Category Archives: entertainment

Finding Ways to Help the Coalition

Okay, back to what was slated to be yesterday’s post before the big news dropped and I pushed this out to write a very quick… and perhaps a bit too smug… nod to a big change in New Eden.  Back to me being more like me, long winded and meandering.  At least that post has lots of links out to other posts on the topic, with varying points of view, perhaps its one redeeming point.

In the backwards way I sometimes look at the world, I tend to approach guilds and in-game organizations with the question, “What can I do for them?” rather than “What can they do for me?”  There is probably some self-esteem issue manifest in that, when my first thought is trying to figure out why a guild would want me.  Or maybe it is ego, thinking I might matter.

Or maybe I just know how my varied my interest and schedule can be.  Some weeks I have the time and I am all in, other times things are busy or I just can’t build up the interest.

So I often end up in little guilds or corps with a few friends, eschewing larger guilds and the greater opportunities they can sometimes afford.  Check out a post I did a few years back about guilds I’ve been in.  Never going to be a raider with those credentials.

Which sort of makes my time in the CFC/Imperium a bit of an oddity.  The corp I am in started on the usual path, with Gaff already in it and getting me to come along for the ride.  (Potshot was even in there for a bit during the Fountain War.)  The corp itself wasn’t big and largely flew in EUTZ, so I was sort of free to pursue whatever I wanted.

That didn’t leave me with a strong sense of corp identity… my corp CEO is going to read this too, sorry Hir… but there was a war going on at the time, which ended up making me identify more with the coalition than my corp.  It was the Winter war against White Noise and Raiden and I wanted to be useful to the coalition.

You can, of course, be useful just showing up to fill out the fleet numbers.  I was able to do that, especially when the main doctrine changed to Drake Fleet, a ship I had skilled up for long before I came to null sec.  And being counted in the fleet helped my corp and alliance.

But I felt like I needed to do more, and so began what is now an almost five year search for how best to be useful balanced with finding things I can actually build up some enthusiasm for doing.

The first and longest standing of those things I have gone after is being a logi pilot.  Since I didn’t need to train anything for Drake Fleet, I went after Logistics V and the ability to strap on all of the ships the accomplished space priest might choose to fly.  And flying logi remains my stock in trade for being useful.  I keep one for each fleet doctrine on hand… fortunately the coalition has tried to keep logi fits somewhat unified lately, so I don’t have too many in my hangar… and whenever logi comes up short or Arrendis pings for more logi, I try to fill that position.

Though some days I do just want to shoot something.  Especially when we fly a laser doctrine.  I rarely flew logi when we had an Apoc doctrine because I just enjoyed being part of the light show too much.  But I am mostly ready to fly logi in any fleet.  I have never quite gotten myself to the point of being the logi anchor… but I’ll play the healer most days of the week.  And I think I am reasonably good at it.

After I had logi trained up I started thinking about other roles I might take up.  There were times when I had to work on training for the main fleet doctrine… when Megathrons were the mainstay, I found I was lacking in gunnery skills, while a switch to armor doctrines showed up my long focus on shield skills.  But I found time to train towards new goals and side projects along the way.

One I went after a while back was fleet booster.  Aside from Fleet Command V, I have all the fleet boosting leadership skills trained all the way up.  And then I actually realized what being the booster actually meant… sitting alone, away from the battle, running links and hitting dscan to see if anybody is trying to probe you down.  I appreciate those who actually take on this task, but it sounds like the dullest assignment in the world and not the way I want to spend any fight.  (I do have hope for the boost changes coming with Ascension.  Maybe I will end up using those skill.)

I also trained up to fly interdictors, heavy interdictors, the Archon, the Naglfar, and probably a few other specialty ships that I never ended up flying.  I did buy the Archon, but I have never flown it in action, just using it to haul stuff now and again.  It was very handy in getting my stuff out of Tribute the day before the word went out to evacuate.  And, of course, it made the long trip down to Delve carrying a lot of my stuff.

Wars came and went.  The Fountain War was probably the peak of my fun being a line member in the main fleet.  After that my participation tapered off somewhat.  I logged on to make sure I was still showing the flag and being useful, but no more than that.  By sheer luck I happened to pick some of the more memorable battles to attend, including the last part of B-R5RB.

