2 February 2016

Local Chatter

paranoik vutra > hello
paranoik vutra > I'm gay
If it hadn't been for the flippant comments we'd never have known one of our wormhole connections was being rolled. I had just finished watching Deutchland 83 (watch it, it's very good) and was considering an early night. However, there is always just one thing to check in New Eden before I hit the sheets. As soon as I logged in I'm told about the chatter in local, told there's a crew rolling a hole, and told about the Vindicator, piloted by the chatty pilot, sitting on the hole being rolled.

We scramble into action. What do we need to kill a Vindy? Battleships of course. How do we stop him from just jumping away through the hole he's rolling? A command destroyer jump field! We get ourselves shipped up and wait for the next transit of the rest of the hole rollers. A Raven jumps in, crawls excruciatingly slowly back to the hole and jumps out. This is our trigger. Rhianna warps his command destroyer in on the Vindicator, activates the jump field then yells at us to warp to him as soon as the 100 km jump takes effect.

Rhianna's command destroyer dies before our Battleships get halfway through the warp. The power of dual webs on the Vindicator prove too much for his oversized prop-mod to cope with. Epic has inexplicably jumped into a Thorax so he arrives next and also dies rapidly. This is enough distraction for the Vindicator pilot and my Hyperion lands along with Ponder's Rattlesnake. We get points on the Vindy and start pouring on the damage.

My Hyperion is feeling the pain. The Vindy hits really hard and readily overwhelms my two armour reppers. I'm overheating everything, the Vindicator is in half armour, I am in a much worse state and explode all the same. Just as I warp my pod off we land another Hyperion on the Vindicator. By this time the enemy has drawn in support and they now also have a Tengu and Gila on field with us. I reship to provide some logi support to our own remaining ships. Before I get there the combined weight of the three hostile ships ends Ponder's Rattlesnake. It's too late for the Vindicator pilot though and he dies 10 seconds later. I cheer loudly, much to my wife's disgust who comes down the stairs to glare at me and close the door more firmly. The fight isn't over yet though.

Vindicator - Rixx Javix
The hostile fleet now comprises of a Gila, Tengu, Falcon, Bhalgorn, and a new Vindicator. We still have a Hyperion and Prophecy on the field with my Oneiros trying to keep out of range of any hostiles whilst also trying to keep my friends alive. I get some reps on the Hyperion before the Falcon jams me. Being jammed proves useful as it lets me focus on something other than trying to rep the friendly ships. I notice the Tengu getting mighty close to me. He points me as I align away from him and put my prop mod on. I watch hopefully as my speed climbs to match and then exceed his. I kite the Tengu 30 km or more from the fight before he gives up the chase. During this time we get our Hyperion out. That just leaves our Prophecy and my Oneiros. As I look for a way to get close to the Prophecy to send more reps he announces on comms that he isn't pointed any more and warps off. With nobody to keep alive I also take my leave of the battlefield.

And thus the fight ends. We put 'gf' in local and keep eyes on their fleet. They take some time to withdraw as their route home is critical on mass once the Bhalgorn jumps through. We contemplate jumping their second Vindicator away again but the toll it took on us first time was probably enough for one night. The final score on the killboard is two billion killed for one billion lost. It took us four ships and was definitely a fun fight. Damn those Vindicators are tough.

28 January 2016

Brodit for CSM

Brodit joined my alliance in the winter of 2012. He came in through our then training corp, spent a few months there learning the ropes and then moved up to my corp. He's probably one of the few people where that progression actually worked as intended. In 2013 I met the man and his wife at a little "boutique meetup" I organised. Seven EVE players turned up for a sit down meal and some polite drinks. Since then Brodit has been to all but two of the EVE meetups I've been at and he's been to plenty I didn't go to. He's been to several Fanfests and it was he who knew the good places to go when a number of my alliance first went in 2013. Brodit is not running for the CSM on a specific platform. He doesn't intend to filter people out based on high/low/null/wormhole residence. If you play EVE and want to talk to a CSM member about any issue, Brodit is aiming to be the de facto choice for everyone.

For the entire time I've played EVE with Brodit it has been pretty clear that EVE has a special place in his heart. Nothing in the game seems to get him down. Anyone who reads my blog knows I am proud to consider the corp a generalist corp within the confines of wormholes. Brodit is the epitome of how we live in Zero. He's pretty much up for anything. If he doesn't know how to do it he'll listen and learn or go find out what the craic is.

I saw a comment in the forums which is trying to pigeon-hole him as a wormhole resident and miner with little to no PvP experience. While he might be a little crazy he certainly isn't nuts enough to be much of a miner in wormhole space. If there's a PvP fleet to be had Brodit is there. I've found him in nullsec with us, lowsec, yes some mining, site running, he's also the main man when it comes to planning our switch to self-built citadels. There's no part of the game he seems uninterested in.

