Daily Archives: August 30, 2021

Fifteen Years of Kill Mails in New Eden

Today marks the 15th anniversary of my starting off in EVE Online.  As has become something of tradition, I put up a post on the day that takes a look at some aspect of the game, because otherwise I’ll go on about my first days, the horrible excuse for a tutorial the game had, how my first mission was Worlds Collide, and the fact that it influenced my decision to start this blog, and I’ve told that story enough times.

My EVEWho Details

In the past I’ve written about skill points or my various homes in the game or the changing spaceship meta.  This time around I am going to talk about kill mails.

In EVE Online a kill mail is basically the receipt for a ships destruction that shows the who was blown up, how the ship was fit, how much damage it took, and who was involved in killing the ship, which includes people who applied damage, people who had damage on the way (like a missile in flight) before the ship blew up, and those who were pointing, scramming, painting, or applying ECM effects to the ship.  There are a few other circumstances that will get you included, such as being the interdictor that launched a warp disruption bubble, but only if the ship in question tried to warp but fail due to your bubble, but those are the usual suspects.

The actual kill mail goes to the person who gets the final blow.  Today it shows up in the form of an entry on the interactions tab of your character sheet, though as I understand it, back in the day, it arrived in the form of an in-game mail message, which I guess explains why we call it a kill “mail.”  I never actually got a kill in those days, though I seem to recall getting a few loss mails.

I will also say this; being excited about your overall kill board or total kills or the “green” state of your record is kind of silly.  People who fuss over that tend to be mocked.  But each individual kill mail is a story and batches of them can trace a battle.  They are important not because of what they say about you, but due to how they become a record of your journeys through New Eden.

Anyway, I thought about making kill mails the topic a few months back both because there was a war on… that tends to include a lot of kill mails… and because I was closing in on a round number.  I figured getting to 5,000 kills for my 15th anniversary would be kind of neat and I was fretting a bit back in May as to whether or not I would make it.  And then some battles finally hit and I was at the mark and past it.  So it goes.

As for tracking kills, there have been a number of kill board sites over the years including eve-kill and Battle Clinic, none of which ever quite lined up with each other.  Today zKillboard is the kill board of record, its competitors having fold up shop over the years.  So I will use its numbers, not having much of a choice.  You can find my entry on the board here.

zKillboard totals for now

As of writing this… which is a couple of days early because these posts don’t just poop themselves out… I have been on 5,267 kill mails over the last fifteen years.  That isn’t a big number, certainly not one worth bragging about, but it is my number.  That is roughly 350 a year, though honestly I was not on a kill mail ever for my first five years playing EVE Online.

The first kill mail I ever was on happened on December 21st, 2011 and was a POS tower that belonged to White Noise, the alliance we went to war with almost as soon as I joined TNT and jumped out to null sec.  I even have a blog post about that operation, during which I did and saw a bunch of things for the first time and managed to get on 60 kill mails.  When you shoot a POS you get on the module kill mails as well.  There was even a super capital assembly array in the mix of kills.

So if we just count the last ten years of my career, then that is over 500 kill mails a year, or well more than one a day.  They do tend to come in bursts.

And then there are losses.  The kill board says I have lost 334 ships, though that number is low by at least a dozen, if not more.  Due to API changes no kills or losses before 2008 or so are counted, and I know I managed to lose some ships during 2007.

My first recorded loss was a Drake that got blown up in Rancer in February of 2008 after being tackled on the gate by pirates.  I didn’t pay pirates then and I don’t pay them now.  I took the loss and learned to avoid the system.  There is a post about that encounter too.

I’ve been a lot of places since those days.

The kill board has evolved over time as well so that zKill now offers up some stats about your combat record, and there are few things that I enjoy as much as meaningless stats.  If we look at my top all time stats page, you can see see the ships I’ve been in for kills and the systems where they have happened.

Top 20 ships and systems

The venerable Drake is on top.  My first kill mail was in a Drake and I came to null sec when the MWD heavy missile Drake meta was just ramping up.  For the first year I probably flew that and little else.  I had the skills already trained… I had a mere 70 million skill points back then…. so I flew Drakes and trained for other ships, first combat ships then logi.

The Malediction is a more recent addition to the list, and kill mails from it are almost all likely to be from ECM burst runs.  I got on a couple hundred such kill mails during the recent World War Bee in the Keepstar fights in Fountain. (This also applies to the Ares down in 8th position.)

Then there is the Harpy, a solid assault frigate that we fly pretty often.

And then, then we get to the first logi hull.  By the time we hit the Fountain War in 2013 I had trained up my logi skills enough that I could start flying logi ships regularly.  I have a (bad) habit of keeping a combat drone or three in my drone bay when flying logi so as to get on a kill mail now and then.  My general goal is to get on one kill mail a month just as a proof of life measure.  So there was a long stretch when I flew logi more than anything else and a kill here and there starts to add up as the years go by.  And so there is the Guardian in 4th, the Oneiros in 10th, the Basilisk in 16th, and the Scalpel in 19th place. (And the Scimitar in 22nd.)

The rest of the hulls in the top 20 have all been mail line combat ships for doctrines the coalition has flown over the years.  They come and go as the meta changes.  Megathrons or Apocs are popular one day, gone the next, then back again as things change.  Feroxes and Cormorants seem to be evergreen in popularity.

I have been on kill mails in 65 different hulls over all, discounting the capsule kills, which total up to 29.  If you shoot somebody, then your ship blows up, but you last long enough in your capsule for the person you shot to get blown up you get on the kill in your pod.

As for the systems, many of them have meaning to me, many of them bring up that sense of place I wrote about last week now that I have history that includes them.

Saranen was the low sec system where the Imperium retreated to during the Casino War.  We fought from the Quafe Factory Warehouse station for months before retreating to Delve.

O-PNSN was the location of a Keepstar fight in which I racked up many of those ECM burst kill mails.  227 to be exact.

3-DMQT, T5ZI-S, and M2-XFE are all systems that saw ongoing battles during World War Bee.  It is probably telling that they rank much higher that 1DQ1-A, the Imperium capitol system and the focus of the PAPI onslaught that never really came together.

The other systems all have tales too, but I can’t write about them all here.  I’ve no doubt written about many of them already, like 3WE-KY, site of the Lazamo.

The kill board site also has a stats page, which tells me, among other things, that I have been on 15 titan kill mails.  My main combat alt has been on 18 though.  Kind of disappointing that.  But I don’t want to start in on him and his 712 kills, mostly in Feroxes and Ishtars.

According to the stats page the top five hull types that Wilhelm has blown up the most of are:

  1. Combat Battlecruisers – 495
  2. Heavy Assault Cruisers – 452
  3. Cruisers – 421
  4. Battleships – 383
  5. Logi Cruisers – 326

Mobile Warp Disruptors were in 6th place, with 300 down.

And the top five hull types I have lost the most of are:

  1. Combat Battlecruisers – 32
  2. Logi Cruisers – 31
  3. Interceptors – 24
  4. Stealth Bombers – 18
  5. Battleships – 16

My capsule has been popped 133 times.  I have lost no capital ships on my main, but I sacrificed a dreadnought on my alt.

That is my reflection on kill mails 15 years into the game.  I know some people hate them, or hate the idea of them, or just hate what the imagine they represent, but they are an integral part of the game to me.  Not for any “Ha ha! Gotcha!” sort of reason, but because they are markers that chart some of my journey through New Eden.

Plus I like a good explosion.  Even my own explosions, though other people’s are a bit more fun.

A Revelation blowing up

That, by the way, was the most recent kill mail I was on as of this writing.  I really like it when capital ships explode.

Past anniversary posts: