Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Roamin' Solo, Aiming to Misbehave

OK, I got nothing. Nothing to write about, no motivation for the game. Nothing. Look, I'll do a commentary on my usual roam at this time to show you how boring it is. I mean, nothing can go wrong there can it.....

Log on, everything is quiet. Too quiet. Nisuwa is actually empty! So I jump in a rocket Kestrel and head out into the big black.

Oinasiken is also empty. A popular militia farming system with nobody here. Onto Pyne then!

Seriously? I'm on TQ right? Pynekastoh is empty!


Hurray! Two in Rakapas. Omen on scan. Boo! Other dude must be docked up. Onto Reitsato.

One guy in system, one industrial and a noobship on scan.

Onto Okkamon. Two people on, one is a noob ship 140km off the gate. Other is a Caracal in a medium plex, probably the Ibis' main. Onto Asakai!

This is more like it! 6 in system. No one on scan, I'll pop a plex and give it a few minutes. Doesn't need a few minutes! Atron on scan! He's in. Scram!

11:46:31 Combat Warp scramble attempt from you to Yukirin Ryj [G.L.D](Atron)

He's gone. Stabbed! Two minutes later, Incursus.

20 seconds into fight..... he appears to be gaining range? The dangers of engaging in someones home system I guess!

Pod back to Nis!

Into a Tristan. To Hirri this time! Incursus on scan! D-Scan him down to large compound. Warp, land and watch him run away!

Tristan on short scan..... nope no where near, must be at a safe. What's that on scan now? Woomp! Daredevil on top of me! Nope! So I warp off.

As I land on a stargate I think. Hang on a minute..... a Daredevil.... thats a hybrid/web platform. If I can get right on top of him.... Mmmmmmmmmmm....


I warp to a novice outpost and just as I arrive so does he. 12km off. No good. I spam the acceleration gate and enter. I overheat my neuts and activate my AB.

Wooomp!

Here he is. 324m off. I lock, align at him and activate all the things. Got him!

Hell he hurts! Activate the repper! 70% structure and the DPS stops. YES!

Wait! Why is he taking no damage?

YOU ****** IDIOT!!!!!

So I launch my drones (whoops) and they start to eat through him. I'm overheating the repper, reloading the cap booster and pulsing the AB to make sure he doesn't make range. I hear "The capacitor is empty" three times and whilst some of the neuts drop, the scram and AB don't.

BOOM!

He goes down, gf's in local and I scoop the 34m ISK AB. Time to head for home....


Job done!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Star Citizen. Threat?

Every two and a half days someone suggests that Star Citizen is going to kill Eve. Every third day it is Elite: Dangerous that will spell certain doom for our own brand of important internet spaceships. However, are these really a threat? Well, yes and no in my opinion.

No doubt SC and E:D had the potential to be great, fun games. If it was not for my limited monthly bandwidth I'd have paid for the Beta for E:D already. However it appears to be much more of a twitch game. Get a flight stick and throttle, Oculus Rift headset and pew-pew away. Whilst there is "space trucking" and missioning, its no Eve and I cannot see how it can compete in the long run.

SC is too hyped. Even if it lives up to half of its hype I can see people getting bored quickly. Instanced PvP and more than likely heavy enforcement of rules. Scamming, ganking and all the underhandedness that makes Eve so popular won't be in SC. It'll be WoW in space.


However is it just those two? Isn't nearly every game is a threat to Eve currently. My personal opinion, and one echoed be quite a few players, is that the game is stagnating. What have we got to look forward to? What is the next big thing to hit Eve? What are we all excited for..... whats the next hugely anticipated feature to arrive in Eve-O..... erm.....

A Revamp of the Corporation and Alliance UI!

Wow.... I cannot wait.


I mean Hyperion had some good stuff for wormholers but for me, its embarrassing to say, but the bit I was looking forward to was the introduction of some more vanity as this will help some "art" shots for my fictional Fridays. Yup, that is pretty sad. Oceanus has even less. Cloaking effect is cool but its a graphics heavy expansion that has nobody excited, again!

Whilst the corp and alliance UI revamp is absolutely and totally bloody needed as its pretty terrible at the moment, 90% of Eve are unlikely to ever see those panels. What else have we got to look forward to? Erm.... we have no idea given CCP's policy of keeping quiet following the star-base/POS rage that kicked up in 2012. They have a point though, far too may players took "We would like to do......" as "We are 100% absolutely going to do this....." and then raged when it didn't happen. Apparently its a hard distinction for some to make between "We have this idea we are thinking about...." and "We are 100% doing this"!

We know it is Corp/Alliance UI then starbases and POS and then 0.0 Sov and then new space and player built stargates but we don't know anything more than that. So we have limited stuffz to look forward to at a time many are getting bored with a stagnating game.

There are a few reasons Eve Online has lasted so long. One of them is that every six months its had a big expansion. Something new and exciting. I wonder how many current players would still be here is The Empyrean Age hadn't deployed? Would subscriber numbers be at current levels if we'd never had Apocrypha? I don't think so. Its these that have kept the game fresh.


This is the biggest threat to Eve Online. Star Citizen, if it is released whilst we are still in this state has the potential to take a lot of players away. Same with Elite: Dangerous. Then again, so does every other game. I'm playing more Titanfall, LoTRO, RimWorld and Stronghold Kingdoms than Eve at the minute.

It is the community and the freedom of the sandbox that has kept Eve going. For a game famous for its toxic community, we players know better. I cannot see how SC will have the same longivity as Eve simply because it is unlikely to have the same level of community.

SC and E:D are likely to be shoot 'em ups more than the vast player-driven sandbox we inhabit. Whilst in the short term they will hit Eve hard, I cannot see them being a long term threat.... providing CCP do something to refresh Eve in the next 6-9 months.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

SCASSSSS - Oceanus Wormhole Graphics

My current fiction is set in wormhole space so Friday morning I was flying around trying to find one of these wormhole thingies to get in there. Eventually I scanned one down. Apparently these are the new nebula and hole graphics to be release in Oceanus at the end of the month.





Friday, September 12, 2014

Alien

Fiction Friday. Escape pod here.

To be honest I'm not sure where this one is going. I have an idea and thought "Sod it, its a multi 'part-er', I'll let it run and see what happens."


Alien

"So, you think your having a bad day? You haven't got a fracking clue! If anyone ever receives this transmission our location coordinates are embedded in the signal. However I do not hold out much hope. We're fracked. Just for the record I am First Officer Esme of the Imperial Navy Science Academy Exploration Ship Sun of Amarr. Our current mission, our current failed mission, started 72 hours ago. This is my official record of the events that transpired....."

-o0o-

The Captain surveyed the bridge from his elevated chair. It was a hive of activity as they scanned the planet below. Dakba commanded one of the most advanced exploration ships in the Amarrian Imperial Navy. Their current mission was to survey plasma planets for a specific type of plasma. It was a relatively boring mission but the sensors aboard his ship were the only ones sensitive enough to identify the correct plasma in the maelstrom within the atmosphere. He thought about the mission, there was no challenge. Get into orbit, launch probes, wait, get results, flag positives and transmit to other ships whose job it was to drop into the atmosphere to collect the gas, rinse and repeat. Dakba had reached the rank of Captain relatively young. A combination of family connections and that he was also a very capable commander. The science vessel Sun of Amarr was his third command.

A subtle light flashed on the console mounted into his chair arm. He opened the priority message and read it. He double checked the authentication and then cleared his throat.

"Science Station, recall the probes. Helm set a course to the location I'm sending you. Maximum speed."

"Sir?" asked the First Officer who was sat next to him.

"New priority orders Number One. We are to leave immediately for a location in the Zororzih system."

"And what do we do when we get there?" he asked.

"We'll find out when we get there I suppose." the Captain replied.

Esme was also a capable commander, he just didn't have the family connections that the Captain did. He wasn't bitter, it was the way things worked in the Amarrian Navy. Living with it for his entire life meant that it didn't grate on him as it should. He knew he'd make Captain eventually, it would just take a little longer than if he'd had an influential Holder for a father.

