Category Archives: EVE Online

In Which We Blob

The purging of Cloud Ring continues, though mostly while I am asleep.  Waffles and Pandemic Horde changed their vulnerability widow to be during AUTZ, so the Entosis Link ops have been left to Lemba’s Korean’s in DOKDO and Arsehole squad, the AU/NZ time zone SIG in The Imperium.  So I wake up in the morning and can see the fleet pings that went out overnight.

While The Mittani’s optimistic six day forecast now seems… well, optimistic… the purge doesn’t seem to be in doubt.  The desired end state though… I’m not sure what that is.  We don’t want any hostiles living in that region, so we are purging them.  But we don’t want to take the sov ourselves, so we didn’t, for example, drop a TCU in W-4NUU after we killed the Pandemic Horde TCU, which allowed them to drop one and take the sovereignty right back. (Though reset to 0, so the system is easier to take/retake.)  And we have seen that our only friend in the region, Fweddit, can’t hold the whole region by itself, so I am not sure who we expect to come live there.  Who wants to live next to us?

Anyway, there has been day by day coverage over at The Nosy Gamer under the Kickstarter War tag.

Having avoided Cloud Ring completely, I did get into one fleet over the weekend, once that ended up in a fight.  There is a story about it up at TMC that I find a bit confusing.  The copy makes it sound like the whole thing was a surprise when, in fact, there were pings out for a “max dudes stratop” nearly 24 hours in advance.  Maybe I have misunderstood.  I guess we did pour in over time.

Anyway, the pings were out far enough in advance for me to get down to our staging system in Pure Blind and be online and ready to go.  Well, mostly ready to go.  I ran down in an interceptor and wasn’t keen to buy a doctrine ship off contract until I knew what fleets were going up.

When the ping for fleets went out, the initial options were Tengu fleet or Harpy fleet.  Later Cawk fleet was added to handle all the people piling into the system and trying to get into a fleet.  I opted for Harpy fleet because, if nothing else, a Harpy is cheap and warps faster than a Tengu and looks better as well.

Harpy out and flying about

Harpy out and flying about

Also, with three Basilisks lost already this month, I might be past my limit on reimbursement.  No need to risk losing a Tengu or a Basi.

Anyway, I got into fleet and immediately began looking forward to the next Reavers deployment.  It has been a while since I have been in the main fleet during an op.  Somewhere around 500 of us showed up, got in fleets, and starting flying towards some distant destination, leaving time dilation and tasty stragglers for MOA in our wake.

We reached UMI-KK about an hour after I joined the fleet, a system where I had both a jump clone and a Harpy standing by, so if I had known I could have saved myself the first part of the journey and the price of a Harpy.  The cost of op sec.

We didn’t have to go the whole way by gates.  We did take one jump bridge.  When we arrived there, the guy who said he had a three day timer before he could take a jump bridge and was told we would be taking one, again announced his timer issue.  I suppose he expected us to all slog an additional half dozen gates to keep him safe.  We took the jump bridge and let him fend for himself.

We left one Harpy behind

We left one Harpy behind

From the far end of the jump bridge it was a few more jumps through tidi until we finally arrived at MR4-MY in Geminate.  Our FC was hurrying us along at that point, as it sounded like the fight was going to end soon.  Sure enough, things certainly seemed to be in progress when we got there.

Fight in MR4-MY

Fight in MR4-MY, many bubbles

After some mucking about just out of range of all of the fun, our FC pointed us at the two biggest targets on the field, the two Archon carriers supporting the NCDot fleet.

The prized on the field

The prized on the field

Everybody loves a capital ship kill.  And certainly everybody seemed to get on those kills.  There were 741 involved parties on the first carrier kill, and 717 on the second.  I also managed to get on the kills of a Proteus, a Damnation, and a Devoter.   But that was about it.  After that, the field was clear and it was time to head back home.

The battle report shows 865 of us blobbing 121 of them, inflicting 43 billion ISK in damage for about 5.5 billion in losses.  That is the old CFC way.

And then it was another hour getting back to our staging system.  The whole thing went a little longer than three hours, so at least we got two participation links for the effort.  But it was a reminder of what big fleet fights can be like in the main fleet, with time dilation, hours of travel, uneven levels of skill, and coms that made me hide in the “no chatter” channel.  After that, a Reavers deployment feels like a vacation.

The Fountain War – A Video Documentary

Scott Manley has put together a video about the Fountain War, going through the players, how the war came about, and how it played out. (Direct link)

Of course, this coincides with the struggling Fountain War novelization Kickstarter campaign.

