game are getting my vote.

So here’s my picks.

#1: Ripard Teg

The number one position on my list is going to go to the person I think is an absolute must-have on the CSM, and that means Ripard. One only has to read a fraction of his blog to realize that he’s hugely invested in the success and growth of the game, has great skill as a communicator, and knows a great deal about many different aspects of the game: He’s a small gang pvper who pays his way with Industry efforts far more complicated than anything I’ve ever even tried; he’s done Incursions and PvE content extensively; he’s lived in wormholes for a good stretch of time (and did mining and other industry therein); he’s lived as a Sov nullsec resident. In short, he knows the game as well or better than any other candidate.

Best of all, while I don’t always agree with everything he says (he’s got a weekly feature on his blog that now ends with a disclaimer he added because of a long argument we got into), I can always understand why he sees the topic the way he does, and why he came to the conclusion he did. Sometimes he even changes my mind.

#? Ali Aras

Ali’s running on a platform aimed at improving new player experience and getting new players to move into currently-dreaded areas like Nullsec. Also, not for nothing, she’d be a feminine voice on the CSM, which I personally think is something both the CSM and Eve desperately needs. I like her views on the game, and I like her ideas on how to get new players into nullsec. If Ripard doesn’t need my vote, I’d be happy to see it go to Ali.

#? Mike Azariah

Mike may be perceived as more of a high-sec carebear roleplayer, but the fact is he’s done pvp, he’s done Nullsec soldiery, he’s even done some wormholes. His commitment to the game is clear. I think he’d be a really great workhorse for the CSM.

#? Roc Weiler

Roc’s a tough candidate to love, as his in-game persona is a little… off-putting. That said, the player behind the character is smart, knowledgeable, has a lot of relevant real-world experience, and obviously communicates well. He meets all the criteria I have for a good candidate, and he hope he makes it on — I just want Ripard on more.

#6 Mangala Solaris

To be blunt, Mangala will be my catch-all candidate. I’ve flown with the guy, I know the kind of play he represents as, basically, the RvB candidate, and I know I agree with a lot of what he has to say about the game. That said, he’s not my first choice, mostly because his stance on many topics seems a little half-formed. He’ll probably do fine once the rubber hit the road, but maybe not, and I don’t feel like risking higher-ranked votes on that chance. Like true bloc candidates, he may not need my vote, but if he does, and no one else does, he’ll have it, and be (at least) one voice on the CSM that doesn’t represent Nullsec power blocs who think everyone else in the game is a 2nd class citizen.

And That’s It

Only five candidates, but the candidates I’ve picked are those I feel strongly about and who I think are going to need my votes. Realistically, only one of these will have the votes it takes to make it on the CSM, let alone the coveted “always going to Iceland” top two positions. I consider it HIGHLY unlikely any of my votes will be wasted — someone on this list should need them, and if they don’t, I’d rather the votes fly off into the void than strengthen the position of anyone else on the field.

Live in Eve: March in Review

So with March in the bag, I thought I’d look back and see how the corp did, both in terms of killboard statistics as well as the harder-to-track but far more useful non-metrics of mood, morale, and accomplishments.

Corp Numbers

Our ship losses for march were pretty much the same as February — just breaking 125 — though overall the total value of the ships lost was lower. I’m completely happy with this — it reflects the high level of activity in the corp right now — most nights, someone was flying and fighting, and that feels like a good thing to me.

Conversely, our kills for the month nearly doubled, and the value of the enemy assets we destroyed tripled and very nearly quadrupled.  This left us about 78% efficient for the month, and made March by far and away the most active month our corp has ever had, even compared to the month of fights in the Eugidi cluster.

It’s worth considering our losses compared to our wins for another reason: while we lost about as many ships in March as February, our spike in destroyed enemy ships means that we are selling our lost ships far more dearly.

We also saw a nice spike in solo kills: March tripled our number of solo kills over the next highest months, which speaks (I think) to growing pilot confidence and a willingness to engage and make something out of what looks like an bad  situation.

In short, we’re flying smarter and being a little less careful.

We certainly have our bad days, but all in all, it's been great.

Top ships flown:

Frigates. There are a (very) few cruisers mentioned, because of one abortive op we went on with Daggers, but that’s it. We didn’t get a single kill in destroyer all month, either. I have no plans to change that drastically, but we will be flying at least some bigger stuff this month.

How about me, personally?

I had a pretty weak couple of months in January and February, so March was pretty good for me in a lot of ways. I broke 100 kills for the month (102: a personal best), and lost exactly the same number of ships as last month. Of those 102, 93 were actual fights as opposed to destroyed capsules, 11 were solo fights, and I managed to be top damage on 40.

Had you watched each fight, you’d have seen me in a Slasher about one third of the time, the Executioner and Atron a distant second and third, and the Tormentor and Incursus coming on strong in the last week as I fiddled around with different ships. Lots of other stuff saw at least some use: I flew at least 15 different types ships during successful fights this month, and possibly more — I finished four fights in my escape pod, so I don’t know what I was flying before the explosion.

And what about the War?

March was a pretty good month for Minmatar. While it was never hard to find Amarr willing to fight, many of those fights were in entrenched systems where the slavers have set up a lots of support in the form of off-grid fleet boosting and the like. We can manage fights there, but we need to kill and get out in a hurry, because the follow-up wave in those systems is usually some kind of ridiculously overwhelming response. (My personal favorite is the gang that attacked our six-man tech1 frigate fleet with armor-boosted cruisers and an assault frig (vexor, maller, enyo), and then brought in an Ashimmu when they lost two ships and couldn’t kill us. GF?)

Anyway, the result of this tactic has been a downswing in fights in random locations around the war zone, and the Amarr down to about seven controlled systems out of 70. I’ve seen some 20+ Amarr fleets flying around, but I honestly don’t know what they’re doing or who they’re fighting, if anyone; most of LNA seems to have gone to sleep again, and I don’t know who else in the TLF is fielding fleets that size.

I’m not thrilled about this development, as it limits the level of activity we see from the other side. Early in the month, the Amarr and Minmatar were dead-even on warzone control, with both sides maintaining tier 3 for nearly a week, and I couldn’t have been more pleased: it seemed the best situation possible to encourage high activity in both factions, and I’d hoped it would last a lot longer.

A few days from the end of the month, Minmatar managed to push warzone control the highest level — tier 5 — the first time that’s happened since CCP made their most recent changes to the Faction Warfare control system.

Nice feather in the cap, but ultimately more trouble than it's worth.

This event triggered a rash of one-day-old alts flooding Minmatar faction warfare to leech Loyalty Points while the rewards were increased 225%. Gambit Roulette tried to go out and capture plexes during this time, but we kept getting distracted with good fights and — I believe — never actually collected an LP payment during the entire Tier 5 period. Whoops.

We also may, here and there, have pointed some unaffiliated pirates in the direction of particularly obvious LP leech pilots who needed a good ass-whupping. I consider it a community outreach and beautification project. Related: if any Amamake residents want to know who likes to boast in Minmatar chat about flying ‘combat’ ships with warp core stabilizers and cloaks on, give me a ping: I have a list.

And that’s about it! We’re planning to start April off a resounding thud of stupidity: who knows what’ll happen after that.

Life in Eve: Local is Fine, and Here’s How to Fix It.

First, a brief background, for the non-EvE players:

Like most MMOs, Eve has a number of text-based chat channels built into its user interface. The ones likely to see the most use are whatever corporation and/or alliance you’re part of, any player-made channels created for specific purposes or interests…

And Local.

Now, to the outsider, the concept of a “local channel” doesn’t seem that big a deal: most games I’ve played have some version of this: a channel that can only be seen by the people currently visiting a particular city are common, for example (though there’s usually some question about whether or not anyone pays attention to it).

In Eve, that Channel is called “Local.” It’s always on, always there, and always includes whomever is currently in the same solar system as you.

The reason this matters (for the purposes of this post), is that all the channels in Eve have a Member List displayed alongside the chat window.

Like so.

In some less-common situations, the member list only shows people who have actually spoken in that channel since you logged on, but in most cases, including Local in all of known space, the member list automatically updates to show everyone who’s currently in the same solar system.

This means that, in Eve, within known space (wormholes work differently), the very second that anyone enters the same solar system you’re in, you know, thanks to Local.

As a result, Local — specifically, Local’s member list — is more often used as an intelligence gathering tool than it is a means to chat with the unwashed masses of whatever backwater shithole you happen to be flying through at the moment.

I actually shrink the window so that the member list is the only thing I see.

Not everyone likes this.

There have been great fiery debates about whether or not Local’s member list should remain immediate (like it is now) or delayed (the way it works in Wormholes and some private channels, where no one knows you’re there unless you say something).

Which led to this conversation today:

“Man,” Em said. “I really wish we didn’t have automatic local out in the war zone. It’s so lame to have that much intel at your fingertips. It’d be so cool to see guys on directional scan in a complex and have NO idea of they were friendly or hostile — no Local list to compare it to and say ‘Well, I see three ships, and there are only two hostiles here and three friendlies, so it’s probably friendlies.'”

“Sure,” I replied. “Though it would suck for us as well if they changed it.”

“We’d cope,” Em said. “Hell, we already deal with that every day up in the wormhole.”

“Definitely, but that’s the wormhole. Things should work differently up there. I mean…” I pondered. “We’re in low security space, but it’s still Empire space, you know? The infrastructure is kind of messed up, but it’s still functional.”

“Empire?” Em replied. “Why would the Amarr or Minmatar or… hell, anybody provide intel about their own troop movements to anyone and everyone who can see the Local member list?”

“Well… they wouldn’t,” I said. “But I don’t think it’s really up to them — that’s just part of the deal with the technology. I don’t think they control it.” I shrugged. “Maybe CONCORD controls it.” I frowned. “Actually, I think it’s tied to the stargates somehow — like they’re relays or something — which is why the member list breaks out by star system, and why there’s other channels like one just for the local constellation of systems you’re in, and why it works the same way in High sec and Low sec and Null sec — all the same stargate technology.” Finally, I added, “That’d be why it doesn’t work that way in wormhole space — no stargates.”

Bringing people together in more ways than one.

There was a pause in the conversation. I turned back to the ship fitting I’d been assembling.

“You know what would be cool?” Em said, voice almost dreamy.

“I –”

“What would be cool,” he continued, “is if Local didn’t add you to the member list until you either used the channel… or used a Gate.”

I stopped, turning that idea over, then offered my analysis. “Huh.”

“I mean…” it didn’t even seem as though he heard me. “If it’s all attached to the stargate tech, and you didn’t use a stargate to get there, then…” He shook his head. “MAN that would be cool.”

“Wormholes,” I said, picking up on the idea. “You could — I mean, when you dropped out of a wormhole into a system in known space…”

“No one would know you were there,” Em completed the thought. “It’d make all those shitty class two systems with exits to Null sec SO much more fun.”

There's a hole in your sky...

“It’d be like having a black-ops drop capability for people who can’t fly black-ops ships yet.” I blinked. “Actually…”

“… black-ops jump bridges bypass gates.” Em finished.

Widow likes the idea. (It's smiling - trust me.)

“Regular Titan bridges too,” I said. “I mean –”

“– you’d see the beacon go up, but–”

“– you wouldn’t know who came in, or how many, without more recon. You’d just know a jump bridge happened.”

"Who left the door open?"

We were quiet for a while.

“Wow,” I said.

“Not like wormholes,” Em said, “still it’s own thing, and for most people flying around, it’s basically like nothing really changed, because as soon as you use a gate to jump into system, you’re loaded into Local, but… better than it is now.”

