Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Looking Ahead into 2014

Happy New Year! Hope you aren't suffering too badly after last night.

So what does 2014 hold for us? Well we don't really know. CCP these days are keeping their cards close to their chest. Since "POS-Rage-Gate", CCP has been really careful about suggesting any plans. Fanfest 2012 was "Look at this that we would like to do, isn't this cool!" but Fanfest was 2013....... 

"Details on anything? Nope! Not after the POS revamp rage! You'll only cry if we throw an idea out there, you love it and then we find we cannot do it!!! Instead here is Seagull with some flowery words and lots of mentions of the word 'imagine'."

We do know in 2014 that capsuleers will get more 'power' and do stuff that NPC's used to do. There is that SoE battleship. We are also getting new space... where ever that may be. So what could 2014 hold for us? Here are my hopes and my fears for Eve Online in 2014.

Hope - T3 Frigates
CCP has said they wanted to do more T3 hull sizes and that frigates would probably be next as they would be accessible to most. As a Faction War pilot I spend most my time in frigates and destroyers. A T3 frigate sounds fun!

Fear - Fanfest is DUSTfest
My personal opinion is that Fanfest 2012 was better than Fanfest 2013. 2013 had far too much DUST, and certainly very little information about the future of Eve. I swear if I see that picture of Badgers building stargates again or hear the word "Imagine....." again I'll scream.

Hope - Player Created Skill Books
Currently all skill books are either seeded onto the market or bought by LP. What if players could buy 'blank' skill books and could 'download' a copy of the skill into them. You'd need the skill to download at level 5 and you'd need special skills to 'write' the book. But that could be an interesting side-line for many players especailly in low and null sec.

Fear - More Help for the Risk Adverse.
The Mittani.com leaked a post someone made after getting some data off the developer server 'Chaos'. This guy previously predicted RHML and the SoE ships before CCP announced them so he has been right in the past. The deployable structures of D-Scan disruptor and decoy unit appears to be another step to reducing risk in low-sec. The stabbed and cloaky farmers are fapping themselves silly at news of these potential new deployables. People defending their home system will have to warp and enter each plex in turn potentially to check for targets. Pain in the posterior of the highest order.

Hope - DUST514 Becomes a Good Game
I dusted off my PS3 on Monday (pun intended). I had 10gb spare bandwidth at the end of the month so was time to try DUST514 again with its 2.4gb patch!. I enjoy console FPS games and have a 360 too. I started playing DUST in January 2013... and I didn't like it. December 2013 and I still don't like it. I want to like it! I am an Eve Universe fanboy! But the fact is the controls are clunky, the skills and fitting too complicated especially fitting using the gamepad. Movement is not fluid. Grenades behave 'oddly' and teams are not balanced. I played a few games, came to the conclusion its not really gone anywhere in the last few months and packed the PS3 away again. Will try in March time again.... if it is still running. Eve-Offline shows its maxing out at 3,500 peak users. Not a lot for a free "AAA" game!

Fear - Faction War gets no Love
Currently the risk vs reward of Eve Online is very broken in Faction War. You can make 100m ISK per hour easy with a one week old toon, on their Alpha Clone in a stabbed 1m ISK frigate. Currently CCP don't appear to care, and with the development plans moving on, I fear nobody is going to look at Faction War for a long time. We're up to our necks in farmers who won't fight. It's more Benny Hill Online than Eve Online most nights.

Hope - Incarna
I know we'll not get proper walking in stations in 2014 but Hilmar did make reference that we might hear something "May be next year." at Fanfest. I don't want meaningful Avatar gameplay. I don't want anything complex. Just open that door, give us a communal bar where we can deal boosters and shoot the breeze. Put a population cap on the bar (just like the Celtic Cross) if the technology isn't there! Instance the bars! Create corp only bars. Do something!

Fear - The New Space is 0.0 Mk II
Will the 'new space' to be introduced just be 0.0 mark II? The decent areas will be taken by the huge power blocs and the useless areas will be left for the smaller alliances. Will there be wonder and excitement like when wormhole space was opened up.... or will it just be an empty waste land?

Monday, December 30, 2013

Best Tears of 2013

Eve has 'meaningful' PvP. When you die you lose everything that was fitted to your ship. If you are in a fleet and your side holds the field you might be able to salvage a few bits and pieces that didn't get destroyed, but if you are solo or the enemy fleet held the field, its likely they have looted your wreck. This makes PvP intense and exciting. It also makes for some amazing tears.

Another thing is that we get a lot of farmers up our way. People who have SIGNED UP FOR FACTION WAR but don't want to fight and get very emotional when you pop them, especially when you catch one of their triple-stabbed, trash fit, t1 frigates. "I didn't ask for PvP!" they blub.... and then get a bit more aggressive when you point out that they did by signing up for faction WAR.

Both of these combined make for some interesting local 'chats' post-fight. I try to be nice in-game. If I kill someone I give a 'gf' even if it wasn't (i.e. my arty Thrasher alpha'd them before they could say "wtf...."). It goes both ways and if I walk into a trap and the 'solo fight' I thought I was getting turns into a 'Drackarn Gang-Bang', I'll still "gf". However, many others like to be more..... expressive... in local.

Luckily we have a thread on our forums for posting the best tears.... because sharing is caring. Here are some of my favourites from 2013 (with the crying party's names shortened to their first letter). These are all either directed at me (when my name is mentioned) or to a fellow Quantum Cats Syndicate pilot.

WARNING - Naughty words are used by some of the 'victims'.

Sometimes it is short:-

[08:33:05] Drackarn > gf
[08:33:09] Deryn Angrard > gf
[08:33:14] C > diaf

Sometimes it is very short:-

[19:07:21] Drackarn > gf
[19:08:13] J > faggot

Sometimes they like to make their point a few times just in case you missed the homophobic slur the first time as a corpie found out here:-

[19:30:31] T > fag
[19:30:33] chatgris > gf
[19:30:48] T > FAG
[19:31:30] T > double fag (Dracks note - I love the 42 second delay here, he must have been thinking hard for his next insult)

This next one was because I was chasing a squid farmer around Hirri, he wouldn't fight and simply warped off when I got point, multiple stabs! Second squid came in I thought I'd 1v2 them, my Incursus verses their Merlin and Incursus. Nope, they both ran, both were multi-stabbed. So..... time for the Amarrian alt in the twin scram Breacher. I killed the Merlin first and then the Incurus second. The Incursus pilot was was OK about it, gave in local a "gf" and convo'd my alt to ask why the purple-on-purple? As we chat with me explaining why (use stabs in Faction War and I'll use underhand tactics to catch you), local is scrolling... in Russian. Please forgive the Google Translate and I removed my alts name too. Also remember this guy just lost a T1 trash-fit Merlin...

[05:36:04] R > XXXXXXXXXX
[05:37:57] R > I own (Dracks note - I assume this was aimed at my alt and is supposed to be "This is my plex, please go away and find your own")
[05:38:07] R > no
[05:38:23] R > no
[05:38:45] R > no
[05:39:35] R > XXXXXXXXXX deductible fucking cancer
[05:39:56] Drackarn> Don't fit stabs
[05:40:01] R > nit
[05:40:24] R > XXXXXXXXXX sucker for what?
[05:40:59] R > XXXXXXXXXX answer goof
[05:41:22] R > Drackarn asshole
[05:41:31] R > fagot

This one here defies belief really. We are playing a computer game about internet spaceships.....

[12:03:12] Tzenick > gf
[12:03:17] N > OMFG
[12:03:48] N > It's the damnation in system.
[12:04:22] N > No gf.
[12:04:33] Tzenick > ok
[12:04:40] N > None
[12:04:44] Tzenick > rgr
[12:04:50] Tzenick > Have a nice day
[12:04:53] N > I hope you kill your family in a car accident and survive.
[12:05:01] Tzenick > Really.
[12:05:02] Mehashi 'Kho > lmfao
[12:05:02] Mezo Rage > Nasty stuff

Mr P below believes in 1v1's. The fact that he likes to use faction frigates against normal T1 frigates is not the point. Seriously! A faction frigate verses a T1 frigate is a fair 1v1 fight in his eyes! So when he attacks one of our deplexing toons in our home system (he never asked for a 1v1, just thought he could get a quick gank) and two more come to the rescue (me and another 'Cat)..... well that is just unfair! I think I may have had a drink with this one... I tend to answer back a bit when I'm merry!

[07:36:01 ] Drackarn > gf
[07:36:19 ] P > garbage fight not one piece of shit in this game can 1v1 your garbage
[07:36:28 ] P > circle jerk fags
[07:36:52 ] Drackarn > Oooo nice one for the "rage" forum thread
[07:36:56 ] Dr Wilson > What the heck did I walk into !?
[07:37:09 ] P > a bunch of bitchs
[07:37:19 ] Chuck Sanussi > Kill: P (Republic Fleet Firetail) dude
[07:37:23 ] Drackarn > Tears, lovely sweet tears

Of course the QCats invented the Cockbag Thrasher. The insta-lock/high-alpha one-man gate camp. Not everyone appreciates it tho...

