Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Drackarn's 1v1s - January - Noob Ships

At the start of the year I said I'd arrange a specific 1v1 of a certain ship type each month and blog it.

The month of January was vs Cheradenine Harper aka @spacenoob1 from the #tweetfleet.

The rest of the planned fights so far are as below....

January - Noob ship vs Space Noob
February - Frigate vs Rixx Javix
March - Industrials vs Seismic Stan
April - Retribution Destroyers vs Jace Errata
May - Faction Frigate vs TBC
June - Interceptor vs TBC
July - Assault Ship vs TBC
August - Cruiser vs TBC
September - HAC vs TBC
October - Battlecruiser vs TBC
November - Battleship vs TBC
December - Carrier vs Kirith Kodachi

So this month is Noob Ships. I'm Caldari by birth so I went for the Ibis. Shield tanking 2/2/2 simplicity!

For the highs I could go either rockets or hybrids. Given the need for tackle and tank, a prop mod was not an option if I went with the Ibis. So I went for rockets to give a 10km range. Thinking about it after the fight, did I need the scram? It was an arranged 1v1 so may be not.

Mids were ASB and scam. Lows were getting difficult due to CPU issues of using T2 mods. I chucked a CPU upgrade in there and a BCU to give my Noob Ship some extra DPS. This was my plan, the ASB would give me 146hp every 3 seconds for 7 cycles. So around 49 DPS tanked for 21 seconds, but when the reload came I'd have no tank. The Eve fitting screen showed my two rocket launchers would kick out a whole 47 DPS and my single Hobgoblin would add 19 dps to that. So 66 DPS.

I undock my awesome noob ship of awesomeness and head to the pre-arranged system and made a safe. I get Cheradenine in a fleet and when they get into system they warp to me. I then realise I need to think about this more as I've just let them decide rang. I'm hoping they are not in a long point, sniper fit as I'm dead with no prop mod and a DPS range of 10km.

Nope, they land close. Ah another mistake, I don't have fleet members on my overview! I need to click them in space to target them. Not easy! I need to zoom out! Ah got them! That's given him a few seconds head start!

I start returning fire and activate the ASB which reps up my shields almost fully. As an armour tanker, my first couple of rocket salvo's take his shield down heavily.

But wait! His shields just jumped back up! He's ASB fit too. This is going to get interesting! We're both at point-blank range kicking each others shins. He appears to be out of charges in his ASB and I'm hitting his armour. The bonused Caldari Navy kinetic rockets crew through his armour. But my ASB is now dry.

Thankfully looks like my shields will hold out. So I zoom in for an action shot.

Before he pops with my shields looking rather low!

I'm wondering if he activated the ASB too soon or overheated it. It appeared to run dry before mine. All-in-all a good short fight and props to Cheradenine Harper for a gf!

You reading this Rixx? I'm coming for you next ;)

Monday, January 28, 2013

CFC Titan - Bad Time to Fail-Jump

Our good friends Drunk 'n' Disorderly were having a skirmish early Sunday morning on an enemy militia POS in Asakai. Nothing new about that. However, they also knew that the Goons were watching them and were planning to drop them. May be after DnD and LO dropped the Goons last week the Goons thought it would be fun to return the favour. I have also heard that the Caldari Militia corp who owned the PoS batphoned the Goons saying DnD had put their POS into reinforced and would they like to blap DnD when they came to finish it off? For whatever the actual reasons, the Goons had decided that they would crash the party, but DnD knew they were coming. The Goons assembled a fleet with the intention of titan bridging onto the ongoing DnD skirmish, not knowing that DnD had bat-phoned PL just in case the Goons were thinking of bringing supers.

On paper, I expect it sounded like a good plan for the Goons - "Lets drop on them whilst they are already fighting at that POS. They won't be expecting this!".

Well, you are both incorrect and correct at the same time. They were expecting you to drop them, they weren't expecting the next bit.

I'm not a Titan pilot so I don't know the menu system. But I suspect that there is a huge difference between the Titan menu commands of "Bridge to..." and "Jump to...". They really do completely separate things apparently. Unfortunately the Goon titan pilot made a whoopsie as their in-cyno was lit and selected the wrong option. Rather than bridging the surprise fleet on top of the DnD fleet.....

So over in Asakai, as DnD expected, a cyno suddenly appeared on field. What they weren't expecting was a second later..... LEVIATHAN TITAN!

Those boys from Pandemic Legion were all ready with their super fleet and one of the DnD pilots on field was in the PL fleet with a cyno fitted. So the poor Goon Titan guy soon found himself facing a rather nasty PL super-carrier fleet as DnD lit a new cyno and brought in the PL pain. This resulted in the Goons logging on ALL THE SUPERS and racing over to try and save their Titan who was now infini-pointed. What happened next was an utter... well the same word as the Goon's coalition :) Apparently TiDi went into over-drive as the system filled up with more supers plus every other PvP player within a 10 light year radius desperate to whore onto some Titan kills.

Obviously Asakai is low-sec. So Titan doomsday weapons couldn't be used and no bubbles could be deployed. Holding the supers was left to scripted-heavy interdictors.

For over five hours the server hamster span his wheel at full pelt as more supers jumped in and more sub-caps piled into the system looking to whore on a juicy super-capital kill. CCP Explorer looked at the smoking server hamster later that morning and Tweet'd the following:-

@erlendur 100% CPU and 0.1 TiDi from 02:12 until 07:26. Looks like a massive fight :) How many participated #tweetfleet?

Quantum Cats Syndicate pilot Martuch was there in the middle of the fight...

"We heard that there was a Goonswarm Titan tackled in Askakai and they expected more supers to come to its aid. So those of us who were online from the QCats jumped into heavy interdictors and burnt over there ASAP. TiDi was maxed and the lag was awful. But we managed to get our infi-points on the Goon supers that were jumping in all over the place. It was mad, but fantastic fun. Staryed (in a Devoter) held point on the Leviathan and then a Nyx. I (Martuch) was in a HIC (Broadsword) as well and held point on the RZR Avatar after Staryed went down. The lag was so bad...I went afk, ate dinner then came back and still waited about an hour for Avatar to die."

Other QCats pilots voiced their displeasure about being hung up on the stargates with traffic control sometimes taking an hour to let them into the system. Apparently the issues were not just restricted to Asakia and all the systems on that node were having problems. This allowed some ebil piwats to take advantage of those stuck on the low-sec gates with traffic control messages. As far as I know the node was not reinforced.  Neither side was expecting a fight involving 3000+ players. The Goons thought they'd be slaughtering a relatively small DnD fleet and DnD with PL thought they'd be slaughtering a handful of Goon Super-carriers.

Quantum Cats Syndicate (QCats) pilot JAF Anders was with the DnD fleet attacking the PoS the previous day to put it into reinforced and was there the following day to leave his own personal mark on the Avatar class Titan. That's really finishing the job you started in style. Or did he.....?

Nobody has mentioned if the POS that kicked all this off was destroyed? Who wants to go thought the battle report and see if it's there amongst the....

626 kills
530 billion ISK lost (although other estimates put that over 850bn)
3 dead Titans
4 dead Super-Carriers
46 dead Dreadnoughts


Over 3100+ players.
Over 250+ separate alliances.
Over 700+ separate corporations.

Oh look, in the summary stats at the top, the POS must have survived!

A few videos of the fight.

Good video on the fight -

Whole fight... at 7000x speed -

Slowed down Avatar Death (actually its not slow motion, it's just the TiDi) -

I myself was at work at the time and utterly gutted that I missed out on all the fun. Therefore the above is what I've heard from various sources. I have no way of knowing if the above is fact or not. The only thing I know for sure, if I had been their, the loss of my Slave clone this month wouldn't have messed with my efficiency for the month! In fact I'm having a bad month generally! That fight would have sorted me out! But I was at my desk working away! NOOOOOOO!

On the plus side in the Eve-O universe, I have finally got used to the PS3 controller and DUST514, which is the other reason for my crap number of kills this month... in space anyway :)

So not all bad news from my personal viewpoint. I may have missed out on multiple titan kills, but It could have been worse, I could have been that initial Goon titan pilot.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Into The Black - Part 3 - Hiding

Fan Fiction Friday. If Eve fiction isn't your thing and you'd, in the words of Captain Blackadder, rather French-kiss a skunk, why not try here.


Into The Black - Part 3 - Hiding

Kara opened her eyes, it was pitch black. A small button somewhere in front of her glowed a dull green. Had it been a nightmare? No. She knew by her aching body and the soft hum that surrounded her that she'd ran for her life from people infected with some form of bio-weapon and had jumped onto a starship to escape. She recalled after they got away from the planet the captain had shown her to a bed and she had pretty much passed out straight away. She rose and gingerly moved over to the glowing button being careful to try not to bump into anything in the darkness. She depressed the button and the lights flickered on. She shielded her eyes to adjust. The cabin was tiny. Hardly enough room for the small single bed and wardrobe. She investigated the draws, the room belonged to a woman. She looked in the small wardrobe. Amarrian by the look of it Kara thought as she saw the robes. Then she flicked through to more revealing Gallente style dresses. A Caldari military uniform. A Matari outfit that looked it was designed for combat rather than high-fashion. The woman who had this cabin had clothes from every empire and the styles ranged from ultra-conservative to the very revealing.

A sharp clanging sound in the distance caught her attention. She opened the door and looked both ways. The narrow corridor appeared to end in a communal area to the left, to the right where the sound was coming from there was a hatch. She turned right and went through the hatch which opened into a small room. A ladder went down into the darkness, the sounds emanating from the black pit suggested that the engineering bay and engine room was down there. Another hatch on the back wall opened into the cargo bay.

Dorn looked up as Kara entered. She surveyed the room and noted that there was not a lot of cargo. A few crates here and there, but generally it was empty, except for a long black battered container and Dorn holding a hammer and crowbar.

"You OK?" the captain asked.

"I suppose. Look, thanks for getting me out of there."

Dorn just nodded and went back to hammering against the locked catches on the crate.

"Whats in there?" Kara asked when he paused for a rest.

"No idea. But its what I was delivering to your bosses when all that broke out. I want some more answers."

"Do you really want to be opening that after...."

With a crack the lock broke off and the lid swung upwards causing Captain Dorn to jump backwards. The contents of the crate were hidden in a fine mist that filled the crate. Slowly the breeze in the cargo bay from the environmental systems started to disburse the mist. It was a body. It appeared dead with pale grey skin. Several veins were visible which appeared to have a silver hue to them. Kara thought of her friend the doctor. As he was changing his veins appeared to take on a silver hue.

"Any idea if that is going to get up and murder us?" Kara whispered.

"I don't know. But I aint taking that risk!" Captain Dorn said as he drew his gun.

"What is it?"

"They are known as True Slaves. Sansha's Nation zombies. That's what your good Doctor friend was working on." Captain Dorn pulled the trigger blowing a hole in the corpses head.

"Just to be sure" he said as he kicked the lid shut.


The station above the nearby planet was chaos, it was thousands over capacity and its hangers were littered with damaged drop ships and surface-to-ship shuttles. The petite blonde woman picked her way through the crowds to the lift to the command section. Two armed guards stood either side and eye'd her carefully.

"Sorry, this is a highly restricted area. Move along."

"Oh" she replied in a sweet yet sultry voice "Highly restricted? So I guess if only important people get through here, and if my card does this..." she swiped a passcard along the reader by the door which immediately opened ".... I suppose you should call me Marm!".

The soldiers saluted, their expressions unsure. Usually it was uniformed officers who entered the command centre. Not a petite woman in a black, figure hugging one-piece. The woman entered the lift and the doors closed.

If the promenade on the station was chaos, the control room was organised chaos. The plasma storm on the surface on planet III had caused an influx of refugees and everyone was struggling to cope. A dozen people were working consoles in the large curved room. A huge window looked out onto the hostile planet below. She walked up to the man who appeared to be in charge. He looked from his datapad, surprised to see a beautiful, but unauthorised woman standing in front of him.

"And you are?"

"Miss Smith. I am here on Corporate orders. I need to track a ship that left during the storm."

"Really? Well take a ticket and wait in line. We're too busy with evacuations to track one ship that was lucky enough to escape that storm." the man snapped.

The room went quiet following his outburst.

"You are under stress, so I'll ignore the tone of your voice. However, this is not a request, it is....."

"You don't come here and order me about!" the man snapped "I am....." he never finished his sentance. Her fingers jabbed into his throat at lightning speed, crushing his windpipe. The rest of the staff looked on in shock as their boss dropped to his knees, clutching his throat and gasping in vain for a breath that would never come. One woman started to slowly edge towards the lift. Without looking directly in her direction the agent grabbed a pistol from her bag and shot her in the head.

Suddenly all hell broke loose as people tried to escape. The agent calmly executed each one before they could escape or call for help. Even though people were running in different directions she cooly shot each one without moving from where she was stood. One shot, one kill.

After the last person fell the agent went up to the main console and brought up ship scans for during the time of the storm. Hundreds of ships fled the neighbouring planet on the news of the plasma storm. She narrowed the coordinates for ships leaving from the vicinity of the city that housed the corporations facility. That got the list down to under one hundred. She then discounted ships that came straight to dock at the station. Down to half a dozen. Three of those were registered company ships, evacuating assets. She looked at the three remaining ships, people who were keen to get off the planet, and didn't want to hang about. The details of the three ships were memorised and the consoles data-banks cleared. She accessed the stations sensors and created a fake reading in the orbital debris monitoring database.

She retrieved a small disk from her bag and threw it at the viewport. It stuck in the centre of the giant window overlooking the planet. She opened a maintenance hatch and entered the crawl-way before securing the hatch. Ten seconds later the small compact charge detonated cracking the massive reinforced window. A few seconds later the differential pressure caused the window to shatter blowing the bodies into space where their momentum would carry them into the atmosphere within the hour.

The stations log recorded the tragic loss of the 12 command crew plus one guest who died when the command centre's main viewport failed. The report recommended that large-scale monitors should be used in future as opposed to clear external viewports and that command centres should be given greater protection from rogue micro-asteroids. Just like the one that they suspect struck the window.


"Is that rock outside?" Kara asked. She had tried to clean some of the dirt off one of the viewports in the cargo bay. She'd managed to get a murky view of outside the ship from rubbing the grime off the small viewport.

"Yeah. We're inside an asteroid."


"Its a tiny outpost. Nothing much more than a cave blown out of the side of a big roid with a small workshop and landing pad. The Serpentis have these all over the place."

Kara's face went white. The notorious pirate faction were not as terrifying as Sansha's Nation or the Blood Angels, who bled their victims to death. But the Serpentis were not to be taken lightly. A notorious cartel that controlled the majority of New Eden's drug trade. Kara could only imagine when they would do to trespassers using their facilities. Captain Dorn saw her expression.

"Don't worry. This one has been all but destroyed. Everythings down and nobody has been here in years." he said.

"How do you know? What if they come back? What if they find us......"

"Look lady. I've been using this place for a long time. The blast marks on the roid and on the other structures in the area shows some cruise missile weilding pod jockey was sent here to remove them from this system, and like all capsuleers, made a fracking mess and used far too much ordinence. Now trust me, we're safe here until I work out where we can go."

"Well surely you are going to take me back to Vaankalen, aren't you?" Kara sounded worried.

"Vaankalen? I'm never going near that planet again. You can if you want, but given they vaporised your city to keep their little experiment a secret I can pretty much assure you that they'll do the same to you. Obviously after torturing you to find out who you told about their little project."

Kara went white.

"No. It can't be!"

Captain Dorn casualy tossed his datapad at her. She caught it and started reading. The news was all about the destruction of her home city after a freak plasma storm caused the reactors in the cities main power plant to go critical. She felt numb as she saw the pictures.

"They did it in a rush. If you look closely you'll see by the way the buildings have fallen, the blast came from the centre of the city. The power generation plant was on the outskirts. I'm sure someone will spot their mistake it and hack the photos. But for now anyone with bomb-damage assessment experience can see that was a bomb blast."

Kara placed the datapad down and started to cry.

"What are we going to do?" she sobbed.

"We need to disappear. Even though we don't know the details of that bio-weapon that your friendly doctor friend was working on, we saw the results. We know vaguely what was going on. They killed a few million people simply to keep that story quiet. You think they are going to let us go on roaming the stars? You, me and this ship are marked. We need to ditch the ship, get new ID's and get to Gallente space as soon as possible."

"Gallente space?" Kara was shocked. She'd never been out of Caldari space and had been told by the media for years that the Gallente were the cause of all problems in the Caldari State.

"Yeah, frog space. First off don't believe all that crap you get fed from the networks. The State could learn a hell of a lot from the Federation. Secondly the State's grasp is weakest in Federation, more chance of hiding there and not being found. Look love, its up to you. Tomorrow things should have calmed down enough to leave this hidey-hole and get to a station I know about, off-grid. Then I'll be ditching this vessel and getting some new ID papers. After that its a careful journey to the border zone before trying to make it across the war-zone that is low-security space before reaching the Federation proper and trying not to get arrested for being a spy. You are welcome to join me, or we can part ways on the station tomorrow. Just remember, your employers killed millions to keep the secret. I'm sure they are desperate to see you again!".

Kara stayed silent. She thought back to Doctor Branham, the infected in the facilities underground levels and what Captain Jorn had just said. The pictures of her home city flattened repeated in her mind. The captain was right. The corporation couldn't risk letting her live. She'd not last the day on her own. She'd be captured, interrogated and then vanished.

"I'm with you." she whispered in a defeated tone.


The rusting cargo hold was even smaller than that on the Blue Nova. It was a Matari built industrial ship and was in dire need of repair. The four crew members balanced on their tip-toes atop the small cargo crates. Their hands were bound behind their backs and they had cables around their necks which were tied to a walkway above. The blonde agent walked down the line smiling at each of them.

"So you really expect me to believe you haven't seen the two fugitives " she waved her datapad in the air. Kara's and Dorn's faces were displayed on the screen.

"No!" croaked the man at the top of the line. "We didn't take on any passengers!"

The agent walked to the other end of the line. She looked into the eyes of the man above her and placed a foot on the cargo crate that he was balancing on. She smiled at him.

"Do you agree with your captain? That you took nobody off that planet?"

The man shook his head emphatically  He tried to speak but the rope around his neck prevented him from saying anything more than a croak. The blonde cocked her head to one side, smiled again and pushed her foot forward. The small crate went skidding across the cargo bay and the crew member swung from the rope, his body shaking.

"One down, three to go." the agent said as she approached the next crew member. He was a burly Matari man who looked down at her with contempt.

"Well you don't appear afraid." she said. "I don't suppose you'd tell me even through the threat of death."

The Matari crew member spat at her. She kicked the crate from under his feet. The snap of his neck resonated through the cargo bay.

"No. Please no!" The captain was pleading as the agent approached the woman balancing on the crate next to him, wiping the spit from her cheek.

"Oh this one is special is she?" the agent teased. "Sister? Wife? Girlfriend? Lover?"

The agent stroked the woman's leg as if she was trying to reassure her. The woman whimpered in fear at her touch.

"She looks young. May be even daughter?" the agent stood before the captain and looked up at him. "Time is almost out Captain. Either you tell me where you dropped off the two fugitives or she dies."

"Please. Don't kill her. We took nobody off that planet. In fact we shot over the heads of people who were trying to board the ship to escape. We left that planet with no-one on board but our normal crew." the captain gasped.

The agent went back to the woman and placed her foot on the crate and pushed a little. The woman danced to keep her footing and gasped as the rope pulled tight. The Captain was begging her to stop. She pushed a little further. Again the woman struggled to keep her footing. She was now balancing on the edge of the crate.

"I find it hard to believe you abandoned all those people on that planet. Have you no compassion captain?" the agent pushed the crate a little more.

"WE COULDN'T TAKE THEM BECAUSE OF THE BOOSTERS!" the Captain screamed. "We're carrying booster pills!"

The agent looked at him.

"Thats why we ran. We're smugglers. The crates are full of blue pills."

"OK I'll take a look"

The agent grabbed the crate at the woman's feet and pulled it free. The Captain screamed as the woman swung free. The agent unclipped the latches and opened the crate as the woman dangled behind, her desperate struggling getting less and less by the second.

Inside the crate there were hundreds of pills. They were indeed drug runners. That was the second possibility eliminated, the fugitives had to have been on the third ship. Without saying any more she left the cargo bay by the personnel door and walked along the docking arm into her own ship. The captains screams getting quieter as the distance increased. An officer was waiting for her by the airlock.

"Undock from that piece of junk and destroy it. I want an all-stations alert issuing for a cargo runner called the 'Blue Nova'. Find me that ship."

The captain on the cargo ship was struggling to free his hands as he heard the strategic cruiser undock from his vessel. The lifeless bodies of his lover and two loyal crew members swung lifelessly beside him. He'd almost got his hands free when the first salvo of Havoc heavy assault missiles struck the side of his ship. It knocked the captain from his crate. The snap of his neck was a blessing and saved him a more agonizing death from the vacuum of space as the second salvo of missiles breached the ship and depressurised the cargo bay. The third and final salvo hit the ships reactor, destroying the ship and any evidence of what had occurred there.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

My First Day of DUST514

At the weekend I bought a PS3 and downloaded DUST514. Yesterday, the NDA was lifted so I can actually talk about my experience! So here is my first impressions of.....

The PS3
Piece of crap! Arrrgghhhhhhhh! My XBox simply talks to my wi-fi and my computers. This piece of junk wouldn't without a lot of hassle! Took me an age to get the sodding thing working! Thankfully the interwebz was very helpful - Android wireless access point, don't even try and Windows 7 "Unknown Network" issue, here is what you need to do to get it to work.

The PS3 Controller.
I'm used to the XBox controller. This PS3 controller is totally alien and really causing me issues. I think I need the keyboard and mouse ASAP! I've obviously got a bit better but it is still causing me issues. If you're one of the sad geeks like me who have bought a PS3 just for Eve, then expect some death by controller!

DUST514 Itself
So I finally get in. It says it's a 2.7gb download but I note my usage meter says I spunked 6gb that day. No idea what's going on there.
Anyway, into DUST. It's like being catapulted back in time. I'm back to 2008 and I have just installed this game called Eve Online. I confronted with a massive array of skills, equipment and options. I have no clue what to do there is no tutorial like in other FPS games that show you how to play. I'm scratching my head even with the helpful tool-tips and the "Would you like to know more?" options. Thankfully five years of playing Eve has equipped me for the "Here's the deep end, just jump in! Oh and can you hold this anvil at the same time?". I am worried about new players who aren't "Eve-ised".

I look around and can immediately see this is Eve. The selection of skills is mind-boggling Thankfully Eve players will be able to give a half decent guess to what they do just by looking at them. Skills to increase PG and CPU of your suit are there. Levelling the skills higher lets you use better stuff or do more damage/take more hurt. There are skills to lower your signature radius or increase your scan res (OK the terms are different but the effect is the bloody same Mr Picky!)

The choice of gear is huge.... but not for me as I look at all the cool toys that might as well have a huge red label stuck across them saying "With your skill points? Don't make me laugh!"

Fitting is the same as Eve but much more difficult due to me not being used to the controller. But with not many skill points and not much ISK I stick with the free unlimited "Starter fits". Usual ones are there, assault, medic, anti-armour, sniper.

So no more messing and jump into a battle. After 5 minutes I feel like I'm back in 2009, when I first started to go down the PvP route in Eve.

The maps are sufficiently large with plenty of structures and an appropriate sci-fi feel to them. I feel some of the terrain has issues in that it looks like you should be able to fit through a gap but you soon find you cannot. The spawn map is rather neat and you can see the fighting, including bullets and rockets, zipping far below as you pick where you want to spawn. Useful if there is an enemy tank causing issues and you've just selected an anti-armour fit.

Then there is the combat. I doubt I can give a good review of this as my first days have been very much....

"Look there is an..... oh I'm dead."

"Right I'll run over.... oh I'm dead."

"OK I've respawned now.... oh I'm dead."

Things are not being helped by the way the buttons on the control work. The "big button" on the trigger control lets you swap weapons. The small one fires your gun. So I'm spending a lot of time changing from my rifle to my pistol when I actually wanted to FIRE! Oh yes, and spending a lot of time dying!

I suppose I understand why. For a start I'm in the dropsuit equivalent of an Ibis firing the equivalent of a civilian Gatling No wonder I'm getting kerb-stomped by everyone else when they are running about in the equivalent of T2 fit Thrashers. Best so far has been finishing 5th on my team of 16. But that's taken a fair bit of practice.

I'm a COD player, so I'm used to the kill cam showing you how you died. In DUST there is no kill cam. So when you die you need to quickly look up in the scrolling text and spot who killed you and with what. It can be really frustrating when you keep getting one-shotted all the damn time from an unseen assailant.

I tried the assualt fit. That is a standard Jack-of-all-Trades fit with assault rifle. I tried the sniper fit and found I couldn't hit a barn-door as I wasn't use to the controls. I tried the heavy fit. Fantastic launching a salvo of rockets at an enemy vehicle and watching it assplode. Not so fantastic when you're up against a ground soldier and this big rocket launch will only fire when locked on.

I died to other fits! The heavy machine guns that look like Gatling guns tear through us noobs with ease. I don't know what a mass driver is, but it kersplats. The laser rifle sliced me up, the sniper rifles blew me away, the remote explosives scatter by entails around a large area and the turrets vaporised me and my dangly bits.

I did have a few YES! moments. A triple kill by sneaking up behind the enemy lines. Blowing up a Warthog (or whatever they are called in DUST, looks like a Halo Warthog to me!) with a rocket launcher and blowing another up after I hacked a large turret and climbed inside.

As you can probably guess I spent a lot more time dying than killing. However I do suspect this is due to the controller issues as I'm OK on COD on the XBox. After 5 days of casual playing I've started to get a positive kill/death ratio. I think this is a combination of skill points (I now can use a MKII Caldari Dropsuit), money (I now have the ISK to pay for non-militia gear) and getting used to the controller.