As soon as the Science Station reported that the probes had been recalled and secured the ship aligned away from the planet and slipped into warp. The destination they were heading to required jumping through nearly a dozen stargates and put them at the fringe of low-security space. The last leg of the journey was a 28 AU warp to a point in deep space away from any planets, stations or asteroid belts.

"Science, anything on scan yet? I don't like this flying into the unknown." the Captain asked as he stared into the large viewscreen that covered the front wall of the bridge. Stars blurred against the rapidly moving warp tunnel."

"Not yet sir. We are approaching maximum scan range of the coordinates provided now Captain. Initiating directional scan for any ships or structures. I have a Armageddon class Battleship on a five degree scan."

The Captain turned to the First Officer.

"A deep-space rendezvous with a battleship ship? Interesting don't you think Number One?"

The First Officer didn't immediately respond. He was staring ahead at the viewscreen.

"Its much more interesting than that sir!" he finally replied pointing to the screen.

The Captain turned his attention back to the viewscreen and had to suppress a gasp. As the warp tunnel faded and the ship dropped to sub-light speed the glistening Command ship was visible, next to a pulsating spacial anomaly. Light appeared to bend through the strange bubble in space. The Bridge crew remained silent as they recognised what it was.


"A wormhole. They are not expecting us to...." the First Officers voice trailed off as he thought about the possibilities.

A beep signified there was an incoming comms channel. The Captain touched his control panel and the view of the battleship and the wormhole was replaced by the face and shoulders of an Imperial Navy Admiral.

"Admiral Ahrnot. A pleasure to see you again sir." greeted the Captain.

"Any you Captain. Sorry to pull you out here at such short notice but this mission is of the upmost importance. Your orders are to immediately go through the wormhole and warp to the third planet. You are to conduct a level 6 scan of the entire planet and return."

"A level 6?" the Captain stated in surprise "That will take a number of days. Whilst I am no expert in these wormholes, I understand they rarely last more than 24 hours?"

The Admiral paused and then nodded.

"That is correct. It is highly likely this connection will collapse before you have completed your mission Captain. You have probes and one of the most advanced scanning ships in the Cluster. After completing the survey of the planet you are to scan down any newly formed wormholes and return to Amarr space as quickly as possible."

"Admiral. Again, please forgive my poor knowledge on wormholes, but as I recall it is not possible to know where the wormhole leads exactly. Scan results will tell us if it leads back to this star cluster, but we could emerge in the middle of the system of Rens or just off Luminairre."

"That is a possibility I'm afraid." replied the Admiral "And it is imperative that the data you collect does not fall into enemy hands. If you do end up returning to Matari or Gallente space you are to make it back to Amarr by any means possible. However I must reiterate, that data must not fall into anyone's hands! Good luck."

The Captain nodded and the Admirals face vanished. On the exterior he was calm, but inside he was furious. They were being ordered into a dangerous enough situation as it was, wormhole space was not particularly safe even for Capsuleers never-mind a lightly armed science vessel. Then to suggest they may be dropped in the middle of enemy territory on their return and have to evade the enemy Navy and hostile capsuleer militias was a step too far.

"Captain, as First Officer it would be remiss of me....."

"Save it Number One." the Captain cut him off "I assume you're going to say this course of action puts the ship at too great a risk. Well I agree with you, but orders are orders. I'll note your objection in the log directly under my own! Helm, take us into the wormhole and then immediately warp to the third planet. Science, I want all probes dropping the minute we land. Get the lot out there. I want a new Imperial Navy record setting for the quickest time to perform a level 6 planetary survey. Tactical, sound the alert. I want everyone on their toes."

The golden science vessel slowly started to approach the wormhole was the Command ship aligned away and jumped to warp. It was almost as if the entire ships crew were holding their breath as the ship slowly breached the even horizon.

-o0o-

The crew were on edge. During the first 18 hours it had all been routine. The scan was going well and they had not encountered anything out of the ordinary. The planet was a temperate one and contained what appeared to be abundant life. First Officer Esme had the bridge as the Captain was resting.


"Sir. I've been getting some strange readings on the directional scanner." one of the crew reported.

"What is it Ensign?" Esme asked.

"I have been getting some ghosting. The scanner picks up something in orbit with us and when I go to do proper scan of the signal there is nothing there."

The First Officer rose from the Captains chair and went over to the scanner console. The Ensign had left the logs up and he was right. An object had been identified in close proximity on the broad-spectrum sweep but any attempt to scan the object resulted in no result. Esme scratched his head.

"That's odd. Could it be a sensor malfunction?" he asked.

"Possibly sir. But its weird that it appears on a set course. If I plot all the ghosts we've got then it follows an orbital path. Its strange sir. I'd have said it was an object in orbit but there is nothing there."

"Strange. Keep an eye on it."

Esme returned to the chair and look out of the viewscreen. The space he saw was alien to him. Nobody really knew where this collection of solar systems was located. There were many theories. The simplist was this was just another part of their own galaxy, the wormholes taking vessels that passed through them thousands of light-years away. Other theories claimed this was a distant galaxy or even an alternative dimension. He was still thinking when the ship shook violently.

"Report!" he shouted.

"Sir we've been impacted by something. Nothing on scanner. Hull on decks three through eight in sector two are showing breaches. Forcefields holding but the internal monitors say we just lost 34 crew sir."

Other stations relayed their reports. It wasn't good. Engineering reported that serveral important plasma conduits had ruptured and and systems along the port side of the ship were not getting sufficient power. Helm stated their orbit was deteriorating and main engines had been knocked offline as the drive-reactor had gone into emergency shut-down. It was restarting now but they would be without engines for a few minutes. The Captain came running into the bridge.

"Sir, we've been struck by an unknown object. What ever it was it didn't show up on our scans. We have 34 crew dead, sector two is badly damaged and the engines are down following the drive-reactor rebooting." the First Officer said.

The Captain nodded and took his seat.

"Science, recall a probe and positition in 200 metres off our fore-port quadrant. Helm as soon as the engines are back online stabalise our orbit and plot a course back to the wormhole. It might be still there, no way we want to be emerging into enemy space with a damaged ship. Engineering, ensure power routing is stable and that the DCU has sufficient power to keep those breach shields up." ordered the Captain.

The bridge was a hive of activity. Within minutes the Science Station reported that the recalled probe was in position and the Captain ordered its visuals on the main screen. The Sun of Amarr could be seen in the distance, a black shape against the planet they were orbiting. The Captain ordered the image magnified and the screen was suddenly filled by a picture of the ship.

"What in the name of the Empress is THAT!" the First Officer exclaimed looking at a large black sphere embedded into the side of the ship.

"Sir, I'm not getting any readings from it. I know something is there as there is a perfect hole in the sensor readings, but its absorbing whatever we throw at it." the Science Officer stated

The Captain ordered further magnification on the object and the black sphere was enlarged.

"Its so.... black." one crew member observed.

"Its absorbing everything." the Captain mused "Not even light is bouncing off its surface. Thats why we cannot get a scan on it. Science, search the databanks for Sleeper technology and see if anything like this has been discovered previously. Expand the search to include Capsuleer data too. Get Engineering to get a crew suited up. I want a team to go and look at that thing and see how we are going to get it off us!"

-o0o-

Hahida was breathing heavily. He hated EVA and the Chief Engineer, who hated him, knew it. Therefore he was one of the team of three slowly walking over to the huge black sphere embedded in the ship. The hull plates were buckled and walking in the mag-boots was slow. Hahida had been on the Sun of Amarr for 18 months. He had originally got on well with the Chief. However, Hahida had slept with one of the other technicians not knowing it was the woman the Chief secretly lusted after. Since then he'd got every shitty job the Chief could find.

The suits sensor suite displayed its readings overlaid on his visor. There was a large empty space where the sphere was. The sensors were getting no readings off it at all. It was like a black hole.


It took a total of thirty minutes for the team to reach the sphere. They slowly walked around it relaying what they saw back to the bridge. It appeared glossy and should be reflective, but all light hitting the surface appeared to be absorbed. There was nothing but blackness when you looked into it. The scanners refused to believe there was anything there. They just reported it as a depleted vacuum.