Reinforcements bridge in

The fight at 6VDT-H

And I have my own tales of the Fountain War, collected here, from which a number of the assets for the video were drawn.

War in Cloud Ring and Beyond

In some ways, this is the same old story of war in null sec.

A group on our boarder… and in my time that group has been White Noise, Raiden, Northern Coalition, AAA, TEST, Northern Coalition, and Northern Coalition… they do come up a lot in our wars… has made it clear they want a fight.

This is null sec in EVE Online, it is what we do.  And so there will be a war.

And, in some ways, this is a new story of war in null sec.

In past wars our enemies have held sovereignty, have lived on our boarders, and thus have presented us with a target… as our systems have presented them with a target… to attack.  Victory equaled conquest.  If one side took the other side’s systems, they won.

Under Fozzie Sov, holding systems isn’t as easy as it once was.  You have to actually live in the systems you want to hold if you want them to be defensible.  Various groups responded to this change in different ways.  CVA and the rest of the Providence Bloc, which has long actually lived in their, went on pretty much as before.  The Imperium reduced its holdings to a more defensible perimeter and began actually encouraging people to rat and mine, things that raise the ADM of systems.  And some groups, like Northern Coalition, got out of the sovereignty holding business almost completely.

At one point one third of null sec systems were part of rental empires, with Northern Coalition holding vast swathes of space as part of their Northern Associates subsidiary.  If you go back and look at the sovereignty map from a year back, they are a giant brown stain on the south end of null sec space.

Today Northern Associates is out of business and NCDot themselves hold just four systems down in Delve.  And I am not sure they would shed a tear if somebody took those systems.

Northern Coalition null sec holdings...

Northern Coalition null sec holdings…

Instead, they are living out of low sec space near our boarder and ranging into our territory.  As Noizy put it, a vision of the Roman Empire in a way, with barbarians of no fixed address raiding established lands.

Actually, that is the SECOND part of the coming war.  As The Mittani announced in his State of the Goonion address yesterday (available here on Twitch), the first part is purging Cloud Ring of hostile parties.  That should be the comparatively easy bit.  The region itself, which has earned the nickname “content ring” of late, is already half in the possession of The Imperium or socially friendly elements already.

Cloud Ring - November 20, 2015

Cloud Ring – November 20, 2015

J4LP, whom I am going to refer to as Fweddit, since that is the corp that holds the sov (and their chicken logo is the best thing about their organization) was formerly in the CFC and remains an ally; they hold 14 of the 40 systems in the region, while Imperium member SpaceMonkey’s Alliance holds another 6.

So we just have to clear out the rest.

We can bring our weight to bear on that sort of mission, the whole thing being pretty much in our back yard.  It is something we know how to do.  I am not sure if it will be a mere six day campaign, but there will be timers and events and obvious points where we can bring our advantage in numbers.  We don’t want the region, but we’re not going to suffer hostiles living there either.

After which will come the difficult bit.  We will be heading into low sec in a punitive expedition to hunt down our foes living there.  We will have some leverage to bring people to fights.  We will be destroying any structures we can find, so more timers.  But outside of that, our ability to influence events in order to force our foes to battle, barring any sort of days long hell camp, runs out fairly quickly.  This could very well turn into chasing Pancho Villa around.

Also, low sec is an area where we traditionally do not operate and where the rules change, with gate guns and security status and no warp disruption bubbles and people fitting warp core stabilizers.  It is bizarre.  So much so that we require a new doctrine in order to face this challenge, one based on the Proteus strategic cruiser.  More skills to train.

And finally there is the narrative, which our foes have largely represented as The Mittani being angry about various things.  In listening to his speech, he sounded more tired to me.  It was not an inspiring presentation.  He said all the usual words, but seemed to lack the martial spirit required to make them stick.

And so it goes.  We shall see how this plays out.

My own first action of the war was to jump back to high sec and buy the skills I needed for the new doctrine, so that I might be trained up enough to fly during the low sec phase of the war.  I got the skills, injected them, set up my queue, and then something in the back of my head said, “You know the Proteus is the Gallente strategic cruiser, right?”  I had bought and injected all the Amarr skills.  So I bought and injected all the Gallente skills, redid my queue, and am now waiting for my jump clone timer to wind down so I can return to null sec.

Home from Wicked Creek

We deployed down to Curse, holing up in a station in H-ADOC, the Monday before EVE Vegas.  Karma Fleet and LAWN joined us as we headed down south.  As I mentioned in a previous post, our main mission was to hit TEST sovereignty down in and around Wicked Creek so they would come out and fight.

Wicked Creek area of New Eden

Wicked Creek area of New Eden

And for the limited goal of getting fights, the operation was a success.  The fights, when they happened, were good and not heavily out of balance due to numbers.  I managed to miss most of the “good fights,” even when I was there in the fleet, but fun times were had.  Even under Fozzie Sov, in the Balkans of the south east of New Eden null sec, attacking somebody’s infrastructure will force people to come out and fight at a specific time and place.

We also got to fly a few doctrines.  We had our usual Tengus, and Ishtars returned to the fold during the deployment.  And with Karmafleet along, there were also Cormorants and Ferox fleets to join.

Sitting with Feroxes at the sun

Sitting with Feroxes at the sun

And if the enemy doesn’t come out to fight, then it costs them.  We managed to drop TEST sovereignty in LKZ-CY when they couldn’t get numbers together to come and fight us.  The did show up, but ended up declining to engage and for a bit the system was unowned.

There went your TCU...

There went your TCU…

I actually got to successfully Entosis a node during that op, flying a Cormorant.  I was also one of the few kills for TEST on that op as I had moved to do a node in LKZ-CY and then they showed up.  They didn’t go after the main fleet, but the dropped in to kill me.

Cormorant on a command node

Cormorant on a command node destined never to be finished

On the flip side, I was also involved in at least one Fozzie Sov endless tug of war horror show.  A couple hours after dropping LKZ-CY, another opportunity came up to hit S-E6ES, which is right next to our staging.  However, we only got about 20 people in the fleet, so the hope was that TEST wouldn’t show up and we could ninja the whole thing.  But TEST did show up after a bit with about 40 people.  That was too many for us to hit directly, and they did not seem inclined to come and get us to force a show down, so we each went off to one side of the constellation or the other and hit nodes.

We had gotten there first and eventually go the balance to tilt 90% in our direction.  But they have more links running, and so the number see-sawed between 80% and 95%, slowly working its way in their favor.  It eventually became clear that, unless we got more numbers… and it was past EUTSZ prime time on a Sunday night… the event was eventually going to go to TEST, the question was just how long were we willing to drag this out.  Sitting around running Entosis Links not being as fun as promised, we opted to stand down and end the madness.

There was a final event, a last battle, on Monday night my time where we ran out what forces we could round up in an Ishtar fleet to try and contest a timer in 1L-OEK.  In anticipation Slyce, which owned the system, put up drag bubbles on every gate between H-ADOC and their system, making us take a detour around to another route.

We ended up squaring off on the 1L-OEK gate in Q-GQHN (which gets pronounced Qui-Gon, as in Qui-Gon Jinn) where the numbers were only slightly against us.  We got there first and repaid the route blockage by having everybody with a deployable bubble drop it around the gate, leaving a small mess for the locals to clean up later.


Bubbles on the 1L-OEK gate

When the locals arrived, the fight was very tight, though we were losing a ship now and again as logi tried to keep everybody up and going.  Our work did not go unnoticed, even by our foes.

Pandi Borgia of TEST

Pandi Borgia of TEST

And then Pandemic Legion dropped in on the fight, landing pretty much in our midst.  At that point the requests for shield reps suddenly spiked and the logi pilots got very busy… to the point that I did not notice I had been yellow-boxed again and was soon wandering around in my pod, my Basilisk a wreck in my wake.

At least then I had a moment to survey the battle.  I set my pod to approach a Nestor in the PL fleet, just to get a closer look.

The shiny Nestor in the bunch

The shiny Nestor in the bunch

My sight seeing tour was short lived, as somebody eventually decided to pod me.  That was probably a favor as I didn’t have to try to fly home through bubble-ville, I was sent there directly and without cost.

The battle report shows the slaughter, with us losing 61 of 104 ships, including all but one of the Basilisks.  There are comments on the battle in one thread over at Reddit. (And a comment from Asher about bubbles, the fight, and our deployment goals.)

After that we were done in the south.  Tuesday evening USTZ the first fleet for home formed up.  I only had a Ferox to bring home, having left three Basilisk, three Crucifier, and two Cormorant wrecks behind in Wicked Creek.

We happened to get a fortuitous direct wormhole and the return op should have been very quick, but then CCP was having a problem with one of its ISP connections in London.  This meant that at a couple of points nearly a third of the fleet would drop from the game as we transitioned through a gate, and then would struggle to get back on.  So we spent more time waiting than we did moving.

