21 June 2015

Moving On

I've been struggling to find time to enjoy EVE recently. I still hang out with my alliance in our Jabber server and I've still been making the regular fleet night I run each week. Beyond that I just haven't been motivated to log in much. This obviously carries over to the posts I make here which have dwindled down to less than one a week. Obviously with less time to play EVE there is less stuff to write about. If you add to that the little I do play is trying to recoup the two billion ISK I've lost in the past six weeks then I really do have little to blog about just now. Site running doesn't make for interesting reading.

In my alliance I always maintain that real life is more important than EVE (usually stated as "RL>EVE"). This is true and is the underlying problem for my EVE malaise. In 'RL:Work Edition' I am really busy pulling a new and rather large project under the wings of my department. In 'RL:Home Edition' I am in the process of buying a new house. I seem to be drowning under a tidal wave of paperwork with each new day bring something new to sign and send money away for. Some times I can't help but wonder if the whole thing is a long Jita scam, possibly a bonus room type of thing where they'll keep sending me more and more things to sign until I finally crack.

Not relevant to this blog post
But wait, did I say I'd lost about two billion ISK in six weeks? How did I manage that? The biggest single loss was my alt's Orca. This was lost due to drunken impatience after a hole-rolling incident which saw me stuck in a busy Molden Heath system. Instead of being patient I tried to flee to a quieter nullsec system to scan myself from. That was a mistake as the locals had the wormhole bookmarked, followed me through and popped me. Just over two weeks later, whilst running sites to recoup the cost of buying a new Orca I was caught by pilots from ArB Llc. This particularly stung as they used to be in my alliance. I'm sure they got a buzz out of killing my Gila but my wallet didn't. The final loss in this litany is also the first PvP fit ship to die. One of my corp mates had a Vexor sitting at the sun as obvious bait. Our plan was to get in, kill it, and flee before their cavalry landed. We managed parts one and two easily enough but the cavalry landed and killed my Proteus before I could leave. Swapping a Proteus for a Vexor seems fair enough to me. Did I mention I'm crap at Chess?

All is not lost, however. At least some of the RL woes are coming to an end. Pretty soon I'll be in a shiny new house (if the developer gets their finger our and stops sliding the date back). This should give back a lot of my evening time as well as take all the related things I need to remember out of my head. In the meantime I've taken some alts on a deployment to nullsec for some fun. Of course, I couldn't possibly say what that is as nullsec is all about the Opsex. Well, something like that anyway....

8 June 2015

New Icons

Just about a week ago the new overview icons landed on Tranquillity. With any change to the EVE client there tends to be a lot of bitching and whining and these new icons were no different. I caught a bunch of it on release day from our alliance Jabber server and thought nothing much about it. I just filed it under the same category I file most posts from the official eve-o forums, namely 'waa-waa-somthing-changed'. Let's face it, online gamers like to bitch a lot.

Later last week I logged on to be told to get myself into some dps quickly as there were a trio of Myrmidons running sites in our 3a1. A little bit of questioning later and it turned out there had been some to-and-fro with the guys running sites. We fully expected a trap but the only way to be sure it's a trap is to spring it. Mustering the few people we could at a relatively early time for us we went in. Comically, we warped to the wrong bookmark for their MTU at the first attempt. We then re-warped as a single group and landed in the right place on the second attempt.

As I landed on grid I was looking for the ships to call targets on and I couldn't see any. I knew they were there but I had no idea I relied so much on the overview icons to distinguish between things. In my head I thought I used the names column. Eventually I picked out a name and called primary on the basis that was all I could see. Our scout on the gate counted in the six ships which jumped in to spring the trap on us and when we realised we wouldn't even get a single kill we did our best to leave the field. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

It was around about now I joined the holy-shit-these-new-icons-suck club. I am still sure a large part of the problem was lack of familiarity but I also now know a huge part is that I run my UI at 90%. Switching to 100% scaling I could see the icons much clearer and actually distinguish between different ones. OMG, CCP, did you even test this with UI scaling?

