15 November 2015

Pod and Planet YC117 - Blood Frenzy

October 21 YC 117

I technically don't need to sleep. Capsuleers who spend weeks and months living in inhospitable solar systems behind unpredictable wormhole connections have invented an analogue to sleep. By turning off all ship sensors you plunge the brain into a state where it is forced to create imagery to fill the resulting void. It's not sleep but it feels like dreams and you only dream when you're asleep, right? Today I awoke as my Loki-class Strategic Cruiser gently filtered in external signals. As usual I was drifting somewhere deep in space. Comms crackled to life and my corp mate, a gruff Matari by the name of Bukur, noted my appearance in the standing fleet. "About time you showed up. Check your sensors. Do you see anything odd?"

It didn't take long to spot an unfamiliar 'Blood Raider Gauntlet' beacon being reported by my ship's sensors. This was disturbing. How had the Blood Raiders gotten into our system? None of our scouts had reported any activity whilst I slept, yet here we could see an encampment of the feared Blood Raider cult. Not only that, it was being broadcast for all comers to see, unlike anything else we normally found in wormhole space. "Come on then, move your arse and let's clear them out", I was jostled into action by Bukur.

Until I choose otherwise, while I am with my ship I am essentially immortal. This knowledge did little to calm me as we warped to the unfamiliar beacon. Whilst dying wasn't a problem, replacing the ship I was in and getting back home could be. Wormhole connections can be a fickle mistress and we currently had no known connections to Empire-controlled space. Landing at the beacon things grew stranger yet. The opposing force was a trivial fleet of frigates but they were guarding an acceleration gate. The Blood Raiders invasion party had not only managed to secretly infiltrate our home system but had also taken the required supplies to insert themselves into a deadspace pocket. Something I had never seen before in a wormhole system.

Clearing the gate guards and their reinforcements was no trouble for Bukur and my cruisers. We had to press on deeper into the unknown. I invited Bukur to be first in. He declined, "Why don't you risk your own bloody ship for a change?", a challenge I couldn't refuse even though I wanted to. In the deadspace pocket the challenge was marginally greater but once again the forces of the Blood Raiders were no match for a pair of capsuleers in Strategic Cruisers and they died rapidly. Of all the ships we destroyed only one of them had any salvageable cargo. The cargo was something neither of us had seen before. My ship identified it as a booster of type 'Blood Raiders Cerebral Accelerator' but was unable to give any further information about its effects. Maybe we hadn't yet passed the final hurdle into the unknown. Maybe we were looking at it now. Bukur volunteered to be first to try the booster. As he said, exploring the unknown was what we were originally out here for and it was a long time since we'd encountered the unknown.

"How does it feel", I was eager to know what the mysterious booster's effects were. The Blood Raiders were a slightly ghoulish cult and something purporting to accelerate your brain could mean just about anything, good or bad. The answer didn't help, "Well it's hard to explain, everything just feels more somehow".  While we were waiting for something more tangible than "feeling more" our ships alerted us to another Blood Raider beacon. I nudged my ship in the correct direction, "I guess we should deal with that as well. Maybe they'll have one of these accelerators for me to try", and with that I entered warp.

We destroyed this second outpost with the same efficiency as the first and, once again, the only thing we could salvage from any of the wrecks was the mysterious booster. Why were they here with a single booster? Was there something special about wormhole space the Blood Raiders needed to do something with this booster? Our pondering was interrupted by Bukur who realised his background skill training had ended some hours earlier than expected. On a hunch I quickly popped my own booster and immediately confirmed our suspicions by noting my training towards the final level of fleet commander was scheduled to complete almost two weeks early. The boosters somehow increased our capacity for learning.