Hahida walked around away from the group and saw a tiny flaw in the surface. He didn't say anything to the others and approached the anomaly. It was like a ripple in the surface. As if someone was dropping in visible pebbles into a black pond. Slowly he extended his hand and touched the surface. There was a glow and a roar. Milliseconds later Hahida was vaporised.

On the bridge the Captain and First Officer were watching intently on the viewscreen. Hahida was hidden under the curvature of the object so they never saw him extending his hand to touch it. All they saw was the orange glow as the unseen engines of the sphere fired. They also felt the effect as the alien engines burst into life against the buckled hull of the Sun of Amarr. The ship vibrated heavily knocking several crew off their feet. Alarms sounded as the sphere's engines ripped into the ships superstructure. As the strange craft slowly moved away, the damage could be seen for a few seconds before the power failed and plunged the ship into darkness. Suddenly the vibrations stopped and a eerie calm fell across the ship.

"Engineering, report!" the Captain called out into the gloom of the bridge.

"Sir. We are in bad shape." The Chiefs voice was distorted through the comms system. Explosions could be heard in the background. "I only got a partial reading before main power went down but the logs paint a bleak picture. Whatever that thing used for propulsion was hot. It nearly burnt all the way through the ship. I doubt anyone can get between fore and aft now. We cannot use any propulsion as it will rip the ship in half. Not that we could light the engines, everything is offline. The ship is crippled sir."

The Captain terminated the comm link and thought. A few whispered broke out on the bridge as the crew started to suggest ideas between themselves. Suddenly everyone fell quite and exchanged worried glances as the ship shuddered. A few gasps and murmurs started as the ship shuddered a second time.

"What in Divinities Edge...?" the First Officer said.

The ship started to vibrate violently.

"That Number One, is us skipping on the atmosphere. With no power, no engines and no control, you should say your final prayers as I am." the Captain stated slumping back in his chair.

Hahida looked around the gloomy bridge, lit by the emergency lighting. All disipline had been lost. Some crew were panicking. Others just sat and cried. He could feel the increased heat as the ship plummeting into the alien planets atmosphere.

"Send a distress call." the Captain shouted over the noise "Tell anyone who gets the message we're going down."

To be continued......

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Drop in the Oceanus

So our next "expansion" is out in 20 days. Oceanus brings us (so far announced)...

New Cloak Effect
Pretty cool. This graphical update for the cloak effect is very nice. You only see it for your own ship though. To people looking at you, you simply vanish as is now. So don't panic, your cloaking isn't delayed like many are screaming on the forums. Calm down carebear, cloak is still instantaneous and your MWD/cloak trick should still work!


Importing EFT into Eve!
Yay! You can now copy and paste your EFT fittings into your Eve saved fits within the Client. Go EFT Warriors!


French Localisation.
You can now play Eve Online: Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey! (Obviously only if you are Groundskeeper Willy, nobody else would call them that of course)


3D Previews in the New Eden Store
Now you can see what colour seamed tights look best on your avatar! You can swap between the mannequin and any of your three toons on that account within the store when previewing vanity items.


Select Overview Preset on D-Scan.Got a capital ships only overview? Want to scan for capital ships in a busy system but don't want to change your overview? A drop down menu on D-Scanner now lets you scan any of your saved overviews without having to change your overview itself.


Wormhole Effects
Visual clues to its stability and where it connects to. TBH I cannot remember what they looked like before and it took me ages to find this one on SiSi. Cannot be bothered to scan one down on TQ as I'm so bad at scanning.


LOD and Space Factory
Changes to how the Client loads graphics in space. Apparently should make grid load faster and pave the way for more stuffz in the future. To be honest I don't really know what they are on about! Assume it doesn't render the ship if you are too far out and then ramps up the resolution as you zoom in.


So for me, better than Hyperion but nothing to get excited about. I love the new cloaking effect but I rarely used cloaked ships. The importing from EFT is nice but how often will you use it? Plus it'll save you only a couple of minutes everytime you have a completely new fit. Nothing there for me to be exciting about. Nothing to really look forward to.

All in all, a bit of tinkering and some graphical changes. Come on CCP. Its time to start dangling a carrot for us bitter vets. We can handle these small updates as long as we have something to look forward to.



On another subject, if you read Monday's post you'll have seen I was going to try flying faction frigates as in the T1's people either ran away or came at me in a faction frigage. How did that work out for me? Not good. Two words - Griffin. Alt. Two more words - Rage. Log.

P.S. Feck it. The gloves are off. If none of these Black Rise Bastards want a 1v1 then I'll happily stoop to their level.

P.P.S Yes Bro, I am mad.

P.P.P.S Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Monday, September 8, 2014

This is an Ex-Faction War Pilot!

So, the squids are defeated, the warzone is quiet and the QCats have left faction war. Its been going downhill for months and whilst my TZ is generally bad, over the summer its been terribad. GMT +4 is farmville. The QCats were generally feeling the same. A mix of lack of wartargets and a generally feeling of "meh" over the state of the game has seen our monthly kill count drop from 5000 a month to under 2000.

So basically we have a new plan which we put into effect at the weekend. We're going to shoot EVERYBODY!


We were already NBSI and most of us were -10. However we'd not shoot Gallente Militia, we'd not go after Matari Militia specifically and we'd not shoot blues. However currently that puts our target pool down a hell of a lot. So we have decided to go full pirate, drop militia and reset our blues.

Of course this is already create some drama with some not getting the memo. Hopefully now the rest of Gallente Militia know we are full pirate. To be honest I don't get the blue-ing thing at the minute. You are in Faction Warfare in Eve Online. That means you are into PvP. We are PvP targets. Why would you want to blue us? We are providing the content you play the game for. If we blued everyone we'd turn low sec into null sec!


I personally voted to leave faction war which was a surprise for me. I've always been a bit fan of fighting for a cause. However, in the last few months its been too much searching for, and chasing for, for a fight.

So two days on and hows it going? Not great for me. Rather than spending time chasing one militias I've been chasing two. I call my TZ Farmerville but this is silly. I keep getting bored and then Leroying my T1 frigate into a faction frigate for shits and giggles. Engaging the cruiser that has neutral logistics. Then there are the "solo" ships. I get so happy finding a 1v1 in similar ships I fail to notice his multiple friends landing from a deep safe and that he is bait tanked. Fail, fail and Leeroy in equal measures.


I need to swap my tactics. I need to be the one flying faction frigates may be? Then again will I get the faction frigates running from me?

I have a few Hookbills and Firetails in my hanger. Should I go get a Worm? With nearly 5m LP for the FDU I could certainly buy a Comet or two.

Yes, I think I'll start derping some faction frigates and see how that works out for me! Stay tuned to see my KB efficiency really plummet!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

SCASSSS - New Cloak Effect

Unless you've been living under a rock for the last week you've probably heard there is a new cloaking effect on the test server.

Oh, you HAVE been living under a rock. OK just for you:-


Friday, September 5, 2014

Resigning the Commision

Fiction Friday. Escape pod here.

This is a short piece regarding a change of circumstances for me tomorrow......


Resigning the Commission


"So we won... again?" the Capsuleer sighed. He pulled the cork from the bottle of vodka which squeaked and then gave a satisfying 'pop' as the cork left the bottle. He poured a healthy measure and picked up the glass, swirling the clear liquid around the ice before downing it.

"Yes. We hold the entire warzone. The Caldari Militia have been pushed back to the high-security space beyond Tama. It’s gone quiet out there." the woman sat opposite him in the booth stated.

"It has, but for how long? We're immortals. The Caldari will regroup and the State will attack again. Demand for goods issued by the State Protectorate for assistance is rising. There has been a drop in supply and prices are up. The mercantile capsuleers without allegiance will flock to their banners. They'll soon push us back, we'll hit the stalemate, again. Then the price of State-Pro goods will drop with over-supply, the mercs will go look for better ways to make money and we'll push the remaining squids back again. It’s a pointless cycle and to be honest its not fun anymore."

The female capsuleer laughed at her male companion. Her short red hair swaying as she chuckled.

