06
Jul
10

A public service announcement

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26
Jun
10

Oh yeah, a blog…

Things have been quite hectic in RL recently – and by ‘hectic’, think ‘sweet baby Jesus, I wish I could pod my colleagues’ – so I haven’t really done much that’s interesting in EVE. Mostly, I get back from work after eleven hours of chaos, log on, say hi to people, think about doing something other than grinding L3 missions, decide that doing something other than grinding L3 missions would require a degree of brainpower I do not currently possess, accept a kill mission, warp in to the mission site, and spend a while blinking at the screen all “huh. Red crosses. I should do something with the red crosses. Do I orbit that one? No. Wait. Orbit <i>that</i> one, then guns on him, missiles on the frigates, send drones after the frigates… right?”, by which time my shields are gone and I’m half into armour. By this point I think even the Angel Cartel is feeling sort of sorry for me.

I did take a suicide shuttle run to nullsec with a friend, though, and that was awesome. We died! It was fun!

Currently my mining alt is sat in a station training up skills. She can fly a Mackinaw and a Hulk right now, but she’s not getting either until Hulkageddon is long long over, by which time I might even be able to afford one. My main is still in a Hurricane (I wub my Hurricane), and actually could afford a battleship at this point, but meh… I get the impression L4 missions would kill me very fast and very painfully right now, especially since I can hardly stay awake long enough to finish the longer L3s. Soon, though! Soon!

29
May
10

The trouble with courier missions

I’ve been spending a bit of time playing my pretty-much-zero-skills-but-dammit-she-has-a-Bestower hauler character recently, trying to get enough standing with one of the bigger corporations to get level 4 courier missions. Courier missions are fairly boring, with the advantage that you can do them semi-afk while reading a book, and the lower-level ones don’t pay very well in either LP or isk, but they are alas a necessary evil, because otherwise the L4 agents just don’t trust you with those 250 units of Frozen Seeds.

There are advantages to courier missions. They’re good money, standing and LP for low-skilled characters; since they’re shorter they speed up the frequency of getting storyline missions, which are good things; they’re fairly low-stress, if you need a break from blowing things up.

And they also have problems. To wit:

1) Any time you mention grinding courier missions this way with the ultimate goal of even more courier missions, there will be someone responding with “omg why would you do that just get the alt some decent implants and transfer a few hundred million isk to her and get her in battleships and start doing L4 kill missions tomorrow!”, which would I’m sure be a great plan if it was remotely feasible, but alas it is not. My main character isn’t even in battleships yet, and won’t be until she’s flying battlecruisers pretty damn well first. Also also: when everything I’ve been doing on my main character recently has involved shooting, it’s sort of nice to do the kind of gameplay that lets you read a book. Can you do L4 kill missions while reading a book? No, no you cannot. And you also cannot navigate via trackpad with your toes, a subject on which I am pleased to report moderate success during courier missions.

2) They’re, uh, sort of boring. A little bit. Well, a moderate bit. Well… yes.

3) You can’t guarantee that a given agent will give you a courier mission. You can pick the category of agent that gives a high percentage of courier missions, and you can cross your fingers, but it is written in the stars that any time you find a high-quality agent and really need just that little bit more LP, you’ll get assigned a kill mission followed by another kill mission followed by, when you come back in four hours so you don’t lose standing by declining too frequently, that sodding banidine mining mission.

4) (Real actual screenshot, seriously.) Look what they did to this agent:

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I KNOW RIGHT.

25
May
10

In time for Tyrannis

Do you want to know how this whole ‘planetary interaction’ thing? Then behold! Eve University is here to help, with the following handy short video tutorial:

(I will admit to being a bit biased here, because a) that’s my corp and b) that’s me and my best Aura impersonation doing the narration. But it actually is a really well-done video, so there you go :) )

19
May
10

Live events

So, CCP is doing this thing where huge big battles happen between NPCs and everyone who wants to join in, tied in to the in-game backstories of various factions warring with each other. At the moment, these events feature the Sansha – creepy zombie slave people – arriving in huge fleets to abduct people from planets. If you’re around, and you can fight, and you feel like responding to the calls posted in Local begging people to come and help, there’s a big, big battle waiting for you.

(I realise there that I said the live events are just about combat, which I don’t know for sure, but I’m guessing is true because what else would they do? ‘Sansha invade Jita 4-4 and lower everyone’s buy orders by 0.04 isk!”)

Anyway, I wasn’t anywhere near the first few, and didn’t hear about them until long after they were over. But today, I was out doing courier missions with my hauler alt in Caldari space when someone in corp chat said something about a live event possibly happening in Halaima, five jumps away.

On the one hand: this is my hauler alt, with minimal skills, who can just about fly a cheap, poorly-fitted frigate, and rumour has it that live events include multiple battleships. Heading out there if there was a live event going on would, no doubt, be suicide.

On the other hand: oh come on, like I’m going to pass up the chance to see this.

I switched the hauler for a frigate and headed over to Halaima. Nothing obvious at the gate, nothing in local right then to indicate whether or not anything big was happening. Hmm. Sansha abduct people from planets, right? So if they’re here, they’ll be at a planet, right? It doesn’t take long to check every planet in a system, so I warped to Halaima I… and saw this:

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Well hey there, Sansha!

By my (pretty hasty) reckoning, there were about 50 Sansha battleships on the field plus other smaller ships, maybe 20-odd players, and a lot of wrecks. Local was now going crazy – ‘official’ Sansha communications describing ‘115,000 souls liberated’, people roleplaying Sansha and furious victims, players typing “ASSIMILATE THIS” as they opened fire.