October 23 YC 117

In the middle of today's operations a terrible thing happened. It was like the universe collapsed in on me. The utopian enlightenment I had enjoyed for more than a day now ended with a brain shattering crash.
"You might have warned me how bad this would be!"
"No idea what you're on about" was Bukur's response to my accusation, "my booster is still working."
This discovery led to some speculation as to why I was experiencing lower longevity in the effects of the Blood Raider booster. Could there be differences in purity or dose size? Was there some inherent biological difference between myself as a Gallente and Bukur as a Matari? Was there anything I could do to increase how long a single dose lasted? I resolved to dedicate some time to that later. The secrets of this wonder drug were ripe for discovery

My comedown was still in full effect and now, seeing how I had been affected, Bukur was incredibly keen to start building up a stock of boosters. We enlisted the help of more members of our corporation, explaining the wonderful benefits but leaving out the crushing feeling when the booster effects wore off. To be honest, once people heard their background training time would shorten they pretty much stopped listening anyway. With our fleet much enlarged we spread out exploring our constellation for more beacons. We deliberately collapsed one of our wormhole connections knowing this would likely result in a new connection to be formed elsewhere. As expected it did and we all raced each other to be the first into the new destination.

"Holy shit, get in here now", I was the first to jump in and couldn't believe my eyes. Not one, not two, but eight beacons were detected by my ship's sensors. The Blood Raiders had a good hold on this system and were likely far along with their plans, whatever those plans may be. Expecting his booster to run out any time soon Bukur sped past me and straight towards the nearest beacon. We had run no intel on the system. We didn't know if anyone lived there. Still the rest of us followed suit. This was very bad procedure for us. Anyone could be hiding in this unexplored system. If they were this could easily result in the death of all our ships.

Poor Blood Raiders could never had known what hit them as we rained death on their installations. It was a massacre. With our fleet swooping from beacon to beacon the Blood Raiders didn't stand a chance. By the end we had enough boosters for the entire fleet plus a couple spare. Everyone was basking in a warm glow having consumed theirs. They didn't know what awaited them once the booster was spent but I did. "Come on guys, let's see if we can find any more of these. Show them to keep away from our space", I tried to encourage people but they didn't understand my urgency. They simply crept away to their own private corners of space to enjoy the feeling. I was more driven. I couldn't get my mind away from the temporary nature of the booster. I needed to store more boosters. I almost regretted having brought the others into the system with all these sites. I should have kept them for myself. Just as I was about to return home with everyone else another beacon lit up on my sensors. I opened comms to let everyone know but then stopped myself. This site was mine. This would be my spare.

October 27 YC 117

It has been a few days since my last entry. There has been a steady decline in the appearance of our Blood Raider friends. At first we were able to keep our fleet well supplied with these drugs. Then the beacons started presenting themselves less and less frequently. At first this pressed us out exploring more and more. Then we started taking risks with our ships. We ignored all security protocols. On discovering a new beacon it was a race to see who could get there first. If there were multiple targets we spread out providing little or no protection to each other. It's a miracle we didn't lose anyone during these reckless exploits. Most importantly, however, we were able to keep ourselves dosed up on this Blood Raider mana. As we did each fleet member crawled off to their own private corner of the solar system to be alone with the drug. Socialising ceased to matter. I even started instructing my ship to wake me earlier and earlier in the hope I could fly alone and beat the others to virgin sites. I wanted to build a private stash. I was having to roam longer and further, taking all the risks of solo flight through potential hostile systems. Eventually it was evident that no new sites were being discovered and I retreated with my stockpile of boosters.

Waking up today an initial wave of panic washed over me. I spotted wrecks on my scanners and immediately assumed I had missed a now rare occurrence of Blood Raider detection. Panic was replaced by disbelief when I realised these were not Blood Raider wrecks I was seeing on my ship systems. These wrecks were of other capsuleer ships and there were a lot of them. Comms were quiet. Only Bukur was showing any presence in the corporation comms channels but he wasn't responding to my hails. In spite of the warm blanket of Blood Raider delight I had to investigate what had happened. With probes on my ship I was able to locate one group of wrecks. From markings I recognised them all as destroyed ships belonging to members of my corporation. In some cases individuals had lost more than one ship. Clearly whatever had occurred during my absence had been catastrophic for the others. As I sat at the edge of the battlefield I had a sudden realisation. If these were the ships belonging to people who had been attacking the Blood Raiders with me then there was a good chance of some surviving drugs in their cargo.

I was in the middle of the field of wreckage. Despite all the usual ammo, repair paste and other expected cargo, for all the ships I had searched there was not a single unit of booster. Either I was incredibly unlucky or someone had gotten to the wrecks before me. Normally, though, these wrecks would have been picked clean. With that thought fresh in my head sensors made me aware of another ship in close proximity to me. I identified it as belonging to Bukur and tried to hail him on the normal comms channels. "Give me your Boosters," he announced his hostility both verbally and by remotely disabling the warp drive of my Loki.
"Bukur, I don't have any left," I answered truthfully, "how about we go exploring for more?"
"There aren't any more. I was forced to take what drugs I could from the others but there's nothing left of those either. I need your stash."

Autocannon rounds started eating rapidly into my shields before I was able to pull range and reduce the incoming damage to more manageable levels. "Bukur, what are you doing?" I couldn't believe what was happening. Had our close knit group been eroded so far in such a short period of time? Had Bukur really destroyed all those ships searching for Blood Raider boosters? More imporantly, did he find any? The last question spurred me to action. I brought my Loki around to engage.

November 4 YC 117

It has been a week since I fought Bukur. It was a very close battle and more by luck than skill I barely survived. I blew up Bukur's pod as well to ensure he couldn't interrupt me while I searched his wreck. In it I found only two of the boosters such a heavy price had been paid for. I retreated with them to my secret corner of space. I was sorely aware this wasn't entirely necessary as nobody was left in the system with me. My badly damaged ship was on fire for longer than seemed possible before finally snuffing itself out. So long as I had my drugs I didn't care.

My entire ship crew of over five hundred had died rendering even the most basic of tasks vastly more difficult than normal. This wasn't a problem until the remaining boosters were exhausted. The cataclysmic crushing experienced at the end of the final drug was made all the worse knowing there would be no more. I cocooned myself in my ship for as long as possible before reaching the realisation that I had to find my way back to civilisation. Ordinarily this would be a trivial task but the damage to my ship and lack of crew greatly handicapped me. It took more than a half a day of scanning before I was even able to leave the system I had known for so long as home.

A further day of scanning saw me find my way to a wormhole which my ship sensors indicated led to inhabited space. I sat there for some time wondering what lay beyond. Had the whole of New Eden seen the same event which occurred in the microcosm of my corporation? Would the whole of my universe have been laid to waste? With my ship able to cater for my every biological need would I be destined to wander the empty space lanes alone for all time? The rush as the wormhole fully enveloped my ship did little to calm these thoughts.

I emerged somewhere deep in Amarr space many jumps from the old, familiar regions of space near Dodixie I had once called home. My fears built as I realised the system I had emerged in was empty. There were no other capsuleers there at all. I set route for Dodixie. Somewhere along the twenty plus jumps I must encounter another capsuleer. The real concern was whether they would be hostile as Bukur had been. I was relieved to find the jump gate to the next system was still active. That was a good sign that some civilisation had survived at least. Jumping though I was greeted with a lot of chatter on the local solar system comms channel. What's more, it was normal chatter. No threats; no hostilities; not even any wrecks on my scanners which could indicate capsuleer combat. Within two jumps towards Dodixie my fears of a total breakdown of society had been completely eradicated.

It appears the enhanced effects of the Blood Raider booster were limited to my wormhole and my corp. Nothing will likely explain the occurrences of the past week. Attempts to contact other members of my corporation have been entirely unsuccessful. Several have even left since I found my way to Dodixie. All those years of trust destroyed. What did we do?

13 November 2015

Crazies on SiSi...