As a genuinely nice guy I have no idea why the hell he wants to run for the CSM. As I alluded to in my previous post I greatly view the CSM as a destructive force in an active player's EVE career. Brodit's a much nicer guy than we EVE players deserve as a representative, but if he really wants to get on the CSM I'll back him all the way. Even if a term on the CSM destroys his will to play it'll happen with a smile, and he'll probably be back three weeks later.

23 January 2016

Nashh Kadavr for CSM

I've been aware of Nashh Kadavr in EVE for longer than I have been blogging. I used to read his blog a long time ago and was fortunate enough to head to his leaving party in 2012. At some point after that he came back to New Eden and took control of The Bastards, a corp which another friend of mine had close connections with. In the past 18 months events conspired to draw The Bastards and Illusion of Solitude closer together. I had the luck to get to know Nashh, first on Teamspeak as we agreed on some joint operations with both our alliances, followed by in person at Fanfest 2015. Nashh is running for CSM on the platform of Lowsec, eSports and Community Meetings.

As long as I've been aware of Nashh he's been a dirty pirate. Lowsec is often seen as an area left forgotten by the developers. Nullsec is seen considered the be-all and end-all of the game with all the development time focussed there. Given the length of time Nashh has in lowsec it's pretty clear he'll push the lowsec opinion across with the force it deserves. Why do I care? Well my alt, Geo, is a dirty pirate who flew with Nashh for over a year. Wormholes are my first love but I do like a bit of lowsec piratey shenanigans too you know. I definitely prefer that to the politicking metagame of nullsec.

The eSports aspect of EVE is something Nashh has been putting good time and effort into. In other games eSports is big business, you only have to look at the spectacle of some League of Legends tournaments to see that. EVE is sorely lagging behind in this aspect with only the annual Alliance Tournament well known. People also know that tournament has a high bar to gain entry with alliances spending tens of billions of ISK. This year we also had the Amarr succession trials and Nashh is part of a team which organises the successful #EVE_NT Collides tournament. If EVE is to make headway into the eSports arena properly we need more of these tournaments and this needs CCPs help to make happen.

The Community side of things is also something close to Nashh as he organises the twice-yearly #EVE_NT meetup in Nottingham. I went in November last year and had a great time. I was rather wasted by the end and spent a slightly sobering night trying to remember where my hotel was. In my opinion CCP are pretty good at supporting these events. I tried, unsuccessfully, to start a regular pub gathering in Edinburgh and CCP advertised my event and sent down some swag. Nashh is looking to push this further and make it even simpler for players to organise their own events. As far as I know EVE is pretty unique in the level of out of game gatherings players organise. Encouraging and facilitating people to start more of them can only lead to great things for all of us.

His platform aside, Nashh is a mental bag of energy who probably needs a term on the CSM to crush that energy from him. Everyone seems to come out the other side of a term serving in the CSM destroyed. If you vote for Nashh he should have the energy to last most, if not all, of the year without burning out. Hell, if this outgoing CSM is anything to go by he could be the only one left on it by 2017!

18 January 2016

CSM everywhere I look

Once upon a time, when I was a freshly minted CEO, I had the privilege of having a member of the CSM within my corp's ranks. The venerable Trebor Daehdoow served four years on the CSM and still found time to play many of the various roles possible within New Eden. To us he was an industrialist, I believe in Dirt Nap Squad he scratched his PvP itch. Only he knows what other elements of the game he got up to. I was genuinely sad when he decided it was time to move on from Zero, not least because I lost someone I could make little comments to about problems with the game. I always hoped those problems would at least be considered to be aired in the direction of a dev or two. Since that day I have had only a tiny amount of direct interaction with a CSM member and that never amounted to much.

Many people either know nothing of the CSM or have been disillusioned by past and current CSM members. There's been allegations of insider knowledge being used to gain advantages, kick outs from inactivity, and the usual people just bitching that they don't think that the CSM is doing anything and encouraging others to bitch too. While I agree the current CSM hasn't been the model council we deserve I also don't believe nothing good came from them. At the very least it is important for CCP to have a sounding board to use to bounce controversial ideas off and get rapid early feedback. This hopefully prevents the rest of us being exposed to too many unexpectedly horrible changes.

Today I find myself in the presence of not one but two CSM hopefuls, Messrs. Nashh Kadavr and Brodit (of no surname) are both standing for election in the next CSM. I was going to write a single post covering both of them but it has grown far too long. In my next post I'll talk a bit about what I think is good about Nashh, and then follow that post with one about Brodit. Stay tuned.