And yes, I do feel bad for asking that question.

25 May 2015

Fade to Blue

As previously mentioned here, CCP recently put out notification that alliance logos were to be resubmitted. The resubmitted logos were subject to new rules and guidelines meaning there was no guarantee logos already in the game would be accepted under the new regime. Possibly somewhat foolishly I was pretty confident that the existing logo for Illusions of Solitude, a chameleon on a Einstein-Rosen bridge would be accepted. I was wrong and rejection came in the form of a rather vague email telling me it was "not of sufficient quality to be included". I understand CCP art department are a busy bunch but I am not sure how they expect to get a better quality resubmission when they don't give any clues what was wrong with the original submission.
As he was...

So I had a bit of back and forth with CCP Falcon, the bearer of the above bad news. He gave me his best guess that the colour saturation was too high and possibly the use of our iconic chameleon wasn't ideal. We're rather attached to our chameleon, so much so we even named him 'Reginald Green'. Getting rid wasn't an option as far as I was concerned. With Falcon's help we settled on desaturating the red colour for the alliance initials and fading Reginald to blue to match the wormhole he was sitting on. I guess it makes sense, I never scout a wormhole without a cloak so why should he? I made my changes and resubmitted the logo with assurances from Falcon that it would be fine.
Changing...

After two weeks I'd still not had any positive reply. I took this as good news as the original submission process was only proven successful when the logo appeared in the game. Confirmation of acceptance doesn't seem to be a strong point with CCP. This weekend I was reading the 'This Week in EVE' forum post by CCP Phantom and noticed a link to another post listing the approved alliance logos so far. I was delighted to see my alliance listed in amongst the long list of other alliances who've been successful in their logo submissions. I can't wait to see which formerly iconic logos have fallen by the wayside to the new logo requirements. Will Goons still have their little bee? Will LAWN still have the fantastic gnome? On the 2nd of June I guess we will all know.
Brr!! Who turned off the heat!?
So thank you, CCP Falcon, for putting up with my slightly stroppy tone of email while I was trying to figure out how to change my logo to something acceptable without destroying it. I'll buy you a beer at the Glasgow meetup to make up for it.

21 May 2015

A light in the dark

As I've previously mentioned there is currently something amiss with the display of wormhole states. I had a little excursion with my Orca due to an unexpected early collapse of a wormhole it eventually died looking for a quiet way home. Alcohol and impatience my have been involved as I decided to try and shoot out via a wormhole to nullsec not thinking for one minute that the locals would already know the location of their only sig. The result was I picked up a new Orca and flew it home, only to roll some more holes and get stuck outside yet another hole which collapsed with no warning.

(Hole rolling maths say a 3 bn mass hole with variance is 2.7 to 3.3 bn. For a hole which is in a reduced state the minimum mass required to collapse the hole is 271 million kgs. My Orca is 250 million, therefore it is impossible to collapse our C5 static with the Orca unless it is already critical or I am running a 100MN prop mod.)
Unfortunately I made a horrible discovery when I went to launch probes to start scanning; I had not fitted a probe launcher. Oh poop!


Given I had only just gotten myself back into our home system I was feeling rather annoyed. Annoyed that I'd forgotten to put the all important launcher on but also annoyed that the game wasn't following the well understood mechanics of wormhole life-cycles. I also knew that others on the forums have been reporting unexpected variances in hole rolling and a rumour that this was a known issue. Before initiating the self destruct sequence it was time to raise a support ticket. Without going into exact details, CCP told me the hole lifecycle completed normally, that there are no known issues with this, and there was nothing they would do about my predicament. Well shit, time to explode myself and claim the insurance.

Wait a moment, I could always appeal to the local corp for assistance. Worst case they lead me into a trap and kill me. The end result is a dead Orca which is no different to the current result. I had nothing to lose. Using an alt to at least give myself a little protection (and not expose myself to watch lists) I threw myself on the mercy of the local CEO offering to sell the Orca cheaply. I didn't expect a reply.

My low expectation was put to shame as the CEO replied that he had no use for an Orca but was willing to scan me out for less than I was trying to sell him the Orca for. This still had me in the land of uncertain death but I couldn't lose more than I was already guaranteed to lose. I spent the weekend with my alt logged on as much as possible so I would know right away if my potential saviour found a route. I was updated in the morning and a night for two days that there was no useful route to be found. By this point I was convinced I was getting out of this in good shape. My corp were not so sure but I made the point that the guy would have just lied about having a route to get me in fleet and tell me to warp to him. He, of course, would be sitting in his POS ready to laugh as I bounced off the shields.

Just before heading offline after a long weekend of waiting for good fortune my saviour convo'd me. He had a hisec route and I should get on. Now we would find out how honourable he really was. Logging in my Orca I was invited to fleet and told to warp to him. Dropping out of warp I found myself at a wormhole. I jumped in and was webbed into warp to the next hole and the next. Jumping out I was in hisec. I had really made it out alive. My corp were stunned into silence and refused to believe I had ever been trapped at all. I told them it was my karma payback for the time we helped a stranded Tengu out to safety when we were camping a hisec hole (for which I got no end of grief over). I sent all the ISK my Orca pilot had, which was about half the value of buying a new Orca after insurance was taken into account. It was a well deserved payment. It didn't matter that I was in a hisec pocket (one heavily gatecamped lowsec to get through). I was in known space and people could get to me. A route was scanned to contiguous K-space and I flew the Orca home.

I would like to give a massive shout-out to Snowtie, the CEO of Snowlodoto for being wonderfully helpful and definitely honourable. You sir are a Gentleman and a Scholar.

12 May 2015

Imposters - Addendum

During the course of the invasion of J160739 we found ourselves in a most unexpected conversation. We had the fortune to kill and pod one of the formerly named Illusion of Solitude.'s director's alts - felix9000 felidae. This prompted him to try and sell out his CEO or possibly, as we assumed, to trap us into breaking the diplomatic ceasefire. In either case I thought the conversation was worth sharing.

[ 2015.04.24 23:29:34 ] felix9000 felidae > I know what they have and they way they're planning their defenses.
[ 2015.04.24 23:30:39 ] felix9000 felidae > they're clueless. their ceo is a high school boy.
[ 2015.04.24 23:30:57 ] felix9000 felidae > i will give you full API.
[ 2015.04.24 23:31:11 ] felix9000 felidae > if you let me help.
[ 2015.04.24 23:31:57 ] felix9000 felidae > i wanna be in a good corps. he's a little bitchg. lets stomp theem.
[ 2015.04.24 23:33:11 ] felix9000 felidae > I know the way they fight.
[ 2015.04.24 23:33:16 ] felix9000 felidae > Open offer.
[ 2015.04.24 23:33:45 ] felix9000 felidae > I dont like being talked down from a high school twat. :)
[ 2015.04.24 23:34:28 ] felix9000 felidae > hrr dude...he neeeds to be fucked with.
[ 2015.04.24 23:34:57 ] felix9000 felidae > i left corps, it would shake them BADLY if they saw i joined you.
[ 2015.04.24 23:50:42 ] felix9000 felidae > do you wantr an in?
[ 2015.04.24 23:50:50 ] felix9000 felidae > strategic?
[ 2015.04.24 23:51:11 ] felix9000 felidae > 500m and i give you the hole.
[ 2015.04.24 23:51:35 ] felix9000 felidae > i want to stomp the high school kid. :)
[ 2015.04.24 23:52:03 ] felix9000 felidae > i want to win
[ 2015.04.24 23:52:07 ] felix9000 felidae > ;)
[ 2015.04.24 23:52:45 ] felix9000 felidae > are you US? i'll give you my number to talk
[ 2015.04.24 23:53:18 ] felix9000 felidae > i'll givree you my full api.
[ 2015.04.24 23:53:24 ] felix9000 felidae > i want to destroy them.
[ 2015.04.24 23:54:57 ] felix9000 felidae > do you have ts?
[ 2015.04.24 23:55:39 ] felix9000 felidae > lets crush the high scool boy. :)
[ 2015.04.24 23:56:24 ] felix9000 felidae > i jumped because i dont like high school boy
[ 2015.04.24 23:56:28 ] felix9000 felidae > too much pi
[ 2015.04.24 23:56:33 ] felix9000 felidae > \too much nopt gf
[ 2015.04.24 23:56:51 ] felix9000 felidae > you guys fight, right?
[ 2015.04.24 23:57:49 ] felix9000 felidae > i want to breaik them.
[ 2015.04.24 23:58:31 ] felix9000 felidae > you guys a total in.
[ 2015.04.24 23:58:38 ] felix9000 felidae > withb me.
[ 2015.04.24 23:58:40 ] felix9000 felidae > intel.
[ 2015.04.24 23:58:45 ] felix9000 felidae > i know what they have.
[ 2015.04.24 23:59:38 ] felix9000 felidae > what do you want? I want that hole.
[ 2015.04.24 23:59:49 ] felix9000 felidae > too many high school klids.
[ 2015.04.25 00:00:12 ] felix9000 felidae > what are your normal try ins?
[ 2015.04.25 00:00:17 ] felix9000 felidae > as far as getting in?
[ 2015.04.25 00:00:25 ] felix9000 felidae > full api.
[ 2015.04.25 00:00:31 ] felix9000 felidae > i have 4 accounts.
[ 2015.04.25 00:01:28 ] felix9000 felidae > i'm really getting into playing hard
[ 2015.04.25 00:01:34 ] felix9000 felidae > i dont hide anything
[ 2015.04.25 00:01:42 ] felix9000 felidae > i want to play hard
[ 2015.04.25 00:02:15 ] felix9000 felidae > ha! i have better pvp recs than anyone there. :)
[ 2015.04.25 00:02:17 ] felix9000 felidae > puyssies
[ 2015.04.25 00:02:40 ] felix9000 felidae > timid high school boy shit aint me.
[ 2015.04.25 00:03:15 ] felix9000 felidae > so a few golems, but their mostly pi.
[ 2015.04.25 00:03:25 ] felix9000 felidae > the alliance connections are
[ 2015.04.25 00:03:35 ] felix9000 felidae > austrailian, so not us tz
[ 2015.04.25 00:03:52 ] felix9000 felidae > the main pvp stremgths
[ 2015.04.25 00:04:01 ] felix9000 felidae > are not from pvp players.
[ 2015.04.25 00:04:22 ] felix9000 felidae > the players in that c3 are WOEFULLY not pvp players
[ 2015.04.25 00:04:31 ] felix9000 felidae > but the alliance is
[ 2015.04.25 00:04:40 ] felix9000 felidae > they have 1 or 2 good fcs
[ 2015.04.25 00:04:57 ] felix9000 felidae > but the people in that hole arent pvpers
[ 2015.04.25 00:05:18 ] felix9000 felidae > they're shit scared
[ 2015.04.25 00:05:33 ] felix9000 felidae > the lack of leadership is why i'm jumping
[ 2015.04.25 00:05:51 ] felix9000 felidae > i have better pvp records than anyone in there.
[ 2015.04.25 00:06:00 ] felix9000 felidae > and i only JUST STARTED
[ 2015.04.25 00:06:41 ] felix9000 felidae > but theres a few guys fcing that are good
[ 2015.04.25 00:07:09 ] felix9000 felidae > i just lost a gila because they suck!
[ 2015.04.25 00:07:12 ] felix9000 felidae > bwahahaha!
[ 2015.04.25 00:07:16 ] felix9000 felidae > i fight.
[ 2015.04.25 00:07:23 ] felix9000 felidae > thats why i play eve.
[ 2015.04.25 00:07:57 ] felix9000 felidae > content
[ 2015.04.25 00:08:12 ] felix9000 felidae > no high schoolers, thoug. fuck that shit. :)
[ 2015.04.25 00:08:57 ] felix9000 felidae > you guys podded me! fuckers.
[ 2015.04.25 00:09:26 ] felix9000 felidae > kita plus fours. ;)
[ 2015.04.25 00:10:17 ] felix9000 felidae > that was gay. but their bringing in mercs...
[ 2015.04.25 00:10:26 ] felix9000 felidae > t3 tengus, proteus
[ 2015.04.25 00:10:30 ] felix9000 felidae > ishtar
[ 2015.04.25 00:10:46 ] felix9000 felidae > cloaky t3s
[ 2015.04.25 00:11:26 ] felix9000 felidae > what do you offer if i give you all the intel?
[ 2015.04.25 00:11:53 ] felix9000 felidae > i would like to play with people older than 17.
So I've no idea whether this guy was for real or just thought we were stupid enough to let in an obvious spai. In either case thank you Felix for the comedy convo.