Sitting on another gate waiting for people to reconnect

Sitting on another gate waiting for people to reconnect

There were moans at the start of the fleet because an Abaddon was along for the ride and was going to slow down our warps.  In the end though, that was less of an issue than the game itself.  Eventually things seemed to clear up and we got everybody to the wormhole.

Approaching the wormhole

Approaching the wormhole

On the far side of the wormhole we were just a half a dozen gates from the current coalition staging station at 3V8-LJ in Pure Blind.  We were soon landing on the station, docking up, and calling it a night.

Landing at 3V8-LJ

Landing at 3V8-LJ

And so ends another Reavers deployment.  Fun and fights were had deep in hostile territory.

I am going to steal one thing from Asher’s Reddit thread on that final fight.  At some point during the deployment we began spamming local now and again with the word “RATKINGBOIS” linked to the character profile of RatKnight1.  This seemed to start while I was off in Vegas, but I joined in when I got back and spammed local with the team and renamed my ship.  Later the word of the day got changed to “FISHKINGBOIS.”

Asher offered up an end of deployment tale on Reddit of where this all came from.

Oh I promised to explain RATKINGBOIS at the end of the deployment to some of the Test guys who were asking – but be forewarned, like I said before, it’s a shitty story: We were going to Test renter space to ref it and it’s kinda far away so it’s a long boring trip, I was looking through my fleet and I saw the name “RatKnight1” which I decided might be the worst name I’ve ever seen, so I asked him if RatKnight without a number was already taken because it’s such a desirable name. Well Mr. RatKnight1 then very earnestly describes how he is the original RatKnight but he lost access to him so he’s got the number now and we all had a good chuckle because he never seemed to grok that we were busting his balls over his terrible name. So the next day someone called us “RATKINGBOIS” because I guess they forgot the actual rank of the rat, he’s only a knight, not a king. And we were earnestly corrected by said Knight about his rank. So it just stuck after that. RatKnight1 seemed to enjoy the notoriety and being the mascot. And then it became FISHKINGBOIS because we were staging in H-ADOC – which sounds like haddock – which is a fish. So, you know, now you can put this on urban dictionary and your mom can look up why your in-joke is soooooo hilarious.

I had gotten the haddock part of the joke, largely because Sadus trolled it regularly on coms.

So deployment complete.  Now there is a rumor of war and an announcement coming tomorrow to indicate where it will be.

Wicked Creek Without a Paddle

The inevitable moment came to pass as I tried to dual box a fleet op in EVE Online.  Not only do I have a single monitor that now seems a bit small by today’s standards (I recently profiled my setup), but I insist on playing full screen, so I can only see one client or the other.  Eventually I become fixated on one of the clients, leaving the other one to fend for itself only to hear the FC call my character’s name because I haven’t aligned or missed a warp or have otherwise wandered out of formation, usually straight into the jaws of the enemy.  Then I have to flail to get things set right again.

And that’s if I am lucky.

If I am unlucky I tab back to the neglected client and find myself sitting in a pod, either in space or back in my home station, dead from the distraction.

I am not good at dual boxing in EVE, though that is, in part, because of my own stubbornness.  I like to see as much of space as I can.

And so it went Tuesday night in Wicked Creek.

I mentioned previously that on the Monday before EVE Vegas the Reavers, along with some of Karma Fleet, LAWN, and allegedly my own alliance, TNT, deployed down to Wicked Creek under the weak cover story of defending the Phoebe Freeport Republic or some such.  In reality, we were there to get fights.  Fights with TEST, who live in the corner of Wicked Creek close to Curse (via Scalding Pass) and the NPC null sec station where we set up shop. (If you read the last couple entries at the excellent Game of Sov blog, Trick or Treat and Pillow Fort Fight!, you’ll see some of the resulting battle reports, though the list there is not complete.)

I haven’t been on for as many ops during the deployment as I would have liked.  There have been other things going on… like EVE Vegas… or last weekend where my wife and I indulged in a James Bond movie marathon… but I have been there for a few.

I was there for the op when we killed the infrastructure hub in S-E6ES, which cut TEST’s jump bridge connection from their deeper in Wicked Creek to that system, an important feat as that connection allowed them to jump ahead of us and cut us off from home during a withdrawal.

I managed to show up for a “no logi allowed” slippery boat Tengu fleet op.  fortunately Karma Fleet came along as well, and was handing out free Cormorants to boot.  I hadn’t flown a Cormorant in ages.

Cormorant fleet is go!

Cormorant fleet is go!

