Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Free Advice: Making ISK

Every new pilot must drive toward some way to earn ISK in New Eden. At first income is fairly slow and sometimes it is not obvious if you're doing it right. This is just a very high level list of the most common ways to make ISK for new pilots. More experienced pilots will have already discovered their 'best" ways. These are all ways to make ISK in Empire and near Low Sec. The rules for 0.0 are different.

The ways to make ISK boil down to these activities: Mining, PvE Missions, Exploration plundering, Wormhole plundering, Creative marketing, Buy it, and Piracy.

You probably know how this works. Chew on belt rocks and sell the Ore/Minerals. You want to plan for Mining Barges and high Refining skills. ISK potential is entirely reliant on your yield rate (the yield of your mining lasers/strip miners). Higher yields = more ISK regardless of what rock you are mining.

PvE Missions:
Missions are repetative, but steady. If mission running is really your goal, then drive toward the "better" PvE ships; the Drake, Raven, and Dominix. The Drake/Raven are Shield/Missile ships while the Dominix route is Armor/Drones. Plan accordingly. ISK generation between Mining and Missions is fairly even at high levels. Experience will allow you to hone in on the best ways to make ISK for each. Missions make ISK based on Rewards, Bounties, dropped Modules, and Salvage. You want to focus on increasing your rate of misison completion and pick an appropriate level of time spent on looting/salvage.

By using scan probe launchers and probes you can find hidden places in space. This income is wildly erratic where you make score nothing for a couple of days and then discover an item worth 10's of millions. You will need to focus on skills to enhance probing and ships with probe advantage (like covert ops). You may also end up needing PvE support to deal with NPC mobs in exploration sites. But finding the sites is longer part of the process. You can always ask for help to clear out/tank a site.

These "Unknown" Cosmic Signatures are found via Exploration above. But while Empire Exploration will always be pretty limited value, Wormhole pundering will have a much higher return. But you will need to have pretty good PvE skills to deal with the Sleeper rats found in WH's. Salvaging Sleeper wrecks get a different sub-set of salvage parts used in T3 construction. Melted Nanoribbons sell for 4-5 million ISK each. You can harvest these off "frigate" sized Sleepers allowing even modest skill pilots a way to make ISK. Wormholing is tricky and variable. You'll want to focus on battlecruiser sized ships like the Drake and Hurricane.

Using the markets takes a bit of a shrewd eye and an accountant's mind. But even a noob pilot can begin to make ISK by trading and transporting minerals. You will require some initial capital ISK to start. You may need a solid 500 million ISK to start (see below). The idea is classic "buy low and sell high." Target primary markets are Rens, Jita, Amarr, and Dodixie. Fat haulers and Freighters are helpful.

Buy it:
Buy Game Time Codes with your own cash and sell them on the forums or through PLEX in game. Each code can probably score between 600-800 million ISK. Great for those cash rich / time poor pilots.

Lie, cheat, murder, and steal. Gank ships in low sec... in particular hapless miners. Loot their strippers and sell them. Look for T1 haulers, cargo scan them, and gank the ones full of multi-million ISK BPO's, faction modules, or whole ships (like Hulks). Scan for private Courier Contracts that have low deposits, accept them and then break them... sell the contents for your own profit. Post stupid contracts "giving away" items that really require the victim to give you oodles of ISK. Post shuttles on the market for 8,000,000 ISK. Run bogus lotteries. Beg for ISK. Ninja salvage on other people's missions. Can flip. Etc. All you really have to do to be a pirate is know the game mechanics and exploit them.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Eve Advice: 3 Websites critical to Eve

3 Websites every pilot should use...

Eve Survival: http://eve-survival.org
Specifically, the bit around Mission Reports. This site lists every single mission possible. It tells you exactly what will spawn and often provides pictures of the "rooms". It tells you exactly what tank to fit, what damage to deal, and will provide some strategy advice. It works nicely with the in-game browser. If you lose even one ship because you didn't know shooting the wrong mob would aggro the room it will only be because you didn't read the Mission Report. It may still happen, but just realize it was 100% preventable.

Eve Central: http://eve-central.com
Yes, I know you're going to say the market downloads are stale and they are, but it is still very useful as a fast way to check "general" pricing. Do not use it as the absolute tool of max profit. It isn't. But if you just can't remember if that skill book is 1 million or 3... Eve Central will instantly sort you out. Very handy for that price check in Jita, Rens, etc.

Dotlan: http://evemaps.dotlan.net
Ah I remember the days before dotlan... Maps were static and often out of date. It sucked and you basically had to memorize. Looking up things like true security status was nigh impossible. Now it is all totally easy for you new pilots. Dotlan is hugely powerful. Not only does it map out the systems, it can also provide one-click views to ship kills, station services, sov, moons, moon minerals, belts, and crap loads more. Later in life, you will appreciate the Jump Tool for capital pilots. Maps are essential for PvP roams. You can quickly spot "pockets", choke points, and backdoor routes for escape. Probably the most useful website in Eve.

There are dozens of other tools, but these 3 are what I would call "essential".

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Derelik: A new beginning

The ages pass in to shadow as alliances rise and fall. The years slip by in a blur of alarm klaxons and missile impacts. The endless wars of New Eden echo in our minds where they are silent in space. These immortal minds… a curse… a blessing… a source of wealth… But at what cost? Immortals can not know what lies behind the final veil… and so we focus only on the next goal, perhaps only on the next day.

All good alliances must come to an end. Khanid Trade Syndicate still holds its name, but its heart is dead. The shell will ramble on for some time and maybe it will even find a new heart, but not today. Mighty Domitainvs seized all the possessions he could and left—a betrayal the likes of which can only be known in New Eden. But this is not the cause of death to KTS. KTS was dying and its own illness infected Domi to what I can only describe as madness.

We could debate the causes, the effects, the reasons, the lies, and the truths all endlessly. But my Master can only do what all Immortals do… live on.

We left KTS behind. We struck out on our own again. We spent many months in Gallente space re-consolidating assets and seeking new allies. Our friends in Phoenix Division never disappeared, they had only moved on to new wars and conquests. But more war and conquest was not what my Master wanted. We quietly hired out to the Federation Navy for a while. We spent a lot of time in station. And then, as always, something happened.

A few of the war torn pilots of PHDV rumbled out of nullsec space fresh from battle and blood. They were intent on forging a new corp of new pilots. Most of them were not even in their first battlships yet. The rally call went out, “We’re back! Come join together again our missed brothers and sisters.” So we joined. We have moved again to Derelik to start again. It passes the time… and we seem to have very long time to pass.

~Porter Thorne, Servant of Masada Akiva, Tribe Research And Development [.TRAD]

Monday, November 22, 2010

Nuns on the Run / Death Angel

Two completely different games, but both pretty fun. I played both this last weekend.

Nuns on the Run is your traditional board game with a fold out board, dice, and some cardboard tokens. The idea is simple, play 1 of 6 novites sneaking around the convent at night while the Prioress and Abbess patrol the grounds. This game manages to capture a little bit of the drama you feel playing hide and sneak as a kid. The only quirky bit is that the novites must write down each of their moves in secret so no one really gets to discover how crazy the chase was until someone wins. The novite wins when she gets the right color key, unlocks the door to her randomly chosen objective, and gets back to her room undetected. This game is high on fun factor, but would be harder for kids under about 10 to figure out. You have to count off your moves in secret and write them down. This might be a challenge for the younger players.

Death Angel is one of Fantasy Flight's small format games. The box is only about 5 inches by 8 inches. Inside is a collection of cards and some cardboard "support" tokens. Death Angel is a spin-off game to the Games Workshop Warhammer 40,000 franchise. It is a cooperative game where the plays each take control of a pair of Space Marines as they attempt to explore and neutralize an infested "space hulk". The game makes very creative use of simple cards to create a quite complex game. Players familiar with Warhammer will like the concept, but the rules are so unlike Warhammer 40k that no experience is necessary. The complexity will rule out the casual or younger game player.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Castle Ravenloft and Dungeons & Dragons

I'd say about when I was 12 I tried to figure out Expert Dungeons & Dragons (blue box). I never properly got the hang of it. But it did set the stage for long enjoyment of games of all sorts. D&D has changed dramatically since then. Gary Gygax is dead. The mighty TSR publishing was bought by some unknown upstarted called Wizards of the Coast--a cheesy card game maker! WotC rose to lofty heights to be deftly devoured by massive Hasbro. D&D has progressed in to today's world of MMORPGs. WotC has even struggled to make D&D work and I think they have finally hit on the means to keep it going. TSR discovered that once you published your books and your target market had bought them... you were basically stuck. You had to find some excuse to print a new revision to have a new product to sell. Customers hated this and it mucked up the way the game was played. WotC has the same problem, but now that they have teamed up with Hasbro, a toy manufacturing giant, they realized they could pump out game accessories.