Initial Conclusions
If this hadn't been an Eve game I may have given up already. But this IS an Eve game and I'm expecting it to work in the same way. With low skill points and little ISK I am going to get kerbstomped......... a lot. I am going to die, respawn, die before I have even moved and respawn again. The 5 kills to 15 deaths will improve and has somewhat! But once I have that critical mass of skill points and ISK, then I can deal the pain. But for now, I'm a noob who's primary role is cannon fodder.

P.S. YES! I know I should use a keyboard and mouse but I like playing console games in my big armchair, laying back looking at the big-screen TV!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Absolut Mandarin Saved My Dreadnought!

Thursdays are the end of the week here and all us hard working expats meet down the bar after we finish work for a well deserved drink or two.... or three.... or many.

Fast forward 8 hours, and I get home in a taxi for a mahoosive cheesey chip sandwich, a slurred convo with the wife and a quick log into Eve. This is even though I know its a bad idea given the state I was in! Aura had been bitching at me throughout the day that one of the alts skill queues was low so I thought I'd just queue up another skill just in case I slept in the next morning. Then I just had to log on Drackarn as Eve was already running.

"Everyone get in your dreads!"
Huh? Wut? Oh..... erm..... where the hell am I? Oh right. Nikkischema. Need a schhip to burn scheven jumpsch to Nischuwa. That'll do. Undock! Warp! Jump!
"Make sure you have an empty head. You have a high chance of dying."
Schmeg! This clone is not cheap.
"OK we'll be leaving very soon!"
Ballsch, 6 jumpsch and need to change clonesch!
"You'll need a lot of fuel, about X much."
Bollocksch. What do I do? Other QCatsch are heading to the meet up! Do I try for it or just give up?

(Although I cannot remember, the wife assures me, or should that me 'asschuresch me' I was slurring pretty badly!)


"Oh not you two again!"

Brunette - "There are cap kills to be had Drackarn. Run! Run to Nisuwa, get in your dread and make some enemy cap pilot cry as you tear his ship to pieces with your massive blasters of doom."

Blonde - "Look Drackarn. Your face is two inches from the monitor as you cannot focus. You are in the wrong expensive clone, your Moros is not ready and you are still six jumps out and they are leaving now. Forget it. Dock up in this system, there's a station here, and go to bed. Its late, and you are in no state to fight."

For only the second time ever I ignored the brunette and went with the blonde. Somewhere around 60 seconds later I was fast asleep.

Next morning I get up. Thankfully when I've been on the vodka the hangovers are always managable. First thing I do is look why the mobile phone is flashing. It was an e-mail from Twitter informing I have been mentioned in some Tweets. One of which is from @baghi informing me that a DnD dreadnought fleet got whelped the night before.

Apparently the opperation was to drop 30 Goon carriers that were camping a 0.0 station. The Goons asked (screamed) for help and suddenly.... super capitals! A few titan doomsdays later followed by a mother-load of fighter bombers and 50bn ISK of scrap metal was floating around the station. The plan of "Jump in, one cycle of seige to kill as many carriers as possible and deagress and dock up before the supers come" did not work as planned. Goon supers were on the field rather quickly. As a 'D' I tend to get primaried early so I can be pretty much assured if I'd been there, I would have died. The Goons were streaming their camping.  Fast forward the video below to 1h 25m to hear the FC "calmly" ask for help as a fleet of pirate dreadnoughts cyno'd on top of his carrier fleet!

So no carrier kills for me. But then again no multi-billion ISK loses either. I did get some nice PvP though over the weekend.

Friday was a busy day in real-life so only got one kill. I was sat in a small plex when I got a Enyo on short scan. I quickly loaded the guns with Republic Fleet Fussion, stuck some T2 Nova rockets in the rocket launcher and set the top rack to pre-overheat. He came in and died in short order.

Saturday was much better death-dealing wise.

First up was some Cock-bag Thrasher fun with the rest of the QCats. Someone found a Mymidon on a gate and we met up on the otherside. He pushed him through to us. Now Cock-bags and gate guns don't mix. But a BC kill for a Destroyer loss is an acceptable trade in my book. So I went for hero tackle. Got point and failed to warp off quickly enough as the gate guns minced my un-tanked Thrasher. The Mymidon died to the rest of the QCats.

A little later I undocked alone to find a Harpy on the undock. He agressed but my Thrasher had fusion ammo loaded and I wasn't going to sit there for 10 seconds being shot at whilst I swapped ammo types. So I docked back up, changed to EMP and undocked. he was still there so I engaged. Suddenly a Condor undocks and now its 2v1 against me. The Harpy assplodes and I turn my attention to the Condor. As he's going down as a Thrasher appears. A staggered 3v1! The Condor assplodes but I'm in low armour at that time so the Thrasher takes me down easily. An AF and a T1 frigate kill for a Destroyer loss. That is acceptable especially when you have the excitement of a 3v1.

They leave so I swap to a Vexor and go and camp a medium faction war plex. About 15 minutes later a couple of Caldari appear in system. I get a Stabber and a Caracal on short range and start debating whether its worth trying to stay and take them on. A heavily tanked Vexor verses a Stabber and a Caracal? On paper I should probably run. I keep hitting scan and another Caracal turns up. 3v1 is definitely not worth sticking around for so I warp to station posting in local 3v1 is too much. A fellow member of the Quantum Cats Syndicate see's this and offers his Ishtar as support. Ishtar and Vexor vs Stabber and two Caracals? Worth a try! I jump on comms and we warp to the medium plex together and warp in. One of the Caracals has left so I grab the Stabber and Kibayasu grabs the Caracal. The Stabber is not very tanked with only a LSE and DC. He dies quickly. As we're hitting the Caracal the second Caracal comes back to help his mates. We snag him too and they die in short order. Good fight!

Later than night I logged in to find three squids in system so I undocked. They were in Thrashers running a small plex. With no back-up there is no way I could solo them. So I jump in a Flabber and head to a medium plex. As soon as the small plex vanishes from overview I get them on short scan. They are on the acceleration gate to my plex. Will they enter? After 3 or 4 minutes I get the hint they won't, they are just sitting there. I suppose thats the right call. Three destroyers verses a faction cruiser would probably go my way. There is a stargate only 0.5 AU from the plex so I decide to bounce and see if I can catch them on the acceleration gate. As I land back on the acceleration gate I see the last Thrasher warping into the plex. I activate the gate and manage to catch one Thrasher as I land as his mates run.

So whilst not the most amazing weekend of PvP I've ever had, I enjoyed those fights. But something else happened at the weekend. I went shopping with the wife.....

It's amazing what you can get away with on your birthday.

Wife - "So why do you need a PS3 when you have an XBox?"
Me - "DUST514 is only availible on the PS3."
Wife - "Your spending a grand [local currency] for one game?"
Me - "It's my birthday!"
Wife - "So?"
Me - "Well I either get that PS3 for DUST514 or you give me the birthday present I asked for."
Wife - "NO!"
Me - "So PS3 then!"
Wife - "OK."

Unfortunatly I spend the next 26 hours screaming at the black box of frustration  Whilst the XBox360 is the slut of the wi-fi world, it'll partner-up with anyone, the PS3 is more picky. In the end I had to set the laptop up to serve as a internet server which itself causes all sorts of issues with the PS3. Thankfully the "Unknown Network" problem with Windows 7 and the PS3 is well documented and there are guides on what to do. However, once I had got the damn thing online the Playstation Network was down for maintenance so I couldn't download DUST514 or register. And that downtime was extended, and then extended and then extended. I finally got to play DUST514 on late Saturday afternoon. It's still NDA'd (hoping that'll drop on Tuesday when it goes open Beta) so all I say is that if you're use to an XBox controller, you're going to spend a LOT of time trying to get used to the PS3 controller.


If you were playing DUST514 yesterday and wondered why, when a member of the other team had you clearly in his sights, he suddenly put his rifle away and pulled out a pistol, that may have been me!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Into The Black - Part 2 - The Agent

Fan Fiction Friday! You have a number of escape pod options this week if this isn't your thing!
  • Yesterday I posted a short summary of the CSM minutes. I recommend you read the whole thing but if you're adamant that you won't do the full 100+ pages then this is a bit easier?
  • Poetic started an interesting conversation about the local/intel issue. This has rumbled on and has been turned into a blog banter!
  • Susan over at GamerChick42 has wrote an excellent guide to faction war plexing here!
This is the second part of the Into the Black series. I just need to introduce a few more of the protagonists before the action starts to heat up!

Into The Black - Part 2

The Admiral was sat at the head of the dinner table. His 12 guests were the elite of Caldari society. Mega-corp CEO's, Navy brass and high level executives of the Caldari Provincial Directorate. Several conversations were going on concurrently across various groups around the table. From the attempted assassination of Tibus Heth to the estimated stock price fluctuations in the battlecruiser construction sector when the major manufactures issued their anticipated update.

Life was good for those seated around the expensive table. The war with the Gallente Federation had reinvigorated both the Caldari economy and the government. National pride was at an all time high and worker disputes were at an all time low. The only thing that irked the Admiral was the failure to secure the low-sec star systems between Caldari and Gallente space. They had complete domination a few years ago, and then the damn capsuleers had let it slip though their fingers. Now the more organised Gallente militia dominated the low-sec areas. However, given everything else, it was not something to lose heart over.

A smartly dressed aide slipped into the room almost unnoticed. He approached the General and whispered in his ear.

"Admiral. There is a priority 1 message for you. Keyword 'Turncoat'."

The Admiral went white. A priority 1 message on that project could only mean one thing. He felt cold at the thought of the possibilities.

"Ladies and Gentlemen. I am truly sorry but there is an urgent matter of State I must attend to. If you would excuse me."

The Admiral hurried out of the room as his guests enjoyed their deserts and conversation.

As he entered his office he locked the door, flicking a switch that also activated the electronic counter-surveillance package. He sat at his communications terminal and hit the activate button which also scanned his DNA for authentication. The text appeared.


The Admiral sat there staring at the monitor in horror. He couldn't believe what he was seeing. Protocol 99 was one of those fail-safes that needed to be put in place but nobody ever expected to ever use. The outcome was just too horrific to think of.

He acknowledged the message with a single word "Understood." and opened a new communications link. This new comms link was not the discreet and untraceable text only system he had just used. This was the official State military communications system and any orders he gave would be logged on the system. He wondered how history would judge him.

The screen filled with a man's face. He was wearing a the uniform of a Captain of the Caldari Navy and was stood on the bridge of a capital starship.

"Yes Admiral sir?"

"Captain, I am ordering you to Initiate Protocol 99. Authorisation Beta, Beta, six, nine, five, Kappa."

The captains face on the screen drained of colour. He paused taking in the enormity of that he had just been ordered to do. The captain pulled a small card from his shirt's top pocket and scanned down the rows of numbers.

"Sir, challenge. Gamma, 14, Zulu, Niner." The Admiral expected this. In fact if the Captain had not used a coded challenge to the order, he was planning to have him demoted to flying Badger class industrials. All Ship commanders should comply with orders from a superior officer without question, but the Captain of a Chimera class carrier had so much fire-power at his fingertips, one wrong move could result in a catastrophic loss of life. In case of a deception by the enemy, they needed to be sure.

The Chimera was the mainstay of the State Navy. The original design was for a bulk water carrier. In the first Gallente/Caldari war it had been refitted to act as a carrier and had performed exceptionally well. In fact one of the carriers had been able to play cat-and-mouse with the Gallente fleet long enough to allow the evacuation of Caldari Prime. As well as a full compliment of one-man fighters and a huge selection of unmanned combat drones, the Chimera could also carry several larger ships in her bays depending on the combat needs of the mission.

"Captain, response to challenge is alpha, alpha, four, five, delta." the Admiral already had the challenge response card ready.

"Sir, yes, sir. Initiating Protocol 99......" the captain paused, he looked unsure if he should say any more. The Admiral knew what the Captain was thinking so he finished his sentence for him.

"And may god forgive us for what we must do."


Colonel Rakata looked up at the beautiful face above him. Her visage was one of pure ecstasy. A glistening sheen of sweat covering her upper body. Her dark brown hair cascaded down over her shoulders and swayed with her movements. He ran his hands along the top of her stocking clad legs, thumbing the clasp of the suspenders. The rest of her clothes, and his too, lay in a trail between the door and the bed. However, she had kept the stockings on which had pleased him. He'd got lucky at the Casino in more ways then one. They'd met at one of the gaming tables that evening. He was winning big and she had come onto him strongly. Thankfully his wife was away with their daughter. Even though his wife was away, he'd taken the woman back to a discreet apartment he rented on the station off-the-books with cash. She must have been half his age the overweight and balding officer thought, not much older than his daughter. He knew it was the money and power that had seduced her, but he didn't care. She was, in a word, amazing.

She saw him staring up at her. Se slowed her rhythm, smiled and wiggled her hips bringing a pleasurable groan from him.

"What are you thinking?" she asked breathlessly.

"Well, I'm thinking how a lovely creature like you could end up in my bed."

The woman leant forward and took his head in her hands kissing him deeply. She pulled back slightly and tilted his head to the side so her lips were by his ear. She gently sucked one of the lobes before whispering.

"That's an easy question to answer. It's because you've been stealing your battalions combat weaponry and military supplies and selling them to the Serpentis Syndicate you naughty, naughty boy."

The colonel's eyes went wide with terror. Before he could react she pulled her head away and expertly twisted her hands. The general's neck snapped like a twig. She placed two fingers on his neck to check for a pulse. When she was sure he was dead she climbed off his body and easily dragged it into the bathroom. Even though he was three times her size she effortlessly moved him into position. Like many wealthy and powerful people, the colonel had a real water shower, not the sonic showers that were used by the masses. The woman slid his body next to the shower, started the water and sprayed liquid soap on the floor. She knew the military police investigation would be a formality. The head of the service was aware of the op as was the coroner who would perform the autopsy. But they had at least had to put the pieces in place for whoever would find his corpse. If a maid found the body like this she would immediately assume that he had slipped and broke his neck. That would plant the idea in everyone she spoke to. When the scene was set she looked at herself in the mirror. She ripped off the black wig and smoothed her short blonde, almost white, hair which had been messed up under the wig.

When she was happy with her hair she went back into the bedroom and retrieved her clothing from where it had been discarded between the door and the bed. She pulled on her short cocktail dress before making one side of the bed leaving the other unmade. She didn't have to wipe the surfaces as she'd altered her own fingerprints to that of the Colonel's before she'd left that night. If they did scan for fingerprints they'd simply find small partial prints matching the colonel's fingers and immediately disregard them. She stood by the door and surveyed the scene recounting her every movement since she entered. She was satisfied that there was no evidence that the colonel had anyone stay over. Any security camera footage on the deck would had already been hacked and doctored by the technicians on board her strategic cruiser which was cloaked off the station.

Just as she turned to leave her datapad bleeped. It was a message.

"Are you kids coming around for dinner? Father."

The code phrase for an urgent return to base for all active agents. She left the colonel's quarters immediately and headed for the shuttle bay.


Xin lay slumped against the side of the building in an ally. The skies had started to clear and it looked like the storm was dissipating. It might turn out to be a beautiful sunny day.

However, she knew it would not be a nice day for her. Blood dripped from her arm where the drunken maniac had bitten her. She'd been sheltering from the plasma storm in the walkway between buildings and never heard him approach her from behind. He had sank his teeth into her upper arm before she even knew he was there. She'd screamed for help, but it was only one scream of many as people fled the ravages of the storm. The maniac had simply staggered off after he'd bit her. She had been expecting to fight for her life. But no, he just bit her and wandered off. He'd clearly been extremely drunk, the way he staggered away, he could hardly walk. Plus he'd been injured. Probably fallen over several times, the drunken fool, she thought.

She adjusted the makeshift bandage on her arm that she'd made from a strip of her t-shirt and looked around. She felt terrible, surely the emergency services would be here soon now the storm had ended. She looked up to the sky almost expecting to see a civil defence dropship hovering nearby coming to her aid. The sky was eerily empty. Usually there were always several ships arriving or departing from the city to be seen in the sky. Currently there was just blue sky with the odd wisp of cloud from the dissipating storm.

She looked to the main street and saw several other people staggering around. They must have been concussed by an explosion or hit by falling debris from a building. Surely they could not all be drunk like the maniac that bit her. She watched in horror as a woman who was staggering on the opposite side of the road lunged at a man who was running past. They fell together and when they rolled over she realised the woman had clasped her teeth onto the man's forearm. He was screaming and trying to get her off. Suddenly she simply let go, got up and staggered off. The man scrambled to his feet clutching his bloodied arm and ran off in the opposite direction.

Xin wondered what was going on but was having trouble concentrating. She screamed as a blinding pain struck her head. She clasped her hands to the side of her temples as the pain made her vision blurred. She collapsed on the floor, blood running from her nose and dripping down her cheek. Her vision cleared, she was laying on her back. She looked up at the now clear blue sky. Whilst her vision had returned, her head felt like it was about to explode. She felt hot, so hot.

She saw a small ship high above. Her husband was a starship maintenance engineer so she knew it was something like a small cargo transport. It climbed high until it vanished out of sight. A few moments later she saw another ship, slightly smaller, directly above her flying level above the city. She thought it had just appeared out of thin air but that wasn't possible but she swore it wasn't there a second ago.

Then there was a brilliant, blinding flash.