"Fun? Its war! Its not supposed to be fun!"

"Isn't it? What are we really fighting here for? To protect the Gallente way of life? No. Its for the thrill of the fight. Its for the money from looting the enemies wrecks. The exhilaration of the fight to the death. Yeah, I know you like your cause but if you were really interested in fighting for sovereignty wouldn't you head out and join the nullbears? You are like me, you enjoy the fight more than you'll admit."

She knew he was right. The Capsuleers were immortal starship Captains able to survive death. A capsuleer war didn't bother about pilots lives or grieving the dead. They simply were re-cloned, their brain-scan uploaded and they got into another ship. It was nice to have a cause to fight for, but in the end it was more about the fighting than the cause.

"So what are you going to do?" she asked.

"First I'm going to finish a large portion of this bottle of fine Gallente vodka. Then I'm going to take..." he stretched in his seat, scanning around the lively bar "....her and her..." he said pointing to two of the girls "...back to my quarters and do things with them that are illegal in almost every star system of the Amarrian Empire and also within certain prudish areas of the Caldari State!"

"You do that most nights, you're a total alley-cat. I meant about the war."

"There is no war. Its just us Empyreans slugging it out for shits and giggles. We've fought for the Gallente, we've fought for the Matari. What have we achieved? The tides of war ebb and flow. Nobody really wins, we just swap who is on top every so often, just like I'll be doing in half an hour. It is pointless. The war that is, not the things I'll be doing in half an hour."

The female capsuleer leaned back in her seat in the booth. The man opposite her was certainly war weary. In the five years they'd been fighting he'd never been like this. However, he had a point. Routine patrols with no action were testing the patience of many in the Gallente militia. Large portions of the enemy capsuleers were fleeing on sight, only willing to engage Gallente Navy and doing all they could to avoid Capsuleer Militia forces. In a word, war was boring currently.

"So?" she asked again leaning forward with her elbows on the table.

"I'm dropping from Gallente Militia tomorrow."

"Going to fight for the Minmatar?" she asked hopefully.

"Nope."

"Well you are certainly not going to be fighting for the Amarr or the Caldari. You are wanted by both of those Empires. I'd say that you are wanted 'dead or alive' by them, but the truth is they'd prefer you dead. Permanently."

"No, I'm not going to fight for the squids or those golden ship laser freaks. I'm going to fight for the cause that matters most to me."

The woman looked at him quizzically waiting for him to elaborate.

"I'm going to fight for me. No politics. No sides. No cause."

"You are going pirate?"

"CONCORD officially has my security status set as minus ten already. In their eyes I already am." he said whilst beckoning the two women he'd pointed out earlier to come over. "I'm simply widening my available target pool."

The female capsuleer saw the two women arrive by the table out of the corner of her eye. They kept a discreet distance back. It was obvious they had done this before and didn't want to interrupt the two capsuleers talking. They knew if they were wanted, he'd make it clear to them. For now they just had to be ready for him. She stole a quick glance at them. One was Gallente, tall with sleak long, black hair. The other Matari, shorter but wore heels to compensate. She was dark and dusky. They wore very little as did the other female and male 'entertainers' that worked the capsuleer bar on Deck Five. Generally Capsuleers were aloof, superior, snobbish. They rarely had time for a proper relationship, but they still had needs. Therefore most of the bars on the Capsuleer decks made sure their needs were catered for. Whether they be drink, pharmaceutical or companionship... by the hour. The station had been Caldari before it was captured by the Gallente Militia. In the years the bar slowly had become more Gallente than Caldari. Sex, drugs and rock and roll, three jumps from the Caldari State hi-security border.

"Well I'm going to enjoy myself. I'll see you in space." With that he rose and approached the two girls who greeted him with a broad smile and a peck on the cheek. He moved between them and wrapped a hand around each of their waists’ and guided them towards the exit, his hands dropping down as they neared the door.

"When I see you in space, do I need to be worried?" the female capsuleer called out to him as was about to exit the bar.

The man stopped but didn't turn as if he was in thought. The two girls glanced back to see who had spoken. The man was still for several seconds.


"The QCats will be full 'Not Blue, Shoot It' in less than 24 hours" he paused "...and we're not planning on having many blues. Don't worry s8, I'll not pod you." he said without turning before leaving with the two girls.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Expansions - WWJD? The 2 Year Follow Up.

Back in September 2012 I wrote a post saying that I was worried the end of the 'Jesus Feature' within Eve expansions could lead to issues down the road. I personally thought the big headline feature was what kept Eve fresh and retained players. How many other 11 year old games are you playing?

Splinter Cell?
Galactic Civilisations?
Planetside?
Warcraft III?
Star Wars: Galaxies?
Everquest : Lost Dungeons of Norrath?
Time Crisis 3?
Call of Duty?
Prince of Persia?
Knights of the Old Republic?
Deus Ex?

Nope. I doubt any is, and before anyone says anything those are the originals of Planetside, CoD and Deus Ex! One of the reasons Eve Online has outlived all of those is that the game has grown every six months. One of the reasons it has survived is because of the expansions.


I can say, hand on heart, that if the Empyrean Age expansion had not happened I would not be playing Eve now or writing this blog post.

I wonder how many players would no be playing any more if Apocrypha hadn't introduced wormhole space and Strategic Cruisers and given them something different to do?

How many players subbing to Eve right now have been retained because of a certain historical expansion?

What past expansion has kept you in the game? I'm betting its not Odyssey or Rubicon.

Crucible and Inferno were severely needed. However they haven't delivered new things to do on the scale of Empyrean Age or Apocrypha. The subsequent "expansions" have not delivered this either. We have heard for years "Eve is dying". Eventually those people might be right. Are we seeing the start? Are the four horsemen on the edge of Jita and riding towards 4-4 as I type this?

I wouldn't go as far as Eve is dying, but it certainly is certainly stagnating. My kills for the last year:-


Yeah. Its not going good at the moment is it?

The fact is there is nothing to excited about in Eve currently. The old cycle used to be:-

New expansion release with new stuffz and new things to do brings people back.
Interest starts to tail off.
Announcement of next release with lots of new stuffz and new things to do creates a buzz.
Players start looking forward to the next release.
Pre-expansion lull hits.
New expansion release with new stuffz and new things to do brings people back.
... repeat for years...

What are you looking forward to in Eve's future right now? What forthcoming things have you excited?


Yup. Not a lot is there. What we know is coming over the next few years from CCP Seagull's five year plan at Fanfest 2013:-

Revamp of Corp/Alliance management UI (90% of Eve doesn't care but it is needed)
PoS and Starbase Revamp (again a large proportion of Eve doesn't use these, but might if done right)
0.0 Sov Revamp/Fix
New Space and Player Built Stargates

Thats what we know about. Not much to get excited about. What is there for those who don't run a corp or alliance, don't own a PoS or Starbase? Thats probably a lot of Eve. 0.0 Sov fix has the potential to excite as does the new space and stargates, but that several years down the road (potentially).

Eve Online needs a shot in the arm sooner rather than later. We need an Empyrean Age or Apocrypha to refresh the game and liven everyone up.

I don't think either Star Citizen or Elite: Dangerous are serious long-term threats to Eve Online. However they are massive short-term threats. Stagnation in Eve with bored subscribers at the same time these are release? Yeah they have got the potential to do a lot of harm.


Come on CCP! I know after the space-house and rage in 2012 you don't want to tell us players of your plans, but we need something to look forward to. Chuck a bucket of cold water over us, the pond is getting a bit stagnant here!

Monday, September 1, 2014

BB 58 - Show Me the rMONEYt

Blog Banter 58 - Money

Welcome to the continuing monthly EVE Blog Banters and our 57th edition! For more details about what the blog banters are visit the Blog Banter page.

The SOMERBlink fiasco from last summer and then again this summer (link: https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&t=367505), resulting in the service's ultimate shutdown has opened the floor to the discussion or monetization of services once again.

Do you think CCP was right in its reaction? Was SOMERBlink justified in trying to monetize its service via plex sales kickbacks? Was it true RMT or grey area RMT?