[01:19:16] E > i really
[01:19:18] E > really hate gate camps
[01:19:30] Shadow Adanza > Just a one-man camp here.
[01:19:42] E > like legit, i don't care if i die 100 times in actual combat, but gate camping is for nigers and faggots
[01:20:05] Shadow Adanza > Have a good evening. ^_^
[01:20:12] E > bags of dicks
[01:20:14] E > choke on them

He mad, bro....

19:11:45] Rabugento > gf my friend
[19:11:50] C > Rabugento fuck u bonus fag
[19:11:59] C > Rabugento stupid noob
[19:12:09] Rabugento > you hurt my feelings
[19:12:20] C > i piss to u dface
[19:12:26] Tzenick > I think he lokes you rab
[19:12:33] C > u noob)
[19:12:36] Tzenick > likes
[19:12:37] C > Tzenick u noob
[19:12:43] C > samurais faggots
[19:12:49] Rabugento > ;3

Apparently we cheat in FW too! If we find a war target trying to capture a plex we are supposed to sit and wait whilst he deals with the NPC rat.....

b > so cheeszy
b > so cheesy
Takahara Omari > gf
b > no
b > you cheated
Takahara Omari > hows that?
b > you engaged while I was dealing with a cruiser mob
Takahara Omari > thats an NPC right?

Apparently drones are a bad weapons system...

[13:11:31] Tzenick > gf
[13:11:50] M > not really
[13:11:52] M > drones are fucking weak
[13:12:12] Tzenick > They are fine just get used to them
[13:12:32] M > fuck you
[13:12:41] M > w8 there ill be back
[13:12:44] M > im my fucking
[13:12:47] M > loki
[13:12:53] Tzenick > Dude calm down
[13:13:07] Tzenick > What crawled up his shorts

So there you go. A selection of rage and tears directed at me and my fellow QCats from the year that was 2013. I would point out we rarely kill carebears. If you are mining or ratting in low-sec, well, you know the risk. The vast majority (if not all) of the above are "PvP'rs". It just makes the mind boggle doesn't it....

Sunday, December 29, 2013

SCASSSS - I am the 648th Most Vicious Killer!

Welcome to the last Special Sunday Short of 2013!

I made an Eve Online New Years Resolution last year at this time.

The 'other' kill board, BattleClinic, awards points for kills and displays your rank against other players. For years I had been hovering just outside the top 5,000 pilots in Eve. Yeah, not really much to shout about is it. So I decided that for 2013 my 'Eve goal' would be to get into the top 5,000. Now whilst I violenced plenty of important internet spaceships I wasn't getting many points on BattleClinic. Here is my simple understanding of how it works.

Each ship has a points value. Blow that ship up you get those points. Get blown up, you lose the points of your ship. Kill points minus loss points equals your score.

Simple? No!

Because BC is smart, it adjusts the points depending on what ship you use. For example if you engage an original destroyer in an original destroyer and kill it you will get standard points. If you engage that destroyer in a T1 frigate and kill it, you will get more points. If you use a cruiser, you will get less points.

Then we get onto friends. If there are multiple people on the kill the points are shared and affected by the largest hull type. So if you snag a cruiser and you are all in T1 frigates then you'll still get some decent points there even if there are a couple of you. If one of your mates warps in with a battlecruiser and helps, the points will be seriously reduced.

A few examples of my fights recently:-

Thrasher vs Thrasher - 20 Points
Thrasher vs Algos - 30 Points (the new destroyers are more points than the original destroyers)
Thrasher vs Merlin - 10 Points
Thrasher vs Slicer - 25 Points (Faction frigates are higher points)

So those are solo kills. I looked at some small gang fights and I was getting 3-5 points per kill with around 4 fleet mates on the kill-mail. Basically in a fleet fight you get a fraction of the points you get solo.

Best one I have seen to explain this was an interceptor in null-sec who found a Dreadnought trying, and failing, to fit through a stargate. The interceptor (or was it a frigate?) engaged and in the end the dread pilot got board and self-destructed. The pilot got 666 points for this 'kill'.

You also 'lose' points for being killed. This works in the same way. If you get blobbed by larger ships you won't lose many points. If you get solo'd by a 'lesser' class of ship you'll lose a lot more.

Anyway, the TL;DR is this:- If you want better BC ranking fly solo and kill bigger/superior ships than you are flying.

So basically thats what I started to do more. Rather than asking what people were doing and were there any fleets up when I logged on, I'd jump in a ship and roam. I'd still be on comms and still would help out when needed, but I solo'd a lot more regularly.

In January I broke into the top 5,000. New Years Resolution resolved in first month. However, I have been continuing and now, as they year draws to the end I am ranked 648th on BattleClinic. This is not great when you look that I have a corp mates in the top ten, the Quantum Cats Syndicate has some really ruthless killers! But for me, I'm pleased.

Friday, December 27, 2013

A Mining Town Called Reykjaa - Murder on Market Day

Fiction Friday! Escape pod here.

A Mining Town Called Reykjaa - Murder on Market Day

Dawish entered the bar and was immediately struck by the noise. Half of the town were there and the mood was excitable. An Outer Ring Excavation barge had landed at the starport. It was here to collect the raw Promethium ore from the mines. Usually these barges arrived once a month however due to scheduling conflicts it had been nearly two months since the last one visited. However, the barges didn't just arrive to take the mines output away. They also brought the crew to town.

Like many of the settlements the barges visited, Reykjaa was remote. In fact it was very remote, located in a dead-end solar system deep in Minmatar null-sec. No trade routes passed through the system, no merchants visited, no tourists came here. Therefore getting goods imported was ridiculously expensive. The crew of the ORE barges had come to realise this and that they could make a profit on goods they took for granted in high-sec. Each member of the barge crew would specialise in one type of goods that residents of back-water settlements would want. When in Empire space each crewman would fill their small quarters with as much merchandise as they could. Then, whilst the barge was docked at these remote settlements and being loaded with raw ore, the crew would set up 'shop' in the local bar. For a few hours the settlement's residents could barter and buy goods that they wouldn't normally have access to.

As Darwish wandered across to the bar he saw one of the ORE crew ascending the stairs with two of scantily-clad women that worked the bar. He glanced at the bar where Wilhelm, the owner of the establishment, was looking through assorted boxes piled high. Occasionally he would pull out a bottle to inspect before putting it back. It was usually the most senior member of the barge crew who took the alcohol side of the business. It was by far the most lucrative. Whilst most frontier settlements brewed their own beer and whiskey from locally grown produce, there was always great demand for proper Amarrian wines and Gallente vodkas. The added benefit from being in charge of the booze was that most bar owners also had girls that they would offer to knock down the asking price.

"Anything good Wilhelm?" Darwish asked as he reached the bar.

"Ah! Law Man! Excellent news, we have some of your favourite whiskey in here! It has been a most productive visit!" the bar owner beamed.

"Yes, I see the seller will be very satisfied very shortly. Was that Tamzin and Keely you packed him off with?"

Wilhelm was still rifling through the boxes not really looking at Darwish. He gave a chuckle.

"Certainly was. I got 900 credits knocked off this little lot for an hour with those two. I do love these ORE grunts. All that journeying through deepspace on a ship full of men ensures they all think with their little head when we start negotiations! Hell for these wines here I'd have paid full price AND offered the girls. I guess I'm just too much of a businessman!"

Darwish smiled and nodded in acknowledgement. He turned from the bar and walked over to the stalls set up along the far end of the bar whilst discreetly hiding his Law Man badge and covering his side-arm. The first one he reached was stacked with Gallente holoreels as well as an assortment of second-hand projectors. The man behind the stall smiled widely.

"Greetings! Anything you are particularly interested in? We've got the latest action movies from the Gallente Prime studios. I've even got a copy of 'Nyx 537' which isn't even officially out yet! Or are you after something a little more specialist? You know, something from the more adult produces of Dodixie? 'Militia Babes Go Wild' is my best seller!".

Darwish replied he was just browsing and continued on. The next stall was laid out with cloth and fabrics. A good selection of everything from fine Amarrian silk to sturdy Caldari synthetics. The one after that was selling clothes. Like the previous one, it had a mix of all four races. Gallente sportswear, Matari leather jackets, Amarrian robes and Caldari coveralls. He completed the circuit and left the bar, reattaching his badge of office as he left. He was still on duty and he had seen enough. What he was browsing for was any illegal items. Boosters, weapons, contraband. All appeared to be sufficiently legal, or close enough, so he left his fellow towns folk to haggle into the night.


Darwish had been asleep for an hour when the beeping of his communicator woke him. He groggily sat up and looked at the screen. It was Wilhelm so he answered.

"This had better be you inviting me around for a party with Tamzin and Keely to reward me for my loyal service to the town." he grumbled.