Now we see the market full of pre-painted plastic miniatures, game tokens, plastic fold-out maps, handy reference cards and we are sure to see more of these game aids. They let WotC keep a steady product stream without constant re-writes to the rules. Now we see another money-making spin off in to board games like Castle Ravenloft.

In the US, Castle Ravenloft retails for about $50--making it one of the most inexpensive "dense" games out there. The box is packed full of cardboard printed dungeon tiles, cards, plastic monsters/heroes, and tokens. All of these are immediately resusable by the "real" Dungeons & Dragons game (should you choose). This game works on the same basic mechanics of D&D only greatly simplified to be a board game. But it quite conveniently prepares the players for the jump to full RPGs by acquainting them with battle mechanics, movement, and map tactics. It is a fully cooperative game where no "Dungeon Master" is required. Everyone gets to be a player. It is really a brilliant game and product for WotC.

WotC has pushed their table top game to be more like the undeniably successful World of Warcraft MMORPG. Class roles are more regimented and level dependent powers are now ubiquiteous across all classes. But this is not a move without controversy. The departure from the D&D 3.5 rules is massive and essentially un-convertable. No old 3.5 character could really be transfered cleanly to the new rules. In the gulf an old/new publisher, Piazo, has created Pathfinder.

Pathfinder is a mini-step improvement on the D&D 3.5 rules. It follows all the same conventions with a few modifications. Piazo is the old publisher of Dungeon Magazine and has been around since the TSR days. Out of the blue, they appear to be taking the customers left behind by WotC. As a print publisher, they have cranked out dozens of new books full of glossy print and fantastic art. Piazo knows the print business. But will it endure? Who can say?

I bought Castle Ravenloft about a month ago and have played it over a dozen times with adult gamer friends and with the family at home. It is a great, fast, fun game to sit down to. I definite gateway game for those gamer dads trying to rase gamer children!

Game on!

Monday, November 15, 2010


Oi, it's been a while. I've actually been doing lots of game related things and just too busy to catch up. I'll jump in at the end and work my way backward. So today, I wanted share a new word I discovered for a very old concept and stereotype... Fanservice. Fanservice is when a bit of media puts in a lot of typically female sexuality for no apparent reason other than to please its typically male audience. This is generally associated with anime and indeed it has literally hundreds of fine examples.

Sometimes the fanservice is light and generally adds to the story. In Ghost in the Shell there are several episodes where the darker characters are dealing with pleasure-bots in some fashion. These bots are displayed as eyecandy. But this is not strictly fanservice since the plot actually has something to do with the issue of sex trade as a bad thing. A better example in GitS is the variety of shots of Major Kusanagi who will appear in various otherwise professional settings in a form fitting teddy and boots. I tend to laugh at these scenes as none of the conservative characters in the series ever seem to notice. "Yeah, I am the Major. Yes, I am nearly naked. Now on to business." This doesn't happen in every scene or episode, so one would rate GitS as pretty light on the fanservice.

A better and completely over the top example would be the show I watched this weekend, Godannar (pictured above). OMG. Godannar is your basic "robots that can join together to smash giant monsters" story. There are a million of these in anime. But what makes Godannar stand out is the immense dose of fanservice. The female characters of the series all fill the full spectrum of roles from the Head of the Defense force to full robot pilots to lowly mechanics. They are given equal ground in terms of status and intellect, but wowzer... they also have giant bazooms that bounce fully independently and with a high degree of animation. No opportunity for a windblown upskirt shot is missed and I can't mention the gym workout scenes without blushing. The critical bit about fanservice is that it can't really be overtly erotic. The characters in Godannar never dwell on their sexuality or even imply that it occuring. The story is about the robots and the monsters... pay no attention to the perfectly heart-shaped booty in the frame. Say was that a hint of... uh... nevermind.

Godannar is good fun. It isn't cerebral. The emotional content is easily on par with the likes of Robotech or Pokemon. But it can't be beat as an example of high fanservice.

Game on!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Eve Online Planetary Interaction

A few thoughts about Planetary Interaction...

I control 9 worlds now between 2 accounts.

What cycle time works best?

So far what I have seen is that using the 5 hour cycle times allows for far more benefit than other times. I can set one cycle just before bed, sleep for 8, set another cycle in the morning, work for 8 hours, set another cycle when I get home. It apears that running the 5 hour cycle even twice a day produces more raw material than the 24 hour cycle. The 96 hour cycle is pointless unless you're going on vacation.

What layout works best?

I piddled around with different builds, but what appears to create the maximum resources is to place 3-4 extractors in a tight group right on top of a resource hot spot. Delever thier material to a Launch Pad then route from the Lauch Pad to an adjacent Processor. Remember to route the Processor back to the Launch Pad. This will create a tight bundle of about 5-6 objects over a hot spot. With Advanced CC's you can have at least 3 groupings per planet--possibly 4 if you're happy with only 2-3 Extractors per group. You want to deliver to the Launch Pad first because (hopefully) your rate of extraction exceed your rate of manufacturing. Excess material routed to a full Processor is lost, the Launch Pad storage area acts as a buffer.

Why Launch Pads and not Storage Silos?

LP's can store 10,000 m3 while Storage Silos only get 5k. Yes, Silos use a lot less Command Center CPU, but nothing seems to really chew up CPU anyway. By not not even attempting to link far-flung groupings you save tons of Power allowing more Extractors and Processors--more ISK. Besides you can't get your goods out of a Silo and into your ship without a Launch Pad anyway. The Command Center launch feature only allows 500 m3 at a time. A word of caution though, each Launch Pad is 900,000 ISK--it is the most expensive PI object after the Command Center.

What about Stage 2+ goods?

My focus is producing basic raw materials for now. Until CCP removes the NPC seeded goods, there isn't much point in making or selling any PI materials. But in preparation I have made one of my planets a "factory" where I have a cluster of Stage 2 (Advanced) Processors. Once I gather all the raw materials from the other planets, I can Import them to my factory planet and make anything.

What do you think PI will do to the markets?

Well, already I can see folks buying up NPC seeded goods by the freighter load. Folks are expecting the prices to rise. For a while those that bloat themselves on trade goods may realize a profit. PI takes time and has some hard limits to what can be maximally produced. No one will be able to harvest mass quantities alone which means the market will be mostly dominated by small producers. These small quantities will encourage Traders to buy out whole regions and repost for slight mark-ups. The goods most likely to move in Empire are the POS fuels--Oxygen, Mechanical Parts, Robotics, Coolant, and Enriched Uranium.

What is interesting is what this will do to Empire markets. Now that 0.0 space can produce their own fuels, it will be unlikely that Alliances will come to Empire for fuels. Empire certainly won't be going to Nullsec for purchasing so the POS fuel market in Empire will be dependent on the owners of Empire towers... Setting up Empire towers is difficult and generally only used for Labs. They are also typically placed by Corps/Pilots who love industry anyway and will likely be making their own fuel! With demand reduced, I would not expect the Empire PI goods market to be much above cost (if at all).

I would predict that most ppl doing Planet harvesting will do it solely to supply their own needs--more out of convenience than need or cost.

What about Dust 514? Will I lose my investment?

Taking any guesses about what CCP may or may not do with DUST 514 are purely wild guesses. CCP has consistently talked up their cool expansions and then delivered only minimal features. While we can't predict what they may do, we can be pretty safe in predicting they won't deliver everything they have talked about. The second point to consider is Dust is probably 3-4 years away (2 at best). CCP is only now *advertising* for Dust 514 developers. Without a dev team even assembled, when it can be delivered is many, many moons away. Incarna was first advertised as Walking in Stations over 5 years ago and the last CCP announcement was that it will deliver *after* Dust! So CCP has a history of extremely long release time-lines.