Twenty hours later the blonde agent was sat at a table in a secure conference room as her boss entered with two men. She was reading a local news report on her datapad that a State Colonel had slipped in the shower and had broken his neck on a planet many light-years away from her current location. Mission successful she thought.

"Good morning Chimera. This is Admiral Hakkana and Dr Lee." her boss said in way of introduction.

The woman simply nodded at the two men and didn't bother to rise.

The three men took seats directly opposite her. The Admiral cleared his throat.

"I'm told that you are the best covert agent available to the State. You'd better be. This mission is to neutralise perhaps one of the greatest threats to this corporation and to the State that we've ever faced. At 0900 hours yesterday a freak plasma storm hit the city of Hasasheena on Vaankalen III Whilst the planet is known for its plasma storms, they are usually only a category two or three, at worse. This was a category 8, which has never been recorded on a terraformed planet before now. That city was home to one of our bio-research facilities. The project they were working on was highly dangerous and during the storm, containment was breached. We believe two civilians escaped the facility and may now have information on that project that could destroy the corporation and heavily damage the State. Your mission is track down these two individuals, extract from them what they know and who they've told and to destroy any evidence."

"And what of the two individuals themselves?" the woman asked showing no emotion.

"I consider them evidence." stated the Admiral.

"Understood. Who are these targets?"

The Admiral produced two files and slid them over the table to her.

"First one is a secretary from the facility. She had minimal security clearance and before the storm we do not believe she knew the facilities real purpose. The man is a privateer. Due to the, shall we say the sensitivity, of the materials needed for the project we used shadow corporations to issue grey contracts to privateers to deliver the specialist cargo. That way if there was a problem with customs or they were caught in transit nobody could trace the materials back to us. He was making a delivery as the storm hit. Security footage showed that he entered the facility and came into contact with the secretary and it would appear, the research. They fled the scene together."

"So what was real purpose of the facility and what was the research?"

The Admiral looked at Dr Lee and nodded. The doctor looked solemn. He removed his tiny wire-rimmed spectacles.

"Obviously I don't need to tell you this is highly-classified. It is called Project Turncoat. As you will be aware, Sansha's Nation has perhaps the greatest mind control technologies in the known universe. Their True Slaves have no free-will of their own. They are utterly controlled by Sansha Kuvakei. Project Turncoat was set up to acquire this technology and reverse engineer it for battlefield use. Acquiring the technology was easy. With all the Nation incursions going on, spec-op teams were able to isolate and capture a number of True Slaves on colony abductions and also recover some bodies from capsuleer engagements with Nation forces in space. The plan was to develop our own version of the control nanite. Imagine it, a heavily fortified facility on a planet defended by the enemy. Their ground and air defences are almost impregnable and we need the facility intact. Previously as orbital bombarment would be out, we'd throw conventional forces against them until we were overran them at a massive loss of life and equipment. With this tech, a small unarmed stealth drone could fly overhead, release the nanites and not only would we have the facility in the name of the State, we'd also have gained a fiercely loyal defence force. Or how about a battlefield where 20,000 men on each side are squaring off against each other. One fly past and not only have we won the battle without losing a single soldier, we've gain an additional 20,000 men, their vehicles and their equipment."

The woman didn't bat an eyelid. She just sat there calmly taking everything in.

"Whilst the idea was sound, we lack the technology that Sansha Kuvakei perfected. He uses both brain implants as well as the nanites, we needed a system that didn't require the implants. It wouldn't be an effective weapon otherwise. After two years of research we could not replicate the mind-control elements without the Sansha implants. This made the nanites useless for battlefield use. Our test subjects simply became mindless animals. Motor-neuro function was severely limited and as a weapon system, the nanites were less than useless. We already have nanites that can kill or disable better than these, we wanted to control. The test subjects simply staggered around not knowing what to do. A further failed attempt to stimulate sections of the brain to try and trigger the mind control led to an unexpected break through. A batch of test subjects became unbelievably violent. The aggressor functions of the brain went off the scale. Two technicians were badly injured before we realised what was happening. Furthermore, the nanites which we used were self replicating and could be passed on through saliva. The two injured technicians became infected and themselves became these aggressive, erm, monsters is perhaps the best term to describe them. They have a strong instinct to feed but do not appear to like human flesh. This is when we realised that the project may have failed the original goals, but we had created something special. A bio-weapon unlike any other. A virus or disease can be quarantined, its effect negated by curfews and preventing contact with the infected. This weapon gets up, walks around and actively finds people to infect. After the first bite of a victim it simply staggers off to find another hoping the taste of their flesh is better. It cannot learn so will just go around biting everyone it can. Everyone bitten turns into one themselves within minutes. With no treatment the bites will become infected and the majority die within a week from blood poisoning, if not dehydration. We created an active bio-weapon system that seeks out targets yet still burns itself out eventually."

Although the doctor sounded solomn when he first started speaking. He was sounded enthused and proud by the time they are finished.

"So the two targets are not infected?" the woman asked.

"No, we don't think so. We'd have heard about the spread of the infection. We are sure they got off-world. Due to the plasma storm it was hours before we could implement the containment protocol. In that time hundreds of ships evacuated from the cities numerous starports. We have used satellite imaging to look at what is left of the main starport adjacent to the facility. It is mostly destroyed now, but we could see no evidence of wreckage of a ship in the hanger bay that the target's vessel was in. It is chaos in that system and we have been unable to get the flight logs from the nearest station at planet 1, moon 3." said the general.

"Any chance they are still within the containment protocol you mentioned? They could be still in the city hiding. I thought you said this cannot be contained?"

Now it was the General's turn to look solemn.

"It can't. The containment procedure was not a standard city-wide quarantine type. As soon as the plasma storm had died down sufficiently a Manticore stealth bomber, modified for atmospheric flight, was launched from a carrier in high orbit. It dropped a high-yield plasma bomb on the city. Several experts and investigation teams were lined up ready to state the city's power plant's main reactor went critical and with the atmospheric effects of the worst plasma storm in living memory amplifying the power, it levelled the city."

"I see. If that is all gentlemen." the woman picked up the files and left the room with purpose in her stride.

As soon as the door closed the doctor turned to the Admiral and the other man.

"Are you serious? You are sending HER to contain this problem. She looks like my 16 year-old daughter could beat her up."

The other un-named man who was sat next to the Admiral smiled.

"Doctor, you don't know who am I, you don't know who she is and the two targets won't know what hit them. I cannot tell you more than that, but trust me when I say that beautiful, petite woman is the most dangerous weapon I know of, after high-yield plasma bombs.......... and that monstrosity you created!"

To be continued......

Thursday, January 17, 2013

CSM minutes tl;dr - The Cut Down Version

Seen the CSM minutes PDF? Feel like me "WTF! HOW MANY PAGES?????"

I really feel, personally, the new style minutes contain too much information. We players don't need to know who's joke got a few laughs and the size of the minutes is counter-productive. Here is Drack's highlights of that ridiculously long document. Obviously this is the bits I feel is important and does not reflect the true minutes  But if your sensible and cannot be bothered to wade through a couple of hours worth of minutes.....

WARNING - Thursday is the Friday here. I've been down the pub for 8 hours and just got home and trying to post this. If there are drunk mistakes, na na na na na!

Eve, The Next 10 Years.

History, blah, blah, blah. At Fanfest they will outline their CCP's plans for 3, 5 and 10 years. CCP Seagull new Executive Producer. Separate game development from product development. Wow this convo really swings one way to the next. I'll just drop a few choice quotes here.

Unifex: We need to sit down and ask ourselves, what do we want EVE to be? What is that mad, crazy stuff that you would love to put in? Is it joystick flight? Is it first-person mode, looking out your cockpit window? Is it Ring Mining? What actually are those things, and do they make sense for what our game actually is? Because we could put ponies in. We could put avatars in. We could put in first pers…

Alek: Back up. We COULD get ponies?

Retribution has been arguably our most successful expansion from a numbers perspective.

Discussing Apocrypha specifically, Unifex pointed out that its success wasn't that there were 2,500 new wormholes, it’s that there was new space, containing new NPC's, that provided new resources, that built new interesting things that created new agencies of destruction. It required exploration. There was a sense of awe and wonder, and cut across a broad section of what EVE is. It wasn't just things like modular POS's, it wasn't just something like Sovereignty, it wasn't just a revamp of mining or whatever. It was about tying those types of things together into something that was more aspirational. Unifex admitted that the biggest mistake CCP made with Apocrypha was to not keep doing that for another 18 months.

Unifex: It's all doable. Take planetary flight, for example. That will be available when Dust launches, because you'll be able to cruise around in dropships over planets.

Two step asked if CCP already had a theme for summer expansion, since they had already loosely begun to talk about elements such as null-sec improvements and POS improvements. Seagull explained that there would be a theme for summer, but that it would be a smaller theme and not Jesus-level quite yet.