For my Pod and Planet entry I logged on to Singularity for some screenshots. To my great amusement I encountered a rare SiSi hermit. To say the conversation was entertaining doesn't go any way to doing it justice. I'll just paste it here for your reading pleasure.

Oreamnos Amric > hi
Castielec > where u going buddy
Oreamnos Amric > just getting some screenshots
Castielec > be careful this is my space i might gank you
Oreamnos Amric > aha lol
Oreamnos Amric > sure you will
Castielec > you saw i what i wrote
Castielec > now watch yourself
Oreamnos Amric > TQ too hard for you that you need to claim space in SiSi?
Castielec > yes
Oreamnos Amric > fair enough :-p
Castielec > i claimed all this for myself
Castielec > its mines
Castielec > if i cant you you dead
Castielec > alright
Oreamnos Amric > depends if you can translate that to English
Oreamnos Amric > oh, was that meant to be "catch"?
Castielec > keep on playing with me
Castielec > i can show you better than i can tell you buddy
Oreamnos Amric > I'm happy for you
Castielec > stay out of my space
Castielec > or i will gank you
Oreamnos Amric > it's not your space
Castielec > like i said
Oreamnos Amric > I'll get some friends and come visit
Oreamnos Amric > we can play peek'a'boo
Castielec > oh really?
Castielec > like i said i run everything on here dude
Castielec > stay the fuck away
Castielec > or else
Oreamnos Amric > else what?
Castielec > i will watch list you '
Oreamnos Amric > eek
Castielec > and gank you everytime you log on
Oreamnos Amric > :quakes:
Castielec > yea you better be scared
Castielec > now stay out of my space
Oreamnos Amric > I will once I stop giggling
Castielec > or ill kick you out
Castielec > which one you want?
Castielec > take your damn pick buddy
Oreamnos Amric > kick me out...
Oreamnos Amric > ...of sisi
Oreamnos Amric > ...
Castielec > i will
Castielec > stay out my damn space man
Castielec > i claimed this shit for myself
Oreamnos Amric > I am genuinely happy for you. You claimed space on SiSi all by yourself.
Castielec > i sure have
Castielec > and i will take every alliance space in the game
Castielec > and own all of eve
Castielec > i already took catch
Castielec > i will go to the other parts and take them also
Oreamnos Amric > go you
Castielec > by myself
Castielec > buddy
Castielec > and you wont do a damn thing about it
Castielec > but stay out like i told you
Castielec > now watch your mouth
Oreamnos Amric > I'll need a mirror
Castielec > you need to stay away
Castielec > is what you need to do
Oreamnos Amric > stay what now?
Castielec > stay out of my fucking space
Castielec > now!
Castielec > grrrr
Castielec > woof woof
Castielec > grrrr
Castielec > grrrr
Castielec > woof woof grrr
Oreamnos Amric > where's your space?
Castielec > protecting my territory like a dog
Castielec > catch is my space
Oreamnos Amric > I was through it so fast I can't even remember
Oreamnos Amric > I wasn't in catch
Castielec > woof woof
Castielec > im protecting my territory
Oreamnos Amric > if you're growling like a dog I guess Catch is the right place for you
Oreamnos Amric > I can see you are
Castielec > grrrr
Castielec > im a fucking great dame
Castielec > grrr woof grr woof
Oreamnos Amric > you're sure a lovely lady alright
Castielec > now back off
Castielec > dont come back
Castielec > i will be watching you
Oreamnos Amric > how can I not come back if you won't tell me where to avoid?
Castielec > all of catch
Castielec > dont come back
Castielec > grrr whoof
Oreamnos Amric > Okay, got it. Make sure I stay in catch. Gotcha
Castielec > i said stay out dude
Castielec > dont play with me man
Castielec > i done told you
Oreamnos Amric > I'm not. You told me you had claimed the whole of New Eden on SiSi and I should stay in Catch.
Oreamnos Amric > didn't you?
Castielec > i stay the fuck out of catch
Castielec > im not done taking it all
Oreamnos Amric > ah, my mistake
Castielec > yet
Oreamnos Amric > why not? you've had time.
Castielec > after i take catch i will take other regions
Oreamnos Amric > you're in it for the long haul?
Oreamnos Amric > what will you do with the space others claim?
Castielec > yes iam
Castielec > they wont
Castielec > i will have all space
Castielec > and protect it all
Oreamnos Amric > well good luck to you sie
Oreamnos Amric > *sir
Castielec > just stay your ass out
Oreamnos Amric > I'll try. But you never know, we have been known to accidentally sov on sisi in the past
Castielec > you do it
Castielec > if you want to
Oreamnos Amric > Impass isn't close to Catch is it?
Castielec > ill fight whole fleets
Castielec > and win
Oreamnos Amric > I'm sure you will
Oreamnos Amric > and drink the blood of your enemies?
Castielec > yes
Castielec > woof
Castielec > woof grr
Castielec > woof grrr
So I must thank Castielec for turning what was going to be a boring wander around New Eden to take some screenshots into a most entertaining half hour. I have absolutely no desire to test sovereignty mechanics on SiSi now. Absolutely none.......