“Yeah,” I agreed. I shook my head, blinking. “You know what?”

“You’re going to write about it.” Em sounded amused.

“We need to tell people about this,” I replied. “This is a good idea.”


TL;DR: Wouldn’t it be cool if, in known space, you stayed off the Local member list if you could manage to bypass the stargate when you entered the system? As soon as you use a gate (or talk in Local), you show up, but until then…

Not quite how it works now. Neither is it the way it works in wormholes. Provides a really neat way to work around the current system, in-character.

Dunno about you, but I like it.

Life in Eve: Gambit Roulette

Regardless of the game, I’ve never been particularly drawn to stealth classes. Rogues, Burglars, Assassins… you know the type. The long setup. The slow creep. The careful maneuvering. The final violent burst of action that was, for all that, almost anticlimax to the preparation that got you there.

I could do it well enough. I just didn’t enjoy it all that much, or at least not as much as I did other possible options. I got my ‘single bullet kill’ achievements in Hitman II, but there were at least as many missions where I crashed the game because the engine couldn’t render that many dead sprites at the same time. That one where you dress up as the fireman? With the axe?

Oh, bank lobby killing spree: you complete me.

Which brings me to wormholes.

About a year ago, I started to get… itchy, when it came to living in a wormhole full time (which I had been doing for roughly a year and a half). As interesting and inspiring as blogs like Tiger Ears were (and continue to be), I found myself increasingly dissatisfied.

To be fair, wormholes aren’t for everyone. Wormhole living requires a lot of specialized knowledge about certain areas of Eve: the perpetual scanning; the living out of a player-owned-starbase that feels like camping full time out of twenty-year old modular tent with missing pieces; the ritual-and-requisite paranoia. No, it’s not for everyone. It’s not even for most.

But that wasn’t really my problem. I’d just gotten tired of playing a stealth class.

There are certainly examples of other kinds of combat that happen in wormhole space, but day to day, for most pilots, that’s the exception rather than the rule. In the life of a dedicated wormholer, pvp is about finding a target and, having found them, doing something with that knowledge before they know you’re there.

The slow creep. The long step up. The careful maneuvering. The final burst of action. Stealthy stuff. It had taken me awhile to recognize it, but when I did it was a bit obvious.

So I left.

Well, Ty left, anyway, and CB decided to come with me. The wormhole stayed just as active as it had been, but we were off to explore other options, which led to Gambit Roulette: our foray into Faction Warfare.

Gambit Roulette: A convoluted plan that relies on events completely within the realm of chance yet comes off without a hitch.

If your first reaction to seeing the plan unfold is “There is no way you planned that!”, then it’s a gambit roulette.

The reason for giving the corp this name was straightforward: I didn’t know what I was doing. Anything that looked like intentional success was obviously going to be, in truth, blind chance.

The first month of the corp’s existence wasn’t exactly draped in glory. I think we destroyed two enemy ships and lost seven.

I did a lot of solo flying in the months that followed, and managed to turn the kill/death ratio around, though never by any particularly stunning amount. 21:7. 18:4. Then right back down to a mediocre 11:9.

Through the early months, I was struck by the fact that, while there were obviously many groups flying around the warzone, I wasn’t *in* them, and getting in — becoming someone known and trusted — was going to take time.

“How’s that faction warfare thing going?” asked my buddies in the wormhole.

“Pretty good,” I said, and it was true, for all that I mostly on my own. “There’s always something to do.”

“Nice,” came the reply. “Maybe I’ll bring an alt down and join you or something.”

“Sounds cool,” I said, because it did, but at the same time I thought: I need to pave the way for my friends — to find the way into the good groups, and learn which are the bad groups — so they don’t have to do that slog work.

Something of a breakthrough came in that next month, as a veteran FW pilot I’d flown with a couple times invited me to a channel he seemed to use to sort out newer pilots he thought were worth the time.

