Tag Archives: Jita

CCP Reverts EVE Online Drone Aggression Nerf and Other Items

CCP Paradox announced in the forums yesterday that CCP would be rolling back the change to drone behavior that was introduced with Tuesday’s game update based on feedback they received… and because the change totally broke drone assist.

The statement says drone assist breaks in “certain scenarios,” but so far as I can tell, having  experimented with it a bit, the main scenario is “player is logged in and trying to assist drones to another player.”  You can make the call as to whether you believe feedback or dysfunction was the prime motivator for the roll back.

The statement in the forums said CCP would update us today with timing for the change, but the patch notes update for December 11th say:

  • The change to drone behavior made on 8 December has been reverted. This means that drone functionality will be exactly the same as before the patch with ‘Aggressive’ setting once again automatically attacking NPCs. More information can be found on EVE Online forums.

So you may once again let your drones fly free to attack any aggressive NPCs that come your way as you mine or rat or whatever while AFK.

Drones will once again sort out this mess on their own

Also in the patch notes was a change to the Winter Nexus Wightstorm event sites which were inadvertently dropping Nightmare Blueprint Originals rather than single use Blueprint Copies.  The former would be game breaking and extremely valuable.  That has been corrected.

  • The Wightstorm data sites from the Winter Nexus event are now properly dropping single-use Nightmare BPCs.

CCP asked players not to copy or try to sell the Nightmare BPOs, which should have all been reverted to BPCs with the update as well.

And, since we’re on the topic of things CCP has been fixing, yesterday they fixed the issue that was preventing people from setting stations without clone services as their home station (or death clone location in game parlance, the place where you come back when you have been podded) .  When this broke it was noticed almost immediately because Jita 4-4, the main trade hub and most popular NPC station in the game does not have clone services, so suddenly nobody could set their death clone there.  This led me to ask on Twitter:

Now that CCP has reverted the medical clone issue, my question is why didn’t Jita 4-4 get clone services with the big renovation? They had budget for a space elevator but not some clone bays?

Seriously, why doesn’t this station have clone services?  The mysteries of New Eden.

The November Update brings Null Sec Nerfs and Supercarrier Clone Bays to EVE Online

The November update for EVE Online dropped this morning, bringing with it the one-two punch of promised null sec nerfs related to NPC bounties.

But first, a screen shot of the newly finished station at Jita 4-4.

The Trade Capital of New Eden

When people refer to “Jita” they usually mean the Caldari Navy Assembly Plant at Jita planet 4 moon 4, the main trade hub of the game.  After 17 years CCP decided to upgrade the long used station model to something befitting its stature in New Eden.

Like any commercial property in a prime location, the station is now plastered with more advertisements that Times Square in New York.  But once in a while it tells you where you are.

The place to be

To celebrate this CCP has launched a new login campaign, because of course they have.  But you’ll have to re-do your insta-dock bookmarks as the new structure has changed all of that.

But back to nerfs.

Dynmaic Bounties

First up is the new Dynamic Bounty System that was announced a couple weeks back in a dev blog.

The plan is to reduce the NPC bounties in null sec systems that see lots of PvE activity, while raising it in systems that see PvP activity.  Bounties will range between 30% and 150% or normal depending on activity.

The stated idea is to drive conflict by forcing alliances to expand and compete over more fertile ratting grounds.  Not only is it unlikely to do that, but that seems to be a reverse tack from the reasons for Fozzie Sov, which sought to end the era of three giant empires controlling most of null sec in order to make people live in their own space.  The whole ADM system encourages ratting at home to build up defenses.

We’ll see if this has any impact or is players will just figure out how to game the system.  The   This certainly won’t have any impact on botting, which will just take the payout nerfs in stride, since ISK obtained with unattended play is all upside.

Encounter Surveillance System

This is a rework of a previously option, and widely rejected mechanic that would boost bounty payout in exchange for putting some of your payout at risk.  These were banned in Imperium space due to the huge amount of drama they brought with them.  A dev blog announced an updated version of the ESS that is now mandatory in all null sec systems.

