Category Archives: EVE Online

September in Review

The Site

I finally got around to tinkering with the MMO Blog feed on the side bar, something I proposed to do a couple of months back.  My operating suspicion, given the sporadic reliability of the feed over the last ten months and my attempts to fix the problem via other vectors, was that some individual feed was screwing things up for everybody else.  As it stood, the old feed was drawing from a bucket in Feedly that contained nearly 200 blogs.

Top of the list... not sure why CZ is at the very top...

Top of the list… not sure why CZ is at the very top…

The idea was to have a lot of blogs in there so that even irregular writers would get their turn on the side bar.  A lovely idea, but when nobody is showing up on the side bar for what seemed like 18 out of every 24 hours, not a viable one.  So I created a new category in Feedly and routed it via IFTTT to Pinboard, where it gets turned into an RSS feed that I can display via a WordPress.com side bar widget.

I then moved just ten of the blogs from the original category to the new one, a set of the “regulars” from the neighborhood, put the widget in the side bar (moving the old one down to the bottom, just to compare reliability), and watched it grow.

That seems to have made the feed more reliable.  Since then I have been slowly adding a few blogs at a time, so that the count is up to 30 at this point. (You can tell when I add somebody because their last few posts suddenly show up at the top of the list.)  I will probably cap it out at 50 or so, rather than push things to the point where it breaks again and then have to dial back to find the culprit.

Also, I thought this month would have the lowest page view count since 2008… recent charts in the anniversary post will give you that scale… and then I posted twice about World of Warcraft this week and pulled out of that dive.  Now I am no further back than 2009.  Go me.

There is your blogging lesson of the month; if you want to be popular, post about WoW.

One Year Ago

The blog turned nine years old.

Some survey said it could guess my age based on my video game preferences.

World of Warships officially went live after its open beta.

As part of the Heart of Thorns expansion, the Guild Wars 2 base game went completely free.

Also on the free front, WildStar went free to play, bowing to the realities of the current MMORPG market.

In World of Warcraft, the ability to fly was finally unlocked in Draenor… provided you had all the achievements.

In Diablo III I was looking at the whole season thing.

Lord British was on again with some quotes, allowing that Blizzard could do some things well… like Diablo.  But he was more on about sandbox games, like his upcoming Shroud of the Avatar, because sandbox games generate news headlines.  His example was EVE Online, though it wasn’t clear to me that SotA was going to get the same sort of coverage.

In Minecraft I was making friends with the zombie pigmen and using a utility to see a map of our world.  I needed that map as we were all out exploring.  Aaron was kicking of our transit hub in the roof of the nether and I was ruining Xydd’s neighborhood.  Meanwhile, our hosting service was going out of business.

On the Daybreak front I was reflecting on the status of EverQuest Next five years after it had been announced.  There were expansion plans for EverQuest and EverQuest IIThe Ruins of Kunark expansion was unlocked on the Ragefire progression server while the vote for the Desert of Flames expansion was up on the Stormhold server.  Daybreak also killed off enforced raid rotation on Ragefire, having “fixed” the underlying issue finally. There was talk of the new server names for the coming server consolidation in EverQuest II.  I am not sure I liked the results.

In EVE Online I was happy, in the age of Fozzie sov, that towers still gave kill mails.  Even CCP seemed to think that maybe blowing things up was better than sov wands.  They were also considering going back to bigger expansions, putting less emphasis on the monthly updates.  The monthly updates still had names for the moment… the Vanguard monthly update for example… but that would go by the end of the year.

Asher Elias started off his podcast and led us off to a fight with Ron Mexxico, who was one of his early guests, and brought us to Cloud Ring in Fozzie Claws.

The monthly EVE Online blog banter… which seems to have died off recently… wanted to know what we would do were we put in charge of the development of New Eden.

Finally, I was reflecting a bit on lifetime subscriptions and noting Asheron’s Call downtime, Lord of the Rings Online server transfers, the Drunder server in EverQuest II, and Windows 10 in one of my Friday bullet point posts.

Five Years Ago

I did the great survey of blogs that had, at one time or another, included this site in their blog roll over the last five years.  Only 28% of them were still up and active.  There was also the five year anniversary post and all that it entailed.

I implied that Tobold’s mother a llama.  This had NOTHING to do with him not having a blog roll.

I was totally going to resist Steam selling me Rift for cheap.  That didn’t work, and I ended up playing for about a year or so.

Star Trek Online announced it was going free to play, though I couldn’t imagine how it wasn’t already.

In LOTRO, the Rise of Isengard expansion came out and I almost didn’t notice.  Which was odd, because we were kind of playing LOTRO still.

The Goons were going to wreck the EVE economy by blowing up high sec ice miners.  Another vast Goon conspiracy.  I was being nostalgic for my earlier days in EVE.

GameSpy had a post about re-imagining Diablo as a first person perspective game, which was met with much derision.  Me, I liked the idea and even had suggestions for further topics in that vein to explore.  Meanwhile, Diablo III was pushed out to the middle of 2012.