More generally, where is the line to be drawn when a service attempts to monetize in order to offset costs and/or make a profit? Is asking for donations in Real Life cash too far (I realize CCP considers it unacceptable right now)? Selling non-EVE trademarked goods acceptable? Asking for money to pay for efforts in setting up EVE meetups?

Should these all be scrutinized?

And should you want to dig deeper, should players be allowed to reserve redeem plex for cash? Does this already not exist in programs like Plex for fanfest packages or video cards? Is it right?
Get writing!

-o0o-

First off lets just make it clear SomerBlink did not DIAF for RMT. They were being investigated for RMT however by saying the scheme was "CCP approved" (it wasn't) and then releasing private emails between them and CCP they shat on the EULA, twice, and thus got permabanned for that. Lets face it though, the scheme that they were running was converting ISK to real-life money so it was RMT in a roundabout-way. It might have been a roundabout way of doing it but the outcome was the same. SomerBlink gave out some of its huge ISK reserves and received dollars, pounds or euros in return for that in-game ISK.

Anyway onto the blog banter subject. Money.


Over here in the deepest hottest parts of the Middle Eastern desert we have bands playing in the bars. Whilst there are many bands, the set lists appear to be repetitive. One of the most ironic (yes thats what I mean, its not an auto-correct) is "Its not about the money". The band is singing those lyrics..... to a bar full of expats....... who are really only out here for one thing.......... the money.

And for people out here money has different meanings. There are a couple of hundred different nationalities here, each see cash differently. What if I told you salaries can be as low as 130 GBP/$217/165 Euro a month over here for working 6-days a week in construction or haulage. However you get bed and food included. Fancy coming out here? Probably not if you play Eve as you probably earn a lot more than that. However there is no shortage of people wanting these jobs. Why? Because back in their home countries, $20 per month is the average salary and you pay your own food and lodgings. Therefore one of these guys can come out here, work for 5 years, save like a MoFo and go home with the equivalent of 50 years salary. Yes its not the greatest five years you'll ever spend, but 50 years salary!!!! The point here is $20 can be a massive amount of money to some people and very little to others. You soon learn that lesson out here.

Now we get back to Eve. RMT sites sell ISK for something like $20 per billion I've heard on various blogs. Thats convenient as that was the average monthly salary for someone from the rural Indian sub-continent that I used above. If RMT was legal it would be massively popular to grind and sell ISK.

Suddenly Eve would be farmville. PLEX prices would rocket due to massive demand from farmers, inflation would go mad as the farmers farmed ISK and sold it cheap to players. We'd have more bots than the future portrayed in The Terminator. It could be nasty.


Do you want to work for a month in the fields or spend an hour or two farming ISK on a computer game (access to PC obviously the issue here, but for the sake of argument)? Eve player numbers could rocket, but that would be a bad thing as they'd be farmers and bots.

Yes, currently you can use ISK (converted to PLEX) to buy real-life things from CCP. Fanfest tickets, Collectors Edition Boxset and even as a trial a graphics card. However the thing here is that CCP had full control on everything. If for some reason the "PLEX for X" promotion was effecting the game negatively they could just stop it. This is not an issue,

You can also use ISK for 3rd party services. Rixx Javix will do you a nice killboard banner or signature for in-game currency. The guys over at Eve-kill will give you a killboard for the right amount of ISK. However none of these are putting food on their tables. At most they are paying for their subs and preventing them having to carebear to make in-game money. More likely, in the case of Rixx, its paying for shiny ships to terrorise the space lanes with. What I'm saying is that these are not encouraging rampant farming therefore not endangering the game.


If people could make a salary from farming in Eve, then we would be in big trouble. Currently CCP in-game policies are right with regard to RMT.

The last point is real life money for 3rd party services. What a can of worms! Let us not forget Eve Online is CCP's intellectual property. They need to control and protect their IP and take their share of profits it generates. Create a Star Wars game and charge for it, see how long before it all gets a bit "legal". As above, when real life money gets involved people get more, erm, passionate? A bit of website advertising should be allowed. Whilst this blog costs me nothing (and therefore I do not monetise) Chribba's sites like Eve-Offline, Eve-Agents and Eve-Files do cost to run (I assume) and therefore need income otherwise he's losing money.  So having a few adverts toi pay server costs should not be an issue. Now the big grey area is if he was to start a subscription service. If he was making big profit from CCP's IP I'm pretty sure there would be issues there. Similarly as others have found out when selling self-made Eve merchandise like T-Shirts and tried to sell them online (thinking more here online stores and not Fanfest Tweetfleet T's which are awesome). Its a minefield and not one I'm going to tackle here. I'll simply say:-

RMT = BAD!
"PLEX for Stuff" (under tight CCP control) = GOOD!
Making money from Eve = A can of worms to stay clear from!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

SCASSSS - Because of Falcon

I'm a pirate. I'm -10. I'll shoot anything that moves. However, 99.9% of my kills are combat ships in low-sec. I don't go to hi-sec, I don't kill carebears there. I'm not a big fan of suicide ganking but absolutely 100% agree it should be allowed. This is a space combat simulation. Just as you are not safe in the city centre and the police in real life cannot protect you 100%, the same should be in New Eden.

If you drive you fancy brand new car full of expensive goods down to the ghetto and get car-jacked, don't whine to the Police that they didn't stop it.

CCP Falcon is absolutely 100% spot on here.


Friday, August 29, 2014

The Escort - Part 2

Fiction Friday. Escape pod here.


The Escort - Part 2

The three entered the lobby near the lift, Cat and her man leading the way through the charred suite door with guns blazing. Jasmin was being shielded behind them. More masked gunmen fell before they could even return fire. The two capsuleers swept the lobby area and headed towards the stairs to check no more where coming up from there. There were broken ornaments and splintered wood all over the floor. Not to mention the bodies of the three they just killed plus the other that Cat had shot through the door seconds earlier.

Jasmin looked and almost laughed. Cat was standing at the top of the stairs looking down, her pistol pointed in front of her in both hands ready. Her pose made her look like some sort of super-cop, but she was wearing high heeled boots and a short, low-cut dress. It was a very bizarre sight.

"Clear!" Cat shouted. Her man was checking one of the bodies.

"Who are they?" Jasmin asked as he approached.

"Mercenaries." the man said turning one of the bodies over with his boot and squatting down to search it. "No uniform and the weapons are from all Empires. For fracks sake! What idiot brings an Ishukone assault rifle into a building shoot-out. Idiot!"


"Why are they here?" Jasmin asked Cat's lover, still staring at the dead bodies.

"I fight for the Gallente militia. Plenty of people would love to take out a militia capsuleer when he's out of his pod." he replied rising and then taking her by the arm and leading her to the stairs.

"They are Caldari State?" she said in a panic thinking of the implications of an entire government after her. Cat's man laughed.

"No." he replied looking down the stairwell as they descended. "The Caldari State or any of the Empires for that matter would never sanction a hit against a capsuleer out of his pod. They all rely massively on capsuleer support. If it got out that one of the Empires was trying to kill an immortal Empyrean they would loose all support from their own capsuleers. In fact the capsuleers would band together against them. Its likely some rich idiot has put out a contract. May be a mega-corp Executive. Thinks he's being patriotic and doing what the State cannot. There are rumours of a secret society, The Illuminated Ones. Rich assholes banding together to fight a secret war against us. Who knows, happens all the time."

They continued down the stairs to the 40th floor. Cat opened the stair-well door and peaked out. After she was sure it was clear they all entered the corridor. The three approached a room and entered.

"We always keep a separate room under a booking with a false name." Cat's man explained. "We could have stayed on the Capsuleer decks, we'd be untouchable there, but where's the fun in that?" he grinned.

He walked up to a big black bag on the table and pulled out a datapad. He started tapping away on it.

"We have to assume they have the ship covered." Cat stated.

"Yeah, I'm checking the other hangers on station. A bit short on Amarrian ships docked here so I guess I'm flying us out of here then." He smirked.

"Cannot you just go to the capsuleer decks now if they are so secure, and, erm, take me too?" Jasmin asked hopefully.