"Sorry Law Man. No party tonight, but you'd better over here. We've got an 'issue' round the back!".

Darwish got dressed and left the Law office. The bar was only a few minutes walk and he went straight down the alley at the side and round the back. At a rear door he found Wilhelm and a body on the floor, slumped between two bins.

"One of the ORE crew?" Darwish asked as he approached and got a proper look at the man on the floor.

"Yup!" replied Wilhelm "Looks like someone did him good!"

Darwish went up to the body. The man's throat had been cut and his entire front was drenched in blood.

"You know what this guy was selling?" Darwish asked as he searched the corpse.

"Yeah. He was the one with the consumer electronics. Not a real popular stall here to be honest."

Darwish carefully searched the body found a wallet and a small datapad in the man's pocket. Not a robbery then. He turned the datapad on and looked through the recently opened files. He had a stock inventory and sales list for the goods he had been selling. Wilhelm had been right, he'd had a slow evening and he had not sold a lot. In total he'd sold one music player and a small holograph ornament. Darwish called the doctor and his own deputy next who arrived promptly. As they secured the crime scene he went inside with Wilhelm to check out the victims stall.

The goods were layed out on the table still. A wide selection of cameras, holo-recorders, datapads and other technology. Not really anything that would be massively popular in Reykjaa. Dawish checked under the table, wondering if he'd find some ellicit booze or other goods that might have upset one of the other ORE crew. In order to avoid conflict or price-wars, each crew member had a specific type of merchandise they dealt in. The more senior you were in the crew and the longer you had served the more lucrative the goods you dealt in. Darwish didn't find anything to suggest he was dealing outside his 'allowed area' and thus would provide a motive for one of his crew mates to kill him.

A thought then occurred to him. He reached for his own datapad and brought up the evenings messages. There was one from Kador at the spaceport. He always sent a message to the Law Man when any ship arrived. As well as the ORE barge, a shuttle had landed a few hours after. Two men had arrived stating they were on 'business'. Not a common event, but not totally unheard of. Darwish had assumed at the time they were mining equipment suppliers or a factory looking to set up a supply deal for raw Prom. He called Kador asking him to ensure that the shuttle developed some 'difficulties' and to ensure that should the two men return he should be notified immediately. Kador was a veteran of the starport and could easily sabotage any thing that flew and make it look like a maintenance issue. Darwish knew the two new arrivals wouldn't be leaving early now Kador was on the case. He needed to speak to those two at some point. He went back to the table of full of electrical goods, and started to go through the dead man's datapad.


The police car bumped along the unmade road to the starport on the edge of town. Darwish was accompanied by Hjalmar his deputy. Kador had called to say the two new comers had arrived back at the starport and requested immediate flight clearance. Apparently when they tried to leave, the shuttles engines blew a coupling.

"So boss. You think these are the guys?" Hjalmar asked.

"Well Wilhelm said he saw two new faces in the bar tonight. Smartly dressed guys in suits. Description fits what Kador gave. Two men on business arrive late evening and then look to depart in the early hours of the next morning? I really would like to ask what sort of business they are in that needs a night-time meeting. Also why come this deep into null-sec for a couple of hours? I don't know if these two had anything to do with the murder but it smells fishy to me. We need to get some answers from them."

A few minutes later they pulled up outside the starports administration building. Darwish could hear raised voices inside. He jumped from the vehicle and nodded to Hjalmar . Darwish approached the building as Hjalmar darted around the back as he slowly opened the door.

"What do you mean the shops shut? What kind of port is this?"

"The kind where most of our facilities close at night. Look young man, Hjalmar will be here in a few hours. When he opens the mechanics shop he'll be able to sell you a new coupling and he'll even install it for you."

"We aint prepared to wait old man. So you'd better open that shop up now, otherwise......"

"Otherwise what?" Darwish asked.

The two men span round and Darwish got his first good look at them. They were clearly Gallente. The suits were tailored and the shoes expensive. Their expression changed at the sight of the Law Man from annoyance to concern.

"Sorry, we don't want any trouble Law Man. Look, a coupling blew and we just want to buy a replacement and leave this planet in peace. We don't want any bother."

The two men looked very nervous.

"Had trouble with your hydraulics too?" Darwish asked.

"No, they are fine." replied one of the men.

"Oh, it just looks like your friend there has hydraulic fluid sprayed on that rather nice white shirt."

The man who had been speaking slowly turned his head to look at his partner. Red specks were visible against the bright white material.

"Oh that!" the man laughed as he turned to his partner and put his back to Darwish "Thats just...."

Suddenly the man spun back around, a gun now in his hand. Darwish dived behind a sofa as blaster fire lit up the office. Kador dropped behind the counter as the man with the gun advanced on Darwish.

"You couldn't leave it alone could you cop. You'd have made it though the night and continued your pitiful existence on this backwater planet. But no, you had to be super cop!"

Darwish leant over the side of the sofa with his own blaster in his hand and fired off two shots narrowly missing the attacker who had to dive for cover.

"Not super, just cop, asshole!" he yelled.

With the return fire the two suspects ran, bursting out of a side door just as Hjalmar burst in with a shotgun through the back door.

"Always late to the party." Darwish grumbled!

"Stylishly late I thank you!" came the retort.

The two Law Men gave chase as the suspects raced over the huge expanse of concrete away from the buildings and towards the only working ship at the port, the ORE barge.

"Shit!" gasped Darwish as they sprinted.

"What? If they hide in there we have them. No way out! Rather they ran there than into the woods." replied Hjalmar.

"No, look in the cockpit!"

Hjalmar looked and saw someone standing there looking down at them.


"The crew are back on board! That one there is watching two law men chase two men an hour after one of their own was killed. What do you think he is thinking!"

Hjalmar realised the significance and increased his speed. Unfortunatly Darwish was right and the two suspects had too great a head start. By the time Darwish and Hjalmar got to the barge's ramp the two suspects were laid out. A group of burley barge crew were stood around holding metal bars and oversized wrenches.

"Caught them for you Law Man." one said nonchantly.

Darwish looked down at the suspects. Their heads were practically caved in and blood flowed in small rivers down the ramp. Grey brain matter spilled from the cracked skulls.

"Damn it guys. We needed them alive." he sighed exasperated.

"They resisted and we feared for our lives." another crew member dead-panned.

Darwish looked at the group of twelve muscled men and decided whilst he could point out the obvious there was no point arguing. In their eyes justice had been served.


The mayor poured a large whiskey and handed it to Darwish who was sat in one of the chairs in the town hall office.

"Bit of a mess then?" the mayor commented as he stared out of the window at the setting sun. It had been a long day.

"You could say that."

"Are you charging any of the ORE crew?"

"No point. We cleared the barge for take-off an hour ago. The suspects were armed with blasters, those crew with simple tools from the ship. Any court would have struggled to convict them especially after what had happened earlier. I suppose we could argue that those crew where hulks of men and could have easily taken the two suspects alive, but would we get anywhere? Doctor also confirmed the blood on the second suspects shirt matched the 'vics'. The crew took out the murders so we can chalk this up to frontier justice and let them go free."

"Not to mention we rely heavily on that barge's visits." muttered the mayor.

Darwish just nodded.

"You said you had discovered why that crew member was killed?"

"Yes, case closed. When I checked the 'vic's' stall I had his datapad. The 'vic' kept a very detailed log of what he had in stock and what he sold and for how much. He loved his spreadsheets. There was a holo-recorder I couldn't account for. I assumed whoever killed the crew member took the recorder. Thats when I checked the flight logs of the shuttle and also those of the barge, that shuttle had been chasing the barge for the last 3 stops. They had been just too late the previous two times and this is where they finally caught up with them. His datapad also detailed the 'vic's' purchases, he bought that holoprojector from a loan/sell shop in frog space. I did a bit of digging and made a call to the nearest police station. Thankfully the cop I spoke with was helpful. He told me that the shop was no more than a fence for stolen goods. However, it had recently closed. The day after our 'vic' bought the recorder the place was hit hard and torched. The cops heard from an informant that apparently some idiot crooks had robbed the home of a local Serpentis boss. The Serps had caught up with the robbers and 'persuaded' them to tell them what they'd done with the goods they had stole. Apparently the thieves were found next day, minus their skin, and various other important body parts. They had sold the stolen loot to the loan/sell shop which had then been torched. The two suspects that arrived here chasing the barge were obviously Serps come to collect the last piece of missing gear. The recorder our 'vic' had bought just before they hit the store."

The mayor downed his drink.

"Seems a bit of a waste of three lives just for a stolen holo-recorder!" he stated.

"Its more than that Mr Mayor. We found the recorder hidden on their shuttle. It hadn't been wiped. It contains a high-definition recording of a book-keeper admitting he had been syphoning off from Serpentis funds that he was supposed to be laundering."

"Sounds like something you shouldn't confess to, especially on holoreel." the Mayor stated.