In other Blizzard news, the Official World of Warcraft Magazine went belly up after just five issues.  And then there was a drop in WoW subscribers.  They lost 600,000 players, though I wasn’t one of them… yet.  Good thing they never lost more than that…

I was still playing Need for Speed: World pretty regularly.  I was filming police chases, avoiding police chases, and buying the squarest ride in the game.

In EverQuest, on the Fippy Darkpaw server, the retro experience was made complete by “guilds behaving badly” when it came to contested content.  Some GMs came up with unorthodox ways to resolve conflicts.  Somewhere along the way I got my SOE Authenticator, which I never use.

ArenaNet said something about private GuildWars 2 PvP servers.  I wonder how that would play today?

EA/BioWare gave us a release date for SWTOR at last, so I could start fretting about pre-orders and grace periods.  While I wasn’t in beta yet, BioWare was asking how I was enjoying it.

There was no word about life on Planet Michael.

And, finally, I was wondering how 9/11, which took place just a couple months before the birth of my daughter, would influence her view of the world relative to my own.  This was triggered by her trip to New York, where she visited the Nintendo Store.

Ten Years Ago

We are now officially at the point where I can just link back to old posts for this section.  I will still include the occasional outside item that I missed back then, or things that became meaningful in the context of the blog as time moved on.  Or just stuff that seems interesting.  Have to keep these sharp for when the “Twenty Years Ago” section becomes a thing!

There was the first post.  I still haven’t covered all of the topics I promised 10 years back.

After that I was straight into the EverQuest nostalgia, an oft recurring topic here.  The Serpent’s Spine expansion came out for the game.  I would get to that in a bit.

LEGO Star Wars II – The Original Trilogy launched, setting the casual path for future Traveller’s Tales LEGO based games.  My daughter and I would later play this on the Wii, but that was still out in the future.

Pokemon Diamond & Pearl, the first core Pokemon RPG titles for the Nintendo DS platform shipped in Japan.  They wouldn’t reach US shores for another six months.  Again, another series that would show up here as time moved on.

Green Monster Games, later 38 Studios, was unveiled to the public by founder Curt Schilling with R. A. Salvatore and Todd McFarlane as part of the creative team.

I was into EVE Online, which I began playing just about two weeks before I started the blog.  My first post about it concerned the tutorial, then I went on to my impressions.  I already had EVEMon up and running, because you cannot play EVE Online without it.  And, while I was hardly aware of it, the first titan had been built in New Eden.

I was musing about games slated for the future, including Star Trek Online and Lord of the Rings Online I had reservations about both.

I kicked off my old school gaming reminiscences with a post about Stellar Emperor as it was back in 1986.  That was 30 years ago.  Damn continuous motion of time.

The instance group formed up for adventures in Azeroth.

I wrote the first “Month in Review” post.  I am not sure WHY I decided to do that, but it became a thing as here I am doing the 101st such post a decade later. (About four years ago I decided month in review should have its own category, so I went back and edited each and every last one to put them all in that category.  Fortunately, being a once a month thing, it was easy to figure out if I missed any or not.)

I also wrote something about Saga of Ryzom in that month in review post, which might be the one of the few times I ever wrote anything about it.

But the smartest thing I probably did in that first month was link out to Brent at VirginWorlds in a post, which got him to notice my brand new blog, which kind of got me into the club pretty quickly as well as getting me my first comment.

Featured Sites of the Month

[none – I forgot]

Most Viewed Posts in September

  1. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  2. Pre-Ordering WoW Legion at a Discount
  3. Legion So Far…
  4. WoW and the Case for Subscription Numbers
  5. WoW Legion Sales Numbers Stacked Up Against Past Launches
  6. Pokemon Go Account Hacked and Recovered
  7. CCP and the Elephant in the Room
  8. A Decade Under the Influence of Online Games
  9. CCP Has a Plan for EVE Online Free to Play
  10. WoW Legion? There’s an App for That!
  11. Delve Conquest Complete
  12. Honest Game Trailers – Phoenix Wright, Ace Attorney

Search Terms of the Month

how to get listed in Yahoo News
[Pretty easy, pay them money. Half of their “news” is just ads.]

pokemon go what mean you have4 attempts left before locked out

“lucy bradshaw””piss people off”
[To be fair, she didn’t make that last version of SimCity on her own.]

why do they say tosh is clown shoes
[I got nothing, but I am blaming Tesh for you getting here.]

h1z2 wymagania
[At first glance that seems obscene, but it turns out to be Polish.]

Spam Comment of the Month

Whether gamers sell a Pokemon Go account or World of Warcraft character, they are in danger of being audited by the IRS.
[I am sure the IRS is all over that like green on Ben Franklin’s ass.]

EVE Online

There was a deployment to Querious with Reavers which was cut short as our list of goals was largely accomplished without fighting.  Groups seemed eager to move further away from the Imperium.  So it was more a month of tinkering and PvE for me.  I kill Blood Raiders, ran Purity of the Throne sites, tried to figure out PI, and generally boosted my cash reserves.