As my interest fell off I tried flying with the USTZ SIG called Freedom Squad.  That gave me something to do, but it tailed off itself, eventually being replaced with Reavers.  Reavers was new and interesting, flying in much smaller groups and living out of a POS in the middle of enemy space.  That meant new things for me to learn and new skills to train as Reavers quickly became my home in the game.  I haven’t been on every op, but I believe I have been on every deployment.

That went on until the great war in the north, the Casino War or World War Bee, the beginning of which are just about a year old at this point, as things began to heat up in Cloud Ring in what Noizy dubbed “The Kickstarter War” last November.  From that point until our retreat south in July was a time of almost continuous fighting for us.  Reaver deployments tapered off as we fought in the north in a wearing campaign that saw, among other things, a constant series of doctrine changes on our side as we sought a way to come to grips with the foe.

After that, there was the road south to Delve, the conquest of the region, and setting up a new home.  At first one could help out by just ratting or mining to help raise ADMs.  My trusty Ishtar, refit from fighting the Guristas menace in the north to the Blood Raider menace in the south, could engage in that.

Again, lasers are more fun than guns or missiles

Again, lasers are more fun than guns or missiles

Easy enough once the region was a bit secure and lucrative as well.

That ushered in a somewhat more normal rhythm to life in the coalition.  Reavers deployed again to our old stomping ground in Querious… now very close to hand… a staging system was set, jump bridges starting going up, a home defense system started working, with capitals ready to drop on any interlopers, and Delve became our new home

But more was needed and the word went out asking people to help out if they could.  The first involved scanning for wormholes.  We have a third party tracking system that lets you log in and uses CREST to map where you are so you can scan down wormholes, you just enter them and the connection gets recorded.

Having done scanning for a bit way back when wormholes were a new thing, I decided I could go after that.  I had trained up all the skills to at least four and in some cases five.  And I still had the ship I used to scan in back in… 2009.  It has been a while.

Buzzard from long ago... and the TNT logo

Buzzard from long ago… and the TNT logo

So I got out the ship, flew it to Amarr, stripped it, found a fit online I could use (here), bought the additional modules I needed along with probes, and set about trying to figure out how to scan again.

Fortunately, I found a video that got me back up to speed.


Soon I was scanning down cosmic signatures again… if not like a champ, than at least well enough to actually get the job done.

Found one!

Found one!

So now I have something to do when there is a bit of free time and no fleet ops going up.

There was also a request to start helping build up our own supply of raw materials in the region.  While Delve has its upsides, proximity to the Jita market is not one of them.  It is a long way to New Eden’s space WalMart, so there was a promise that if people went out and mined and such, various organizations would make sure that buy orders existed at decent rates so we wouldn’t have to ship stuff back to Jita to sell and industrialist wouldn’t have to ship stuff from Jita to make things.

Like SynCaine, I decided to give Planetary Interaction a try.  This was alleged to be low effort if done right, and I had trained all the skills up to four at some point in the past.

Of course, doing it “right” is an exercise left to the student to figure out.  I still haven’t found a decent tutorial that tells you exactly how to make things work.  I suspect that this is largely due to the usual abominable CCP UI choices.  Once you figure it out, it becomes natural and you forget you have to tell people how many clicks it really takes to setup a link and then a functioning route between two structures.

Eventually though, I did get something working.  As there were many barren planets to hand, several warnings about not working with gas planets, and encouragement to make parts used to create fuel blocks, I went into mechanical parts production.

Something setup on a barren planet

Something setup on a barren planet

So I just setup to harvest base metals and noble metals, refine them into reactive metals and precious metals, and then combine those into mechanical parts.  Every couple of days I check to make sure harvesting is running, and then when I am in the system I stop at each customs office, grab the output, and sell them to the buy order which also happens to be in our system.

Mechanical Parts sales

Mechanical Parts sales

It isn’t a huge amount of ISK, but it very low effort and the output is used locally to keep us running.

And so it goes.  I try to do my bit for the team.  All of which is a lot of words for a post that was originally just going to be “hey, I’m doing scanning and PI now.”  Like I said at the top, back to my rambling style.

CCP Offers Breast Cancer Awareness Ship Skins

CCP announced today that they are making special pink(-ish) ship skins available via the in-game New Eden Store in support of Breast Cancer Awareness month.

Pink Mining

Pink Mining

According to CCP:

100% of the proceeds from the sale of these SKINs in the New Eden Store will be converted from Aurum to real world cash, and will be donated to Bleika Slaufan (The Pink Ribbon Campaign), which is owned and managed by the National Cancer Association here in Iceland.

