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...

27 April 2015

Pulsar

Over the past week and a bit I've spent a bit of time staring at the pulsar effect in a class three wormhole. I spent some of that time filming the effect and then set it to one of New Eden's iconic tunes. Until I finish writing up the events of the past ten days here's the resulting video so you too can stare at the beauty of the pulsar.


19 April 2015

Alliance logo do over

In case you missed it CCP have reopened the submission process for alliance logos. As part of this they have changed the requirements and logos already existing in the game need resubmitted for approval. Approval is subject to the new conditions meaning existing alliance logos may soon be consigned to the dustbin of the past. I didn't have a 512x512 version of the Illusion of Solitude logo but I did have the Adobe Illustrator vector file which I could use to create a higher resolution version. After a little while re-adding the trailing lines which break out of the mouth of the Rosen Bridge I was ready to submit it to CCP. I then went and made a giganta-huge version which I should be able to use for just about anything in the future. I hope CCP re-accept our logo as I would truly hate to lose our mascot - Reginald Green the Chameleon. More than one new recruit has told me they were attracted to our alliance because of the bright green lizard and at fanfest a few wormholers also recognised it. Long live my iconic friend.
Click for the massive.

28 March 2015

Fanfest 2015 - Prelude

I had thought 2013 was going to be my only visit to Fanfest but several months ago the group who met in Iceland that year started to make plans for a return. This time around Fanfest was held earlier in the year so it would coincide with the solar eclipe which was set to be 98% totality when viewed from Iceland. Combining that with a chance to meet up with my space buddies again how could I refuse? Tickets were booked relatively late meaning I couldn't take advantage of any Iceland Air package deals. It worked out much better for me to fly with EasyJet anyway as they do direct flights from Edinburgh and also fly at respectable hours. Last time I stayed in the Cabin Hotel which was a 40 minute walk from Harpa so I decided I was going to stay much closer this time. One of my friends was already booked into  Hotel Leifur Eiriksson so I managed to secure a room there as well. Only 10 minutes walk from Harpa I was in a much better shape should I need to nip back to my room at any point.

Abandoning my family on the Tuesday before Fanfest I flew into Iceland and was immediately captured by the CCP gatecamp at the arrivals gate. The CCP party bus took a coach-load of EVE players to Reykjavik whilst feeding us beers. I was sat next to CCP Archduke who made sure I had a beer in my hand at all times. He works in the Dust514 customer support department and spent a portion of the bus journey trying to convince me to update my Dust client and give the game another try. I promised I would. After a little confusion about where I should be dropped for my hotel I was left slightly merry in the town centre to walk up the hill to my hotel. After so many beers so quickly I definitely needed a walk to burn them off a bit.

I got checked into my hotel, dumped my stuff then headed out to meet my corpies at the nearby Cafe Loki. Sadly one couple were unable to travel to Iceland due to illness which left just five of us from the previous excursion to Fanfest. This meant there was plenty of space to fit around a couple of tables whilst trying some traditional Icelandic food. I stuck with the very tasty meat soup whilst others tried rye bread with some sort of hashed fish topping. Another beer or two was consumed before we decided to head down to the Celtic Cross. On the way we were treated to a nice show of the Aurora Borealis which I later learned was visible a long way south. As may be guessed from the name the Celtic Cross is an Irish pub and we were descending on it during St. Patrick's day. This meant much drinking and the night grew fuzzy rapidly. After talking with so many people I can't remember I eventually made it back to my hotel around one in the morning.
Inside the Celtic Cross was this blurry for me too!

The following day was Wednesday and my little group had arranged to go horse riding. something I'd never done before. CCP had the great idea to start issuing passes early this time around so we met early at the Harpa to collect ours. I wasn't able to collect mine due to being on a Fansite ticket but everyone else got sorted out and we headed off to the collection point for horse riding. A short hop out of Reykjavic and we were at the ├Źshestar riding centre. The people there were wonderfully friendly and after a short introductory video on how to control their Icelandic horses we were fitted up with helmets and introduced to our horses. I managed to get up into the saddle without any of the comedic falls over the other side which you see in silly films. I was first to mount so had a decent time to try and become accustomed to sitting on the back of a living, breathing animal. It felt weird.

Before long we were off out following a soft trail laid over the lava fields. It was a little windy and snowing ever so gently but I was plenty warm. I'd by lying if I said I had any actual control over the horse. He know the route and followed it well. This became all the more evident when the five of us tried to line up for a group shot and my horse wouldn't move. If you're going to Fanfest and have a spare day you should definitely try some horse riding. These horses are small so even if you do fall (and nobody came close to) you don't have far to go.
Look at your man and back at me, I'm on horse

Dinner that evening had been booked at the slightly fancy 3 Frakkar restaurant. In 2013 we totally failed to get a table there so this time around we booked two months in advance. The focus on the menu here is traditional Icelandic food. I finally tried the fermented shark (Hakarl) I'd been avoiding and gagged on it. I tried smoked puffin which tasted smoky and mustardy and quite nice actually, I struggled with the raw texture though. I passed on the raw Minky whale 'cooked' in lemon juice. My main was Atlantic Salmon which was very tasty indeed. A slightly pricey place to eat but the food is truly wonderful. You should go.
Outside my hotel

With our many months old booking finally fulfilled we headed back to the Celtic Cross but the Tweetfleet meetup was happening so there was no chance of us getting in there. After the excesses of the previous night we decided that would be a good point to call it a day and head home for a sleep. Tomorrow was the first day of Fanfest.