Pokemon Go

The wife and I continue to play this.  My daughter is so past it though, and it annoys here when we talk about it.

Current end of month stats:

  • Level: 18 (+7)
  • Pokedex status: 61 (+22) caught, 63 (+23) seen
  • Pokemon I want: Ghastly
  • Current buddy: Bulbasaur

Minecraft

Our Minecraft server has been pretty dead this past month, though I only know this since I actually played for a bit.  I have a blog post in progress about the game, but not the one you want.  Also, considering another resource consuming, scenery marring grand construction project.  After months of war, final defeat, moving to and then conquering a new region, having a quiet month wasn’t a bad thing.

World of Warcraft

The first full month of WoW Legion has now gone by.  I have a character at level cap, I have one zone left to run through, and then all the things that come after that.  I have enjoyed it so far, the zones are good, the quests are high quality, the usual characters and references are about, but I haven’t been overly enthusiastic for it or chomping at the bit to play.  I think that is just me.

Coming Up

As noted, I have been doing a couple of things in Minecraft I may write about.  There is also an update coming that will include llamas, because of course it will.

In doing the ten year anniversary post I dredged up a bunch of old topics I might want to go back and revisit after so much time has passed.  I try to not simply write stuff, hit post, and forget about it.  I like to go back and re-read posts and see how my views may have changed.

EVE Vegas is coming up at the end of the month and I will be attending.  More details on that later.  There is a war going on in New Eden of some interest, even if we’re not directly involved.  And the CSM 11 Summit meeting notes got released today, so maybe there will be something in those to dissect.

On WoW I will begin my assault on Stormheim and probably continue making hexweave bags.

I suppose we will hear more about the upcoming EverQuest and EverQuest II expansions.

And that is all I can see given my own limited horizons.  What else is coming in October?

Make My Alpha Clone

As we heard back at the end of August, free to play of a sorts is coming to EVE Online this November in the form of Alpha Clones.

For those two lazy to click the link, if your account is not subscribed to the game you will still be able to log into New Eden, but your characters will be in the Alpha Clone state, which limits them to 5 million skill points.

You still have all your skill points, but you need to be subscribed to use any beyond the 5 million cap, which the game promises to remind you of at every turn.

Can't touch that!

Can’t touch that!

And, on top of that, just because you have a lot of skill points when subscribed does not mean that when transition to the Alpha Clone state that you will have the full five million to play with, as those skills must come from a specific set of skills dictated by your choice of race.  Yes, that completely meaningless, primarily cosmetic choice of old can now come back to haunt you.

There is a post up over at The Nosy Gamer looking at the four race/faction choices.

Like a lot of other people, I started thinking about what I would do with a potentially unlimited supply of effectively disposable 5 million SP free pilots.  But even in a potentially bottomless well, there is always a first bucket of water drawn, and so I decided to start in on my first Alpha Clone in advance, so I reactivated an account.

I know, Alpha Clones are going to be free, why pay to make one?

Well, among other restrictions, Alpha Clones are going to train at half the speed of subscribed accounts, if I caught that detail correctly.  Given that it takes my main about 7 months to train 10 million skill points… his learning rate boosted slightly by spending down time in a clone with +4 implants when possible… a completely free 5 million skill point clone account looks to be about a 9 month operation by my guess.  Literally the human gestation period for a fully formed Alpha Clone.

Besides which, I already had a character, a May 2009 model named Reynaldo Fabulous (pre-dates Jay Amazingness by 4 years, and holds our old corp… anybody want to buy a 2007 corp so you can tell people how “old school” you are?), with more than 14 million SP and a set of +3 implants plugged in.  That also made my faction choice for me, since he was born Gallante back in 2009.  I figured I would have this Alpha Clone thing set in a week or two, so I subscribed him (hours before the magic date) to see what he had going on.

He had a Trisatan and a Quafe Skin for it, which I wasn’t sure how he obtained, but was out in the boonies, so I flew him off to a local NPC station that stocked skill books.

Quafe skins for all the ships

Quafe skins for all the ships

Once there I started comparing what he had trained in the past and what skills he would need to grab to get to that 5 million Gallente skill point Alpha perfection.  (The list of skills is in the dev blog, or in spreadsheet form linked from this post on Reddit.)

And herein lays the eternal struggle in EVE Online.  It isn’t so much about having skill points as it is having the right skill points.  Even my main character, 164 million skill points into training, still bumps up against the “hrmm, I guess I never trained that” scenario now and again.

So as I started going down the list, comparing what my potential Alpha Clone had trained with what he would be allowed to use as an Alpha Clone.. well, let the new skill training begin!

Get those new skills queued up!

Get those new skills queued up!

He wasn’t totally bereft of usable skills.  But there also wasn’t a lot of overlap between the Alpha Clone world and what he could use.  Gallente Industrial was good, but he had that to level 5 when an Alpha Clone can only have level 1.  He also had Mining Barges and Exhumers trained up to 5, which are of no use at all, akin to his ability fly a Drake and shoot heavy missiles.  But he didn’t have Gallente Cruiser injected.

So skills were injected and training commenced, though I also bumped into the 50 skill limit in the training queue.  And now, of course, every time I log in… or launch EVE Mon… I am greeted by a list of skills that have trained.

Training training training

Training training training

I probably do not need every skill on the list, but now there is a certain OCD aspect to this, the idea of having a “perfect” Alpha Clone.  And I am still not sure what I will even do with him once the skill queue is complete, but I think he should be done in time for the introduction of Alpha Clones.  We’ll see what happens then.

Addendum: After a prod from Noizy, I suppose I should link to the Reynaldo Fabulous origin story, and mention how there were versions of him in Middle-earth and Norrath.  Searching the blog shows that name was a thing here for a time.

Spaceship Pageantry in Amarr

Yesterday say the ascension of Caitiz of House Tash-Murkon, chosen through the Imperial succession trials after Empress Jamyl Sarum I was slain by drifters, to lead Amarr.  At the end of the coronation she was Her Majesty Empress Catiz I of Holy Amarr, First Apostle of the True Faith, and Sovereign Defender of the Imperial Rite.

After the ceremony, the Empress addressed assembled capsuleers and the assembled Fleet of the Imperial Guard.

The Fleet of the Imperial Guard

The Fleet of the Imperial Guard

There were attempts to interrupt the address, but it went ahead as planned.  The text of the formal address:

Esteemed Officers of the Imperial Guard, defenders of the faith, protectors of the sovereignty of Holy Amarr. It is an honor that my first address as Head of State is made before servicemen and women from the Imperial Armed Forces who have served the Empire with such courage and devotion over the course of their careers.

Capsuleers, both loyalist and independent, who have served the Empire in a time of need, successfully thwarting the attacks of a heretical enemy naming themselves ‘Purity of the Throne’.

My Imperial Guard escort wears their colors in defiance, as a tribute to your tenacity on the field of battle. It is a privilege to address each and every one of you.

I find myself humbled to see the familiar colors of so many loyalist organizations I have come to know and respect during my short tenure as heiress to the estate of my family.

Today, I leave behind that legacy and my family name, humbled under the watchful gaze of the Lord, as his servant, chosen by divine rite. I see that my champion, Lord Kelon Darkight is present. May the Lord bless him for his prowess in combat.

Today, I step forward to lead the people of Amarr into a new era.

An era of prosperity, an era of growth. An era of change, and progress.

For too long our course has been unsteady, our path uneven and unsure, rocky and infirm.

The loss of two great leaders in a little over a decade, the noble and wise Doriam II, the fierce and devoted Jamyl I, has left our people reeling in a storm of uncertainty, our future clouded and unclear.

Today, that lack of clarity ends. Today, our future is in our hands, and His light shines down upon us.

Today, together, we stand firm at the beginning of a new path. A path that takes us on a journey paved with prosperity for loyal subjects of the faith.

A journey, the first fleeting steps of which we take today, that marks a turning point for this great Empire and sets us on a course to stability, security and opportunity.

To ensure an end to the atrocities we have borne witness to and experienced at the hands of those who would defy the word of God.

However, with great military power comes great responsibility. The might and the honor of the Imperial Armed Forces will be restored, and with it we will usher in a new generation of capsuleers to support the Golden Fleet.

Tens of thousands more capsuleers will graduate from the Imperial Academy to join our already established and prized loyalist forces, in the largest expansion to our pod pilot training program ever conceived.

To support this growth, our administration will work to make the Imperial economy a powerhouse of activity, with new foreign policy and trade legislation that opens up our markets to the cluster like never before.

The future of this glorious Empire is in our hands. In your hands, and with the Empire’s might at your backs, this will be a defining moment in the history of Holy Amarr, and the legacy of the capsuleer.

This will be your Ascension!

Amarr Victor!

This all took place during the EUTZ evening and the middle of the day in the US.  Those who could attend got there, including Chribba.  The rest of us had to roll in to see the spectacle when we could manage it.  I popped in with an alt last night to see the Fleet of the Imperial Guard arrayed before Amarr Prime.  I happened to get there in time to see a Paladin class Marauder circling the event station and launching fireworks.

A celebratory Paladin

A celebratory Paladin

It was none other than Max Singularity.

Space Pope in flight

Space Pope in flight

Though I met him in person at EVE Vegas last year, and heard him on coms during fleets when we went to purge heretic in Providence, I don’t think I had actually seen him in space until last night.

Who puts a bounty on a pope? Heretics do.

Who puts a bounty on a pope? Heretics do!

All of which was a bit of New Eden lore put on display for people, and which got quite a turnout, with Amarr local reported to have passed 2K players in system during the ceremony.  I generally follow the lore loosely.  I am not immersed in it, but I keep an eye on it and run through some of the events that come up now and again, like the recent Purity of the Throne.

Of course, it was expected that something might happen… drifter attacker, purist incursion, or some other distraction… but nothing happened save for some player activity, which was dealt with but which itself becomes part of the lore.

Which is about the best you can expect in a sandbox, where the players are supposed to… and in this case largely do… run off and create their own content.  New Eden is already a tapestry of individual and group tales, so CCP generated game lore has to weave its own path, careful not to step on our own stories.

For a while now Amarr has been a place to see things you do not normally see in high sec.  Leaving aside Chribba and the only high sec dreadnought, there have been a group of titans parked off the station for a while and now the Fleet of the Imperial Guard is arrayed in the system for people to see… for a while.

Related items:

And then more screen shots.  You’ll never see a player fleet so arrayed.  We travel in blobs that get stretched out as we move. (An epic travel blob here.)  I think you need dev tools to get ships lined up so nicely.

Last Ship out of Deklein

I am going to have to make a “Last Ship” tag or some such for the blog, as I seem to be, from time to time, trying to fly one last ship back from a deployment or some station in hostile space.  And so it was again last night.

Down in the south, the incursion running SIG is getting rolling again and I thought it might be about time to get back to that to earn a little ISK between deployments.  I still had my incursion fit Scimitar and my clone with the required implants.  There was just one problem; the ship and the clone were still in Deklein.

Time for another off-peak extraction.

The ship and the clone were docked up in 2R-CRW, one gate from our old staging at YA0-XJ.  The question was which route to take out of Dodge.  From 2R-CRW there are two equidistant null sec exits, EC-P8R and 93PI-4.  It was 14 systems to either of them, all through hostile territory.  The EC-P8R route ran through the heart of Pure Blind though, while the 93PI-4 route made a run up what has often been a quiet part of space.  That made the 93PI-4 route more attractive.  Also, my recollections of EC-P8R, with its connection directly to high sec, is that it was always a good gate to camp as people would wander into null sec unwittingly.  So 93PI-4 was my destination, though if there were problems there, EC-P8R was only two more jumps.

The way out

The way out

I got the route all set before I clone jumped because I wanted to be on my as quickly as possible before local intel got anybody on my tail.  So it was a jump to the station, into my ship, a quick check of the inventory to make sure I wasn’t leaving anything behind, then undock and on my way.

Undocking into the red light of 2R-CRW's star

Undocking into the red light of 2R-CRW’s star

There was only one person in system with me, a Brave pilot, as I aligned for the out gate and warped off.  I would be crossing their space soon enough.

In the next system I took a moment in warp to check my possessions in Deklein to see what I might be leaving behind now that my last clone was leaving.  I was bit surprised to see that the cupboard was bare.  I am rarely ever that efficient at cleaning up after myself.

Nothing left in Deklein

Nothing left in Deklein

The same isn’t true for Tribute, and I still have stuff rattling around in Pure Blind as well, but Deklein, where I set up camp for more than three years, was clear.

From CCP-US there was the jump into Fade and DO6H-Q, which is Brave Newbies capital.  There were quite a few people in local, but the gates were not being camped and I slipped through, using a bounce, and exited into Pure Blind via the U-INPD gate.  The bounce was a bit hairy though, as I dropped in on two Brave pilots, but they didn’t seem to notice and I sped off unmolested.

That put me into Mordus Angels space.  That was empty for a few jumps, until I made it to BDV3-T, which turned out to be their capital system and which had about a dozen of them in local.  I decided to use an old corp bookmark as a bounce, though it turned out to be a poorly named one as it dropped me onto the station grid.

That was unfortunate

That was unfortunate

I turned for the out gate and warped off, but I had been spotted.  A Legion had been sitting on the undock, so unless he was asleep my ship had been reported.  I jumped into WW-KGD, which was empty, and warped off to the next gate.  It was a short warp, but even before I arrived, two MOA pilots I have seen in BDV3-T jumped in with me.

The next system was another short warp to the out gate, and I made it before my pursuers arrived in system.  I pressed on hoping that they did not have any friends ahead.  I passed by a GSF Atrahus, still sitting there, a happy sanctuary in the midst of hostile space, and considered stopping there for safety, but decided to press on.  By that point I was getting close to low sec and didn’t really want to make this journey a multi-day epic.

No further MOA pilots were spotted and I finally jumped into 93PI-4, which is held by NCDot.  There were a pile of reds in local there, so I decided to hit a bounce and then head to the gate.  However, yet another bad bounce choice meant that I still hit one of the drag bubbles around the Saranen gate.  I quickly reversed course and lit the AB to get out of the bubble and ready to warp off to a safe… and then I noticed that nobody was on the gate.  There, within sight of the NCDot Keepstar citadel, I decided to just motor to the gate.

In the distance, a Keepstar

In the distance, a Keepstar

Nobody came out to take a look and I was able to jump into Saranen and low sec.

Of course, low sec, where I feel safer because there are no warp disruption bubbles, is where I ran into a problem.  I hit the gate out of Saranen at the same time as an NCDot pilot and came through on the other side in Karjataimon to find another one, who attempted to lock me up.  I warped off in time, headed for the Nannaras gate.

Fleeing through low sec

Fleeing through low sec

I beat them there, but they were landing as I jumped, and on the other side I found yet another red waiting for me.

This time I decided to head to a station, dock up, and log off quickly in the hopes that they might try to follow, not see me, and figure I went to a different gate.  I would just disappear from local and not be where ever they went.  After I logged out I went and rousted my daughter to get her to finish folding her laundry and get ready for bed.

I don’t know if this worked as intended or not, but when I logged back in a bit later my pursuers were gone.  At that point is was just a few more jumps to high sec.  We have a couple of war decs going on at the moment, but they generally hang around Jita looking for fat targets.  I did not see any war targets as I moved into Amarr space.

Back to Amarr jump gates

Back to Amarr jump gates

Once in Amarr space it was time to head to Aridia and more low sec space and then Delve and home.  One last ship out of Deklein.  Of course, once I got back I decided to go to the Incursion SIG section of the forums to see if I had to update my fit… and found out that we switched to an armor tanking doctrine a while back.  I haven’t been keeping up with that SIG since early in the year it seems.

Anyway, one more ship to hand, which won’t go to waste, a jump clone freed up for use elsewhere, and another minor adventure in New Eden.

Chasing Purity Skins in Querious

I still have not decided if I should acknowledge the obvious backronym of Super Kerr-Induced Nanocoatings and write “SKINs” in all caps like an acronym or just go with my gut and call them what they are, “skins” we can apply to our ships.  Things that keep me up at night.

The whole SKIN thing

The whole SKIN thing

That bit of trivia aside though, I am a fan of the whole ship SKIN/skin thing in EVE Online.

Granted, I am something of an odd duck in New Eden in that I am often more enchanted by how the game looks than how it plays.  I try to keep my screen as clear of view-obscuring windows as possible and often have the UI turned off at the worst possible times.  But hey, screen shots.

I am also the person most likely to grab a skin for a ship I fly regularly.  I am the guy in fleet the red Basilisk or the Raata Sunset Guardian.  So the current Purity of the Throne event had my interest piqued due to the fact that it rewarded skins… lots of skins… skins for every Amarr ship.  I have to admit that I let the lore reasons for the event slip by… I am not so concerned about why these skins are out and about as opposed to the fact that they give me the option to paint my ship a different color.

You get a random skin from killing the final spawn in the Purity of the Throne sites that have been spawning all over New Eden, and people have been farming them like crazy, so I figured I would just pick some up in Jita when the market dipped low enough as supply outran demand.  I wasn’t planning on actually running any sites unless I happened upon them by chance, as with the Operation Frostline sites.

And then I ran into what appeared to be the headquarters of the Purity of the Throne movement.

Reavers were doing a move op back to Delve from Querious and I was shuffling ships about when I noticed a few of the sites in the YB7B-8 constellation as I was passing through in my Raven (with the Wiyrkomi skin naturally), a ship left over from a past deployment.

I stopped to run a site.  The Raven wasn’t the optimal choice for such a thing, the NPCs being largely frigates while the battleship was armed with cruise missiles, which are only suitable for much larger targets.  But with those and the drones in my bay, I was able to kill off the purists easily enough, looting a skin from the final spawn as a reward.

That's the guy with the skin

That’s the guy with the skin

Then I ran another site and got another skin.  And then I ran another.  And then I realized that I was going to be late for the fleet and I parked the Raven in the station at 60M-TG, installed a jump clone, and raced back in my pod to catch the fleet home.

Once I had my doctrine ship back in Delve, I jump cloned back to 60M-TG and carried on running sites in that constellation.  They were thick in space and there was almost nobody in the area.  Querious was almost eerily quiet and I was left to pick off sites and collect skins in peace.

Naturally, running what is essentially the same battle over and over again led to some attempts to optimize my attacks and make a game out of efficiency.  The efficiency aspect largely concerned smart bombs.  The old Reaver Raven doctrine included a smart bomb fit to the ship and once I noticed it, I decided that this would be a better way to kill the frigates that spawned than trying to swat them with inefficiently over-sized missiles.  So I started sending my drones after the cruiser sized ships, which were further off, letting the frigates some in close.

Frigates orbiting my Raven

Frigates orbiting my Raven

And then I would light off the smart bomb and let it cycle until the frigates popped, which usually took about three cycles.

Frigs go boom... but I missed one...

Frigs go boom… but I missed one…

Of course, then the real goal became to get every frigate in a wave to pop on the same smart bomb cycle.  The main wave has five, so I had to take care, let them all get within 5km radius of the smart bomb, and then start up it up to kill them.  It took a couple tries, but eventually I started popping them all on the same pass.

Five explosions... one behind the structure...

Five explosions… one behind the structure…

And so I started collecting skins, taking down sites as I cruised around the constellation otherwise unmolested.  After two evenings or running them, hitting almost 40 sites on my own, they suddenly stopped spawning in the area.  My hunting… and the random number generator… sent them elsewhere, and I was left alone to sort through my loot.

I did get a couple of skins that I wanted.  The Archon skin was probably my best drop.  But I mostly got skins for ships I don’t fly regularly, often the Navy Issue version of a ship I wanted. (Crucifier? A doctrine ship!  Crucifier Navy Issue?  Never even seen one.)  And, of course, I managed to get nearly a dozen dupes, because the loot fairy in New Eden is a cast iron bitch.