Named Rosada Dawn, the skins are currently available in the New Eden store in four different packages.

Pink Skin Sets

Pink Skin Sets

At the low end, there is the skin for the Procurer for 400 Aur

For 1,200 Aur the Small Bundle gets you skins for the Covetor, Procurer, and Retriever

The Medium Bundle is 2,000 Aur and contains the Hulk, Mackinaw, Noctis, Primae, and Skiff

And the Large Bundle runs 4,400 Aur and has the Bowhead, Rorquel, and Orca skins.

With some Aurum on hand I had to get the medium bundle just to finally have something to put on my salvaging Noctis.

Breast Cancer Awareness Salvaging

Breast Cancer Awareness Salvaging

I wish they had turned ALL the orange bits pink, but at least the ship is mostly pink and white.


*BOOM* Headshot! Gambling Down with the EVE Online EULA Changes for Ascension

You may not use, transfer or assign any game assets for games of chance operated by third parties.

-From the Updated EULA for Ascension

Buh-bye EVE Online gambling and the influence of that ill-gotten ISK in New Eden.

Coming in November

Coming in November

The game is better for it.  I already like what this expansion is bringing and it isn’t even here yet.

I am especially happy to see IWantISK getting what they deserve.

The third party service IWANTISK has been shut down in game, and all ISK and assets have been confiscated after extensive and exhaustive investigation has brought forward compelling evidence of large-scale Real Money Trading. Permanent account suspensions have been issued against those involved.

The third party service EVE Casino has been shut down in game, and all ISK and assets have been confiscated after multiple and sustained breaches of our Developer License Agreement. Permanent account suspensions have been issued against those involved.

Whenever anybody brought up the idea that IWI was deep in RMT, it was always shouted down by the “Grr Goons” crowd, who demanded proof.  Well there is your proof now.  Good riddance to bad garbage.

Time to study the EULA changes more, but that seemed to be the big news.  Again, all available here.

Follow up posts by others who might be a little more thoughtful than my own gut reaction here:


YC118.9 Release Arrives in New Eden

We are all waiting in anticipation for the November release, a full on, old-school, EVE Online expansion, which even has a name now: AscensionNo doubt much of EVE Vegas will be devoted to reveals and discussions around that.

But Ascension is almost a month away, so we’ll have to wait for the goodies, which will apparently include an increase in capital jump range.  In the mean time there is the monthly-ish update for October hitting today.  No special name, no real glory, but still a few items worth note are being delivered.

The Crimson Harvest event is set to return to New Eden next week.  While the details are sparse, it is probably safe to assume that it is akin to last year’s event, with Blood Raider sites appearing in game, dropping a special skin and cerebral accelerators. In anticipation of this, CCP is setting up to peddle some additional skins and PLEX offers.  Or so I gather.  The information on the updates page is pretty vague.

Dark SKIN is Dark

Dark SKIN is Dark and possibly available to you in some unspecified context

Coming into the game with this update will be updated graphs for the market.

Using the new graphic library

Using the new graphic library

What is not to love about better, more detailed graph porn in-game?

Also arriving in New Eden will be the blueprints to create the charges that will be used with the much anticipated revamped fleet boosting mechanic that is coming with the Ascension release.  People can now start producing the charges and stocking the market in anticipation of their coming need.

Coming out of the game is the in-game browser.  This change, announced back in June, but appearing in the patch notes at the last minute, was due to the work needed to keep such a browser secure and up to date.

While an understandable motive in a time when CCP is devoting more resources to its VR games at the expense of EVE Online, it will be missed by people who play full screen or on a single monitor or who have third party utilities that take advantage of the browsers access to in-game data.

The Imperium’s participation link system used to use the in-game browser, but has been modified to use CREST to grab fleet members to note their attendance.  Now the FCs just have to remember to use it.  I used the in-game browser for the last time on Sunday for a fleet.

Other updates to the game include performance improvements to graphics post-processing, which seems aimed primarily at AMD users (so let’s hope it doesn’t kill nVidia performance in the grand CCP tradition of every change creating a new problem or three),  something about balancing the hard points on mining ships to match their appearance, and the usual round of bug fixes, including solving the wandering stargate issue that has come up on Reddit a few times of late.  From the patch notes:

Stargates would occasionally express their envy of dynamic objects by moving to a different position in their solar system after downtime. They have now been properly anchored and should remain firmly in their intended positions. “Pity the poor stargate, destined to remain forever immobile whilst faithfully sending ships towards locations that it can never know.”

And so it goes.

There are a host of other small items in the patch notes, plus the rather shallow entries on the updates page regarding today’s release, which has been deployed successfully.

As always though, there is a song for the release.


Scenes from an Astrahus Kill in Querious

Another night out in Querious, another structure to kill.  In this case, an Astrahus owned by Voxis accord

Target for tonight

Target for tonight

They were alleged to have paid Mercenary Coalition money to come down and fight for them.  MC were down in Querious for the weekend, with NCDot in tow… because NCDot didn’t have a war to fight or blues to awox I guess. (A side note, you must listen to this ode to the NCDot life.)  But tonight it was just Voxis Accord and their doomed Astrahus versus Reavers and some of the locals keen to see Voxis gone.

The end result was an explosion and a dead Astrahus.  Not much else to say about it really.  Not my first Astrahus kill, but I did get some nice screen shots.

Evolving to 20 in Pokemon Go

Starting Pokemon Go a month and a half after it launched meant missing out on a few things.  I wasn’t around for the initial hype and camaraderie.  Of course, I wasn’t there for a lot of the initial network problems either.  I can play most hours of the day without problems.

But I am still behind the curve when it comes to levels.  My wife, who is still using the account I initially started on my phone, was nearly level 20 before I even started.  She made it to 20 as I was climbing up the levels and said that I appeared to be catching up fast.

However, like most games involving levels, higher levels require more experience to attain, so while the gap between our levels was closing, the difference between our actual experience count remained about the same.  Last week I finally made it to 19, where the gap to the next level was 25,000 xp.

Sitting at 19 with my faithful Bulbasaur buddy

Sitting at 19 with my faithful Bulbasaur buddy

Up until about 18 or so, advancing through levels by simply catching Pokemon was a viable route.  But after that the level curve starts to get steeper.  250K exp means catching 2,500 Pokemon at 100 exp a catch.  Even if you manage bonus points on each catch, that still only gets you to 160 exp and leaves you looking at almost 1,600 catches to level up.

About the best you can hope for

About the best you can hope for

Gym battles can provide more experience, though at level 19 your Pokemon are likely low enough level that you will burn through revives and potions with every attempt.  And then there are Pokestops, but those only get you 50 exp, so you need to spin a lot of those to make much progress.

Evolution though… using the accumulated candies to evolve Pokemon into a new type… that earns you 500 exp a go.  So with an eye towards the steeper experience curve I had been hanging on to a pile of Pidgeys and Rattatas, everybody’s favorite trash Pokemon, along with some others.

Once I could feel my momentum slackening at level 19, and I had some time to sit down and evolve, I used one of my lucky eggs… they double your exp gain for 30 minutes… and evolved my way into level 20.

Level 20 treats

Level 20 treats

Level 20 is good because you get a pile of items when you get there… I also made sure I had space in my inventory, one of the things that makes Pokemon Go an MMO to my mind is inventory management… along with access to ultra balls, which have a better catch rate, and a fairly sizeable boost in the combat power of the Pokemon that show up.

I rolled through well into level 20 with my lucky egg, covering a lot of the ground to 21.

Now level 20

Now level 20

The levels begin to really ramp up from 20 forward, adding 25K for each level, then 40K, and on on through up to level 40.  (Level chart here on the wiki.)

Level 20 also opened up 10km eggs, which syncs up nicely with the two egg incubators than came as part of the level 20 reward.  10km eggs give access to some different Pokemon, including the elusive Snorlax, the capture of which my wife has set as her personal goal.  Hatching one seems to be the best bet as, in all of this time, I have only ever gotten a single glimpse of a Snorlax on the nearby list.

A silhouette is all I saw

A silhouette is all I saw

My own top six Pokemon, while no great shakes as far as combat power goes, are at least now high enough to take on lower level gyms with a good chance of success.

My starting lineup

My starting lineup

Arcanine is easily one of the most common Pokemon you run into in gyms in our area.

So we carry on with Pokemon Go at our house.

I did notice a recent change where Pokemon you have “seen” but not caught now include Pokemon you have seen in gyms, so my “seen” list saw a big bump over the weekend.  That is more in line with the core Pokemon RPG games, where you you get credit for having seen any Pokemon that you fight.  To get them all, however, you have to catch them.