So... in a nutshell... don't worry about it. We won't see impact for a long time.

What skills should I have?

Bare minimum to try PI would be: Remote Sensing 1, Planetology 3, Command Center Upgrades 3. That will allow you to scan all the planets in your current system, place *one* Improved Command Center, and play around with what it can do. But you can train all those skills in a day.

I would recommend Remote Sensing 4, Planetology 4, Adv. Planetology 2, CC Upgrades 4, and Planetary Interaction 4. This will take about 10 days, but it gives you 5 Advanced Command Centers and the ability to control them from quite a ways out. Masada manages planets in Rahab from Palas (about 4 hops out). I haven't played with the limits.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Gaming may Save the World!

A co-worker of mine linked this TED video of a presentation about the potential impacts of online gaming...


The video is well worth a look. But a few highlights really stuck in my mind. In particular the factiod that a gamer kid will spend 10,000 hours playing video games by the time they are 21. This is just a random fuzzy number until you also know that 10,080 hours is the exact amount of time you will spend in school from 5th grade to 12th (or year 6 to 13 for you Euros). So most gamers will have spend as much time learning their games as they have spent learning about everything else... This creates a great many focused minds. If we tapped just tiny fractions of game time to teach a few key skills... well imagine what you could do.

I have often thought that if you could inject a little bit of the gaming fun in to the real-world work place you might find new ways to really spark people's motivations and creativity. I think any working professional can remember a time where they were forced to participate in some lame team building exercise... that's not the sort of work gaming I'm thinking of. But something you could really do day to day with the people you work with. People who play together often get along better. You have other ways to relate to the people you work with.

Jane didn't touch on other side effects. While sitting idle is not good for physical activity... it could be looked at as a way to reduce our "footprint" on the world. If we're playing at home more often, then we're not driving our cars or generating litter. If we learn to eat responsibly, then we might actually reduce the food we consume. These benefits are a stretch, but they'd make a good study. Of the 500 million gamers world wide... what is their footprint compared to non-gamers?

Interesting game fodder for thought... Game On, folks! Save the Planet.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

What does roleplay (RP) mean in Eve Online?

In the recent event of the Eve Universe, a player controlled roleplay alliance has lost a vast portion of space called Providence. I've written about these events before and talked about CVA, Ushra'Khan and AAA--all player alliances. Many players of Eve have commented that CVA's rebuttal of AAA's demands was "stupid". The logic behind these statements is that AAA is a much, much larger alliance and would mop the galactic floor with spilled CVA guts--which they have proceeded to do. These pilots are confused by CVA's motivations... why on Earth would the fools choose to fight AAA? CVA has said they have done it for "roleplay" reasons which has sparked a wave of bewilderment from the AAA community about the stupidity of roleplay as a reason and further that CVA has quite obviously "lost" so roleplay has failed. But that misses the whole point... Let me back up.

Eve is a very open ended game. You have pilots, skills, spaceships, lots and lots of industry, and a whole galaxy of solar systems to explore. You literally wake up in this world with no set goal. You get to decide what ships to fly, what goods to buy, and how to make your living in this world. Now maybe you're serious about your roleplay and create a back story for your pilot and you live life as the immortal "capsuleer" that all Eve pilots are... But even if you don't do this, to some degree, all your decisions are roleplay decisions. What did you want to do in the game? The game didn't lay out a path for you. You were not created a Mage in a static region with 250 quests to complete before you could advance to the next region... Your story will not be the same as any other player. All your choices have been a reflection of what you wanted to do, not forced down an alley of what "character class" you picked.

The CVA alliance is just an extension of this taken to the Alliance level. The leaders of the player created structure had decided they would control Providence as their own entity. They would fight to keep it "free" for all pilots to explore. They would fight against aggressors that disrupted their space and aggressors that would not honor their "right" to rule the region. No one at CCP Games gave them this right... they took it. When AAA appeared (yes, provoked, but that's not important here) CVA kept true to their vision and vowed to fight the aggressors. They knew they would likely lose, but it was more valuable to them to keep up their identity as CVA than to keep the region known as Providence. They did not acknowledge that AAA had any greater right to tell CVA what to do than anyone else. Of course, AAA has overwhelming force of arms and has demonstrated its power. While AAA laughs at CVA's "roleplay" decisions it is humorous to note that AAA itself decided it didn't like CVA's lack of respect (a very roleplay decision) and invaded Providence. For all the pundits hurled at roleplayers in Eve, we seem to not realize that all of us are roleplayers in Eve--some just write more fiction about it than others.

Enjoy the show folks. These events are what make Eve interesting. There will be no "Lich King" release to drive some sort of story in to Eve... the story is written every day by each of the pilots in New Eden.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Mandatory CTA's

Okay, here's the reason why "mandatory cta" policies are stupid, doomed to fail, and will contribute to the end of your alliance...

A Call To Action/Arms is a generic term that basically says, "We need a big fleet for X purpose." A successful CTA needs to have a clear Goal, a Time Frame, good comms, and a specific request for ship types. It is important to note here that not all CTA's need to be combat oriented. Sometimes they can be mining operations or Freighter escorts, etc. While some number of combat ships is usually required, it doesn't have to be the focus. What I really have a problem with is the mandatory Combat CTA. A fleet specifically needed (probably) to hold a system or take a system.

All nullsec alliances will need to fight for their space. This will mean fleets of a few hundred pilots. Fights at this scale need to be carefully balanced. The time/place of these battles needs to be carefully coordinated. Generals and Fleet Commanders must know what their strategy is. A war must be fought by those with the capacity to deal damage or prevent damage being dealt. The issue here is the word "mandatory". This isn't an optional sort of word. It basically is interpreted as, "if you're online, get in to the PvP fleet." It is usually accompanied by trollish shouts in comms to "GET IN THE FUCKING FLEET YOU MORONS/COWARDS/ASSHOLES!!!!" Let's break this down.

Lets say you have a modest corporation of 100 members (as listed in your corp details). This probably means you have betwen 50-75 real pilots, with the rest being alts/slaves. Out of these roughly 75 pilots, about 20% will be actually online at any one time; so 15. Chances are, anyone else online is afk or several alts/slaves. So... now lets say your Alliance has 20 such corps. This means that *at peak* normal activity you'll have 300 pilots online that might be both a real person and active. Of these 300, I'm to say maybe 75% will be able to field a "good" or "standard" fleet combat ship. Of those 225 pilots, about 75% of them will actually have that ship to use. This is now about 170 pilots. This is about what you can expect from 2000 man alliance in it's normal activity timezone without special effort. The downside here is that it will *appear* that you have 300-500 pilots online... Screaming at the online player base for 2 hours about joining the fleet is not going to move this number up by much. It will also completely demotivate your participating pilots, unimpress your future fleet pilots, and will likely inspire many other pilots to quit.

I guess the point here isn't that "mandatory" is bad, but more accurately, setting the trolls loose in your comms is bad. If your goal is to entice more players to your combats, then it should be something that is fun and looked forward to. You want them to be excited to particpate in the unique experience of Eve fleet combat. But that experience is going to be terrible if the pilot goes in unprepared, in a badly fit ship, to sit for hours before being wiped out in the first bombing volley. Realistically, you don't want more than handful of pilots without the propper ships and/or experience. Too many "green" troops and you'll suffer from chaotic commands, bad tactics and likely get routed. This is also probably not one of your goals and another reason why "mandatory" participation can actually hurt you more than help.