The CSM is as a Stakeholder

CCP still appear to charge ahead with ideas, show a late version to the CSM and when they come back with player feedback it's "Oh its too late to change it!".

General discussions on how CSM-CCP dialog with regard to features and planning can be improved.

CSM Whitepaper and Elections

Community site being revamped, may be new voting system for next election. 

White paper out of date (Drack - So its a yellowing paper? I'll get my coat!)

Posible criteria to kick CSM members who are doing bugger all?

So much talk about kicking inactive CSM's, do we REALLY need to read all this?

Null Sec - Part 1

CSM'rs gave their 5 null sec development goals/issues-

"...null-sec is currently too predictable and well-known."

"....should be based on the ability to use the space as opposed to blowing up structures and alarm clocking."

Soundwave - "Small gangs and resources are more important than the sov system, for example."

Got onto POS conversation and we see things appearing like "With conversation now completely deteriorating" and "The atmosphere was notably tense at the point.". Sounds exciting doesn't it! Who'd have thought talk about POS' could do that!

"Unifex continued by stating that they cannot, and will not, do sov in a standalone release"

"After some unconstructive POS-related banter" these dudes are really passionate about their POS' o.O

Basically the CSM gave a lot of issues and thoughts for Soundwave to think about/

Null Sec - Part 2

Part one "led to three overarching topics: resources, infrastructure, and alliances"

"Trebor explained that there should be a means for people to move into underutilized space and use it better without being stomped. Elise interjected that an alternative would be to have fallow space be comparatively easier to take."

Coalition management may be helped by CREST (Standings etc)

Allaince taxes on market orders?

Lots of discusion about why live here, why undock in 0.0? Making systems home, structures, yadda-yadda-yadda.

Industry and mining covered the last bit and the issue that huge amounts of Veldspar needed importing from Jita. This led to discussions on "Infinate Veldspar roids" or "Super veldspar" in null.

Ship Balancing

"2013 would see work on the Battlecruisers, Battleships, adjusting skill requirements for T1, and then after all of that is accomplished, they would move on to T2."

"T2 ships in line would include Command Ships, Black Ops, and EAFs"

"Fozzie also hinted at a change to armor ships, but added that due to the crowded pipeline it was still a very fresh, high-level idea that he couldn’t make any promises about."

Coversations about T1-T2-T3. General but usable-Specialist-Between the Two.

Off-grid boosting is here to stay for the time being simply because CCP cannot fix the mechanics. They are trying.

"minor BO (Black Ops) change was imminent" - "increase jump range to Titan levels, decrease fuel consumption by 25%, and increase fuel capacity by 25%. Both Ytterbium and Fozzie agreed that these were not the final changes to BO," anbd "two lines – a combat-oriented BO and a bridging/covert oriented one."

"supercap rebalancing was not on the immediate horizon and that there was no concrete vision for changes to them."

Faction War

Generally OK.

Low-Sec still an issue.

Contacting idea - “Give me 10 blaster thoraxes fit this way". Nice!

"after the farming nerf, enrollment was down 10-15% (mostly farmers leaving), but has been creeping up again, except for Caldari which has some demoralization issues."

"Fozzie added that they were looking at having upgrades to intel but it was dropped due to time constraints."

Some of the ideas Soundwave is toying with:

* Turning High-sec Faction Navy responsibilities over to the players.

* Providing paths for players to progress from High-sec to Low-sec.

* Methods where faction success lead to High-sec effects.

* Connecting features together instead of making them standalone islands as they often currently are (this is a more global goal).

Soundwave stated that he would like to provide opportunities for action; he gave the example of removing Customs NPCs, but giving FW members the ability to scan for contraband and trigger flags if they were discovered. He would like to see 4 or 5 such activities available to FW players. He later noted that this kind of player enforcement activity didn't have to be FW-only.

Bounty Hunting

Bounty button on the forums in the to-do list! ROFL!

"the number of active characters with bounties has quadrupled (doubled when including all characters) and there is now 8 trillion ISK in the bounty system one week after deployment, an increase by a factor of 80."

Some roleplayers object to having the "Wanted" banner on them after someone puts a bounty on them.

Lot of little features cut due to time constraints.

Some discussion on kill rights and kill right shredding using noob ships

Intel tools and private bounty contracts. All future discussion stuffz.

Bounties on structures?

Mercenaries, Wars and Crimewatch

"some tweaks currently under testing: AI behavior against player drones, and the safety setting persistence. Also under development is a Dueling mechanic, which would replace can-flipping: players would be able to challenge another to a duel, which would create a Limited Engagement between the two players;"

“Tags4Secs”, which would possibly be part of a May release. This feature would allow players to hunt rats in low-sec belts and exchange the looted tags for a security status gain.- These tags would ONLY drop in low-sec belts, and would be a new tag type on a special new NPC.

Percieved low-sec gate-camping after crimewatch - wasn’t cause for concern at this time.

Wardecs - upon surrender, the two entities involved would not be able to declare war on each other again for a two week period.

..reducing the warm-up time before allies could be involved in a war to 12 hours, to make this a more valuable option for those that need to defend a POS

Convo on unwanted wars where big corps bully small, or PvP corps grief carebear corps - Soundwave - "you should not be able to play EVE in your own little world and not be affected by other players."


"one of the tasks they are currently working on is a ‘Style Guide’, a tool to ensure the UI is consistent across the client"

About a page on UI and colour-blindness

"less than 22% of players use the Captains Quarters over the Hangar view in stations, and that almost 12% of players have the “Ships And Items” docked into the Station Services panel."

Arrow then showed the CSM a ‘navigation’ info panel, listing the celestial items normally shown on the right-click menu.

Drone UI and if there was any progress on the “Drones as modules” concept art shown at FanFest. Arrow mentioned that it is fairly complex as there are different drones with different purposes, but Two step asked for just a way to be able to attack/recall them with a button.

Live Events

Live events team was 2 people in the spring. Now 9!

A big part of what the team wants to accomplish is to ensure a consistent and continuing theme with various events taking place. Seleene surmised that part of the overall theme is “murdering players” which was universally agreed upon.

....things like escort missions for high profile NPCs (played by devs and attacked by other devs) and massive resource gathering or relief efforts on behalf of a particular NPC faction. To date, over 1.5 million cubic meters of trade goods have been traded over to event actors.

CCP - but if we are role playing as the Serpentis, fuck yeah, we’re going to shoot everything we can!

On live events affecting hi-sec carebears - “Anyone that autopilots their officer fit Raven across high-sec deserves everything they get”.

" was silly that you can spend all day murdering NPCs in Delve and still be able to dock in a Blood Raider NPC station"


CREST allows CCP to expose nearly any functionality to 3rd parties, and which functionality to expose is mostly a game design decision.

Convo on the possibility rouge apps could do something destructive/steal all your ISK.

CCP expects that the initial version should be deployed in February.

1) CREST itself is liked by the CSM

2) The big problems are with authorization and policies

Out of Client version of the site.

Considering adding-

*A web based ship fitting tool. This would initially let you just build ship fits, but might be extended to allow players to save and load fittings from corp/personal fittings in game.

*The character creator.

*“Wallet stuff”. The CSM asked what this meant, and Alice explained that it was more about contracts, being able to accept or issue contracts on the web.

*The market.

Skill changing from outside the Client? CCP actually caving in on this???

Player Experience

Sisyphus explained that for summer they will be prototyping a new radial menu system to replace the existing in-space version using mouse gestures, and eventually the right-click menus.

Team Pony Express then showed a mock-up of an improved tracking camera, which showed a zoomed view of the targeted ship, which would then show weapons hitting/missing, shield boosting and so on.

Alek pointed out that he likes the disorientation produced when being podded, and Trebor suggested that the cinematic shown when being podded showed a close-up of the effects of a human being exposed to a vacuum.

Sharq then said they want to add animations for docking and undocking, for example the ship turning toward the corridor when undocking before their screen fades to black, setting the mood better. Elise agreed that as long as it doesn't take any longer than the existing undock process, that would be nice. Sharq also mentioned that the Art team were excited about adding runway lights and other things when docking.

Sisyphus mentioned he is considering making improvements to the Science and Industry UI.


Q1 2013 point releases - Art plans to deploy improvements to shaders, reflections, and glows. They will also do cleanup work in the client, removing old graphics code that is now obsolete.

Summer 2013 - V3 conversion will expand to more than just ships (drones, gates, stations, interiors, etc.), as well as a lot of work done to support planned new features. There will also be more ship redesigns, as well as the continuing tech work effort.

Eve Economy

Inflation (CPI excluding PLEX) fluctuated quite widely during 2012, from a monthly low of 4% deflation to a high of 8% inflation. However, taken as a whole, inflation was modest, and stayed within CCP's target range of +/- 1%.