"It isn't. But as the first hour of the recording shows the book-keepers secretary being worked over whilst the bookkeepers wife and kids were forced to watch, I think any man would have told the truth to spare his family the same fate. The recording cuts off after the confession so we don't know the fate of the book-keeper or his family. But given the job they pulled on his secretary, I don't want to know."

The mayor looked at Darwish gobsmacked.

"Your not kidding?"

Darwish down his drink and stood.

"Nope. Republic Security Services will be here in an hour to collect the recorder. They have chartered a capsuleer in an interceptor, that is how serious they are taking this. I'll also make it well-known that it is off-world as soon as they do. I'll give that cop a call, I assume they have leaks in their department. That way the Serps won't come looking for it and our Government has a nice gift for the Gallente. Should be worth something in return."

"So alls well that ends well?" asked the mayor.

"Its not ended yet. I need to erase what I saw on that tape from my head, and I intend to use copious amounts of expensive drink and cheap women... or may be the other way around. I'll see when I get to the bar."

With that Darwish stood and left the mayor's office and headed to the bar, intending to forget.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A Very Amarrian Christmas

Merry Christmas to you dear reader! I hope Santa brings you what you wished for. Hang on minute...... if you are here then you are a probably an Eve Online player. Therefore you are probably more on the 'naughty' side than the 'nice' side. Well, unless you are Chribba Veldspar or Sindel Pellion of course. Then I'm sure Santa will be rewarding you you for being a good boy and girl! Otherwise, you are probably buggered you utter sociopathic bully (aka Eve Online player)! This is the final piece of my Christmas fiction and looks at the Amarr. We are back to fiction only being on a Friday after this. Also, this post is a day early, I don't intend to do my usual Wednesday post as I would hope tomorrow you are feasting on gargantuan amounts of turkey with your loved ones and not on here reading 'Eve-O "Christmas" stories'!

Enjoy the festive season, have a VERY merry Christmas and I'll see* you in space after the break!

A Very Amarrian Christmas

There are numerous celebrations and festivals within the Amarrian Empire. Several of these could be related to Christmas of our time. But toady, we look at a very strange tradition on the planet of Arshat III in the Nashar constellation.

If you listen to the Matari you would think all slaves in the Amarr Empire are badly mistreated. On some, well, may be most planets they are right and the Minmatar slaves are treated worse than the dogs they use to control them. They live a miserable existance in constant fear and pain. However, some holders treat their slaves extremely well. Let us not forget that they are still slaves. They serve their Amarrian masters for no pay and they will never be free. However, other than the lack of payment, some are treated almost as employee's.

Holder Yaser is one of these more gentler Holders. He rules Arshat III with a fur mitten as opposed to an iron fist. The slaves on Arshat III are mostly grateful given the stories they have heard about how slaves are treated on other planets. Yaser doesn't use glave collars or vitoc and his slaves have a level of 'freedom' that would be unthinkable on most other Amarrian planets. The Holder does have a sizable army which now includes cloned soldiers. The Matari slaves know any uprising would be pointless, bloody and very one-sided. Given their situation they are content to maintain the status quo and there is rarely any problems within the slave population.

One of the biggest annual celebrations on Arshat III is the birthday of the Empress (or Emperor when one is on the throne). In the morning the Amarrian children receive presents from their parents. Like the Gallente version, there is no mythical being that delivers presents here and no 'naughty or nice' threats like those in the Matari and Caldari 'Christmas' alternatives. In the early afternoon there is a grand feast. Toruk is the traditional roast, which is a huge flightless bird found in the plains of the largest continent. Fine wines, fruits and cheeses round off the meal by which time the slaves quietly clear the table as most of the diners have fallen asleep thought too much food and wine.

In the evening they play games and tell stories recounting the glorious Amarrian Empire. However, it is the day after is rather unquie. On the planet Arshat III it is tradition for the slaves and the masters to swap roles for the day. The Amarrians get out of bed early and cook breakfast for their slaves and deliver it by hand to their sleeping quarters. The slaves have the day off and usually spend the morning together with their families relaxing. Many masters allow them to use the pool if they have one or to arrange transport to a beach or lake.

During this time the Amarrians return to the kitchens to prepare a feast for lunch. Traditional Matari fare is cooked consisting of wild boar and potatoes. The Holder imports Matari ale and mead from Mator but the slaves can also have the local wine if they wish. Obviously the sharing only goes so far, and the Amarrian wines made available are hardly the finest vintage, but to the slaves, it is their only opportunity of the year. The drinks are poured by Amarrians who also serve the food. It is seen as fun for the Amarrians who are really playing at the role.

In the afternoon the masters give presents to the slaves children. These tend to be simple toys and not the advanced technology that they give their own children. But for a slave child, even the most basic Amarrian toys are an amazing gift. A wooden model of Apocalypse battleship might be a poor toy to an Amarrian child, but to a Matari slave-child it is an amazing gift.

In the evening it is traditional for a huge bonfire to be lit in the slaves village square and more ale is served along with sweet marshmellows to toast on long sticks by the fire. Once all the drinks and treats are prepared the Amarrians tend to leave, giving the Matari the evening to enjoy themselves.

The next day it is back to work as normal, but for one day on planet Arshat III, the Matari can forget that they are slaves.

*When I say see you in space, I actually mean shoot you! What did you expect? Christmas cheer from a pirate?

Monday, December 23, 2013

A Very Gallente Christmas

Third and penultimate in my Christmas specials exploring Christmas type celebrations in New Eden. A bit more of an adult themed one for today's empire, the Gallente Federation.....

A Very Gallente Christmas

The closest thing to Christmas in the Gallente Federation is VC Day. Victory over the Caldari. It celebrates the day in 23156 that the Caldari evacuated Caldari Prime and fled the system of Luminaire. After two years of brutal war, the celebrations on Gallente Prime were huge. There is no mystical figure here that distributes gifts for the Gallente. It is a time for loved ones to gift each other personally. With the children this is easy. Parents give presents to their offspring on the morning of VC day and the children are expected to give one of the gifts they have received to either a sibling or a close friend. Of course it is usually the least favourite present that is traded, but it is the thought that counts. Many parents specifically buy one present that they know the child won't like but the sibling will in order to make it easy for them.

However, this is the Federation. Home of freedom... as well as sex, drugs and rock and roll... in all its excess. It is not just the children who receive and in return give presents, it is also a special night for the adults. VC night is when the kids are sent to bed early with their gifts and the adults give special gifts to each other. It used to be jewellery and watches with a special dinner. A sort of Gallente Christmas and Valentines Day all rolled into one. However during a great depression a few decades ago, it became popular to gift something that had no material value. To do something extra you wouldn't normally do for a loved one. To make an extra effort. Over the subsequent decades the message, like many things in the Federation, became corrupted. Let us travel to a Gallente space station in the heart of the Federation dear reader, and peak into a normal quarters late on the last VC night.....

Monique sat at the dresser blow-drying her freshly showered hair. She glanced over at the bed, everything was laid out both on the bed and on the night-stand. She sighed heavily. What a stupid tradition, what a stupid way to celebrate the end of a terrible war where millions perished. They had given the gifts to their son and daughter that morning. Of course in each set of gifts there was an obvious one that they would give to the other. A 'Build Your Own Federation Navy Comet' kit would not be a top present in their daughters eyes, so she would use that one as her gift to her brother. The 'supermodel doll' in her sons presents was handed over to his sister very rapidly. Her husband had joked he might not have handed the doll over so rapidly without checking if it was atomically correct first. Men!

Next she applied the bright red lipstick. It was shocking red and not one she would wear outside, but she wasn't leaving the house tonight, she was dressing up to stay in. 'A very silly tradition' she thought again. Whilst children were given presents on the morning of VC day, adults were supposed to try and make their partners dreams come true. Whilst this may have been a simple and good natured idea a few decades ago, now it had just become corrupted. "Bastard men!" she thought more strongly. She reached over to the bed and grabbed the black silk stockings. She pulled them up her legs, smoothing the silk and then and attached the satin suspender belt to the lace tops.

"VC day, making your loved ones heart's desires come true". The slogan of a common advert on the holo-networks echo'd in her mind. Did the excess of the Gallente Federation corrupt everything this way? An innocent holiday, perverted to such an extent that husbands and boyfriends could make such outlandish requests? She shuddered when she thought back to that day several weeks ago. They were at the mall buying the gifts for the children and she asked him when he wanted for VC night. He had been sheepish and said he'd show her later. He didn't ask what she wanted. That night after the kids had gone to bed she asked him again. He'd produced a mini holo-reel. They had watched it together. It had been a rather X-rated skin-flick. She was no prude but it had shocked her.

"You want me to do THAT?!" she had asked, more of an accusation than a question.

He hadn't dared speak, just a shy nod. She'd sat there in stony silence for a few minutes before she had an idea.

"What do I get in return?" she had then asked him.

"Anything you want." he had replied meekly, walking right into her trap.

