Monday, November 30, 2009

Preparing For The Future

So, today I did a little more PvP training with our corp's FC. He's really good. I learned stuff about faction ammo I never knew (and didn't even know enough to know that I didn't know it), and a lot more. In addition, I was on for a while tonight chatting with our corp's CEO.

He asked me if I was ok on ships and ISK. I thought I was. I still have most of what I brought with me, though I did spend several million on outfitting the Tristans. He apparently felt differently and gave me two shiny new Thoraxes to fit, and 100 million ISK, just to have if I need it. Needless to say, fitting the Thoraxes won't be a problem financially. I only have to worry about whether I have the skills to fit what I want.

Of course I'll do what I have to. If I can't use the Tech 2 version of something I'll run the Tech 1. In the meantime, though, I think I'm going to be very busy as far as skill training goes over the next few weeks at least. I keep discovering skills I haven't trained which would suddenly be really useful to have.

It's interesting...I've just gotten back into EvE (it's only been just over a month now), and I'm already out in 0.0 with a new corp, and Dominion and all of the changes it will bring are less than 24 hours away now. It seems hard to believe that in terms of actual forward career progress in this game I've probably done more in the last couple of weeks than I did during the last four or five months I was in-game before I left in '07.

Most of all, I'm looking forward to getting some real PvP experience. In all of the time I've been playing EvE until now, I've participated in exactly one PvP kill in 0.0, which was during an Agony Unleashed basic PvP course.

Tomorrow I need to fit those Thoraxes, though. I want those babies up and running asap.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thoughts on Betas

I do occasionally spout off on non-EvE-related gaming topics, and when I do I usually do it here, on

There's been a lot of talk about the ethics of using betas as promotional tools, and I think I may have a way to make it a positive experience for everyone. I lay my idea out in this post and ask for comments, so please do. It's not really appropriate for this blog, but I thought (hope) some of you might have an interest.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Learning to Fly

Tonight I spent the evening getting a tour of some of the local space around my new corp's home system. I needed to put together at least a couple of PvP-ready frigs so I bought a couple of Tristans and discovered much to my dismay that I hadn't trained a skill I suddenly found myself in need of, Small Blaster Specialization. I found this skill book available at the local trade hub a few jumps away. In addition, some of the parts I needed for my Tristans were available there as well, so I bought what I needed and then later one of the corp directors took me for a tour and I made a stop to pick up my purchases while we were passing through.

He had me bookmarking everything along the way and when we'd gotten out several jumps from our starting point, he said "Ok Bekka, now let's see if you can make it back home." I'll admit to surprising myself, I did make one warp to an incorrect stargate, but I realized it immediately, corrected my mistake, and successfully made it back to our home system without having to ask for help. I will say it's not easy. There's a hell of a lot to learn and remember about how to get around.

High-sec this definitely is not, but it's also (at least so far) nowhere near as scary as I used to think. Of course, I've still only seen a tiny fraction of 0.0, but so far it's a lot more empty than I expected it to be. There wasn't much of any sort of threat to deal with during the whole trip.

I am just having a freaking great time with this game right now. I love learning new stuff and it seems like I'm learning something new every time I undock. Hard to believe that it's going to get even better in a few days once Dominion is live.

Yes, this is it. This is what I was missing the last time I played. The adventure, the feeling like I'm really on the final frontier, where anything can happen. The high-sec game is a lot of fun, but this is...I'm not sure how to describe it...a different animal entirely. People have told me that consistently and now I see how right they are.

Suddenly, I get it. I understand why once you spend time in 0.0 and you begin to understand the way it works (and of course this is a process I've just barely begun), you either never want to go back to high-sec or you'd probably want to go back immediately. It truly is a completely different game in many ways.

Personally, I came out to 0.0 for a reason: I want PvP, and I want PvP that matters. I want to become good, no, great at it. I want to do my part to help my new corp accomplish its goals. The director who took me on the tour tonight said if I wanted to bring the stuff I have in high-sec into 0.0 they'd help. I think that would be an awesome idea as long as they think they'd be useful. I have two ships that I'd want to bring out, my Myrmidon and my Thorax. Both are currently fitted for PvE missions, so I'll probably have to invest a little in new mods, but I'm more than happy to offer up both of these ships in the service of my corp. It's the very least I can do considering all they're doing for me.

There's still so much to learn, so much to absorb. I'll get there though, especially with the kind of help I've been getting. I feel very lucky all the way around. I've now got exactly what I was looking for in this game, in pretty much every way I can think of.

0.0 is my home, and slowly but surely I'm making myself comfortable here. It can and is getting easier, in large part because of the great support system my corp offers. Y'know, if I had the same kind of luck with my real life choices as I do with choices I make in EvE I'd probably be a multi-millionaire by now.

A Quiet Night In New Eden

I just popped in-game a little while ago. I'm not sure why I bothered. I'm dead tired after a day spent shoveling food in my face and chasing after children. It's times like these when I remember why even though I love kids I don't have any of my own. Saw my brother who plays EvE today along with everyone else and passed my copy of Empyrean Age on to him. I know he'll like it.

There's really not a whole lot for me to do in-game until tomorrow anyway. I want to get some ships set up and I think I'll probably need some advice on that. Pretty much anything I do now I'm going to need some advice on until I get more of a handle on the way things are done out here in 0.0. In some ways, I'm a seasoned vet, in others I'm a total noob.

I also have to think about what I want to set as my next skill training. I've finished Hull Upgrades V and soon Scout Drones V, and I have to figure out what to cue up next. By the time I get in front of the computer tomorrow I'll be well within the 24-hour range so I guess I can figure it out then.

Right now, I'm really just glad that the first major holiday of the season is out of the way. Family events like these are fun, but they can really take it out of me. At least I'll have more time for EvE in coming days...until things get crazy again.

I don't care. It's not an either/or proposition this time. I'm in this game for the long haul. I'll make it work.

It's funny. I didn't really miss EvE all that much over the couple of years I was engrossed in my RL job. I didn't really have time to miss it because I was so involved with other things. I'm not someone who spends a lot of time idle so I filled that time with stuff to do, including a lot of single-player games that I could play whenever I had time for them. Yet, when I started getting back into MMO's again, first with Fallen Earth, Champions, and Crimecraft, I kept comparing these games to EvE. By the time I decided to sign up for a trial account, I was looking for a reason to revisit the game, so I gave myself one, an article I was going to write about revisiting EvE two years after I left it.

Looking back, maybe in all honesty it was an excuse. Maybe somewhere in the back of my mind I'd decided that I wanted to get back into EvE and so I did the one thing I knew would almost certainly get me hooked again, and now I am. Big surprise. Maybe.

The real point is that I have a better, more satisfying experience playing EvE than I have in any other MMO I've ever played. That, more than any other single reason, is why I'm back and why I'm sticking around.

Ah well...the L-Tryptophan is kicking in bigtime and I think it's time for bed.

Until next time, fly safe.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Pause Button

I'm doing something right now that I bet a lot of MMO players have done, no matter what game they happen to be playing: I'm not playing EvE right now because I have a friend coming over who probably would not understand why I might not be able to just stop playing instantaneously. You know the kind of person I'm talking about, don't you? Yes, it's that techno-ignorant friend or family member who says "Can't you just put it on pause?". It's the kind of person who thinks they know all there is to know about video games because they've played video tennis with a friend on their Wii.

The truth is that it's just easier not to be playing when he arrives then it is to explain why I need to take a few minutes before shutting down. There's also the fact that if I'm able to log in later tonight I'll have a lot to do and probably not much time to do it. There's a lot to do for Thanksgiving, and that will definitely cut into or maybe even eliminate my in-game time tonight and tomorrow. Hopefully, I'll be able to spend at least a little time in-game tonight and maybe tomorrow night late, but really at this point I don't know if I'll be able to. Hey, it's the holidays.

I find this kind of thing is still true even with instant messenger. Many people don't get that ending a chat is much the same as saying goodbye when hanging up the phone and don't understand why I can't just shut down the computer. I suspect that as time goes on and computers and cellphones continue to merge this will become less and less of an issue for most people, but right now there are still a lot of people who don't perceive online communication as real. That goes not only for instant messenger, but also for online games.

What sucks is that I'm anxious to get on with my new life in 0.0, but RL is just getting in the way right now. This will all be over Friday though, and then I'll really be able to start getting into it...maybe even late tomorrow night if I'm really lucky.

New Horizons

Well, I'm finally here, not for a visit, but to stay. As of this moment, my little Caldari shuttle is parked in my new home station, out in the wilds of 0.0.  It's interesting...the most difficult thing about the trip was remembering to bookmark all the spots accurately. I'm not quite sure I got all those system designations right. It really is much easier when they have actual names, even if they're weird names.

I met a few members of my new corp in a system near where I'd applied and together we headed into 0.0. During the trip we chatted on Teamspeak and it seems I've clearly lucked out yet again as far as picking a corp. These guys are cool.

I'm also a member of a pretty big alliance now, which is kind of new for me. I was a member of a pretty big alliance when I was with Eve University but really it wasn't much of an alliance, if I remember correctly, because the vast majority of the alliance members were in the same corp, E-Uni. The few who were not were in the Graduates (I think that's what they called themselves), a corp of former E-Uni students. For the most part, it was exactly the same people in corp and alliance chats and emails lists. This time, I think it's going to be a little different.

Already I know I'm going to be doing a lot of PvP. I also know I have a lot to learn about doing PvP well and about surviving in 0.0. Basically, I know that I pretty much have to change almost everything about the way I play this game now...and that's ok, in fact, that's exactly what I'm looking for.

All in all, I'm pretty damned excited about the whole thing. Good game, good people, good times. It's been a long time since I was this excited about EvE, or about any game really. It really feels like the final frontier.

One thing I intend on doing pretty much immediately now is ordering one of those New Eden map books. Now that's I'm out of high-sec it's suddenly a lot more important that I plan my travels carefully and being able to sit a map on my lap, make notes, and verify system names will be a big help.

Now it's finally time for me to get serious about playing this game. Pew-pew, here I come.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

On The Edge Of A New Beginning

I'm not yet at the point where I'm comfortable discussing all of the details, but there are significant changes in store for me in this game. The short version is that I'm about to join a player-run corp again and I'm very excited about it. It's the kind of situation I find very appealing and the all the people I've met are terrific. Beyond that, I need to have a discussion with my soon-to-be new corpmates before I say anything else. I need to know exactly what they're comfortable with before I go spouting off here.

The next step for me, as for all pre-Dominion corporate recruits, is to go to a system where the corporation has an office and formally apply. This will entail a rather long trip through high-sec, longer than I have time for tonight. Originally, I was thinking of selling off some stuff to help finance my new position's equipment, but then a generous reader, mlove, contacted me in-game tonight with some kind words about the blog and an absolutely impeccably-timed ISK donation that allows me to instead just keep my stuff for when and if I might need it down the road.

The truth is that I'm bursting to say more, but I won't until I've cleared it. One thing I can and will say right now, though, is that for the first time in a long time I can't really anticipate what's next for me in this game and I love that. In fact, maybe I hadn't realized just how much I missed that feeling in this game and why I eventually became so bored as a manufacturing corp director. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't that horrible. In all honesty, the CEO did 90% of the real work. I spent a lot of time salvaging and doing other carebearey kinds of tasks. Thing was, I never really did get to see much of New Eden. I've always regretted that, and when I returned to the game I promised myself that this time it's going to be different.

And so here I am, on the cusp of a new chapter of my life in EvE. Tomorrow I will leave all of my stuff behind, get in a shuttle, and head off on a long trip toward a new life, in a new place, with new friends.

If only real life were so simple.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Of The Future

As I run missions and wait for Hull Upgrades V to finish (a little less than two and half days left to go as I write this), I've been giving a lot of thought to what I want to do afterward. I do have some ideas in that regard and I'll begin exploring them in earnest.

I'm being intentionally obtuse about this for a few reasons. Right now I'm in what I call the "quiet research" phase. I google corps, I poke around on their websites, I see if I can find anything about them elsewhere about what they do and the kind of corp they are. Later, once I have a good idea of what I'm working with, I'll enter the "make a list" phase where I decide which of the corps I find most attractive really fit my style well. Then once I have that it's time to get serious about comparing pound for pound in terms of what's in my best interest in realizing my goals in the game.

It's definitely a tougher choice than I first imagined it would be. Since I went directly from an NPC corp to Eve University and then to Stonewall Interstellar, I don't really have much experience in changing corps or in looking for a new one. I totally lucked out on the first try with E-Uni, as well as with SI so this process isn't one I really have a lot of experience in.

I may do something completely unexpected...even by me. We'll see.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Piracy Shouldn't Be So Easy

I've been running level 3 missions for the last several days, and I'm just loving the fit I'm using, even though I've still got a bit more than six days before I can install those Tech 2 Armor Hardeners.

One interesting difference I've noticed about the missions I'm doing now and the ones I was doing just before I left the game two years ago is that many level 3 agents now offer missions that take you into low-sec. On the one hand, I think it's a great idea for CCP to do more to encourage players to enter low and no sec areas, but on the other hand, it's also a great benefit to pirates who just sit at the gates in well-traveled low-sec systems like Egghelende and pick off noobs as they enter or leave.

As a player who's well-experienced in dealing with pirates (though not as much in actually winning those battles), I always check my star map to see how many recent ship kills there are in a low-sec system the agent wants to send me to before I accept a mission. If I find it too much of a risk (last time I was offered a mission going to Egghelende I checked and found that 15 ships had been destroyed there in the last hour), I just decline or delay the mission.

The problem is that it seems that the pirates really don't care, they're just always sitting there because they know that a significant number of noobs will not know to check the star map before entering a low-sec system. Even if experienced pilots like me who know better just avoid the system until we know (or at least have good reason to believe based on the evidence) that the pirates have left the system, there are more than enough players who will jump in anyway, either because they don't check the map first or because they may foolishly believe their uber-fit ship can take them on.

While I've always believed that if you let your ego overshadow your common sense in this game it's going to end up costing you bigtime in the long run, I also believe that piracy, while permitted within the game, shouldn't be this easy.

From a common sense perspective, it makes sense to me that CONCORD should be just as aggressive toward those flagged as criminals in low-sec as they are in high-sec. In real world terms, the way it is now makes about as much sense as the police showing up to deal with crime in affluent areas but ignoring crimes committed in poorer areas of the same jurisdiction. We have, of course, seen the real-world results of such policing and they are the same as in EvE: When the police are not a significant presence in those areas the crime rate goes up, as criminals come out of hiding and become more aggressive.

Please note that this is not an argument against piracy in EvE. I used to feel that way, but I've come to accept piracy as a valid part of the game. My problem here is that CONCORD does not confront and deal with piracy in a way that makes any sense for a truly competent police force, certainly not one charged with protecting as large a jurisdiction as empire space in EvE.

In my opinion, low-sec piracy should carry significantly more risk for pirates than it actually does. While I accept piracy as part of the game, I don't accept that the risk involved should be as one-sided as it currently is. A realistic police force would check those low-sec gates and systems regularly and confront those who appear to be in the area to commit crimes. A real police force would not simply ignore areas where muggers are known to wait for victims, and neither should CONCORD.

My suggestion here would be for CCP to institute a mechanic where a CONCORD fleet would appear in these systems at irregular intervals to engage and eliminate any criminally-flagged ships that happen to be there. My reasoning on this is that by making these appearances random pirates would be taking a real risk by simply hanging out near low-sec gates and waiting to pick off ships just to pad their kill-boards. There would still be a very real risk to players entering these systems because CONCORD would still not be a constant presence, but the fact that they might show up at any given time would help to discourage long-term pirate gate-camping and at least allow the possibility that missions and other reasons to travel into low-sec would be less likely to be discarded out of hand because a player doesn't want to risk her 70 million ISK mission-running battlecruiser in a low-sec system to gain a million ISK reward payout.

CCP has said that they want to encourage more players to get into low-sec and 0.0. That's something I strongly agree with, but I think if there's to be a hope of that actually happening, there has to be a lot more effort made by CCP in making low-sec and 0.0 more accessible to newer and less potent players. As it is now, the game discourages those interests because players know that pirates run wild and completely unchecked outside of high-sec. On the other side of the coin, pirates know that they have nothing to fear from CONCORD unless they attempt to go into high-sec and so that encourages more piracy because it's so lucrative and relatively low-risk. As long as the pirates field a fleet that is effective against most of the ships which venture into low-sec, it will continue to be a faucet of low-risk profits that will prove attractive to more and more players, and thus encourage more low-sec piracy.

In my opinion, if CCP does nothing to address this there will eventually come a point where almost no one wants to risk venturing outside of high-sec anymore because the risk is so great. New players and those who'd like to explore low-sec and 0.0 will find those areas of the game effectively inaccessible because every access to those areas is camped by pirates. That's when players will become disillusioned and bored with the game, and leave for greener pastures. At that point, EvE will become a game where low-sec and 0.0 are only really accessible to those able to travel with large enough fleets to discourage pirate attacks, those who are already members of large corps or those who have a lot of in-game friends who are willing to escort them.

To me, that would be the very worst possible outcome for this game. Wormholes are an inventive way of circumventing this reality for some, but for new, solo, or inadequately-equipped players they're really of little or no value in terms of circumventing piracy.

CCP needs to address this problem, and they need to do it now, before it gets worse than it already is. EvE is a game that has a lot of correlations to real life in terms of how things happen and the results. It's time CCP injected a little of that realism into the way CONCORD does its job and in the risks criminals take in committing crimes.

Unless CCP is comfortable with the idea of low-sec and 0.0 becoming the virtually exclusive domain of the most wealthy and powerful corps and pirates, it's high time they do what they have to in order to open up these areas to the rest of the player base. No doubt much bitching and moaning will ensue, but it's really the only way to ensure that EvE will be able to not only gain but also hold on to new players over the long term. Regardless of whether you're a pirate, a noob victim, or anything in-between, encouraging more new and middle-range players to participate in and stay with EvE should be a goal every player can get behind. It's good for the game, it's good for CCP, and it's good for the players.

To my way of thinking, it's just a no-brainer. First and foremost on every agenda, CCP's, the players, anyone who cares about this game, is to do everything possible to keep EvE fresh, interesting, and welcoming to everyone, especially to new players who wish to join us. Hopefully, this, if nothing else, is something we can all agree on.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Burning and Earning

I've been doing a lot of level 3 missions with the Myrmidon, generating a pretty decent income. Mainly right now I'm waiting until my second major skill training, Hull Upgrades V, finishes in a little more than ten days and I can then install Tech 2 Armor Hardeners. I've already bought the hardeners, but I have to finish training the skill before I can install them.

I'm also still in that warm, cozy, newly-returned-player mode, just enjoying being back in the game and still rediscovering things I love about it.

One thing I've been avoiding doing since coming back is becoming as active a participant on the official EO forums as I used to be. I've put up a post promoting this blog and I've jumped in on a few conversations here and there, but after such a negative experience with those forums a couple of years ago, I've decided that I'm going to be a lot more cautious about posting there this time around. The nutshell version is that I'm back in EvE to relax and have fun, and I've found that that's not always possible when I involve myself too much over there.

I'm now in a place in-game where I'm almost back to where I was before I left, except in terms of actual stuff owned and ISK in my wallet. I'm doing the same kinds of missions I was doing then, with the same kind of ship, but with a much better fit than I was using back then.

I know it's getting close to the time where I'm going to have to start making some decisions about what direction I want to go in this game. I'm giving myself the ten days plus it'll take for that skill to finish training to think about it before making any decisions, maybe even a little longer if I decide I need it.

That said, I also know I don't just want to endlessly run missions as a solo player. In order to really enjoy this game to its fullest (in my opinion, at least), it must be played with other people. I will join a player-run corp again soon. I already have several good options, and I'm open to more.

Yet, despite all that, I'm still having a pretty good time right now just roaming the spaceways in search of fun and profit. It's not a long-term career plan, but it'll work well enough for a couple more weeks. Then, it'll become time to seriously start finding myself a new career in this game.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Movin' On Up

 Last night, the same player who gave me the 50 million ISK donation met me in-game and gave me me not only the best Myrmidon fit I've ever used, but all the parts I needed for it.

My Myrmidon is now literally unstoppable, at least when doing Level 3 missions. The fit is perma-run and the cap never sinks much below 1/2 charge even when I have everything running. My biggest problem is making sure I have enough ammo to get the mission done. After one of the first missions I did with the Myrm there were a lot of ships to kill and I took them all out in one go-round, just barely. I left that deadspace area with exactly 11 rounds of ammo left.

It's unquestionably the most effective fit I've ever tried on any ship I've flown as far as tanking goes. Probably also close to the most destructive (though I did fly a Dommie for a bit a couple of years ago).

I'm not done yet, either. I'm in the process of training up a few relevant skills and then I'll be able to upgrade the fit with some spiffy t2. So now all of a sudden I'm actually starting to make a little ISK. This, of course, is a very good thing.

So now, what I've been doing is going to Level 3 agents at corps I have high standings in, doing a few missions and then moving on to another one with a somewhat higher ranking. So far, I've had no problems at all other than the loss of a few cheap drones. I have a busy RL day tomorrow, so I got my ship to the next agent I plan to do missions for and then logged out. This one is middle-ranked and if I do well with him tomorrow night 'll try one a little higher.

Damn, I'm having a shitload of fun with this game right now. I can't wait to try the next round.

Myrmidon FTW!

Friday, November 6, 2009


So, I'm doing Level 2 missions now. I'm still tweaking the Thorax's fit, but so far it's been very effective. I've got five Hammerhead I's in the bay which usually take out most of the ships I come up against, and my four active 200mm Scout Cannons easily take out whatever might get through.

One thing I do plan to do is to start seeking out certain corps I have really high standing with to make the best mission rewards. I'd actually forgotten about taking standings into account when looking for missions until I started looking through my LP point totals. I discovered that I still have a lot of unused LP, but I also saw that there are certain corps I earned a heck of a lot of LP from. That reminded me of why I used to seek out certain agents and corps to run missions for in the first place.

I guess I relearn something "new" almost every time I log in these days. The more stuff I do that I haven't done in a couple of years, the more I remember about how I did it in the past. The more "new" things I try, the better I become as a player.

The last few days have been tough, though. Because of what I do in RL, every time there's a major election, especially one in New Jersey, I end up disappearing from the online world for a few days. This last election was no different (though I certainly wished for a different victor), and so I've been in-game maybe a grand total of two hours since the day before the election (Tuesday).

I'm hoping to put in more time in-game now that the election is over...frankly, a little break from reality would be kinda nice right about now...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Now I'm Really Back

Why? Because you know you're not truly an EvE pilot until you've had a ship blown out from under you at least once.

I guess I got cocky. I'd been having no trouble with the level 3 mission I was doing other than having to warp out and run my reppers for a few minutes every so often as the damage I was taking became too much. I was holding my own as far as tanking goes, and then I think (I'm not certain, it's been a while) I was warp scrambled, which I was totally unprepared for. I had no idea how or if I could break free and went down pretty quickly after that.

Fortunately, I'd already earned enough with the 'Rax that along with the insurance payout it was a simple matter to put another one in space, but this time I went back to the blaster-rax configuration, and I'm going to stick with Level 2 missions for a while to build up some ISK. Once I have that, I'll start the process of fitting and insuring the Mrym.

While most of the basics of how to play EvE have come back to me quickly, I'm finding that I'm remembering and rediscovering combat strategies as they become useful. Sometimes, it's dumb stuff like remembering to load my weapons or buy ammo before I head into a combat zone, other times it's realizing during or after the fact that I should have played a certain scenario a different way or that there were relevant factors that I'd forgotten to take into account before engaging because it's been so long.

One thing's for sure, once I'm ready to join a player-run corp again, maybe even before that, I'm going to want to refresh my combat skills a bit. There's a number of ways I could go with this.

I did take an Agony Unleashed PvP course a couple of years ago, and I know that their policy at the time was that any course taken which was paid for once can be retaken for free. If that's still their policy I think I'll be retaking that course and maybe even one or two more if I can afford them. I may not remember everything I learned after not using it for a couple of years, but I do remember it was a great experience and one I'm certainly interested in repeating.

There's also EvE University, my old alma mater. They offer some great classes including the basic basics, and the teachers and the students are awesome. I'll be proud to fly with them anytime, anywhere. Yet, at the same time, if my intent is to eventually head into 0.0 (and it is) that may not be the best way to go.

There are also many other corps which offer PvP and other training to their members. I'd expect that some are competent and reliable in doing so and some are not. The truth is I don't know. What I do know is my positive experience with the two corps above. One entails joining a corp perhaps earlier than I'd intended, and the other entails coming up with the needed ships and equipment (some of which I may still have from the last time I did the course), and possibly tuition in order to take the course.

I really don't know what I'm going to do just yet, but before I make that decision I want to be in better financial shape than I am now. I know I'll probably become antsy later, but right now I'm mainly just enjoying being back in EvE, reestablishing myself, and going through the process of fully getting back to where I was in this game in terms of understanding the finer points and how to use them to my advantage. Two years is a long time, and there's been some changes I have to get used to.

The way I'm doing that is by flying these missions, remembering and rediscovering exactly what I can and can't do in combat, what solution applies to what problem. Relearning how to fit my ships has been an adventure as well, but I'm quickly becoming better at it as time goes on. I recognize my mistakes quickly, and I'm rapidly relearning how to correct them. BattleClinic has been a help with this, but I've come to understand that it's caveat emptor with BC loadouts. Some are awesome, but others don't quite meet that standard. I got burned like that for a few thousand ISK by trying out a loadout that looked great in theory but didn't really cut it in actual combat.

I'm also finding where the holes are in my skill training and I've set about plugging them. There aren't a lot of places where I haven't already trained the skills to what I need for what I'm doing right now, but there are a few and more pop up on occasion as I experiment with different loadouts. Now that I'm able to log in again, my skill que is kept full at all times. Currently I'm training Propulsion Jamming IV, which I need in order to run a Tech II Stasis Webifier. This is something I need to do a lot more research on as far as figuring out what skills I should be training now over the long term. As I get more of these holes filled, more and more of the most useful still-trainable skills I have will require major lengths of time to train them to the next level.

Before that becomes a major issue, I want to have a plan, an outline at least, of what skills I want/need to invest time in training. There's still a little while to go before that will become critical, but if I keep that skill que filled 24/7 I don't think it'll be all that long.

And so, here we go again. I pick myself up, dust myself off, and head right back out there, hopefully with a better plan this time. This, in a nutshell, is EvE, and perhaps a big reason why so many of us can't help but keep on coming back for more.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Riding The Rails

So I've installed five 200mm Scout I Accelerator Cannons on the Thorax but I can only keep four online at once unless I want to unfit or turn off components I don't want to do without. I've got a fit I'm not entirely thrilled with but that I think will allow me to do far more damage from a distance than I have been. The blasters are lethal from short range but virtually useless from a distance. Closing to a useful blaster range on a mission like this one just isn't a really great idea, especially not when I'm using drones.

Of course, right now, this is all theory, albeit theory based on experience (and a hell of a lot of destroyed ships a couple of years ago). Last night it was late so I bought the guns, went to get them, installed them, flew back to the system where the mission I'm working on is, docked, and logged out. The rails will get their first test a little later today when I log in. I strongly suspect that four railguns will do in this mission and others like it what five blasters can't.

Settling Back In

It didn't take long. Today I did a few missions and I think I've found my "sweet spot" as far as mission level goes, Level 3, at least for now. I'm doing one right now that requires me to go in, launch my drones, take out a few ships, and then call back my drones and beat it out of there before I take too much damage. It's one of those missions that's just tough enough to be challenging without being ridiculous. I've already blown the time bonus so I'm taking my time with it. It's worth the time because it's about half a mil as a mission reward, a lot more than I've been making on lower level missions.

I've got Electronics IV training right now, soon followed by Drone Interfacing V, which I just discovered I only have about a day and a half of training left on. Apparently I started training this a long time ago and never finished for some reason. I also discovered a million and a half ISK in my corporate wallet.

One thing I'm seriously considering is refitting the 'Rax with railguns. The blasters were great in the early levels, but now I think I need something with a bit more range. Plus, in reviewing my skills, I realized that I have a Level IV Medium Railgun Specialization.

Anyway, I think I'm done with EvE today. I put in a good 4-5 hours, more than I usually play in one day. I'm sure I'll spend some time in-game tomorrow as well. It's amazing how easily and how quickly I've reinserted EvE into my life. Two years, my ass....feels more like two weeks. If it wasn't for all the changes you can actually see, I'd swear I'm just pretty much picking up from where I left off (minus a hell of a lot of stuff I gave away).

On the other hand, I may just go in-game for a bit and see how much a set of medium rails will run me.