11 May 2015

Imposters

One of the things I like most about EVE is the potential to inadvertantly kick the hornets nest. In a game of connections, relationships and conflict it should be impossible to play in a way which impacts the game meaningfully yet doesn't stir up some trouble now and again. Usually I only get to hear of such drama through reading the metagame; TMC, EN24 and various blogs have all the good stories of alliance 'x' upsetting coallition 'y' and getting stomped all over. Living in wormholes, as I do, the likelyhood of getting involved in such quarrels is greatly reduced and other than the odd corp theft or alliance purge I'd never been a true actor in one of these tales. Until now, that is.

The story begins a month ago. We were having one of our regular fleet nights where people pre-warn loved ones and get online relatively early. Any regular reader of my blog will know we are not a large corp so such nights generally result in eight to ten people logged in. Our standard routine is to scan our constellation, see if there is anyone to shoot, if not then we run our sites. We are usually too lazy to roll our statics to find PvP. This fleet night was no different and we had just gotten to the stage where we were going to run sites when a scout noticed people in our C3 static logging on. This pulled us back into PvP mode so we swapped to cloaky ships to see what trouble could be found. Unfortunately and despite our best efforts a good fight eluded us, however we were entertained to a continuous display of the ships our neighbours had as they jumped from one to another to yet another. As a last attempt to get a fight we had a lone Gnosis shoot the planet two customs office. Even this wasn't enough to have them raise a fleet. It was around then we decided to take things personally. After all, the corp who were too risk adverse to face us despite having a wide variety of ships and enough pilots were also masquerading on my alliance name. We were facing the corp Illusion of Solitude. (note the trailing dot).

After sending their customs office into its reinforcement timer several of us logged off in the hole. The hope was they would bring a fight to save the POCO. Based on the number of their pilots we thought any fight they brought would be fairly evenly matched. Our scouts kept watch the following day and our target's alliance flew in a number of reinforcements meaning we were now definitely outnumbered. This gave me two choices: leave or call some of my own friends. I chose the latter and asked my good friend Nashh Kadavr for some help. He obliged with enough pilots to double our number and the game was on. Sadly it was a short game as the locals clearly understood how to best use their local pulsar effects to their advantage. Our three Scimitars couldn't hold reps on anything and were themselves melted rather rapidly. The fight was a wash (and the battle report a mess). We withdrew from the hole and left scouts because we wanted a rematch. With such an overwhelming defeat a counter needed to be worked on.

During the course of the week some of my guys kept making ourselves known. This resulted in me getting a pissy email from the alliance leader of Praetorian Directorate, Sengier. In it he announced grandly that he had "decided ... to take no further measures" and warning that "We do outsource our boring PvP matters". Dafuq? Why live in wormholes if you don't want to ever fight? Anyway I replied politely pointing out the rudeness of a corp hijacking the name my alliance had been using for over two and a half years and I left it at that. By the following weekend a suitable counter fleet had been theorised, procured and distributed by the ever resourceful Nashh. On the Thursday night we flew in a tower to provide safe haven for us and went to sleep. Cue shitstorm.