She slipped her feet into the ridiculously high heels and teetered to the bed. She looked at the various apricot and pink coloured bottles on the side-table he'd bought specially and winced. Then she glanced over at the festively wrapped box on the floor beside the bed and smiled slightly. "Karma is a bitch" she thought.

The bedroom door opened and her husband entered. It was 11pm, exactly on time. He stopped in the doorway, his mouth hanging open staring at her. Although Monique was not very happy about the situation, the look her husband was giving her at that precise moment made her feel amazing. She was laying on the bed, in the stunning underwear they had bought together, the slutty heels and the f-me lipstick. It was definitely having the desired effect on him.

She braced herself and slipped into character, telling her husband in a sexy voice exactly what she 'wanted' him to do to her, just like that slut in the movie.


An hour later Monique was in the en-suite bathroom unwrapping the box and pulling out the item. Her husband had asked what it was, and she'd just replied it was part of her gift that he was giving her. The asshole smiled thinking his wallet would be the only thing stinging tonight, he couldn't have been more wrong. She fitted the contraption and adjusted the straps. It actually felt comfortable and gave her a great sense of power. The stinging pain she felt from their earlier activities didn't feel as bad now as she prepared to surprise her husband.

"Are your eyes closed?" she called out.

"Yes!" he replied.

She walked into the room and stood at the foot of the bed.

"You can open them!"

There was a funny sound where her husband gasped, choked and emitted a small shriek all at the same time. He had opened his eyes to find his wife standing at the foot of the bed wearing what appeared to be a set of black leather pants secured to her waist and thighs with thin straps. The appendage that hung from the front of the pants was like a babies arm, jet black and covered on bumps, ridges and nodules."

"You...... you....... you cannot be serious!" he stammered in fear.

"Oh, I am. Come on, on your hands and knees lover boy. Its a good job that you bought so much lubricant isn't it! We've got loads spare luckily. What? Come on, as you said before. Please, darling, its VC night! It is very rude to say no!".

For the record, Monique's husbands requests for VC night from that occasion consisted mostly of watches and jumpers.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

A Very Caldari Christmas

This is the second in a series of four at this festive time of year! Christmas... Caldari style?

A Very Caldari Christmas

The equivalent of Christmas in the Caldari State is 'The Day of the Secede'. This refers to the day in 23154 where the Caldari officially left the Gallente Federation and the State became independent. Of course this kicked of a massive war, but still, any excuse for a celebration.

It is said that the first leader of the Caldari State commissioned a spectacular robot to celebrate their new independence. The Gallente were seen as masters of robotics at the time and the State wanted to prove it could be better than them.This self-repairing android was years ahead of its time and there are rumours that much of the technology used within the Android was given to the State by the sympathetic Jovians. An advanced AI was implanted in the droid and a powerful reactor positioned inside its core. Using nanobots and Jovian (alleged) replication technology the droid could create objects out of thin air. Well, not thin air exactly, its from its available massive reserves of power and sub-atomic engineering. With this technology the robot could self-repair and essentially 'live' forever.

When the robot was completed, the first head of the Caldari State, asked to be alone with the robot. He sat with it for two days talking of his dreams for the fledgling State. The robot listened intently, for his prime directive was to help the State become great. After the mammoth talk the robot went into a hibernation mode, saying it needed to think. The scientists and engineers where shocked at this, but let it play out to see what happened. For a year and a day the robot slept. The monitors were showing it was processing immense amounts of data. It ran scenarios and predictive models covering countless billions of people and hundreds of settlements.

Exactly a year and a day after it entered hibernation mode, it awoke. It requested to see the Head of State again and the supreme leader of the State cancelled important meetings to meet the robot. The State's advisor said it was madness, as since the robot had been in hibernation all-out war had broken out with the Gallente and matters of State were much more important than a robot mainly built to celebrate the birth of the State.

The robot explained to the leader that it had modelled millions of scenarios for improving the State. It had come to the conclusion that the children were the key. They needed to be taught right from wrong and that hard work and good behaviour would be rewarded and laziness and disobedience would be punished. This would prepare them for adult life in the glorious Caldari State.

When asked what he needed to do to achieve this vision, the leader was told that he need to do nothing.

"Oh great ruler of the glorious Caldari State. In my year and a day of sleep I have learnt that this task is my purpose. It is why I was created. I shall go forth and monitor every boy and girl in the State. I will reward those that have worked hard and been good. But I will punish those who are lazy and disobedient."

And so the robot left, never to be seen again. The next 'Day of the Secede' the news channels were abuzz with the story that millions of a Caldari children had awoken to find presents left for them. Apparently not all children received gifts. Those who didn't try at school, those were disobedient to their parents, they got nothing. Just a simple slip stating their misdemeanour's throughout the year. This is said to form part of their permanent record in the State. One or two 'black slips' was not a problem, but should the child receive three or more, their future job prospects would be bleak.

So, young child of the State, have you been good this year? Have you worked hard at school so you will become a great citizen? Have you put in the effort so when you grow up you can join the ranks of the leaders of the mega-corps? If you have, you can expect a reward as the robot visits your house on Secede Eve. But if you haven't, may be there will be a black-slip waiting for you. Be careful young citizen, you don't want to be a labourer in a dirty, cold asteroid mine do you?

Friday, December 20, 2013

A Very Matari Christmas

A 'Christmassy' Fiction Friday. Escape pod here.

Well its only a few days until Christmas. I'll be off with the wife for a to a nice hotel. Its too far to go back to the families in England, and which ones do you spend Christmas day with? Plus travelling at Christmas time? I hate air travel at the best of times. But packed flights, screaming kids and the weather cancelling flights so you are trapped in airport hell. Nope, I'll take a rooftop pool, on a sun-bed with a lovely ice cold vodka before heading down to the restaurant for Christmas dinner with all the trimmings.

Mmmmmmm. Do you think any elements of Christmas made it into New Eden? After twenty thousand years will it still be celebrated, and in what form?

I had intended this to be the only one, looking at a Matari 'Christmas'. But what about the other races? So this is the first in four pieces on the run up to Christmas. I'll get back to normal blog posts after the Christmas break, but given that the holidays are almost upon us, I thought a week of seasonal stories might be appropriate. Today is the Matari, Caldari will be on Sunday, the Gallente on Monday and finishing off, appropriately I think you'll agree, with the Amarr on Christmas Eve!

A Very Matari Christmas

There is no Christmas in New Eden, well, not that we humans of planet Earth circa. 2013 would recognise. Christmas itself was dying out well before the wormhole to the New Eden cluster was discovered. By the year 7989 AD when the first intrepid explorers left our region of the galaxy and entered the wormhole for the first time, Christmas was almost forgotten. Celebrated only by a few pockets of humanity which were scattered throughout the Milky Way.

Whilst some of those who kept the celebration going colonised New Eden, the collapse of the wormhole and the subsequent 'dark ages' meant Christmas as we know it was lost over time. However, humans, being what they are, did keep an aspect going.

And so dear readers, we journey to a small town called Reynir on the 4th planet of the Ebodold system. A temperate planet within low-security space of the Minmatar Republic. Here we find a small farming town where tradition is important and superstition is rife. Whilst hi-tech dropships take away the crops that have been collected by massive automated robotic harvesters, in some aspects of life, the old ways are still seen as the best. This includes getting your children to behave!

All the children of Reynir know of Zuhair. A mighty winged angel servant of the Amarrian god. It is said that one night every year Zuhair swoops down on Reynir to gather up any children he can find and spirit them away to the Amarrian homeworlds. To help hin this task, he carries in his right hand a huge golden cage which he fills up with Matari children. Once his cage is full he flies back to the Amarr Empire with his new slaves. He takes them far away from their families, to serve as slaves to the Amarrian Holders for ever and ever.

It is said that news of this agent of doom reached the ears of the famous Brutor hero, Kjarr, many hundreds of years ago. Upon hearing the towns plight he journeyed to Reynir with his legendary warhammer, with the aim of defeating Zuhair and saving the towns children.

On the eve of 'The Claiming' Zuhair appeared in the town square with his golden cage. He found Kjarr there waiting for him with his mighty rust-covered warhammer. Zuhair laughed at him, what was a puny human going to do against an archangel? Kjarr charged with a mighty roar and they fought. Oh, it was a mighty battle. Zuhair was astonished that a mere human could fight so hard and gain the upper hand against him. All through the night they fought and into the early dawn. As the sun began to rise, Zuhair knew his time on the planet was nearly at an end. He had not captured a single child. In his fury Zuhair unleashed a savage attack which Kjarr blocked and dealt a decisive blow against the Amarrian angel. As he servant of the Amarrian god lay there, wounded and slowly fading back into the other realm, he proposed a deal with Kjarr. The angel said he'd just keep coming back and Kjarr couldn't stay and fight forever. So what if Zuhair only took away the naughty children in the town. Those who had lied to their elders, those who had been stealing cookies, those who had been disrespectful to their parents, those who had bullied other children at school. Kjarr thought about this. The angel was right, Kjarr couldn't stay in this town forever, there were countless towns, cities and settlements across Matari space needed him. So with a heavy heart he agreed to the compromise, but with one extra condition.

