Otherwise known as the Federation Grand Prix.
In order to celebrate Federation Day in the Gallente Federation this event has been staged that celebrates neither democracy nor the Gallente Federation so far as I can tell.
It is, yet again, based in The Agency interface, home of nearly all PvE and like events (save for Abyssal pockets… so good PvE isn’t in The Agency I guess), which is probably why I didn’t notice that it was actually a thing until I saw somebody complaining about it on Reddit.
That complaint actually got me interested in the event. I bypassed what the write said to look at all the prizes he had earned. He had quite a range of SKINs and boosters. Being in Reavers, I clearly love SKINs and boosters, so I wanted to know how I could get my share of them.
The complaint seemed to be that the event was boring. I’m pretty sure that is true of all events in The Agency, so I wasn’t deterred. Besides which, he maxed out his even points in one 12 hour sitting, so it could have just been burn out talking.
The event itself is pretty easy, you just fly places. Again, I fly places all the time. I could do this.
I logged in an alt to give this a try and opened up The Agency. It told me to fly to the Luminaire system and warp to the Federation Grand Prix beacon. Since it would involve flying places after that, and the type of places were unspecified, I decided to use a stealth bomber my alt had to hand. It had a warp speed rig to speed it up and a covert ops cloak to get me out of any trouble. So I jumped in and flew off to Luminaire.
There I saw the beacon in the overview and warped to it.
The event site is pretty much the generic structure The Agency uses for all such events. I didn’t even get a good look at it the first couple of times.
When I arrived I got a notification that something in The Agency had been updated, so I opened that up and clicked on the event. That gave me a destination, a beacon in a system 11 jumps away, with a timer to get there.
Well, that seemed doable. So I opened up the route planner, put the system name in, and followed the path to the destination.
So I flew manually from gate to gate to the destination system, then warped to the beacon, which was again in my overview and, upon landing there, saw The Agency update. I now had 2 points. Meanwhile The Agency was also telling me to go back to Luminaire to do the whole thing over again. And I figured I was committed. I had two points, and you need at least 5 to get a prize, so I headed back.
The next time it gave me a four point journey which. That was further, but it gave me more time, about a minute a system. When I completed that I got the first prize box. That box gave me four SKINs, two boosters, some fireworks, and a couple of collectible items which, for the effort, seemed like a pretty good deal.
While I had to agree with the Reddit post that, as far as interesting activities in game go, this was really shit, I could bear it for a couple more runs for more SKINs. So off I went.
The next one was another four point journey off to another system. Only this one didn’t have a beacon when I arrived. As I later found out, the destination was off one of the stations. But I while I was trying to figure that out the timer ran out and I found I had gone 18 jumps for nothing. Back to Lumiaire.
The next one seemed really hard, 25 jumps and only 18 minutes on the clock. You already need to be going about 5 AUs a second to finish comfortably, so don’t bring a battleship, but this seemed to be stretching things. But I set off, figuring that they wouldn’t set me a task I couldn’t complete.
Of course, along the way I figured out what was wrong. I had the route planner set to take me via the safest route. Had I chosen shortest it would have been just 17 jumps. Still, I nearly made it… in fact, would have made it with seconds to spare… except that it was another no beacon destination and I chose the wrong station to warp to.
Back I went.
I did start to notice a pattern as I flew this time. First, a lot of people seemed to be using shuttles in order to fly the race. That wasn’t a bad plan, they are cheap and warp at 5 AU a second. A perfectly viable option.
But EVE Online players are all about efficiency. Every time I landed at a destination beacon, I noticed that there were often dozens of abandoned shuttles hanging about in space. Apparently the plan was to acquire a shuttle… and somebody is probably making money in Lumiaire selling shuttles now…, set your death clones in Luminare, warp to the start beacon, then head to the destination. Once there you leave your shuttle and self destruct. I’m not sure why not destroy the shuttle too, since they are leaving it behind, but the fact that they are there tells the tale I guess.
You can tell they are empty because there is no player name, just the ship type repeated. You could jump in them and fly off with them if you wanted. I’m not sure why you’d want them, but you could.
Unsurprisingly, systems with race destinations are currently ranking high on the DOTLAN most violent systems charts for high sec and low.
Anyway, I got another destination in Luminaire that sent me across part of Syndicate, which was both a six point mission and made me feel good about having my stealth bomber. I got there successfully and back safely. Another shorter run and I had my 15 points. I docked up to claim my prize and all I got was cerebral accelerators.
Not that those are bad. I’ll use them. But I was in this for the SKINs. And after the first box being so generous, I felt a bit let down. Still, I was a bit invested now, and it was only another 15 points to the next prize box. I figured I could hack it.
I got a 2 point run that I dispatched quickly enough. Then I drew a 4 point run that ended in low sec. While in the past runs had gone through low sec… even null sec… they always ended in a high sec system. I figured the likelihood of the beacon being camped was high. After all, the pile of abandoned shuttles would be a dead give away. I’d be careful, but off I went.
When I entered the destination system I could see the beacon on the overview. I just needed to warp in and then get away. I figured I could cloak, warp in at 20km, then turn around and slip away without anybody seeing me. So warp I did.
And, of course, I landed on a pile of freakin’ abandoned shuttles which both decloaked me and managed to bump me as I aligned out for just long enough for a Condor to point me. I shot back, but torps don’t apply well to frigates and was dead long before I got him close to armor.
But at least I figured I had gotten my 4 points. He could shoot me and send me home. But he didn’t want to pod me. He pointed my pod, but then unlocked me. No need to take the standings hit I guess. So I boarded one of the shuttles and headed back to Luminaire. My lust for SKINs had cost me more than just buying them probably would have cost.
I guess there is an interesting/danger aspect to the event, at least when it passes through low sec or null sec. But for the most part it is a pretty dull event. Somebody has to do it if I want to buy the SKINs, but it doesn’t need to be me personally flying it. I just have to wait until near the end of the event when prices are sagging.
Addendum: On returning to Jita I did find that selling the cerebral accelerators more than covered the cost. Still, this race event doesn’t excite me.