9 December 2014

Goodbye Clone Costs

Halfway through today's upgrade to Rhea I happened to flick past EVEMon. The warning message that strikes fear into the heart of many wormhole pilots was present on all of my characters!

The reason for the fear is any wormhole resident permanently lives undocked in space. When you are undocked with an out of date clone Murphy's law dictates you will die and you will lose skill points. It took a moment for me to remember that it is the turn of clone upgrades themselves to die with Rhea. It took another moment to notice the "Clone Limit" in EVEMon showed 0 Skill Points.

I won't be sad to see this particular feature go away. As a new player I avoided PvP because I couldn't afford to replace ships, implants, and my clone. The first two can be ignored to a certain extent, the final one cannot. Losing skill points equated to losing time. As I got older I cared less but still having to shell out another 10 million ISK because I had dared to fight other players seemed pointlessly harsh. Finally, the one time I was a victim of losing SP due to not updating my clone was because I was rushing to get back into a fight too quickly.

Goodbye clone upgrade. Not going to miss you. I do, however, look forward to where this ISK sink is reimplemented.

8 December 2014

On A Mission

I awoke in an unfamiliar location. There was a bed beneath me, clean sheets around me, and the smell of reprocessed air. I was tired and had a thumping headache. Experiencing another unfamiliar sensation, I swung my legs out of bed and onto the cold floor of my captain's quarters. Captain's quarters? Shit, it all came flooding back to me in an instant. The drinking; the idea for the alliance to fly out to lowsec with assault frigates; the return to Jita in pods; still more drinking and then flying out again in cruisers. To confirm my suspicions I dragged myself over to the viewing platform and, sure enough, there was no ship floating there. My shiny golden pod was intact on the unloading platform. That at least meant I was still in the same clone although the way my head felt I was wishing I wasn't.

I gathered my possessions and took advantage of the free Velator provided to me by the wonderful people at Pend Insurance Inc. Checking my list of assets I noticed I had belongings in another station in this same system. I flew over to see if a ship was amongst those things. On docking I was disappointed to see I appeared to have all the fittings for a ship but no actual hull. I crammed everything into my Velator and headed somewhere I knew I could get myself a more suitable ship to fly home in. Home... ah yes, where was that currently?

On my way to Jita I checked the alliance map software for the current status of connections to my own wormhole system. My chances of getting home were currently not good with nothing convenient leading there. I needed another plan. I would have to think of one after completing the tricky docking procedure at the 4-4 station. The docking procedure at Jita 4-4 isn't actually different to any other station, the difficulty lies in the sheer number of other capsuleers (and wrecks thereof) in space around the docking ring. This station was often compared with a certain space port featured in one of many holoreels depicting an idealistic view of how space politics should be conducted. In reality Jita 4-4 was much worse than Mos Eisley ever was.

Once docked I stashed my cargo with all the other modules and ammo I left lying around my hanger, trashed the Velator, got in to a shuttle and headed for New Caldari with the beginnings of a plan in my head. In New Caldari I swapped my Amarr Shuttle for a Leopard and headed for Auvergne. With the plan formed in my head I was now moving quickly and there is no finer ship in New Eden than a Leopard to get somewhere rapidly. The attraction to Auvergne was one of a homecoming. As a very green capsuleer I had spent many months living in and around Auvergne running missions for the Federation Navy. I still had a number of ships there and I had decided to go back and take stock of the old birds. That and reconnect with my old contacts and possibly run a couple of missions for the for old time sake.

Arriving through the gate to Auvergne I checked my old bookmarks and found one labelled 'Head Office'. That brought back very old memories of my time in Ambivalence Cooperative, a corp whose main focus was avoiding the corp tax charged by the non-capsuleer run corporations prevalent in New Eden. Back in those days I still thought belonging to a corp was only good for getting subjected to wardecs and being forced to stay docked for a week at a time. Mind you, these days I still think the same, I just don't care as I'm normally found in wormhole space where anyone can kill me all the time.

The ship hanger in Auvergne was testament to my old mission running habits. A salvaging Catalyst, a Noctis, a Dominix and a Navy Domi too all lay relatively neglected cared for by only maintenance bots. Some other special ships were there too - a Primae and an Echelon - echoes of changing times which are now taken for granted. My eyes passed over all those ships, even past the Myrmidon which had been my first wormhole ship used to fight sleepers. I was looking for something smaller. My eyes settled on an unfit Vexor and, stripping most of the mods from the other ships, I put together something which would be more than sufficient for running a couple of missions.

Now I had my ship put together it was time to see if any of my old contacts still existed in my former home system. Either my memory was getting old or people had moved on. The only agent offering me a job was Amerique Jostalie and there was not a flicker of recognition from either of us when we spoke. In retrospect this was likely due to her working for Federal Intelligence Office rather than the Federation Navy. All I was offered was a very low level, lowly paid mission but I still took it. She told me to go to Aunia and kill some pirates who were causing a disturbance in the area. Dutifully I undocked, crossed Auvergne to the Aunia gate, jumped in and warped to the deadspace acceleration gate. I still remember the excitement and anticipation from the first time I ever took an acceleration gate but this time I knew I was going to vastly outgun anything I found at the other side. The gate dropped me off in the vicinity of eight frigates. Half of them were dead to my drones before they knew what was going on.

