Monday, April 30, 2007


The last few days in EVE have been exceptionally flawless technically, even if I did lose another Thorax. In fact, it was a miscalculation on my part, an inaccurate assessment of my survival risks. Getting another Thorax fitted, ready to run missions, and insured at Bronze Level basically wiped me out financially, so I've been running Level 2 missions and I'll probably continue to for a while. In the meantime, however, my three AU Basic PvP Class-ready frigs and all the extra mods I bought for them are still sitting at the staging station, waiting for the next time the class will be held, in slightly less than two weeks. Of course, this time I'll be ready, my net connection will be ready, and I won't be living on pain medication...all of which are very good things.

I had an interesting in-game conversation earlier today with someone who's a pirate, but who I don't think is a Privateer about the pros and cons of the recent wardec nerf. This person apparently feels it's going to hurt the game, while I feel what CCP did was exactly the opposite, an action taken to protect the game and its accessibility to new players. To be honest, I really don't want to get back into this topic full-bore as I think I've covered it and stated my opinion pretty well, but I will say this. something else I've said here before, but which I don't think enough players understand is key here:

First and foremost, EVE is not a game, but entertainment media, a commercial product which is intended to make a profit for the company that creates it, CCP. If EVE succeeds in this, it will continue to grow and improve...if not, it will wither and die. This has nothing, I repeat, NOTHING, to do with the actual quality of the game or how much we love it as players. It has everything to do with basic economic reality: If it sells, it lives, and if it doesn't, it dies.

In this way, it's really no different from the business I'm in, or trying to be in, anyway. As regular readers have probably picked up from my references, I'm a radio talk show host. The kind of show I do is very specialized, especially intended for a specific kind of listener but also designed to be accessible to everyone who cares to take the time to listen. In order for me to be successful in doing this professionally, I need three things:

First, I need to be good. In fact, I need to be better than most. I am.

Second, I need someone in the business who thinks I'm good enough to hire. That, I've got.

The third part is harder: a media company that's willing to take a chance on funding a genre of radio that's largely untested in the commercial market. Finding that is the job of the guy who will be my boss, and it's finding the right business partner that's what's really taking the time here.

To translate this into EVE terms, let's start with this reality that every professional mediamaker of any stripe understands:

Media consumers are unbelievably fickle. The average gamer (online or otherwise), properly motivated, will be just as quick to bail on any given game they lose interest in as the average radio listener will be to bail on any given show that they find boring or less interesting than another. The real difference here, if there can honestly be said to be one, is only in the amount of time it takes for the consumer to "change the channel". The way to combat this is in radio is the very same as it is in gaming: Generating and maintaining a high level of consumer loyalty.

I remember a conversation I once had with a radio professional about getting myself hired in the business, at a major radio provider. He told me something that proved to be right on the money, that his company would be happy to put me on the air as a guest on their shows because I'm damn good, but he doubted that they'd ever offer me a real job because I was just too different from everything that had gone other words, as a guest I was attractive because I was new and interesting (not to mention free to the company), but they'd never actually hire me, because I was TOO new and interesting. How fucked up is that?

This kind of thing definitely applies to EVE as well. Many people download the trial, but how many actually subscribe as a result and how many decide for themselves that EVE just isn't for them, that it's just TOO new and different to actually invest money in? When one looks at the playerbase of WoW and compares it against EVE's, it's pretty clear that EVE caters to a playerbase as specialized as the listenerbase which my show and network do, with much the same results. It doesn't take a game with almost 35 times the playerbase as EVE's to tell me what I've known for years: Media which strays less from the familiar, the tried and true, will be more successful than that which breaks new ground.

So how does a host like me or a game like EVE, both of which break new ground in our respective fields, develop loyal consumer bases? First, we gotta get them to the door...things like free trials and active mainstream and guerrilla promotional activities help with that. Once we got 'em at the door though, we gotta keep 'em there.

For me, as for EVE, you either like what you get or you don't. You like, you stay, you don't, you leave and move on...if enough people stay, it's a success, if not...

In both cases, it all happens early. Chances are, you'll know if you like me and my radio show after just a little while of listening, and a similar amount of time is needed for a new player to figure out if EVE is for them or not. That's why, just as it's critical for me to make my show as accessible to someone who's never heard it before as it is to someone who listens every week, so too does EVE need to be as accessible and fun to play for someone who's been playing for two hours as it is for someone who's been playing for two years. Different play styles, different reasons for listening, sure, but it all has to meet in the middle to accomplish the key goal of both: entertainment...without that, neither can succeed.

That's why CCP needed to do what they did to the wardecs, to protect the game and keep it interesting and fun for players of all skill and experience levels. It's not just good for the game, it's absolutely essential for its continued survival. To all you PvP purists complaining about this, I ask you to consider this question and answer it honestly, whether publicly or just for yourself:

Which would you rather have: A game that has safe, protected areas for new players to learn the game or a game which loses money and eventually goes under, rendering all players equal in the complete and total loss of a pastime we all love?

I know what my answer to that question is, and I hope yours is much the same.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

I Knew It...

...I really should remember to double-check that my bill payments go through.

For some reason, my scheduled electronic payment to the broadband company didn't go through when it was supposed to. So, what do they do? Do they send me a email or a notice in the mail that there's a problem? No. They simply wait and then put my account in "Overdue" status, which I don't discover until I actually log into their site and check my account myself.

What I've discovered about this is that now what they do when you're in "Overdue" status, but not enough in arrears to actually cancel your account and demand their equipment back, is they turn your broadband from a torrent into a tiny dribble in terms of bandwidth, just enough to get your email and do some slow websurfing, but not much else. This is what they'd apparently just done to me, just a few hours before class time. As you might imagine, trying to play EVE like this is next to impossible...trying to play EVE and run Ventrilo at the same time for the class IS, apparently, indeed impossible, proven by the repeated crashings of both programs when I tried to use to use them together.

The next day, once I'd called the company and made the payment by phone (a pain in the ass process by itself) and then rebooted the cable modem and my computer, it was like magic.
Everything worked fine...better than fine, fact. EVE seems to be running better, more smoothly, than it ever has before, and that's even with streaming audio running so I assume the same will be true with Ventrilo even though I haven't actually had the chance to test that as yet. My email, browsers, etc. all seem lightning-quick. Contrary to my initial assessment, I now believe that all the trouble I was having in EVE was completely due to this problem.

Can you imagine if other utilities operated this way? I mean, imagine if when your electric bill was a day overdue all of a sudden your lights and television started browning out? Or if when the gas bill was coming due your house would only be heated intermittently until your account was paid in full? Yet, somehow, I guess because there can really be no rational argument made that Internet access is an essential service (regardless of what we who are avid online gamers might think) in the same way as heat or power are, these companies. at least the one that services my area of New Jersey anyway, apparently feels free to just turn down the tap to almost zero without notice...I guess they figure, rightly so in my case, that you'll become so frustrated that you'll do everything you can just to get the thing working properly. It may eventually gain you the desired results, but one unintended result that will almost surely occur are plenty of really pissed off customers...I'm quite sure I'm hardly the only high-usage Cablevision customer who's missed her payment date by a day or two and has had to deal with this crap.

Ok, enough bitching about my ISP...hey, I know! Let's talk about EVE! What a novel idea! So, last night, atomic batteries to power, turbines to speed, I zipped around Gallente and Caldari space with nary a technical care in the world. It was quite literally the best, most lag/glitch-free experience I've had playing EVE since I started. Deeply weird...I go from my very worst EVE experience ever right to my very best EVE experience ever with no in-between. I can't wait to see what it's like when I fire it up in a little while.

And of course, I'll be even more ready (if that's at all possible) for the next AU Basic PvP class. ;)

Friday, April 27, 2007


It figures, doesn't it?

Finally class time rolls around and the EVE client decides it's going to start crashing repeatedly, and Ventrilo decides to join in the festivities by suddenly dropping it's connection, too. I spent half an hour trying to keep them running, but I couldn't understand anything the instructor was the time I finally connected for more than a few seconds at a time, I'd missed a lot. So, hopefully they'll let me take it again next time they hold it. It got to the point where it wasn't fair anymore to the class or to me. Hopefully next time it'll be better.

Not happy...not happy at all. It's certainly not AU's fault, but it isn't mine either, I had no way of knowing this would happen. Personally I suspect my ISP may have had something to do with this so I'm hoping that by the time their next class rolls around this will have been resolved.


The Wait...

...well,'s two and a half hours before class time. What the hell else do I have left to do? I'm as ready and as read-up as I'll ever be. Earlier today, I took an excursion to Korsiki where I discovered yet another skill I need to train: Infomorph Psychology. Thought I'd just drop by and make myself a jump long as I've been playing this game now, I should have known it would never be that easy.

So, I've got two Tristans and a Maulus plus plenty of spare mods ready to go so this should be a lot of fun. I've also tried to test Ventrilo but no one ever seems to be in the AU server lobby when I go there to try it. Oh well...hopefully when I try it again later someone will be.

I'm now going to stop overanalyzing this whole least for a while. I'm sure I'll have something to say after I've done the actual class...interestingly, today I discovered that those who pay and take an AU class are welcome to come back and do it again, free of charge. That's cool. One thing I have to admit I've been wondering about since I signed up for this thing is if my class will get into any actual combat. I've read some of the AU forum commentary and it doesn't seem that the last class found much. It's good to know that if I need it explained to me one more time (definitely not an impossibility, especially in this game) that I'll have the opportunity.

Dental hell wasn't so bad. The stitches are gone, as are the pain pills...ah well, ya can't have everything. Just as well...this is a class I want to be as sober as a judge for.

Oh yeah...I'm not gonna miss a thing.

Interesting... seems this extreme lag may be local to Gallente space, at least in part. The further I got into Caldari space the easier the trip, and the time spent waiting for the jumps in between became. So, now I've made it back to the staging area for the class, I believe I have everything ready, and so, if the fates are kind, I'll be able to attend this class and get what I need and want from it without technical issues getting in the way.

Y' know, I wonder...this sort of thing sounds just like what I hear people complaining about when there's a major battle taking place nearby...did something really big happen close to or in Gallente space? Inquiring minds...

For a while there I suspected it might have been my Internet connection, but if it was then getting out of Gallente space should have made no difference at all. No, I'm pretty sure this was a CCP thing...and the fact that it started happening right after the last patch is not a coincidence. It's also entirely possible that this is not a locally-centered thing but just the natural settling in of a new patch and that everything will be fine now. I certainly hope so. I just want this class to go well so I can use what I learn to go kick some ass.

There's also one other possibility. There was a notice on the E-O news page that their Internet provider was going to be be replacing a switch that was causing downgraded service to some of their customers. They are apparently doing right now, as I type this, according to the notice. I'll go fire up EVE at 2 am and see if perhaps that was the answer all along. Whatever, as long as it freaking works...

So tomorrow, I go get my stitches taken out and I go take my PvP class...should be a pretty interesting day all around.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Major Badness...

...I don't know what's causing it. It could be my Internet connection, it could be the latest EVE patch somehow isn't playing nicely with my computer, it could be who the hell knows what...all I know is that the lag and connection issues I'm having with EVE are unquestionably the worst they've ever been, to the point where the game has become almost unplayable. Just what I need a day before my class.

It's totally frustrating. I'm not even sure I'll be able to make it back the 20 jumps to Caldari space in order to be there for my class, much less able to participate. I think I've lost my connection to the server at least 30 times today. It's ridiculous. I just hope this whatever it is fixes itself soon. This is not fun....but of course I'll be trying to get it in yet again very soon.


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

It's A Conspiracy, I Tell Ya...

...I mean, it just seemed liked the fates conspired that I wasn't going to have an easy time with EVE today...or perhaps I wasn't the only one? All I know is that the lag was as bad if not worse than I've ever seen it in this game. Now, of course, it's patch day, so some of this is to be expected, but this is just really, really bad.

Bad enough I just lost a BC, but I can't even finish fitting the Thorax I bought to replace it without having connection problems and slowness issues. Grrrr...

There is the mention of lag issues on the E-O website, but also that the problem was supposedly solved temporarily...maybe not so much. Ah well, hopefully by tomorrow things will return to at least semi-normal. Right now, the game is just too slow and laggy to be playable.


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Drugs In Space, Part 3

I think I've come to an absolutely unquestionable, inescapable conclusion about EVE: Combat on pain medication = extremely high likelyhood of getting blown up. I mean, I usually last at least 24 hours before I lose a brand-new fucking ship...just wish I could have afforded the platinum insurance.

Ah well...looks like it's back to a Cruiser for a while. My shiny-new Brutix bit the big one because I got warp scrambled and couldn't escape. It was the first time this has ever happened to me...I thought NPC's didn't warp-scramble until Level 4...perhaps a lovely new surprise that came with this latest patch? Fortunately, I did insure it, but I could only afford the standard level.

So, I guess at some point I'll jump in-game and figure out what I'm going to do with the 17 mil or so I've got as far as try to go earn a little ISK.

Those nostalgic for those halcyon days when the title of this blog actually matched its URL may get their heart's desire...for a while, anyway.


...well, just about, anyway.

Yesterday, I spent most of the day in-game. Normally, I almost never spend an entire day on any single task or ADD simply won't allow it. Every so often, however, I'm able to focus in on something with laser-like precision and just work on it until it's done or at least as done as I can possibly make it at that particular time. For me, yesterday was one of those days.

I finished fitting my Tristans for class so now I have two of those, as well as an EWAR-fit Maulus ready to go for Friday. There are some client tweaks I haven't done yet, but aside from that and one slot each on my Tristans that will probably need to be fit situationally, I'm ready for class. Yay!

Oh and yeah, I also flew back to Gallente space, bought another Brutix, and tricked it out for mission-running. I haven't actually flown any missions in it yet, but I have a feeling it's going to be more potent than the one I had blown up on me a few days ago.

Today, of course, is also patch day. I've already patched my client, but as yet I've only just gone in-game to change my skill training so I can't really say I've noticed anything different just yet.

One thing I can say is pretty annoying though is the fact that it doesn't seem that EVEMon is updating anywhere near as frequently as it used to. I've been training a new skill for the better part of an hour now but it still thinks I'm training the old skill...for that matter, so does the character sheet on the E-O website, which I know EVEMon works off of. Ok, I don't know who thought of this "improvement", but it officially sucks, I hate it, I bet most of the players who know enough to care hate it, it needs to go.

What good is character data that isn't regularly updated? It does me no good to know when a skill I'm no longer training would have finished or how much ISK I had yesterday...this needs to be fixed, right now, because if it isn't, the value of using EVEMon to keep track of when to change a character's skill training just went way, way, down. Unbelieveable...I've just tried it again, ten minutes later, and my ISK total is now accurate but my skill is still indicating what I was training overnight. It used to be that the skill updated fairly quickly, but the ISK took more time. Now, it seems the reverse is true., any chance of getting both to update within a reasonable time so this info can actually prove useful in scheduling training changes?

So, looks like I'm rapidly running out of excuses not to go run some missions...hmmm...

Sunday, April 22, 2007

One Down...Almost

Last night's project was getting the Maulus fully-fitted and ready for class. After playing around a bit, I managed to get it all done except for one thing, which involved a surprise I'm glad I discovered now. I'd already purchased the entire list of recommended mods, done all the necessary preliminary prep, and then checked the AU info to see how it should be fit. I discovered that there actually was one mod that wasn't mentioned on the list but was recommended on the suggested fitting specifically for the Maulus. I quickly ran out and picked one up, only to discover that I hadn't trained the needed skill to fit it. Uh-oh.

I was actually quite nervous, what with just a week before class, but luckily my obsessive preoccupation with making sure I've got everything ready to go for the class has served me well. One thing I immediately made certain to do once I'd signed up for the class was finish training up my advanced learning skills to Level 4. I'd started training these on the advice from fellow players a couple of weeks ago, and because I've got them at that point already, I was able to just run out, buy the skillbook, and train it up to Level 1 just before going to bed last night. This skill needs to be at Level 4 before I can fit this mod, but since I've got my learning skills as high as I do, this shouldn't be a problem to get done before class time. I'm just really hoping that I don't discover something similar when I go to fit my Tristans because I doubt I'd have the time to do it twice.

I jumped in-game earlier to switch skill training to something that will take a bit longer than the couple of hours getting to Level 2 on this skill will take while I'm out sense in wasting training time, and I've got enough leeway here that I can just switch back when I get home. When I did, I got some EVE-mails that asked all Ivy League members to assemble at Korsiki at 18:00 for a show of force. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to make it this time...disappointing, I'd have liked to have been there but to be honest in the condition I'm in with all the pain meds I'm taking I'm not sure I'd have exactly been an asset to the cause anyway.
Tonight I'm's going be just a quick skill change then beddie surgery sucks.


Saturday, April 21, 2007

Maybe It's Genetic?

I had a very interesting and completely unexpected EVE-related experience today. I spent the afternoon at my brother's. Family from the midwest came out to the east coast and so pretty much the entire clan assembled for a get-together. My parents divorced when I was 13 and my Dad remarried about 12 years later, so in addition to my own two brothers who I grew up with, I also have a set of step-siblings, two brothers and a sister, as well as another, I dunno what you call it, step-brother by association...? His Mom and my Dad are all but legally married if you know what I mean.

The oldest of these kids is eighteen and getting ready to start college in the fall. Very smart, and as much of a computer geek as I am. Today, I'm wearing my EVE t-shirt and he comes in, sees my shirt, and tells me "EVE is the greatest game in the world.". Needless to say, I agree completely. We then spend the next hour or so talking EVE, while the rest of the family members who overhear parts of our conversation react much like we're two insane people talking nonsense.

James tells me that he stopped playing because he was getting podded too much (sound familiar?), and I tell him about EVE University and Agony Unleashed and that there are ways of helping oneself not to be quite so victimized, especially after the upcoming patch this Tuesday. Looks like E-Uni is about to get another recruit, and probably AU as well...if he doesn't have the needed ISK, I'll help him out as much as I can...I'm not exactly rolling in ISK myself just now, but I'll spare as much as I can to help get him back into it.

This was especially fun for me since James is the very first person I know in RL who I've discovered also plays EVE. Should be interesting to see how this all pans out in the near future...

Right now though, I think it's time to jump in-game and get those frig fittings and a few other things that I know I absolutely need to have it all completely ready to go before Friday, since I seriously doubt I'm going to want to deal with it right after the dentist, I want to have it set up so that all I have to do on Friday is just show up on time and be ready to go. I did my little bullshit Level 2 mission earlier and then took the dessie back to the class staging station, so it's time to try to actually get something truly productive done in-game...before the pain pills catch up and make me stupid.

Yeah, maybe the Haagen-Daz Vanilla Fudge a day after major dental surgery wasn't such a smart idea after all...seemed like a good idea at the time, though.

Drugs In Space, Part 2

So, yeah I did it... grabbed the dessie, and flew back to the Gallente system where my best Level 2 agent is. By the time I got there though, I was just too tired to do a mission, so I packed it in for the night. Today, it's Saturday and I have some actual RL commitments to deal with, so I probably won't get a chance to jump into EVE until this evening for more than a few minutes. I do want to check on my skill training and I can't use EveMon right now because the online character info has been disabled. I think the skill I'm currently training will finish sometime today, but I forget exactly when...

It seems I've passed through the very worst of dental hell, though it's by no means over. One Percoset seems to now be doing as effective a job at controlling the pain as both a Perc and a Valium did last night, at least for now. I'm still swollen and sore, but it's nowhere near as bad as it was last night, thank Goddess. As far as EVE goes, hopefully this means I'll be able to do some of those final prep things I wanted to do last night but didn't have the mental wherewithal to pull off when I log in later.

One thing that kind of sucks but I don't really have a choice about is that I'll be returning to my dentist for a final check and to get my stitches removed next Friday...eight hours before class time. I'll deal, I suppose, but the last thing I want to be is fucked up on drugs for class. Heh, if my teenage self could ever read those words, she'd have laughed herself silly. Amazing the difference just thirty years or so can have in one's outlook on life. Of course, thirty years ago, computers were only to be found in Star Trek, laboratories, and military installations, not in one's home, and me, I was someone else, in more ways than just my maturity level.

Ok, time to check my skill training and then go deal with RL for a while...

Friday, April 20, 2007

Drugs In Space...

...and no, I don't mean boosters or anything sold by Serpentis, etc.

I mean that right now, I'm pretty much totally swacked on Percoset and Valium after major dental surgery. I haven't been this fucked up on pills since my punk rocker days, and as much as it's not something I really want to be doing with any regularity, I'm feeling no pain, and that's a good thing. I'm a total coward when it comes to pain, and since I know perfectly well that if I wasn't taking all this stuff I'd be in a world of it, I'm okay with revisiting my drug-crazed youth for this purpose...and yeah, ok, I'll admit I am enjoying the buzz...maybe even just a little too much, but right now I really don't give a fuck as long as it keeps the pain at bay.

Of course, the really fun part is when I try to play Eve this fucked up. I've seen plenty of humorous stories involving EVE and the imbibing of significant quantities of alcohol, but since I'm not really much of a drinker they've been kind of hard to truly appreciate...until now.

After getting home from dental hell and taking all my drugs, the first thing I did was print out all the Agony Unleashed Basic PvP Course materials and fire up EVE to get done at least some of the final prep for my course. During the course of this, I ran into a few NPC pirates, but since I was flying a ship I hadn't actually fitted with guns yet, I beat it the hell out of there. I may be messed up on pain meds, but even in this condition I know that hanging out where I was probably wouldn't have been very smart. So, I flew back to the class staging station, parked my Tristan, and logged out. This stuff just requires a lot more focus and concentration than I'm able to muster right now.

Now, I'm sitting here, typing away in a Valium/Percoset-induced fog, and thinking that while I definitely don't think even PvE combat is probably a great idea right now...actually, I've lost far more ships to NPC's than in PvP...I still wanna go for a cosmic joyride, just because I'm in that kind of a mood.

Also, since I've got virtually no standing in Caldari space and I'd have to pretty much start from scratch if I wanted to try doing a mission here, I'm thinking perhaps a trip in the dessie back to Gallente space might be in order just to do a really easy Level 2 mission and blow some shit up just for the entertainment value.

So, if ya happen to see me out there, take pity on the mentally impaired and don't pod day's already been fucked up enough as it is...thanks! :)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Happy Trails..., um, me, I guess.

I've spent my last several hours in-game buying and collecting stuff in preparation for my upcoming Agony Unleashed Basic PvP class. It's actually taken less time than I expected it would, though I'm by no means finished yet. I've also been reading through the course materials, which I have to say are more than worth the cost of tuition alone. As a writer myself, I respect copyrights, so I won't go into specifics here, but I will say that in the course of reading through it I've had several "Aha!" moments, times where something I really didn't get previously suddenly became clear in light of the explanation I'd just read...and that's not counting all the times I've just learned something so completely new to me that I didn't know enough to know I needed to know it in the first place. Even with all the setup costs in terms of ISK and in-game time, and not having even done the actual class yet, I'm already convinced that in terms of value versus price, this class and the materials that come with it would still be a bargain at twice the price.

Right now, I'm back in Gallente space, picking up my Maulus and a few mods that were a bit overpriced in Caldari space. Once I've done that, I'll be essentially done with my class prep with the exception of buying weaponry and ammo, actually fitting the ships, and bumping up a few skills I think might be useful...I've already trained up everything required for the course I didn't already have to the necessary skill levels, but it never hurts to add a bit. In addition, there are more than a few recommended, though apparently not required, skills in the course materials, so I'm also looking into training at least some of those before class as well. There are also a few things that will be best done if I can refer to the class materials in-game as I do them. Since AU's website isn't viewable in the in-game browser, I'm going to print out copies of the materials so I can sit there with the information at my fingertips as I make the necessary tweaks. Probably the very last thing I'll do in preparation for this class is move my clone to where the class is being held to facilitate quick and easy recovery if (read: when) I get podded during the class.

What I've really found most surprising about this process is how relatively inexpensive it's proven. I've gotten almost all of it done for around a million ISK, not counting the actual tuition. With a little common sense (i.e. not buying mods at 2-3 times their actual value unless absolutely necessary), it's been quite easy to keep costs down. The biggest expense here really has been the in-game time to get it all done, and that's a price I'm happy to pay right now.

In fact, I really am enjoying the break from mission running, seeing areas of Empire space I hadn't made it to before now, and even buying and flying my very first Caldari ships. Yeah, ok, shuttles aren't exactly the height of piloting excitement as they aren't even armed, but it's still been fun to fly something not only new, but non-Gallente for a change. I took one of my shuttles on the 20-jump trek back to Gallente space to pick up my Maulus since I want my fully-fitted dessie available in Caldari space, just in case I need it...ya never know when it'll come in handy. Chances are, I'll be making at least a few more trips in and out of Caldari space between now and class day, so having a ship that can handle at least minor PvP in the area that I'm not reserving for class can't hurt. I've been doing this with the expectation that everything I'm investing in this class...ships, mods, basically everything except the skills I'm training for it...won't survive the experience. That's just fine...I've already written it off as part of the tuition.

Just as in a RL university, a lot of the actual learning is done before the class ever takes place...and I don't think I've ever had so much fun doing my homework.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


...well, not really, but it kind of feels like it a little.

Yesterday, I went through the list of what I'll need for my upcoming class, packed up my dessie with as much of it as I had lying around at various Gallente stations, and headed out for where the class will be held, a 20-jump trip into Caldari space. Upon arrival, I emptied my cargo hold, bought two shuttles to pick up a couple of Tristans and bring them over to where I am.

Another new record...I've actually been outside of Gallente space for more than 24 hours. A silly record, sure, but hey, I'll take 'em as I find 'em. So, I suppose at some point in the near future, I'll start collecting all the modules I need and bringing them to where I need them. Also, sooner or later, I'll take one of my shuttles back to Gallente space and pick up my it a hunch, but I've got a feeling it might come in handy.

I guess it's really a working vacation...though, really, when one's playing an MMOG, the term can take on an entirely different meaning, can't it?

Of course, of most interesting news is CCP's recent dev blog announcement that the price of declaring war is about to become a lot more expensive then it's been, which cannot help but put a dent in the Griefateers' operations. I think this will prove out to be an excellent solution as war declarations will have to be chosen much more carefully in the future. If you consider how realistic this game is in so many ways, you understand both why this move makes sense from both a gameplay and a business standpoint.

In RL, even George Bush knows that declaring war on 70 countries at the same time isn't rational as it would bankrupt any nation that ever tried something so ridiculous. Hell, even Hitler wasn't THAT nutso! Yet, until now the wardec system in EVE has allowed the Griefateers to do exactly made no sense and it needed fixing. What the Griefateers have been doing is taking advantage of what is not an exploit in the classic gaming sense, but a loophole in the system. In the best EVE tradition, they found a way to use the existing game mechanics in a new and unexpected way. Perhaps they do deserve points for creativity, but just the fact that they thought of it before CCP did doesn't mean they're using the system in the way it was intended to be used or that it's anything more than a way to do an end-run around the intended consequences of certain in-game behaviors, one that needed to be corrected.

Let's take a step back from the game for a second here and try to see this through the eyes of someone who's where all of us were at one point: Someone who's never played EVE, but is looking for a cool MMOG to play. Perhaps, like me and maybe you, the D&D/LOTR/WoW theme just doesn't do it for this person. They see the EVE screenshots and drool. The read the almost uniformly positive and high-ranking reviews and are impressed. Then, if they have any gaming savvy at all, they go to the popular gaming discussion forums to see what the players are saying...

You see where I'm going with this? What will a potential new player read when they go to these forums? Will it be about how the PvP is amazing, the depth is unparalleled, and the possibilities are almost limitless...or will it be about how the PvP is so relentless and brutal no noob can survive for long, so don't even bother to try?

Consider how quickly word of "Devgate" found its way to the front pages of just about every major gaming site on the web...and now consider how popular an E-O forum topic the Griefateers have been recently. Add to that the personal experiences of many who encounter them in-game and talk about it on these boards. It doesn't take a journalist or media expert to see that how quickly it can happen, just as quickly as EVE became publicly known for being the game where the dev was caught cheating, and this has been going on for a lot longer.

"Devgate" hurt the game and cost it a significant amount of players, both those who left and those who might have tried the game but chose something else because of all the bad press...anyone who cares, really cares, about this game has to know that. EVE can ill-afford to also become known as a game where griefers are allowed to run wild and victimize noobs at will.

The revision of the wardec system is, in my opinion, a commonsense response by CCP...not a nerfing as some have called it, but simply the closing of a loophole that really shouldn't have been there in the first place. It doesn't prevent the Griefateers from doing what they do, it just stops them from doing it on the insanely large scale they had been. While the jury is still out on whether this will have the desired effect it's definitely a step in the right direction and CCP is to be commended for dealing with this issue head-on and (hopefully) effectively.

Nice job, folks!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Changing Course... more ways than one.

As regular readers of this blog know, I haven't had a whole lot of time for EVE over the last several weeks because of RL demands on my time. Now, all of a sudden, I've got nothing but time, and I've been playing a lot more EVE over the last week or so.

The reasons are practical, though not especially pleasant. First, the new RL position I've talked a little bit about here, a new media venture I'm a part of which was due to launch at the end of last month, has now been delayed indefinitely, probably at minimum until summer. In other words, the new job I expected to be working at by now doesn't exist yet. Of course, normally I'd be doing some pretty intense short-term job hunting right now, except for one little thing:

I've got a pretty damn painful dental abscess right now. After a visit to the dentist last week, I'm scheduled for oral surgery Friday, and in the meantime, I'm on some fairly heavy antibiotics and pain meds. What this means in the practical sense is that I'm stranded at home because I can't drive, I can't do any radio because while I can certainly talk, keeping my voice at the clarity and intensity it needs to be for a two-hour radio talk show just ain't happening right now, and, to top it all off, the Oxycodone I'm taking makes me dopey...not plastered or anything, but slow. To put it in perspective, to compare it to my two-fisted drinking days, it's not like getting rip-roaring drunk, but it is like having a few...not enough to get sloppy and stupid, but definitely more than enough to stay out from the behind the wheel of my car.

Of course, since I can't go anywhere and I can't do any radio-related stuff...yep, you guessed it...I've been playing a hell of a lot of EVE. While certainly not dangerous in the actual physical sense as driving would be, running combat missions in EVE are at least as concentration-intensive as driving a car, especially since I have far less experience in this game than my 28 years of driving motor vehicles. Surprisingly, it really hadn't been all that much of an issue, until last night.

It was really my own fault. I was doing a Level 3 mission (I forget which one right of the Mordus ones), and doing pretty well until I tried to push my Brutix just a little too far. Normally, I'd usually escape by the seat of my pants when I allow myself to stay in the killzone this long, but this time the Lag-Monster paid a sudden, ill-timed visit. The game suddenly became so slow I watched my armor disappear in two frame changes, followed by my structure in three or four. What really annoyed me this time was that I'd apparently just made it out in time when I got a weird message saying I couldn't do that right now because of what I'm doing or some incomprehensible thing like that. Then, just as my ship was accelerating to warp, it exploded. It seemed that if I'd had literally a half-second more I'd have survived...fuck.

So, of course, back to the staging station in my pod. At this point, the standard thing for me to do would be to call up the market screen and begin the process of putting my BC back together, but I hesitated. With the insurance payoff from the Brutix, I'm suddenly sitting on about 40 million ISK and I remembered that there's something else I need to finance and deal with first.

After recent events I'm not going to go into again (read recent previous postings for that), I've signed up for Agony Unleashed's Basic PvP course. This may surprise some as I'm a member of Eve University, but there are what I see as some good reasons for doing so.

First, the practical: E-Uni gets wardecced and attacked so often these days that the corp, understandably, seems to spend more time defending itself than actually teaching its students. I've seen some classes offered, but the ones I've seen are for those who have at least had some basic PvP experience. I mean, I'd love to take a tackling class, but it doesn't really make much sense to me to do so until I have a good understanding of basic PvP. E-Uni hasn't, as far as I'm aware, offered a basic PvP course during the two months or so I've been a member, and I've decided that just continuing to wait for it to happen just isn't productive if I want to keep making progress in this game.

Second, AU's rep as a PvP University is, from all accounts, absolutely stellar. Every single person I've spoken to about this, without exception, has said pretty much exactly the same thing: Not only will I learn a hell of a lot, but I'll never have more fun in this game than I will taking this class. It sounds like exactly what I need, so yesterday I signed up and paid my tuition.

The actual class tuition, however, is only one part of it, though. I've also got to buy and appropriately fit two or three frigates to be used during the class and get them to the area where the class will be held. These frigs will basically be cannon fodder, set up with the express purpose of going into low-sec PvP combat to learn and practice the techniques taught in this class with a pretty high likelihood of being blown to bits.

Now that my enrollment has been approved and my access to the class materials granted, I have a full and exhaustive list of what I'll need. While I don't expect it to cost me anywhere near the ISK I have on hand, I do fully expect that it will take me a while to put it all together and get it to where it needs to be. So, I've decided to put everything else, including mission running, on hold until I get this done.

Right now, I have plenty of time before the class, but I also know I have plenty of stuff to buy and probably plenty of flying around from place to place collecting it all, so I've decided to make this the priority until I'm 100% prepared for the class. If, by the time I've gotten it all done, I've still got a reasonable amount of time and ISK left, maybe then I'll go buy myself another ship for mission running and try to recoup some of the ISK I'm laying out for this venture while I wait for class day.

Funny how this all works out. It's become my standard pattern that when I lose a ship in combat I usually avoid combat missions for about a day or so, even if I've got a replacement ship all fitted and ready to go. In all honesty, I don't really know why I do this. There's no real game-relevant reason for doing's just what I do. So, in light of that, getting my Brutix blown up on me, if it had to happen, couldn't have come at a more convenient time.

I'm also thinking that maybe this is exactly what I personally need right now, a refocusing of my in-game priorities on (presumably) non-life-threatening pursuits for at least a little while. I do suspect that the Oxycodone did at least play a part in the death of my Brutix, but as much as I'd like to, I can't really completely blame it on the drugs. I knew I was pushing it at the time, but I had to try to take out just one more Mordus ship, didn't I? No excuses, no complaints...I fucked up and I paid for it. Such is life in EVE.

I've also been giving some thought to the bigger picture, to what happens afterward. Since I started playing this game, I've been following a pretty consistent pattern: Make some headway, upgrade my ship and the missions I'm running, get my shit blown up, spend whatever nestegg I've amassed getting back to where I was (assuming I still have one), make some headway and recoup my nestegg, get my shit blown get the idea. It's now gotten to the point where it's been getting monotonous, and I seem to be hovering in terms of actual forward progress in this game, not really losing any ground, but not gaining any, either. Unless I want to keep doing Level 3 missions forever, I need to break out of the pattern, change course, and reassess what I'm doing and how I'm doing it...hence, the PvP class and the break from mission running.

One thing I can already say about AU's class: In just the day since I've signed up, I've learned a lot just from the course reading materials, and I haven't even finished going through them yet. I've got a good feeling about this, and I think I've made exactly the right decision here. Time will tell the tale, I suppose, I finally feel like I'm beginning to get a handle on this of it, anyway.

I also ran across a Event Agent in Trossere a couple of days ago who gave me a ten-part mission that didn't offer much in the way of ISK, but taught me the basics of Invention and Manufacturing. This mission was clearly intended for Level 1 or 2 mission runners, as I had to leave my Brutix behind and take my dessie in order to get through the necessary gates, and I wondered why I hadn't run across it previously, but I really didn't care. Not only did I learn the basics of Manufacturing and Invention, but got a decent implant as a reward for completing the final leg. Not too bad for a mission that took a little while timewise, but I didn't really work up a sweat on at all.

Damn, this turned out to be an especially long post...that it was written during an especially long EVE downtime is not at all a coincidence. ;)

Saturday, April 14, 2007


There are times in life when ya just gotta say "Fuck it." and do what feels right. Today was one of those days.

I'd finally gotten to the point where I just had to say something on the E-O forums about the Griefateers, come what may. Basically I'm just fed up with these people not only using noobs as target practice, but then having the unbelievable gall to to try to contend that well after all, EVE is a rough game, so hey, y'know, if six battlecruisers blast a single noob frigate into space dust for no other real reason their own entertainment, we should all be cool with that cuz it's all just part of the game, right? Bullshit.

It's people with attitudes exactly like these that inspired me to bail out on EVE a year and a half ago. Putting the game itself on the side for a moment, the fact is that EVE, as a commercial business, needs a regular supply of new players who get into the game long-term or it will not, it cannot, survive over the long haul. When the first thing new EVE players have to deal with are assholes who gleefully pod them repeatedly just for laughs, chances are they're not going to be sticking around very long, if for no other reason than getting your ass kicked over and over and over, before you've even had a chance to really get your bearings in the game and figure out how to make progress and defend yourself, just isn't any fun at all.

Apparently, some players really just don't seem to care about whether or not EVE will be able to continue to attract and retain new long-term players. What these folks do with their behavior is send a clear message to new players: "Don't expect to be made welcome in this game. This is a place where the strong prey on the weak for the entertainment value. Unless you're a really hardcore PvP'er who's willing to put up with this crap for weeks, maybe months on end until you grow strong enough to defend yourself or find allies who will do it for you, if you're someone who wants more from an MMOG than just PvP, you'd probably best forget about EVE and look elsewhere because we're just not going to let you get to that point.".

That's exactly the message I got the first time I tried this game and a big reason why I didn't return to it for over a year afterward. Why would I? Getting killed over and over no matter where I tried to go or what I tried to do just wasn't any fun, and what's the point of playing any game if it isn't fun? How many noobs have been victimized repeatedly by the Griefateers and finally said "Fuck this...what's the point?" and moved on? How does this sort of behavior help the game or the playerbase as a whole? Answer: It doesn't...quite the opposite in fact.

Also, let's take a reality break for second here: Star Trek Online is coming, pretty soon in fact....June was the last projected launch I've heard, though it's been a while so my info may be outdated. Anyone who thinks STO isn't going to put a serious dent in the EVE subscriber base when it launches is kidding themselves. If EVE remains as inhospitable as it seems it has become to new players, a hell of a lot of players are going to jump ship and head toward a game that not only is based in the most beloved sci-fi universe in history, but which I have absolutely no doubt will be far more welcoming to new players.

Certainly, there are many, especially long-timers, who would stay with EVE because they've got so much invested in it, but those are the serious, hardcore players. Let's be probably overly generous and say 35% of the current EVE playerbase are hardcore enough to stay with the game no matter what. If we take CCP's standard figure of approximately 150,000 total subscribers as accurate, that means that about 52,500 players will almost certainly stay with the game...but what about the other 97,500? How many from that group will stay with this game when there's another, brand-new sci-fi MMOG out there to play, one which is not only based on the most popular sci-fi adventure series ever, but also will almost certainly be a far more grief-free gaming environment than EVE?

Let's think about that for a second. What would happen to EVE if 2/3-3/4 of its players decide to bail and go play Star Trek Online or other MMOG's? Hardcore EVE PvP'ers can proclaim their gaming purity from now until doomsday and it ain't gonna mean shit if all of a sudden EVE doesn't have any players left because they've all sailed on for friendlier shores.

By now, maybe you're thinking "Aaah, she's full of'll never happen!". Yeah, and I bet there are a lot of players from now-defunct MMOG's that said the same thing about their games...until suddenly, one day, they just weren't there anymore. I have no doubt that CCP would do anything and everything it felt it possibly could to keep EVE alive, but every business has to bow to economic reality sooner or later, and one of the most basic of these is: If there's not enough income to keep a service thriving, eventually the business has to cut its losses or it whithers and dies.

150,000 players...that's not really a very large margin for error. Add to that the fact that we're not talking about EVE having to compete with just any other original sci-fi/space MMOG, but with one based on the most successful sci-fi franchise in history. Many will flock to STO simply because it's new and it's Star Trek. In fact, I'd strongly suspect that STO, if it's as high-quality a game as EVE, will be giving WoW, rather than EVE, a run for its money. Let's be honest, compared to ST's fanbase, EVE's is less than a drop in the bucket. That STO will outsell EVE in subscriptions is pretty much a foregone conclusion, the question is whether it will also kill EVE in the process. Players who act like the Griefateers do nothing but help to ensure that when STO is live, when an attractive alternative does become available, that many more players are going to be disenchanted enough to dump EVE and take advantage of it.

There are plenty of other reasons why what the Griefateers do is wrong and unfair. I've posted some of them in this comments start about halfway down the page. As expected, just about everyone wants to bash me and tell me that if I can't handle PvP (a bullshit argument at it's core as I don't have a problem with PvP, I have a problem with griefers and bullies) to go play something else. Yeah, great attitude to take on this, people...exactly the way to ensure that the maximum number of players will indeed say "Fuck this!" and bail on EVE as soon as STO goes live.

I've said this a number of times here and elsewhere, but I'll say again: I love this game. It's because I love this game that when I see shit like this going on I feel compelled to speak out. In my opinion, these people are harming something I've come to love and are helping to ensure that sooner or later, it's going to disappear forever because some people are just too selfish to share the wealth and to treat new players decently, at least until they have the time to establish themselves enough to stand on their own as players, even going so far as to declare war and attack a corporation set up as a school for exactly this purpose. It's incomprehensible to me that these other players, who presumably love this game as much as I do, can't seem to wrap their minds around the fact that what they're doing may be technically permissible, but that doesn't mean it's advisable, or good for the game...or maybe, perhaps more likely, they just don't give a shit.

Well, fine...I've said my piece. I'll continue as a player as long as this game continues to be enjoyable and entertaining for me, as I'm sure many will. Yet, I'm also conscious of the fact that this is a game, one that most players pay for on a monthly basis. I've already paid for a full year, so I'm good til next February, but what about those who aren't? What's going to keep them playing EVE instead of moving on to something else? One thing and one thing only: Fun.

No one's going to pay for a game that they don't find to be fun to play. Being treated like shit isn't fun. There's no gun to anyone's head fact, people are paying for the privilege of participating. It's this simple formula that will spell EVE's continued success or it's eventual failure.

Great gameplay and cool graphics can only go so far in making an MMOG a real success. In the end, a game like this lives or dies on the quality of the social and gameplay interactions within its playerbase, and right now, it seems a significant portion of the players are taking great pleasure and pride in behavior that will drive away rather than draw in players, and that, to me, just seems like a recipe for failure.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Insert Headslap Here...


It was so simple, and something I should have thought of weeks ago. I've been having problems with disconnects, major lag, etc. that seemed to be far worse in recent days than I'd had to deal with since I started playing EVE. So, one night, on the off-chance that it might help, when no one else was home I disconnected the wireless router I have hooked up for another computer in the house, plugged the broadband directly into my computer, and ran EVE to see if there would be any difference.

Holy crap...we're talking night and day here. No dropped connections, far less (though by no means no) lag, the sound going out a lot less often...basically, disconnecting that router improved the performance of pretty much every single aspect of the game it might possibly have had an impact on. It's not quite like playing a whole new game, but it is definitely like implementing one's own little private "patch", filled with performance improvements. Not too shabby a result for just reconnecting a few wires.

As far as the actual game itself goes, I'm still amazed at how much more ISK in general I'm bringing in with the Brutix versus what I was bringing in with the Myrmidon. I've spiffed up my guns...I've now got five 250" Prototype Gauss Guns plus a medium Nos in my high slots...and I seem to be plowing through missions even faster. I don't know if some of these missions used to be tougher and I'm just enjoying the delayed benefits of a CCP nerfing, if that's I'm just a better pilot in general, if perhaps I've just happened upon a fitting that works especially well for my ship and the mission I'm doing, or something I haven't thought of as yet, but whatever it is over the last few days I seem to be making ISK a lot faster than before.

Also, I'm looking forward to the Griefateer "war" being over. I'd like to get back to the main E-Uni group, but there's just no way I'm going to risk losing yet another ship to these assholes...two, totaling somewhere around 50 or 60 million ISK with all the components, is plenty, thank you. Simply put, I refuse to deal with "players" who have no honor and only "play" to annoy others...if what it takes is joining the Dropouts every time these selfish children decide to attack a school corporation, than that's what I'll do. I'm all in favor of a fair PvP fight, but to engage with these "players" would be a lowering of standards to a point I'm just not willing to degrade myself to.

Personally, I think the way they play and the tactics they use should be bannable offenses. They declare war on noob corps, wait until the ships are compromised, and then attack in force. Frankly, it really surprises me that CCP hasn't at least tried to address this problem as one thing I do for a fact is that it discourages new players from continuing to play long-term. After all, no one really likes a game, no matter how good it is, if they can't play for even a couple of hours without getting podded and set back virtually to the beginning of the game by griefer assholes. I know this for a fact because it was a key reason why I left the game when I originally tried it and didn't return for a year. I'd wonder how many did exactly what I did but never bothered to return and see if it had improved.

And yes, it has improved significantly from the first time I played, but nowhere near enough. I strongly suspect that CCP is losing many, many, potential long-term EVE subscribers to this. Maybe they're happy with the number they have and really don't care, but if they do and they really want this game to attract more "lifers" than just the very hardcore, they're going to have to put some sort of leash on the the very least, allowing them to organize and declare war on noob corps should be forbidden.

These are not real players. They don't podkill noobs to accomplish any actual in-game goals, they do it to entertain themselves at the expense of other players. They hurt the game, and they hamper its continued success. There shouldn't even be a question...this crap needs to stop and it needs to be made to stop now. Simply put, these children should be made to either behave or go away, end of story.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

It's Not The Problem, It's The Resolution...

...that makes or breaks a positive gaming experience. Yesterday, another first: I filed my very first petition in EVE (I've decided to bow to popular usage and capitalize all three letters from now on).

This problem was particularly annoying. I'd gotten through most of a fairly tough mission, only to discover that the last three enemies in the room, for some inexplicable reason (I'm guessing a code loose end, but what the hell do I know? It could be anything.), simply would not let me lock on to them so I could take them out.

Of course, in these situations my first presumption is always that I screwed something up, that it's somehow, some way, my fault. In probably 90% of all cases, I'm right...this time, I wasn't. So, after trying everything I could think of to fix the problem without success, I finally decided to file a petition.

This was actually the first time I'd ever had to do this in any online game. I'd never had a problem in Everquest that had required GM intervention. I clicked the "Open Petition" described the situation as best I could, and then went to start another mission while I waited for a response, assuming that it would be, at minimum, a few hours before I got a response.

Boy, was I wrong. I didn't even make it the five jumps to the next agent before I got a response from a GM who suggested that the first thing I should try was logging out and renaming the cache file in the EVE client program. I did that, discovering that aside from losing all my personal game settings it did nothing to resolve the problem I was having and so I re-petitioned and said as much. Less than an hour later, I got a response from another GM who offered to reset the mission for me. I accepted his (or her...kind hard to tell) offer, thanked them for their quick response, and moved on as I didn't get the same mission when I went back to that agent a little later on.

It's interesting...while I've never been a GM (though I do have friends who are or have been GM's in games other than EVE), one thing I have been many times in my working life is a customer service agent of one stripe or another. That's really what a GM is, a customer service agent, in fact their signatures say "GM (whoever), EVE Customer Service". This is an important thing to remember, and one I'm sure probably most don't, especially in these games.

After all the t20 drama, it seems that many EVE players believe that these people have god-like powers that they use capriciously whenever it suits them, kind of like a modern technological version of the Greek gods pantheon. In reality, that's probably pretty far from the truth. In most cases, customer service agents are given the permissions and abilities they need to do their jobs and nothing more. Whether it's because of the high turnover rate of most Customer Service positions, or just because a company doesn't want to allow its employees decision-making ability past a certain predetermined point, the ability of a customer service agent to resolve problems independently is generally pretty limited and its use often carefully monitored, especially if there's a danger of it being abused.

The important thing to remember here is these people are not gods, nor may they even, in many cases, even really care about EVE as a game, any more than I cared about answering machines and blow dryers when I worked as a customer service agent for Conair. First and foremost, it is, it has be, a job, a way of paying the bills. If you assume that the GM who happens to read your petition cares about the game as much as you do, chances are you're kidding yourself. In fact, many companies probably go out of their way to hire GM's who don't really care much about the game itself, as those who are personally involved with the game and its players are much less likely to be willing and able to carry out a GM's duties fairly and without prejudice toward or against any in-game group or faction. This why a lot of games actually contract out a lot of their in-game customer service, reserving the company's own employees for only the highest GM positions that are mainly to monitor and guide the lower-ranking GM's, and only take action in-game in the most extreme situations.

It's therefore not all that far of a stretch to conclude that if you treat these people like human beings, ask rather than demand, and use words like "please" and "thank you", chances are you're far more likely to get what you want than if you act like you're entitled to whatever it is you happen to want from the GM in question. To put it bluntly, nobody likes an asshole, and I can tell you from personal experience that a customer service agent does appreciate being treated like they're there to help you, the customer, resolve problems you're having with their company's product or service, but not like they're personally responsible for them. It doesn't matter whether it's a science fiction MMOG or a hair dryer that's giving you the problem, you're far more likely to get the help you need if you treat the person you need help from decently and with respect.

My first experience with EVE Customer Service went well, as well as can be expected, I suppose, considering that I really have no idea if the problem I originally had was actually resolved or not...when the GM reset my mission, (s)he made the issue moot. What impressed me most was the speed of the responses I received, far faster than I'd have believed, based on what I've read on the E-O forums.

I've also just happened to discover a way of improving EVE's overall performance substantially, a really dumb thing that I should have tried long ago, but which nonetheless makes a huge difference...but that's a story for next time.

Monday, April 9, 2007

The Strangest Thing...

...wouldn't ya know?

I've been flying the Brutix for a few missions now, and the interesting thing is that, so far at least, I seem to making more ISK and having an easier time in of it in general than I did flying the Myrmidon. I should point out that I haven't yet really been in a situation where the Brutix has been getting truly pounded, but it seems to be just taking ships out faster in general. Interestingly, I can't use the Ogre heavy attack drones with the Brutix like I could with the Myrmidon. It just doesn't have enough space in the drone bay for a full set. So, I use Hammerheads and they seem to actually be doing as much if not more damage than the Ogres do.

I've also installed a Medium Nos, which hasn't gotten a whole hell of a lot of use just yet, but I think will come in handy as time goes on.

Y'know, I think when I go in-game, I'm going to compare the Myrmidon and the Brutix head-to-head by the numbers because thus far, with the exception of the smaller drone bay, which hasn't yet proven to be a real disadvantage, I've yet to find even one aspect in which the Myrmidon is really superior to the Brutix. In fact, I'm wondering if, as happens so often in the real world, if those spending the extra on the Myrmidon are really spending more on its newness and cool looks than on any actual strategic advantage.

The weirdest thing right now is that since I've gone into The Dropouts for the duration of the war, corp chat is non-existent. The few other people in the corp, like me, are focused on our tasks in-game and don't chat much, if at all. Of course, once the war is over I'll immediately rejoin the main E-Uni corp.

And yeah, I know there are many who think the Brutix is a pretty ugly ship, but personally I think it's kinda cool looking. As long as it gets the job done, I really don't give a shit.

And oh yes, one other thing: Now that I'm flying a battlecruiser again, it's time to change the name of this blog, yet again, to correspond with current, I have.

Fly Safe.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

A New Record?


I really wasn't sure what I was going to do until I got my application approved for the Dropouts. The first thing I did was write a quick thank you note to the person who approved me. The second thing I did was beat it the hell out of there and made an unmolested beeline back to Gallente space.

Since I know there are several offices where I can reapply for E-Uni when the war is over, I'm totally fine with sitting this out. This war has already cost me a Myrmidon and a Thorax and I have no interest in losing another ship to the Griefateers. In the meantime, I'll go make myself some ISK in my new, um, Brutix...after I trick it out.

This should be interesting...

Step One...

...I started training Caldari Frigates. I figure knowing Caldari ships might come in handy sooner or later if I choose to stay in this area for any length of time. EveMon tells me that I've got just a few minutes left before I have to jump back in-game and start my skill training to the next level. I think I'll wait, and then change it, and then wait some more...or not. We'll see.

That Wasn't Too Bad...

...even though it did take three attempts to make it all the way here.

I'm in Korsiki now, at E-Uni HQ. It's my first time here. Along the way, I've seen more of my corpmates flying around than I've ever seen anywhere else. The Maulus made it in one piece, though in all honesty, so what?

I've applied to join the The Dropouts for the duration of the war...and now, what do I do? I dunno.

Why is the Mary Tyler Moore Show theme playing in my head?

I have thinking to do about the future...

Sigh... appears I'll have to put Plan B into effect. Actually, I already're reading it. Yet another thing I find interesting about this game is that not playing can actually be a game tactic in and of itself. Basically, I'm betting that sooner or later, the Griefateers in the system I'm in will get bored and go away. If they don't do so within a reasonable amount of time, I'll do something...when you don't give a shit whether you survive or not, strategic options open up exponentially.

As of the last time I checked local, there were three in-system...that sounds like a gate-camp to me. Which gate though? I don't know. For obvious reasons, I'm not going to say where I am, but it's definitely still within Gallente space. One wrong gate choice cost me a Myrmidon, another, a Thorax.

And of course, it's entirely possible that someone from the Griefateers is reading this blog...but obviously, I'm well aware of that aren't I? ;)

And So It Begins...

I don't think I've even gotten out of Gallente space yet and I'm already encountering them again. Basically, I've got my plan, subject to frequent and immediate change, and the worst case scenario really isn't all that bad. Given all that, it's a good day to die.

My technique is simple: More than one enemy in a sector, I dock, log out, then come back some random time later. No enemy, I undock and move on toward my goal. Of course, I'm also checking my maps quite frequently as well. Again, I'm not as limited as I might be if I were flying a Myrmidon, or even a Thorax. I have close to nothing to lose here, so it's easy to put myself and my ship in harm's way.

Time to peek and see...

Road Trip!!

Apparently, the only way to join "the dropouts" is to physically fly to Korsiki and join them there. This is a 25-jump trip, and the only ship I've got left that's more potent than a Velator is my Maulus. This luxury frigate is fitted with only the finest in low-end crap armament and therefore makes it the perfect candidate to make this trip. If the Griefateers do show up, who gives a shit? The thing is probably worth more to me in terms of the insurance payoff than it is as an actual ship at this point anyway. The only thing I'd lose, aside from a couple hundred grand ISK for a new clone, is time.

Since I have zero training in Caldari ships as yet, I think it's probably pretty pointless to consider moving to the E-Uni HQ system in The Forge permanently as yet, but I also expect to be spending a little time there while I'm in the it sightseeing, factfinding, investigation, vacation, it's all of these things and more. I've never really seriously considered permanently moving my base of operations before, but I suppose it makes sense to at least give some thought to. The first thing I need is more information.

Funny, I've plotted the course on the star map and it's all green. There appear to have been very few attacks between here and there, or at least, that was the case as of last night when I checked...and yet, I may run into the Griefateers anyway, I suppose. I guess I'll just run like hell, but the truth is that I really don't give a shit if this ship gets blown up or not, and a podding will simply mean an instantaneous return to Gallente space.

This is now begins the "nothing left to lose" portion of our journey...

Ok, Now This Is Starting To Piss Me Off...


Now, it seems like I can't go anywhere without meeting the Griefateers somewhere. At least this time, my ship hadn't been pounded to bits, and it did take four of them to take out my Thorax. One of them wanted five million not to pod me, I told him to go fuck himself. It's not just the principle of the thing, but my stage of the game, a new clone with full skillpoint recovery is far cheaper than that. I did lose a couple of implants, but even with that I still came out ahead.

This is exactly why I lost interest in Eve last time. After you've been podded over and over, it starts to get real old, real fast. I think I need to leave E-Uni for the duration of this stupid war. One Thorax and two Myrmidons is enough.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

The Thorax Lives...

Yep, I decided to go the Thorax route. Since I had more than enough ISK to completely trick it out and a lot more skills to allow for a better fitting, this will be interesting. The setup is kind of reminiscent of how I had the Myrmidon set up, minus a couple of guns and booster mods.

What the'll be fun...really.

I figure some level two missions for a while with the Thorax and I'll have enough to get another Myrmidon. I have to admit I'm still pissed off, though. Hopefully, by the time I've got a Myrmidon again, this stupid war will be over. This war is so stupid, it's stupid to even call it a war. No. this is just an excuse for one side to attack the other, most of whom (like me) have little or no interest in engaging an inevitably superior force...they always seem to be in groups and attack when I'm weakest. The first time, I just happened to be docking and avoided podding that way, the second time, I couldn't get away in time. I never fired a shot.

It's not that I never want to do PvP or anything like that, but I'd like to at least be able to try it with a ship that's not already 3/4 dead. I've yet to see the Privateers attack when my ship hasn't been compromised, so of course it's kind of hard to do anything but run away or die in that situation. Truth is, I just don't know, but given what I have seen, I'd have to say the best idea in all cases right now, is run like hell...

Another First...

...though an unwanted one. For the very first time since I've been playing this game, over three months now, I've been podded.

Yeah I know, hard to believe I actually lasted three months plus in this game without getting podded, but it's true. Sure, I've had my ship blown out from under me plenty of times, but it's always been NPCs, and NPCs never pod.

Right now, I'm at a very odd point in the game, a point where I just feel it's the right time to blog. I think you'll understand better as I go on here. Ok, here's the situation:

I'm in Duripant, my starting system and home of my first clone. I've literally just been podded. I don't even have a ship avatar representing me yet because I haven't activated my Velator. I have about 24 million ISK, which is roughly 2/3 of what I need to put another Myrmidon in space. That is what I want to to do, but I'll need to figure out what the best route to that goal will be.

I could, of course, take the possibly easier route, buy a Brutix and just put together the ISK to finance another Myrmidon from scratch by doing level three missions. Possibly easier...but also possibly more dangerous, depending on the missions I pull. It's also a new ship I'd have to learn.

On the other hand, I could refit the Thorax quite nicely and then go blastify level two missions for a while until I build up enough ISK to put a Myrmidon back in space.

Decisions, decisions...

It's really sad that this game not only hasn't rid itself of griefers, but they've now formed alliances and call themselves Privateers. There was no reason for them to pod me...I had nothing worth anything except my ship, and of course, they waited to attack until I'd come back from a mission combat run, making me an easy kill. Never let it be said these people were actually looking for a challenge or anything. While I suppose it might just have been an unlucky coincidence for me that they struck when they did, it certainly did seem extremely well-timed, if you know what I mean.

Just when I'm convinced that the players of Eve are truly a higher class in and of ourselves, this happens and I'm forced to say "Maybe not so much.". The person who podded me clearly was interested only killing me, not in anything they would get from my wreck, that's for sure. I got the killmail, too. I mean, you gotta wonder about an alliance that regularly declares war on a school, anyway.

Where is the honor? Where is the sense of fair play? What value is there, really, in victory just for victory's sake, without purposeful gain? Pirates, real ones, are after cargo, not death.


Friday, April 6, 2007

Law of Averages...

...says: sooner or later, you're gonna get your ass blowed up in this game, no matter how good you are.

Wow, when that Amarr fleet come in at the end of the time limit in this mission they really come in, don't they? I don't think the Myrmidon lasted more than two shots. By the time I realized what was happening it was all but over. Fuck.

So, I think after the insurance I'll probably have just enough to get back to where I was...minus my nestegg, of course. Ah was my fault and I know exactly what I did wrong.


Catchin' Up...

Today was just one of those days, that is, a Thursday. Pretty much the entire day was centered around preparing for two hours of live radio in the evening, except for first thing after my morning breakfast and email ritual.

I jumped into the game late morning, and did a few errands and one mission run. RL then called me away for the next 12 hours or so...basically until now, and instead of playing, I'm here writing instead...and that's ok. I'm a writer, and I love writing, but the point is that I doubt I'll get back into the game again before everything resets again during the daily downtime. I'm doing the Portal to War, Part 2 mission right now, and I've gotten close but haven't beaten it yet. Part of the problem is that I simply haven't really had the time to go through the whole thing in one shot. I've had to beat a room or part of a room in a complex (it does seem sort of bizarre to refer to a sector of space as a "room", doesn't it?), and then come back later, after dealing with RL issues. I'm hoping tomorrow will be that day I can just plow through the whole thing.

Interesting how I seem to be getting new and different missions, but yet when I go to research these missions I discover that they've apparently been around for quite some time...the difference is that I seem to be getting a different set of missions that the ones I'd been getting before this latest patch. Well, whatever, all I know is that I'm getting missions that are tough, but not impossible.


Sunday, April 1, 2007

Pew-Pew...or P-U?

I've certainly been making up for lost time over the last few days. Without going to into detail, let's just say that I've got plenty of reason to be pissed off right now, and I've been taking it out on NPC pirates. At the rate this is actually working in terms of dissipating my anger, I'm very glad I chose to pre-pay for a year's subscription.

In all seriousness though, I've needed the break from RL, but one thing is really annoying me, something I'll call the "Sunday Mega-Lag Monster". I generally find it's only an issue on Saturdays late in the day and pretty much all day Sunday, where the lag gets so bad, I'm actually afraid to go into combat. Even worse, over the last two days, I've lost my connection to the server at least ten times. Since I doubt I've lost it ten times in all the time I've been playing Eve until that point, I have to believe the problem lies on the server end rather than on mine.

This is the single most annoying problem I find with Eve. Very often, my available playing time is limited these days, and when I want to play, I have to play when it's convenient for me to do so. When something like this happens and I have to think twice if I want to take my ship into combat, not because I'm worried about being outmatched, but because I'm worried about the screen freezing up as NPC's pound my precious and poorly insured Myrmidon into space dust, it's ten times more annoying that having to pass or give up on a mission because I don't think I can beat it.

To be honest, I have no idea what the answer to the problem might's not my field of expertise. I only know that right now it's keeping me from playing, and in my opinion, anything that keeps players from playing should be eliminated from the game. I know, easier said than done, but given what I pay to play this game I think I have a right to bitch when things don't work the way they're supposed to.

I love this game. In addition to enjoying it just in terms of entertainment value, for me it provides a much-needed stress reliever that I've found invaluable, especially in recent days. When it doesn't work right, when I can't lose myself in that world for a while when I need to, annoyance becomes frustration and the stress reliever becomes a stress increaser...not good, especially on a day like today.

Of course, that's probably not going to stop me from trying again...soon. It would just be nice to be able to solely concern myself with whether my ship and I, and not the Tranquility server load, are up for the challenge.