The Sansha were mostly flying Nightmares, a creepily fitting choice:

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Of course, any one of them could probably take out my little frigate with a single shot, but I gambled on them being tied up with targeting the players in bigger ships and headed in regardless:

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More people were arriving now (at least one of them typing ‘LLLEEEEEEERRRROOOOOOOYY JENKINS!!!!!” in Local as they warped in), and the Sansha battleships were taking a battering. I got down to structure, warped off to a station with my engines on fire, repaired the ship and immediately warped back. There are actually advantages to being in a little fast frigate, and the main one in this kind of situation is this: if you manage to get right up close to one of the big huge scary enemy battleships, and you get into a close orbit,  and you’ve got your afterburner running so you’re going pretty quick, then even when they are shooting at you, they’ll rarely be able to hit you often or effectively enough to cause much damage. Triumph! I joined in on several Sansha battleship kills that way.

As the number of players got greater, the number of Sansha ships started decreasing faster and faster as they exploded in a satisfying fiery boom. Soon we were down to six left… then four… two… one… and the field was clear. Congratulations! Cheering! For about four seconds, until the second wave of 50-odd Sansha battleships showed up.

And then CONCORD arrived in a huge fleet, and the Sansha vanished.

This is what the battlefield looked like right after that:

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Every little triangle is a wreck, full of precious, precious salvage and loot. You have never seen a formerly unified force turn on each other as quickly as ours did in the next three seconds. Blue wrecks are abandoned and free for the taking; yellow wrecks belong to somebody, and stealing from one of those means the rightful owner is allowed to kill you without CONCORD intervention, and the more that happened the more wrecks there were, and on, and on, to the point of madness. I made about seven trips back-and-forth to one of the Halaima stations, grabbing what I could from blue wrecks and zooming back to the docking bay to drop it off.

Four million isk of loot, and one hell of a lot of fun.

18
May
10

WAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRR!

Four wardecs at the moment. Four. Plus at least one troll thread on the official EVE forums about how Eve Uni wardecs innocent mining corps and regularly fields 70-pilot battleship fleets smattered with T2 frigates, which, um.

In the interests of honesty and fair disclosure, I present this sekrit document from Eve Uni’s own forums, dated several years back and lovingly resurrected every few months since. Behold, our tactics!

How EVE University fights their wars
by Patri Allin

How we fight a war –
We form a Grand Blob with 3 people who have been to lots of wars, 20 people who have just taken the tackling class, 5 people who are wondering what a ‘TS’ is, and 1 person who is so new they think this is part of the tutorial. It takes us 10 minutes to figure out if we are a ‘tackler’ or an ‘EW’, and we haven’t even left the station yet.

We find the enemy. As Leader #1 ‘calls a primary’ 4 people put their vote in gang chat, then Leader #2 says ‘Jam that guy’ and somewhere someone stands up from their computer and starts to do the ‘Hammer’, And although nobody ever quite realizes this is what happened, Leader #3 has already been podded by 5 of our own guys who are now super excited they killed an enemy Battleship.

After the dust clears we’ve got 5 people left – shot 5 of the enemy (net loss 45) and for us this is a MASSIVE FREAKIN VICTORY! It is too cause our ships cost 1mil each and thiers about 200. We try to remember which way is home and then fly off in the wrong direction as somewhere nearby, sitting in their pod in a station, someone is thinking this is the best tutorial in an MMO ever.

14
May
10

Some screenshots

It might be true that EVE is just a nice GUI on a spreadsheet, but on the plus side, at least it’s a nice GUI on a spreadsheet. I’m playing with graphics turned way down at the moment to reduce the odds of the client crashing during big fleet ops (nothing like waking up all alone in a system full of hostiles and frantically sprinting for a safespot while typing “fleet reinvite please? also, um, guys, um… where the hell are you?” in squad chat), so here’s a few screen captures from before that.

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Warping to a stargate on the way to a mission. You’d think that after seeing this multiple times a day, you’d get tired of the warp visual effects, but, nope.

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Stabber, tech 1 Minmatar cruiser, at a planet. Stabbers are really agile and great fun to fly, and even though I’ve given up on them in favour of the (slower, tougher, uglier) Rupture, I still find myself wistfully trying to fit as many speed and agility mods to the Rupture as I can just for old times’ sake.

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Speaking of Ruptures, here’s mine on the left, facing down a friend’s Rifter (T1 Minmatar frigate, much loved). I love flying Minmatar, but it cannot be denied that they build ships by stapling four shotguns to a rusty lawnmower and throwing it into space. There are asteroids in this game that look more graceful than the Rupture.

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Sometimes the game gives you nice reminders that this galaxy really is inhabited. Here’s the night side of a planet, showing city lights.

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Grabbed this while passing through Hek, my friendly local trade hub. Spaceship drama of some sort; probably war-related, since CONCORD never showed up. Whoever lives in that tower on the top of Boundless Creation station must get some fantastic views of stuff blowing up on a regular basis.

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Rogue drones are amazingly creepy things. Its little legs were moving as it flew, as well.

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Making stuff go boom during a mission.

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A wartime fleet heading out to find some fun. This is either the fleet that went out to nullsec and zoomed around sightseeing (“Is it just me or does space actually start looking more evil the closer you get to 0.0?”) or the one that got as far as Hek before getting slaughtered, but hey! Both were learning experiences.




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A new EVE Online player comes to term with spreadsheets, spaceships and the steepest learning curve in MMO history. (SPACESHIPS, you guys!)

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