13 January 2016

Resolutions

I don't make New Year resolutions. In the past I used to and would invariably break them. Possibly somewhat ironically the only resolution I ever kept was one year deciding I wasn't going to make another New Year resolution ever again. The danger I always found with them is you make a resolution to try and change something, e.g. going to the gym three times a week, and when you break that commitment one time it's all too easy to give up entirely. This year is no different and I have nothing planned. That's not to say I don't use the start of the year to make changes. The month of January is supposedly named for the Roman god Janus. Janus is the god of beginnings and transitions and upping the number on a calendar seems as good a reason as any to get stuff done that I've been parking my arse on for too long.

For ages I've run a website I wrote to help me with corp management. It started as a site where members of my corp submit loot, ore, gas and PI to the corp buyback scheme. We used to use a Google spreadsheet but that was incredibly time consuming to process twice a month. My solution was to write a site where people can copy'n'paste the contents of their hanger and tick the names of people the loot or whatever should be shared between. I wrote about it here a long time ago so feel free to go back and read that. More recently I started to merge another spreadsheet I use to track corp members, their API keys, hangers allocated to them and, of course, whether they've paid their dues. I had gotten partly through that but stumbled with Real Life™ getting in the way. With January rapidly looming I decided to draw a line under the half-finished extension.

January started with the completion of the member tracking. Not only do I now have everything I need in one place the corp members can also log into the site and see how much ISK the corp owes them in payouts. The site also automates taking corp dues to pay for POS fuel and publicly lists (shames) the people who didn't yet pay. As a final piece of functionality I also broke the login system away from our forums and introduced EVE-SSO so my corp mates and I can use the one password to log in to even more things EVE-related. In truth this last part was needed to allow the balance display but it's a nice feature in itself.

Having completed an outstanding task from last year it was time to look forward. It's been ages since we actually had a new recruit who stuck around. The most recent new member of the corp came across as part of an agreement we have with our friends in The Bastards. I'm largely terrible at recruitment, either being too slow to talk with people or just plain can't be arsed with it. So with a new year on us it's time to work at getting people in the corp and dragging our fleet sizes up a little. Our first new member joined yesterday. We've got space for three or four more people who make the grade. I'm not going to beat myself up if it doesn't happen. I'm not making a resolution to recruit n people every month. I just decided to get with the program and try and get more people in the corp to spout nonsense with on Teamspeak and maybe get around to making a little ISK each month.

Want to fly with us? Join the IOS Recruitment channel and be fun and interesting. With a bit of luck I'll still be in the enthusiastic mood and get you signed up real quick.

8 January 2016

Marked for Death

Can you see it? It's small but perfectly formed. Look closer. Closer still. Found it yet? Yup, that's pretty much what I went through trying to find the killmark on my Svipul. If you're still struggling it's on that large, square, rusty plate around the top middle of the image. It's a single wee red/white plook of a marking (ignore sets of double orange lights).

I'm proud of that kill mark. It's the first kill mark I've gotten where I didn't die right after. This makes it the first one I've actually gotten to see. It is also marking my first solo kill of 2016. Mostly it's marking a very amusing kill. We were bored of our static C3 with very little happening. There were a couple of ships appearing and vanishing on d-scan but we'd given up hope of finding them. The decision was made to roll the hole for something new. We were nearly there when one of the hole rollers announced he was getting shot at by a pair of Stealth Bombers. I warped to the hole in my instalock arty Svipul planning to either jump through and rescue the hole roller or pick off the bombers if they jumped into our home.

I landed as the hole roller announced he'd jumped back home. The Bombers didn't follow as the hole went mass critical on his return jump. We had some debate. Should I jump through? What were the chances of the hole dying? Ah, sod it, YOLO! Through I went. Nothing was on my overview or on d-scan. I held cloak while getting my bearings. Then a Manticore decloaked probably expecting a HIC to be finishing off the critical hole. He got more than he expected. I actually thought that I had died as my camera was perfectly in line with his ship when he exploded. It took a moment to realise I still had modules. Once I did realise, though, I locked the pod and moved the pilot closer to a trade hub in the fastest way I know. Local chat said it all

[ 2016.01.06 23:04:11 ] Mikah Darmazaf > lolz
[ 2016.01.06 23:04:16 ] Oreamnos Amric > :)
I hung around the outside of the hole for a few more minutes waiting to see if any response would be formed. We also knew there was a scout in our home who would likely be wanting to leave and I would have the best chance catching him. It became rapidly clear he wasn't going to jump out so I went home ready to clear the way for a HIC to finish the hole. As I jumped home in my low-mass T3 Destroyer I collapsed the hole myself. Damn that was tight on mass! I was a little shaken by how close that had been. Two transits of a hole by a destroyer was all it took. It's a good job that scout didn't decide to fly home.