Mostly I wanted a skin for the Guardian, the Amarr tech II logi cruiser, as I thought a space priest in medical white would be appropriate.  For that though I had to hit Jita where I filled in the glaring gaps in my list.

My skin list now...

My skin list now…

Prices had fallen drastically since I checked at the start of the event, so I picked up missing skins for ships I know I would fly… Crucifier, Confessor, and the Guardian… along with a few for ships I might fly some day.  If I train into the Apostle, I will have a nice medical white skin for it.

My Guardian with the white skin

My Guardian with the white skin

Of course, once you have a white surface, it starts to look like a canvas if you stare at it too long and you start to want to draw on it.

I couldn't get a nice, even red cross...

I couldn’t get a nice, even red cross…

Anyway, the event nearly doubled my skin count.  They aren’t the best skins in the bunch, but I like to have the option available to me.

And now a gallery of me popping frigates with smart bombs… because, explosions!

Friday Bullet Points – STO, SuperData, Legends of Norrath, and EVE Online

It is another Friday where I have some topics rattling around that I want to mention but am not really keen to make full posts about.  And so we return to bullet points… the format of which seems to have moved away from actual bullet points over the last few posts.

STO on Consoles

Start Trek Online never did much for me, but it does keep chugging along as the title made the jump to consoles last week.

Never not final frontier

Never not final frontier

Perfect World Entertainment and Cryptic Studios have brought the six year old game to PlayStation 4 and XBox One, updating the control scheme for the consoles so that players can enjoy all those episodes of content, some console exclusives, and the joy of lock boxes, from the comfort of their family room.  I am mildly surprised at the move.

The Ghost of Legends of Norrath

And speaking of lock boxes, the late SOE/Daybreak collectable card game Legends of Norrath may have gone west back in August, but the spirit of its loot cards carries on, haunting the cash shop.  Loot cards from the second season of the game… which must put them from about 2008 I would guess… will be available from the Daybreak Store in simulated foil packs that prevent you from knowing what you’re going to get until you’ve paid for it.  This was done previously for season one of the game.  While I am sure there is some hard core completionist out there looking to complete their collection, I couldn’t begin to tell you what any season had to offer, so for me this isn’t even a pig in a poke, but mystery wrapped in an enigma and listed in the cash shop.

SuperData July Numbers

I just like the SuperData charts every month. (June’s here)  A single chart by itself can be dubious, but a series of charts created using even flawed data gathering methodologies can provide unintended insights.

SuperData Sez - July 2016

SuperData Sez – July 2016

I don’t have any such insights yet, but there is the chart.  More of the same, with Pokemon Go making its debut at the top of the mobile chart.  We’ll see what the August chart looks like soon enough, once it shows up on the SuperData Blog.

EVE Omega Rewards

With the coming of the very New Eden flavor of Free to Play this November, some of the usual parts of the transition parade have made their appearances, including a bonus package to remind current subscribers that they are indeed special snowflakes and of great value to the company.  There is even a special ship, the Society of Conscious Thought destroyer the Sunesis, the name of which I expect to be mangled on coms should we ever see one in space.

The Sunesis looks a bit flimsy

The Sunesis looks a bit flimsy

However, in order to get any of that bonus pack you have to have an account subscribed and in good standing by 23:59 UTC on September 16, 2016.  Considering that today is the 16th and that this post is going live at 17:15 UTC, that doesn’t leave you much time to get on the spaceship gravy train.

EVE Vegas

EVE Vegas is coming at the end of October and I am on board to attend.  The list of announced speakers include Dave Andrews of Just for Crits who is going to be giving a talk about EVE Online bloggers and streams as we glare at him, daring him to call us out.  Also, he used to work for SOE, so I have a few, “Seriously, WTF?” questions for him.  Might have to wait until drinks have been flowing for a bit at the Saturday night party.

Vegas baby!

Vegas baby!

The event is not that far off, to the point that I ought to be encouraging people to buy their tickets NOW before they sell out, but it sounds like tickets are still available in quantity.  I think the dates chosen, October 28-30… the weekend before Halloween, which falls on a Monday this year… was perhaps sub-optimal, as people often have plans for that and, of course, it is a party weekend in Vegas so cheap rooms and discount flights are sparse.  On the bright side, this is probably one weekend where any cosplay will totally not stand out.

More information about the event is available at the official EVE Vegas site.

Delve Conquest Complete

The return to peace time life and normlacy continues in the south as we wrapped up the conquest of Delve.  The map now shows all sovereignty in our hands.

Delve - September 14, 2016

Delve – September 14, 2016

Along the way to pacifying Delve, the Imperium picked up a new alliance, with Brother’s in Arms joining us and getting a constellation in the region.