Really, none.....


2 November 2015

A pod with a view

Look at these poor, oblivious fools endlessly orbiting shattered lumps of rock.
There could be anyone watching them perform mass destruction on these harmless shards of stone.
Yet on and on they go, until the bellies of their ships are full to bursting.

31 October 2015

Geo 'Arrr' Vent

I had to go a long way back in the archives to find the last time I spoke about Geo on this blog. I couldn't even begin to remember what I've done in the 19 months since that last post. For certain I left Brave Newbies when they went to nullsec. Other than that the only thing I know for sure is painted in this screenshot.

If you recall, dear reader, Geo was created as my PvP character. I was too adverse to lose ships with Oreamnos so needed another character whose killboard I didn't mind destroying. The idea was worthwhile and I lost all the pointless fear of adding ships in red to Oreamnos' killboard. But where does this leave poor Geo? In short, he became my diversion from wormhole life. He was my go to character for mindless violence.

In The Bastards I met a decent bunch of people, some experts in game mechanics others less experienced in EVE but eager to blow stuff up. With them I've invaded wormholes, defended a sacrificial titan, and captured (and lost then recaptured) small parts of nullsec. Enough fun has been had to leak into the wormhole side of life and joint ops between The Bastards and Illusion of Solitude occur from time to time.

Just like as an individual player of EVE it's nice to have friends, as an alliance it's nice to have other alliances to call on as friends. The Bastards are our only contact with full blue standings and IoS call them friends.

27 October 2015

Recruiting yet again

It's been a long year and as with any game people online slowly atrophies towards zero. This means it is recruitment time again.

Z3R0 Return Mining Inc., proud founding member of the Illusion of Solitude alliance, is once again recruiting. Formed over five 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. Mainly active in EU time with some East US coverage 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 shield and 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. We are not somewhere to park an ISK-making alt whilst you spend all your time on another character elsewhere in EVE.

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.

So what are you waiting for? Fill in that recruitment form today or add me to your watch list and ping me when I log in.

26 October 2015

Get yer rigs oot

BB 68 - This is My Rig
What do you play Eve on? I'll show you mine if you show me yours! Are you pew-pewing on a laptop? Plotting universal domination on a 12 monitor set up? Mining away on a 50" TV? Is your set up located where your other half can speak to you or do you lock yourself away for hours in your Eve themed shed? How do you play your important internet spaceships?

When I bought a complete PC way back when I was at university I swore I would never again buy a pre-built computer. That was the effect PC World had on me. Since then I never have and get a lot of satisfaction from building my own rigs. Even if doing so is pretty damn easy these days.

Odd mouse position, plus sideways mouse, to minimise shoulder pain. Try it, it works.

