Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Blog Banter 38: Dogma

or~  “All Our Worlds Your Stage…”

"Welcome to the 38th edition of the EVE Blog Banter, a community discussion that delves broader and deeper into the topics of the moment in all matters EVE Online. This month's community meat upon which we dine is inspired by an obscure and inactive blogger you've probably never heard of.  ;)

"In his recent "That's just the way it is" post on Jester's Trek, blogger Ripard Teg posits that the established EVE player-base has come to accept many of EVE's design idiosyncrasies, rarely questioning their purpose or benefit. Conversely, he also suggests that new players might not be so forgiving of these "quirks". In an interview with Gamasutra, Senior Producer CCP Unifex describes EVE Online's developers as "relatively hands-off janitors of the virtual world", underlining that he has only four content developers but "a lot" of programmers and engineers.

Has a culture developed where CCP has started to take player effort for granted - expecting the "social engine" to fulfil tasks that might otherwise be CCP's responsibility? Or should this culture be embraced as part of "emergent gameplay" with these quirks accepted as the catalyst for interaction?"


I, as so many of us who blog re EVE do, read JT ervyday and read “That's just the way it is” the day it was posted. I read CCP's Unifex’s (Senior Producer Jon Lander's) interview on Gamasutra. And as with us all saw the topicality and postworthyness of much of what was said and started right in on a post… which I have decided to post separately. This is an answer to the above query…

Firstly as to Ripard’s List, pobody’s nerfect…

Reality is full of idiosyncrasies, I hate that my epidermis sheds, daily, and my sweat glands are functioning, properly, in July, in central Va, both of which necessitate that I take a shower, or two, every damn day… but you dunt see me kneeling (typing) and asking (petitioning) he (them) who run things could you just fix these two little things so I can be more happy? I mean, in a few hours of ‘playtime’ anyone in EVE can make enough ‘space money’ to BUY IMMENSE POWERFUL SPACESHIPS… and be thankful that there is no Division of Space Vehicles where you have to queue up for days just to get tags & stickers either… what the hell more do you want?? Geez…

Simplify things too much and you risk boring people. And I know, I know… Interesting Complexity is GOOD and Useless Busywork is BAD. Well, always remember, one man’s Interesting Busywork is another man’s Useless Complexity. I personally miss the old POS fuel system. I really do. I felt like reality to me. You had to THINK and plan and carefully oversee the POS fuels. Balance them and make intricate and fascinating spreadsheets full of data only you and the few true initiates really understood… Now it’s all nerfed and I dunt like it one damn bit. CCP ‘listened’ to the ‘this is busywork to us’ crowd and made the whole damn thing too easy… not like real life, more like a GAME… pissed me off that did.

Secondly, No, I do not believe CCP has started to take player effort for granted. I think they have had high expectations from us right from the start.

I believe they are seriously trying to do something quite possibly new in the world. Create a true virtual reality ‘sandbox’ environment. This is to create a ‘place’, EVE, wherein we, the players, live a virtual life. The tightrope CCP walks is not a straight line but a web. They need to balance the psychological Risk vs Reward, not the Risk vs ISK, that’s just one ‘part’ of the equation CCP faces daily.

Let’s look at the psychological Risk vs Reward. These are a few normal expectations from EVE as a ‘game’…

-a break from the grind of reality;
-a touch of drama and danger, entertainment and excitement for thrills unavailable in reality;
-a sense of accomplishment and success, to become Rich and Powerful unlike most of our real lives;

And yet, this is not just a game… it is not WoW or LotR or Tanks, this is a Virtual REALITY… remember “There is no reality but what we make for ourselves...” there are no ‘quests’ as such really, there are a very few extended missions like the Epic Arc, but not enough to keep everyone busily runnin around bashing ogres 23/7/52… they are not what EVE is about.

EVE is about US. We are the content and we always have been… CCP just (LOL ‘just’) makes the sets, props, costumes and lighting. CCP is working as hard as they can to keep the music playing the lighting just so and the sets interesting so people will want to join in ‘our’ play… but none of it is scripted… we make up our own stories here… “The play's the thing…”

“All EVE's a stage,
And all the bears and griefers merely players,
They have their gates and their wormholes,
And one pod pilot in his time plays many parts…”

They are not shirking their responsibilities… they have the hardest job of all… Without a guide, a story a quest or a dungeonmaster, they have to create and maintain this ‘verse we share and the rules and laws by which it is governed balancing our childish sophomoric wants against the need to constantly make it interesting enough, difficult enough, hard and harsh enough to grab us by the brain, but not soo much as to drive us away looking for easier roles to play.

Read the blogs, read the forums… I do believe as long as people are whining and raging and ranting and LOLing… CCP is doing exactly what it needs to do. Keeping us INTERESTED in a game with NO SET GOALS… to keep us wanting to step back onstage and take our places in, Our Neverending Story…

Fly Safe and see you in the Sky  =/|)=

An Addendum:

OK the timing on this is just effing amazing...
You wanna know just why I feel strongly that am right in my above metaphoric (as compared to metagamic) discourse on this topic?

"Begun, The Mate War Has..."

There aint a dev alive who could script THIS shit!!! Long Live the Asshats of EVE!!!

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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Tur to the Rescue… Sorta

or~ Scaring Off Raiders Only to Run Burning From Sleepers…

I was in my quarters with orders to SARA to not be disturbed except in emergency. I had just taken a shower after a hard day down in engineering assisting with some overheat damage repairs, nasty work that. I had been tired and sweaty and grimy and I was lying down, refreshed and fully relaxed… and right on the verge of sleep when SARA calmly informed me I was urgently needed by my CEO... I mumbled something rude and rolled over…

SARA’s volume jumped notch, or three, and… “Sir! Captain AI is under attack and he requests your immediate assistance.” Wha? Huh? Oh crap… I sat up reaching my flight togs, “Okay SARA, open voice Comms and put him through.”

TurAmarth: “I’m here what’s up?”
AINeumann: “Uh yea, like a Loki, a Tengu and a Falcon are attacking me.”  “I was running a site and they uncloaked and jumped me.”
TurAmarth: “Okay, I’m on my way, how are you holding up?”
AINeumann: “Actually, I’m jammed and can’t fight back, but I am tanking them easy… really easy.”
TurAmarth: “OK, I’m in my Loki, if they see me on scan they may break off, if not I’ll reship and we’ll see if we can take em.”

I hurried to the bridge, took the con, ordered General Quarters, and an immediate warp to Relay Point Charlie 200km off the POS. As usual going from station keeping to warp caused our cloak to recycle. The helmsman glanced back to me and I gave him a reassuring nod... he turned his attention back to his console and reinitialized the cloak immediately so we were ‘visible’ on dscan for under a second but…

AINeumann: “They warped.”
TurAmarth: “Crap, guess they saw you had support comin and as they weren’t breakin ya, decided to exit stage left...” “Dammit I was really hopin for a shot at em.” “Okay, you heading back to the POS?”
AINeumann: “Yup.”

On Dscan I had a Loki, Tengu, Falcon, Kronos, a Noctis and a site full of Sleeper wrecks… by the second dscan sweep the Loki, Tengu and Falcon were offscan. I asked about the Noctis and was informed it was just launched in our POS. AI said he would dock it up.

I landed at a SS 200km off the POS and we discussed options. We are down a man in the hole as our other corpmate is currently off on other business out in Empire. So it was just the two of us. Then AI said he was in convo w/ the attackers and they said they were PvE fit. They also said he should have set his droans on the Falcon, he LOLed and said he was just a little busy being attacked at 3v1 odds, inna PvE fit Kronos, ALONE in a WORMHOLE… and therefore was not quite as clear headed as he coulda been… we all loled a bit over that.

I warped out to overwatch the U210 to Lo and AI said there were no other holes at the time he scanned it down. So I made a 200km pounce and overwatched the hole for a bit. We dint want to lose the salvage in those wrecks so we finally we decided that: (1) IF the raiders were from Losec and (B) IF they really were in PvE fit ships, then they were looking for Sleeper ISK not a fight and now, with at least two defenders in the hole and the possibility of moar, they had, “most likely”, exited back to Lo and “most likely” wouldn’t be back.

We took the risk and decided to go get the wrecks. I reshipped to my Mach, the HDF “=Argo=”, I dropped a DLA (Drone Link Augementer I) from a hislot and fit a Salvager II. AI stayed in his Kronos and we warped back to the site... he had already tractored everything into the AI's “Wreckblob”™ so I popped x2 Berserker SW-900 Hvy Webber droans, x3 Warrior IIs (JIC the raiders still had any ideas), we aligned to POS, went to station keeping and I started salvaging the wrecks as fast as possible. When we hit last wreck, I remind droans to be pulled and at wreck ‘pop’ I tell AI I am at speed and fleet warp at your discretion. He warps to the POS and we dint see hide nor hair of the raiding team. Hmmmm…

I ask if there are any new sigs, AI dunt know so I warp to a SS and pop probes and resolve all the sigs in the hole… eleven sigs, seven Ladars, two Radars, one Grav and the losec U210… OK, so they were def from the stat lo. I want to bubble it up, but we lost the only two med bubbles we had to random visitors when I had put them up on the last Hisec hole we had. Losin bubbles over your offline time is a normal ‘cost of business’ in holes, we just haven’t replaced them yet. Which left us with…

“Hey Tur, sites?”  I could hear AI grinning… LOL. Sure I say. I been badly wanting to try out my Mach in the C3 but dint want to risk it solo as C3 Sleepers deal much higher omni-damage DPS than the C2 Sleepers I was used to BUT… these ALSO web and neut (HARD) and inna few sites in here… they scram. Yup, they will neut, web and scram you. IE they hit much harder, they have larger omni-tanks AND, sometimes, you can’t warp out. AI lost a Kronos to just such a site. Let’s just say I wanted to wait until I had support on the field JIC… a Mach is not something you ‘want’ to replace due to stoopidity.