The new ESS now takes a big percentage of your bounty payouts (I think they said a third in the live stream about it) and holds it in a bank that will pay out in regular three hour intervals.  You can go and collect it yourself, but you have to go through an acceleration gate and motor 75km to the bank.  But anybody else can show up and do the same, stealing your bounties.  There are restrictions to make this a bit of work:

  • Warping is disabled
  • MJDs are disabled
  • MWDs are disabled
  • Cloaking is disabled
  • No cynos may be lit
  • No filaments may be activated

However, somebody in a PvP fit ship is going to have an advantage over anybody rolling in to the bank in a ratting ship.  I expect small gangs will take the gate and just sit at the warp in and kill ratters while taking their bounties.

This will probably have an impact on ratting as it will make it considerably less attractive to people who are not botting.  It also seems likely has the reverse effect of the Dynamic Bounties as it will encourage people to clump up for defense, ratting in fewer systems.  It will also favor groups that can form defense fleets.

We shall see what the MER says about these two changes, but the Imperium response has been to promote other ways its members can make ISK.

Those are the two big nerfs hitting null sec.

Supercarrier Upgrades

The Vat out of Hel idea is also being implemented today in an attempt to give supers their own roll.  This comes in three parts.  First there are some changes to the various hull bonuses:

  • Wyvern and Aeon Fighter damage bonus increased from 5% to 7.5%
  • Heavy Fighter Hit Points increased by 10%
  • Light Fighter Speed reduced by 10%
  • Light Fighter Signature increased by 10%
  • Increase Supercarrier Ship Maintenance Bay capacity from 2,500,000 m³ to 5,000,000 m³

The increased bay size is key here, as that is where supers store fitted subcaps.

Then there is a new module, the Tactical Capsuleer Recloner:

  • New module which allows fleet-mates to reclone directly in space in the event of capsule destruction
  • Can be fit to Supercarriers only
  • Requires different fuel types depending on which Supercarrier type fits the module. Each reclone event consumes 10 units of fuel. Fuel will be consumed from the fleet hangar and the cargo bay.
    • Wyvern: Nitrogen Fuel Block
    • Hel: Hydrogen Fuel Block
    • Aeon, Revenant: Helium Fuel Block
    • Nyx, Vendetta: Oxygen Fuel Block
  • Blueprints for the module can be found at the same stations that provide Clone Vat Bay blueprints

And then there is the Nanoheuristic Clone Mapper implant:

  • This new implant must be injected prior to capsule-destruction in order to enable recloning
  • Implant last for 6 hours (with duration further extended by the Biology skill) and will survive across capsule deaths
  • Blueprint sourced from Navy LP stores

All of this adds up to the ability for capsuleers to temporarily set their death clone to a supercarrier with the idea that, if they are podded, they come back at the super where they can grab a fresh ship to rejoin the fight.  The mechanics are:

  • Recloning allows fleet-mates to reclone directly in space in the event of capsule destruction, instead of waking up in a new medical clone at a station.
  • Recloning requires the the capsule pilot have a “Nanoheuristic Clone Mapper” implant injected, and that a fleet-mate Super Carrier pilot provides a recloning site with a active Tactical Capsuleer Recloner module.
  • On Capsule destruction, the Capsuleer will automatically reclone with a new capsule at the fleet’s closest active Tactical Capsuleer Recloner within the same solar system. The new capsule will spawn with 60 seconds of temporary invulnerability.
  • Added a new tab “Active Recloners” to the fleet window that will show all fleet-mates providing recloning facilities

An interesting idea.  CCP has struggled to make clone bays in capital ships useful in any way up until now.  I suspect that this won’t be a feature used in big battles, like the ones we have seen over Keepstars recently.  The level of coordination is high, and under severe tidi it is probably much quicker to death clone out of the battle, reship and fly back with no tidi, and just jump back into the system when you’re ready.  But for a small group operation, like a hot drop fleet deep in hostile space, this could be used to get pilots back in the fight quickly.

Other Items

There are a lot of small fixes and updates as is usual with these patches.  One I want to highlight is:

It is now possible to cancel an in-progress target lock

I am not sure when I would have time for that in combat.  It is generally just easier to wait for the lock and then remove it, except in high tidi situation, in which case another command is just going to sit in the queue for however long it takes, which is probably longer in many cases than it will take the actual lock to happen.  But I am sure somebody wanted this.

Anyway, the update has been successfully deployed.  Posts and other links related to it:

Quote of the Day – Goblin Gets His Due

Gevlon was right

-The Mittani, Imperium Fireside May 4, 2019

I previously mentioned the ongoing conflict in Perimeter over control of trading citadels.  Last year the Imperium and Legacy Coalition began to assail the trading citadels set up by Pandemic Horde.  Those were blown up and replaced by citadels run by TEST alliance, including a Keepstar.

Shop at the sign of the middle management dino

Why Perimeter?  Well, it is one of the eight systems that connect directly to Jita.

Jita and Perimeter

More importantly, it is one of the five neighboring system in The Forge, the same region as Jita, so if you are in Jita and searching for something to buy, goods in Perimeter will show up in your results as well.  As to why Perimeter won out over the other four, my guess is that being on the direct route to Amarr, the second trade hub of New Eden, probably tips the scales.  People try to set up in the other systems, but the listings there are even more meager.

Anyway, since the swap over to Legacy Coalition holding the trade stations in Perimeter a low scale conflict has carried on to try and wrest control away or at least make life annoying.  I had not heard much about that conflict of late.  As it turns out that was likely due to negotiations going on over the whole thing.

At yesterday’s fireside The Mittani announced that a deal had been reached and that going forward the Imperium, Legacy Coalition, and Pandemic Horde would all work together to defend the structures of the Tranquility Trading Corporation, consisting of the Keepstar, two Sotiyos, and one Tatara in Perimeter.

Instead of fighting, each of the three groups will now share in the profits from the trading complex.

This is where Gevlon comes in.  Somebody sent the link to one of Gevlon’s posts where he predicted something like this would come to pass to The Mittani, and Mittens had to admit that Gevlon was right on that particular point.  Some null sec powers did come together to hold a trading citadel together rather than fighting over it.

Of course, Gevlon was wrong on just about everything else in that post.  It is debatable as to whether or not the Imperium, led by Goonswarm Federation, Legacy Coalition, led by TEST, and Pandemic Horde add up to being “everyone significant” when it comes to null sec powers.  It most certainly does not mean peace between the three powers.  Even as I was writing this I got a ping to log in and shoot Pandemic Horde and expect to continue with the campaign against them and NCDot in TKE and The Spire, striking straight at their rental income.  These are not staged “gud fites” but an actual campaign meant to hurt them.

And then there is the effect on Jita.  While some trade is going through Perimeter, it seems to be mostly focused on some high price density items, things like PLEX, skill injectors, and the like.  Trade at the station at Jita 4-4 carries on pretty much as before, three years after the Citadel expansion brought this player run trade center option to the game.

Whether people keep trading in Jita out of habit, ignorance, or mis-trust or player run citadels… some of those trade citadels have been blown up after all… doesn’t matter, people still do most of their buying and selling in Jita.

This means that Gevlon’s assumptions and ISK estimates are all completely bogus.  If his prediction had come to pass we should have seen some sort of drop in the Broker’s Fees collects on the ISK sink side of the chart in the MER.  However, compared to his numbers from the February 2016 MER, the broker’s fees collected were actually up in the March 2019 MER.

As for how much the owners of the trade citadels have to discount their fees in order to attract business… well, he was way off once more.

Fee comparison

In Perimeter they had to cut the broker’s fee to the bone to get the business they have, and that hasn’t moved very much out of the much more expensive Jita.  Even if they got the level of business he predicted, the net profit would be nowhere near his cataclysmic outlook.

And Gevlon said he left EVE Online because of this, because of his grim predictions of what was to come with player run markets in citadels.  I guess he could have stuck around.  The null sec empires are still getting rich, but it doesn’t have much to do with markets in Perimeter.

Sending Messages to CCP in Jita

If you give players a way to use something to send a message, they will use it.

Bubble arrangement fun

Since you can’t have warp disruption bubbles outside of null sec and WH space, you get mobile depots around Jita, the main trade hub of New Eden.

