Wednesday, July 31, 2013

There is No Such Thing As Bad Publicity?

So the epic battle in Fountain has reached the mainstream media. The story was even on the front page of the BBC News website!

So, all good for Eve right? Well........

A few things struck me. The first is the real-world monetary value of destruction running into the tens of thousands of US dollars. Is that going to attract players or put them off? Now I understand how and why this is done. You can buy plex with real cash, that plex has an ISK value in game so its fairly easy to make a comparison. But the thing is I would expect the vast majority of ISK in game was not generated by PLEX sales, it was from missions, rat bounties and the like. However, if the BBC said so many billion of in game currency was lost where is the story? Most people wouldn't bat an eyelid over billions of virtual credits being lost. It simply would not be mainstream 'news'. But if you say it was $20,000, then there is interest.

Now I wonder how many people who are gamers and never tried Eve saw one of the news stories and decided to give it a try. Did any of these stories reach out to people or put them off by the use of real world money? Is there a danger that that many people thought the game is pay-to-play or worse, play-to-win?

The BBC News story said there were just over 4000 players taking part and £10,000 was destroyed. That sounds a lot of cash doesn't it. One afternoon battle and players 'lost' £10,000! I have a feeling that could put people off. However, when you look at it, it is not that bad. On average it is less than £2.50 each. Plus how many of them 'bought' the ISK with PLEX and how many made it in game?

Now the second point is, are these stories 'bigging' Eve up too much? Inflating expectations to a level where new players will be very disappointed. How often are fights like that occurring? We've had two this year with Asakai being the obvious other one. With 500,000 accounts (remember that isn't subscribers) only relative few get to join in on these. They are not common place.

Then there is the battle itself. I wasn't there, but at max TiDi I can imagine. In the past I've been in 500-a-side BS battles in Sov Holding Null Sec. Lock the broadcasted primary, press F1, wait, repeat. Then the whole overview turns flashy yellow. You broadcast for reps as you know you've just been called secondary or tertiary. The overview goes red and you are in your pod as no amount of logistics are going to save you from a volley from 500 battleships! Now add to that "fun", that time is running at a tenth of normal speed. What was already a fairly boring fight for the rank and file just became ten times more boring as you can go for a bio during the time it takes just to lock a ship! Is that battle representative of day-to-day Eve Online?

I've done a lot in my five years in Eve and, for me, faction war PvP is by far the best. Its incredible fun, easy to get into (when you have the skill points) and you get a real sense of achievement from a kill. But, it will never make mainstream news. Why would it? Is it any more news worthy than a WoW guild completing a raid? In the eyes of the media what I'm having for lunch is probably more interesting than a good 1v1 I had last night. That applies to the ratters, the industrialists, the mission farmers, the explorers and the other 98% of Eve which isn't a slow-motion epic sized battle.

How can we show Eve to none Eve players in the best light possible when Eve itself is not a single game? Do any trailers do it justice?

Yeah, not going to happen. Little Wolf boy would be accused of being a spai!

Yeah, not going to happen. All that DPS, plus drones, would have melted that interceptor. What would have happened is that they'd have docked up and blue-balled the enemy fleet.

Yes, exploration is really that interesting o.0

If I was asked to make something to promote Eve Online to people who had never tried it, I wouldn't know where to begin. I'm not sure you can explain Eve Online easily, which just leaves us at the mercy of "This much real life money was destroyed in a virtual game!" of the mainstream media.


Finally I posted it was Drackarn's 5th Eve birthday on Sunday. I invited readers to suggest what they would get him as a present if Eve was real. Had a good laugh/smile at pretty much all of them. To be honest I was expecting stocking clad ladies of the night, card games and booze in a Bender from Futurama style. he creativity of the Eve-O community never ceases to amaze me.

Lexx's suggestion of the mini-pod for my kitteh was a very good one. Shahai offers violent PvP, always a great gift. Kirith offers booze, a personal favourite ;) The various ship ideas made me laugh. CID, I have a decent microphone, a SteelSeries Siberia V2 headset less than a month old, its my bandwidth that turns me into a chipmunk on TS. If only we could have destroyer mounted infina-points for those farmers! The cockbag Thrasher alarm-clock firing streamers would be epic as would be the indestructible pod. Cannot list them all but each and everyone was a great suggestion. But the one that really struck a cord was actually a sensible suggestion......

If Eve was real and my character was friends with your character I would get you for your 5th birthday a plaque with a piece salvaged from the very first ship you exploded. It would be engraved with it all started here.

I looked back on Eve Kill to see what it was, as I do not remember....

Back in January 2009, in the system of Fliet, my Blackbird died (as usually (read always) happened in my first few months of PvP) but this Caldari Militia Harpy died too! My very first kill.

Erm....... you didn't leave your name. Now I'm going to have a dozen people claiming it like that Monty Python movie scene.


Actually thinking about Brian....

Monday, July 29, 2013

Happy 5th Birthday to Drackarn

Just over five years ago I upgraded my computer at the time. I wanted to get a new game to try it out. It was a brand new gaming PC I'd spec'd myself so wanted to try it out with something new.

It was at this point I finally downloaded Eve Online.

I say finally, I'd read about Eve before in gaming magazines and being a fan of Elite, Wing Commander, Privateer, Homeworld etc it sounded like a great concept. But one thing always put me off. At the end of almost each and every review I'd see the same line. This was roughly along the lines of.....

" skill points are learnt at a set rate in real-time and as there is no grinding and no gaining of XP, those new players joining now will never catch up to those who started one, two or five years ago."

You will never catch up! Those five words always put me off. I'd started MMOG's in the 90's with Everquest. Then moved onto Star Wars Galaxies. Yes I'm afraid, WoW was in there, as were Warhammer Online and Age of Conan. So the thought that I'd never catch up in terms of 'levels' to older players really put me off. I was thinking in terms of most normal MMOG's. You need to level up to max so you can join the raid groups as that is the 'end game'. Just imagine explaining this to your average WoW player......

Any toon you start now will never reach the same level as those already playing.

Most will question what is the point of playing such a game.

Anyway, I thought I'd just give it a try as it was free and would be something different to try on my new shiny PC. I guess at the time I fancied a bit of sci fi too. So I downloaded the game, created a character and jumped straight in.

Like most people at the time I started with the tutorial, got a short way through and then stopped it as I was bored and went off and did my own thing!

I started flying Caldari frigates. Then I was really excited to get into a Cormorant. Next up was the Caracal! I thought I was uber then with my missile spitting bird of prey type ship. A few months in and I was still going strong solo.

After a chat with a old mate who I discovered also played, I joined my first player corp and was given a Drake by some rather generous chap in corp. Soon I was carebearing in Ravens. Slowly Revelation Space Corp turned me from a carebear to a "one weekend per month" werebear when we joined faction war for two or three days a month.

Then in 2009 -RS- merged into Shadows of the Federation and I went full time PvP. After a few months I was made a Director. CCP fixed the standings hit bug for repping a pirate when in militia and then we started to shooting everyone. I was soon pushing -10. We tried some NPC Null-Sec holidays and bashed the bears that inhabit that space. We got invited to join a bloc in null sec sov holding, we built a station, went ratting, pressed F1 in massive 500-a-side BS blobs that needed no skill and got bored.

By 2012 SoTF was becoming "l33t". Stargates were an inconvenience compared to Titan bridging. Stand corp fittings ran in the billions of ISK. Small mistakes caused raged.

During that summer I moved to QCats and back to informal fun PvP. And here I am.

5 years of playing Eve.
97m skill points.
4164 important internet spaceships killed
467 important internet spaceships lost
Over 500 billion in ISK assploded
Made a lot of good friends.

So if you got here by searching "Is it too late to start playing Eve?" or "Can a new player ever compete in Eve Online?" then the answer is yes. It can be a hard game to get into, but the rewards are worth it.

Whilst it is usual to receive presents on a birthday, I'm actually going to give one away. Post below what your character would give my character as a birthday present if Eve was real and we were friends. It can be in-game items but where is the fun in that? Think out the box, and the best theoretical present can have a T2 rigged Cynabal cruiser fully fitted and armed. I've had it ages gathering dust in my hanger and TBH I'm too scared to fly it myself! Expensive ship + poor, drunk piloting don't mix!

So just post a comment below, something similar to "If Eve was real and my character was friends with your character I would get you for your 5th birthday a......". I'll choose my favourite just before Wednesdays usual post which will be around noon Eve time. Remember, in-game items are unlikely to win. Think out of the box! If you were an immortal with enormous wealth and power, what would you buy as a birthday present for someone?

P.S. Oh yes, and winner collects the Lorenabal..... from Nisuwa!

P.P.S. I get a lot of spam on this blog from Eve Online ISK to webcam 'performers' so I moderate as I hate captcha. There can be 8-10 hour delays in your comments appearing if I'm asleep.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Jacked - Part 2

Fiction Friday! Escape pod if you're not into that is here to a competition from the The Angle Project with some nice prizes to be won..... if you are a newb (aka less than one year old). As I turn five on the 29th, I am excluded. Boo! Ageism! ;)

This is part two of the three 'parter' of Jacked. Part 1 is here.

Jacked - Part 2

Slowly Krar started to come around. He could hear muffled voices and his head hurt. A slap to his face brought him round fully. The 'monks' were clearly Amarrian soldiers. Their robes lay discarded on the floor and they stood in light armour battle uniforms. He was still in the passenger quarters, they hadn't moved him whilst he'd been out, and one of them was missing. A bald-headed man, who he assumed was the leader, turned to him.

"Look, we've not got much time so I'll make this simple. We are currently taking care of that battleship stuck to the outside of your ship. Once that is done we need you to continue on course and get us to the destination station on time."

Krar rubbed his head where he had been struck. He knew they were in trouble. These men had just murdered three Gallente customs officers in cold blood. They surely would kill any witnesses which included him and his family.

"Why the frack should I?" he growled still thinking of a way out.

The soldier who had spoken to him squatted down on his haunches to face Krar who was now slumped against the wall.

"Because me and my men have been posing as monks for six weeks. If you don't help us we're going to very violently break our vow of celibacy on your wife and that hot little daughter of yours!"

Krar slowly nodded. He needed to play along until he could work out what to do.


On-board the Gallente customs ship the bridge was quiet. They were waiting confirmation although they didn't expect to get it. They had sketchy reports of the weapons scanners being tampered with on the nearby station. It was likely someone was smuggling something deadly. However, this tramp industrial had been apparently chartered by the Quaffe Corporation. It was unlikely the suspect. However, three officers had gone on board to check as the orders where to investigate all ships leaving the system.

"Sir, I'm getting some strange internal readings, from our own inernal sensor arrays."

The captain in the command chair spun around to the ensign who was in charge of monitoring the ships internal systems.

"Explain Ensign."

"Well I'm getting minor alarms and warnings on systems that should be manned. But I'm not reading anyone stationed at the critical consoles. In fact I think the scanners are malfunctioning. I'm not getting any crew life-signals on decks 11 to 34. I thought it must be an error, but I'm not able to raise anyone on the comms."

"Nonsense!" declared the captain "23 decks of my crew would not simply abandon their posts! Rescan!"

"I have sir, now I'm not getting anything on 35 to 41 either."

The Captain tapped a button on his comm panel. There was no response.

"Ensign Rimmah. Put the security camera from the mess hall on the main viewer."

There were gasps of horror as the view of deep space was replaced by the mess hall. Twenty or so crew were slumped over the tables or laying on the floor.

"Give me corridor cameras on 41." the captain said urgently.

"Which one sir?"

"ANY!" the captain snapped.

The view screen swapped to the view of a corridor. Two people lay prone on the floor.

"45! Show deck 45!" he ordered with urgency in his voice.

The view switched again. An officer was walking down the corridor towards the camera with a datapad in his hand. He stopped and rubbed his throat looking concerned. Then he staggered and started gasping for air. Large sores appeared on his exposed skin of his face and hands. He started to bleed from his eyes and mouth which was still wide open gasping for air. The sores opened and started leaking yellow pus and blood. The officer collapsed face down on the deck and convulsed for a few seconds before going still.

"Shut down the ventilation system!" the captain screamed as he turned to the officer below him manning the life support station.

She slowly looked up at him in terror.

Her face was already erupting in sores. She clutched her neck unable to breath. Then the captain on his elevated platform felt a spasm in his back. He then knew all was lost. 10 seconds later everyone one on the bridge was dead, as was everyone else on the ship.


Krar was sat in the pilot’s seat in the cockpit. His wife was sat opposite. The two Amarrians stood waiting. The hatch opened and a third walked in.

"All done?" asked the leader.

"Yes. I seriously do not recommend visiting that battleship. Everyone on board caught a nasty case of death." he chuckled. "Gas works fine. 100% mortality rate." he looked around "Where is Four?"

"He went to get the daughter. He should have been back by now." replied the leader with some concern in his voice.

A second later the hatch to the cockpit opened again and the daughter flew in and fell to the ground. An Amarrian solder stomped in after her with his hand to his cheek. On seeing this her father rose angrily from his seat but the barrel of a gun in his face promptly made his sit back down. The guard who had thrown the daughter into the cockpit removed his hand to show a row of three bleeding gashes on his cheek. The others laughed.

"Yeah, yeah, fracking funny. But she's a wildcat. Watch her, she'll claw your eyes out if you give her chance."

"You have no idea!" the daughter spat from where she had propped herself on the floor "Want round two pussie? I'll kick your ass again whilst your friends are watching!".

The other soldiers laughed but the one with the clawed face just scowled.

The leader stepped forward and picked the daughter up by the hair. Krar leapt from his seat but was punched back to a sat position by a soldier. The leader dumped the daughter in a chair next to her mother. The leader pulled up a chair and sat down opposite Krar.

"Look, this doesn't have to be difficult. All we need you to do is complete your run. Travel to the station. Dock. Pretend all is OK. Let them unload your cargo and head back here. We'll have a ship meet us and we'll transfer off and you can go on your merry way."

The husband was getting his breath back.

"That simple eh. And you'll let us go?"


"But we know you have shot dead three customs officers and sounds like you gassed a few thousand more."

"Yes. Not an issue as far as I can see. In fact we want you alive ideally."

"And if I say no?"

"Your wife and daughter will regret that you did."

The leader let the words hang ominously in the air before turning to two of his men.

"Two and Three. Take the women back down to their quarters and stay with them. Do not harm them, yet. I'll let you know if the good captain here does not co-operate."


The daughter stumbled into her quarters from the hefty push the Amarrian gave her. He took a step inside and looked around. The girls quarters looked like something from a Matari museum. The walls were decorated with tribal art, the furniture was a mix of standard fittings and wood which was highly unusual to find on a ship. He closed the door and leant back against it as the girl flopped onto her bed.