So I refit swapping the Salvager II back to the Droan Link and checked ammo & CAP Boosters. On my Mach I am trying out the XL ASB (Ancillary Shield Booster) to see how it does and the new DDA I (Drone Damage Amplifier I) to up my over all DPS. We headed out and I must say ever since he lost his Kronos, AI has become very meticulous in referring to the Site Reports so we run these sites as efficiently and safely as possible. Keep in mind we are very well versed on C2 Sleepers but the C3 sites are new to us. It is really something of a shock to see that you are webbed, neuted and SCRAMMED in a NPC fight… uh, I could DIE from this. LOL

So, we go over the primeries, secondries and triggers and warp out to the first site… and I warp back… on fire… LOL. I had landed and immediately gotten full aggro. I fumbled getting DCU & Hardeners online so by the time I had my ‘screens up’ as twere I was going past 50% shields and dropping fast… I engaged the ASB and boosted back a decent amt of shields. but all I did was prolong my eventual demise… I warped back to the POS and waited out shield & CAP regen and reloaded boosters. Then once moar into the breach!

I found the ASB to be very useful and then again, not. LOL You see it does give you an amazing boost, but once through the 5 CAP 800’s, that full 60 second recharge is a killer. I had added a Lrg Shield Booster II which I was using to fill the boost gap during the ASB 60 second reload cycle… but the Sleepers neut hard and this tactic was not as useful as I had hoped. However, as show below having a Shield Boost that is independent from CAP can be very useful in the right situation.

Once I settled in I did OK, not great by my standards but acceptable. I hadda warp out-n-back a few times to regen from every site we ran, but I dint die… came really close once, but got away in time. I simply don’t have the skills to fly my fit as well as needed for the DPS in here, yet… AI is a year older than me ingame and is an armor tanker and even he had to warp out from the harder sites quite a few times. But… we were steadily killin em and he was tractoring and looting as we went and dropping off lewts when he hadda warp out for a regen.

Anyhoo, we worked our way through several sites and discussing our tactics and my general lack of skills and such when I brought up my old tactic of “Engagement Management”. I often run Autocannons for their higher cycle times and hence higher Damage Per Second, but in doing so I sacrifice range. Hence the std site warp in point is almost always outside of my falloff and often outside of my Droan Control range too… so I am just a big fat slow DPS magnet until I can get into range, and the Sleepers are good enough to try and keep YOU inside THEIR falloff and THEMSELVES outside of YOURS if possible. Due to the need to up my ‘tank’ I have forgone a prop mod and now am limited to my Mach’s std top speed of, well, dead effin slow.
When possible, usually solo as both Ty & AI feel this is a ‘waste of time’,  I prefer to warp into a site inna cloaky first and make several Tactical and Strategic BMs on grid. A few Tacticals near the Sleeper Fleet inside my optimal or close to it and then several Strategics farther out that are warpable from the Tacs and also warpable to/from each other. This gives me several advantages… I can break aggro by warping to a Strat. I can keep DPS off me while remaining on grid by warping around the strats, I can then decide who, where and how “I” want to engage and pounce to a tac and attack AND, in the off chance I/we get jumped, as long as not pointed, I/we can use the same tactics against any raiders.

This time I decide to use my Zephyr instead of a cloaky… The Zep is a weird little ship, not even a frigate really as it is a Light Sailer and it has the strangest bonus… it’s 25m sig radius and 5k kg mass ‘seems’ to be invisible to Sleepers, or at best they dismiss it as not a danger and hence ignore it… this means you can fly and warp all over active Sleeper sites with utter impunity… unless, of course, a pirate or raider uncloaks nearby.  =]

So we go to hit this Radar site, AI says it’s a bad one… an Unsecured Frontier Database. Go ahead, look over the Report… I’ll wait…

Jezuz huh?. The Last re-in wave does 1050 DPS and scrams. We were both like “Run Away!” “Run Away!” on this one. Anyhoo, while I am in for repairs AI starts kiting the Sleepers and making… Tactical and Strategic Book Marks! What an idea!! You mean actually control the engagement instead of the Sleepers dictating range and speed? Man I wish I had thought of that!!  =P

Anyhoo, so he flies around the site at extreme range, taking DPS he can’t return but can tank easily and makes a bunch Tac & Strat BMs and then I warp back… this is moar like it! I get aggro, I start to lose tank and I can now break aggro. ‘I’ control when and where I will attack and I control range and speed and I can break off but not have to leave the grid… now THIS is what I’m talking about baby!! We take down the last of em and I reship to my Noccy and as AI tractors and lewts I slavage and code break all the cans… and hi ho! hi ho! It’s back to the POS we go!

Well, we lived, so it was hilarious… had one or both of us not lived, well, I would not feel quite the same I believe. However the upshot was I had finally parked my smoking and badly abused Mach and had reshipped to the Old Faithful, my wormhole Drake… like it made any difference at all. Anyhoo, we lived, we learned and we ended up with… well, a rather embarrassing amount of Sleeper L&S safely in our POS just waiting for a good hole to spawn so we can get it all to Jita and turn it into ISKies… and mebbe pick up some T2 bubbles this time.  =]

Fly Safe and see you in the Sky  =/|)=

An Addendum:

I played with PYFA and "FINALLY" came up with a fit that gave me:

102K EHP / 33K Raw HP
resists: 75.9% / 80.7% / 82.5% / 77.4%

shield: 11.5k hp w/ 1151.2 hp/s Boost from the ASB
& CAP Stable @ 74.3%...