PLEX intervention(s) made by the EVE Central Bank since the last CSM Summit. The major intervention was related to a PLEX price spike triggered by a large FW payout, and PLEX prices have remained stable since that time.

Dr.EyjoG also showed CSM information regarding FW LP stockpiles, which have smoothed out considerably since the changes in the LP payout patch. He also quickly scrolled through graphics indicating that FW PvP kills have increased since the patch.

In the past 2 years, the average active player's wallet has increased from 290M ISK to 620M ISK, and the total in these wallets exceeds 460T ISK.

Total ISK in the game totals about 600T, of which a little over 400T is held by active characters.

Eve Marketing

CCP should give a discount to people paying a year at a time, but there’s no discounts for anyone that has, say, 20 accounts. Ingo said that there are some ideas are in the works but nothing is currently promised. CCP is working on the “master account” concept and may tie some discounts in with that.

Seleene said a built-in “Fraps” would be amazing, and Two step added that a way to remove the UI would be helpful.

Kelduum said that allowing players access to “Jessica” (the tool used to create EVE trailers) would be appreciated, because it is so powerful.

Customer Loyalty

The goal of the program is, of course, increased revenue, and the plan is to achieve this through four main opportunities; loyalty rewards, marketing chances, player engagement and continuous excitement.

The program will have two pillars: fixed milestone awards and flexible token awards. The fixed awards will be provided to all accounts based on account age, whereas the tokens will be awarded (including retroactively) at regular intervals, and then can be used to purchase unique items in a manner similar to the current ingame Loyalty Point system.

Examples of fixed milestones might be special badges or clothing items (hats!), whereas the tokens might be used to purchase special ships or ship variants. While milestones will be locked to specific accounts, the tokens, and the items they can buy, will be tradable in-game items.

In-game: Portrait enhancement, fixed evolving medal system, billboard notifications, and a monument with character names. Out-of-game: Forum badges and website ticker. External: API and Newsletter. Real-Life perks: FanFest VIP access, EVE store items.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Case for Keeping Local

There are plenty of blogs out there currently discussing ways in which local could be removed as an intel tool. I think Poetic kicked off this latest discussion topic in the last week or so and it's been rumbling on. Personally I hate the idea of removing local. May be because I am a pirate, may be because I am in Faction War, may be because I join roaming fleets, may be because my primary and pretty only game-play style in Eve Online is PvP. Plenty of other bloggers have suggested other methods of intel gathering ranging from the dumbed down to the hideously complicated.

Many people say we shouldn't use local as an intel tool. Why not? It helps both the PvP'rs and the carebears assess a system. I'm guessing its more the carebear side that wants local removed as I can see it creating so much work for PvP'rs it would seriously effect their game. Some have even compared it to Star Trek with 'friend or foe' transponders that can be hidden or faked. Yes I believe I have seen that, but also in Star Trek as I recall, their version of the "D-Scan" covered light years and unless you were cloaked or, in that regularly used manoeuvre, were in a low orbit of a planets magnetic pole, at least the Enterprise/Defiant/Voyager could see you before it was even in the solar system! Plus in Star Trek the ship gave away who was in it more often than not. Romulan Warbird? You know what to expect. Kingon Bird-of-Prey. Get those bloody shields up! Dominion..... erm..... whatever they used to fly...... it's going to be hostile, trust me! Borg cube, here's a hint, they won't be looking for hugs! This is a key thing for me. Local tells me who is about and if they are hostile, neutral (probably hostile) or friendly (still could be hostile if its a militia grunt with a bad overview). Here is a pointless graph to demonstrate the fact what local tells me when I jump in even through the graph doesn't make any sense, but we Eve players love graphs don't we!

Its also been said that "I don't use local to talk in". That to me is also very telling. Generally I'm not up for chatting in local for no reason but I do post in local regularly. 99.9% of what I post in local is generally one of two things.

o/ - as a wave to someone I know.
gf - Good fight sir! Either as I warp my pod away to escape or as I'm looting his smouldering wreckage.

If you don't post gf in local, well either your a roleplayer, not very sporting or don't PvP. 

I can see how removing local as an intel tool could be useful in some limited cases to me, sneaking up on someone. But for the most part I would really miss local. How I use local on a daily basis:-

FW Plexing With Local 

Version 1 - Jump! OK. 2 neuts, 1 blue, 1 war-target and 1 negative standing in local. Looks good. Scan for plex, there is a small. Ideal! Enter that and keep D-Scanning. Harpy on short scan. That would be a GF verses my Thrasher. Hope he's not blue. Here he is! It's the war target. FIGHT TIME!

Version 2 - Same as the above plus.... It's the war target. FIGHT TIME! He's got point on me. Bugger, local spike of 10 war targets. IT'S A TARP! Time to burn from the warp in and try and escape before this 1v1 becomes a 11v1.

Version 3 - OK. 2 neuts, 1 blue, 19 war-targets and 1 negative standing in local. Probably not a great system to plex solo in. I'll move along.

Roaming Fleet With Local -

5 in local. 2 blue, 2 neut and a war target.
OK move to system X, fleet warp W gate and jump on contact. Scout?
Local is blue.
OK move to system Y, fleet warp X gate and jump on contact. Scout?
Sysem clear.
OK move to system Z, fleet warp Y gate and jump on contact. Scout?
12 in local. 4 neuts and 8 war-targets. Looking. Found them. They are set up on the out gate.
Excellent, what we're going to do is......

Solo Roaming With Local -

Pretty much same as plexing. One or two war targets in local and I'll stick around and try and find them. 20 of them? I'll move along!

All I can see the removal of local doing is creating a metric shit-ton of more work for PvP especially solo and roaming gang to 'fix' something that isn't broken.

Lets have a look at the above without local.

FW Plexing Without Local -

I have no idea if it is safe. I can spend 5 minutes wasting time scanning from various celestials  but what's in that station? I cannot dock in there to check if its a Caldari owned station. For all I know there are a dozen war targets who have a cloaky ship watching me warp around system scanning and are waiting until I enter a plex. They they'll undock and gank me. Even if they are in the next system, they can get tackle on me and jump in. There is no local to spike and I won't be spamming D-Scan whilst I'm fighting a 1v1. Will by good fight turn into a bad gank?

Roaming Fleet Without Local -

"Still looking. This is a 110au system you know!"
"Still looking!"
"Almost there, last two scan locations?"

Solo Roaming Without Local -

Suddenly cloaky T3's and uber fast ships become all the rage. You have no idea if your 1v1 will become a 100v1.

But Drackarn! We're advocating removal of local AND a new intel system.

Yeah right. Lets have a look at some of the ideas....

Anchorable Scanner Probes/Structures.
It has been suggested that there is a small anchorable structure you can pop down if you have the appropriate anchoring skill and that beams information to your ship. Sounds OK if you stay in the same system 99% of the time. I have carrier, will travel. Many players do not sit in the same system day-after-day. This is a non-starter for all the players that roam. Also what use is it if it works like a D-Scan? Is that Thorax in my militia, alliance or even corp. Is it blue, cyan, grey, orange with a minus, orange with a star, red with a minus, red with a star, purple or green?

Intel Probes
A probe with a large scan radius that gives you intel on ships in its area. Unless I can strap a no CPU and PW probe launcher on the top of my Thrasher with Duct tape that fires probes with 200au range and returns the ship, pilots name, corp, standings, militia and what they had for breakfast, sod off!

Improved D-Scan
Do you fight in 1v1's? Between using mods, capacitor management, keeping correct range, watching damage, managing overheating and generally having a good fight you want me to spam d-scan every few seconds to see if his cavalry is coming to save him? Fine as soon as we get dual mouse support, real life multi-tasking implants..... and a third arm (a proper one!).

Delayed Local
Either by a few minutes, or until someone speaks like wormhole space. Pretty much the same as not having local at all. As an intel tool next to useless for faction war, solo PvP and roaming gangs. The scout of a roaming gang needs to sit in each system for 5 minutes to see if there is a fight to be had before looking in the next system? Seriously?

I have yet to see a convincing argument to show me how local is broken. 

The "local has no basis in sci-fi" doesn't really hold water. We crash super-fast Macherial battleships into carriers and they "bump" off each other (even when both ships have no shields before you use that excuse). Try crashing your ship into an asteroid! How about flying into a planet or a moon. You warp THROUGH planets and suns. You can park your destroyer behind a capital ship or station and fire THROUGH that capital ship or station to hit the enemy without loading boomerang ammo! If local is the most "unbelievable" part of the game for you, you need to look at other areas with a critical eye!

I see no reason to remove local and it should be kept as it is..... except for Jita.... lets rename local there "Seems Legit".

Unbreaking Local - An EVE Intel System Proposal by Rhavas @ Interstellar Privateer
Getting Rid of Local & More Local by Poetic Stanziel @ Poetic Discourse

Found on D-Scan