The soldier crossed his arms, the three scratches in his cheek still glowed red.

"I'd offer you a drink." sneered the girl "But my mouth is a bit dry and I'm not sure I could get enough spit to do it justice."

The soldier just stood there.

"Wow you are a real stiff" she said rising to face him. "You going to play statues for the entire trip?"

The soldier didn't blink. He just stared at her.

"Oh the strong silent type eh? You are pathetic. Even your commander thinks so. Look at the job he gave you, guard the little girl! He must think you are one of his crack troops."

Still no reaction.

"Ah! I've got it. No, its because he can trust you right. Girls not your thing? You prefer boys?"

A reaction. A subtle glint in the eyes. Anger?

"Oh I seeeeee! So if I do this....." Inga pulled her top over her head and stood there in her bra "......I still get no reaction?"

Although he tried his hardest to hide it, the daughter knew he was getting mad. She casually kicked her shoes off and slowly unfastened her jeans before slipping out of them. She stood against the back wall in just her underwear.

"That's why he chose you. I can do this..." she squeezed her breasts together "... and you don't care!"

She turned around and bent over slightly placing her palms against the wall. She shrugged out of her bra and looked coyly over her shoulder. "Now is this better?" she asked as she wiggled her ass.

"If you want I could put on one of my dads zero-G football jerseys, and I could wear a cap to hide the hair. We could pretend I'm a boy. You'd like that wouldn't you. Pretend I'm a pretty boy with a soft ass and you'll...."

The soldier finally lost it and charged at her. His face was twisted in a look that was somewhere between lust and rage. The girl span round to meet him as he charged into her pinning her against the wall. She jumped slightly as they connected, her legs wrapping around his waist as he grabbed her wrists pinning her against the wall. Several thick canvas paintings rattled as he held his face an inch from hers breathing heavily.

Inga smiled and rubbed herself against him, her legs wrapped tightly around him.

"See! I don't feel a thing! Nothing's happening down there! You've got a hot girl rubbing herself on you and there is less life down there than on a class 6 plasma planet. You sure you don't want me dress up like a boy?"

The soldier grabbed her shoulders and backed away from the wall before throwing her backwards. She slammed against the wall and giggled.

"I'm going to fracking ruin you! When I'm finished with you no man will ever want you." he snarled as he removed his uniform. The garments dropped to the floor with a slight thud due to the lightweight armour plates that covered vital areas. He stood there in his underwear, a significant bulge straining against the material.

"Now you are going to feel something bitch. I'm going to split you in half and I'll fracking enjoy your screams." he leared as he grabbed himself.

Inga looked afraid as he advanced quickly. Her arms were still outstretched against the wall. He ran at her. As he collided with her she pulled her right arm in quickly against her body. There was a flash of something, he saw it at the last moment. His mouth opened wide in a silent scream. His eyes wide in shock. He staggered back two steps and looked down. In the centre of his chest an ancient knife hilt protruded. He looked back up at the girl in disbelief. The fear he had seen for a second before was nowhere to be seen. A ruse. A deception.

"My father doesn't like me having weapons. So I have to hide my antique Matari knives behind these paintings so he doesn't find them. I keep them sharp, but I guess you can tell that. Obviously they are not sharp enough to penetrate modern armour, but if the idiot I want to kill strips off for me they work fine."

The soldier grabbed the hilt and pulled it free. A arc of crimson blood shot from the wound.

"As I said, idiot. Last thing you do if something penetrates your chest is pull it out!"

The soldier fell backwards. His life blood pumped from the wound between his fingers that tried in vain to stem the flow. His head lolled to the side. The daughter crouched over and looked into his eyes. He stared back for a few seconds before dying.


Krar was sat at the flight controls pondering how to get out of this mess when the master alarm went off. The constant drone of the engines vanished and the view out of the cockpit windows showed the ship was drifting.

"What did you do?" the leader of the soldiers snarled.

Krar was back at the controls "Nothing. Something’s wrong. I don't know I'm trying to find out."

"If this is intentional, if you have sabotaged this ship I'll make sure your daughter and wife are screaming for the next two days! Four! Take a look."

One of the other soldiers pushed the husband out of the way and studied the console.

"Its a mechanical breakdown sir. The secondary cooling system is jammed. The engines have shut-down automatically. The captain couldn't have done it from here. We'll need to repair it before we can get under way again."

"Take him down to the engine room and get it fixed now. We are behind schedule already."


Krar opened the access panel and isolated the section of the engine where the fault had developed. Breakdowns were hardly unknown on his ship. It was Matari after all. But whilst it wasn't unusual for things to breakdown, he'd never had problems with the secondary cooling systems. He walked over to the faulty machinery and opened the access hatch. He stuck his head in and could smell burning. He looked back and saw the soldier leaning against the wall disinterested. Krar worked his shoulders into the cramped access space and removed a second cover that accessed the pump mechanisms. Some material was jamming the rotary mechanism. He started to pull it clear. It was some sort of black material. Lace! Krar was puzzled. What was a strange black lace material doing in the secondary cooling system? He recovered more material and a pair of straps. It was a bra! Too small to be his wife’s and there was only one way it could have got into this sealed section. He smiled. She was loose.

A armoured boot kicked his foot.

"Come on. We've not got forever."

Krar pulled his torso out of the tight access and looked at the soldier.

"Look, do you want to crawl in there? Its a mess and its going to take a good twenty minutes for me to fix the malfunction. Now are you going to leave me to fix it or do I have to tell your boss its taking so long as a certain asshat is stopping me from working every other minute?"

The soldier looked down at him.

"Just fix the problem."

He crawled back to work with a smile on his face. conclude next week...

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Interdicting a Battleship

I have a Heavy Interdiction Cruiser (HIC) sat in my hanger. It is not a common ship for a low sec faction war pilot/pirate, but I do have one. In my past I have lived out in NPC Null Sec and Sov Null Sec and this HIC has travelled with me far and wide. Plus I was in Drunk 'n' Disorderly so going after supers was a common thing in the later year I was in there. I have flown it before, but the tarps for the supers have never worked when I was there. I have never 'infina-pointed' anything with it! Finally, last night I got my first kill with it!

My Devoter class Heavy Interdiction Cruiser is set up for killing supers ideally. It has a infina-point (scripted warp bubble generator), 3 small NOS, 1 medium NOS and a cyno in the highs with a cap booster, MWD and a ECCM in the mids. Why small NOS' and not something larger? Because of the tank! This thing uses most of its available power grid on providing survivability.

The lows are a DCU II, EM, Kinetic and Thermal C-Type Energised Membranes, Imperial Navy EANM and TWO 1600mm rolled tungsten plates.

With a half decent head and Legion boosts it gives you.............

200,953 EHP!

The reason for this is when you are using the infina-point you cannot receive remote reps or cap transfer. This fit is ideally designed to work as part of a team. One gets the initial point and uses the NOS to keep the point going even when under heavy neuting. As the enemy slowly crew through that epic tank, you drop point as another HIC takes over. When your point is dropped, you get reps. The DPS has probably shifted to the other HIC so when his armour is getting low, you get point back on the target so your HIC mate can deactivate his infina-point and get repped back up! Simple! o.0

So onto last night! It wasn't a super carrier but it was a HIC kill.

I was in Oinasiken running a plex in an Incursus. A Daredevil had just been 'persuaded' to leave when I got a Typhoon on scan. Strange for a Phoon to be so deep into low-sec alone..... unless he's a smartbomber!

We do get a lot of smartbombing battleships in the warzone. Many of us are flying smaller ships like frigates and destroyers and have decent pods. So some epic l33t pilots fit up a BS with a full rack of smartbombs and a full low rack of warp core stabs. Then they sit just off a gate and wait to get a ship on short scan. They then set off the bombs and hope the victim flies through it. They can be very hard to catch as to be in scram range puts you near the bomb radius and with long points, you're going to need 8 or 9 ships to snag him. Well, that is unless a HIC gets a point on him.

He was on scan to the Abune gate for far too long. Very probably a smartbomber. He then entered Nisuwa and someone reported seeing him fire a smartbomb.

Final bit of intel before I decided to act was "He just jumped into Notoras!"

A dead-end system off our home system! I said I was reshipping to a HIC and that we needed DPS on the gate to that dead-end system NOW!

Less than a minute later we have a small gate camp set up. He was a neutral so we'd take gate guns but we were all well tanked. Looking back this is when alarm bells should have started ringing in my head. Unfortunately it was late and the Strongbow had dulled my "Hang on a second o'meter' and I didn't twig that if he was a smartbombing battleship why was he positive sec-status?

We had cloaky eyes in system who D-scanned him down to a small faction war complex. Ideal spot for a smartbomber. Only frigates and destroyers warp there. So I jumped and warped to the plex. He was gone. Damn! Must have been aligned and saw me coming. I went back to Nisuwa and re-approached the gate. I was about to say we should call it quits as he's seen we have a HIC and we've got some expensive ships sat on the....


I did without thinking "Why would he do that?". If he wanted to hide surely he'd dock up. There are three stations in there. No point going to smartbomb in a 'roid belt in low sec as not usually anyone there.


A double plated Devotor turns like a cart horse. Eventually I'm in warp. I land 10km from him and get point whilst burning to 20km. I announce point calmly.......

"POINT! GET IN HERE NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

And the DPS turns up a minute later. He hasn't even bothered to shoot at me. All is going well, he's not really doing much damage to us and he is dropping fast. Well of course his DPS is low. He had to leave a high-slot free for that cyno. Wut?


He has lit a cyno and I can already see in my minds-eye my very expensive HIC dying horribly in a fire. I align out to something that will keep me in point range but get me facing somewhere I can warp to. Smeg this thing turns slow. Sooooo slow. Hang on, shouldn't we have seen my impending doom jumping in by now? Nope..... still nothing...... nothing at all? We decide it was a last ditch effort to scare us off, there is no Calvary coming to save him, it is not a trap. He simply had one fitted and thought lighting it might make us run away.

He goes down quick after that and we look at the killmail. Whoops! Nope, he wasn't a smart bomber, just some random neut ratting deep in low-sec in a battleship. We (mostly me tbh) put two and two together and made 4,692. I suppose with all the stabbed ships in Black Rise recently I'm starting to assume everything has them fitted. There was no need for my HIC but I guess it was good practice!

Oh well, the is no BS kill like BS over kill!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Trying Out a Tackling Firetail

Since the last pass of rebalancing the Republic Fleet Firetail can be seen a lot more around the warzone. It is not a ship I can ever recall flying before. I'd been hearing good reviews on its performance since the changes so ordered a few hulls from the corp shop. I asked one of the guys who has been having some success with them for some fitting advice. 

I fitted up two different ones. The one I wanted to talk about is the dual-prop tackler. Kitey ships are very common in the Caldari Militia so I wanted a fast ship that could drive them off. With a micro warp drive the Republic Fleet Firetail is fast. Add some propulsion rigs and some nanofibers and it goes like something-off-a-hot-shovel.

2 x 200mm T2 Autocannons
T2 Scram
Medium ASB
2 x Nanofiber
3 x Polycarbonate engine housings

130dps with 3260ehp
4400m/s MWD - 1650m/s AB

Anyway the ships had been sat there waiting for something to use against. I got a reason yesterday.

I undocked in an untanked glass-cannon Thrasher to go and see if I could find some targets, only to find a Caldari Militia Raven outside the station!

Even if he was torp fit, he'd have probably been able to kill me before I got back up. I hesitated trying to think. I wasn't on Comms, fail! The Raven warped off and I didn't see where. Double fail!!

I quickly redocked, jumped in my RF tackler fit and got back out into space. I started bouncing around the surrounding systems to see if I could find him but I'd blown my chance, he was long gone. What a mistake-a to make-a!

Anyway I continue searching hoping to get lucky, and on the Kedama gate in Hirri I find a Caldari Militia Hurricane and a Tormentor. The Tormentor jumps through and the Hurricane locks me up. I assume the Tormentor is sat the other side waiting to point me and the 'Cane is trying to push me through. Obviously leaning from my earlier derpage, I'm now on comms which has been silent since I joined the channel.

"Hey guys, anyone active? I've got a Hurricane next door looking like he's wanting to play."

I receive a duet of - "OMW!"

The Hurricane has moved off gate some, obviously trying to lure me away from jump range. So I 'take the bait' and move off with him. Once we're away from the stargate by about 15km he opens up on me. I stick on the afterburner, get in a tight orbit and hope what I was told about the Firetail was right.

Yes! His medium autocannons are just grazing me so he puts out some DPS drones which do hurt. I fire up the ASB, keep point on the 'Cane and switch my guns to the drones. Thankfully my small autocannons are very effective against the drones and I'm able to take them down before the ASB is out of charges. Then he starts to neut me. This is a problem. Before I know it I've got Bitching Betty bitching that "The capacitor is empty". I'm losing and regaining point nearly every cycle. However, even without the afterburner running, I'm still fast enough to keep his AC's from hitting me properly. By the time he's got me in low shields the ASB has reloaded and I rep-up back to full. However, my guns are not even tickling him.

Finally the support arrives. A Vexor and a Prophesy turn up and the Hurricane forgets me completely and turns his attention to them. He goes down in short order.

So yes, as a fast tackle, the Republic Fleet Firetail is a very useful ship. Now really need to test it on someone my own size!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Jacked - Part 1

Fan Fiction time. Escape pod here if this isn't your thing which will take you to the medium turret balancing thread for ranged turrets. CCP are looking to make medium railguns useful!

Jacked - Part 1

Krar sat at the controls in the cockpit initiating the pre-flight checks. The hauler itself was old, but reliable. Whilst most of the cluster joked about the construction of Matari ships, most couldn't deny that they were very solidly build. Rust covered, ugly and generally full of small faults and problems, but they would just stubbornly plough though even well beyond their expected operational life.

A red light flashed on the console as the checks ran through and Krar made a mental note that a plasma coupling would need to be replaced soon. He moved his chair over to a bank of monitors and flicked through. The cargo bay was being loaded with Quaffe. Thousands of gallons of the popular fizzy drink were being positioned by the docking crews MTAC's. The 3m tall mechanical exoskeletons strode through the open cargo hatch carrying huge cargo crates. Next Krar  swapped to the galley. His wife Adwin was there with their daughter Inga doing school work. Life as a hauler meant they were always on the road. His daughter didn't attend school. She learnt on-board with a mix of her parents teaching and Minmatar Education Board approved AI computer programs. He then swapped to the passenger quarters. Like many haulers this ship had a small section for guests and passengers. Krar studied the four monks carefully. He didn't like having strangers on board, he especially didn't like Amarrians. But when he was approached the money was too good. Also monks alleviated his concerns. Most people who wanted passage on an industrial hauler were suspect. Why did they not use the Interbus Shuttle Network? Because usually they wanted to stay off the grid. And anyone who wanted to stay off the grid was not welcome in Krar's ship. He had his wife and daughter to protect. However, the monks had pointed out he was going direct to their destination and the INS would have involved three changes and some lengthy stop-overs.

A bleep alerted him to an incoming message. It was confirmation from the loading crew that the cargo was now all loaded and secure. Krar looked out of the cockpit window at the line of Iterion Class haulers with the Quaffe logo's lined up beside his tramp hauler. He'd got lucky that two of the official Quaffe haulers had developed faults which required the shipping company to hire him as an independent contractor. The fee for the haul plus his passengers meant they could take a few days off after the run and enjoy themselves. His manifest was 2000 cubic metres of Quaffe plus a cargo container of space parts the destination station needed. Of course he had to haul the junk, whilst the branded Iterions hauled the majority of the goods.

Krar entered the commands to seal the ship and move over to internal power. Whilst the large cargo bay doors slowly closed he sent the undock request to station control. He leaned back into his chair and waited for permission to undock. This should be an easy run.


Adwin had been covering the Dark Days of Matari history with Inga in the last few days. The decades where the Amarr Empire captured and raided most of the Minmatar homeworlds. Most captives became slaves and were taken back to the Empire to serve the holders and their families.

Inga had always loved history. Much more than the sciences which had pleased her mother but infuriated her father. She was 18 and less then two years away from a possible place at the Republic University. She could take the entrance exams in a year and she was hoping for a place on the Ancient Matari Tribal History course.

However, Adwin had switched lesson plans today to physics. She decided covering Matari history would not be a good idea with four Amarrian monks on board. Her daughter had a fiery spirit and there was no point in making the situation worse. When she had heard about the passengers she had protested heavily to her parents. Unfortunately the protests had fallen on death ears. Whilst her parents had no love for the Amarrians, this was business and they needed the money. Unfortunately their rebellious teenage daughter had developed quite a hatred for the Amarrian race.

"So if the phased plasma is energized by the reaction. What will be the output?" Adwin asked.

Inga just sat there and thought. After a while she spoke.

"Do you think those monks see us as potential slaves?".

Wife sighed. Today was not going to be a productive day.

"Can we forget about our passengers please darling. They are simple monks. They do not hold slaves, money or even property. It is the Amarrian Holders you need to direct your hate at. Not all Amarrians are the same, especially not these men, if you could even call them men. They are not like other men."

Inga just sat there brooding.

"Well I can see we're not going to get anything done today so why don't you....." the sound of the engines cutting out stopped her mid-sentence. She stood and walked to the comm panel set in the wall.

"Darling, everything OK?" she spoke into the panel.

"Yeah." came the reply from her husband. "Customs check before we've even left system! Why the frack they couldn't have done this in station I don't know. They are saying its a full inspection so a scan won't do. They are coming aboard."

Adwin turned back to her daughter.

"Inga, why don't you go back to your quarters, I think we'd done for the day."

The daughter still brooding gave a small nod and left the room.


The docking sequence took a good five minutes. The Gallente customs ship had slowly aligned with the hauler and the docking arm had hardly made a sound when it latched onto the ship. Krar had several expensive repair bills were Matari customs ships had not been as graceful.

The airlock hatch opened and three men in Gallente uniforms entered the ship.

"Captain Krar?" the senior officer asked.

"That's me. You are welcome on board but all I ask is if we can make this quick. Both my Quaffe and passengers are on a deadline and I'll lose big time on the time related bonus which....."

"What passengers?" the senior officer asked.

"I've got four Amarrian monks that requested passage as they heard I was heading to the system they want to go. I filed the paperwork with..."

"Take us to them now." the senior officer didn't let him finish.

Krar led them down to the passenger quarters in silence. Not a word was spoken on the three minute walk.

As the four men entered the passenger quarters they found the four monks on their knees in prayer.

They all wore long hooded robes that hid them completely from view. Their heads were bowed and they were muttering in Amarrian. The senior officer cleared his throat. The monks fell quiet and rose.

Finally one spoke.

"I feel we need heavenly guidance here." one muttered.

"Judgement must be passed." said another.

"But not the Matari. We need the pilot." said another.

The three customs officers looked at each other in confusion. Suddenly the monks shrugged off their robes. Underneath they were wearing full Amarrian combat uniforms and blaster pistols in their hands. The customs officials went for their holstered weapons too late. The monks cut them down with precision shooting. Krar stood rigid in fear as one of the monks approached him. A lightning fast fist struck Krar on the temple and he fell to the ground.

Just as he was losing consciousness he heard them speak.

"We've still got a battleship of cops latched to us. What we going to do?"

"How many canisters of ZX21 have we got?"


"How many do we need?"


"Well there is our solution" be continued......

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Stabbed Through The Hull....

"...and you're too lame. You give faction war, a bad name!"

A significant section of the Caldari Militia are flying around in ships with more warp core stabalisers (WCS) loaded than there is for sale in Jita 4-4. Some times we get lucky, sometimes very lucky, but most of the time we get point only to see the squid warp off. My last Eve session saw SIX squids get away because of stabs.

Something needs to be done. The scan res and targeting range gimps that the WCS give don't effect PvE that much, which is what these players are trying to do in FW. CCP changed the mechanics last year when the Caldari were flying around in ships with no guns. Now you have to bring guns as you cannot capture the plex whilst the NPC faction rat is still alive. But even with three warp core stabs fitted, that Merlin can eventually lock the NPC rat and kill him at point blank range. Then they plex on, safe in the knowledge that if an enemy comes into the plex, they can get away even when pointed.

Most of my fellow QCats have ships with multiple points just for these guys. And the tears when we catch one, you would not believe. They call us losers for 'having nothing better to do than fit three scrams". Exqueese me? Baking powder? We've got people with warp core stabs fitted smacking us about how we fit our ships???

I would love to see CCP tweek the fitting requirements for WCS to use more power grid. By increasing the power grid requirements you are going to hurt the stabbed ships DPS by making it difficult to fit a full rack of guns, or hurt the tank. With no tank there becomes a greater risk we can get a shot off and kill it. With no DPS then they cannot plex.

Currently, a T1 frigate can fit sufficient buffer tank to escape from most encounters along with their warp core stabs and some DPS. There needs to be more of a dis-benefit to fitting WCS.

Increasing WCS PG requirements would be certainly a step in the right direction. We want faction war to be about armed conflict, not Benny Hill'ing after farmers all the time!

I don't see this as hurting non-PvP players. If you want to stab up your ship to cross low-sec then I don't see that as a problem. If I point your Badger MK II or whatever it will be called in Odyssey 1.1 then fine. I might still try for you being a piwat and all, but if you are stabbed, no problem. My problem is with stabbed combat ships in Faction War. If you join faction war you show up as a target. You are a target. Man up and fight!

Increasing power grid requirements will not hurt the haulers and the travel fits particularly hard, but it will hurt these farmers.

CCP also nerfed the NPC's last year. Along with the above PG increase for WCS, they should look at making the rats a bit tougher harder. With WCS reducing DPS/tank then the stabbed farmers would have to change their fit.

If this happens please come back to this blog to read my rant about the hordes of cloaking farmers!

I know we cannot stop them, but at least let us try and discourage them!

Monday, July 15, 2013

AAAAAAAAMMMM! I'm Telling Teacher!

Have you ever petitioned a war target or enemy for posting something in local you didn't like? May be after they renamed their ship to something offensive? They could have posted some link that made you wince?

Now, would you have petitioned them if they had been in your corp or alliance?

No? Why not?

So basically you were using the petition system as a way to attack them then? Really?

Why is the petition system seen as an alternative to guns to some people?

Over the weekend I was talking to a alliance-mate who had got a warning from a GM. Following some local smack-talk with war-targets he'd renamed his ship to something, well, inappropriate shall we say. But as far as inappropriate things I've seen in Eve, that was well down the list. It was hardly goatsee.

Is it just me who finds this a bit sad? Petitioning war targets for minor infractions that you probably see scrolling through your own corp chat most late nights? I've always had a problem with this. In the past I've had people say to me "You should petition him for that, get him banned!" when the local smack talk has got a bit 'colourful'. Why? If someone out of game made a similar comment would you make a big deal out of it? Probably not. If someone in corp said the same thing or posted the same thing would you petition it? No you wouldn't, in fact you might even have laughed at the same thing.

This has been raised recently with some high-profile blocs banning bow-chicka-wow-wow links in fleet chat as spies are reporting them to get them bans and to get them out of the fleet. Now is this taking the meta game too far? I say yes.

If you are using the actions of a GM to further your in-game cause then you are really scraping the barrel. I'm fine with meta-gaming as long as its within the confines of the game mechanics. I see little difference between account hacking and running to a GM saying "Sir! Sir! Sir! Look what he has done!" when really you are neither shocked, disgusted or outraged reakky. Its more about who they are, than what they posted.

This was similar to the problems at Fanfest 2012. If Chribba had got drunk and made those commends but 'the wiz' or whatever he was called, would it have attracted the same attention? No. But poor old Mittens has a lot of enemies in Eve and they leapt on the bandwagon with both feet. I wonder how many of them calling for Mittens to be hung, drawn and quarter would have made the same levels of noise if it was a corp mate who said the same thing on their forums. You know, posted the eve-mail and then suggested they continue to gank him.

In my first player corp the CEO was very specific about smack. His motto was always "Let your guns do the talking.". I continue to stand by that, well, whilst I'm sober anyway. My local posts might get a tincy wincy bit 'smacky' after the 8th ot 9th glass.

It is amazing the ability the internet has to reduce grown men to 9 year-olds. And lets face it, the vast majority of Eve players are male and significantly older than most games.

So please just stop it. If you cannot beat your enemy with important internet spaceships and the in-game mechanics, then just simply accept that fact and....

P.S. Yes I'm sure there are asshats who do need petitioning due to really inappropriate postings. This is directed at those who petition simple as a 'weapon'.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Don't Tell Those *******rs ANYTHING!

In some respects I was a bit disappointed in Fanfest 2013.

The drinking was good, the people were amazing and a good time was had by all, except our livers. From the first day visiting waterfalls and geysers to the last day floating in the Blue Lagoon with all the important internet spaceships in between, it was a good trip. However I did have one big gripe.....

The amount of Eve Online (not DUST, it is important to make that distinction) "ZOMG! I cannot wait for THAT!" moments were really thin on the ground. I mean really, really thin. DUST Bunnies had something along those lines every four and a half minutes on average throughout Fanfest (statistics supplied by the Drackarn Fake Statistics Unit) but for Eve, very, very little.

Generally at Fanfest 2013 the Dust Bunnies got:-

And we got:-

(of the lack of specific details from this presentashun)

In the past we've been treated to concept ideas and mock ups of things that might be seen in the future. But at Fanfest 2013 it was relatively quiet in this area. We got told, again and again - exploration, doing more things, building stargates, stuff like that. A lot of none specific, broad-brush plans.


Well I'm back on this track after Mat Westhorpe aka Seismic Stan chased CCP regarding the picture in picture proposed a couple of years ago. That was another "ZOMG! I cannot wait for THAT!" from Fanfest 2011. Anyway, after some chasing Matt/Stan got a reply. I'll not repeat his post on Game Skinny, you can either read that yourself there or just see the picture below:-

Now add to the POS revamp ideas of 2012 (the tongue-in-cheek Minecraft in space picture), remember that.....

...... and we've had our hopes raised and then dashed yet again. Is this why Fanfest 2013 was about comics, collectors box sets and TV shows with little or no "ZOMG! I cannot wait for THAT!" moments in regard to Eve Online?

I'm a bit worried for Fanfest 2014 now. Are CCP going to be even more careful and give us even less "ZOMG! I cannot wait for THAT!" moments?

Is player backlash when something hyped up and then dropped (as it is to much of a PITA for them) too scary? So rather than get our hopes up, the new plan is to stay quiet?

I really hope not!

Hilmar showed us the door at FF13 (the one in the captains quarters! He didn't throw us out!). Making no promises and giving no detail other than 'we'll see at Fanfest next year'.

We had bloody better!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Killing with a Very Random Fit

I went for a squid (Caldari Militia pilot) in Nisuwa yesterday. They were inside a plex in a Tristan so I swapped to another Tristan and entered their plex hoping they'd stick around. After all we have the same ship! No! They ran off as I landed. Damn State Protectorate farmers! As it was in Nisuwa I decided to run down the plex until there was a minute on the timer. Then warping off would mean any squid entering later would have twice as long to wait to complete the plex, giving us twice as long to notice him and get him before he completed the plex!

Anyway, whilst I'm browsing the web to pass time, Quake590 enters system. He's a good PvP'r and always up for a scrap. He asks me for a 1v1 and I explain I'm running the plex down and will do afterwards in seven minutes time. He goes for a peak down the Abune pipe saying he'll be back after that.

I run the plex down and dock up. I then ponder the choice of ship to duel Quake590's Thrasher.

I've fought him plenty, he's the one who I got the 10mn Arty Thrasher fit from. I know if I go the same (my normal fit but Gyro instead of TE and Phased Plasma ammo) it'll be a pointless fight. We are so close in SP's for the ship and mods that it has, in the past, simply come down to who fired the first shot and therefore will get the final hit. No, don't fancy that.

No point going anything short range. ACs or blasters won't be able to hit him as his optimal is 10km. I kill Coercers in his fit as the afterburner speed and orbit mean lasers have issues tracking, so not using that. Drone boats or neut boats are no good as he has too good range and speed.

So, I need something else. Why not try to quickly throw together an 'anti-Quake590's-Thrasher', Thrasher fit.

He'll have 250mm Scout Artillery guns.
So if I go 280mm T2 my guns will hit harder.

He'll have a 10mn AB.
No point in me having anything like that as he'll be dictating the ship ranges. With my guns, my optimal is his optimal. MWD is pointless as it'll be about the same speed but the signature radius penalty will kill me. So I'll save the PG and let him get me into our shared optimals.

He'll have a DCII as tank and firing phased plasma probably.
So what if I go for a resistance armour tank? I don't have the PG for a buffer due to the BFGs mounted in the top rack, but I do have CPU for resistance mods. I don't need damage mods as my guns will probably kick out more DPS than his.

So there I have it. A 'Cockbag Thrasher' style top rack. A 1mn AB, long point and web in the mids. Two armour resistance mods in the lows. Finally one current router and two armour rigs.

I have the advantage here. I'm in my home station and I can guess what he'll be bringing. I have created a wierd looking fit which I will be dismantling after this one fight. It looks a shit-fit, but its been hastily designed to counter one man, and one ship.

If he's not fit how I'm assuming he is, I'm dead and will have a lol-mail on my KB.

Anyway, Quake590 returns after soloing two Dramiels (!!!) and we fleet up and meet up in space.

He lands fairly close to me so I burn away whilst locking and going mods hot. My initial messing with 'keep at distance' and activating the prop mod means he gets first shot. My shields plummet by 33%. My bigger 280mm's fire and his shields are cut in half. So the DPS on shields is in my favour.

We trade shots with my guns generating heat like Mila Kunis in a sauna! I'm pretty confident one of us will die before they burn out so I just leave them on overheat.

I'm getting low armour as he pops.

Good fights are exchanged and I warp back to station with the spoils of war.

Not a greatly fair fight tbh. I specifically fit something to counter his expected load-out. However, I don't feel bad about this as I have killed him before and he's immediately come back in a ship to counter what I was flying and killed me.

All is fair in love, war and Eve Online.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Blog Banter 47 - If Knowledge is Power....


So this month's Blog Banter will gravitate around knowledge, specifically EVE knowledge. Some examples of topics to cover: Is EVE too complex for one person to know everything? Is it, in fact, too complex for one person to know everything about one topic? How do you maintain any knowledge or skills related to EVE over time with breaks and expansions? Does CCP do a sufficient job documenting the features of the game, and if not, what could they do better? How does one determine where the gaps in their knowledge even are?"

First off I'd just like to thank Mat/Siesmic Stan for keeping the Blog Banters going post CK and good luck to Kirith as 3rd Supreme Overlord of the Bantarino's!

Right, what was Ripard Teg on about? Oh yes knowledge, Eve and documentation. Actually there are sort of five questions in the topic for BB47 and I think I'll answer each one.

Is Eve too complex for one person to know everything?


Is it, in fact too complex for one pers.....

Hang on. I'll just elaborate on that first answer. Have you ever looked how big Eve really is? Its mahoosive. Do you dabble a bit of everything in game? I doubt it. Unless you have an army of alts it is unlikely. I do not see Eve as a single game. It is many games rolled into one and what one person does in game might not what another sees as enjoyable. But that doesn't matter. The game is so big with so many paths, there is something for everyone!

I lived in sov null-sec once as part of a large coalition. Boring! The space in Vale of the Silent was empty and when there was a fight it was 500 BS and all you needed to do was jump, lock, F1, repeat until you become primary and are insta-popped by the alpha from a few hundred battleships. I am sure people will disagree with me on the null-sec thing and absolutely love it out there. I personally love small ship, low sec PvP. I know others that hate it. We all find our niche in our area we enjoy.

Ask me about T2 production and I'll say "Erm you need to invent a BPC with datacores and some loot thingy decryptors or some sort and then you need some moon goo materials and then cook them with a T1 hull and some other bits and there you get a T2 ship!". Now I have not looked that up. I seriously don't know if that is right or wrong. But ask me about fighting with a 10mn Thrasher in faction war plex's and I could go on all night.

Eve is huge and I doubt anyone (who has a job, a partner and a life) can know everything about everything in game. And that includes the developers!

Is it, in fact, too complex for one person to know everything about one topic?

Well I don't know. Please see my first response! I don't know anything about moon mining so I don't know if that is very simple and you can learn absolutely everything about it in an afternoon or so complex that the experts in moon mining in Eve are snapped up by NASA as soon as they are identified! Those making T2 Matari ships certainly are.....

In my area, PvP I would think there are only a few who know everything. In PvP you may know all there is to know about the ships you fly, but what about those you come across? That Drake, is it HAM or Heavy? Both may require different ships and different tactics. What is that? I wonder what that ship does? Not got time to look as here he comes!

I've been PvP'ing now for four years. I have flown or fought nearly every combat ship in the game from titans to battle badgers. But I still have no where near what you could call total knowledge on the subject. In fact we are all constantly learning and then that knowledge is rended useless by CCP when they change something. Three years ago who would have expected they'd be so many T1 frigates and cruisers zipping around low-sec in 2013? It always was battlecruisers and T2/Faction ships. Since tiericide huge rafts of ships are suddenly not only viable PvP boats, but are also bloody fun to fly!

A new slot layout and new stats threw all the old knowledge on how to fly these ships out of the airlock. We had to EFT-Warrior new fits, talk, discuss and try out.

So the answer to the question is no, but also yes in some areas. Depends how you define topics. Some areas of Eve are small, others are vast.

How do you maintain any knowledge or skills related to EVE over time with breaks and expansions?

With regard to breaks, you don't. There is no way you can do that. When you come back it will be time to face the learning cliff, although as an ex-player it might be only a slightly tall wall this time! We've had people take a break, comeback and boggle at how the game has changed. When they left we were flying Hurricanes and Hawks, now Breachers and Tristans are clogging up the station undock. It can be bewildering to come back to the game after a long break to find you get your ass handed to you in a fight you'd have won hands down before you went AFK for 6 months.

How do you get back into it? With me.... and you.... and you, and you (actually better stop there, getting a bit Saville!).

The primary way to find out what is new and shiny is from people. Corp mates, blogs, Twitter. The patch notes might give you the mechanics but they don't say at any point "A dual web, rocket, 400mm plated Hookbill will give your enemy a nasty surprise!". The best way of finding out these changes is to be in an active group who talk about the changes.

Does CCP do a sufficient job documenting the features of the game, and if not, what could they do better? How does one determine where the gaps in their knowledge even are?"

Who here reads the manual? Real men don't need manuals right! Could CCP do better at documenting features? Probably. Should they? I don't know. For new bro's then the experience has always been painful. But how much resource would CCP need to put into creating useful documentation for every element of the game. It would be huge.

Then, how long would it last? When the next expansion comes in and an area is shaken up, that documentation would be obsolete in some areas. So we get back to Eve as a "sink or swim" game where new player try it, scratch their heads, give a puzzled look and bog off to something easier.


In the end, is that the draw of Eve? There is no instant gratification to be had here. No "Press button, receive bacon". At the start you are really limited in what you can do in a massive and complex game. You need to invest time and effort into that game. You specialise, you find your niche in the game and move on from there. You learn, some you teach yourself, some times others help. You improve, you pull yourself up. Then you find you cannot do it all alone. You need other people who specialised in other areas. Suddenly you need the player in Massively Mulitplayer!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Eve Bloggers is Dead, Long Live Eve Bloggers

So its been a bad week for my blog reading. First Google Reader is put down which in turn broke

Of course this is all on top of the handover from the current owner of, MarcScaurus, to the new owner. Then we have the previous owner before Marc looking to set up a new competing site. However this would be a hosting site as well. The Nosy Gamer covers the background well here.

If you have read the comments in the Nosy Gamer article and the ones in one of the linked sites, you'll see I'm not a fan of the idea of a centralised hosting site for Eve Blogs. We have TMC and EN24 for that. However my biggest concern is what happens when the site owner goes dark. Not a single one of us knows for sure what we'll be doing in six months from now, never mind a year or more.

It happens. A new family member is just one of a hundred possible things that could nerf your Eve time. Look at the Eve Blog Banters. Is it the third or fourth custodian we are on now? EveBloggers is now on the third owner. These sites do not direct effect the blog of the bloggers. But a proposed hosting site? If the site stops running you'll have to move your blog, again.

For me, will remain my home. Although we do not know how long it will last, I would bet it'll last longer then any player hosted site.

What do I want to see?

1. Eve Bloggers fixed and with a new owner.
2. Eve Blog Pack reviewed and continued.
3. Blog Banters started back up on a monthly basis.

1. is being worked on now, 2. I assume will be done by the new Evebloggers owner and 3. is already happening thanks to Kirith.

Now with all this moving about, I really should update my blog list here. I think I'll completely redo the list from scratch and split it to active blogs and good but infrequent ones.

But for now, I'm having a weekend away!

Fly deadly o/

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Turning EV-R Into a Full Game

Over at Penny Arcade there is a phone interview with Sean Decker, the new SVP of Product Development. First off I'm not that concerned with his appointment. Yes, he's come from EA, one of the most derpiest of the games companies. But I'm pretty sure CCP have learnt their lesson over the last couple of years and I doubt he'll be allowed to do any EA-style feck ups with Eve Online. I consider that it is most likely he'll be in charge of turning DUST514's fortunes around*.
Anyway, onto EV-R. The Penny Arcade report asked Sean about EV-R and the buzz it created at E3. He said the concept was very like Mirrors Edge which he developed. At the minute it is an interesting tech demo but it is not actually a game. May be they could build a game around it like they did with Mirrors Edge?
Of course you bloody could! GET ON WITH IT!
And the way that could be done is very simple. You are a fighter pilot on a carrier. In fact it has been done before....
Why not do a Wing Commander style game set in the Eve Online universe. It could sit very nicely within the Faction War storyline. You are a pilot on-board an Empire Navy carrier. The capsuleers fighting in Faction War are only one part of the story. There are also the Empire Navies kicking each other in the shins. What if the EV-R game was set within that storyline?
The Single Player Campaign
The Game
Simple single player campaign just like Wing Commander. It is set on board a carrier. So probably a Chimera if we go Caldari. You are a rookie fighter pilot just arrived fresh from the academy when all hell breaks loose. You start off flying missions against NPC's and depending on your success you navigate through the mission tree. In the end you either win or you lose depending how well you have done in the missions. Given it would be a single player offline game the results would not be able to impact on the greater Eve-O universe. However I don't see that as a problem. The story might be about the other side developing a superweapon and you are sent into enemy territory to take it out. It might be you are trapped behind enemy lines and need to escape crossing vast tracks of space with an enemy fleet in pursuit ala BSG. There are a lot of meaningful story lines that could be used and not effect the wider Eve-O universe. How about a rescue mission where you have to fight across enemy space and rescue a captured Admiral and then get back to safe space. I could go on all day.
There could a series of fifteen or so missions 3 to 5 deep (doing great, doing OK, meh, badly, you suck) and your performance will effect how the story progresses to the next mission. Doing badly? You are constantly defending from attack and your friends are dying all around you. Doing well? You are taking the fight to the enemy. Like this one from the original Wing Commander I think.
The Missions
Before each mission it would allow you to change and equip your fighter. Again this is NPC Navy and not Capsuleer one that we are used to. It is possible that the NPC Navy carriers could have a range of different fighters with the best one they have available is the same one the capsuleers use (Eggers only use the best). There could be scouts, all-purpose fighters, heavy attack fighters and even bombers. As you progress through the missions you get promoted through the ranks allowing you to fly more and more shiny ships. Weapon selection would be simply types of missiles. Light, heavy, torps, fire-and-forget etc.
The missions themselves would be the normal mix of patrol, strike, escort and the like. Anyone who played the Wing Commander series will be familiar with the different types of mission. Here is a mission from Wing Commander 4.
The Cut Scenes.
At Fanfest Hilmar revealed plans for a Eve Online TV series. I really cannot see this getting off the ground. Seriously? A Game of Spaceships? Nullsec Empire? Band of Capsuleers? I cannot see there is the demand for this. Which TV stations will buy the series? If Firefly with its loyal fanbase and big budget movie behind it cannot get a second series, how is Eve Online The Series going to get off the ground? Comic yes, mini-series no (imho).

But, what about a PC game with real actors and cinematic cut scenes like WC3 and 4 and Privateer 2? That could be amazing and best of all, achievable Developing the lore and background of the Eve Online universe through side plots in the cut-scenes Not sure if the Oculus Rift can do that well (movie cut-scenes) but it could be awesome to have that in the game!

The cut scenes could also be based on your performance. May be it could be like WC4 and you have choices to make in these cut-scenes which effect the game. In one of the Wing Commander games you had two women chasing you. A technician from the fighter hanger and a fellow pilot, and you had to choose one. If you choose the pilot, then the grease monkey would get bitchy and you'd lose her advice on fitting your ship. If you chose the grease monkey the other pilot would sulk and not fly with you any more! Sheesh! Women! ;)

The Multiplayer
Right, now we've got the single player off-line campaign out of the way, lets get to the online PvP! The demo has already shown that PvP is already done. The big question is impact on Eve and money which I'll cover later. There should be a SIMPLE skill tree, nothing like DUST514. You gain XP killing and completing games. There could be a few different style games from Team Deathmatch to Capture the Flag (satellite) or Domination. Ship customisation should be in a Call of Duty style and again, not in a DUST style. As you gain ranks, ships and equipment are unlocked. However, the choice is limit like COD. The PvP should in my opinion be like COD. Log on, have a couple of games and log off. No spending ages trying to plan skills, taking hours messing about with your fits. Just get on, fight, get off. Finished!
Impact on Eve
Could EV-R The Game have the same impact on Eve Online as DUST514 has. Could there be a system modifier depending on how well your fighter pilots are doing. Think of it in terms of DUST514.... but with more players! In Faction War it will be easy. Keep on the Empire Navy theme and we have a background and storyline. Doing well can impact system capture difficulty in Eve Online. For null-sec may be some future Sov revamp could work this in. Or simply make the EV-R pilots part of The Legion. Actually that might work well. If the EV-R pilots were part of Modus Legion player entities in Eve could hire them (ISK sink) to help them capture systems and...... actually stop right there. I'm doing a DUST here. It is getting too complicated and messy and will put people off.
Why do we have to have an impact on Eve? EV-R could be just about fighting in a World of Tanks style. KISS!
I see the main game as being a standard purchase like any other game. If you can afford a VR headset you can afford a game off the shelf/download. However, what if the multi-player worked on a World of Tanks or DUST514 model. You don't need to spend money to play the game, but if you do you'll get access to gear that you'd normally need to grind XP for. Micro-transactions could play a part in this game very easily.
So there you go CCP, I've done all the hard work for you. Get on with it!

*I assume CCP are not happy with player numbers currently. Peak users of 6000 is probably nowhere near what they were hoping for. I recall at fanfest being told in one of the presentations about the PS3 giving CCP access to "tens of millions of players". Sorry guys, but I would guess the actual number is many zero's below that. I bought a PS3 the weekend before DUST514 went open beta. Played it a bit, admittedly forcing myself as it was Eve related, and played on into full release. My PS3 is currently an oversized paperweight and doubt I actually played any DUST since late May. DUST514 didn't do it for me.