He got me in my first fleet with the Order of the Black Daggers, a group of pilots who had fun, didn’t get too riled up when things got hard, and (most importantly) had a good leader and times when they regularly and reliably “did stuff.” I was happy – thrilled, really – to fly with them. Gambit Roulette ship losses per month increased by a factor of three; ship kills increased by a factor of six.

On fire, half dead, and limping away with the stuff off the other guy's wreck.

More importantly — FAR more importantly — I had found a group of good people to fly with. If my friends from the wormhole ever decided to check out this Faction Warfare thing (they did, and not on alts), I could simply say “these guys are with me,” and that would be that. (And it was.)

First, we were two.

Then another guy joined us. A stranger, though someone who’d read the blog, started in a wormhole, and wanted to try something else.

“If he wants in the wormhole,” CB said, “hell no. But if he wants to come out here? Sure. Blood for the blood god.”

Then our old corp mates joined us. Em and Div and Shan and the rest, with a few particularly dangerous souls staying behind to keep the lights on back in Anoikis and destroy the unwary.

We joined Daggers in their alliance – Ushra’Khan – and joined the fight for the Eugidi constellation: the first time the war really felt like a war and not a roaming free for all.

After days of fruitless efforts to find an Amarr opponent, Em got a fight with a neutral pilot in a complex — a guy who just wanted a fight; wanted to try something new in the game.

“Recruit him,” I said.

“Already talking it over with him,” he replied. “Going to get his buddy in here too.”

That recruited pilot got in on a Titan kill a few weeks later.

We have our up months and down months. January was quiet, with many of us traveling.

February, which saw two new pilots join — former wormholers looking for something different — was not quiet. Record number of ship losses, and if the number of kills didn’t spike by quite as much, we’ll chalk that up to the learning curve. We still destroyed as many enemy assets as I did the month I started flying with Daggers.

More importantly — far more importantly — we’d found more pilots we really clicked with.

And suddenly it’s now, nine months since this thing started, and we are the small group of pilots “doing stuff” on most nights.

This month, halfway through, we’ve nearly doubled the value of destroyed enemy assets from last month, with half the losses. Ignoring that crazy titan kill, it’s already our second most productive month, behind only the Eugidi war.

And best of all, it’s fun. It’s fast.

And we rarely need a cloaking device.


The five-character Corp ticker for Gambit Roulette is IMPRV.

Some people read that as “Improv” and assume we’re just making things up as we go.

Some people read it as “Improve” and think we’re all about trying to learn and get better.

I think: Why not both?

Life in Eve: Tys R Us, now open in Sinq Laison and all points East

So about a month ago, it became evident that the pilots in our corp would need to get into replacement ships often, and probably in a hurry.

It also seemed as though, while all the pilots were pretty smart at building interesting ships, sometimes we didn’t need ‘interesting’ as much as we needed ‘good and effective’. There was nothing wrong with the ships we were flying, but there was some functionality I often wished we had in the fleet that simply wasn’t occurring to anyone.

At the same time, I wasn’t (and never will) hand down some kind of ‘directive’ on what people can and can’t fly.

So, with all that in mind, I flew over to a market hub and spent most of an afternoon and evening buying the parts for about 50 ships, hauling them a few jumps away from the warzone, putting them together, and setting them up on corporation-only contracts, at cost.

The goal was two-fold:

1. Make it quick, easy, and cheap to get back into the action if you lost a ship.
2. Increase the odds someone would be flying one of those go-to ships I often wished we had.

And at the same time, if someone wanted to do their own thing, then no problem: this was in no way stopping them.

I got everything all set up, and Ty sent out a corp-wide message informing everyone that the storefront was open.

I probably shouldn’t have used the word “storefront.”

I also probably shouldn’t have left the default name (mine) on every one of the ships I’d assembled.

Because this happened:

Our pilots love their terrible puns.

I’d like to say it stopped there, but of course it didn’t.

I have a habit (I think it’s a good one) of reminding everyone to turn on their Damage Control modules as we drop cloak and warp toward a fight. Mostly, I’m reminding myself, but if it saves someone else’s ship, then all to the good.