If you haven't seen this Alliance policy first hand, let's imagine it. You're a good pilot, with the ISK to toss away on a PvP ship (T1, fully insured), and you're online doing your Making ISK thing. Suddenly an Alliance mail pops up saying an outlying system is being invaded by The Bad Guys with a 200 man fleet. Sov is on the line. We need a Mandatory CTA. The fleet joins go out; you're forming up now to leave in 1 hour. It will take a while to get a 200 man response fleet together, shipped, and moving to the destination. You're a good member and you drop what you're doing to respond. Within about 15 minutes you're at the rally point and ready to fight. Of course you'll have to wait a while for other folks to assemble. But already you have 90 in fleet (remember you'll likely peak out at 170). Now the trolling begins. Troll Butt #1 is spouting in Alliance randomly singling out pilots not in fleet and calling them assholes and fuckwads for not joining the fleet. Troll has no idea who these pilots are, but they are not in fleet so he feels allowed to abuse them. Most of the pilots he's abusing are mining/market alts with no pvp ships. Some are brand new pilots who don't know what's going on. Already this is a bad situation. What makes this *even worse* is if Troll Butt is the Fleet Commander or some other "voice of authority" for the Alliance. You have to endure 45 minutes of Troll Butt abusing alliance members, some of them are in your Corp. They're afk, leaving in 10 minutes, new or otherwise legitimately unable to be of value to the fleet. Even as you try to explain this, you're smacked down for being a corp of carebears and noobs. Boy are you inspired to help now! Ready to give your 100 million to a ship loss for the Alliance? How about all your buddies? Think they'll be ready to join the next op? What now happens is a slow attrition of attendence... oops! I thought we wanted more attendence! Each time fewer pilots will want to join.

Let's say for the sake of argument, that you do get all 300 online pilots in the fleet. This means you have some pilots running 2 ships, some pilots in tackle frigates, some pilots is strange ships/uninsured ships/bad fittings, some have no comms. So about 150 of your pilots are gimped (remember some are running 2 clients and basically give you 2 gimped pilots in place of 1 combat ready pilot). So again, you've *hurt* your combat effectivenes with 100% partcipation in mandatory CTA. If if you ignore the stupidity of dual clients, you'll be adding about 100 pilots in ships of little combat value. When the first fleet to fleet fighting engages, most of these 100 pilots will die within seconds. Many of them will lose 150 million ISK T2 ships with no insurance. Most of them will walk away thinking fleet combat sucks and will just make sure they're not online for the next CTA.

So now that you've managed to force a large percentage of your Alliance pilots to log off for CTA's... now the war heats up. CTA's are falling every weekend and sometimes during the week. Since these pilots now won't participate, they get frustrated about being unable to play and they quit your Alliance. Suddenly your markets dry up (a lot of these non-combat pilots were making goods or mining). The reduction in pilots hurts corp taxes, hurts the ability of corps to pay for sovereignty, and makes the hard task of holding space harder. Your alliance may not be falling apart yet, but it is stretching at the seams. You're not working together and most people are either A) mad because everyone else is not fighting or B) mad because they can't ever make isk to cover costs/replacements. This won't go on for long before you start to see whole corps leave or, even worse, simply switch sides. Every loss chips away at your pilot base and reduces the number of pilots (now war weary with no relief) who can fight. This is the Alliance death spiral.

"Mandatory" CTA's don't work. They fail to increase participation, they fail to increase combat effectiveness, and they fail to keep your Alliance healthy. You can expect pilots to rationally respond. You need to trust and respect members. These members will give more to the Alliance than any pilot "troll whipped" in to attendence.

Good Hunting, folks!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Re-Post of Eve in-game objects.

These links will only work from the in-game Eve browser...

Showinfo explorer - short php app allowing you to check any showinfo link with given id.
Database explorer - another short php app allowing you to browse all EvE items.
Useful info (commonly found in bios) - so you know what to tank
More about Invention >> - skills and items needed to make tech II breakthrough
More about COSMOS >> - handy info for COSMOS runners
More about Exploration >> (coming soon)
More about Mining >> - what roids give what minerals and so on
More about Salvaging >> (coming soon)
Tech II implant list - all about them


Republic Special Ops Field Enhancer - Gamma
Aurora Alpha
Aurora Beta
Aurora Gamma
Aurora Delta
Aurora Epsilon
Aurora Omega

Trinity new implants:
Low-grade Edge Alpha
Low-grade Edge Beta
Low-grade Edge Gamma
Low-grade Edge Delta
Low-grade Edge Epsilon
Low-grade Edge Omega

There is few more implant classes:
Low-grade Virtue Alpha
Low-grade Harvest Alpha
Low-grade Nomad Alpha
Low-grade Centurion Alpha

New Agent Offer items:
Syndicate Gas Cloud Harvester
Syndicate 1600mm Reinforced Steel Plates
Syndicate Mobile Small Warp Disruptor
Sisters Radar Quest Probe
Sisters Scan Probe Launcher
ORE Strip Miner

You mix up components like these with normal drones:
Elite Drone AI
Drone Synaptic Relay Wiring
Drone Capillary Fluid
Drone Cerebral Fragment
Drone Tactical Limb
Drone Epidermal Shielding Chunk
Drone Coronary Unit

'Integrated' Hobgoblin
'Integrated' Hammerhead
'Integrated' Ogre
if you add even more rogue technology you get
'Augmented' Hobgoblin
'Augmented' Hammerhead
'Augmented' Ogre
Mining mission ores:
Green Arisite

Funny stuff (Easter eggs)
Perpetual Motion Unit I
Villard Wheel
and now: Thermodynamics
just read all the descriptions :) Great easter egg.
Grace Tarsis
Body Bag
Powdered Cubensis
Pillaging 101
The Little Pirate That Could
17 Successful Torture Techniques
Think Tank
Me, Myself and Plunder

Wiretap Plant
Quafe Unleashed formula
Toxic Gunk
Achuran White Song Birds
Armor of Rouvenor
Tournament Observation
Melted Snowball MMV
Snowball Launcher

Alliance Tournament Gold Medal
Alliance Tournament Cup
Novice Medal
Intermediate Medal
Legends Medal
Onyx Heart of Valor

Aidonis Honorary Fellow Medallion
Ancient Amarrian Relic

Faction ships:

Goru's Shuttle
Interbus shuttle

Blood Raiders



Sansha Nation

Caldari Navy Hookbill
Osprey Navy Issue
Caracal Navy Issue

Raven Navy Issue

Amarr Navy Slicer
Augoror Navy Issue
Omen Navy Issue
Apocalypse Navy Issue
Apocalypse Imperial Issue
Armageddon Imperial Issue

Gold Magnate
Silver Magnate
Republic Fleet Firetail
Scythe Fleet Issue
Stabber Fleet Issue
Tempest Fleet Issue
Tempest Tribal Issue


Gallente Navy Comet
Exequror Navy Issue
Vexor Navy Issue
Opux Luxury Yacht

Megathron Navy Issue
Megathron Federal Issue


SOCT Cruiser

ISD / GM ships

Polaris inspector Frigate
Polaris Centurion
Polaris Legatus Frigate
Polaris Centurion Frigate
...GM weapons and mods
GM Cloak
GM Ultra Mega Super Death Ray
GM ECM Burst

Industrial tutorial ships

Civilian Amarr Shuttle
Civilian Caldari Shuttle
Civilian Gallente Shuttle
Civilian Minmatar Shuttle
Trinity new rigs:

Mines (removed from game)
Python Mine Blueprint
Anaconda Mine Blueprint
Cobra Mine Blueprint
Asp Mine Blueprint

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

News from the Front: Providence

Fighting continued in the border systems of Providence over the weekend, but no news of further sov advancement has come forth. It appears that Atlas has stalled for a few days. Fighting is still wide spread throughout the region. 50 man roaming gangs are common. Small capital fleets appear and disappear in lightning "hot drop" strikes. The general impact of such warfare is complete disruption of most activities in the region.

In such times, careful ratting or complex running is about the only thing you can do. Mining assets are too slow and too vulnerable to cyno spawned attacks. 10 man gangs can not cope with 50 man gangs. Undefended POS towers are quickly disabled. Any sort of Freighter op is right out. Providence commerce is slowing to a crawl.

In LFA, fleeing corps have left systems empty. Empty systems can not provide intel and empty stations receive few goods. Plus there is an ugly downside to NRDS policy combined with allowing Neutral pilots station access... Neutral "alts" can dock and tie up station resources (mfg slots) and engage in market warfare. These stations can then be used to resupply the enemy.