"They'll have the entrances covered for certain." Cat replied "Too obvious. Probably got snipers or bombs planted as there are only two ways up there from the standard station."

Cat went to the bag and removed a large gun. She checked the magazine and pulled the slider back.

"Come on. What you got?" she asked turning to her man.

"Closest is a small repair hanger on deck 30 zone D. Its some kind of horrid railgun fit but it should do the trick as it has an internal gantry, its a hybrid ship. Then its four easy jumps back to Nis." he said whilst grabbing the bag. "Ready?" he asked Jasmin.

Jasmin just looked shocked. "I don't even know your name!" she exclaimed.

"Call me Drac!" he replied with a smile as they left the room.

-o0o-

Drac and Jasmin crouched down behind trollies laidened with laundry. Ahead Cat could be seen talking to a young man dressed in the hotel uniform stood next to a small van. Jasmin watched as she flirted with him, smiling, touching his chest and arm and playing with her hair. They were on the level under the reception having taken a service elevator down to the staff area. It was more of a garage area where delivery trucks brought goods and took away waste and laundry. Jasmin watch Cat lean in and give a the young man a peck on the cheek which seemed to embarrass him. He moved to the back of a laundry truck and unlocked the door before moving to the front of the vehicle and turning his back. Cat waved to Drac and Jasmin to come and they jogged to the back of the truck and climbed in closing the door behind them.

Two minutes later the truck swung out of the hotel 'basement' and onto the street. As on many space-stations, the layout was much like a built-up city. Narrow streets with vehicles, sidewalks and crossings. Multi-story buildings rose eitherside before the ceiling stopped them going any higher. Drac peaked out of one of the small windows as they cleared the hotel.

"Two tangos watching the service exit. These guys are pro's." he stated. "How far is your new boyfriend taking us?"

Cat grabbed a bag of linen and through it at him.

"Deck 28, but zone A. Apparently this vehicle is tracked and he cannot take a detour. We need to go up two levels and across the station."

The ride took nearly half an hour as the small truck wound its way though the station streets and bumped down the steep ramps that connected the vast decks. Eventually the truck stopped. The three heard the door being unlocked. Jasmin noticed that Drac had drawn his gun but had discretely hidden it under a sheet. The doors opened and light spilled into the truck. The young man was stood there smiling. Discreetly Drac holstered the weapon seeing that they appear to have escaped.

"Thank you baby." Cat purred as she climbed out.

"There's another woman in there! You said you needed my help to smuggle you and your lover out of the hotel as your husband was in the lobby!" the young man protested.

"Lover? Sorry, I meant lovers. They both are."

The young mans face was a mix of shock, surprise and arousal. Cat surpressed a laugh as she climbed down onto the street.

"But... but... I thought...." the boy stammered. Cat smiled.

"Just watch. Your reward." she whispered as she grabbed Jasmin and kissed her deeply. The young mans mouth fell open as he watched the two women kiss. After a few seconds they parted.


"OK all done? Right lets move!" ordered Drac and the three headed down the road leaving the young man stood by the truck holding his hands together over the front of his pants with a look of shock on his face.

-o0o-

It had taken them nearly an hour to cross the station, sticking to back alleys and quiet streets with no cameras. Once on the correct side of the station they then had hacked a keypad on a maintenance stairwell to ascended the two decks to arrive at the maintenance hanger. The blue-grey Merlin class attack frigate was hovering in position. Its 200mm railguns could be seen in their locked down position. Technicians and service-drones could be seen milling around the cavernous hanger.

"What now?" Cat asked.

"Its a Hybrid ship. It has an internal pod gantry. We need to get inside and get the hell out of here. I've already sent a message, more suitable ships are waiting for us if we need them, but we need to get off station first. That is the problem getting to the ship, as soon as we're spotted Rent-A-Cop is going to be all over is."

The three surveyed the scene and sat in silence as they thought.

"Feck it, lets do the DYKWIA trick!" Drac said finally.

Jasmin stood with them not knowing what they were on about. She was shocked as they strode out of the shadows and started casually walking towards the ship in plain sight of everyone. She saw serveral technicians pushing hover trolleys stop and look at the strange threesome walking towards the ship. Turning her head she spotted two men jogging towards them in uniforms from the direction of the office near the main entrance. They had guns strapped to their legs and were waving their arms. Drac and Cat ignored their shouts and continued walking casuaully to the ship. Eventually the guards caught up and stood in their way.

"Stop! This is a restricted area!"

"You don't say!" snapped Drac. "But even with a restricted area we have entered unchallenged and walked 80% of the hanger to our ship before you and fatso got here." he nodded to the other, slightly overweight guard.

"You are going to have to leave." snarled the guard placing his hand on his gun. Drac burst into laughter.

"Really? You are going to shoot a capsuleer? Ace career move you dick. Don't you know who I am?" Drac's tone turned from jovial to menacing in seconds. The guards visibily gulped. Cat turned around and pulled her long hair back. The implant sockets running the length of her spine were clearly visible.

"We're in a good mood, so you have a whole two seconds to get out of my fracking way otherwise I'll have you strung up behind the frigates thusters and barbeque you both as I leave!" Dra snarled "And you know I'm not joking!".

Both men jumped out of his way and they marched on.

"So, how long we got?" Cat whispered.

"About 2 minutes before they get back, wonder what Empryeans are doing away from the Capsuleer decks, check and realise this is not our ship." Drac whispered back as they climbed the cargo ramp into the frigate. Drac hit the close button as they entered the cargo bay. The ramp slowly started to close behind them.

"Your Squid frigate skills are better than mine." Cat said "I'll take Jasmin to the bridge, you get goo'd up!"

Drac nodded and they entered a lift and he hit two buttons on the control panel. As the lift was climbing Dra started to strip off his clothing. Jasmin looked at him puzzled. He smiled and winked at her as he pulled the last of his clothes off and stood their naked with his hands on his hips. Cat rolled her eyes at Jasmin.

"What?" Dra protested. "Saves time when I get there." he grinned slowly swaying his hips.

The lift door opened and Jasmin looked out to a metal catwalk that extended towards the olive-green capsule which was splayed open. Drac ran down the walkway and turned around so he had his back to the capsule. Jasmin saw metalic tenticles snake out of the pod and towards Drac's back. As the lift doors started to close she shifted position so she could catch the last fasinating glimpse as the tenticles appeared to disappear into his back and lifted Drac off the floor as his head fell backwards seamingly unconscience.

"What's it like?" Jasmin asked as the lift continued up. Cat appeared to ponder that for a moment.


"What? Podding up? Its a bit difficult to describe. One moment you are flesh and blood and the next you ARE the ship. You can feel the power running through the conduits. You can hear the ghostly echos of the crew. Its, well its difficult to describe. Leaving the pod is actually the worst bit. Suddenly all that power is gone, you are back to being a vulnerable sack of meat, not to mention first feeling like you are drowning and then violently throwing up."

"Sounds rough" Jasmin said.

"Yes and no. Trust me, nothing compares to the feeling of being connected to a ship. The power you feel when you are flying a carrier or dreadnought. Its indescribable."

Before they could say anymore the lift doors hissed open and they entered a small bridge. Cat quickly ran to the large chair in the centre and sat down. She hit a few buttons and the bridge lit up. Jasmin sat in the seat next to her, being careful not to touch the rows of unknown buttons in front of her.

"You in baby?" Cat called into the air.

"Snug as a Hekian bug in a rug. Undocking sequence confirmed but the alarms have been raised. Sounds like the two security idiots have realised they should have stopped us. We'll be in the big black soon but I'm guessing the mercs are monitoring the stations alarm network and high-tailing it here right now. They are going to be too late, undocking is confirmed and cannot be stopped, but its not capsuleer undocking so going to take us a few minutes. Just hope they don't turn up with any heavy artillery!"

"He can hear us?" Jasmin asked.

"Yes, he IS the ship now." Cat replied with a smile.

"My, my, Jasmin's arse feels fantastic in that chair!" Dra's voice echo'd through the bridge. This caused Jasmin to leap from the seat in shock with a squeal. Cat almost fell out of her chair laughing.

