Tuesday, August 10, 2010

So I Went and Got Myself Another Dommie…

…only this time I’m not going to go getting it blown up on a mission my first time out. It was affordable enough, and now I just need to to come up with a good loadout. I’ve been searching, but not finding a lot of good options. Any ideas are most welcome.

The reason I bought the Dommie is because…well, why not? I can afford it and having a fully-fit Dominix handy can’t hurt. Plus, I’ll be able to use more drones and that’s always a good thing.

So, right now, that’s what I’m doing: Trying to come up with a Dommie setup I’m happy with. Once I do, it’ll be time to buy all the parts, put them together, and get back down to business.

Friday, August 6, 2010


The last few days I feel like the fates are conspiring against me playing EVE. Every time I’ve sat down to play, the phone rings or there’s some other reason I have to stop and go deal with real life. Last night I had to give up on a radar site I’d just successfully tracked down when friends showed up unexpectedly. The night before, another friend needed an emergency pickup at the train. It’s always something.
So, this weekend I’ve made sure that I have a block of time on Saturday with nothing to do, and kitty co-pilot Jazz and I are going exploring.
More as I have it…

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Busy, Busy, Busy…

…and not a lot of time for EVE.

It’s been a busy week in RL, hence my lack of posts this past week or so. Last night I logged in for a while and checked out a few systems, but I was pretty exhausted so that didn’t last long. I’ll probably have some time tonight so I expect Jazzy (yes, the new kitty has a name now) and I will go exploring and make a little ISK.

In other, mostly unrelated news, I’ve found myself jumping into Need For Speed World for a quick race or high-speed chase with the cops. It’s something I can play and have fun with for ten minutes at a pop when I don’t have the time to play EVE. It’s not something I expect to invest a lot of time or money into but it is kinda fun in short bursts, like APB.

Anyway, more soon, fly safe.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Short Semi-Respite

We had a new and unexpected addition to the household yesterday, a little silver and black kitten I’ve named Jasmine, or Jazz for short. As you might imagine, the last twenty-four hours since she’s arrived have been a little busy, without much, if any, time for EVE. She’s becoming quite skilled at locating a comfortable spot on my lap and settling in while I’m at the computer, so I expect I’ll have a co-pilot on many of my upcoming explorations.

One interesting thing I did discover when I finished my last skill training and went looking for something useful to train was that I had one glaring omission from my curriculum from the last time around: Advanced Drone Interfacing.

Talk about a game-changer. Most of the damage I do to NPC’s is from my drones, but until the other day I could only field three Ogre II’s at a time despite being able to carry six in the Myrm’s drone bay. Eve-Mon tells me that Level 3 will finish training about 2pm tomorrow (eastern US time of course, says the Jersey girl), and once that happens I’ll be able to launch a full bay of Ogre II’s at my enemies. No doubt I’ll be having some serious fun with that ability.

Oh, and there is one other reason I haven’t spent any real time in EVE over the last couple of days. STO just got a major update so I’ve been spending a little time in there checking it out. Actually, I’ve probably spent more time with STO in the last day or so than in the last month or two before it, but that’s not an especially high hurdle. I will say that the solo mission I did was a lot of fun and I’m sure I’ll do more. At the same time, it’s a good thing that I have a lifetime sub to STO because now that I’m back in EVE I’m not sure I’d be willing to keep paying for STO over the long haul, at least not as the game has been since launch. There are supposedly big changes coming soon, so as a lifer I’m willing to see what’s just arrived and what’s coming soon before I make any final judgments. At this point, there’s really no reason not to.

In all honesty, I need a little break from EVE every now and then anyway. Both the skill training and STO’s update, not to my mention my new feline friend, are perfect excuses to take a day or two off. I want to keep it fresh and interesting and one good way to do that is to mix it up at least a little.

Til next time, fly safe.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A Bizarre Expedition and a Visit To Lagland

Last night, a comment on my last post clued me in to why I couldn’t warp to the Gurista hideout I’d found. I had indeed been offered an expedition in my journal. By the time I saw it, though, there were only about seven hours left to get it done so I wasted no time moving both my ships along with all my exploration mods and ammo to the system my journal indicated.