800mm 'Scout' Repeating Arty
Rep Flt T-Sabo & Warrior IIs
486 Guns
68.2 Drones
554 DPS

Made an Empire run and fitted it as planned and the results are:

88,129 EHP
resists: 76% / 81% / 83% / 78%
shield: 11,525 hp w/ 1,875 hp/s Boost
CAP stable @ 55.7%

800mm 'Scout' Repeating Arty
Rep Flt T-Sabo & Warrior IIs
497.4 Guns
68.2 Drones
565.6 DPS

I ran a "Fortification Frontier Stronghold" solo... and other than client issues which lost me a Cheetah and put my Mach at greater risk that I was happy about, I ran it just fine once the client settled down.

I used my "Engagement Management" tactic and made several over 200km Strategic pounces and several under 20km Tactical pounces and used them to full advantage.

I can now solo (at least the easiest) C3 sites profitably. My pride goeth before my next loss...  =]

Monday, July 23, 2012

Trespassers Will be Violated…

or~   That Would Have Gone Better With SeBos…

The Mote in God's Eye...

I wake to SARA’s warm contralto telling me I am needed on the bridge. I thank her, dress and head on up. On arrival I take the con of the HDF “=Lochotic=”, a ‘Loki’ Class Strategic Cruiser. We are on Midwatch a few hours from Morning watch. We are powered down, cloaked, sitting at a Safe, watching Dscan. You LIVE by Dscan in holes. You learn to hit dscan frequently and often and watch it like it is local, because, in here… it IS ‘local’.

I have been called to the Bridge because there is a single “Combat Sisters Probe” on scan…. Hmmm…. only one? I have the Exec sound General Quarters. Once all decks have reported in I warp to a pounce 200Km off the POS, we have MANY pounces in and around the POS and many Safes throughout the system. We normally spend Midwatch at one of my System Scan safes because I can ‘see’ both Serenity Station and that damn dead Amarr POS in our system from there…


On an aside…
I live in fear of someone getting back in here and fueling up that POS… Just Imagine if you will, the following scenario:

In an empty hole, setup a Lrg POS, anchor a defense mod or two, incap em, bring in an Orca (or 2 is better) full of fuel, stront, POS mods, ammo and a POS Bash Fleet all fully fitted and loaded to the gills w/ ammo… get everyone out except your scout and log off.

Is there anybody... In there?

Sell the hole to some unsuspecting corp… give em a week, a month, whatever to get setup and get some juicy ships and stuffs inside and log onto your CovOps scout from time to time, scout out everything, watch them, make BMs, find out their online schedule, pick a night when they're offline then…

Log on your Orca pilot(s) who land(s) right next to your offline POS, your scout brings your Fleet pilots in from Empire. Launch and double check ships, everyone mans their ships and… Fleet log off.

Then, when yer scout says the target corp is online, mining or site running, or even better off in another hole raiding, log everyone in, the Orca pilots fuel up & online the POS while one group sets up basic defenses as quickly as possible, another group Bubbles the holes then you Fleet up and Bash the POS, take it down, and kill em all and take all dey stuff!!

That would be a Long and Deep Troll of the First Degree.


But I digress…

Anyway, so we ‘see’ this single Cmbt Probe on scan… by habit I always check cloak status as my screens clear from logon so the trespassers chance to have ‘seen’ us is very slight. I first warp to the K162 to a C4 from last night, nope, it was a 16 hr hole and it has popped. OK, I warp to the D210 Losec static, yup still there, no activity I can ‘see’ and the hole’s mass limit has not been disrupted. OK, I warp to the K162 Hisec from last night, ah ha… no activity, but the hole’s mass limit has been affected by ships passing through it.

Now, I made two Amarr runs last night (4 hops thru) inna Mammoth and a corpmate flew a Mach and an Orca out so that is probably the majority of the mass change to this hole… but… (I have a hunch, you live by them in here too) that this is where our ‘guest’ is from. A lot of people scan holes in Hisec…. Not so many in Lo and basically none in Null.) Also, the Combat Probe is now gone and there are Sisters Scan Probes in the air… Allrighty, I warp to the POS, quickly as possible load up a Med Warp Bubble and head out to 10Km off the Hisec hole. I maneuver to anchor it 5Km vertical directly over the hole and wait for it to go up, then I settle inna CAMP (Combat Action Maneuver Point) at the south end under the hole where the edge of the bubble is closest to the hole and sit cloaked at 5Km…

So now I am sittin there… spamming dscan, watching the hole, and trying to do some backed up paperwork, then back to dscan, watching the hole, back to the paperwork, back to dscan, back to the hole and A HELIOS UNCLOAKS in the bubble! Inside my optimal for the Hail loaded in the 425mm AC IIs and at about 5500m from the hole!! I uncloak, accelerate towards the Dire Trespasser and ‘target-to-fire’ by activating my guns and targeting the Helios!!! He warps thru when I am just a few tenths of a second away from lock!!!! DAMMIT!  LOL

Oh well, so it goes in holes… I sit and watch for a spell considering my options. I can follow, in all likely-hood he was solo and just scouting and once thru warped immediately away… and as each second passes my chance to catch him decreases geometrically. Also, on the off chance he has friends and was baiting me, I 'could' possibly jump right into a gank CAMP on the other side. So meh, I warp back to the POS, get another bubble and ‘dubble bubble’ the hole top and bottom so they overlap the hole itself, JIC. I make a pounce approx 200Km off the hole and take up CAMP…

You know, if I had a SeBo (Sensor Booster) or even dual SeBos, that might have gone very very differently… I ask SARA, the Semi-Autonomous Rational Array computer that runs.. well, everything… to call up PYFA, CONCORDS 'Projected Yulai Fitting Agent', and bring up the schematics for my Loki… so, let's see just how would a SeBo affect my CPU & CAP hmmmm?