LFA's pocket is under dire threat of collapse. LFA will either disband leaving their systems unclaimed over night, or worse, they may be forced to sign up with invasionary forces; switching all 6 systems effectively to Southern Coalition control overnight.

CVA is on the ropes. Aralis, their Executor, is battered daily with pleas for help, guidance, or anything that can materially impact the aggression. But the only responses are oh so similar to those spoken by war torn Empire corporations for ages... "Keep docked, watch intel, wait out the storm. try not to lose too many ships."

The good news is that still only a tiny fraction of what CVA holds has actually changed hands and the assaults continue to weaken. Perhaps in another 30 days all will be quiet again, but until then, Providence is descending in to 0.0 violence equal to that seen in any null sec war in New Eden.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Eve Online Drugs

This was hard stuff to come by as nothing seemed to be written in detail about it yet.

What I have discovered about Gas Harvesting...

Gas harvesting is a means to obtain the raw materials necessary to Booster production. Gas harvesting requires a gas cloud which must be discovered via Exploration as a LADAR site; typically you'll only find the right kinds of clouds in low sec / null sec.

Gas harvesting requires the Gas Harvesting skill which requires Industry 4 and Mining 1. The skill book costs between 36 and 40 million ISK. Each level of the skill allows you to fit one Gas Harvester I module. It trains fairly quickly requiring only 15 minutes at level one.

Each harvester module mines 1 unit of gas per 30 second cycle. The harvester module is considered a "turret" which prevents fitting the module on a Mining Barge which has no official turret slots. These modules seem to run about 9 million ISK each.

Each unit of gas (this might vary) is 10 m3 of space.

Gas clouds yield various types of "cytoserocin". Each type is a fundamental component of a different type of Booster. This should not be confused with "mykocerosin" which is used for Synth Boosters. Synth boosters appear to do the same sort of the things as "regular" boosters, but to a lesser effect and with no side effects--at least I didn't see any on Frentix synth boosters.

Gas --> Booster
Amber --> Blue
Azure --> Soothsayer
Celadon --> Exile
Golden --> Crash
Lime --> Frentix
Malachite --> Mindflood
Vermillion --> X-Instinct
Viridian --> Drop

Each type of cytoserocin must be combined with some other simple components like Megacyte or Water to create Simple Biochemical Reactions. This process requires a Medium Biochemical Reactor (POS). Once you have a reaction like Standard Drop Booster Reaction you can fabricate a unit of Standard Drop Booster.

Creating boosters requires the Drug Manufacturing skill. This skill costs 20 million ISK, but is generally only available in NPC 0.0 space. It will also require a BPO/BPC for the booster in question. As boosters/drugs are illegal in Empire, making them requires a POS manufacturing facility (Drug Lab). They will be confiscated by gate Customs Agents. BPO/BPC can be found in COSMOS complexes else they can be bought on Contract. Production of Boosters seems rare and thus the demand for the BPC's seems also low.

I did see a 1000 run BPC for Synth Frentix Booster in Jita for 8 million ISK. Each dose would require 17 "Pure" Frentix Booster (reaction). Each reaction takes 40 units of Lime gas... so 1 Dose of booster equals 680 units of gas. With 3 harvesters... that's 226 cycles... 30 seconds per cycle is 113 minutes or just under 2 hours of gas mining to get 1 dose.

Gas mining mission example: Like Drones to a Gas Cloud

Mine 425 (4250 m3) units of unusable cytoserocin AND kill all drones. There are only 4 waves of drones. The largest is cruiser sized (no battleship sized).

Award: 1.3 million ISK
Bonus: 1.3 million ISK

Standing Increase: 4.8% (will vary with your skills)

Recommendation: Start with a Battleship fitted with one or two harvesters and your favorite weapons. Kill the 4 waves. As you mine, remember to refresh your can. Alternately, after you kill the waves, swap to a hauler and AFK mine. Remember it takes 30 seconds per cycle... so 2 units per minute per harvester... 1 harvester means you're spending the next 4 hours mining gas.

My real recommendation is (even if you have these skills), just skip this mission. Complain about it loudly to CCP.

Friday, February 26, 2010

War! What is it good for?

Nothing... say it again! *killing the music*

Here’s the problem with Empire war declarations in Eve Online in 6 words. Most players do not like it. That is really my only gripe about them. If you have a game that you want to grow then you should be somewhat responsive to what most of your players want; in particular, your subscription paying customers.

I know Eve is full of PvP style players. So what about them? They can PvP *anytime* they want in Low Security or Nullsec with other players who know the risks and want to PvP.

Players who never leave Empire do so because they don’t like PvP. I never have understood why it has been so important for CCP to “prove those carebears wrong” by forcing them in to PvP through the Empire war declaration system. It seems that the developers of Eve are of the opinion that the only way to *fully* appreciate Eve Online is to be dragged in to player combat willing or not.

My contention is that every player in Eve that stays long enough will eventually find their way to player combat in their own time. There is no need to make it a requirement of all players.

Alternatively, re-work the wardec system so that corps can better control if they can be targeted or perhaps let them buy their way out of it officially through Concord rather than by direct extortion.

More often than not, pirate wardecs are fabricated by a small handful of PvP experienced pilots so that they can pick off other players with little or no PvP experience. Nobody enjoys this style of game play, but CCP seems view it as sacrosanct. The rights of bullying player *must* be preserved at the cost of the majority of other players who just want to play the game peacefully with their friends.

My characters live out in 0.0 space. I am prepared to deal with combat. I choose it and have learned to live with the impacts. But if I were CEO of CCP, I’d still create truly PvP-free area for pilots somewhere in Eve. People pay $15 USD a month to play the game they want to play. It just makes business sense to try to give everybody somewhere to play what they want. Hardcore PvP players would not be impacted by being unable to attack purely Empire based corps.

Now consider that very long term players can probably survive in Eve on ISK and thus avoid paying some (or all) monthly fees. So really, the only folks giving you money are the newer players. Even more reason to provide an experience compelling to new players.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Master and Servant

These are blog entries from a while ago and make up multiple posts. It is a bit of history of my time in the Khanid Trading Syndicate as told by my lovely alt, Porter.

My master came to me some years ago. I was newly awakened and fresh in my first frigate. He was tall and charming, but not imposing. His sense of humour was devilish and heretic. I was young with no resources. He was worldly and flush with ISK. He had one goal—to fly the Gallente carriers in the wilds of space. It would take years of training and billions of credits, but it was his goal. He would fund my education, buy my ships, and provide my defence. I would manage his assets, dominate local markets, and mine. The deal was struck and so I became the servant of my master, Masada.

The years have passed. We have ranged across all of Eve together. We have fought wars and constructed mighty Outposts. At times we were broken and forced to flee. But always together we have recovered. We would mine from cruisers until we could build battleships. When we could not mine, he fought on the side of who ever would pay. I sold the bounty across the stars.

Our wealth grew. Soon my master was training with the elite even among immortals. His skills expanded to the limits of our technology. As he drew closer to the carrier skills he became a paragon of combat. At first a Dominix appears humble inside a fleet, but soon it was obvious that he was becoming undefeatable. He rose through the ranks of the Federal Navy to the highest status.

When finally all the necessary skills were consumed, we began the last financial drive to purchase a billion ISK asset—to at last claim the title, Capital Pilot.

I scoured the markets across a thousand light-years to find the right contract. In the span of a few seconds our wealth was spent and Masada flew out to claim his prize. The Thantos is vast barely contained inside a station hanger. The green Galente banners flapped triumphant at the podding ceremony. My master, Masada Akiva, become a Carrier Pilot. I, Porter Thorne, the servant, stood proud and sang the songs of tribute.

I have opened the vastness of space to my master many times since. I have given my sacrificial clones to him. In return, all that I ask is granted. My own skills have grown. We have grown together. He leads, I follow. The ISK pours from his hands to mine—master and servant. What could be better than this immortality shared?

With my Master’s goal attained, he grew ever more despondent. The bureaucratic challenges of such a massive ship seemed to lack the glory he imagined. ISK rang hollow. The vast emptiness of low sec space was droll, inhospitable, and choked with spies like cockroaches in a freighter of abandoned food.

We slept.

Idle we remained until my Master’s dreams returned to space. Slowly he was lulled from slumber by the promise of conquest, battle, and blood. New machines had been created in our absence. Wormholes uncovered to realms yet unseen. But most of all, the rallying cry of the Alliance to tackle the most difficult of missions known to the four Empires. The might of the Thanatos would be tested. The metal of man, steel and drone would be tempered in the flames of pitched combat. Lives would be risked and lost.

Masada awakened.

Crew frantically readied ships long docked. Weapons checked, engines fired, and all systems online. Once again the mighty Dominix sailed with its bay full of the mostly deadly drones of the Gallente Federation… and the enemy bled. My Master left behind fields of wreckage. He brought home the massive spoils of war. The ISK flowed once more.

Soon we will fly in to the lawless systems. Soon the majesty of Khanid Trade Syndicate capital ships will appear. Soon the enemies of the Khanid Royal Family will despair at the sight of the onrushing fleet. Each primary target will glow like a mini-sun and shatter. Soon, my brothers and sisters… soon.

The battle was joined.

The call from the Royal Khanid Navy came for the Khanid Trade Syndicate to smash a local uprising of Sansha. An invasionary force of over 100 ships threatened to destabilize the zone. Eleven of the bravest and most battle hardened of the KTS pilots answered the call. A fleet of eleven against a hundred. Arretu and Masada lead the small force deep in low sec. Vikari summoned the mighty Thanatos piloted by my Master. The iron of KTS would be forged in to steel.

Masada warped in directly bisecting two forces of Sansha ships. Each side supported by withering support towers and two Energy Neutralizer towers. Few capitals are destroyed by damage; they die from lack of capacitor. But soon after engaging the remaining 10 pilots warped in to wipe the battlefield clear of Sansha opposition. Towers fell, hulls crushed, and in the end not a single Sansha ship escaped. KTS did not lose a single ship.

KTS delivered a perfect victory to the Royal Khanid Navy. The mighty eleven shared in the reward.

More battles would follow. There would be more carriers in the field. The strength of KTS is growing. Khanid quakes from the shockwave of our fleet. We stand tested, proven, and strong.


Over a year ago my Master and I considered our futures. His goal was the Thanatos which we would complete first, but then what? Immortals with ISK to spare we plotted out a few strategic investments. One of these was the Providence.

Of all freighters of the four factions, the Amarr Providence is, to our eyes, the most noble of ships. It is slow, yet full of purpose in its motion and graceful in warp. It is a ship abuzz with the activity of industry. From a pilot’s view it is the simplest of ships to control, but the sheer size of it requires large crew of engineers, loaders, and support staff. A small city of complexity encapsulated in a sleek form.

Of course to obtain such a ship required a vast investment. A sum equal to that of the Thanatos. But we were patient and slowly built up again. We found a Providence for sale in Amarr Prime and we pooled our resources to buy it. We seem to make ISK faster than we can mine minerals so an outright purchase made more sense.

As time has gone by, my role has shifted. Initially, I was trained to mine for the resources necessary to maintain my Master’s carrier. But as it turned out, once acquired it was simply easier to buy fuel than mine for it. I therefore began to make small courier runs in a covert ops. The cov ops grew to a Recon and this grew to Heavy Assault Cruisers and now it seems the last jump to Battleship is logical. So the next step in our plan was for me to train up to the Raven.

Why the Raven, you might ask? The answer is curious. I am Minmatar after all. I was already trained for the Typhoon. But the answer lies in another story of my Master…

Long ago when Masada was freshly awakened he cast his eye out to the wide stars and contemplated his place in it. The Gallente favour drones and it would seem in the mystery of ship designs that missiles and drones do not mix. A pilot must choose. Masada, thinking of his carrier someday, chose drones, but always he admired the utility of missiles. If he was going to fund my education, then he wanted me to walk the path he could not take. And so, in his decision was also mine. A Raven it would be.

We sold off some of our other ships—the Typhoon, a Hyperion, a Cyclone. All good ships, but simply ships we were not using. But then there was a surprise. Masada was not content with me flying the Raven and instead insisted on obtaining Caldari Navy Raven. A more battle hardened design. Usually reserved for the most dedicated of Caldari loyalists, I don’t want to know exactly what deals were struck to sell one of these prized ships to a Gallente and a Minmatar. But here it sits in my hanger in Palas. Of course in Khanid I use it nearly exclusively in service to the Royal Khanid Navy and thus by proxy to the Amarr Empire—still I appreciate the irony of flying Caldari war machines and Amarr industrial ships.

Now again we work towards building our finances up. We have retained a great deal of our assets. It is only a matter of time.


I just discovered the announcement of my Master's medal of valour from the Battle of Palas in the Volare War. He had not mentioned it to me. While I usually keep on top of the alliance news, this item had slipped my attention with the flurry of activity around the ending of the war. I asked him about it, but he only shrugged and said, "It was nothing."

I asked him to show it to me. He seemed embarassed, but went to the office safe and pulled out the rimu wood box which lay on top of his folded Gallente Federal Navy uniform. Inside lay the shining Khanid Bronze Star under ribbons of grey and red. The system name, Palas, was etched on the top bronze bar.

"This is quite lovely." I said admiring the fine craftmanship. "We should get it mounted for the office."

He only shook his head, "Nah... All I did was shoot what Tamon told me to shoot. It was a clean fight... That battle went well."

The emphasis he placed on "that" sent a small chill through me. More than once I had helped my Master through the shock of pod loss--jerking awake and flailing in a new body as the old one perished cold in space. Wars are unavoidable in Eve. Losses can not be prevented. I recalled our long journey to Khanid... the endless wars of null security space... the fall of the BRUCE empire... the expulsion from FREGE. Only names now of lost and forgotten alliances.

Later that night I reviewed our combat logs and counted down the ships lost. So many ships. Thousands of lives... Next to each entry I discovered a strange icon. Curious, I activated it. It was a media pack file containing various stills, video and recordings from the crew of the lost ships. Their notes were brief, but still managed to tell part of the story of those souls that had served with the Capsuleer Masada Akiva. None of the images showed my Master with the crew--for this never happens. A Capsuleer must not hesitate in a decision. The sacrifice of one crew may mean the salvation of dozen other ships. Distance is a common defense. Thus it is unusual to find such a personal collection in the combat log of a Capsuleer.

I found myself memorizing the details of faces, piecing together stories, and consciously willing myself to remember these souls. Perhaps they are gone from this universe... but my memory is immortal. None shall truly die that serve my Master. This is our promise.


The days slip past quietly like the silent ticks of old atomic clocks--peaceful days. The last war fades from our memory as the business of mining and accounting grows. My master is deep in study realizing his most current goal. In just a few weeks he will have the skills to fly every class of ship save the great Titans. The last few skills are long and he scarcely leaves his hanger.

As for myself, I am a bit unsettled without obvious clear directives. I did recently complete Industrial Command Ship training. I can then fly Masada’s Orca on request. My leadership skills do not match his, but at least I can move it to orbit as necessary. With no other pressing goals in mind, I have fallen back to raising my shield skills—always handy.

I acquired a Minmatar Maelstrom a week or so ago. While I shifted skills to favour Caldari missiles some time ago, I quickly found this ship to be intriguing. It seemed to be a fine gunship. I caught Masada admiring it in the hanger. He held most of the basic skills to fly it and I couldn’t help but offer it to him. My Navy Raven was by far a better fit for me.

My master was greatly pleased and quickly took the “Projected Revenue” out of dock and in to combat. The combined damage of the 8 grouped 1400 mm cannons was impressive. While it did not have near the staying power or the sustained damage dealing capacity of Masada’s Dominix (the “Core Rear Admiral”), it never the less was enjoyable to fly. I think he enjoyed flying a modern ship of the line compared to the undeniably ugly Dominix. But after a few days of play, he went back to the old workhorse Gallente battleship. “Soon”, he said, “After I complete these last few Gallente ships I will return to shield skills, Artillery and that Maelstrom… besides it will be good cross training for that Vindicator we looked at last month…” I arched my eyebrows at the thought of another billion ISK ship in our collection, but I only sighed. What can you do with such a man?