When I got there, I went in with the Thorax and found plenty of enemies, and quickly realized I was overmatched. I warped out, went beck to my staging station, and came back with the Myrm, but when I did all of the enemies took off. Gone. Poof. All that time spent moving everything over and suddenly there was nothing to do there.

As luck would have it, though, I found myself with all my stuff in an area I hadn’t explored yet, so I’ve decided to make that system my new temporary base of operations while I check out the local systems. Those that I’ve checked out so far have yielded about a million ISK in cargo and salvage, but nothing especially great in terms of profits.

And maybe it’s because it’s a Sunday, but when I warped to many of the cosmic signatures I scanned down today I’d discovered that someone had beat me to it.

I also did something today that I probably haven’t done in about two and a half years, and for the very first time because I had an actual reason to do it, not just to go be a space tourist. Reviewing the loadout on my Myrm I realized that some of the drones I was using with it were really far beneath the level it was capable of handling. So, I unloaded a bunch of Hobgoblins and Hammerheads and realized I only had two Ogre II’s, which are my favorites to use with the Myrm.

I have to admit I laughed a little when I went to the Market screen to buy five more Ogre II’s and found that the best local price, by at least 50%, was in Jita. I’d been to Jita all of once in my EVE career, very early on when I’d just made a trek out there just to see what the heck was so special about the system that everyone seemed to talk about it constantly. As I remembered, it was entirely unremarkable, other than that there were well over a thousand people in Local and the lag getting in and out of the system was by far the worst I’ve ever experienced in this game. Since that was almost three years ago, I hoped that by now it would be better. I bought my Ogres and set off for Jita.

I didn’t really notice any problems until I got one jump outside of Jita. First, as soon as I arrived it was pretty obvious that just about every ship in the system was headed in the same direction, toward the gate to Jita. When I got to the gate, there was fortunately no waiting line to jump in like there was the last time I was there, but the lag was definitely noticeable.

Once in the system, I docked and picked up my Ogres without much trouble, scanned through the offers in Local just to see if there was anything interesting, and then headed back to the gate to get back where I was exploring. When I clicked the button to jump out though, I didn’t go anywhere for several seconds, and then the screen went black and stayed that way. After nearly a minute, the phone rang and I stepped out of the room for a few minutes. When I returned, I found myself on the other side of the gate and headed back toward my staging system.

Y’know, maybe it’s just me, but I seem to remember CCP swearing up and down a while back that they were going to do something about the lag in Jita. Certainly, I have to say it’s better than the last time I was there, but by no means is it what could be called good. A black screen for well over a minute at minimum just to exit the system doesn’t indicate to me that CCP has finally got a handle on this issue.

Now, to be honest, I haven’t really given a shit one way or the other since I’ve only been there twice and I’ll probably never go back unless I have a really good reason like I did today, but nevertheless it would be nice if CCP could figure out a way to deal with the issue and make the trip a nicer and faster one for everyone who has to go there.

Gettin’ Experienced…

…but slowly, so very, very, slowly.

It may be just that it’s been a busy Saturday on TQ. Today it seemed especially hard to track down cosmic signatures, though I did run across and scan down my first magnometric signature. Big frakking deal. A few thousand worth of salvage for all the time it took to scan it down. Feh.

I’ve never been especially big on mining, so when I’ve scanned down a signature far enough to discover it’s gravimetric I give up on it and move on. At the same time, though, I know there’s a lot of ISK to be made at those sites so I’m reconsidering that. I dunno…I know there’s ISK to be made there, but boredom is also a factor.

Right now, I’m just playing “High-Sec Hit and Miss”, which is to say that basically I’m just picking a direction toward systems I’ve never been to or haven’t been to in a while and heading out to see what I can find. Most of the time this method seems to work pretty well and I find at least enough stuff to keep me interested and engaged, with a decent payout at the end. Today, not so much, but it’s really the first time since I came back to EVE and started exploring that I haven’t been happy with my daily take.

Another thing I ran into for the first time today was a signature that didn’t indicate a type once I’d scanned it down to 100%. Following this led me to an acceleration gate that sent me to a second room with a few enemies and another gate. I took out the enemies, gathered the few paltry items from the wrecks, then hit the next gate. This room had several more enemies, and during the battle I was notified that three Guristas had fled but my ship’s computer had determined their most likely hiding spot in case I wanted to go chase them. After I’d dealt with the room, I attempted to pursue, but was notified that natural phenomena prevented me from warping there. Interestingly, this did not prevent me from warping elsewhere. Quite bizarre, and not really worth the time and effort invested. Oh well.

So, I think I’m gonna go check out another system or two or three or…before bed.

Til next time, fly safe.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Thorax Flies Again

Sometimes, I think I’m too damned creative for my own good.

Tonight, I was scanning down a radar site that was a little tougher than than most so I thought it would help if I added a couple of extra probes to the five I already had out there. It helped a little at first, but the reality was that it made it a lot harder to keep the rest of the probes aligned. After a while, I got rid of the two extras and went back to a five-probe scan pattern. Once I did that I was able to scan it down in just a couple of tries. There are times when simpler really is better.

Before I found this little three million ISK treasure trove, though, I’d done another run through my assets and discovered that I own not one, but three Thoraxes. Since two of them are out in 0.0 where I’ll almost certainly never see them again, I decided to go get the one I had in high-sec, just a quick thirteen jumps from where I was.

I flew the Magnate out there, stripped it down, threw the parts in the Thorax’s cargo hold and headed back to where I’ve been exploring. Once back at my current staging station, I refitted one of the Thorax’s high slots with my Core Probe Launcher I, stuck a Codebreaker I in one of the mid slots, loaded up with ammo and probes, and off I went.

Once I’d successfully scanned down the radar site, I flew the Thorax in, took out the few guards there, and hacked and looted the containers and wrecks, all without having to go back and get the Myrm to finish the job. I like.

Hell of a way to make a living, but a lot easier than running missions, that’s for sure.

Friday, July 23, 2010


So today I went out and scanned down several more cosmic signatures, bookmarked some anomalies to go check out with the Myrm later, and found one radar site which brought me a few million in loot after I went in with the Myrm and took care of the NPCs. Not bad for an afternoon.

I’ve decided that I need to upgrade the ship I use to do my system-to-system exploring in. The Magnate I got for finishing the exploration course just ain’t cutting it and it’s not like I can’t afford it, so I think that’s going to be my next in-game project. Hmmm, I think I may just happen to have a spare Thorax lying around here somewhere…

Out of game, I realized the other day that I still haven’t read “The Burning Life” so I think I’m going to get that for my Kindle after I’m done with the Star Trek novel I’m reading now. Yes, when I jump back into this game, it’s generally with both feet.

And hey it’s nice to see CCP finally taking an interest in updating its fan site page. I like the idea of EVE Gate/Spacebook too. I used it to send a message to someone in-game the other night just to try it out and it seems to work pretty well. The one thing they’re going to have to be careful about is information control, who can see what, etc. I can see a real concern with EVE Gate being players wondering if their information is secure enough to have it in there and not have to worry if the right people are able to see it. Not everyone wants a site where anyone can go and see where they’re currently located and other vital information they may or may not want to share.

Oh yeah, and I when I went into that radar site, I found myself up against a pretty fair amount of Guristas but my Myrm handled them pretty easily. Damn, I love that thing.

It’s really amazing how easily it all comes back. I was a bit concerned that I’d forget to do something or massively screw up in some other way in combat and cost myself my battlecruiser, but no…at least, not yet. This site had by far the most enemies I’ve faced since coming back to the game, but I just fell into that rhythm you get into when you’re being attacked by NPCs. You know what I mean, that “…lock, lock, lock, lock, lock, approach, engage drones, orbit, engage, approach next target, lock new target, engage drones, orbit, engage, approach next target…” thing you get into when you don’t really have time to think or do anything other than keep up with the masses of incoming enemies.

The short version is I’m having a pretty good time with exploration so far, and its getting progressively better as I continue to train up the relevant skills. I don’t know how long I’ll be doing it for or how often in the future, but right now I’m having a blast so who knows?

Until next time, fly safe.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

This Ain't So Bad

I went out and did some more exploring today. Most of my attempts were pretty fruitless, except for one.

I managed to scan down a radar signature, but this time I remembered to bookmark it and then came back with my Myrm. I took out the couple of guards and then brought my Magnate back in to codebreak the containers and collect the loot. I scored about 15 million ISK for that little adventure, not too shabby.

I just can't escape it. I'm having a blast with EVE all over again. Earlier today I officially reactivated my account because I already know that whether I do it today or tomorrow, I'm gonna do it. One day, I'll learn.

In the meantime, I'm liking the income from exploration so far, and it's fun. I think I'm going to do a little more tonight. I'm enjoying it, but I clearly still need more practice before I can consider myself proficient.

See ya out there.

Space, The Final Frontier

A couple of nights ago, I finished the exploration career intro missions with my newly-created alt, but instead of taking her out for a spin, I decided to log in as Bekka Jae and see how feasible it would be to have her do the training as well.

Of course the last place I played as Bekka was out in the wilds of 0.0, and I quickly discovered that the corp I used to belong to had moved on and I was in what is now a hostile station. It was a slightly expensive if not difficult decision to leave all the ships and other stuff I had in that station behind to clone jump out of there and back into high-sec.

Once back in high-sec, I called up my Assets window and took a quick inventory. Aside from the realization that I'll probably never want for a Velator as I seem to have dozens of them scattered all over known space, I also discovered a few interesting things I had just lying around and gathering dust, such as a Tech II tricked out, combat and mission-ready Myrmidon. In all honesty, it had been so long since I'd used it that I'd forgotten I had it. I'd been running missions with it before I moved to 0.0 and I'd left it there, ready to fly, as a "just in case I need it one day" thing. Apparently, a smart move on my part.

As nice as it is to find myself in possession of a fully-fit and combat-ready battlecruiser, it's even better because it happens to fit perfectly with another decision I made the other night. Over the last couple of days, I completed the exploration career path missions with Bekka Jae. For some reason, even though Bekka is Gallente I was directed to an Amarr agent out in Kor-Azor and ended up flying a Tormentor (or "The Cosmic Shrimp" as I like to call it) to complete the missions.

Once I was done with that, I got my first refresher lesson in why you can't just go out there and play EVE like you do other games. I started scanning down cosmic signatures in systems near where my Myrm is, knowing that if I ran into something I couldn't handle in my Magnate, which I'd been given after completing the exploration course, I could always come back with the Myrm and (theoretically) deal with it. I did scan down and check out a few wormholes, but aside from one that lead to a system in the far reaches of Amarr space, all of these led to unclaimable void areas of 0.0. Since there was nothing in those places really worth investigating as far as I could tell, I'd jump back through after just a short time and move on.

Mainly, it was practice for what I want to do in EVE for a while, explore. Late last night, on my last scanning attempt before bed, I scanned down my first actual radar site. When I went in, I found pirates there and instinctively warped out immediately, knowing I had nothing on the ship I was in to defend myself with, but I forgot to bookmark the location before I left, nor did I take the time to see what kind of ships I was dealing with. Also, I realized that I hadn't yet installed a codebreaker so there was pretty much no way I'd get anything useful out of that site other than location and enemy force information until I did.

When I got back to my staging station, I bought what I needed and realized that I needed to train a prerequisite skill before even installing the codebreaker. I took the half hour to do this, then I went out signal hunting again. After successfully scanning down another wormhole that led to the void, I decided to pack it in for the night.

Exploration is hard and often frustrating, but it's also a lot of fun. I'll be jumping in a little later to do a little more. Should be interesting...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Damn, That Was Fast

It happens every time.

Whenever I've gotten bored with the games I've been playing, I eventually end up dropping by the EVE website just to catch up a bit on what's going on with the game. I've made it a point to never stay very long, knowing that if I did I'd find myself nostalgic for an experience which real life just wouldn't allow me to take the time to enjoy. Still, I couldn't help dropping by now and when, just to keep semi-updated.

After a few of these occasional visits, one of those "Come Back..." emails inevitably arrives and I end up taking the offer. It's just for a quick look to see how the game's changed since I left, I tell myself each time I click on the link and reactivate my account once again, thereby rationalizing to myself the start of what I already know is coming. I download the client once again, knowing that there's only one possible way this will end.

Within an hour, maybe two at most, it's like I never left. It all comes back pretty easily, and after a while I find myself as immersed in this game as I've ever been. I've tried blogging about other games, but none of them have ever fired my interest as a player or writer like EVE has.

This blog has been in existence since early 2007, soon after I began playing for the first time, and I've kept it current during the times I've been a player. For me, blogging has become an integral part of the EVE experience, almost as much as actually playing the game. It's not a coincidence that I've already got two new blog posts up and I haven't even converted the five-day trial back into a full subscription yet.

One day I'll learn. This is my game. When one way of playing it isn't working, there are plenty of alternatives. I've decided it's time to explore another one, and I'll talk about that in my next post.

So yeah, I'm back. More to come.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

I'm Baaack...Sorta

So I got one of those "Come Back For Five Days Free" emails about a few weeks ago. Usually I just hit the delete key and move on, but this time I paused.

I left EvE back in January because there was just too much going on in my life to devote enough time to the game to make it worthwhile. I'd made it to 0.0 and then discovered that there really wasn't a whole lot to do out there for someone who had trouble making appointment gameplay sessions. To exacerbate matters, a few of my non-gaming-related articles had been picked up by major media at the same time, requiring me to devote virtually every free moment to capitalizing on that for several weeks.

I didn't want to give up MMO gaming, but I did want a game that fit into my life better and I thought I'd found it in Star Trek Online. I bought a lifetime subscription and spent the first couple of months completely engrossed in the game when I had the time for it. Most of the early content was soloable and many missions could be completed in just an hour or two. For that period of time, STO was pretty close to perfect in terms of fitting into my life, as I'd expected it would be. Then, things changed.

Once I maxed out my rank (level), it quickly became clear that most of the higher-end content was going to be a team-up affair. That wasn't necessarily a problem in and of itself, but when I tried grouping with players I didn't know to do missions in STO, I'd never manage to finish any of them because my teammates would always become bored or get a better offer and bail out on the mission long before the end, often leaving me alone to face fairly instantaneous death in the middle of an intense firefight I could not possibly win by myself.

When I wasn't being left alone to die it was because there weren't enough available players to form a team in the first place. During first several weeks of STO, the spaceways of Alpha Quadrant were pretty crowded and it was easy to find teammates, but those numbers seem to have decreased significantly in recent weeks and now when I go in there's rarely even half the apparent numbers of players on as there were during those first few heady weeks of the game.

Over the last couple of months, I've entered the game maybe a total of six or seven times, just to see what updates have brought or if there's any new soloable missions that might be worth trying. Each time, it's been same: Sparse numbers of players in the sectors and stations, often fruitlessly trying to create teams to take on multiplayer missions. After a few minutes of this, I get bored and start looking for something else to do.

And you know, that's really my core problem with Star Trek Online. I just don't care anymore, not in the way I did in those first few weeks. Even though I know that as a lifer I can play STO whenever I feel the urge as long as the game exists, I'm just not really all that motivated to play. And so, I've been looking for something new.

I've done single-player games. I finished Borderlands (but got screwed by D2D by ordering one of the DLC's which has faulty serial verification and can't be unlocked so no more of that) and I'm currently making my way through Far Cry 2.

I've tried other MMO's. I bought APB, which is a shitload of fun, but really just a glorified version of "Cops and Robbers". I'm sure I'll use up the 50 hours of game time that comes with the software purchase, but there's just not enough real meat there for me to see it as a long-term solution. I joined the beta of free-to-play LotRO, too. It's a decent enough game, but as I'm not a huge fan of the genre just in general there's really not a whole lot for me there long-term either. Add to that the annoying way these "free-to-play" games nickel-and-dime you to death in order to make money and I just don't see myself getting into LotRO enough to bother shelling out actual money or continue with it past the beta.

And then a few weeks ago, the "Come Back..." email from EvE showed up. I didn't do anything at the time, neither clicking on the link to reactivate my account nor deleting it. At that time, I still wasn't ready to consider returning to EvE, but I knew it would be smart to keep it open as an option so when a second email from CCP arrived about a week ago reminding me that it wasn't too late to reactivate for five days free, I saved that one too.

Last night, after I'd spent a few hours trying out LotRO and had come to the conclusion that it's just not what I'm looking for over the long haul, I remembered those CCP emails and dug out the most recent one. I didn't do anything right away, mind you, I just stared at it, wondering if I really wanted to insert myself back into a game that I'd already had to extract myself from twice because it proved to be too intense and time-consuming.

Things are different now, though. The wave of interest in my writing has ebbed for the moment, and while of course I hope that will change in time, that and the economy have conspired to provide me with substantially more free time now than I've had in a while. Much of that extra time is devoted to promoting my work and creating more of it, but I still find myself looking to fill some of that extra time with a game I can really sink my teeth into. For me, there's only one game that has really fit that bill in all of the time I've been an MMO player.

EvE is the only game that's managed to draw me in and keep me in over the long haul. Nothing else has even come close. It's the MMO I understand the best, even though there are aspects of the game which I really don't understand at all and probably never will. There's always something new for me in EvE, always something I've never tried or somewhere I've never been, and it matters to me in a way that other games never have. I'm willing to devote a level of time and attention to it that no other game has inspired me to.

In reference to the title above, whether I'm back to stay or just for a visit will depend on a lot of things, not the least of which is how my schedule plays out over the upcoming months. Also, I've decided that if I am going to re-enter EvE, I'm not going to make the same mistake I did last time. For me, war and battle is a lot of fun, but exploration is even more fun, and probably more consistent with my RL lifestyle. War is by it's nature a team event that must be coordinated and executed in concert with others, while many aspects of exploration can be done solo, even though in order to really profit from it will likely require a team effort to effectively plunder any riches you find if nothing else.

I've created a new alt and I've set her upon the exploration career path. This is really little more than an experiment at this point, just to see if I like it. So far I've yet to successfully scan down my first cosmic signature (though I have pegged a few anomalies), but I'll be jumping in later today to try again, after I do a little more research.

If I decide I do like exploration (and even if not), I'll then have some choices to make: Do I like it enough to resubscribe to EvE and try to get back into it long-term? Do I do this path with my newly-created character basically from scratch, or do I go retrieve my far more established and skilled Bekka Jae toon from 0.0 to take on this new venture?

On the one hand, I must admit I'm enjoying taking the beginner route again. I finished the tutorial last night, downloaded and set up EvEMon for the alt, and basically got her ready to go out there and take on New Eden (once she learns how to reliably scan down a cosmic signature, of course).

On the other hand, I'm also very much aware that I'd be giving up a lot by going with the new alt. I have literally over a year's worth of skill training invested in Bekka Jae as well as a fair amount of property and it seems a shame to willingly give all that up. It's also the toon name that's linked to this blog and I've enjoyed encountering people in-game who read and enjoy it and recognize me in-game. For me, that's part of the fun of blogging about EvE.

So, I guess we'll see. Obviously, I'm leaning toward returning but I think I'll take advantage of the full five days to think about it, and of course, to figure out how to position those damned probes correctly.

Until next time, fly safe.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

My New STO Blog

For those who are interested, I've started a new Star Trek Online Blog, which can be found here. It was an interesting open beta, and STO is a game with a lot of promise. Please join me there if you have an interest!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Life = Head + Brick Wall

I tried, I really did, but it's just not gonna work.

As much as I love EvE, my life continues to get more, not less, busy. Another of my articles was picked up, this time by a media outlet that's outside of my usual circles and readership. As a writer, this is a pretty big deal for me and something I'm hoping will pay real dividends in the future if it continues. As a gamer, it means I'm going to have even less time to play than I have over the last month or so. It's not the game that's the problem, it's the time commitment and the fact that in order to do anything in EvE right now I need fellow corpmates to be around when I can play. Since my schedule is currently as fucked up as it is with not only no end currently in sight, but likely to get even busier as times goes on, I've made the decision to leave the game, again, this time probably for good or at least for the foreseeable future.

I feel like shit having to do this. I was just really starting to get back into it again when all this jumped off, cool new corp and corpies, new areas of 0.0, all that. I was excited to begin seeing all the parts of New Eden I hadn't gotten a chance to see before. Now, because as always the concerns of real life must trump gaming life (at least for most of us who are, in fact, stable and relatively sane), I find myself forced to leave EvE not because I don't love and enjoy playing it, but simply because it just doesn't comfortably fit into my life as it is right now.

I came to this realization a few days ago, when I'd come to understand that in the immediate future my RL workload will be such that I'm not going to be able to log in reliably on any sort of regular schedule that will likely allow me to be on when most or perhaps even any of my corpmates will be available. These days, most of my gaming takes place in the wee hours of the morning...that is, when I have a chance to play at all.

Given all this, it just doesn't make sense to keep paying for a subscription to a game that I can't find time to play 90% of the time, and it's not fair to my corpmates who are on far more often than I am and should be able to expect me to contribute on a regular basis as well.

Ok, now I'm gonna hit you with the second part of this decision: I'm leaving EvE, but I'm not leaving MMO's entirely. I'm going to be playing Star Trek Online, at least for now. The reason is that because STO is mission-based I can log in pretty much whenever I have time, go do a mission or two, and then log out. The teams form automatically so I don't have to worry about making sure corpies are in-game (it's amazing how many players are logged in and doing STO missions at 4am eastern time, even in beta...this game is gonna be frakking huge!).

And one thing I will admit as far as gameplay goes: I like the space combat in STO better than EvE. It has more of a hands-on, arcade-style feel to it, and that works for me. It definitely still needs some work (STO is still in beta, after all), but I just find it more engaging and easier to master.

Despite that, though, the key reason I'm leaving EvE is the time factor. If I had the time, I'd likely subscribe to and play both games, but I barely have time to play one game right now, much less two.

What really annoys me is that I've tried to log into EvE for the last two days but couldn't, even though my account indicates that my access will be suspended as of tomorrow. The reason it's important is because just before things got crazy my corp CEO gave me a pile of ISK to buy stuff, and I wanted to return that to him. It's not fair that I should just bail out and cost the corp money as a result. I tried twice to log in over the last couple of days with no success. The first time, the game just locked up on me and I could log in but it never actually started the game so I could access anything, it just hung endlessly right before that point. When I tried again today, my login credentials no longer work. That sux...another reason I feel like a jerk. Now there's no way I can give the ISK back unless I get one of those come back free for five days offers from CCP.


Report From The Final Frontier:

Let's state the obvious right up front: Star Trek Online is a shitload of fun. There are still more than a few bugs to be squashed, but I'm having as much fun with this game as I've ever had in EvE. It's far from perfect, and nowhere near as polished as EvE, but as long as I keep telling myself "It's beta, it's beta.." I can deal with it because I haven't run into any truly game-breaking-level bugs as yet.

The combat targeting system desperately needs to be refined. Right now you can't target a ship that's not actually on-screen, even if it's right behind you and pelting you with torpedoes. The extra time it takes to swing your camera around so you can target the attacking ship can often spell the difference between success and failure in combat, especially when you're dealing with a battleship or something significant, but need to take out their much faster but less powerful escorts first.

While certainly classic and expected problems for any game in beta, server overload and lag are also major problems right now. There are times when simply being able to log into STO seems to require a level of luck akin to winning the lottery. Once logged in, it's common to find lag-related issues such as beaming down to a starbase as a ship instead of your human form or vice-versa and having to wait a little while until the server catches up and transforms you to your proper form. These issues really don't bother me all that much at this stage, though they certainly are annoying to deal with. It's only when we're paying for the right to play that I feel players have a right to complain about this kind of thing. Once I'm playing on my own dime, though, I expect I'll be far less forgiving on that score.

It's obvious that Cryptic took great care with the game lore to make it interesting and in synch with established Star Trek canon. The graphics are amazing and truly convey the feeling of being part of an episode of Star Trek. It makes me happy as a Star Trek fan and it makes me happy as a gamer. If Cryptic keeps the game at this level of quality and attractiveness to ST fans, I still believe that this game, more than just about any I've seen released or heard of in development, could actually rise to the level of WoW-killer or close to it.

Not that I think STO could put WoW out of business, mind you, but I do think we could easily see this game rise to a comparable number of subscribers. Speaking as one myself, I say do not underestimate the Trekkie factor. I expect that many people who have never played or cared about MMOs before will sign up for this game in droves just because it's Star Trek. That's the one thing that games like EvE and WoW, as good as they may be, will never be able to match STO in, a set of long-established lore presented in a variety of different media that's so beloved by so many that it actually has a life of its own and the game will gain many players who just love the Star Trek experience no matter what type of media it's presented in.

Is STO an EvE-killer? I doubt it, but I bet it puts a dent in their subscriber totals. Time will tell I suppose, but mark my words, STO is going to be a major player in MMO gaming.

And Now We Say...Goodbye?

Well, yes and no. Yes, I'm saying goodbye to EvE, at least for the foreseeable future, but that doesn't mean I'm saying goodbye to blogging (if you're interested in what I write away from the game, at least some of it, you can find many of my non-gaming articles here).

I'm considering a number of options:

1. Turning this blog into an STO blog.

2. Dropping this one and starting an entirely new STO blog.

3. Starting to post regularly on STO at MMORPG.com or a similar site.

4. Giving myself a break from blogging on gaming altogether until my life calms down a little.

At this point, I honestly don't know what I'm going to do, but suggestions are welcome. Post your thoughts in the comments, I'll see 'em.

This isn't a choice I've made easily or happily. It's a choice I've made because the responsibilities of my real life demand it, and there's no other way to make it work.

If you're in STO, you can look me up and maybe we can fly together sometime. I go by my original MMO name, the one I originally created when I first started playing EvE a few years ago, Bekka Jai (note the spelling). I like the name (it's a kind of "sci-fi-ification" of my real name), and so I'm reviving it in STO as a tribute to the first MMO I ever fell in love with. As far as the blog goes, I'll see what readers have to say on what they'd like to see and what my schedule will allow, and then I'll make a decision.

To all of you who have been reading this blog and sharing it with others, thank you. You have honored me with your readership and attention. I hope you'll share your thoughts on what path I should take on my future MMO/gaming blogging, and I hope you'll join me if and when I begin blogging about STO.

To all the friends I've made during my time in EvE, thanks for being there. I'll miss you as much as the game itself, so please let's look to find each other again in whatever universes we play in in the future. It's you folks that make EvE not just another video game, but a truly special and wonderful place to spend some time. Thank you so very much for that.

And now, for perhaps the last time ever, I'll say it just once more as I warp off into the sunset:

Fly Safe,

Bekka Jai

Saturday, January 9, 2010

More From the Void

No, I'm not dead, but my life is just insane right now.

Instead of calming down as I expected, things have heated up like never before. There's just been no way to think about anything else for the last few weeks. I haven't even had the time (or needed access) to change skills. Now, it looks like I may finally get a weekend to myself for the first time in a while.

Eve time, right? Um, well, no. Y'see, I have this Star Trek Online closed beta key I just got and, well, seems like kind of a shame to, um...oh who the fuck am I kidding? I can't wait to see what STO looks like! Eve can totally wait a while, this is new, it's exciting, and above all, it's Star Trek! I need to see what this is all about. I'm sure the gods of New Eden will forgive me.

Right now, I have the time to sit here and write because it's taking a while for STO to patch, going on a couple of hours of downloading and it's only about half-done. Oh well...I'm from a generation that's used to waiting on line. I waited six hours on line in the rain just to see my favorite band, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, and that was just a couple of years ago. Of course, that may not be the best example because there's a lot I'd put up with to be front row center for Joan Jett.

Compared to that, this is a cakewalk, sitting here in my comfy chair, waiting for STO to finish patching so I can log in. Is this what all those people who signed up for AION felt like?

Sad thing is, come Monday it may all start all over again, right now I have no clue. Tonight, though, we explore the Federation.

"Space, the Final Frontier..."