So once every year Zuhair comes to Reynir with his big golden cage. He seeks out the boys and girls who have been naughty that year and scoops them up, condemning them to a life of slavery in the Amarrian Empire. But, if the child has been good all year, then he is bound by his word to leave them a gift as commanded by the famous Brutor hero, Kjarr. So now, in his left hand he carries a mighty sack filled with toys and treats. Inside is an all manner of dolls, candy canes, toy spaceships, puzzles and games to reward the children that had been good.

So little one, have you been good this year? Have you worked hard at school? Have you been respectful and obedient to your parents. Have you kept your hand out of the cookie jar? I hope so, because tonight, at midnight, Zuhair visits our town. Will you get a nice toy? Or is it the golden cage for you......?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Proposed New Modules - Interdictor Points & Tachyon Detection Grids

In low-sec, Interdictors are not a common ship. Their primary weapons system, the bubble launcher, doesn't work in Empire space. So other than being used as a T2 Destroyer which is not a lot better than the T1 variation for the cost, they have very little point. Literally. You do still see the odd one, but for the money you are better off in an Assault Frigate or save yourself a bunch of cash and just use a T1 destroyer!

With the rising popularity of risk-adverse LP farmers stabbed up to the eyeballs is it time for a new role for Interdictors? To slap these farmers down!

With Heavy Interdictors you can script your bubble module to make it a targeted infina-point. We need something similar for ordinary Interdictors? Now before you super pilots start screaming blue murder, I am not suggesting an infina-point on a 'Dic. I don't want to see destroyer hulls tackling Titans and super carriers. But we need something to lock down these damn stabbed farmers. Dual scrams will do it but you need to get into range. Targets generally decloak 13-18km from you if you are sat on top of the gate. Therefore normal scrams don't have the range.

So I suggest a new module specifically for Interdictors:-

Warp Inhibitor module.

  • High-slot module.
  • Targeted (same as a normal point).
  • 20km range.
  • +4 warp disruption strength.
  • Can only be fitted to Interdictor class vessels.

Now the word disruption, not scramble, in the above is very important. I see these as not shutting off MWD's like a scrambler, I see the working basically like multiple long points. These will catch pretty much all the normal stabbed T1 frigates. The Punisher's and the Merlin's fitted with triple stabs. It'll also tie down those pesky Ventures with a stab fitted, as +2 warp core strength just isn't enough for your average Caldari Militia farmer!

Use two and you can grab those smart-bombing battleships that lurk near gates low-sec gates!

My other idea is to combat these cloaky ships that should not be cloaked. A Merlin, Condor, Atron and especially Thrasher should not be cloaking! What I would like to see is the "Tachyon Detection Grid" (yeah shock, I watched Star Trek). This is a module that projects a bubble around the ship 20km in radius. The bubble effects cloaks and makes them deactivate. It does not work on covert ops cloaks, so if you are flying a Falcon or a cloaky transport ship or other covert ops cloak enabled ship you are fine.

The disadvantage of this is that when the bubble is active, you cannot target anything. The interference from the tachyons the module emits means you cannot target anyone. Therefore you can decloak the Condor that is hiding just off the button but when you do you'll need to shut down the module, wait for it to finish its cycle and then lock the target. This means the cloaked ship had ample time to run away..... if you are alone.

I would also suggest it cannot be activated within 50km of a gate and does not effect ships in warp that are passing though the bubble. That way your cloaky hauler isn't going to be inconvenienced by pirates gate camping with these ships.

I generally see this as a ship providing a support role. Yes, you can decloak those pesky ships that shouldn't be cloaking. But its unlikely you are going to catch them yourself.

Obviously I'm thinking faction war plex here. The Condor that cloaks up every time he see's a war target on short scan. The LP farmer who has signed up for WAR but doesn't want to fight, just leech LP.

These two modules would certainly make a huge difference in the war against the farmers!

Monday, December 16, 2013

A Tale of Two Tristan - Triple Neut and the Arty Party!

There are two common Tristan set-ups. The blaster and the kiting rail. However, the specific ship weapon bonus is actually to tracking speed of small hybrids and drones. As drones are the primary weapon system of the Tristan you can experiment with the guns really. I mean tracking is nice, but its not as handy as a pure damage bonus is it? So don't be afraid to try something "far out". The QCats have a couple of fits that do not use either blasters or rails.

I've flown the triple neut Tristan commonly in the past. It is not very good against Matari vessels that are not really cap reliant for DPS. But for Amarr and blaster boats it works really well. It'll cap out most frigates in two cycles and with their guns and active tank mods offline your drones can make short work of them. Here is a common fit I fly:-

It is a 'busy' ship to fly. Even with those egress port maximisers it burns cap quickly. So you need to make use of that cap booster. Then there is the armour repper too. Oh and don't forget about monitoring your drones, you'll need to recall them if the target starts trying to blap them. Oh, and the tank failing? Well overheat that repper. Small reppers love a bit of heat... but don't forget about it. As I said it is a 'busy' ship to fly but also a lot of fun.

If you are lucky you can catch Imperial Navy Slicers with this set up. You have to be lucky as you need to neut, web and scram them as they are making range. But if you do get them before they get out of range of the neuts, then they are buggered. Its a very short and one sided fight after you have them.

One of the more prolific killers of the QCats, Tzenick.....

..........has been experimenting recently with an artillery cannon version of the humble Tristan.

The Arty Party Tristan uses a pair of 250mm artillery cannons along with a small Nos. The guns have an optimal of 6km which is nice if you are fighting a blaster boat and can maintain that range. As you have AB, web and scram this should be possible if they are blaster/MWD fit.

The fit works against triple neut Tristans as the guns don't need cap to fire. Therefore your DPS is higher then theirs. I had a fight at the weekend where the guy was wondering why I was still able to use gun DPS on him when I should have been capped dry.

So whilst there is the 'fit of the month' and other bollocks, you shouldn't be afraid to try new things on old ships. So many pilots out there engage on preconceptions and then DIAF to my armour Kestrel or my artillery Tristan.  As I'm always telling the wife, experiment, you might really enjoy it!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

SCASSSS - My Friend, The Sabot

My 10mn Thrasher I usually has a few different rounds of ammo in the cargo hold. Republic Fleet Phased Plasma is a good all-rounder. It is high-DPS doing kinetic and thermal, meaning it is good for most ships. Of course I have RF EMP and fusion for those ships with the appropriate hole (steady!). But I also always take some Republic Fleet Titanium Sabot with me when I go out. This is not a particularly common or popular ammo, but I use it. I take it especially for the Imperial Navy Slicers!

Most Slicers are kite-fit in the low-sec war zones in my experience. They tend to orbit at 18-20km and plink away at you. Even with good speed, your AC Thrasher is unlikely to get close enough to them and with Plasma, EMP or Fusion you are going to struggle to hit them even with an artillery cannon Thrasher. That is why a Slicer will commonly engage a Thrasher. If he is AC fit then he has no chance. The Slicer will kite him all day long. Artillery cannons will be an issue with a 10km optimal with high DPS ammo. But most Slicer pilots do not think about artillery cannons with RF Titanium Sabot.

When I see a potentially hostile Slicer I swap my ammo over to Sabot rounds. My optimal range is suddenly propelled up to 19km with up to 33km on the falloff. There is another bonus as well, the weight of the ammunition. The light-weight Titanium Sabot gives you a extra 20% bonus to tracking speed. Whilst the damage output of this ammo is much lower than the more common short-range types, the extra range, the bonus to tracking and the fact he's running his MWD tips the balance in your favour...

"Ah ha! I have that Thrasher pointed. Orbit at 20km. Fire guns and...."
"Woah. Lucky shot! May be I....
"Feck I'm well into armour how is he....."
"Holy shit I'm in structure I need to get out of....."
"Warp pod! Warp! WARP!!!!"

Yes, Titanium Sabot isn't as popular as EMP, Fusion or Phased Plasma, but like many items in Eve, it has its uses in the right situation!

Oh, and as well as Slicers, try the 10mn Thrasher/RF Titanium Sabot against Daredevils. Dramiels are not a good choice but for some reason I have had success against Daredevils!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

A Mining Town Called Reykjaa - Justice

Fiction Friday. Escape pod here to the details of the Stay Frosty Frigate-Free-For-All next month.

A Mining Town Called Reykjaa - Justice

Darwish stirred as the banging grew louder. It was morning and a shard of bright light lanced through the gap in the curtains. The banging was coming from downstairs, someone was hammering on the front door. He swung his legs over the side of his bed and stood. Quickly he dressed and picked his gun belt from the side table before making his way downstairs. The Law Man lived above the office and cells and this particular morning he had only one 'over night guest'. Fredleif was snoring loudly in one of the cells, undisturbed by the loud hammering on the door. Darwish had locked him up the night before for being drunk and disorderly in the bar.

Darwish turned the key and opened the door to find Gudvard standing there, his face etched with worry.

"Law Man! Its Natsumi, she's missing!"

Darwish opened the door wide and motioned for the man to sit at the desk. Gudvard was married to Natsumi. She worked at the Promethium mines as a supervisor whilst Gudvard ran his own small maintenance and contracting business.

"OK Gudvard, calm down. Whats happened?" Darwish asked.

"Natsumi was working the nightshift. She was supposed to be home at four but she never got home. I called the mine and they said she never clocked out but nobody has seen her in hours."

"You sure she's not gone for a drink after work and forgot to clock out?" Darwish sighed. Missing persons were not uncommon in Reykjaa. The remote settlement was a haven for people hiding from someone, or something in Empire space. Occasionally those who appeared to have settled just decided to return to civilisation. However Darwish knew this was unlikely in this case. Natsumi was Caldari, and the rumour was she'd been involved in a hover-car crash which killed the child of a high-ranking mega-corp executive. There was no way she could ever return to the State. Also the transport shuttle wasn't scheduled for another week nor were there any recent ore transports she might have bartered passage on.

"No, she always came straight home!" Gudvard replied with desperation in his voice.

"OK, OK. I'll look into it. But you need to go home in case she returns."

Gudvard looked like he was about to argue but Darwish gave him a look that showed that his previous statement wasn't a suggestion. As Gudvard left the Law Man's office Darwish checked his gun. He hoped Natsumi had gone for that drink, the other possibility was a lot, lot worse.


Darwish unclipped the fastener on his holster as he approached the small house at the end of the street. The houses along here were small and closely spaced. As per much of Reykjaa they were constructed in local wood and stone. The settlement was so remote that modern materials were very expensive to import. Tritanium alloys may have been the material of choice for building in Empire space, but out deep in null-sec here people used what they could find locally.

He approached the door. If something had happened to Natsumi then Yngvar was the prime suspect. It had been a bad few months for the town. Four months ago there had been a cave-in at the Promethum mines. A number of miners had been trapped for several hours. Two had not made it, including Yngvar's 19 year-old son. A board of inquiry had been set up by the town council. Several failings had been identified in the mines operation and recommendations had been made. Natsumi had been at the centre of these issues. However, there was not sufficient evidence to bring charges. Natsumi had broken down whilst giving evidence and had shown great remorse. However Yngvar  lost control seeing her like that and had started to blame her for his sons death. He had to be removed from the room as he shouted and swore at her. Things got even worse the month after when Yngvar's wife, unable to cope with the loss of her son, had killed herself. Since the funeral of his wife, Yngvar had hardly been seen.

The central issue was the supply of 'spoke bombs' the mine held. These devices were sold by the Sisters of Eve and were basically an emergency tunnelling device. The bomb would blast through rubble or walls and discharge a secure lattice that would stabilise the hole it blew. A few of these bombs could quickly make a tunnel through any material. Unfortunately stocks were low and there were only enough spoke bombs to get three quarters of the way through the massive cave in. The rest of the way they had to manually tunnel. That delay had killed Yngvar's son according to the doctors testimony.

Darwish knocked firmly on the door and waited. After twenty seconds he knocked louder. There was still no answer. He tried the door handle but it was locked. Darwish made his way around to the back door and peered into the gloom. He could see no signs of life. He tried the handle and the door clicked open. He drew his gun and advanced into the gloom. After sweeping the house and finding nobody home Darwish started a more detailed search of the downstairs. On the kitchen table he found an open box of medical hyposprays. Two were missing from the foam cut-outs. Another three were still in the box. Darwish picked the box up and heard a feint click. If it wasn't for his past, Darwish would have died there. However he knew the sound click all too well and was already dropping to the floor when the coin-sized micro-grenade detonated. Many people in New Eden often mocked Matari construction. The Minmatar didn't build for aesthetics, they build for practicality. And in this case the thick wooden table directed the grenade's blast up and to the sides. Darwish picked himself up off the floor and surveyed the devastated kitchen. The big table had a black crater in the centre but was still standing.

"Good workmanship!" Darwish said rapping his fist on the table. He grabbed his communicator and called Hjalmar, his deputy.

"Hjalmar, its Darwish. Yngvar has gone off the deep-end. I suspect he has already snatched Natsumi and I'd bet he's going for Gudvard next. Looks like he stole some anaesthetic sprays from the doc. Get over to Gudvard's place and if he's still there stay with him."

As he left Darwish looked at the table once more. Snatching someone due to a misguide sense of revenge was one thing. Setting booby traps for random people, most likely the law, was a whole new level.


The doctor came back from her store with an angry look on her face.

"Yes, a box of five anaesthetic hyposprays is missing. Zander is going to be OK, just a concussion."

Darwish already knew this was where the hypos had come from but he needed to confirm that they had indeed come from the town's surgery. He had been to the doctors house to tell her he suspected a theft and they had both gone to the surgery. As it was before the Doctor's shift the nightnurse should have been manning reception but he wasn't. They found him unconscious in the back room, he'd been beaten. The anaesthetic hyposprays were indeed the target.

"He's probably used the hypos to kidnap Natsumi and her husband. I'm assuming he wanted them alive. Therefore they'll be OK until they wake up. How long does that stuff knock them out for?"

"3 hours usually. The husband will probably come around first."

Darwish looked at his datapad. It had been an hour since he had seen Gudvard. Therefore he probably had less than two hours before they both came round and Yngvar would extract his version of justice.

At that moment the surgery door burst open and a man walked in supporting a bleeding woman. The Doctor rushed to help, easing the injured woman into a chair and shining a light into her eyes.

"What happened?"

"It was a package for the mayor. We were opening today's post. We'd left that one as it was marked private and confidential. It started hissing and we looked at it. Abigael went over and it just went up. Thankfully she was still a few metres away when it blew. If she'd been next to it....." his voice trailed off.

Darwish thought about it. The booby trap under the hypo's at the house. Clearly intended to kill law enforcement. The parcel bomb, intended to kill the head of the inquiry panel for the mine collapses, the mayor. He hoped that would be the last of the 'surprises'. Darwish thanked the doctor and left the surgery. His deputy was leaning against the police car. As a frontier settlement the vehicle the police used was not a custom multi-modal transport like they used in Empire space. This was an old hover-car that had been painted. It couldn't fly and certainly couldn't take fire. But its what they had.

"You got everything?" Darwish asked as he approached.

"Sure thing boss. We going hunting?"

"Sort of. We're going up to the 'Lovers Spot' but don't get any ideas!"


Darwish picked his way through the narrow track. The vegetation was encroaching into the path and he had to push several branches out of the way. The top of the ridge was a popular spot for picnics and young lovers looking for privacy with a romantic view. But even as popular as it was, Reykjaa was a small town and there was not the numbers to keep the path clear. After a few more minutes climbing the path Darwish emerged at the top of the ridge, on the edge of the gorge which in turn overlooked the town. He continued to follow the path along the edge of the gorge higher to the location known as 'The Leap'. It was a rock formation that jutted out into the gorge by a few metres. It had got its name after several residents had jumped to their deaths from that rock. It was 150 metres, straight down onto jagged rocks. Nobody had ever jumped and survived, and that included Yngvar's wife only a few months before. Darwish had a hunch he'd find them here.

As he turned the last bend in the path and found the three of them on the rock. Natsumi and Gudvard were both kneeling with their hands tied behind their backs. Yngvar was stood behind Natsumi with a large knife at her throat.

"At last. I was thinking you weren't coming Law Man! I was sure you'd work out where we were, just surprised you didn't get here sooner" Yngvar shouted.

"Traffic in town, its terrible today." Darwish replied slowly walking towards them.

"OK. Stop there, that's far enough. And toss the piece too, slowly."

Darwish gripped the handle of his gun with two fingers and tossed it into the undergrowth.

"So what now?" He asked.

"Well Law Man. We've been waiting for you so you can be witness."

"Witness to what?"

"Justice!" screamed Yngvar. He gripped Natsumi by the hair and pulled her head back. The steel knife glinted in the midday sun.

"Justice?" Darwish asked questioningly. "Doesn't look like anyone is serving justice currently. Looks the opposite to me. Just some nutjob going off the deep end. The surprise you left me at you house didn't work and the parcel for the mayor injured a clerk. If you think this is justice then you are beyond help."

Yngvar pressed the knife against Natsumi's throat harder and she sobbed. A single drop of blood ran down her neck where the knife broke the skin.

"Where is justice for my son? My wife? Why is she alive and they are dead?"

"Yngvar, your son was killed in a tragic accident. Your wife took her own life. These two are not responsible."

"She is! She wasn't doing her job right! If she was my son would be alive and my wife would be too. So today I will dispense justice. She can watch her beloved husband die in front of her eyes. Watch the life drain from his body. Then she can take the same exit from this life as my wife. The long drop."

"OK." said Darwish and sat down on an adjacent log.