This is my desk, which lives in my lounge. My wife insists on it being there else she "would never see me". This causes problems for being on comms so I try to minimise that when anyone else is in the house and awake. I have a pair of widescreen monitors and generally have the one directly in front of the keyboard containing a full-screen client. The monitor on the left will have some mix of Teamspeak, web browser and another client or two running. A third monitor would be sweet but my graphics card would likely struggle. In the background you can see my collectors edition rifter as well as a little Airfix Harrier GR3 I've been building whilst on some Black Ops stuff recently (damn they can be boring).

The main tower itself sits on the floor to the left of my desk. The desk has a cupboard which is meant to store the tower but that only serves to cook the PC in its own heat exhaust. The case is some random case I picked up from somewhere on the internet. It has a perspex side so I can see the pretty LEDs inside. This has the less useful side-effect of also showing all the dust that gathers in there. There is no optical drive because this is no longer 2001. On top you see my innuendo-laden Thrustmaster HOTAS X which I bought to play Elite: Dangerous. It's been months since it saw any use.

To the right you see what the perspex side lets me look in on (I may have dusted it for the photo). The mainboard is from MSI. The CPU is a quad-core Intel i5 running it 3.4 GHz. The CPU should be good for 4.3 GHz but if you look at the bottom you'll see a 600 watt PSU which is my guess at why that speed is unstable. To facilitate said overclocking I cool the CPU with a Corsair H20i water cooling unit. The GPU is an ageing Radeon HD 5770 which came pre-overclocked (I like things running overclocked you can see). The 8 Gig of RAM is Teamgroup Vulcan running at 2133 Mhz, and has pretty red anodising. Space is left in case I felt the need to go to 16 Gig, which I haven't yet. Finally the OS lives on a 240 Gig Crucial mSATA drive which you can see just below the Corsair CPU block.

So there you have my rig. With the exception of the old graphics card and PSU it is plenty of PC for me just now. It can reasonably run three EVE clients on the rare occasion I need to do so. I can just about get away with running two on full detail but three is a no no. I'm going to need to fit out a computer for my kids to share soon so it may just be more cost effective for them to get my old graphics card and I get a new one. That's what I'll be telling my wife anyway!

15 October 2015

Mission Complete

I better write about this quickly before CCP make changes to undo my achievement. A long time ago CCP took the wise decision to split the generic destroyer and battlecruiser skills into racial equivalents. This brought those two skills in line with all other T1 class ship skills. Of course panic erupted in the forums with people concerned they would become unable to fly their favourite ships once the changes came into play. CCP addressed this by announcing people who could already fly a given race's destroyer or battlecruiser would be gifted the appropriate racial skills at the old generic skill level. We were given specific details of the skill prerequisites which would ensure this happened. This triggered a race to train all the prerequisites and both destroyer and battlecruiser to V.

I succumbed to that on all three accounts. I almost didn't with my industrial character but at the very last possible moment I changed my mind and finished training battlecruiser to V mere days before the change happened. Post-release I logged in to find all my main characters with an extra six million skill points. Shiny!

Unfortunately, or possibly fortunately depending on your point of view, this sent me on a completionist mission with Oreamnos. I decided I wanted to be able to fly each and every subcapital ship in EVE - from the smallest frigate to the blingy black ops battleships. There were a few distractions on the way. Someone pointed out that sitting in the ships wasn't really being able to fly them. This got me training all the weapons systems to decent T2 level (Specialisation IV). At one point I also needed to get myself trained into Archons. CCP added a few new ship types, namely mining frigates and tech three destroyers.

Last week I got notification that Gallente Tactical Destroyer had trained its first level thus ending my epic training voyage. Many of the ships I have never flown. A few I possibly never will. I'm just happy that I completed this quest. The question is, what do I train now? Many of the cap ships are only three days training now but have you seen the price of those skill books?! I might have to think hard about that.