A newer corpmate has decided to make his fortune as an ice miner. As it turned out, I had a Mackinaw sitting idle for some months in Gallente space. I had always intended to come back to it some day and mine fuel for my Master’s Thanatos, but somehow it always just seemed easier to buy what I needed. Thus I had an asset and Navoker had a need. A deal was struck for 900 blocks of Blue Ice in exchange for the Mackinaw. I then used my Providence to return the blocks to Palas where I’m sure we will distribute some portion of the products to the market and keep plenty for my Master’s needs.

These are our quiet, peaceful days filled with long freighter runs, ice mining, and training. May they last a long time.

~Porter Thorne, Servant of Masada Akiva
(An accounting of life in Empire until our departure to Providence 6 months ago)

Monday, February 8, 2010

War For-EVE-r

Warfare in Providence continues as -A- and Ushra'Khan stab at the heart of CVA space in a solar system known as 9UY4-H.  Few reading this will know anything about the significance of this system.  In the begining of the racial war between CVA and U'K, Providence was held by both sides.  Both honored the convention that pilots of neutral standing would be allowed to fly unmolested.  In these days the concept of sovereignty was entirely different.  If you had towers in a system, you owned it and you could build an Outpost in that system.

Outposts are eternal.  They can never be destroyed, but they can be lost (transferred).  In those early days of Ushra'Khan they erected an Outpost that was named Unity Station.  They held it for a long time until CVA broke the accords of the war and took Unity Station from Ushra'Khan.  That station resided in solar system 9UY4-H.  U'K are now close to reclaiming the station of their birth.  The fervor is fanatic.  To place ones self between Ushra'Khan and Unity Station is suicide.

As for myself, life goes one in CVA.  The strategic significane of 9Uy4-H is not muted by use of Jump Bridges.  We no longer have to travel through directly connected systems and can quite happily bypass 9UY indefinitely.  My area of Providence has no need to travel to distant 9UY anyway.  I have re-shipped and now seek to replensh my wallet.  This will be slow going in the war, but in Eve all things are accomplished in time.

Game On!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Politics of Eve

I would like to write about a bit of Eve history, but the whole story would take far too long for one humble blog post.  You could perhaps gleen from other posts that my corportation has moved in to the null security region of New Eden (the galaxy that makes up Eve Online) known as Providence.  We joined an alliance known as a Holder; a vassel of Curatores Veritas Alliance (CVA).  We are therefore at war with Ushra'Khan and their ally AAA (Against All Authorities).  But these words are probably mostly meaningless to those who are not pilots of Eve. 

This part of the big difference between Eve Online and other morgs.  There were no "quests" sending us to Providence.  The structure of the Holders was not created by the designers.  The rationale behind the epic warfare was not drafted by a mission writer.  Providence is merely an uncontrolled region like a dozen others.  But it has been made special by the creativity of the players.  A long time ago... in a galaxy far, far away...

A band of pilots decided to create context behind the cold combat of Eve.  One side took up the banner of CVA as an extension of the Amarr Empire (one of the 4 developer created races of Eve).  The other side took up banner of Ushra'Khan, a Minmatar faction sworn to fight all Amarr everywhere.  They divided up Providence as a region where both sides could play out the drama of Order vs Chaos.  The history of the CVA/Ushra'Khan War was born.

Over time, CVA grew in power and upset the balance in Providence.  They cast out Ushra'Khan and took the whole of the region.  But so vast an area could not be controlled effectively by one alliance.  The Holders were created as subservient alliances to CVA to maintain Providence and up hold its goals.  The principle goal being to allow pilots outside the alliance who were not lawless to use Providence openly and without fear of aggression from CVA or the Holders.  This principle has made Providence the single most developed section of 0.0 security space known in New Eden.  But Ushra'Khan did not go quietly in to the night.

The war never ended and is still fought today.  But today, Ushra'Khan has allied with the current undisputed force in Eve, Against All Authorities.  AAA and UK have come to Providence and now threaten to destroy CVA and the Holders... The move was not unprovoked.  CVA masterminded an attack on AAA timed to take advantage of a weakness in AAA.  But once AAA recovered, they turned all their terrible power to Providence and delivered a series of blows to the Holders.  The culmination of this was a massive battle at an edge system called D-GTMI.  This battle will forever be remembered as the worst massacre of pilots in the most one-sided victory every seen in New Eden.  The after-shock of this tragedy has shaken the resolve of several Holders and we are at the brink of Civil War in Providence.  The Holders ignoring the will of CVA while AAA and Ushra'Khan batter at the gates.  It is a time of darkness... There will be betrayal, death, savagery, and chaos.

No other morg can offer a story arch more rich and more meaningful.

See you in space!
Game On!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

EVE News

Here is a recent player generated news report on the fighting in Eve Online.

CONCORD Outer Region Political Summary (CORPS) Briefing

>>DED CORPS BRIEFING Y111.12.10/Y112.01.15


The past month has quite literally seen the outer regions of New Eden catch fire as several military campaigns began within days of each other in the first week of the new year. The final weeks of December saw null-sec diplomatic machinations reach a fever pitch as old allies formerly broke off ties and new political coalitions emerged to take advantage of the chaos.

Chief among these has been the seemingly unstoppable march of IT Alliance across the Fountain region. Internal issues in Pandemic Legion ally Sons of Tangra alliance led to sovereignty going neutral in the strategic outpost system of Y-2ANO. The morning of 3 January saw over 1300 capsuleers fighting for control of the system, with elements of Goonswarm, the Northern Coalition and Against ALL Authorities present, among others.

The battle ended heavily in IT and their allies favor, with over forty Goonswarm and Pandemic Legion capital ships destroyed. Most telling was the loss of four Pandemic Legion Titan-class ships. To put the scale of this battle in its proper perspective, it should be noted no less than fifteen IT Alliance Titans were accounted for on the battlefield alongside hundreds of other allied and enemy capital ships. While these numbers make any official report nearly fruitless, it can be estimated that both the loss of life and financial impact of this battle easily exceed any previously recorded in the history of New Eden.

The fall of Y-2ANO signaled the effective end of organized resistance in Fountain. IT Alliance now holds 10 outposts in the region and is currently taking control of all the region's lucrative moon mining locations. Additionally, reports coming in just last night indicate that IT has started to move into the Delve region with the intent of removing Goonswarm.

In the southeast, the Catch region has seen several battles as a territorial dispute has long-time neighbors Against ALL Authorities [AAA] and Curatores Veritatis Alliance [CVA] clashing repeatedly. CVA ally, Libertas Fidelitas Alliance, began dropping sovereignty claim markers in Catch just over a week ago in four strategic systems near the AAA-held gateway system of HED-GP. What started seemingly as a simple probing attack has now escalated into a full scale border war, with both sides calling in allies to bolster their already not-insignificant numbers.

AAA's efforts to counter attack have thus far focused on the system of SV5-8N, which was wrested back to AAA control just yesterday. With three more Catch systems still under Libertas Fidelitas control, it seems unlikely that this conflict will cease anytime soon. Public statements from CVA and their allies have been vague in terms of their actual territorial ambitions but very specific about AAA's friendly relationship with longtime CVA nemesis Ushra'Khan. Speculation is rampant as to what the long-term effects of the CVA-led incursion into what has traditionally been acknowledged as AAA space will be.

Catch is not the only area of space that has AAA's attention. Along with allies Systematic Chaos, C0ven and Ushra'Khan, AAA has begun an invasion of Querious starting with an attempt to take 49-U6U from Goonswarm. Fighting in the system has been very heavy but control of the system still remains firmly in Goonswarm's hands. It remains to be seen what effect IT Alliance's incursions into Delve and the CVA incursions into Catch will have on this particular front with respect to both Goons and AAA's commitment.

The northern region of Geminate continues to be a source of conflict as an invasion force led by Atlas Alliance and Solar Fleet. While Geminate's primary sovereignty holder is Wildly Inappropriate Alliance, they have seen massive backing from both Razor Alliance and Morsus Mihi of the Northern Coalition and neighbors Majesta Empire. Until recently, Goonswarm had also made appearances to assist against the invaders.

The primary focus of Atlas and Solar Fleet has been to gain a foothold in the region by attempting to take the outpost in Y8R-XZ. After nearly three weeks of fighting this was accomplished on the 9th of January, with Solar Fleet taking sovereignty of the system. Atlas and Solar Fleet's next move seems to be attempting to expand their beachhead in Geminate by taking the adjacent outpost system of 04-LQM.

Pure Blind, which has been the home of Mostly Harmless alliance for most of the past year has come under siege from a large coalition of alliances. Triumvirate, Evoke, Red Overlord, Cry Havoc, The Initiative and Circle of Two are the primary offensive arm of the invading forces. Mostly Harmless has seen heavy reinforcement on numerous occasions from the Northern Coalition but their headquarters station of P-2TTL finally fell into the hands of The Initiative. Mostly Harmless now only controls one of the four outposts in the region but fighting now seems to be focused on the 40+ valuable moons in the region.

>> END

My corporation is a member of the LFA alliance and in the thick of the fighting between CVA and AAA. At one point in time we had 600 ally pilots pressing the attack on AAA... and we were only the 2nd biggest fight that week.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Dust 514 Trailer

I don't think I could do a write-up of this as yet unreleased game justice. But the upshot is that it will be initially a console based First Person Shooter based on the Eve Online game universe. This will make it a HALO-like game with more strategic impact. The Eve game world is persistent and is based on the success of player combats (giant fleet battles between star ships). One proposed element is for Dust 514 combat to have an impact on who controls a planet and that will have an impact on who controls a solar system in Eve Online.

The concept has merit, but CCP's track record for delivering on their cool "out there" developments is nil. They release updates to Eve on a very regular basis, but these changes are rarely "revolutionary" and usually just fixing parts of the game that have been clunky for years.

I started playing Eve about 5 years ago after reading an announcement that they were about to launch human avatar game elements. Basically allowing you to really feel like a character in the game rather than just a collection of ships. But in 5 years... still no avatars. The game is great fun (as my other posts tagged Eve can attest). But I'm not hopeful of a development company who is just barely hanging on to upgrading their single platform game suddenly being able to launch a 2nd game effectively... certainly not within 5 years of the initial announcement if history repeats. So be looking for Dust 514 on Playstation 4 in 2015...

Game On!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Where to find fun RPG stuff

I've posted all over various forums and scoured the web for fun RPG material. While I have posted these to various boards, I've never captured them in a blog. So here is a list of good links to things that I thought were cool. These things never last forever so some links may be dead. These resources were primarily of interest to me as they applied to d20 systems. Most of these are directly d20 Modern or d20 OGL (Open Game Licence) resources, but good ideas are good ideas and virtually anything can be converted to your favorite system.

RPGObjects / Vigiliant Press http://www.rpgobjects.com
Primarily driven by the creative efforts of Chuck Rice, RPGO represents (IMO) one of the best examples of independent game publishing. They always have high production value and great content. RPGO publishes in d20 OGL, True20, and their own system Modern^20.

Green Ronin http://www.greenronin.com and http://www.true20.com
GR has some of the best actual print books out for table top gaming. They have dabbled in d20 OGL and developed their own system which is my personal favorite, True20. The are also the masterminds behind Mutants & Masterminds, a super's based RPG. Everything they do is certain to be the highest quality and value.

The Game Mechanics http://www.thegamemechancs.com
Former Wizards of the Coast authors gone indy. They may not have done anything really new in a while, they still represent great writing and good content.

12 to Midnight http://www.12tomidnight.com
For me, these guys are the absolute master of creep. Their content puts a lot of thrill in to a table top game. The are big fans of Savage Worlds system and everything they write has a SV version as well as d20 versions.

Pinnacle Entertainment Group http://www.peginc.com
While on the subject of Savage Worlds, here's the folks that publish that system. They also write for many genre's and SV is a fast paced game with lots of flavor.

Michael Tresca http://michael.tresca.net
A one man game writing machine and creative spirit. Michael writes for fun and profit, but he has many free PDF's for download on his site. If you're an action movie fan, then Michael may have already written a d20 converstion for you. He has Terminator, Aliens, and many other movie converts on his site. A great freebie find.

Dog House Rules http://www.doghouserules.net
These guys do a very fine Western genre d20 game. Lots of good flavor downloads as well.

Blue Devil Games http://www.bluedevilgames.com
These guys started out with fantasy RPG material, but I discovered them while looking for Sci-Fi material. They have produced a massive Sci-Fi product in Dawning Star. Detailed, fun, and well written.

Crafty Games http://www.crafty-games.com
Spycraft is an excellent d20 system that is not OGL or d20 Modern. It is still d20 based, but has so many enhancements it really can not be called the same game. This would be a fantastic system for a hardcore game group. Plenty of great ideas to be had here.

You can buy all of these publishers from http://www.rpgnow.com (and many, many more). In fact, you can find PDF's on every genre, every open system, and plenty of new systems here too.

Another busy hub of all things RPG is http://www.enworld.net which has forums, reviews, and some of their own pulp to boot. A must have resource for the avid gamer.

Enjoy! Game On!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Post Holiday

So I had about three weeks off this vacation. New Zealand does a bit of a total shutdown during the summer/new year's/christmas break. I dig it. It was a good vacation, but I did have to put a lot of energy in other things. But here is the gaming update. :-)

I'm up to about level 133 in Castle Age. Again, i'll appologize now to all my Facebook friends that have to endure multiple daily updates on Castle Age. The focus of this game at this level seems to be in slaying the epic monsters. I've complete all the quests at least once. One of the cool mechanics to CA is the concept of "Generals" which are heroes you buy to run your quests. Each quest is associated with a particular General. Running a quest with the right General gains you some influence on that quest and when you get to 100% influence you open up 2 sub-quests (that can be run with any General). Once you run the 2 sub-quests up to 100% the main quest resets to 0% at Level 2. This cycle can now be repeated to a maximum influence level of 4. Quests are grouped in to 6-7 "zones" and once you have gained 100% influence in 4 of the quests in a zone you open up a special boss fight. The boss fights have a chance to drop Orbs that allow you to summon the Epic monster fights that other players can assist with. CA has many other widgets to it though. You can give tribute to several Gods/Goddesses that will open up special quests and items. There is also a mysterious option to open up a zone called Atlantis, but to do so you have to run Epic Sea Serpent quests until you score 4 map piece drops. All in all, it is one of the most well developed FB games I've seen. Visually well done, good story, interesting mechanics, and the do keep adding new bits to it every couple of weeks or so.

The other game of my life is a return to Eve Online. I move both my pilots in to a corporation run by old friend (Eve friends, none that I've actually met). Our corp has now moved in to a 0.0 region called Providence. Providence is interesting because it is one of the great player driven experiments only possible in Eve. All 0.0 zones are full PvP and virtually all of them are run in a manner equivalent to the most brutal gang warfare. The only territory you can keep is that which you can defend. Corporations constantly form alliances and friendships that perpetually shift as everyone jockies for the ultimate in "free" resources. Eve is primarily a long epic of bitter betrayals and ruthless aggression. The game allows mechanics to tag players, corporations or whole alliances as targets to be killed or allies. Folks that are untag are considered neutrals. In 0.0, you typically only have friends or enemies and since neutrals can never be called friends they are considered enemies and they are ruthlessly attacked and killed. But this is not true in Providence. In this region the players that control the massive alliances which live in the region have decided that neutrals are not to be killed. They are welcomed and allowed to use the systems (mining or bounty hunting) as long as they also honor the don't shoot policy. If anyone violates this rule they are branded enemies and killed on sight.

Again, what I find endlessly fascinating about Eve is that all of these stories are totally player created. CCP did not specify that Providence be a neutral safe zone, people who play the game did. There have been massive holy wars over it. Providence has become part of the Eve story completely fabricated by the players.

Amy has been playing World of Warcraft on her xmas gift cards. I've poked at it a little. I leveled one toon from 70 to 71. But that's about it. The time to level in WoW is really long at 70+. After turning in some 200 quests, I'm tired of being the same level, but in WoW you still are. But it is still a pretty game.

That's what I'm playin'. Game On!