Yngvar gaped at him in amazement. "You... you are not going to try and stop me?"


"So you agree they are guilty then!"

"No. They are innocent and you are a fucking nutter. But no way I'm going to rush up on that precarious rock, especially whilst you have that knife. So I'll just sit here."

Darwish could see the terror in Natsumi's eyes but he remained impassive as if he really didn't care.

"Look, I have an appointment at two. Can we get on with it?" Darwish sounded bored.

Yngvar looked in amazement at the Law Man and withdrew the knife from Natsumi's neck.

"So you are going to just sit there whilst I gut this man as his wife watches and then throw her to her death?" Yngvar said menacingly as he advanced with the knife slowly towards Gudvard."

"Not exactly. Now you've moved that knife away from her throat I'm going to watch Hjalmar put a bullet in your brain and then watch you fall over the edge."

Yngvar suddenly froze for a second and then spun around realising his mistake. A fine red mist was jettisoned from the back of his head and his body went rigid for a couple of seconds before topling over the side as if in slow-motion. Hjalmar appeared from behind a bush a little further up the path holding an old 'Pyrus' sniper rifle.

"You took your time!" Darwish said as they both started to untie Natsumi and Gudvard.

"Cheeky bastard! I had to climb the rise not walk up the easy path."

"Yes but I had to distract Yngvar. You just had to take the shot."

Once untied Natsumi and Gudvard embraced sobbing. Darwish and Hjalmar left them to their moment and both peered over the edge. Darwish sighed looking down at the body at them bottom of the gorge. He produced a small coin from his pocket and placed it on top of his fist.

"Awwwww shit." exclaimed Hjalmar. "Rifter!"

Darwish flicked his thumb up and the coin span through the air. He caught it on the back of his hand and covered it with his free hand. He slowly removed his hand.


"Balls!" Hjalmar exclaimed again and started to work his way down the gorge to recover the body.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Broken Faction War - Its Not About the Money

On Monday I did a post that certainly generated a lot of interest both here and also on the Eve-O Forums.

Some people obviously don't get it. To me, the making of the money is not the issue. Yes I could join the ranks of the farmer alts but I don't want to. This is not about the money, its about the effect that the style of play is having on faction war as a whole. Faction war is supposed to be about PvP. Stabbed and cloaky farmers or people who don't want to fight should not be in Faction War and should certainly not be able to lock us out of our home system. I yearn for a better time....

I'm looking back to the glory days of Faction War. The above refers back to 2009 and 2010 when it seemed like we were playing in a broken system. But now I see it was a better time. There were no farmers. People didn't fly stabbed and cloaky ships (that are not supposed to have cloaks fitted). We would clash in large (up to 100, so large for low-sec) fleets and have good fights. We'd fly BC and BS fleets not for any reason other than to have a fight. There was no "If we fly BC we cannot get into any plex". We flew BC as they are fun to fight with. How many faction war BC fleets have you seen recently?

Yes the plex and system capture mechanics were broken, favouring those who could log onto Eve immediately as the servers came up. But it didn't matter, it was just bragging rights. Faction war was about the fights not about ISK and docking rights.

However, the grass is always greener. We weren't happy. We begged CCP to make system conquest meaningful. We wanted our actions to have consequences. We wanted faction war fixing. CCP gave us what we asked for, and that is how we got here. It is not CCP's fault that faction war 2013 is not as good as faction war 2009, it is ours.

The Gallene/Caldari warzone is now dominated by farming alts who are using the broken mechanics to make up to a 100m ISK an hour with an alpha clone character in a ghetto fit T1 frigate. You cannot really blame them, its utterly risk free, easy ISK. The mechanics are to blame, the risk verses reward balance is to blame, we faction war players who badgered CCP to 'fix' faction war are to blame.

What do I want?

I want a return to PvP in faction war.

I want to be able to see a war target in system and expect a fight, not a Benny Hill.

I want epic fleet fights and hand-shaking 1v1's simply for the gf's.

I don't want to have to sit in a plex watching a timer roll back because I want to be able to dock up in low-sec and some 4 day old toon just wants to make some ISK.

To be honest I don't care if CCP wants to implement a system where a player can earn 100m ISK an hour in a one week old toon in a 900,000 ISK frigate which creates risk free ISK. But I don't want that in Faction War which is supposed to be about PvP. If I see a war target I should expect a fight, not a Benny Hill chase.

Once again to be absolutely clear - The most lucrative and risk free PvE in Eve Online should not be in Faction War. If you are in Faction War you should be looking for PvP. If you do not want PvP, if you "didn't ask for PvP /cry" then you don't belong in faction war!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Risk vs Reward in Faction War? LOL!


Many of us in faction war are suffering a mix of burn out or are just plainly pissed of with the mechanics. Please CCP, do something! Risk vs Reward is utterly broken.

Take a week old alt. Put them in a 2m ISK frigate and go run some FW plex for the Caldari. With the squids at tier 3, a small plex will net you over 30,000 LP. If the LP store prices are low, that LP will get you around 18,000,000 ISK when you cash out. If the market isn't saturated and prices are normal, you'll get around 30,000,000m ISK. If you hold on to that LP and wait for the cycle of FW to spin round and LP prices to rise as the otherside dominates, you can make 45,000,000m ISK. All that reward from that single 15 minute plex (plus say 5 minutes for travelling) where you just have to kill one easy destroyer rat!


Seriously? 60 to 90m ISK per hour and if you lose your ship and get podded so what? In fact most people want to get podded after losing their ship! They are still on their free clone and the 'Pod Express' means they are back home much faster and can jump into another 2m ISK frigate and get back out there. Where is the risk? I can see the reward, there is plenty of that. But there is no risk. A free clone and a 2m ISK loss is not risk. Running level 4 missions in high-sec is not that profitable and carrys substantially more risk. You need a much more expensive ship to run level 4's in high sec. Why risk a 200m ISK battleship or a 1bn ISK Marauder when you can make more money using a 2m ISK T1 frigate, a low SP character and a free clone?

But what if you don't want to even risk that?

Well then, you grab your Venture, your triple stabbed Merlin or Punisher, your kitey Condor with cloaking device.

Now the problem is this. These arseholes are trying to kick me out of my home. OK, not directly but if the Caldari take Nisuwa I'd not be able to dock there and access my five years of Eve Online stuffz. So I, and my fellow Nisuwa residents, have to play whack-a-mole constantly with these risk-adverse asshats.

"Point! Nevermind, he's stabbed."

"Going after Merlin in Novice Outpost. Oh, he cloaked."

This is 95% of the Caldari militia. So we resport to dual scram ships and fast 'decloaking' set ups. Then once you are in one of those ships you are bound to run into one of the one-in-twenty in the Caldari who are flying an actual combat ship!

Risk vs Reward is utterly broken in faction war. Yes, we have more people than ever in low sec, but most are low SP alts flying either ghetto fit T1 frigates or stabbed/cloaked T1 frigates. It needs sorting. Here are some ideas:-

Timer Roll-Back
If a ship leaves or cloaks up in a faction war plex then the timer resets. To capture a plex you have to get in there and HOLD it! If you warp off to a safe and then wait until the enemy has left the plex then your 'hard work' should be undone. This will make a massive difference to LP farming. Rather than playing whack-a-mole constantly we just need to chase them out of the plex once every ten minutes or so.

Pimp the Rats
CCP, we made a mistake. When we asked for the faction rats to be nerfed it was to level the PvP playing field. We never expected farming alts to become such an issue. Please pimp the rats a bit. Either add extra rats or buff their tank and/or DPS. Balance the risk with the reward.

Gimp the Stabs
This goes with the above. The faction rats are so weak that even with three warp core stabalisers, a new-ish toon can still easily beat them. If we upped the PG requirements of warp core stabalisers that would hurt the DPS of the triple stabbed Merlins and Punishers. Another option would be to further gimp scan resolution and targetting range. Haulers or travel fit ships don't need to target anyone so it is not hurting 'legitimate' users of warp-core stabs.

Have the 'Button' Ghost-Target Enemies
It doesn't have to show, but have the structure in the plex 'lock' any hostile that enters. Same agro mechanic as the NPC rat in there. So when farmers try to cloak they get the same message as a militia pilot gets when he tries to cloak in hostile hi-sec "You cannot cloak as the enemy navy are tracking you" or whatever it says. This is supposed to be a military outpost. Surely they have a method of tracking hostiles entering that space!

The timer roll-back and the inability to cloak will have the biggest effects on faction war. It will severely hurt the farmers who do not want to fight, don't care about the war. They are simply there to leach LP.

FW is in danger of turning into a ISK fountain that rolls backwards and forwards every six to nine months. One side will get a high teir and all the farmers will farm like mad. Eventually the LP market will be flooded and the prices will crash as the othersides spikes from low supply. So the farmers will swap alts and farm the otherside. Faction War is supposed to be about PvP. Currently its a lucrative PvE with less risk than high-sec level 4 missioning.


Edit - To the forums! https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&t=303513