3 January 2016

Starting YC 118 in Style

Sometimes you just have to kick off the year as you mean to continue. There are lots of corps out there who are dedicated to a single activity, almost to the point of ridiculousness. Industrial corps who ban their members from NPSI roams; Mercenary corps who refuse to let their pilots earn ISK from missions when they are between contracts; PvP corps whose rhetoric demonises running sleeper sites to the point of ridiculousness. These corps punish their members for being seen to enjoy any more than a single, blinkered area of the game. Hypocritically they all privately have their own 'carebear' corps and/or characters which they use to earn ISK - the very activity which is vocally derided as a terrible thing to be doing. In Z3R0 Return Mining Inc. we are also blinkered in on a single activity. In particular we aim to have fun and a laugh on comms regardless of what we find to do in-game or how badly we do it. It may come as a surprise to corps who obey the afore mentioned anti-ISK-earning indoctrinations but it really is possible to do this without being a bad person.

Last night we had one such night. Everything started fairly slowly with me logging on alone. I found our home system was swiss-cheese with K162s and set about scanning everything down. Our C3 static was quiet and had a few teasing Frostline sites. I had been getting bored of those but a few nights ago I got a Vindicator BPC and a 650 Mil ISK officer module of some description (now for sale in Jita). Picking up a billion ISK in a few minutes did wonders for piquing my interest again. Just as I started running the Frostline sites another corpie logged on. Now I had someone on comms to chat with the game was much more fun. We cleared up the Frostline sites without any exciting drops and moved on to exploring the rest of our chains.

Ponder started scouting out the C2 K162 whilst I went to our other static to see what delights that held. I found lots of gas and very little else. Ponder found potental targets flying a Stratios and an Epithal. We decided Ponder's find was much more interesting so I shipped into something invisible and headed to the C2. Sitting just inside our hole home I awaited Ponder's intel as to which POCO the Epithal would invariably warp to. Sadly when he did warp it was in line with two different planets so I had to take a guess and go to the more likely Barren planet. I chose badly and nobody ever landed. We still had eyes on the Stratios so we stuck around for a while longer. He showed no signs of moving and we gave up hunting in favour of ninja-sucking some lucrative C5 gas.

By now we had ex-corpmate Epigene on comms chatting and then a wild Studley entered from the north to join us stealing gas from the C5. The details of 'stealing gas' is fairly simple. From warping in to a gas site you have 15-20 minutes before the sleepers spawn. In that time you get as many pilots as possible to suck as much gas a possible as quickly as possible. At this point we had five pilots in Ventures in the gas site plus a sixth providing boosts to speed up the rate of gas extraction. As is the common case in w-space this was three people with two characters each. By the end of the first gas site we had earned around 50 million ISK each and had a brief intermission in sucking to scout another corpmate back home from hisec.

Back in the C5 we were almost at the end of our time for the second gas site when our boosting Gnosis was pointed and tackled orbiting the hole home. We cut our sucking short and headed back to reship into something more combat capable than a mining frigate. Thankfully the Gnosis got away but we lost sight of the offending Stratios. A little scanning later and we found a new K162 leading into our home. Of course we went in to investigate and in addition to the Stratios I saw a Prophecy on d-scan. With the ships we had we felt confident that was a fight we could take. We left an uncloaked Proteus on our side of the hole and kept our other couple of ships out of sight. Our opponents moved their Prophecy up to just inside their hole and their Stratios engaged our Proteus. At this point the rest of us decloaked and warped in to fight. This was our first mistake as the Stratios immediately jumped through and both it and the Prophecy ran away. Bugger! Really we should have gotten him to jump through before decloaking the rest of our fleet so we could have something tackled on the other side and unable to run.

A little bit of baiting from us and sniping from them followed but it was clear they wouldn't engage us in a brawl. I decided we should try and provoke some action with combat hole rollers. At this point we realised the second mistake we made of hanging around for too long. Unfortunately the baiting would appear to have given them time to get friends in who landed on their hole at the same time as Studley and I started rolling it. We had their Astarte into half armour when their logi landed. They also had jams from a Falcon, neuts from a Curse plus a load more DPS from a Hurricane, Vigilant and Deimos. It was clear we were toast and even after that I seem to recall they had more ships landing after I got my pod off the field. Good fights were exchanged in local and we decided to call it a night as it was nearly 1 am locally for most of us.

As far as the night went we had scanning, shooting red crosses, gas sucking, being hunted, doing the hunting ourselves, and finally getting whelped by a superior force. It's pretty hard to get a wider range of activities crammed into a single evening in New Eden. Your blinkered mono-activity corps might be better at the single thing they do in this game we love but I like to think in my corp we get to play a lot more of the game than they do and have a lot more fun in doing so. Welcome to YC 118.