"He's joking. We are not THAT sensitively attuned to the ship." Cat said still laughing. "You can sit in the chair, don't worry, he cannot really feel you."

An alarm went off in the bridge.

"Frack. How the hell can there be a target lock in the launch tube?" Cat cursed.

Drac's voice was heard over the speakers. "Its behind us, someone in the hanger is locking on."

The ship shook slightly.

"Really? A personnel swarm launcher verses a starship. I take that back about them being pro's before!" Drac's laughter echoed through the bridge.

The viewscreen lit up with the view from behind the ship as it slowly moved down the massive launch tube away from the hanger edge. Far back, on the edge of the docking platform two men could be seen stood facing the ship. One had something on his shoulder. There was a flash from the device and a number of rockets could be seen streaking towards the ship. White smoke bellowing as the missiles corkscrewed towards them. Cat look at Jasmin who appeared terrified.

"Relax. Its like firing a potato gun at a tank!" she reassured her. The ship slightly trembled.

"Oh noes. Shields at 98.5%. What are we going to do?" Drac's voice mocked dramatically. "Ah frack it. Nobody fires at me and my girls like that!"

Lights lit up on a console in front of Cat and Jasmin. The view screen zoomed in on the two men who were busy reloading the launcher together. A red circle appeared around them. Then there was a flash. It took a few seconds for the screen to clear. When it did there was a large smoking crater blown out of the edge of the dock and the two men were nowhere to be seen. Just a hole and glowing molten metal.

The screen flashed back to the front of the ship as they emerged from the launch tube into space.

"Setting course for Heyd gate."

The ship swung around and Jasmin got a good look at the massive station before it vanished and the ship slipped into warp. Space thundered pass them as they travelled at many times the speed of light towards the distant stargate. Whilst Jasmin had seen warp tunnels in the past, she'd always been looking out of a side window. To see it head on was an amazing sight. Within seconds the ship began to slow having crossed millions of kilometres in a short period. The massive stargate loomed into view.


"Ooooo welcoming committee!" Drac said as they returned to sub-light speeds "Four other Merlins and a couple of Kestrels."

The other ships were clearly visible circling the gate. Alarms went off in the bridge signifying tactical locks. Their ship sped up and started to approach the stargate. A louder alarm went off and the ship shook. Still Drac piloted the ship towards the gate ploughing through the incoming fire. Flashes erupted as the other ships activated the gate and vanished into artificial wormholes.

"Where are they going?" asked Jasmin.

"They are jumping. These amateurs are convinced that Drac is going to jump. They have left one guy here to use a warp disruptor on us. Fatal mistake." Cat said smugly.

Suddenly their Merlin turned in a tight radius and aligned back out towards the station. The ship shuddered as the powerful railguns spat hybrid charges at the one remaining enemy.

"Right now that pilot is screaming we have agressed him and he needs back up. His friends are trying to get back to the stargate the other side as quickly as possible. They aren't going to make it." Cat said with a smile.

On the screen, the other ship exploded in a fireball as the final volley of railgun charges slammed into it. The alarms slienced and Cat saw the warp tunnel start to form in front of the ship. Seconds later they were travelling faster than light.

"Right we know what they have. We're on the way to the rendezvous! They've got them ready for us." Drac's disembodied voice stated. "Cat, get our guest ready, I'll eject on landing."

"OK. Jasmin, I need you to listen carefully. I need you to man the bridge...." Cat stated.

"Where are you going?" Jasmin asked in a panic.

"Calm down. I need to jump in an escape pod. We have a plan but you need to stay here. Don't worry, you only have one button to press and one read-out to monitor and tell us what it says. We'll have an open comm channel all the time so we can speak to each other. This here is the FCoC, the fleet co-ordination console, in a few minutes a message will pop up here, all you need to do is...."

-o0o-

"Is that Merlin still on long-scan?"

"Yes sir. But, they could just warp back to station at any ime. They'd dock this time in the Capsuleer decks and we'd not be able to get them." the ensign replied.

"Well they haven't. They are still in space and we need to keep at them. Only one of two targets can be inside the pod. That means if we destroy that ship we will perminantly kill one of them and we can claim at least half the reward."

The Captain settled back down into his chair as his men scanned for the Merlin. His mercenry outfit had been offered ten million credits for each Gallente Militia capsuleer they killed outside their pod. Killing an Empyrean was difficult, but not impossible. As the targets had stolen a frigate with a pod gantry he was sure one of them had "podded-up". The ease at which they beat one of his ships suggested it was indeed a capsuleer in their pod piloting the Merlin. They needed the kill, his crew hadn't been paid in a month. The last pod-jockey they'd killed had been six months ago. That reward split between his 50 soldiers should have lasted them a year. However they had partied hard and blown it. They needed another payday soon.

"Sir, Merlin on short-range scan!"

The Captain clapped his hands together.

"Red alert. Talon 1, 2 and 5. Point it this side of the gate. Talon 3 and 6 get ready to jump but only when he does."

"Merlin landing sir..... 100 off!" the Ensign shouted.

The Captain banged his fist into the console. The Merlin had dropped out of warp 100km from the gate. Well out of range of their weapons and warp disruptors.

"Sir, he's aligning... slowly..... he's speeding up.... Sir.... he warped to the sun!"

"EVERYONE WARP TO THE SUN NOW!" the Captain screamed "WARP TO ZERO!"

The six vessels jumped to warp speed in seconds, heading to the sun. All navi-coms were equiped with co-ordinates of all major celestrial objects. "Warping to zero" to a planet, star or asteroid belt actually led to a set of co-ordinates near to that location but a safe distance away. It was a common mistake made by capsuleers. When in a panic or trying to escape, the systems sun was always an easy target. Easy, but also obvious. The Captain was leaning forward in his seat as the sun filled the viewscreen and they dropped out of warp.

"Sir. We just overshot the Merlin, he warped to 100 again and..... and there is a Dragoon class destroyer at the co-ordinates sir, we're landing 3km off it. I've also got a Thrasher class destroyer 15km away. Its....."

The bridge went quiet as the viewscreen showed Talon 2 explode in a ball of fire. Alarms went off as the Dragoon destroyer locked warp scramblers on each of the frigates and launched a flight of deadly drones. Talon 5 was next to explode in a single volley from the Thrasher.

"Sir.... the Merlin is stationary but I'm not showing it as capsuleer controlled. We've got a proper scan on it and I'm showing no capsuleer pilot present. The targets sir, they are now in the two destroyers. I'm also reading Federal Police Comets on short scan... they are landing on the Merlin. Confirmed, the capsuleers are not on the Merlin sir!"

"Of course they are not you idiot!" the Captain grumbled. "They swapped to destroyers at a safe and have been 'fleet warping' that unpiloted Merlin about so we'd give chase. What a way to die, alpha'd by a Cockbag Thrasher after chasing an unpiloted Merlin straight into an obvious trap."

Those were the Captains last words. The seven 220mm artillery cannons on the Thrasher rumbled as they spat their deadly EMP charges. The target was vapourised in an instant.


As the last frigate exploded the two destroyers warped away just as the security services started boarding the Merlin.

-o0o-

The Present....

"Next thing I know your officers are storming into the bridge of that ship pointing guns at me and then hauling me here!" Jasmin finished.

"Wow that is quite a tail Ms Dufort."

"Its the truth" Jasmin said crossing her arms defensively.

"Well I'm afraid I don't believe you. You can tell that fairtail to the judge and he can throw your pretty ass in jail. Whilst I don't believe you got frisky with a hot immortal egger, I do KNOW that you are going to have some interesting experiences with a one-ton-desiel-suckin'-croptop-dyke in the pen whilst you're doing ten to fifteen. So for the last time...." The door to the interview room being opened cut him off.

"What the frack! I am in the middle of a interview here you.... erm, ma'am?"

A woman strode into the room. She appeared to be mid-40's and wearing a power suit. She had a stern look on her face.

"Detective, this is Ms Dufort's legal advisor, Landis Lesauvage."