Apparently, I say it often enough to be noticed.

And it’s not always about me. The most recent addition to the advertising campaign celebrates how March has been going.

Personally, I like the duck.

I also like that it doesn’t specify whether it will be our ships or the opponent’s that will blow up — whether the Slasher pictured is more deadly to the target or the pilot. This is what’s known as “Truth in Advertising.”

Nice work, Div.

Life in Eve: In Like a Lion

I want to say the month really got going when we got the escape pod with a set of low-grade Slave implants. Don’t get me wrong, it was a nice surprise, but it’s not as though that was a particularly tough fight. It’s pretty hard to catch a pod in low-sec — the guy clearly wasn’t paying attention.

I kind of want to say the month started with Xyn and Ty taking down a Dramiel (and his Merlin partner) in a pair of Slashers. That was pretty sweet.

But no. For me, the month started with the very first time I undocked. I was starting late, and everyone else had already set out. There were enough pilots that they’d split into two smaller groups, both of which were kind of far away, so I set out on my own: hopped in a Slasher and headed into the warzone.

Right off the entry star gate, I see a Merlin. I want a fight. So does he. We go at it. I dock up afterwards, repair, and head back out.

Next up, I find a Rifter tucked into a complex. Good fight, good fight, and then got an Incursus on the way back home.

Not that any of these fights were easy (well, okay: the pod-kill was easy). All the real fights are close, heart-pounding things. Whether I’m solo or in a small gang of corp mates, someone has to re-ship or repair when the smoke clears: that’s just how it works when you’re in a bunch of frigates: even if you win, you’re probably on fire.

Frigate Combat: I'm on fire? That just means I'll do more damage!

I’m not good at this. I forget basic stuff in the middle of a fight. I burn out modules I desperately need, or forget to turn them on. Or I get out-piloted, pure and simple. Or I try to fight stuff I should really leave the hell alone.

Sometimes I get lucky.

The pilots in my corp are pretty much same.

Sometimes we're in the zone.

Like an eight on eight fight where we were outgunned, outshipped, took down all targets, and only lost a single frigate.

... and sometimes something that looks fine goes horribly wrong.

Even so, it’s been a pretty damn good month so far.

Life in Eve: Post-February Grab Bag

 

No time or inclination to put up an organized post, so instead you get a bunch of random stuff I’ve been meaning to share.

We did a lot of shooting this month.

February was our corp’s second-highest kill total since the corp was formed. Only December (when we were part of Ushra’Khan and involved in many fleets violently and constantly clashing over the Eugidi constellation) was higher, and only barely. February was also (no surprise, really) highest in terms of ship losses, though we still came out well ahead in the end.


FNGs: We’ve brought in quite a few new pilots – mostly guys recovering from post-boredom wormhole syndrome – and they have taken to Faction Warfare like ducks to water.

Shark-ducks, swimming in bloody, chum-filled water.

Anyway: welcome to the corp and quit making the rest of us look like we’re fucking afk. Jesus.


Our monthly combat efficiency would be better if we hadn’t lost a bunch of pods early in the month (I was certainly not immune, and I have the newly-retrained Battlecruisers 5 to prove it 🙁 ). That got a lot better in the second half the month, so I’m going to chalk that up to a string of bad luck and smart-bombs.


My dislike of ECM system has been replaced by the broken mechanics around off-grid boosting alts. It’s getting harder and harder to find a fight with anyone who doesn’t first “need” to get their their half-billion-isk tech3 cruiser in-system to hide at a safe spot and provide ridiculous boosts to a pack of shitty little frigates.

You seriously need your armor booster alt following around to support your solo punisher roam?

The guys in our corp could do off-grid boosting — we certainly have the skills required — but we don’t because off-grid boosting is (in terms of risk to reward) broken, and I don’t like using broken mechanics.

Following a particularly ridiculous fight with whatever I.LAW is calling itself this month, Em and I have established a new policy with regard to boosters: if you want them on the field, great. If you bring them in system and hide them off-grid, you are not going to get a fight. Period. Full-stop. No exceptions.

So: if your goal is to have everyone avoid you and have nothing to do, then congratulations – you win. If your goal is to actually play a PvP game and doing PvP things within that game…

You will have to find your entertainment elsewhere.

One way of looking at this is that it’s just good target selection. To quote a certain FC: “If I see a fight, and know we have no chance of winning why should I fight?”

But it’s not really about that, it’s about rewarding certain kinds of behavior. To go back to my playground analogy, if you’re trying to organize a dodgeball game, but you always bring a medicine ball and the flubber-enhanced sneakers, no one’s going to play with you. Sure, it’s legal. Yes, it’s currently ‘working as intended.’ Fine.

But it’s not behavior I intend to encourage. Sometimes, I censure my kids’ behavior by simply walking out of the room — if they want to be fucking annoying, that’s fine: they’re 2 and 7, their brain chemistry is ridiculous at that age, and maybe they can’t help it. But I don’t need to subject myself to it, and I’m not going to. I find the same sort of response is the easiest option for me in Eve as well; there are people who don’t roll with off-grid boosting bullshit every day, and I can easily go and find them. Denying known off-grid booster addicts a fight doesn’t hurt my game at all.

You want to leave the medicine ball at home, you’re welcome to rejoin the rest of us. Until then, you can pound sand.


… and that’s it.

We now return you to the regularly scheduled warzone, already in progress.

Life in Eve: Jesus Wept

Tormentor, Inquisitor, Fed Navy Comet all in system. All in different complexes. All with the same ship name. Hmm.

Tormentor’s complex is hell and gone away, so I warp over there, hit the gate, and engage. I figure I have time to respond if both his buddies come, and maybe just the inquisitor will come in and I can kill him quick. Or “maybe” he’s a multiboxer and he’ll mismanage his backup. Whatever. I just want a fight.

I land, close, lock, TD, warp scram, start shooting…

And he leaves. Nothing but warp stabilizers in his lows.

Because having remote rep support and additional DPS on hand wasn’t enough of a security blanket against my big scary slasher — let’s make sure you can run as well.

The only thing that redeemed the roam for me was a punisher pilot who had the opportunity to run (55km away in open space), thought about it, and said “You know what? Fuck it, let’s dance.”

Good fight, you filthy slaver.

Life in Eve: Losing While Winning

This is one of those blog posts that says “I haven’t been writing about playing Eve very much, because of how much I’ve been playing Eve.”

So, yeah. Pretty much that. Despite Em being out of town and Shan being pretty busy and Dirk and me both dealing with the academic tsunami, the corp has stayed pretty active, and we’ve added a few new pilots — many of them former wormhole pilots looking for something with a bit more ‘instant-on’ kind of gameplay. We’ve all been learning a lot (especially me).

It's a good time to be flying internet spaceships.

This isn’t to say we aren’t blowing up hilariously on a pretty regular basis, but given that we’re flying basic frigates and destroyers right now, that hasn’t actually been a very crippling issue — when we look back at an evening’s hijinx and see that any one of the enemy ships we destroyed represents twice the value of all the ships we lost, it’s easy to feel productive. The corp has destroyed 50 billion isk worth of enemy ships since joining the war.

It can still be a little demoralizing to run through a lot of ships in a single night (I build my Slasher attack frigates in packs of 10 right now), but with a little practice you learn to deal with it and focus on the fun.

"Hey guys! I got a new ship! It's really swee--"

One of our pilots commented “I’ve killed more ships just in February, so far, than I did in the two years I played Eve up to this point.”

Maybe that doesn’t sound like fun to everyone, but it definitely is for us, the pilots we fly with, and (I assume) the pilots we fly against. Sometimes the explosions are ours. Sometimes theirs. Often, both. These things happen. Sorry you broke your ship.

Get in something cheap, and let’s go again.