I awoke the following day to a mail from one of my directors. In it he included a conversation with Troyd, the leader of Repercussus, a fully paid up member of Goonswarm Federation. To say reaching these heady heights of nullsec affiliations was unexpected is to understate it somewhat. Troyd made it clear he was looking for a peaceful way out of this situation without having to shoot at a tower. Who can blame him, that's a pretty dull way to spend your weekend. This view was restated when myself and Nashh got to speak to another character, Thedaius, later that evening. During that chat we explained that we were only here for content and to encourage the fake Illusion of Solitude. corp to change their name. This left us with the most wonderful quote of the whole weekend:

Thedaius > I've been doing this (negotiations and diplomacy) for a long time and this is the most bizarre request I've ever dealt with.

If us wormholers are anything it's bizarre and crazy. Unfortunately he also gave us the bombshell that we had picked a fight with a goon industrial corp. Fuck!

Thedaius > Ok well my corp has a stake in this wormhole; so you are essentially messing with my industrial wing

We stood the fleet down for the night waiting to hear the outcome of our request. The answer came at 03:23 when my C2 CEO, John Younts, sent me a mail saying "Fuck it there are 80-90 ships attacking the pos". In and of itself this wasn't a problem. The POS was disposable anyway. It was never meant as more than brief safe haven while we harassed the locals. The sheer number of ships shooting the POS was the shock factor. This started as a small gang thing and escalated beyond anything I could have imagined. Not only were there members of Goonswarm shooting at the tower we had also attracted Sleeper Social Club. Double Fuck!

The following day we assessed the situation. POS reinforced; massively outnumbered; potential reinforcements available but only if we could get hole control (unlikely). We decided to take the sensible route and slink out the hole and back to where we'd come from. There was no good fight to be had here. There were only wormhole farmers who paid external forces for home defence. Renters by any other name. That night our tower died and the reinforcements parachuted in by the locals left.

And so began our guerilla war. A small number of people declined to leave. Over the past two weeks they did what they could to mess with the locals' ability to do anything useful. I took an alternative route. On the advice of the alliance leader of the Illusion of Solitude. corp, the aforementioned Sengier, I raised a petition to have the (dot) corp name changed. They made it clear in local chat and in the subsequent issuing of medals to themselves that they were intentionally squatting on the name. This is against the EULA of EVE Online. It took a full two weeks for CCP to handle the petition due to other, more important problems. Yesterday I got the good news that the petition was successful (CCP don't tell you, you just see the new corp name). And with that this saga draws to a dull and boring close. I announced a full withdrawal of all combat ships from J160739 as soon as the wardecs they hired against us are dropped. We have no problem with the newly renamed 'EVE Corporation 98379988'.

I hated to get the 'legal team' in. It would have been much more satisfying to force a resolution to this in-game. But when the people you square up against are willing to throw ISK at hiring all comers (and who also happen to be Goon affiliated) there isn't a whole lot you can do.

30 April 2015

Missing Critical

Rolling some of our excessive number of inbound connection we discovered a disturbing pattern. First one pilot got locked out in their Helios, then I got my Orca rolled out. The pattern was neither hole went mass critical before collapsing. Initially we assumed bad maths but the pattern was further repeated when a third hole collapsed on a return journey by an Orca on a hole which wasn't critical.

I accept that in either of the cases with the Orca jumping back it is technically possible to flatten a hole from reduced all the way to gone. To do this three times in one night is unprecedented by us. To find out if CCP have dramatically changed how wormholes behave we need more data points. So, dear reader, have you encountered any unexpected changes to wormhole mechanics?

I'm off to scout my Orca back from lowsec...