Sunday, September 23, 2007

Holding Patterns...

...yep, still waiting for that ore, but it seems that's going to take care of itself one way or the other very soon. We've working on it and I expect I'll be back in space very soon.

In the meantime, while I'm waiting, I decided to check out the first free episode of EvE TV this morning. Very well seems this show gets better and smoother all the time. If it stays free, I doubt I'd ever miss an episode. As it is, Jalipo is just an unjustifiable expense for me right now. No it's really isn't all that much, but right now, it's one of those luxuries that I'm doing without to save's gotta come from somewhere, and the food and gas budget ain't it. Once again, I quietly thank myself for paying for EvE for a full year in advance.

I have no doubt that if EvE TV becomes a free show its viewership will skyrocket. I heard SpiralJunkie say during the show that the Alliance Tournament got about 17 million downloads...not too shabby and more than enough to justify a profitable rate for commercial ad sponsorship. This week's free episode was described as a test, and what I really hope they're testing is if there's really enough people who will watch the show for free to make it worth trying to fund the show through sponsored ads, or perhaps for CCP to fully finance this great big ad for their product themselves.

If I had my choice, I'd much rather it were CCP paying the bills. Not only could players be confident that CCP would take as hands-off an approach to the show as they do with the game itself, but viewers wouldn't have to deal with the ads, making it a much more attractive media offering in general over the long haul. The other reality, as Spiral alluded to on the show, is that a lot of EvE's players and potential viewers of the show are college students who have very little disposable income. It's my guess that many players aren't watching EvE TV, not because they don't want to but because, like me, they just don't have the extra money to shell out for it. I'll be interested to see what happens here. I'm smelling the possibility of something big.

Oh and you may not see a lot of posts here over the next several days. Yeah, it's busy time again. My radio talk show is about to return from hiatus (October 4th, 7pm eastern check my other blog for details...fair warning though: It's not really about EvE, though I do occasionally talk about it on the air.), so I've been focusing a lot of my time on getting ready for that.

Til next time, fly safe.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

E-Uni Blogger Coolness

As a former member of Eve University, I enjoy keeping up with what's going on with them, and it seems that two of their higher-ups, Director Dee Carson and Fleet Commander Silentbrick have started blogs of their own. I know Dee is a reader of this blog, and I'm enjoying the entries I've been reading on his. Silentbrick is also an interesting read as well. I highly recommend both, especially if you're an E-Uni member perhaps looking for a better picture of who these sometimes enigmatic corporation leader-types really are. I've also added links for both in the list.

Hmm, funny to see myself writing that, considering I'm now a corporate leader-type too, even if we currently don't have even 1/5oth the membership E-Uni does. We all start somewhere. I suppose even Goonswarm was a tiny corp once.

Can Ya Believe It?

I lost the Dessie too. I'm down to frigs now. I'm sitting on enough ISK to put a Dominix in space right now, and I think I've reached the point where I want to do it, even if I have to pay full price. One thing I did was go to the E-O website and copy the amounts of minerals I'd need to have one built. If I buy the minerals on the open market, it'll still cost me substantially less than if I buy the ship itself at full price. I'm going to have to think about this.

Basically, I'm now at a point where if I want to continue doing something significant in this game I have to buy another ship of some sort. I've got some salvage I can sell to the corp, but at most that's a few million. Once I've done that, anything I buy will be cutting into what I have, so I'm thinking that as long as I have to buy something, it might as well be a ship I actually want to fly. Of course, sooner or later I'm going to have to replace all the ships I've lost recently, but for the immediate future I want the most efficient moneymaker I can afford, and that means a battleship. More specifically, since I can't realistically put a Megathron in space, it means a Dominix.

Right now, I've got other stuff to worry about. It's a big day in RL least, I think it might be. Hopefully, I'll be able to pop in for a while tomorrow evening. I need to start directing my efforts in this game outward again rather than just remaining in this holding pattern I've been in for the last several days. The only way that's realistically going to happen is if I get myself a Dommie.

I have a feeling that my next several days in this game will prove more interesting than my last several....just call it a hunch.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

I Am The Goddess Of Drones...

...or, at least, I'm going to try to be.

I'm currently training up Drone Interfacing V, to be followed by training Advanced Drone Interfacing all the way as well. By the time I'm done with those, sometime around the beginning of November assuming I don't stop and train other stuff in-between, I'll be able to put ten drones in space at the same time.

I decided to make this a project because the bonuses are so good for doing it. When I finish Drone Interfacing V, on or about October 10th, not only will I be able to begin training to control more drones, but I'll have also raised the damage my drones deal out by 100%. Considering that my next ship is going to be a Dominix, basically a drone boat, it's well worth the time spent in my opinion.

I'm already able to use Tech II Heavy Attack Drones, so I'm thinking that by the time I get all of this trained I'll hopefully be a pretty formidable mission runner and, with some more help and experience, an equally useful asset in PvP combat.

Once again, I find myself marveling at the craftmanship and finesse that has clearly gone into so many aspects of creating EvE. Just as it should, the farther along I find myself in this game, the more complex an undertaking it becomes to make it to the next logical step. The bigger and more valuable the prize, the more risky, expensive, and time-consuming it is to make it yours.

In this case, I know exactly how to get what I want. It's just a matter of time, money, and effort to make it happen. There's still the possibility of an unforeseen disaster, and it's going to take plenty of time to have this project fulfill it's true potential. The potential payoff is big, but so are the risks. Yeah, not too much like RL, huh?

Right now, I feel like I'm kind of on the cusp of something, though I'm really not quite certain exactly what. Of course, the new corp, Stonewall Interstellar, is a big part of it, but it's also as an individual character and even perhaps as a player. It just feels like my own role in the game is in kind of in flux right now, that many things are changing and will continue to change for me in this game.

It also may be stuff from RL spilling over as well. It's been a busy time for me and it shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. I jump into EvE when and as I can and that hasn't been much over the last several days. Most often, I've been popping in to do a mission or two before bed while I listen to my favorite radio talk show (besides my own ;)). It's really an interesting juxtaposition to be blowing away a squadron of Amarr ships while listening to a lesbian sex talk show. I've actually carried on on-air conversations as a guest or as a caller to various shows while in combat or salvaging. Weird perhaps, but it's a marriage that works well, for me anyway.

Chances are, if you see me in-game during the hours of 10pm to 1am eastern on a weekday, I'm listening to Diana Cage. From 2pm to 6pm eastern weekdays, it's Michelangelo Signorile. Other times, probably a CD or my mp3 collection. On very rare occasions, I'll even turn on the game sound.

Ok, that's enough for now. I think it's time to actually jump in-game for a while.

Catch ya out there, and fly safe.

Gettin' Itchy...

...just so much longer I'm going to be able to wait.

I flew my first mission in my Catalyst tonight in probably three months or more, just for fun. It was the first part of a four-part storyline, "Whispers In the Dark" I've done it a million times before, but it'll be a good distraction until I decide what I'm doing in terms of my next ship.

It's getting to be about that time...all in all, I'm pretty damn tired of flying Level 2 missions. At least I'm collecting a little salvage out of the deal...not much but enough, for now.

For now.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

That Was Quick...

...and if this isn't a classic case of pilot stupidity, I don't know what is.

I was doing another Level 2 mission in the Thorax tonight, and I learned a valuable lesson I'd expect every EvE player who occasionally has drink or three now and then probably does sooner or later.

It was one of those missions where you just fly in and kill NPC's until you get to a big. powerful fleet and then fly away. I was a bit slow on the uptake and didn't fly away fast enough.


Yeah I think it took about five missiles, maybe six. How utterly stupid...I literally walked right into it and didn't realize what I was doing until it was too late. Bye Bye Thorax...for now.

I will replace it eventually...just not right now. I have bigger concerns. We're waiting for an ore delivery, one that will contain what Nealla and I need to build some stuff to sell and ourselves a couple of Dominixes to fly. It's late, no word, and we need it. Hard to believe it was only a few weeks ago that all I really had to worry about was my own character's issues. Being a Director, even of as small a corp as we still are, is different, very different.

And yes, I was flying while intoxicated. Totally my own fault, of course. I knew I was wasted and I did a mission anyway. Funny thing is, I kicked major ass through all of the ships I was actually supposed to kill, it was only when I got to close to the ships I was supposed to run away from that I was blastified. If I'd just stopped when I was supposed to I'd have been fine.

The insurance payment put me back over 100 million for the first time since I bought my first Dommie. I don't care. I'd rather have the ship back, and not just because it was worth more than the insurance payoff. For more on that, read the previous post.

I've still got my Destroyer, but that's the last thing bigger than a frig I own right now. I've been intentionally waiting to do something here because if that ore comes through I want to put more of my resources into fitting the Dommie I'll get from that rather than having to pay full retail. If it doesn't happen in a reasonable period of time, though, I'm going to have to do some thinking about whether I want to just say "Fuck it!" and buy the minerals on the open market, even though it'll cost more that way.

Now, though, I have to answer the question: What exactly is a reasonable period of time to continue waiting?

This is one of the ways that business in EvE is very different than business in the real world. In the real world, your business partners don't suddenly disappear for extended periods without least, not usually anyway. So many lower-level suppliers small corps depend on seem to be little more than single-person operations, that when that one person doesn't log on for a while it can throw the plans of those who depend on them out of synch for while. On the other hand, the price is right and how much aggravation is that worth? While the economy of EvE may share many characteristics with reality, actually doing business in EvE can obviously be an entirely different animal in some ways.

Tonight, I am a pod and I will stay a pod.

Tomorrow, I've got some thinking to do.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Thorax: It Ain't Just Any Old Ship

Sometimes, you never know how good it can be until you actually see it for yourself.

A couple of days ago, a friend upgraded my computer for me. In doing so, I went from a 1 gigabyte processor to a 2.5 gig and substantially more RAM. Last night, I took EvE for a test run with it for the first time. When I upgraded from a 660 mhz to a 1 gig about a year ago, I thought it was a major improvement. I had no idea.

Not only is flying through space an altogether smoother, less jittery experience overall now, but things like making choices from right-click menus and, most importantly, targeting are now lightning-fast. It might seem like a minor thing in theory, but in practice it can make all the difference in the world, and, as I discovered last night, quite literally the difference between life and death.

I was doing a few Level 2 missions in the Thorax just to test out the new processor. I drew one of those missions where you fly toward a target and at some point as you approach it NPCs pop out of nowhere and start pounding on you. Usually, I get to the point where the NPCs appear, warp out, and then warp back in at a range that enables me to take them out from a longer range than I usually find myself at when they appear. This time, with my enhanced targeting ability and responsiveness, I felt I could stay and take them out on the first try, so I targeted some ships, released my drones and went after them.

After the first few ships were gone, I decided that I was taking too much damage and it was time to warp out and regroup. I didn't think I'd have enough time to call back my Hammerheads and I knew I had a decent supply of them back at my staging station, so I tried to warp out immediately, but found myself with an unanticipated problem.

I was too close to the ruined starbase that had been my original fly-to target and the Thorax was swinging back and forth, trying to align itself to warp out as I continued to get tagged by nearby ships. It quickly became apparent that I was going nowhere fast. My shield was just about gone, but my drones were still popping ships at a fairly decent rate. At this point, I concluded that this was going to probably be the last flight of my Thorax no matter what I did, so I figured I might as well take out as many NPCs as I could, that if I were going to go down anyway, I was going to go down fighting.

I turned on my hardeners, targeted some more ships, and then my armor repper and cap recharger as the damage level started to get into my armor. By this time, the Thorax had somehow shimmied its way into the body of the starbase itself, and I was certain I was a goner. Yet, I was managing to keep my armor up enough that I felt it was worth trying to manually maneuver the ship toward the one area around me where open space was still visible, assuming I had nothing to lose by trying.

The Thorax began to realign and slowly made its way toward the opening as I continued targeting, my guns and drones continuing to take out NPCs. My armor was now almost gone, but I was still doing plenty of damage, and for the first time since I'd gotten into trouble, I had the slightest glimmer of hope that I might actually survive this. Then, just as my armor was no more and I was beginning to take hull damage, I suddenly broke free and found myself in open space.

A check of my overview told me that I'd taken out all of the NPC ships and only a few stationary guns remained, but they were still hitting, taking small chunks out of my hull each time. While getting myself to a safe distance away from the starbase in order to ensure that I wouldn't get entrapped in it again, I called back my drones. A few seconds later, my drones safely aboard, I again tried warping out. Just as my hull integrity fell below a third, the warp drive kicked in and I found myself streaking out of the area, ship and drones intact.

Whew. A narrow escape to be sure, but my adventure wasn't over just yet.

I arrived at my staging station with smoke and fire streaming, docked, fit a hull repper, and undocked again. Just after I finished repairing my armor and was still orbiting the station, waiting for the hull repper to finish, I noticed that the hull repair seemed to be taking an unusually long time to do its job. I was sitting there trying to figure out what the problem might be when all of a sudden, my screen went black.

At first, I thought it might just be that some other program on my computer which might have caused it, as has happened many times in the past, but this was different. The screen stayed black for far longer than usual when this kind of thing happens, and when it came back to my desktop, the icon for the client wasn't there. It had been a while since I'd had EvE completely crash to desktop on me, but even before the client automatically rebooted itself I knew that was what had happened. When I took a look at the client, though, I saw something I'd never seen before.

The server status message said "PROXY NOT CONNECTED". I'd never seen this before, so I tried to log in anyway. When I did, a message popup window appeared, saying "Proxy not connected to sol server.". I had no idea what this meant, other than that I was unable to log back in, so I immediately went to the E-O forums and found a thread already going, in which players who seem to have far more experience in this particular variety of server issue had written that we'd been the victims of a node crash.

Of course, I was not happy. My Thorax was still circling a starbase with a fiery trail behind it with its hull repper going. Anyone who came upon it before the repper had almost finished would instantly know that it would be easy pickings. As we waited for the server to be restarted, several of us who'd been in-game at that very late (or very early) hour continued posting in the thread, really doing little more than keeping each other entertained while we waited to get back in-game. Finally, at about a quarter after three AM eastern, the server came back up, and I logged back in to discover that my fears hadn't been entirely unfounded.

When I got back in-game, the first thing I noticed was that the Thorax wasn't orbiting the station where I left it, but was simply floating in space, about 45 AU from where I'd last seen it. The second thing I noticed was that a chunk of my armor, which I'd already finished repping before the node crash, was gone. While I didn't see it and chances are I'll never know for sure, the evidence seems to indicate that the Thorax was, in fact, attacked while I was unable to log in and had automatically warped itself out of the area to avoid being destroyed.

In all honesty, I wasn't really all that worried about losing the Thorax in monetary terms. Chances are, I'd have about broken even with the insurance payment. It was really more of an emotional thing. I'd just successfully piloted that ship through one of the narrowest escapes I've ever had in this game and losing it because of a node crash would have felt like an especially cheap and unfair end for a ship I've been through so much with. Of all the ships I've flown in EvE thus far, it's the one that's survived the longest by far, has the most battle scars, and been the one I've flown during some of my most memorable in-game moments.

So many firsts for me in this game have come while flying the Thorax, it would probably be impossible to try to list or even remember them all, but I think of that ship with the same kind of fondness you might have for a favorite car or pair of jeans. It's certainly not the most powerful ship I've ever flown, nor has it made me anywhere near the amount of ISK I made flying all those Myrmidons, but it's still a viable, useful ship, and I have such an intimate familiarity with it and its capabilities that sometimes it seems that if that Thorax is capable of doing something, I'm able to squeeze every erg of potential power out of it to get the job done. There's a reason why I went back to using the name of that ship in the title of this blog and kept it even though I've had several other ships since, and it's not just because I like the way it sounds.

For those wondering when I'll get back into a Dommie again and what's taking so long, the answer is "soon". There's a good reason, but it's not one I really feel comfortable talking about here just yet. In the meantime, I'm happy taking the Thorax out on some Level 2 missions, getting more familiar with how the game runs with this new, much faster processor, and training up some skills I've needed to get done for a while now.

One thing that was especially nice to see in the Alliance Tournament was being able to watch Star Fraction defeat the formerly undefeatable BoB...with ten Thoraxes! From my perspective, seeing BoB suffer its very first-ever Alliance Tournament loss at the hands of an underdog team of SF pilots was truly great to see. Seeing it happen at the hands of a fleet of Thoraxes...well, after that I can believe that just about anything's possible when you're flying one of these babies.

Til next time, fly safe.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Piss. Me. Off.

Oh, I am SO not a happy camper right now.

Usually, when I lose a ship I blame myself because generally I'm responsible. This time, some extraordinarily badly-timed lag slowed my frame-rate down to virtually non-existent, just enough to watch my Dommie's armor and structure disappear in about four or five frames over about twenty seconds or so. Not damn thing I could do but just sit there and watch about eighty million worth of ship and fittings go boom.

I hadn't even taken it on a Level 4 mission yet. I was finishing up the Level 3 mission I'd lost my Myrmidon on before I went on to Level 4's. Sure, I got the insurance payoff, but it doesn't even begin to cover what I had invested here. The worst part is that I'd only had the thing a day, and I'd spent most of yesterday figuring out a fitting for it with the Eve Fitting Tool. Ah well, at least I still have the fitting I worked out for it.

One of the biggest pains in the butt about losing a ship for me has always been trying to recreate my setup from memory because inevitably I'll have been too lazy to actually write it down. EFT keeps track of it for me, has an interface that's much easier to understand and work with than QuickFit, and does pretty much everything I need and want it to do for me when I'm trying to figure out how to fit or refit a ship.

If I'm lucky, I'll basically wipe myself out financially in order to replace the Dommie, but I'm going to do it because I'm sick and tired of flying Level 3's. If it ends up that I need more ISK than I currently have (a very likely possibility) I'll fly the Thorax until I get what I need that way or get some help. It would cost far too much to set up a Myrmidon and use that and I already have the Thorax fully insured and fit. Yeah, it would probably take a while, but it's better than setting myself back probably 2/3 of the way by buying a new Myrm and putting it in space.

Ah well...such is EvE.


Monday, September 3, 2007

The Difference Between Flying Big And Flying Smart...

...can be pretty huge sometimes.

I was all excited about buying a Megathron, but I didn't really completely think through how I was going to put it in space. Once I had it, I quickly discovered that there was just no way I was going to be able to afford to fit and insure it. I went back to doing Level 2 missions in the Thorax for a day, but then I decided that the best thing to do was to just fix my mistake and get realistic.

I repackaged and sold the Megathron, and used the proceeds to buy, insure, and fit a Dominix instead. After selling the Mega I had about 108 million ISK, and by the time I was done making it spaceworthy I found myself at around 13 million so I can only imagine how long it would have taken to actually put that Megathron in space by running missions with the Thorax.

Really, it's a classic case of having eyes bigger than my wallet. Yes, I was able to afford the actual purchase price of a Megathron, but it would have cost me another 31 million just to insure it and probably at least that much again to fit it properly. On the other hand, I've already got the Dommie in space, just about fully fit and ready to start taking on Level 4 missions instead of having to probably wait weeks before being able to put a Megathron in space. Yes, a very big difference indeed.


It seems my post about "gay" and "lesbian" being censored on the the E-O forums has drawn some attention and support from CCP and hopefully some positive action as well. I hesitate to go into too much detail here as yet, but I will say that I'm very happy to see attention being paid to this issue and I have every reason to expect to be able to report positive developments in the future. As always, more when I have it.


Ok, that's it for now. Til next time, fly safe.