Just another day in the hole…

Fly Safe and see you in the Sky  =/|)=

Saturday, July 21, 2012

An Out of the Hole Experience…

or~  How Hiril Gets Her RvB On…

I have noticed a tendency for most EVE bloggers to blog from one of two perspectives… (1) RP commentary (RP to various degrees) as Main Char or (b) metagame commentary as RL self…  When someone discusses/includes alts, they are basically always referred to as alts, IE “my hauler alt”, “my ISK making alt”, etc., etc. (Jester’s evil twin notwithstanding as Garth is moar blog ‘device’ than a true RP of an alt as I understand it)…

My alts are different for me… firstly I call em Apprentice Lieutenants or A-Lts, and second… I tend to RP on them same as I do when logged in as TurAmarth. Now my Role Playing is sorta halfassed… I mean I discuss things like my family vacation to our property on the Chesapeake Bay as “…warping the family to a lovely spot on Uurth…” as if it happened in EVE. I add RP elements into my game and blog when it fits my needs and ‘feels’ fun or interesting.

TurAmarth is ‘me’. Tur is how I see myself in EVE. Hirildur (Hiril) and Angelesa (Angel) are my A-Lts. And when logged on as either of them I tend to adopt the persona I feel each has. This has been sometimes interesting… very interesting… I have upon occasion used the EVE-Voice voice changer to give both Angel and Hiril fem voices for contacts I have had outside of HBHI… When Angel first joined EVE I had her set to a fem voice and so spoofed my corpmates that when I broke down and could no longer hold in that it was really me, one of em actually logged off… LOL. There are some out there in the black who believe Angel and Hiril are fems IRL… this has made me wonder how many of the fems we ‘hear’ on TS, EVE Voice, etc., etc. are actually fems IRL…  makes one stop and ponder now doesn't it? on to my A-Lts…

Angel (in my blog background, Angel is on the left) entered the Capsuleer program very young. She is a bit headstrong with strongly held opinions and yet is a little unsure of herself due to her youth. She is Tur’s right hand in HBHI and his personal assistant. When Tur is away from Serenity Station she acts in his stead and has full authority to fulfill his duties for corp and in the POS.

Hiril (on the right) is moar mature and, while junior in rank and respectful of this, she is moar Tur’s equal. Hiril has her own agenda and Tur fully supports this. She is not an HBHI corpmate but prefers to be in Red vs. Blue (RvB), fighting on the side of  the Blue Republic where she can learn about small and midsize gang PvP, fleet ops, how to one day hopefully gain the confidence to FC, but most of all… how to handle the high intensity of PvP in EVE. Due to this, Hiril is… ahh… somewhat ‘high maintenance’ to say the least.  =]

Everytime I logon as Hiril lately I have found myself afterwards with things ‘she’ wants to say… so with all the above said, I have decided to give Hiril (and Angel if she ever feels the call of the muse) a ‘voice’ here.

Fly Safe and see you in the Sky  =/|)=


Red vs. Blue. The BEST PvP in EVE. Period… well, IMHO at least the best PvP I have ever experienced in EVE. Hello, I am Hirildur Eleririen, Apprentice Lieutenant and mate of TurAmarth and corpsman (yea, I said corpsMAN, wanna make something of it?) in the Blue Republic of RvB.

RvB is by far the best minute to minute PvP to be had in EVE as far as I am concerned, Keep in mind my home corp, HBHI is not a pirate or ganker or griefing corp, they’re Wormholers and they definitely don’t mind a bit of pew pew and won’t run from it unless it is just a suicide run, and even then sometimes not. But I found very early on working with Tur that I was very, very interested in (preferably) watching and creating explosions in space… and I accepted that this meant I would be seeing far more of them from the inside than the outside, at least to start with. So initially I worked as an O.O.C. (Out Of Corp) A-Lt. Scout/Spy for HBHI and DemSal Alliance. This worked well for a while but it meant that I, in this role, basically avoided PvP… this I did not like at all… boring to say the least.