I was happy to see that the little destroyer, which was my first “goal” ship in EVE Online, now has an additional low slot, for a total of two.  Go wee Corm!

That was the fleet where we were after the ihub in GGE-5Q.  I don’t recall specifically why, other than to generally annoy TEST and perhaps get a fight.  As I said, getting fights is now our thing.

It was also my first chance to run an Entosis Link ship.  We had lost our initial link ships and they were looking for people who had the skills to run the link.  I opted in and then warped off the fellow Reaver Azure and Argent and ejected from my Corm so he could get in and use his mobile depot to fit the links he had brought out from our staging.  Then he ejected and I got back in and headed to the ihub to start running the link.

Entosis Cormorant

Entosis Cormorant

This was just as exciting as I expected.  I went into orbit of the ihub, with a tech I link you need to stay within 20km, targeted it, and started the module.  There was a five minute warm up cycle, after which followed 20 minutes of Entosis Link magic, watching the timer count down as the Cormorants and Tengus lingered about.

As the timer rolled down to zero, TEST started showing up in the system.  With just ten seconds to go they warped on grid with me and the ihub, targeted me, and blew me up with a mere 3 seconds left on the clock.  I was subsequently podded and found myself back in the staging.

At this point the fleet had been going for more than three hours.  We were given a participation link, but the fleet kept going.  There was a scramble to get another link setup to pick up where I left off as the automatic defender regeneration had now kicked in.  It is slow… it takes an hour to regen my almost 20 minutes of work… but it just keeps going.  I never found out if we succeeded or not, as it was getting late on a work night, so I was off to bed.

Which brings us around to Tuesday evening and the fleet op departing our base.  There was a call for numbers and we collected a good 70 people initially, a number that grew to about 90 as we prepared to leave.

I was only going to fly one ship, being fully aware of how bad I am and dual boxing during fleet ops.  However, Asher said he needed people in Entosis Drakes.  How hard could that be to run on a second client.  Entosis is easy enough, and when was the last time I got to fly a Drake?

So I got out my alt, had him buy one of the Entosis Drakes on contract, strapped it on, fit the rigs in the cargo hold, and renamed it “I Bring Draek!”  I also setup the broadcasts on my alt so he would see calls for shields, highlighted in blue, just like Wilhelm in the Basi, so I wouldn’t miss any calls for help if I was in the wrong client at the moment.

Having gotten that sorted out, I waited until the fleet finally undocked and started out towards its destination.

I am the red Basilisk in the fleet

I am the red Basilisk in the fleet

Things went well to start with.  I kept my eye mostly on my main as I had to keep the cap chain going when we stopped, only tabbing over to my alt when I had a moment to get him aligned or to jump him through a gate.

We moved along, scouts reporting a clear road ahead, until we arrived at our first destination.  The main fleet anchored up, logi got anchored as well and got the cap chain running, ewar, anchored on Victor Fel, set themselves off to one side, and the Entosis ships went to safe up.  I made a safe for my alt, put him there, and went back to my main.

The timer ran down and Moomin was called as the first to Entosis… and likely die.  TEST was in the system.  There were reports that they were scanning down people who were safed up so, while the main fleet was waiting for something to happen, I switched over to my alt to run the directional scanner now and again to make sure no bad guys were in the vicinity.  I had safed up pretty far away from everything, though I could see another Drake on d-scan.

Then TEST dropped on grid with us and a fight started.

First round of shots

First round of shots

This was just a skirmish and did not add up to much.  But as the fight was calling, Asher called everybody back to the main fleet, so I had to tab out and warp my alt back… and then try to keep him up with the fleet.  While I was doing that Asher did a short warp with the fleet so my alt landed in the wrong place and my main was at the new location, sitting still and not in the cap chain.  I was already being excessively bad.  I pointed the Drake at the main fleet, turned on its MWD and said to hell with its cap and went back to get my shit straightened out on the logi front.

My absence had been noted.  I apologized, got myself back in range, got the cap chain going at my end, got anchored up, and everything on that front was back in order.  I quickly tabbed back to my alt and set him to approach my Basi because.. why not?

As this skirmish subsided, Asher warped us the U-HVIX gate and we all went through.  Then he warped us to a command node in that system.  We got caught in a bubble a ways off from the node and he had us all just approach it.  He then asked for an Entosis ship to x up, so I did so with my alt.

My alt was tasked to head to 1-7B6D to start working on a command node there.  Unfortunately, on coms, Asher just said (or I just heard) “One seven,” which isn’t enough to set a route.  So I had to tab about to a browser, get DOTLAN up, get Wicked Creek up, find us, then find the right system, go back to my alt, set a course, and start that trip.  It was just two jumps, so that went quickly enough.

Once there I discovered that I had not updated my overview on my alt, as I had long ago on my main, to show the new sovereignty structures.  So I had to dig into my overview settings and select those bits for my travel overview, my sort of go-to, generic, show me what I need to get around set.

And this is now me distracted and fixated on one character while shit is going down with the other, as I started in on at the top of the post.

I worked through what I needed to do on my alt, got him to the command node in the system, and started warming up the Entosis Link.  I then tabbed back to my main and found him sitting in a pod bouncing off the command node Asher had us approach maybe 10 minutes back.  Things were happening and I had also forgotten that, once off grid and out of system, my alt would stop seeing fleet broadcasts, so my plan fell down on that front as well.  Again, me being bad at EVE Online.

So I got out of the cap chain channel, declared myself dead and out in the logi channel, set a course for home, since nobody had blown up my pod, and warped off.

But at least I still had something to do on my alt.  Time to do the Entosis Link thing.

Drake running the Entosis Link module

Drake running the Entosis Link module

Before the warm up cycle had even gotten half way through an NCDot pilot in a Claw dropped on me, locked me up, and pointed me… presumably to hold me for somebody else, since they didn’t have much in the way of offensive power.

In my one moment of glory in during the whole evening, I had the presence of mind to lock them in return, launch my drones, turn on my rapid light missile launchers, and rather quickly blow them up.

In over nine years of playing EVE Online, this is the closest I have ever come to having a one-on-one PVP kill.  My alt will now have a kill mark queued up I think, when we get those on the sides of our ships.

My moment of glory was, however, short lived.  The rest of the NCDot crew, in the area to third party no doubt, showed up on grid with me, the odds quickly going against me.  I did manage to damage one of the Omen Navy Issues to the extent that he he felt he had to motor out of range.  But then, held in place by another point, I hit the long reload cycle for the rapid light launchers… 35 seconds of waiting… and their fire kept on whittling me down.  I had everything overheated that could be as I waited for the inevitable to occur.  Eventually I went boom.

At least I had remembered to insure it before I undocked.

I managed to warp my pod off… not that that was doing myself any real favors.  I was more keen just to deny them one more kill mail.  I posted my loss in fleet and set a course for home.

So now I had two pods wandering about Wicked Creek, slowly making their way back to our staging station.  Meanwhile, as I listened on coms, apparently the best fight ever unfolded back in U-HVIX.

I mean look at this thread on Reddit.  How often are both this jazzed after a fight?

TEST dropped T3 cruisers on us and we were outnumbered, the Dabigredboat showed up with a fleet from the north, mostly Hawks, Jackdaws, and ECM Claws, and joined in.  Then TEST dropped triage to support their end and LAWN followed suit by dropping six dreads on the field and mayhem ensued with over 100 billion ISK in losses, split almost exactly up the middle.  TEST lost a bit less when it comes to ISK, and won the node timer, but lost a lot of T3 cruisers and the skill points that go with that.  The Imperium lost a bit more on the ISK front, including all six dreads dropped on the field, but lost no T3 cruisers, and only a couple of Entosis ships since getting the fight was more important than the objective.

The ISK War

The ISK War

You can see it all on this battle report, which is almost the same as the one linked on Reddit, except I extended the time out an hour to cover the last bits of the fight.  Looking at that battle report, my Basilisk is almost the difference between the two sides.  See what being distracted gets you.

I spent almost the entire “good” part of the fight getting my ass back to our station, buying a new ship for Wilhelm, and then rushing back to get into the fight.  I opted for a Manticore stealth bomber set up with a point and a target painter (but no bomb launcher) that happened to be on contract at our station.  I figured that gave me better odds for the return trip.  In one of those odd twists, I was heading back at the same time Fate Aivo, whose Claw my alt had blown up, was on the way.

There was a gate camp on the direct route back.  However, there was a way around that, so I managed to arrive safely back in U-HVIX just in time for the fight to pretty much be over.  I landed on the field literally as TEST left.

There were a couple of skirmishes after that point.  We held the field and used that opportunity to loot or destroy everything left behind by the battle.  During this time a TEST Tornado fleet attempted to drop on us several times, but ended up only picking off a single ship on their runs.  At least that was all I heard they managed.  Hoping they might be lazy, I ran my Manticore out to where they had landed each time to see if I might be able to lock one up and point it so we could blow it up, but they were better than that it seems.

Once the field had been cleared of valuables, we packed up and headed for home.  We did catch a few people on the out gate, so I managed to get on a couple of kill mails.  Small comfort.

And so it goes on our deployment to Wicked Creek.  TEST keeps coming out to fight, generally with decent numbers.  There is a rumor going around that TEST is running out of ISK and may not be able to sustain itself in T3 cruisers for much longer.  But, then again, when isn’t “TEST is broke” an active rumor?  I suppose we will see what they show up with next time.

Meanwhile, no more dual boxing during ops for me… for now.

The Fountain War – Not Winning Fast Enough and Other Issues

A week ago I wrote about the Kickstarter for the Fountain War novel, my desire to see a project like this successful, and a few of the problems I felt the project faced.  They key items, as I saw it a week ago, were speed, money, and The Mittani himself.

On the money front, the project has at least clarified why it is asking for $150K.  This is the breakdown that has been offered:

  • 60% Author Expenses (normally covered by a publishing house)
  • 20% Publishing and Distribution (including editing and proofreading)
  • 10% KS and processing fees
  • 5% to Merchandise
  • 5% to Marketing

The bulk of the money amounts to a $90K advance for the author (assuming they get exactly $150K) so he can take time off from his day job as a consultant and focus on the book.  Whether or not you feel Jeff Edwards rates that sort of advance, that is the plan as it stands today.

As for The Mittani, the project has at least removed some of the more obviously Mittens focused rewards.  You can no longer pledge $200 and expect to go on a roam with The Mittani.

Like I said, being in space with Mittens is special

Seeing The Mittani in space… you can’t even buy that now…

However the project still has his name stamped all over it, something guaranteed to raise the ire of many in New Eden.  Using that name for the original news/propaganda site, depending on how you view it, got it a certain level of attention that it might have otherwise struggled to attain, but it came with baggage that is now hindering this project in a way that it might not have had they been able to work out a way for CCP to at least nominally take the lead in this campaign.

And then there is how well the funding is going.  After a full day they had hit the 10% mark, which was a lukewarm start.  Not fatal, but nothing to write home about either.  A week in though, looking at Kicktraq, the campaign is hovering around 20% of its goal and does not appear to be going anywhere fast.

Today's early morning mark...

Today’s early morning mark…

Right now the project needs to bring in over $4,600 a day to meet its goal.  Yesterday it brought in $666.  The day before it was $475.  That is not the path to success.

And while these problems persist, more storm clouds have appeared.  Over at Reddit the EVE subreddit has become something of a hotbed of activity against the project.  There have been outraged posts about the project.

The Jeff Edwards AMA had to be moderated, quickly going from “Ask Me Anything” to “Ask Me What The Reddit Moderators Think Is Okay.” (AMWTRMTIO?)

And then there was the general ban on new threads about the book because The Imperium was sending out pings with links to Reddit threads about the project, including the AMA, which is against the Reddit rules. (This is vote brigading; though I never once saw a ping that explicitly said I should up/down vote something, I suppose that could be inferred.)  So we will speak no more about the project there unless it is something official from CCP… or, judging from what I have seen since the ban, critical of the project.  Posting about the project is apparently okay so long as it is clear you’re against it.  It isn’t like there is much of that, but if that is all you get, that is all you see.

And so goes a vocal corner of the EVE Online community.

Then there is Gevlon, who makes the claim that there is a non-zero chance that he killed the project, though he is still annoyed at his fair weather friends on Reddit.

But perhaps the most troubling thing to come up so far has come from the team running the campaign itself.  They have released some sample excerpts from the book, which you can find linked on the project page, bonafides of the fact that there is actually working already going on.

They aren’t objectively awful or anything… they are certainly better than anything I could crank out.  But they are… well… how do I even put this?

In one sense we all share New Eden together as a joint venture and what we do and how we interact weaves the story of the game.  That is the over-arching view of the EVE Online.

However, on a more personal level, we all experience the game in our own way.  Some of us just push buttons to make things happen, it is a game on a screen and nothing more.  Others immerse themselves in New Eden, imagine ourselves really undocking from a station and flying through space.

And how that does or does not play out in our minds is uniquely our own very personal experience.  It lives inside of us and no matter how many details we wrangle about… are the ships fully automated or do they have crews… if they do have crews, how big are they and should we care about them… how do skills really work and how am I learning them… or what is it like in a capsule and how do I really control my ship… or even when we come to some agreement, the sensation within us as to what these things mean are likely nowhere close.

So my vision of boarding a ship… injecting my control capsule into the hull so that I may take command… doesn’t really align with this description:

Captain Darius Yaaah lowered his body into the pod, feeling the warmth of the semi-liquid amniotic gel enfold his limbs and torso. He gave a final encouraging nod to his bridge crew as the door of the armored capsule swung down to enclose him.

I mean, I can see this as perhaps an accurate representation of somebody’s view of what taking control of a ship might mean.  And for a novel about a war that takes place on an individual level some sort of transition in and out of a ship is required.  I get that.  But I have never once in over nine years of playing EVE Online sat down and considered that my capsule is more like something from The Matrix than, say, Star Wars.

And, in having to take that in and reconcile it against the story my brain has been concocting by itself for most of the last decade is… distracting.  It is, in a way, like Tom Cruise being cast in the lead role of a film version of a favorite book.  Tom Cruise does many things well… nobody can sprint on screen like he can… but becoming a character is not one of them.  Meryl Streep is amazing because she disappears into so many roles, becoming the person she is playing.  Tom Cruise is generally just Tom Cruise thrust into the middle of a story.

And it goes on and on, my brain stumbling over every variation from what it has built to make the New Eden experience a thing.  A bridge crew?  Getting into the capsule after getting into the ship?

Piling on top of that is the decision to sanitize the book.  I understand that, when it comes to individual names, perhaps the story can do without Pedobear69 or whoever.  But when the plan includes retconning the CFC to make it The Imperium during the war… I’m not sure why you can’t say “clusterfuck” for an organization but can have dialog that declares an operation a “giant fucking trap” elsewhere… and my brain is going to trip over that and mentally try to correct for it every time.  But I am somebody who shouts revised sentences or correct pronunciation back at audiobooks in the car when they trot out and awkward turn of phrase or say something wrong, so this might be just a “me” thing.

Still, I do wonder if I, as somebody close to the story being told, am going to be able to read the resulting book and not find a mental burden to get through or end up feeling alienated from it due to the way it had to be put together to work as Jeff Edwards’ vision of the war.

I do like hearing tales of the Fountain War.  In fact, this week’s Asher Hour podcast has former GIA head Endie as a guest and includes a few “now it can be told” tales from the war.  Great stuff.  I could listen to that sort of thing all day.  And I would pay for a lecture series by Andrew Groen about null sec wars after having seen his presentation at EVE Vegas.  But I am feeling a little queasy about the novelization at this point.

All is not dark clouds though.  I was told specifically that this kickstarter campaign will succeed and how this will come about.

Vince Snetterton (Has anybody determined if this is the same person in comments on various blogs as Dinsdale Piranha or somebody else with very similar views and an appreciation for the same Monty Python sketch?) responded to a comment of mine over on Rixx Javix’s post about the whole affair explaining that, when he has a moment free from telling CCP how to run EVE Online, The Mittani will merely tell his followers that they need to pledge some cash or they will be kicked out of The Imperium.  Looking at the coalition tallies, there are over 42,000 characters in The Imperium.  Call that maybe 5 characters per actual forum account… a surprising number of people only have one or two characters, and past surveys have put the ratio at 2.5 character per real life person… so maybe 8,000 people total.  You just need to get them to pony up $20 each and op success!

The logic behind this is that the pilots of The Imperium, being a solid block of non-dissenting robots, trained by either by being “forced” to pay $10 to join the Something Awful forums or by being required to click on participation links in fleets, will obediently and without complaint do what Mittens tells us.

So pretty much a done deal then.  I will see you all at the mandatory spontaneous demonstration of support when the goal has been achieved!

Hail the Fountain War Kickstarter campaign!

Quote of the Day – Seems Legit

Seems Legit

-Manfred Sideous, on being removed from CSMX

Well, I have to say that at least he avoided drama.

Quoted for posterity

Quoted for posterity

In case you missed it, earlier today CCP Leeloo posted the following to the forums:

Hi everyone,

I am here today to let you know that we have removed Manfred Sideous from CSM X.

The reasoning for his removal will of course remain confidential between CCP and Manfred, and we would like to thank him for his contributions during his term with CSM X.

– CCP Leeloo

And so it goes.  A permanent attending member removed.  So that is Gorga and Manfred… is UAxDEATH still there?  I know some were asking for him to be ousted at one point.

I know I don’t take the Council of Stellar Management all that seriously for a variety of reasons, but if this keeps up the phrase “removed from the CSM” is going to be as easy to take in stride as “indicted Illinois governor.”  Just something to be expected.

Hat tip to EVE Hermit