Brothers in Arms

Brothers in Arms

The only system not held by the Imperium now, aside from NPC space, is 9GNS-2, which is held by United Systems of Aridia (USA), a member of the coalition that holds Period Basis with whom we have a non-agression pact.  Aside from that, and a couple of stations that are still in the freeport state, Delve is done.  We just have to wait for the sovereignty indexes to rise to install the jump bridge network and we will be set.

One item of note that came up recently is that the sovereignty index numbers displayed over at DOTLAN EVE Maps are not necessarily correct.  I gather from a ping that went out that they are being calculated based off of the date/time of when the TCU was dropped… how it worked in Dominion sovereignty… but with Fozzie Sov it is now the Infrastructure Hub drop time that determine the sov index.  So there a lot of those numbers are wrong. (Especially for systems with no ihub installed.)

That just means more work and more things to keep track of for GSOL, the infrastructure team that places all the towers, installs upgrades, keeps things fueled, and all of that.

And, just in case GSOL was not busy enough already, there were also some operations going on in Querious.

While not interested in conquering the whole region, the Imperium has decided to take what is called “Fake Querious,” a stretch of systems that are flagged as part of the region, but which only connect to Delve.  You cannot get to those systems via gates without going through Delve, so that is our Alsace I suppose, if you want a horrible historical metaphor.

Querious - September 14, 2016

Querious – September 14, 2016

And, were that not enough to keep GSOL busy, the Reavers deployed to the other end of Querious for what was planned to be a long term operation to take moons of value in the region.  We took a couple of systems just to stage from, liberated the station at ED-L9T, a location of legend from a past deployment, to free up any supplies left behind, entosised some things, shot some things, but generally didn’t have to do much as the locals, as Asher put it, folded like ironing boards.

I had my alt just entosis stuff at random some times...

I had my alt just entosis stuff at random some times…

Those that didn’t just get the hell out of Dodge with the dissolution of the Querious Fight Club seemed happy enough to sell us prime locations for a bit of ISK and a short count to let them get away.  Instead of getting fights we added revenue assets to the coalition which, as noted, GSOL has to run around to setup and maintain.

So that deployment was over much sooner that expected, leaving me time to start getting adjusted to life in the south.

As I said in the previous post, it doesn’t seem quite like home to me yet.  The system names are all foreign to me and I have to have click on systems that get mentioned in the intel channel to see how far away they are in order to tell if I should be worried about a couple of Svipuls on the loose.  Are they next door or on the other side of the region?  Something that will just take time to get a feel for.

I am also figuring out the logistics of living down south.  Back up in Deklein and Tribute I never worried about hauling anything in and out of null sec.  The proximity to Jita meant that shipping was cheap and quick.  Down in Delve though… Jita is a long way away, the prices have tripled, and the schedules are less reliable.

There are some alternatives.  Amarr is closer and therefore cheaper to haul from, though the market there isn’t as robust as Jita.  I can also get things back down to below the rates in the north if I don’t mind hauling stuff across high sec to a waypoint on the delivery run.

Of course, once I have gotten things that far, the question becomes, “Why not just haul it myself?”  I had a Deep Space Transport loaded with supplies, including a module refit for my ratting Ishtar sitting on the edge of low sec and said, “What the hell.” and just went.  Why wait when you can get same day delivery on your own?  All you have to do is simply not get blown up!

Mastodon on the way

Mastodon on the way

My decision was influenced by my past experiences in low sec… no warp disruption bubbles means getting away from anything by an overwhelming camp is reasonably likely… and the fact that we have the start of a jump bridge network already up and running in Delve.  So all I had to do was get into Delve and I could bypass most of the danger there.

My old friend the jump portal array

My old friend the jump portal array

That got me to the main staging system in Delve, where I dropped off some of my stuff.  But I still had to get the Ishtar fit out to where our Fortizar was so I could help keep ADMs high in our home constellation while making ISK.

Fortunately, that is within jump range of a carrier, so I loaded my good into the Archon and then… needed a cyno.  I had to log on my alt, give him a cyno ship, and have him fly out to the destination to light it, which slowed things down a bit, but wasn’t a high risk operation.  Things are pretty quiet in Delve.

Soon enough I was able to jump my carrier out to my destination and refit the Ishtar.  The old Guristas fit sort-of worked.  It could manage a hub, but I had to be careful not to get in over my head or things would go south quickly.  The new recommended Ishtar fit however, it works brilliantly.

Ishtar dodging beams at a Blood Raiders hub

Ishtar dodging beams at a Blood Raiders hub

I was tempted to go with the Rattlesnake fit that SynCaine mentioned in his post.  There is nothing like feeling secure in a tanky battleship, plus Caldari supremacy and all that.  But I already had the Ishtar, and while the module refit was extensive, going from a shield to an armor tank, it was still cheaper than even the Rattlesnake hull.  Plus the Ishtar is a drone loving machine.  I fly in circles around my MTU while the drones go do all the work.  I just watch the intel channel and listen to a podcast while watching the scenery.

Floating Stonehenge, with lasers

Floating Stonehenge, with lasers

So we continue to settle in down south.  I keep looking at the map on DOTLAN, hoping to remember the names of systems.  And life in New Eden goes on.