Tur had once spent a few weeks checking out RvB, which he liked intensely but he was uncomfortable as his place in EVE is and always will be in W-space with HBHI, so when he came back to the hole I decided, and asked for his support, to join RvB full time to work on my PvP skills and seek the fun and explosions I so craved… well, he was supportive and I got just exactly what I was seeking, in spades! Due to ‘space/time continuum’ constraints we have no control over, I am not able to be online nearly as often as I would like, but Tur tries to balance things as best he can, anyway…

First let me tell you a little about RvB. You request to join, and fulfill the requirements which are, uh… asking to… Fly to the HQ system of whichever corp you joined, in my case BluRep (how to join) in Liekuri, and setup shop in BHQ. You will need a bunch of T1 frigs, some T1 Cruisers and a T1 BC or two. The vast majority of RvB ops are T1 frigs…

My first day in RvB, I got to station, checked and there was a fleet up so I joined, opened voice comms (EVE Voice ingame) and lo and behold they had just had an engagement and were reshipping to go back at it… Hmmm… OK, I undocked, said  Hi and I was new around here and asked where fleet was, got a Hello and fleet location, warped to the gate and thru and warped to the FC… 20+ frigs were all just goofing around waiting on the FCs and within 5 minutes we warped to a gate, the Red fleet landed on the other side and warped through… and we were at it boys!!! I think I got in on one KM before I popped and warped off to reship… only to remember I had JUST arrived insystem not 10 minutes before and I had only the ship I had come in!!! LOL First day, in fleet in less than 1 minute, fleeted up in less than 5 and in a fight and whored on a KM and exploded in less than 10… beat that.

They do a wide variety of ops, Lo and Nullsec roams to the death, Mangala Solaris’s famous, or infamous, “Ganked” events where they fleet up and roam with the dread intent that EVERYONE comes back to HQ in a POD… they have been doing very well in this year’s EVE Alliance Tournament “X” as well. And, of course, the basically 23x7x365 daily fleet up and the occasional FFA (Free For All) one of my very favorite regular events.

FFAs are held under “Purple” status, meaning there is a temporary truce between Red and Blue so we can ALL fight to the last man standing… however many pilots, from both sides, who want to join show up at a designated location with a BC or BS as the anchor. Tactical radius is set, exit the ‘arena’ and you are disqualified (and often targeted and popped by the FFA FC in his BC or BS), at the ball drop everyone goes at everyone tooth and nail until there is only one pilot left alive… he wins a pot of ISK set by the FC (usually approx 100M ISK or so depending on fleet size and wallet access etc.) These are very, very fun events and can often see 60+ frigs hammering at each other as hard as they can for a really enjoyable length of time…

There are some rules in RvB, but there is one that is instacorpdeath, NO PODDING. In RvB we do not, ever podkill our opposition inside RvB… podkilling is acceptable for 3rd party War Targets and ganked and roam targets of opportunity, but inside RvB we do not allow podding, ever. It is the surefire best way to get kicked. And the rule is once you DIAF you are supposed to instawarp your pod out to avoid any “accidental” podding, which of course does occur from time to time in the heat of battle. You are expected to make immediate apology and restitution for any ‘accidental’ podkill you are involved in…

This, for me, has led to some weird behavior on my part… I have, occasionally, stayed on grid in my pod after getting popped just because I (1) felt I was semi-safe and (b) I simply couldn’t tear myself away from the fight… I just HAD to stay and see how it turned out.

The pic above is of a pretty standard daily Blue fleet, well part of it, of about 30+ T1 frigs mixed with a few T1 Cruisers. We were all orbiting each other while forming up as our FC and the Red Fleet FC worked out an engagement. They don’t set a bunch of rules as such, but we and they prefer the better fights we get with similar numbers and fleet comps… nobody likes to get wafflestomped by an upshipped fleet. Everyone in RvB wants the Good Fight… that’s why we’re all here. You can get all the 5v1, ganking, gate camping wafflestomping you could ever want throughout all of the rest of EVE, in RvB we want the fight to last a while.. we want to blob each other with fleets where the outcome is not a foregone conclusion… we want pure, unadulterated, knock-down, drag-out pewage… and that is most often exactly what we get.

We want fleet fights that are fun and, yes, fair fights. We want good even matchups where everyone, from the newest noob to a veteran of 9 years are on basically equal ground. One of the things I am most interested in is FCing. I am still so swamped by the simple act of trying to keep my head on straight in a fight that I fear attempting it yet. To work out how to listen to primary calls, find them in a highly crowded OV that I have to scroll to see all the Flashing Red icons on, work out ranges & vectors, target them in order, put scam/web/DPS on target, fly manually and defensively by either brawling in close or kiting depending on the ship type I am engaging… pant pant…

I have just enough skills ATM to fly an all T1 fit Rifter badly… add that to sheer sensory overload and, well, I go through a LOT of Rifters! The ONLY reason my KB is at 37/12 is because I am in such large fleet engagements that you would have to be AFK not to get to whore on a load of killmails… I may be at 37/12, but I have ONLY “1” last blow kill of my very own… and I am often listed in the last half of most KMs with under 5% damage done and with that weird “unknown” for damage type.

I sometimes feel I will never be able to be that calm collected voice on comms calling Primeries, Secondaries and keeping up with it all fast enough to call target switches as Primes etc., go down… MUCH less keep an eye on scout reports, how the fleet is holding up, if we are losing ships fast enough to need to break engagement, if we can break to a pounce and reengage or do we need to bug out and regroup/reship… pant pant… I really don’t know how they do it. And most of the FCs we fly with are in the fight flying and fighting their own ships at the same time… By The Gods… how do they do it?

I surely don’t know how but I hope and plan, with Tur’s support, to keep at it until I do… until then I guess I’ll fly as dangerously as I can, tackle and try to assist my corpmates take down the Terrible Red Menace (and whore on as many Killmails as I can!!!).

Then… I shall sit quietly beside the wreckage of one more of a long long line of trusty Rifters… in my pod… and watch, in awe, as the black is lit by beams, rockets, blasters and cannon fire and by the wonderful wonderful explosions of so many ships.

Slow down so I can get a lock dammit!  =/\=

Monday, July 16, 2012


or~  Situation Normal, All Holed Up…

Broke Warp outside of our Empire Lo hole last night, only one lo hop from Empire and just six from Jita. Warped through and thence to Serenity Station where we docked and offloaded the family and all the trappings from our week long vacation at Gaurding Cove on the bay on Uurth. Not much of a tale to tell there… lots of swimming and fishing and imbibing ‘round the campfire late of an evening at the end of each very pleasant day… no ganks, no raids, no GFs (and no Neocom access!)…  was very good, but warping into the POS last night for the first time in over a week was its own kinda good too.   =]

So, get the fam all settled in and find both my corpmates are up and running sites. Good, good, good. AI informs me they are getting the C3 Sleepers sites down pat and he and Strigon tried out sites inna C4 we had spawn in the hole and they were pleased with their efforts, both in tanking/DPS and ISK made… Schweet.

SL is currently working a Cosmic Sig solo and needs someone to Hack the modules, we find we have no Analyzers in the POS and AI needs to make a run to Jita and pick up a new Kronos anyway so he heads out. I ask what I can do and they both advise I wait to salvage the site SL is in as that was where AI lost his Kronos and as I am a year younger (ingame) than both of them I simply dunt have the tanking skills needed so I decide to work on the POS defense rings while waiting on SL Finally SL calls the site clear and I warp out to salvage, AI returns with an Analyzer I and runs the cans while SL flys CAP (Combat Air Patrol)… We clear the site and warp back to Serenity Station.

AI works on his new Kronos, I find we are short on a few Def mods so I jump in my cloaky Indy, a Prowler, and run out to Jita and back and continue completing the Beta Defense Ring. AI finishes his new Kronos and we all warp out to a std combat site. As stated AI is in a Kronos and SL has settled on a Mach as his C3 boat of choice and I need to go bring mine in from our Empire HQ, just haven’t taken the time to do so yet so I reship to the “HDF =Shitfit X=”, my WH Drake because my Mael dies just too damn quick to the C3 Sleepers with my current skills and fit. AI and SL go in close and brawl with the Sleepers and I kite around at 55km pulsing my MWD and slammin out Cal Navy Scourge missile on the primary while sic’n my droans on any frigs or adding their DPS to the primary.

The guys have the triggers all down pat and we work our way through the waves in good order. We are still using AI’s Kronos to tractor and loot as the fight progresses and then I reship to my all Salver & dual SeBo fit Noctis and nom nom the wrecks in record time. This is a very very good tactic in W-space as it puts the Noctis at risk for the shortest possible time. As the primary source of income in W-space is the Loot & Salvage one gets from the Sleeper ships. This makes the Noctis a very valuable primary gank/raid target in holes.

I was chattin on TS with some of our old mates in Helix later and we discussed this. The other guys with W-space experience use the time honored SOP of completing a site with your DPS ships and then bring in the Noctis (w/ and alt or other corpmate) and the Noctis basically solo loots and salvages the wrecks… we have lost several Noctii in this manner to knowledgeable W-space raiders who knew the money is in the Noctis, an Indy with NO DEFENSIVE capability… Noccy’s can’t even run droans. The smart raider waits, cloaked, inside his optimal until the Noctis starts in on the last wreck then uncloaks, scrams, webs, kills and grabs ALL the MNRs and as much of the rest of the L&S as his hold with take then cloaks and splits. Our method puts the loot inside a Kronos and keeps our Noctis at the lowest risk possible.

So we run a few sites and according to the New Inventory we netted about 250M ISK for a couple of hours of fun… ahhhhhhhhhhhh… Gee but it’s great to be back home…   =]

Fly Safe and see you in the Sky  =/|)=

Friday, July 6, 2012

“The Line in the Mind”

Blog Banter 37: “The Line in the Sand”

"EVE Online sits on the frontier of social gaming, providing an entertainment environment like no other. The vibrant society of interacting and conflicting communities, both within the EVE client and without, is the driving force behind EVE's success. However, the anonymity of internet culture combined with a competitive gaming environment encourages in-game behavior to spread beyond the confines of the sandbox. Where is the line?"


For me, this is as simple as “If it feels like its wrong, dunt do it.”

Virtual Case in point:
In an episode of The Big Bang Theory (one of my fav shows as I am sure it is for many a New Eden pilot)… Sheldon had his account on WoW hacked and all of his virtual ‘stuff’ was stolen… “…picked clean like a carcass in the desert sun.” Now he was very very buttthurt and all ‘umadbro’… but in a very Sheldonesk sorta way… you see he called the police (after the FBI hung up on him) and reported it as a crime. Now of course the cops blew him off… as our society does not accept the theft of virtual ‘goods’, ‘in a game’ as a Real World crime.

So? Well, the boys then find out the identity of the real person who did the dastardly virtual deed… and they go to his home, IRL, to confront him AND Sheldon takes along a (TV/movie prop) Bat’leth… The guy is huge, and rude, and the boys back down… he even goes so far as to grab the Bat’leth from Sheldon’s hands and goes back into his house closing the door… stealing that too.

The guys leave until Penny, who drove them over, decides to show them “…how we finish a quest in Nebraska.”. She now confronts the ebil Ted Zarnecki, demands Sheldon’s stuff back, is told “No.” so our sweet little Nebraskan lass rears back and plants foot to crotch. Ted, now physically hurt and humiliated agrees to return Sheldon’s real and virtual property… "The Zarnecki Incursion"

Hmmm… OK let’s see… “IF” this was a real world incident, to my layman’s understanding (DISCLAIMER: I am NOT now nor have I ever been a lawyer or an authority on the law ever anywhere at any time) that said, as I see it…

1.      A virtual theft took place inside a virtual game world – not a criminal act.
2.      Person “H”, hacked computer systems to discover the name and address of a real person  - possible criminal act.
3.      A group of five people “G”, went to that persons home in order to confront him regarding the virtual theft - possible criminal act.
4.      Person “S” had with him a TV/movie prop which could be construed as a weapon, specifically to use for coercion - possible criminal act.
5.      Person “T” stole the TV/movie prop from person “S” – a criminal act.
6.      Person “P” physically assaulted person “T” without reasonable justification of self defense - a criminal act.

So… a virtual theft, allowable in a consensual game, led to 2 definite and 3 possible real world criminal acts involving a total of 6 people.

And I can betcha if/when you saw this episode you were rooting for Sheldon and thought Penny was completely justified… and you would be wrong.

We all have moral compasses; even amoral RL hit men for hire know and understand when they are performing an illegal or socially immoral act. We all do. Run a DDOS against, say… White Rose Conventicle… regardless of your motive… no matter how justified you may feel (for whatever reason), nor how well paid you are (if paid you were) or even if you were, “Just Following Orders” (oldest and worst cop out EVER)… you KNOW you are performing an illegal act… period.

The details of the ‘laws and societal norms’ we each operate under may differ from country to country but I have yet to see national or societal differences used as a supporting argument for griefing or to support any ‘perceived’ wrong acts in any of the blogs or forums. We all know and accept that murder is wrong, that theft of another’s property is wrong… just as we know that to forward information on or to start a charitable cause is considered an honorable act… In Real Life.

In EVE the ‘laws and societal norms’ (read: EULA & Rules) are different from RL ‘specifically and intentionally’ to allow the players to create and/or act out and/or become involved in highly dramatic virtual life-or-death situations where virtual murder and virtual theft are accepted modes of gameplay just as sending ISK to a noob you killed before you realized just how new he was, or to post “GF” in local are considered honorable acts… In Virtual Life.

We all KNOW the difference. If we dint the great mass of forum whining and blogging and ingame discourse could not take place as almost all of it is heated arguments, knowledgeable discussions and outright rants and whining regarding the ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ of a given situation. We all know right from wrong. We all know that in EVE the rules are different, I dunt know about you but I do know that the different "laws and morals' of EVE are among the reasons why I am here.

These different rules allow me to live out a fantastical and dramatically rich virtual life unlike anything available to me IRL. I know that to do or say anything to another player, outside of the EVE Client, that “I” would be offended or possibly even legally wronged by is something I should not do.

The most obvious ‘RL/VL Line Crossing’ to take place recently (and most probably the genesis for this particular Banter) is the recent attack on White Rose Conventicle, an EVE corp and Blog run by a player who had been recently War Dec’ed and aggressively targeted for griefing by the Goons. I do not know who was involved in the DDOS attack, and I am not making any accusations, but whoever actually was involved…

knows what they did,
knows that what they did was wrong,
and knows that what they did was illegal...
it’s as simple as that.

Actions taken inside the EVE Client on the EVE server(s) take place in Virtual Life and are subject to discussion by the playerbase, the CSM and CCP but are in the end subject to decisions made and implemented by CCP.

Actions taken outside of the game take place in Real Life and are subject to discussion by the playerbase, the CSM and CCP but are in the end subject to the laws and societal morals of the country they take place in, period.

So where is the line?  Where it has always been… inside of each and every one of us.

We each know if/when we stand at The Line… and then decide whether, or not… to cross it.

So what can we do about it? Nuthin. Try and catch the ones who decide to cross, and punish em if/when we do...

“If it feels like its wrong, dunt do it.”.

Fly Safe and see you in the Sky  =/|)=


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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Sailing... Takes Me Away…

or~  Takin’ a Little Break… 

Now that HBHI is settled in the hole, I am taking a short break, loading the fam aboard my private Cloaky Frigate and sailing off to that little known, far away and backwards planet Uurth… to that sweet private wooded spot on a cove by a bay… for some badly needed R&R.

Fly Safe and see you in the Sky  =/|)=