Monday, May 7, 2007

The Wide Open Spaces Of Eve...

...seem just a little wider and a little more open today.

Last night, I flew my first fleet op in EVE, as part of a freighter escort for an EVE University transport. We saw no combat at all, flying all the way to and from our destination deep in an area of empire space I'd never been to before. I never fired a shot, and yet, it was one of the most enjoyable experiences I've ever had in this game.

The call went out mid-evening for combat pilots who wanted to participate in an op. Normally, I don't respond to these things. As I'm based in Gallente space for now, by the time I'd get to E-UNI HQ in Korsiki, usually anywhere from a 20 to 25 jump trip, where these things generally start from, they'd be long gone. This time, I just happened to be already halfway there, so I flew directly to the staging system for my Agony Unleashed class this Saturday which happened to be nearby, dropped off my Thorax, jumped in one of my PvP-fitted Tristans and headed for Korsiki.

When I was almost there, I realized that I hadn't yet installed Teamspeak. I'd used Ventrilo when I tried to attend the last AU class, but I hadn't had a reason to install TS...until then. So, upon my arrival in Korsiki, I immediately docked, logged out, installed TS and quickly logged back in. I thought I was going to be too late, but fortunately I discovered that I wasn't the only participant in this op who needed a few minutes to get ready for it. As it turned out, I wasn't even the last pilot to signal my readiness to go.

In all honesty, I had really no clue what the hell I was doing or what the op was about. It was my very first time flying as part of a fleet, and I'm sure it showed. Fortunately, the E-UNI instructors are very good at what they do, not only technically but also as teachers of noobs. We flew under the command of E-UNI Fleet Admiral Silentbrick, and for me, this was a truly unique experience.

I was literally learning as we went along...I do think I need a lot more practice in getting myself aligned in preparation for gang warping, but all in all, I think I did pretty damn well considering I hadn't had a lick of instruction in how to fly as part of a fleet before I actually did it. From my own perspective on this op, the best thing I can say about it and the pilots I flew with is that next time I'm asked to help provide an escort I'll have a much better idea of what I'm doing, why I'm doing it, and how to best perform my own part in it...and, not inconsequentially, I had a hell of a lot of fun doing it. Not only all that, but it didn't even cost me a ship to do it, which I fully expected it to. Not too shabby.

Just as importantly, flying this op illustrated for me where some of the gaps in my knowledge are, what I need to research, work on, maybe even take a class in. While I've decided against taking any "official" E-UNI classes until I do the AU Basic PvP class this Saturday, at the same time I'm also planning to spend some of my time doing some research. Among the things I'm going to be spending some time on is becoming more familiar and adept with both Teamspeak and Ventrilo.

I've actually had a bit of minor previous experience with Vent, having investigated the possibility of using it to connect my producer and I during my radio show. It didn't work for that purpose (the delay was just too much to use for talk radio), but at least I knew how to connect to a server, activate my mic, and other basic functions. I'd never used TS before last night, and while I did manage to log in and was able hear Silentbrick and others give commands to the fleet, I still have some reading to do on the finer points of using this program.

In addition, I've also come to realize that I thought I understood how jump clones work but I clearly don't have a clue. That's an E-UNI class I'd have taken if I'd known about it before it was held. That one's totally my fault. They scheduled it, they announced it on the forums, and I missed it because I didn't check the Ivy League forums in time. Bad Bekka...not a mistake I'll be making again, though. While I wait for that class to be offered again, however, I'll definitely be doing some research in that area as well.

So, an E-UNI op that might have been pretty mundane for more experienced pilots was one of the single best learning experiences I've ever had in this game so far, and it's got me thinking. If I hadn't been within reasonable distance of E-UNI HQ when the call went out, I'd have missed it. I've often heard it suggested that in order to get maximum benefit from E-UNI and what it offers, it's best to be based within close distance to E-UNI HQ in Korsiki.

I've toyed with the idea of moving out there, deep into Caldari space, but so far have resisted the idea since I know that because I've been making my ISK running missions, as opposed to mining which can be done almost anywhere, chances are I'd have to start essentially from scratch again, working my way back up through the levels to get to where I already am in Gallente space. That's really where the decision I have to make is focused: While there are significant benefits to doing it, there's definitely a price to be paid for such a I want to pay it, and, assuming I do, do I want to pay it sooner rather than later?

On the other hand, an interesting thing I discovered last night is that there are many ultra-low-level agents scattered about that will offer me missions out there. Sure, I'd have to seek them out, but now I at least know they're out there. I'm also quite sure I could depend on some of my fellow pilots for help in locating these agents and getting started on this, perhaps without setting myself almost completely back to Day One as a mission runner.

In reality, while I do enjoy running missions, I want to do more, I want variety, and I'm not getting it doing what I do now. I want to spend more time in low-sec, I want to see 0.0, I want to see the Eve Gate, I want to be and do more, and start to really experience the aspects of this game I haven't short, I want more from EVE than I'm getting right now and I'm less and less convinced that can happen on the path I'm currently on.

I've resolved that I'm not going to make a decision on this until after Saturday's class at minimum. I do need to build my nestegg a bit so I'm going to spend the rest of my in-game time this week doing that in Gallente space, where I can earn the most ISK right now. After that, all options are on the table.

All thoughts on this are most welcome...more than ever, this is a question that I need to answer, and soon.


Kevin said...


I know you posted this particular blog entry a while ago but I only just got to this page of your blog after discovering it this morning while on a conference call at work.

I'm an AVID EVE player myself and went through some of the same trials and tribulations you have gone through as a new player back when I first started over 2 years ago :) I thought I'd offer a tad of advice to you.

It's apparent to me since you're only just breaking ground on Level 3 agents that you probably haven't taken the time to learn any social skills (no not personal ones, your character) which are vital to increasing the rate at which your quality and level of agents improves. Rather than writing a book on it I refer you to the following player WIKI which seems to sum things up fairly nicely:

It's a decent read and should give you a good idea of what skills to train to speed up the levelling of agents you use :)

Now, obviously that's not really what you were asking... in answer to what you are asking it depends on how long term you plan to move to caldari space... And whether you want to give up the option of gaining Faction ships from Gallente later on down the road (ok not "give up" but definitely it'll be later rather than sooner that you will be getting them.)

First and foremost:
Do you foresee staying in caldari space (where EVE UNI is headquartered) long term? If so then you are best doing your move sooner rather than later. The sooner you move the sooner you'll be back to level 3 and eventually level 4 missions with a caldari corporation (I personally recommend trying to find missions with the Kallakiotta (sp?) corporation as they are one of the few corporations that have R&D agents, which is the only way to get Tech 2 blueprints of any sort... on top of that they are one of the largest npc corporations in the game with agents in EVERY empire, not just caldari... so if you ever move again you will usually have a "KK" agent somewhere nearby to use)

The only drawback, as I mentioned above, is that you will not be getting loyalty points with a gallente agent but with a caldari agent. which means that when your mission rewards eventually become BPC's (and even fully built ships) they'll be for Caldari ships.... not a huge big deal, you can always sell those rewards and buy the gallente ones you want instead. but it's something worth thinking about.

As I said, KK is one of the best NPC corps to build standings with because not only does it offer R&D agents, it's huge. There are KK facilities in every empire.

Good luck in EVE :) And it's been a pleasure reading your BLOG... I'm in the dark as to who you are on the radio, however. Would love to listen to your show once it's live, please clue me in as to where I can tune in. If your radio show is half as interesting as your Blog it'll be a nice alternative to the crap normally on the radio. I can only listen to so many variations of Rush Limbaugh in one day before my brain starts oozing.

Kevin said...

By the way, if you ever want advice or something in game. Or just need advice my in-game name is Taram Caldar.

Fly safe!