Both the detective and Jasmin looked stunned. They'd both heard of Landis Lesauvage who was one of the most famous defense attorneys in the Gallente legal system. Landis Lesauvage didn't respond, he was simply busy talking into his datapad.

"Ma'am, what's going on. She cannot afford him!" he said quietly pointing to Jasmin. Jasmin looked on in utter confusion not knowning what was going on.

"Did she mention anything about two capsuleers?" the Captain snapped to the Detective.

"Well, yes she did, but surely you don't believe...." stammered the Detective.

"Shit!" exclaimed the Captain slapping her palm to her forehead in fustration. The Detective's face dropped at the thought there may be an element of truth in the suspects story.

"Its for you." Landis Lesauvage held out the datapad and the Detective took it. His face a visage of worry. Why would he pass a call over to him? Jasmin, the Captain, Landis Lesauvage and the detectives partner listened on as the Detective placed the device to his ear.

"This is Detective Gautier."
"Sir! My.... I am honored to......"
"Yes sir."
"No sir."
"But we have...."
"No sir."
"No, absolutely not sir."
"No sir."
"Yes sir!"
"Yes she is. Right away sir."

The Detective looked terrified as he handed the datapad to his Captain.

"Ma'am. It is Poire Viladillet, CEO of Quafe. She would like a word with you." the Detective stated sheepishly. The Captains eyes went wide. She gingerly placed the datapad to the side of her head.

"Sir!" the Captain said crisply into the pad.
"Yes sir. Absolutely!"
"No, sir I completely understand."
"Yes sir. And if I could just say that..... hello? Sir?"

The Captain handed the datapad back to Landis Lesauvage sheepishly.

"Well Captain, Detective. I believe we are done here. Ms Dufort would you please come with me, I have your transportation waiting outside."

Jasmin just stood in shock. She looked at the Detective and the Captain who gave her a weak smile. Landis Lesauvage strode commandingly to the exit ignoring everyone else with Jasmin falling in behind him. As they exited the Security Office into the station boulevard she came up alongside him.

"What just happened there? I cannot afford you!" she protested. "I've seen you on the holovids. You do celebrities and politicians. Not people like me! I cannot pay a fraction of the fees you must charge!"

"And you don't need to." Landis said with a wirely smile "My fee is already paid in full. For as to what happened, these small town cops have no business sticking their noses into Empryean matters. A quick call to the CEO of the mega-corp that owns this station was all that was needed. Anyway, your ride is here. Good day Ms Dufort". With the briefest of nods Landis turned and walked away leaving Jasmin stood in confusion. She glanced to where he indicated to before he left. At the side of the street a long black limo was waiting. She recognised the driver immediately. As she approached Jean-Luc doffed his cap with a smile and opened the door so she could climb in. As she did she realised the back of the car wasn't empty. Cat and Drac were sat in the seats facing her.


"Are you OK?" Cat asked concerned.

"Yes. I am fine. Must say this is the most interesting assignment I've ever had." she laughed. "More than enough excitement for one day!"

"Are you sure about that?" Drac asked. "We just wired 100,000 credits to your agency to book you for the next 48 hours." As he said this Cat slid seductively across the cabin and sat next to Jasmin.

"Its up to you, the money is yours regardless for what you've been through." Cats hand stroked Jasmins leg slowly "However, I was bitterly dissapointed we never got to finish what we started. Only this time we'll be going somewhere a little more secure."

"Well....." said Jasmin "I guess a bit more excitement wouldn't hurt." With that she pushed Cat down on the leather seat, crawled on top of her and kissed her deeply as Drac looked on.


The End

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Completely Out of Fried Calamari

On Tuesday, Ladister, the final Caldari held system in the warzone fell to the Gallente Militia. This was the second total domination in recent history with the Gallente capturing the entire warzone back in early 2013. Oddly enough it was Ladister that was the last system to fall last time too. In fact I even made picture the last time it was like that!


However this won't last for long. It never does. Faction war is like Battlestar Gallactica or The Matrix. This has all been before, it will be again etc etc.

The problem is now is that the Gallente are now officially bored. Many of us have been very bored the last month or so with a lack of war targets as the squids were pushed back. However the capturing of systems has kept many going. Now there are no more systems to capture and Caldari numbers in space will be at their lowest point. Squid LP is on a 50% nerf whilst the Gallente are swimming in them.
  • There is no one to fight.
  • There are no systems to capture.
  • LP prices are getting low.

So what now? Well the same as always.

Gallente players will get bored and go do something else. The Gallente LP crash will lead to all the farmers swapping back to the Caldari who's LP price will be rocketing with low supply. With lots of farmers and low levels of Gallente militia the Caldari will start capturing systems. Soon the Caldari will be level on systems. Word will get around and Gallente PvP pilots will come back. Fights will start, systems will be traded and we'll be back to peak fighting.

As I see it, the Caldari get too many farmers. Caldari LP store goods are too popular with Level 4 Mission Farmers (shield tank, missile damage) so they will always have more farmers due to the profit you can make from the squid LP store due to demand. This lets them get a lot of victory points, but that only gets you so far. Taking systems requires a bunker bust and no farmer is interested in that. Poor LP reward verse time and risk, plus if you capture the system you cannot farm LP as easy. So what we end up with is lots of vulnerable Gallente systems, but no one does that last bit and captures the system.

What we need is bigger incentives to fight and lower LP for plain farming.


What has been suggested in the past is that LP from offensive plexing is stored in your own personal kity. All LP have a life of 30 days. If they are not claimed in those 30 days they vanish. In order to claim the LP you need to capture the system. If the system is not captured, then those LP just fade away into the big black. No more LP farming, you have to bring the fight! This would lead to increased fighting and reduced farming.... I think.

A lot of the issues with faction war we have brought on ourselves. We asked, CCP gave, we realised after the change there were unforseen consequences. Will this lead to better PvP in faction war, or would it lead to armies of farmers working together on both sides to keep flipping systems back and forth to claim LP?

I'd hate to be CCP. The players of their game are all cunning bastards!


Monday, August 25, 2014

Does Eve Online Make You Mistrustful?

I play a few games currently. One of which is Stronghold Kingdoms. Its a MMO strategy game. You start off with one village and a castle and rise up the ranks from Village Idiot to Crown Prince. As you go along you found new villages (or capture them), research technology and improve you parish(es) whilst fighting off NPC's. Of course you are surrounded by other players who might seek to attack but for the most part its a village management/farming/PvE game....

Until war comes.


I had joined a Faction (corp) who were part of a House (alliance) after falling in with a group. At the weekend our House went to war with another House. Unfortunately for me, my cluster of villages and castles was located right in the middle of the house we went to war with. I was utterly surrounded. No help, near I was buggered. It was sort of like going to war with the CFC where you yave one system right in the middle of Goon territory. Not good!

The war came out of the blue as I slept. On waking up Saturday morning I found an army already advancing on one of my castles. I was able to play some cards (think burn cards in Titanfall) and being online meant I was able to defeat the attack.

I got an email from the guy as another army started to advance.

He was apologising for attacking me saying it was nothing personal!


I started to interdict my own villages. This is basically using monk units to 'reinforce' a village and castle so it cannot be attacked. As a bit of a newb I was sending monks from one village to the other. I got an email from the same guy again telling me there was a way to use the monks in a village to interdict that village and therefore didn't use travel time.

A war target, attacking me, was giving me advice during the attack on how to stop the attacks!

A while later I got an email from a different guy from my war targets. He was wanting to know how we could work together so I didn't have all my villages razed and pillaged. Seriously, my war targets are helping me in the war? WTF?

Obviously this is so far removed from Eve its unbelievable. In the past I've chatted to a guy I've killed and given him advice, but never during the fighting. I've never been battering a guy and then posted in local "If you get in a tight orbit I won't be able to hit you. Try it!".

Its not the first time I've seen such a massive difference between Eve and other MMOGs. Joining a faction in SK was simple apply and accept. In Eve, well....


Is it because I've played Eve for six years I am now a paranoid gamer? I have no trust in my fellow gamer and expect everything to be a trap and them to shit on me at every possible opportunity?

Not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing?