Tuesday, December 3, 2013

What is Fun in Eve Online?

I'm not dead yet! I've been semi-AFK again because of some serious malaise. Real life factors and hitting a rut in EVE have really taken the steam out of my desire to play EVE. I have been building some carriers and a few other items as well as some low level trading. My trading has pretty much stopped after I lost my access to regular JF runs. The guy that owns the JF had RL hit him like a truck and hasn't been playing. I used Black Frog for another run, but paying that much for transportation caused me to need to raise prices quite a bit to compensate. Plus I seem to have some under-cutters right now. When I could be pretty sure of a constant (albeit low) margin and good volume, the time I spent maintaining the market seemed well spent. Now it doesn't really seem worth it. But, that's not what I want to talk about today.

I recently read the Brave Newbies Community Spotlight on the Eve Online website. I got there by way of Jester's post in response to the newest blog banter. I realize I'm a bit late to jump on that bandwagon, but that's ok, because I'm not actually jumping on it. I don't really care about the blog banter. In this post, I'm concerned about what makes EVE fun? Why do I keep logging in?


This is what keeps bringing me back. If I take a break and come back a year from now I still have 5 T1 cruisers, 2 Logistics cruisers, a carrier, etc (these are completely hypothetical). Sure the meta changes and some ships may be re-purposed/re-balanced, but I will still have roughly the same utility as I did. If you take a year off of wow, your gear is completely worthless in comparison to your competition and you may be several levels behind if an expansion has dropped. You can undock and pew pew immediately with more or less what you had before. I have all of the ISK I had when I quit. Granted, there is inflation, but if you buy assets and hold them you can offset this, at least partially. PLEX would probably be a good choice for this. This is what appeals the most to me and why I bother with industry or trading. Every ISK I make, I can keep. The market is real and player run, I can change what happens. The effects of my change could possibly be felt weeks or months after I stop interacting.


To me, what makes the game fun is the fights. 1v1 or in a fleet. Fights are what I will remember. I will have kill-mails to document them. I can look back at my kill-board and say "Oh, that's the time I went on a roam with Kaeda Maxwell and tanked my security status." Not fighting does not leave a mark. To me, the selection of a corporation hinges on where they live and who they fight. If I like the descriptions of their fights I will probably like their corporation. How the members work together and how they approach battle is a good indicator of what makes them tick as a group. Mining ops don't usually attract new members (unless you are a miner). Mining ops are pretty much a commodity. If you have Orca boosts in a decent location, you can exchange that for Orca boosts in another location. The only differentiator is the social aspect. Maybe a group's comms is really entertaining. Or not. It's hard to tell. Its hard to write a compelling story about bullshitting over some rock crunching.

TL;DR: Fights are what makes the game fun, but permanence is what keeps me coming back.

Monday, September 23, 2013



Has Taken My Sight
Taken My Speech
Taken My Hearing
Taken My Arms
Taken My Legs
Taken My Soul
Left Me with Life in Hell

--"One" by Metallica

One of the things I was thinking about the other day was features that seem to have been removed from EVE. I'm not sure if they are or aren't for sure, but one of the quickest ways to get information is to make a statement on the internet, because someone will correct you.

Which makes me think of this.

The features that I think have been removed:

  • Custom "Orbit" and "Keep at Range" distances by ship class / size. If I recall correctly, this was by size, so a T2 cruiser would have the same orbit as a T1 cruiser but not the same as, say, a destroyer.
  • Automatic drone retrieval. When the warp command was issued, drones were automatically recalled. As long as the drones could get back to you before you aligned and warped off, your drones were safe. I found mentions of this as early as January 5th, 2009.
Let me know what you think! If I missed anything, put it in the blog comments and I'll update this post.

Whither Anoikis?

So, there is the recent trend that I have noticed, that is really bugging me. It is calling Wormhole space Anoikis? When did this start? I have been playing EVE since wormholes were introduced and its only since some time in 2013 that I have seen this term. Even CCP uses it in the recent Dev Blog highlighting Tiger Ears' Blog (one of my favorite ones). It is a word that I just don't like. It just doesn't roll off of the tongue at all. At least not mine. It wasn't used at all in Templar One. It just seems to me after all this time of calling wormhole space a number of terms that aren't Anoikis, this strikes me as a bit of an affectation. Oh well, that's enough for that rant.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Through the Looking Glass

Eve Online: Art in Motion (courtesy of  Eve Online Pictures)

Who can see the future?

I've been doing a bit of thinking about the future of EVE. About the game itself and my future in it. I wrote a brief reaction to Poetic Stanizel's quitting post and I just read Drackarn's take on Poe's post. I have to say I agree with him for the most part. There are some dissenters to Poe's view and some in agreement. I think James 315 had a well thought out analysis of the Eve Online Terms of Service (TOS) change. We need to think very carefully about the goal here, the desired endgame. And by we, I mostly mean CCP. We as players in general and the CSM in particular can make our opinion known, and attempt to influence CCP, but lets face it, we are not making the design decisions here. We provide the content, for the most part (more correctly, we are the content), but can not control the framework we operate in. We can opt out, we can rattle the bars of our cage a bit, but we can't stroll in to the Executive Producer's office and start giving orders. Who is CCP trying to attract? Theme parkers? Lets face it, there hasn't been much fresh new content added recently to make anyone want to resubscribe. In general, they have been making some good changes that improved our quality of life a bit and introduced some new "metas" (what ships we fly and how they are equipped), but the game is basically the same. The new content isn't really that compelling. Here is a post by a newer player describing his experience with the new exploration mini-game. I agree with almost all of what he wrote. Walking in station is a bust. Why was it so hard? Earth and Beyond did it in 2001.

What is good in EVE?

To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women... Oh wait, I'm thinking of something else.

What can I get in Eve Online that I cannot get anywhere else? Single shard MMO. Space combat simulator with consequences. Rich marketplace and economy. Player-driven content. Sandbox. No victory condition other than goals you set for yourself. No "gear treadmill" (the reason I quit World of Warcraft). By the last thing, I mean that there is minimal power creep (I'm not saying there is none, Titans, anyone?). I trained T1 frigates skills in 2009, I can still use a hull I bought back then to shoot stuff with. All of our existing ships are not relegated to the to the same level of usefulness of the rookie ships every six months. 

Basically, the game works because you can do whatever you want (fight, build, trade,etc), but all of your actions have meaning and consequences. If I have an accomplishment today it will be with me in a month or a year. Even if my brand spanking new faction battleship that I earned dies in a gate camp it was still something I had and I can lose it if I am not careful. There is risk in every thing you do. The things you do matters. To me that is what makes me spend the hours on this game instead of another game. It's something I have control of, that I can change.

This is where it falls apart

There has been a movement to dumb down the game, I feel, in recent years. Some of the changes were needed, because there were some really dumb game mechanics that were really confusing. CCPs document on how the old crime watch system worked was over 50 pages, if I recall correctly. So, some things come and some things go. I am just worried that the player base perceives that the atmosphere caters more to the care bear and theme park MMO crowd. Because that will make the veterans quit. EVE used to have much more of a "wild west" atmosphere than it does now. Or at least that is the perception. My fear is that in order to attract new blood, they will drive out the old players. This is not sustainable. This is what happened to WOW (the result, not the cause). To some degree it must happen, because not everyone is going to play your game for 10+ years. So there is always going to be an influx of eager rookies and a retirement of bitter vets. But you should not make that your business plan, to replace your current loyal, paying customers with theoretical people that have not even heard of your game yet, even though it is probably the only MMO that has a stable player base after 10 years.

To survive CCP must add new content, new things to do, without destroying the "flavor" of EVE. There is a reason that McDonalds still sells the Big Mac, even though many other burgers have come and gone since the Big Mac was introduced. Its the special sauce.

Part of that special sauce is CCP's relationship with their customers. Most other developers do not have that kind of relationship with their customer. It has been rocky at times, but it is close. How many other games have an equivalent of the Council for Stellar Management (CSM)? How many other games can get hundreds (if not thousands) of fans to fly to Iceland once a year to meet other players and hear news about the game, ten years after it was released?

They need to keep it fresh and they need to communicate with us to continue being successful  They really need to be honest about Dust 514. I'm really not sure what is going to happen there. I want to like it, but its pretty weak in many ways, compared to its competitors in the AAA console FPS market. Whenever I play Planetside 2, I am wishing that Dust was like that. If it isn't going to make money they need to pull the plug. 

Also, vampires. CCP has been teasing the public with the World of Darkness game that they have been dangling in front of us for a while. I really think that needs to happen. I think there is an audience for it built in, and that it could find a much wider audience if executed correctly. They need to figure out how to make that and get it made. Maybe start with not trying to reinvent the wheel every time they do something. There are plenty of game engines and development tools out there. Use them. With the game market the way it is right now, making your own development tools from scratch is like trying to use Kickstarter to start a car company to make cars that compete with the Toyota Camry or the Ford F-150. Not gonna happen. Just, no.

I hope they can do it, I really do. If they can't I'm going to have a lot more free time in the future. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Sharp Dressed Man

Top coat, top hat,
I don't worry coz my wallet's fat. 
Black shades, white gloves, 
lookin' sharp and lookin' for love. 
They come runnin' just as fast as they can 
coz every girl grazy 'bout a sharp dressed man. 

-Sharp Dressed Man, ZZ Top

This is entry for Blog Banter #49: Rich. To be quite honest, I have never been super interested in writing a Blog Banter. I usually read them, but never was very tempted to write one. But, this topic is something that I think about a lot.

What is rich in EVE Online? Is it trillions like Mynna? Is it maybe a little less, like Parasoja? Gevlon Goblin? Lets face it, these guys have more ISK than they know what to do with. While they may be the One Percent-ers, my definition of rich in this game is a little more humble.

It is not having to worry about ISK. It means having enough ISK sitting around to replace all your losses, as well as letting you do what you want. By that I mean, if you want to buy a well fit Machariel to run some mission or DED plexes you just do it. You don't have to save, or upgrade incrementally, you just log on your Jita alt, buy and ship.

I don't just define it as the size of your bank account. I have pretty much enough ISK to do anything I want (barring super caps), but what holds me back most often is income. I still haven't gotten a handle on a steady, enjoyable income stream, so I am hesitant to spend much money, because if I do, I will eventually run out. And that is not good. Basically, to be rich in this game to me means having enough ISK on hand to meet your immediate and near future needs, as well as a solid enough income stream to keep up with your expenditures. If you lose 1B ISK of ships in a month, then your income needs to be 1B ISK/month to keep up with your play style.

I've tried almost every way to make money in this game, but I haven't really stuck with a method that I like that makes good money. Maybe I will eventually, I've only been playing for four and a half years (not counting my 2004 and 2007 flirtations with EVE).

Friday, September 13, 2013

We're not gonna take it!

Twisted Sister - We're Not Gonna Take It (Official Video)

So, I've been reading Poetic Stan's posts on CCP's handling of the reaction to the TOS change. I've been (very loosely) following this on the forums, too. I'm not happy. CCP locked the first thread when things started to get out of hand. That thread did not reach Mintchip -gate levels folks. I don't understand why they do that. There is nothign stopping players from creating another thread, which they did. This is poor community relations management. I'm also not happy that the executives in charge of this decision to change the TOS are throwing the GMs to the lions. Lets be real, the GMs aren't rewriting the TOS, that's executives and their legal team. This whole thing is turning into monocle-gate all over again. And you know what?

Let it.

Let's show CCP we aren't dumb. Their insistence that this was always the policy is false. I understand there was a naming policy out there, that is true, but it was pretty much never enforced. If it was enforced, the worst thing that would happen to you is you had to pick a new character name. NBD.

The new policy could completely outlaw many forms of scamming and emergent game play. It can be enforced with bans. This is the difference between tapping someone politely on the shoulder and asking them to maybe keep it down a bit and smashing them in the face with a hammer.

What do?

Show CCP that we won't tolerate being treated like idiots. It blows my mind that they want to replace a loyal, subscription-paying customer base, with some hypothetical people out there that may have been turned off by EVE's reputation. Because that is where this is headed. Make all of the community leaders quit in disgust and EVE will suffer a mass exodus. Who will fill the void once those existing social connections are broken. EVE is an addicting game. But it's not a very good game. I feel bad introducing it to other people, because it's such a pain in the ass. What makes EVE great is the players.

So we need to show CCP that we won't take this lying down. First of all, I suggest a petition blizzard. Petition the ever-loving f$@k out of everything. Petition every player with the game suggested surname, because they could be confused with other players with the same surname. Petition every James 315, Mittani, Chribba, Entity impersonator. Petition anyone who talks in local. Once CCP has about a 5 year backlog of petitions maybe they will listen.

If all else fails, shoot the damn Jita Monument.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Wherever I May Roam

And the road becomes my bride
I have stripped of all but pride
So in her I do confide
And she keeps me satisfied
Gives me all I need
And with dust in throat I crave
Only knowledge will I save
To the game you stay a slave
Roamer, wanderer
Nomad, vagabond
Call me what you will
-- Wherever I May Roam, Metallica

So, I recently wrote a post about Low Sec, but I left it partially written. Unfortunately, I sort of forgot about that, edited it, and hit "Publish". I wrote a few things about the good and the bad of low security space, but I didn't share any of my ideas about how to make it better.

Typical Low Security Space: Nothing to see here, move along...

As I roam around low sec, my thoughts often flow along the lines of "there is nothing here". Some pirate groups which have hunted what little prey there is mostly to extinction. A few FW plexers that will do anything not to PVP with another player. Some roamers that will only take fights when their (largish) small gang dramatically outnumbers and outclasses (ie. having more support than) any opposition. Don't even get me started on gate campers.

Low sec still needs the "killer app". Something that will bring more people there. There are a few good moons, but that mostly just brings large entities with lots of friends. There is exploration, but its not a very big draw. There are a few DED complexes, but they are rarely run. There is FW, but it mostly draws cloaked, stabbed T1 frigs. 

One idea I had was expand on the idea of what makes low security space low security? The empires nominally own it, but they don't really control it. They just take note of your misdeeds (well, at least Concord does). Enter pirate factions into Faction Warfare. Have empire nations do "incursions" into low sec. Get rid of people with people orbiting buttons. Make them really destroy some ships. Make it so when people warp into your plex, you want to fight them (ie. the reward for doing so is high enough to make you evaluate your chances of winning instead of just warping off). Right now there is no penalty for leaving a plex. Make it a BIG penalty, like it counts down at 10x speed or resets entirely when you warp out.  It would be really sweet to do the Serpentis' dirty work and earn Vindicator and Vigilant BPCs without having to go to null sec.

The problem with low sec is there just really isn't a reason to be there for a lot of people. It's risky, but not much potential for reward exists. Make it so the "Big Leagues" are in low sec and high sec is the "minors". 

I know I was pretty much rambling, but my point is CCP should re-purpose some of the existing content and mechanisms to put some more life in to low sec. Keep sweetening the pot until it draws more and more players. If Malcanis' law kicks in too hard then back off a little bit (what I mean by this if large null sec alliances abandon null sec for the land of fruit and honey then you probably opened the ISK faucet a bit too much). I would like CCP to put stuff in space for people to fight over. Right now I almost exclusively encounter other players on gates, stations, and FW complexes (a few brave miners notwithstanding). I would love some feedback on this.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Stuck in Middle Management Hell

Peter Gibbons: The thing is, Bob, it's not that I'm lazy, it's that I just don't care. 
Bob Porter: Don't... don't care? 
Peter Gibbons: It's a problem of motivation, all right? Now if I work my ass off and Initech ships a few extra units, I don't see another dime, so where's the motivation? And here's something else, Bob: I have eight different bosses right now. 
Bob Slydell: I beg your pardon? 
Peter Gibbons: Eight bosses. 
Bob Slydell: Eight? 
Peter Gibbons: Eight, Bob. So that means that when I make a mistake, I have eight different people coming by to tell me about it. That's my only real motivation is not to be hassled, that and the fear of losing my job. But you know, Bob, that will only make someone work just hard enough not to get fired.

-- Office Space, 1999

Just listened to the Crossing Zebras interview with Lovelocke (ENL-I) and it was gratifying to see that my post about TEST was spot on.

Things Lovelocke and I agreed on:

  • AFK leadership (due to indifference or RL issues)
  • No middle management / bench strength (Middle Management Dino doesn't actually exist)
  • Toxic forums / social environment. I guess they finally got sick of the constant chorus of "Kick ENL-I"

Things I laughed at:

  • "[I] don't post on Kugu, because it is a cesspit of retards"
  • Lovelocke talking about his 30 day forum post ban. If you haven't listed to the interview you should (it's somewhere around the 42 minute point or thereabout). 
  • FWEDDIT's recruitment poster: "FWEDDIT: Like TEST but with SOV"

I think that TEST's Curse deployment plan is wayyyy better than the "let's go to the shittiest part of Aridia" plan. That was Lovelocke's recommendation and I'm happy they seem to be taking it. I actually had to restrain myself from re-applying (to TEST). This should give them a chance to catch their breath and regroup. They need to actually get some middle management and effective delegation in place and build their FC roster, while not letting their null sec survival skills atrophy.

Good luck, TEST. Also, I wish ENL-I the best in their new home (GSF). 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

TEST Alliance: Please Disband

Memoirs of a Former Middle Management Dino

I've been reluctant to speak about my time in TEST, since I was hoping to keep the door open. I no longer feel that that is necessary. TEST Alliance is a failure. Not because they got kicked from Fountain, but because they failed to achieve enough organization and leadership to stay viable. I want to put a massive disclaimer on this. This my opinion, based on my perceptions as a line grunt, who was in a TEST corp, that wasn't Dreddit. This is not intended as scholarly opinion or a journalistic piece.


This is TEST's primary failure. First of all. The alliance leader needs to participate. Montolio's reign was characterized by him "winning Eve" (not logging in). Yes, I realize that there is a lot of back-channel things that go on out of game, but for the most part, he was not involved. Same with rob3r. Yes, we got an occasional Jabber ping, and a quarterly forum post, but that is about all we got out of him. 


TEST forums were the most hostile, caustic environment I have experienced to date (other than my extremely brief stint with League of Legends . And I spent 8 years in the US Navy submarine force, so that is saying something. If you aren't in the "cool people" clique or an "adorable newbie", pretty much anything you say on the forums will be mercilessly down-voted and you will be verbally insulted. Also, they tolerated some seriously inflammatory posting from certain members. The primary intention of many of these posts was just to set new records for most number of down-votes  but if you tolerate this from some members then you should tolerate it from all of them. Which was not the case. 
Now let me caveat this, by saying I am a firm believer in free speech, even if that free speech is offensive to other. I believe that political correctness is an illogical fallacy, put forth by a delusional minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous and sensationalist mainstream media, that holds that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end. I even joined the military to protect the rights of people in my country (the US). That said, I believe it is ok for communities to not tolerate hatefulness.

Team Building

This is where TEST failed the most. They did not attract and retain talented people or build bench strength and delegate properly. Basically a small group of individuals bore most of the responsibilities and then were worked to the point of frustration until they rage quit  The "Goodbye, you guys never appreciated me, I'm joining PL" threads were regular and epic. Their FC boot camp program was horrible, because they constantly purged it. Players with limited time would get kicked before they had enough minimum roams to not get purged. Almost no other group purged as frequently as  this one. After a while I quit rejoining this group, basically every time I wanted to FC a fleet I found that I was purged from the group and no longer had access to the jabber channel to coordinate getting a fleet started. This could have been a major reason that Test has so few FCs. Basically everyone that is overworked felt unappreciated and got butt-hurt and left. It also doesn't help that PL and other major players regularly poach actual talented people. If you can't give someone a good reason to stay then they are certainly not going to ignore an opportunity to join PL.

Random Bullshit

Lack of respect.There are stories about people or groups getting kicked from the alliance and then rejoining and doing the same thing again. This demonstrates a lack of respect and unity, but it happened regularly.
Keeping people in the dark. Again there was a regular pattern of keeping the line grunts in the dark and the "elite" fully informed. When members asked "why" a certain thing was done they mercilessly got down-voted and told "because I said so."
I fully understood the need for OPSEC from my time in the Navy, been there, done that, got the Top Secret clearance. But "I told you so" isn't good enough in a video where you participate voluntarily. I'm not saying we should have space democracy or anything, but when I ask why we are doing something, you owe me an answer.

It's Not All Bad

I did enjoy my corp (Ars Ex Discordia) who were from the Ars Technica community. I have enormous respect for those guys and I had fun when I flew with them (which was not frequent). Unfortunately, the corp is mostly a bitter-vet retirement home, so they weren't as active as I would have liked. But they were good guys and the only reason I stayed in TEST as long as I did.

Life In Low Sec

Just Another Gate Camp

I recently listed to my corp-mates, Rixx Javix and Marc Scarus, have a nice chat with Xander Phoena from Crossing Zebras. I thoght I would add some thoughts on living in lowsec and having a negative security status. 

First, I agree that lowsec can be fun and that it is probably the easiest way to undock and start blazing away at someone. Ok, second easiest. The honor goes to RVB for first place in that category. Often there are fun suprises that you really tend not to see in null sec. Like, ratting orcas, or cosmetic faction ships. You get to shoot people who have no business being there and are ripe for the picking. Sometime you get to turn the tide on people that get too greedy and get lazy.

Second, it's not all champagne and roses. Income is tough to achieve from many sources. Missions could be good, but your mission boat is dangling there on dscan like a prize for piratey types, or you could lose it in a gate camp if you have to move to.another system. Exploration yields barely more than hisec, but not more than nullsec. PVP opportunities can be scarce at times. FW plexers are mostly there for the LP and not to fight (I'm not saying FW types never want to fight). It boggles my mind that CCP made the plex changes that took us from gunless active tanking Incurses (that's the plural of Incursus, isn't it?) to completely unfit ships being viable to farm LP in. I wish FW LP farmers needed the slots used by cloaks and WCS to actively do something to earn LP, rather than mindless spamming d-scan. If that was the case I would consider LP. There really isn't any incentive for these guys to fight. They don't need to win to achieve their objective LP, they just need to outlast the hunter in the chase. I have stayed in systems for 15-30 minutes warping around like a Keystone Kops episode to to try catch plexers that didn't want to be caught. They smack-talked me, saying I would never catch them and I was wasting both of our time. Well, at that time, my objective was to disrupt their slovenly, no effort LP farming. So I was succeeding. But in general they are correct. It is better for me to move on and fight someone that wants to fight than to endlessly warp around. Side note: CCP can we PLEASE let the plex timer count down or reset when the plexer warps out? They should incentivized to fly a well-fit ship and fight not run away and come back right where they left off. Other industrial or PVE activities are much worse in lowsec, due to the lack of intel networks and bubbles.

Then there is security status. The bane of the lowsec pvp'er. Also, the badge of honor. While other people having low security status is fun because you can shoot them whenever you want, its bad when you are the one with low sec status. Everyone else gets to shoot first. In a Frigate battle this can be crucial. Being an outlaw also means you are more vulnerable on gates and stations because you don't get protection from the gate guns.

Why do we keep doing it? I'm not sure. The thrill of the hunt?

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Bound For The Floor

I've recently hit a slow spot. I have gone on several solo roams where I didn't kill anything (except a few cyno ships). So I haven't had anything to blog about. The other night a corpmate mentioned he was jumping in a freighter from hisec, so I offered to bring out my trusty "Orca-pusher" Rapier and web him into warp. I did so and spotted some interesting ships on scan. By interesting I mean self-named and they guy they are named after is new. Easy prey. I whacked the limited edition Catalyst that I narrowed to a belt (he was on scan from the Ranielles gate), then found an Algos warping between sites. I saw that he was about a week old. He was on a Novice site acceleration gate and I knew he wasn't going in, I grabbed an Atron and went for him. While in warp I discovered my fit didnt work (I had recently been podded and didn't have any fitting implants in) and I only had 2 guns. I knew it would be enough. It was. Unfortunately, some dude in a Kestrel showed up and sniped my killmail and put a scram on me. I flew out of range and warped off since a 2 gun Atron doesn't have a prayer against a rocket Kestrel. 

On my next roam I was playing around with different ships in my hangar and I fit up a Thrasher. For some reason, I could not get a hold of any Small Core Defence Field Extender I rigs, so I had 2 empty rig spots. Apparently I forgot this, because I undocked and started killing stuff. It was a pretty fun roam. 

I had 2 back to back kills in Murethand. I had a nice conversation about Eve with the Venture pilot that I sent to the clone vat. He was on his third trial account and was just over a week into it. I liked his attitude so I decided to be helpful. When I asked him why he was mining in losec, replied that he just got finished the career missions and had a bunch of frigs so he told himself why not and sought out 0.3 and 0.4 security systems and went to go get in trouble. He asked how to make ISK, so I steered him in an appropriate direction. I was going to send him some ISK, but the truth is the starter missions shower you with more ISK, ships, and skillbooks than you know what to do with at that point, so giving him some welfare would probably just stunt his growth as a capsuleer. After that, I started heading back via Indregulle. There I found a Heron on D-Scan at the sun. Usually this means some noob is looking at his system map and scanning for something. This guy wasn't. He had an alt or booster scouting for him. As soon as I landed I was scrammed, so I wasn't able to pull range as planned. I got a shot or two off, but then he got so close I was missing every shot (250mm arties were fit). So I aligned to a belt and hoped for the best. Once I got to hull, I started spamming warp. Eventually I heard the little buzz sound that the client uses to let you know the agression is over, so I assumed I was in my pod. About half-way through the warp I saw that my modules were still showing. I still had my ship! I was at 77% hull, but I won. Had a nice convo with the guy as I warped back to loot and then got out of Dodge. I repaired at a nearby station and went home.

I didnt kill anything valuable, I didnt make a ton of ISK. Many of my fellow piratey types would call this a bad night. But, I had fun. That's really the important part. Its the reason I can't quit EVE. Every time I want to give up, something cool happens and I keep playing.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

June Summary

This is a brief attempt to summarize my activities for June. I really wish I was keeping track of things a lot better (detailed spreadsheets), but... effort.


A decent month overall. 33 kills (2.76B ISK), 10 losses (0.31B ISK), for 89.95% efficiency overall. About half of them were solo. It's kind of hard to tell exactly since killboards count npc damage as another person on the kill-mails. I've been focusing on flying smaller and cheaper ships. Strangely, my top killing ship was my Rapier with 5 kills, which I don't recall even flying that much. The second place was my Tristan with 4 kills. If I was to guess I would have said that the Tristan was the top killer by a significant margin, because I felt like I spent a lot of time in it. It was my go-to T1 frigate. Amusingly, I had 6 kills in "scanning ships" (Anathema, Probe, Imicus) when combined. Last month I had 4 kills in them. I don't have a good reason for doing this other than laziness and I think killmails with what are traditionally considered non-combat ships are pretty much hilarious. I would be doing battle Badgers (and Iteron Vs) like crazy if the frigate-rebalancing hadn't significantly bumped up the DPS and survivability of T1 frigates.
I need to improve on my target selection. I keep killing shit ships and losing nice ones. I don't know what else to do really, because I do not take fights that I don't think I can win. For the most part anyway, sometimes you need to fly at something and hope the pilot is not on his game. Otherwise you will never get the chance to kill shit-fit battleships with a frigate. I probably also need to expand my hunting grounds a bit. I pretty much restrict myself to the Faction Warfare (FW) systems connected in the shape of the infinity symbol on the DOTLAN Caldari / Gallente FW map. Mostly out of laziness, because I can go on a 10-system and end up in my home system without any backtracking. Hunting FW plexers is like tigers hunting scare mice or something. They almost always run, and frequently don't even bother to fit their ships.


3 Archons came out of the cooker this month. Acutally the first might have been in May. The first 2 sold and the 3rd is still on the market. I lost a small Caldari research POS, so I'm kind of out of sorts as need to put a replacement back up. I previously had a large POS, but the 400M ISK a month fuel bill got old. I will probably put a medium or large to replace it. A large pay for itself under the right circumstances, but I don't have the capital to buy any more capital component BPOs to make it do so. If I was able to make a reaction/research POS, that might actually be worth-while. I will probably sell the component BPOs to generate some cash to buy materials for more carriers. This is the area where I wish I was more careful in recording income and expenditures.


I pretty much abandoned my trade hub arbitrage and station trading project. Not consciously, but I sold everything and didn't buy more in order to liquidate my assets to jump-start my capital construction project. I did start up my company store for my compatriots in Hevrice. Right now I have about 2.2B ISK in sell orders. I am doing a little bit  better at keeping track of this, but not as much as I would like. I will continue to expand my item list and optimizing it a bit. There are some items I have listed that I'm pretty sure I sold absolutely none of in the past month. I am primarily using EVE Mentat to keep track of this. I am going to have to do some spreadsheeting to identify the slow-movers and move them to a hub to dump. This provides a steady stream of income that is continually funneled back into itself.


Nothing to speak of, except for preparations for running some Epic Arcs for the phat stacks of cash. I am considering running some more COSMOS missions, which I haven't done any for 3 years, but from what I can recall, they don't really pay that well and if you aren't a regular mission runner, you probably won't have the standings to do too much beyond the level 1/2 missions. I do plan to run some exploration sites during quiet times in the upcoming month.


My play time has been pretty limited lately, at least compared to what I might have done in times past. I have a lot more commitments now that I am married and have a family. I struggle occasionally to properly balance family and gaming in my free time. Sometimes I do wonder where having a hobby ends and addiction begins, but at least it is something that I am conscious of. 
I need to make a new corp wallet division to keep the different money-making activities differentiated.

Friday, June 28, 2013

What we have here is a failure to communicate.

The other night I lost two ships. One (a Tristan) was because I failed to check local and was therefore unaware that the two ships I scanned in a plex were not fighting. The second was because of poor communications. At some point  the online pilots in my corp formed a fleet and some of us got on comms. Part of the problem is right there. I thought all of us were on comms. To make a long story short, I was fighting a red Slasher and non-criminal rail Catalyst. The Catalyst shot at me on the gate and I jumped through. I was now able to legally engage either target. There were 3 others in fleet with me. I thought that they were on the gate. 

When I jumped through, I burned back to the gate and waited to see if the enemy ships were coming this way. They did. When the Catalyst started shooting me again, I shot back. I announced on comms that I was agressing. I assumed I had 3 buddies coming to my rescue. At least one had warped off and had to warp back. Another was not on voice comms, so he was unaware that I was fighting on the other side of the gate.

The Catalyst stayed about 20k away, while I sicced my Algos' drones on him and shot back with my own railguns. The Slasher was about 5-7k away attacking me also. I almost took down the Catalyst, but the combined DPS from the two sealed my fate. My backup never arrived.

Lessons Learned:
1. Make sure you know where everyone is. I thought my backup was seconds away but it was not.
2. Get serious. We were using very informal cooperation, instead of FC to fleetmember type teamwork, so everyone did whatever they felt best.
3. Announce your intentions. If I had said I jumped and reapproached the gate and intended to violence some ships, the likely outcome would have been 2 kills and no losses.

Oh well. We will do better next time.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Tuesday's Gone

This is a quick post about the value of time and opportunity cost. I am expanding some comments I made on a post by Parasoja about capital ship building.

One of the commenters actually recommended buying components BPOs, in a situation where you have limited funds to startup your capital ship production. One of the reasons given is the usage of manufacturing lines. Particularly their underutilization if you are not able to insert many jobs at once, since 5-copy components BPOs will build quickly. The commenter said that you have to login a lot to keep your manufacturing going.

The point about how often you have to login is well taken, however the flipside is that if you have the manpower you can get your components built really fast using 5-run BPCs. If you have low starting resources your initial number of hulls is primarily limited by your capital. Being able to blaze through the component building phase quickly will mean more runs over time. Which means a quicker growth on your capital.

I would actually recommend the opposite strategy for BPOs. Carrier BPOS cost just over 1B a piece, but some of the component BPOs cost around 1.5B. You need many more component BPs. Therefore the carrier BPO will pay itself off in less runs. About 6-9 times faster if my back-of-an-envelope calculation is accurate.

Besides, I'm pretty sure the point of the article was that is was a bad idea to buy component BPOs if you have a small amount of capital to start. 

I would additionally like to point out, in response to some of the comments, yes, it is very much an opportunity cost thing. What Parasoja sort of glossed over is WHY the more inefficient, but lower overhead cost thing works, at least under the current market conditions. You can build many more carriers (and make a smaller profit on each) by forgoing a full set of component BPOs.

For example. Starting capital 13B. You spend 11B on BPOs, because thats pretty much what you can do. The BPOs need to be researched, so you are paying for two months of POS lab time whether you do it or not. You still need to buy a few BPCs but, hey your are a BPO owner you can still save on not buying the BPCs for the components you have a BPO for. You have 2B left to build two carriers. You make 800M isk (2x400M isk) profit.

Alternately, you spend all of you money and minerals on BPCs and build 11 carriers. You just made 3.3B isk profits (11x300M). Even if you limited by the number of build slots (9 per character is achievable in a few weeks), your higher turnover at a lower profit margin will mean a higher monetary velocity for reinvestment. Over time you can buy more BPOs and streamline your operation to maximize profit and minimize gray hairs.

You will probably not be able to build all of the carriers at once, unless you have a very large number of build slots (the number of which I will call n). It would probably be best to queue the jobs such that the components for a ship would all complete at nearly the same time. Then you could put the first carrier build job in the queue and dedicate n-1 jobs to building the next ship's components. Subsequent to that you will n-2 slots to build your components, and so on.

It is critical to evaluate how much of your capital is working for you and how much is waiting around for you to put other pieces of the puzzle together when you are starting up.

This is just my opinion, but your money would be better spend on a Jump Freighter than component BPOs.

If you tie up your money into blueprints that you cant use for 2 or 3 months, you could have just built from BPCs that whole time and made way more money.


Get profits rolling in, then optimize.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Victim of my own sucess

I have been a long-time reader of Eve Fail. Quite a while ago I participated in the lottery that Parasoja ran. I started playing while he was still testing it and kept playing. Since there was no rake, your chance of winning was your percentage of the overall contribution and your profit if you win is pool divided by your investment. In the fourth round I won. Parasoja (perhaps jokingly) suggested that I try it again. I didagain and again. Luck and good planning meant good results. Unsuprisingly, this meant the end of the lottery.

I'm really sorry that I ran this lottery into the ground. I saw it as an investment opportunity, much like a group in Massachusetts did with a particular lottery their state held. Unfortunately, I should have sat out a few rounds, so I didn't smother the baby in the cradle, but I got greedy. Winning is addictive.

My suggestion to anyone else who trys to run a similar lottery is to take a cut. Seriously. In my real life business dealing I like to know how people are making their money. That gives me an insight into their motivation. Altruism makes people suspicious. Also with no rake in the pot, if you are at 200M from everyone else and you drop 800M in, you now have an 80% chance of winning 1B. Obviously it is a gamble and you would want to vary your exposure, but over then long term it is a winning bet.

Sometimes you just stumble into greatness

I spent several hour this evening trying really hard to kill some plexers. I fit up a scanning boat as well as refit my trusty tristan several times. No dice. Just when I was about to give up I ran into a Taranis. He was about 30k from me. I warped to a plex at 20 and he was on the other side. His ship name included "rails" in the description. So I figured he might have them but it could also be an attempt to deceive me. At this point I didn't care either way. He did have rails. He begins kiting me. I hit the AB and approach. Shortly thereafter he dips within 10k and I scrammed him. The crying started immediately, with him claiming that I hacked EVE. He probably just ran into the gate. If he had spent less time crying in local he might have killed me. At one point I was down to about 20% armor. If he overheated his railguns and flew to minimize transversal he might have gotten a couple of lucky shots. Here was the local chat.

[01:53:21] EVE System > Channel changed to Local : Ouelletta
[01:59:53] StevieTopSiders > hacker
[01:59:54] StevieTopSiders > quit hacking
[01:59:57] StevieTopSiders > fucking cheater
[01:59:58] StevieTopSiders > reported
[02:00:00] StevieTopSiders > for hacking
[02:00:02] StevieTopSiders > enjoy your ban
[02:00:03] StevieTopSiders > o6

[02:00:07] Ri'an Tivianne > MAD HAXXXSSSS
[02:00:31] Kelleris > gf
[02:00:36] StevieTopSiders > fucking hacker
[02:00:38] StevieTopSiders > wasn't a good fight
[02:00:40] StevieTopSiders > you hacked
[02:00:44] StevieTopSiders > scrammed me at 20km

[02:00:45] Kelleris > wtf
[02:00:50] Kelleris > no i didnt
[02:00:53] StevieTopSiders > yeah you did
[02:00:55] StevieTopSiders > hacker

[02:00:58] Kelleris > u r a retard and flew w/in 10k
[02:01:01] Ri'an Tivianne > LOL
[02:01:03] StevieTopSiders > not true
[02:01:04] Kelleris > not my fault you fail
[02:01:06] StevieTopSiders > u hacked
[02:01:09] StevieTopSiders > I was manually piloting

[02:01:12] Kelleris > fine, report me then
[02:01:12] StevieTopSiders > no way I got in range
[02:01:14] StevieTopSiders > you hacked

[02:01:16] Ri'an Tivianne > mmm... sweet tears
[02:01:24] StevieTopSiders > sorry that some people use skill
[02:01:26] Kelleris > you prob bumped off the gate like a noob
[02:01:27] StevieTopSiders > instead of client injectino
[02:01:28] StevieTopSiders > to win
[02:01:41] StevieTopSiders > your a noob
[02:01:42] StevieTopSiders > and a hacker
[02:01:46] StevieTopSiders > cus only a noob would hack
[02:01:50] StevieTopSiders > nice try though
[02:01:54] StevieTopSiders > now I'll know never to fight you again

[02:01:56] Kelleris > ok. well put in a petition then
[02:01:57] StevieTopSiders > o6
[02:01:58] Kelleris > ok
[02:02:03] Kelleris > pls report me
[02:02:19] Kelleris > my CEO is Rixx Javix
[02:03:23] Ri'an Tivianne > that was so full of win
[02:03:28] Kelleris > for sure
[02:03:33] Ri'an Tivianne > good job Kelleris
[02:03:45] Kelleris > that retard hit orbit and i bounced him off of the gate
[02:03:50] Kelleris > thank you sir o7
[02:04:17] Ri'an Tivianne > o7
[02:05:15] Kelleris > it happed alot like the great station bumping incident of 2012 Kill: GenAtal (Republic Fleet Firetail)
[02:05:17] Kelleris > LOL
[02:05:40] Kelleris > doesnt matter how fast your ship is if you hit a solid object
[02:05:48] Ri'an Tivianne > lol that will teach him to just slap the orbit button
[02:05:56] Kelleris > no it wont
[02:06:02] Kelleris > apparently i hacked
[02:06:04] Ri'an Tivianne > nice tactic, I wouldn't have thought of that in a million years
[02:06:06] Kelleris > hes blameless
[02:06:18] Ri'an Tivianne > you can bet your ass I am gonna try it when I get a chance though lol
[02:06:30] Kelleris > actually this time is was an accident, but that retard doesnt need to know
[02:06:36] Kelleris > ;-P


I thought my fun was over. I went and did some laundry. When I get back I see there is chatter in corp about an Orca in Hevrice. I grabbed the Vexor and warped to the belt. We were all kind of in shock. I saw a writer from a well known eve news site in local, so I assumed it was some kind of live stream trap/prank, but hey, it's just a Vexor loss if it goes wrong. It wasn't a setup. We were all kind of in shock. As near as I can tell it was a ratting Orca. Got the pod too. I'm still scratching my head.

EFT on the Orca fit. I'm being generous on the drones because I don't remember what he was using.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Merchant of Venice... err.. Jita


I would like to make a brief post about arbitrage trading on the EVE Online regional markets. It differs from traditional station trading in that your goal is to sell at another trade hub than the one you buy your items at. I have been following croda at his blog, marketsforISK and I ran across the following post.

It describes his initial arbitrage setup between Jita and Dodixie. It sounds like he is already refining his methods but I just wanted to put my method out there because it will save a ton of time and effort for anyone wanting to try something similar.

Here is what I do.

Your Very Own Corporation

Step one is to form your own corporation. There are guides out there, read them. Train the skill and start your own corp. I think it costs 1.5M isk. Then decide how much money you want to invest in this project and transfer it to the corp's Master Wallet, set that wallet as primary and forget it (for now, you might want to refine your wallet division strategy later). 

Me, Myself, and I

Create some alts and invite them. Make them all Directors or at least give them access to the corp wallet. Get some basic trade skills. For the love of God, whatever you do, make sure you eventually train Margin Trading on every character you want to trade with. Do not invite anyone else to your corp. If you want to play with others (and you should this is a muli-player game), do it on a non-trade character.

Depending on how many hubs you want to cover you may need more than one account. If you want to do this right, you need to have a character that sits in the trade hub and doesn't need to go anywhere else. If you get into covering multiple hubs with jump-clones you will rapidly grow frustrated.

What Do?

Ok so park your minions in the trade hubs you have decided on (I would start with some combination of Jita (for sure), Dodixie (solid hub), Amarr (should still be the #2 trade hub), and Hek (fast growing hub with good sell prices). Rens is the other major hub, but it is not one of my favorites.

Decide what you will trade. Go read Gevlon Goblin's newbie guide.

That should get you started. Now, here comes the important part. Use courier contracts. Make them corporate contracts (not personal ones from your character). This means you need to buy your stuff and leave it in the Delivery Hangar until you ship it. If you take it out of the delivery hangar you will not be able to use corporate funds to create the contract and won't be able to make it a corporate contract period unless you have an corporate office in that station. if you can get and pay for an office in one of the major hubs then you probably don't need my advice. PushX and Red Frog both have highly regarded courier services. Personally I'm a cheapskate and I use public contracts. I put the collateral at my desired sell price or a bit above, set the reward at 1% of the collateral, the contract expiration for 3 days, and length at 1 day. Make sure you keep your contracts' value below 1B ISK and less space than a freighter (approx 900k m3). If you don't, your contracts will probably not be accepted. In fact, you should try to keep most contracts below 38k m3, because this is what can be hauled on a fully skilled, fully cargo expanded Iteron Mk V. In fact if you keep to 30k m3, pretty much anyone can make the delivery. When the contract is complete the items will magically appear in your corporate delivery hangar in the destination station. Doing all of your hauling by contract moves all of the risk to the courier. If he gets popped with your cargo you should make out like a bandit if you followed my contract guidelines (you basically just sold your item for your desired sell price and didn't have to pay any market fees and all contract fees, including the collateral will be refunded).

Daily Routine

Here is very bare bones look at the daily routine. I am totally glossing over how I decide what to trade, where it goes, and how much to sell it for. Open up your trade character and check your delivery hangar. You are looking for stuff that was delivered or bought (you should be using buy orders to maximize profits) since you last logged on. Ship out the stuff you are sending to another hub. Sell everything that is left on a corporate Sell Order (another reason to leave everything in the delivery hangar). Then check your buy and sell orders and update as necessary (or cancel if your margins get to small or go negative). You can do this once per day per character and make a lot of ISK. In my opinion, if you undock your trade character, you are doing it wrong.


Creating your own corporation with dedicated trading character and using corporate contracts and market order should greatly streamline arbitrage. You should never have to transfer items or ISK between characters. I might go into more detail on certain aspects of this operation in the future, but this is it for now.

Good luck!

Disposable Heroes (History Part 2)

This is part 2 of my history in EVE Online.

My last recorded kill with Mostly Harmless was this one in February 2011. It's kinda cool that is was the e-celebrity (or at least EVE-celebrity) Shadoo. I moved my stuffs out to highsec that March and just kind of relaxed. I did some solo roaming, which often ended badly. I also carebeared it up and worked on my standings.

Running L4 missions for Ministry of War (7/15/2011)

At least I was fitting T2 guns on the hurricane by this point. I did apply to Rixx Javix's corporation, Lucifer's Hammer, somewhere around this time-frame and was rejected. One of the reason that was given was that for the sample fit you supposed to provide in the application, I submitted a meta-level gunned Hurricane and was informed that 2 year old player should damned well be fitting T2 guns on everything. At the time I had T2 medium hybrids and lasers but not T2 medium projectiles. Derp! Darn that Rixx guy! (insert foreshadowing here)

Around this time I was starting to read EVE related blogs a lot and learning about some of the different groups there were. I was a big fan of Wensley's Rifter Drifter (sadly now defunct). It was from reading this blog and similar ones that I learned about Miura Bull and his newly formed Black Rebel Rifter Club (R1FTA). I applied and was accepted. I started to finally learn to pvp and not be quite as terrified when the guns start to go off (my heart still pounds when I lock up my targets, but not like then). I solo'd a lot, since R1FTA is pretty much a solo pvp club, with some small-gang shenanigans thrown in. The Rebels were highly resistant (at the time at least) to getting on to voice comms so fleets were fun, disorganized comedy-of-errors. Especially the ones with DARKSTAR POWNYOUALL and n00bpwner4000 PounderThose guys would tackle literally anything with their Firetails or Rifters. No shits were given. They died a lot, but more often than not killed their targets. This was a good time. MB kept the wardecs coming and jumping into Teon for the occasional gank meant there was fun to be had without even flying into the pvp thunderdome that was Heild and its 2/10 plex. Ok maybe I'm exaggerating a bit on that last part about the thunderdome, but memories always seem better than than the reality. I really did have a blast terrorizing hisec carebears with awesome scary names like EvillMoon Akademiyaas well as Xujar, Flight Academy, Lazy Worms Academy and many others.

And then there was The Bull. Miura BullTruly awesome guy. Great pilot. It is unfortunate that he was Euro TZ and I was USTZ, because I didn't get to fly with him very much. This is a guy that has skill AND luck. Because, reading some of his blog posts, there are tons of mouthbreathers that throw themselves in his way to get slaughters. I'm not taking away from his skill, because he is awesome, I'm just saying he runs into a lot of people that seem to fervently want to explode in front of him. I would provide links, but really, just go read his blog, especially some of the earlier posts.

Also, any discussion of R1FTA would not be complete without a mention of Lhorenzo. Who spent time between between his often off the wall (dare I say, batshit-crazy) rants continuing his cyno-killing crusade. Grandpa by day, ruthless killer by nights. The Pol Pot of cyno alts and a genuine all around nice guy to his friends. 

Me trying to set shit straight with DARKSTAR (01/13/2012)

Eventually I got tired of pell mell fleets that went down like a Keystone Kops episode because people would not get on comms and started to look for something a bit more organized. I left R1FTA in March 2012 (before MB's addiction to creating new alliances and corporations surfaced) and joined Ars Ex Discordia (ARSED), which was part of TEST Alliance Please Ignore (TEST).

But that is a story for next time.

Hulkageddon (5/14/2012)

PS. If anyone from R1FTA by any chance has access to the battle report I wrote on the forums on this kill, please send it to me. I assume it has probably expired or lost in the transition from corporation to alliance forums, but I thought I would ask. There was a good story behind this, but my report back then would be a lot more accurate and interesting than my memory of the fight.