Me, at a gate, late in YC111

I returned to hand in my mission to Amerique but declined any further missions. Clearly I needed something more challenging so I checked out the Agent Finder for something a little trickier. Heading back to Aunia I docked at a Federation Navy station where I had much better standings. Docking up felt much more familiar and all three agents instantly recognised me. After warm greetings, tales of old and adventures new were shared we got down to business. Malillier Epied gave me a local mission which was slightly better paid than the first mission I tried. It still boiled down to killing a number of frigates, most before they knew what was going on. Eladette Gelarbese sent me back to Auvergne for something she promised was more suited to my Vexor and drones. She was right that it was more suited but even with two pockets of deadspace linked by two acceleration gates the pirates within didn't cause me any problems.

With 1.6 million ISK fresh in my wallet I decided to park my ship for the night. With one more agent to talk to I decided to see just how well I could still stand up to the toughest of missions in hisec. Also, I could feel the call of those Sisters of EVE singing their siren song of promises to help repair my Amarr standings.

25 November 2014

Orea in Shock Interview

At the weekend I made my first ever appearance on a podcast. The podcast in question is called Holefire and is hosted by my long-time corpmate, director and friend Matt. The interview appears on episode two of his podcast. If you ever wondered what I sound like head over there and give it a listen.

Hopefully, if we get enough people listening to Matt's podcast he'll get episode three posted with less of a delay than between one and two.

24 November 2014

This Is EVE

The more observant of you may notice a new page hanging off the top of this blog. The page is titled 'This Is EVE' and contains the wonderful new trailer CCP have put together using real comms chatter submitted by real players. Let's take a few minutes to watch it here.

Did you enjoy that? I certainly did. The first time I watched it there was a chill up my spine. This video shows why I play EVE better than any other. The people I hang out on comms. The excitement of fleeting up in a group and doing things together. When I feel like some quiet there is the planning and execution of industry.

Thank you CCP for making this, and thank you all the players who submitted their comms chatter to make this possible. To celebrate this wonderful trailer I think I'll just leave that static page up there so I can watch it all the time. I even mangled the page format to make it really large!!!

I love EVE.

16 November 2014

Gladiators, start your engines!

For the first expansion since Apocrypha, in Rhea new wormhole systems are being added to New Eden's universe. It will not be possible to anchor POSs in any of these systems due to the lack of any moons. The lack of moons is being explained by every single planet being Shattered, leading to the classification of this new type of space as 'S-space'. As well as the lack of moons to anchor POSs at these new systems have several other features to distinguish them from the W-space I am so familiar with:
  • Landmark sites
  • High frequency of wormholes
  • Extra-rich asteroid belts
  • Ice mining
In addition to this list there will be no possibility of getting capital ships into S-space, either by flying, jumping or construction. It seems CCP are really pushing back to basics with this new space. I've read at least one comment suggestion CCP are creating new space to remove features (read: cap and supercap ships) they would like gone from K-space but could never risk the player outrage to do so.

Out of the 101 systems there is one extra-special new solar system called Thera. In addition to the above features Thera will also have four dockable stations. These stations have the normal facilities of industry, repair, medical and a market. Currently you can even install a jump clone in one if you want. The two things which distinguish this system from any other K-space system is the lack of jump gates and its massive size.

As mentioned Thera has a market to buy your ships, there are medical facilities so if you get podded you don't have to find your way back in, this is technically nullsec so there are no security status penalties for engaging in combat. In addition to the above Rhea also brings the removal of clone costs to protect your skill points after being podded. The sum of the above is CCP are essentially introducing a combat arena to New Eden. In true CCP style this is not an honourable arena where 1v1 battles are forced to be honoured, rather this is more like a free for all with no end.

- Want to fleet up to kill that Machariel?
- Sure, but can I shoot you after it dies?
- Okay!

There are already cries that the large nullsec alliances will just move in, assert control and ruin it for everyone. Those same arguments appear for almost every new feature CCP release. Yes, it is a possibility but rather than assume this potentially wonderful new feature will be a flop how about supporting what it could be. Go out and help to realise the potential of Thera as a bloody battlefield of epic proportions. Install a jump clone and when you want some casual, consentual, unprotected pewpew head over to Thera to die gloriously.

Enjoy the Outback: Station camping on Sisi

11 November 2014

Recruiting Again

Z3R0 Return Mining Inc., proud founding member of the Illusion of Solitude alliance, is once again recruiting. Formed over four and a half years ago we have a wealth of experience gained from years of living exclusively in wormhole space. Our current home is a class 4 wormhole with class 3 and 5 statics which provide us with many opportunities to take advantage of. Active in EU and East US time zones we do not focus exclusively on any one area of wormhole life. We prefer to take advantage of what we find each day, be that people to shoot, sites to run, or just sitting on comms talking nonsense to each other.

If you are interested in joining us you need to be a mature and relaxed player who doesn't take things like killboard efficiency too seriously. You must be able to warp cloaked and should have decent scanning skills. You should have reasonable armour tanking skills and we can help guide you on your training. Whilst we try to avoid dying too often you should be comfortable with ship and pod loss accepting this is normal for EVE. You should also have Teamspeak available with a mic and headset although you are not expected to use this every time you are online.

We are not generally active enough to PLEX your account each month so players expecting to do so will be disappointed. There is an expectation that you will spend the majority of your time basing out of our home system. You will also be expected to do your fair share of scanning. In return the corp makes it as easy as possible for you to earn ISK with corp buyout of PvE loot and all PI generated in the hole. This removes any necessity for you to haul loot out and sell it in order to be paid.

If you are interested please fill out our recruitment form or contact me in-game for more information. The recruitment process involves an API check and Teamspeak 'interview'. Please do not apply directly to the corp until this process has been followed.