A mobile depot is a small deployable structure that lets you change fittings on your ship, put fresh drones in your drone bay when you’ve lost your current ones, and hide your excavator drones when your Rorqual is getting dropped.  More about them over at EVE University.

They also sit in space, visible if you have your overview set to show them and, unlike warp disruption bubbles, they do not expire.  So people will patiently deploy them one after another in order to spell out things in space.  This is what was in space around Jita 4-4 earlier today.

Words with Friends in Jita

Those are just dozens of deployed mobile depots.

A view of Jita 4-4 from one of the mobile depots

There are a couple of words in Cyrillic and a line of mobile depots at the top with descriptions in Chinese.  But there is also a sentence in English.  In case it isn’t clear, and it might not be, it says “CCP MAKE NEW UI.”

Everybody is a critic.  Not that I necessarily disagree.  The UI was in my Top Five Problems with EVE Online post a couple years back, and I haven’t changed my mind on any of it.   But after fifteen years we’re all sort of invested in this IU.  To change it radically would be to change the game.  But to leave it as it is means the game remains as opaque as it ever was.

Of course, this is laid out in 3D space, so I warped out to one of the mobile depots and one end of the message and selected one a the other end to see how big the whole message was.

View from the end

Edge on you cannot read the message, but you can see that the mobile depot at the far end is almost 580km from me.  That distance, about 360 miles, is quite a ways.  The internet tells me that is about the distance from Boston to Baltimore, if you’re on the east coast, or about the distance from San Jose to Los Angeles if you’re out here on the left coast.

Probably a little bigger than that actually

I would have done the Boston to Baltimore map, but California is easier since there is nothing between San Jose and LA really.  At least not according to Google.

That is quite a distance.  I happened to be in a ship fitted with festival launchers and fireworks, so shot a few at the mobile depot I was near.  But a firework’s blast extends maybe a kilometer max, so they were completely invisible if you zoomed out far enough to see the message.  Scale will do that to you.

You can also see that the mobile depot I have highlighted is named “check bio.”  You can get info about the mobile depot and see who deployed it.  They, of course, have their manifesto in their player bio.

What do we want?

I hate to start an argument, but if this person knew what the a 2002 game actually looked like… well, they would probably be shocked.  Let me show you.  Here is a Megathron battleship in 2007.

What the Megathron looked like back then

And here is a more recent screen shot of a Megathron.

Quafe… so refreshing

Same shape, but better graphical fidelity.  And you can’t even see the turrets, which track targets as they shoot.

But graphical quality is a very subjective topic.  Somebody will always say whatever you have is not good enough, so I think devoting space in their bio, which has a character limit, was a wasted effort.  The graphical quality of the game is actually something that CCP has evolved throughout the years.

As for the rest of the UI… well, the overview can be a dumpster fire.  It is your prime source of information as to what is in space with you and it can be a pain in the ass to deal with and is one of the first major hurdles new players face.

On the other hand, I don’t have a better idea as to how to represent what is going on around you in three dimensions.  You could add more information to the brackets for ships in space, as suggested, but that has the obvious downside of adding more clutter to what can already be a very cluttered display.

Anyway, I could pick apart every suggestion given with adverse consequences and still not like the UI myself.  All design is a compromise.  And players being mad at CCP because the game isn’t exactly what they want it to be is nothing new.  This person, for example, seems to want to turn the game into more of a tactical spaceship shooter.  But EVE Online isn’t that and won’t ever be that.

Still, I have to give this person credit.  They did get CCP’s attention.

I assume Hilmar is still around because his retention contract has yet to mature.  I expect he will be gone by the end of the year.  Damn, I should have put that in my predictions for 2019.  But still, somebody at CCP clearly saw it.

Of course, the best response to that tweet was:

That’s particularly impressive given how crappy the object placement UI is ;)

I am not even sure there is a UI for that.  At least not for mobile depots, which you just deploy from your cargo hold.  But I gather this person may have used the module placement UI for POSes.

All in all, just another day in Jita.

Null Sec goes to High Sec for a War Dec

Weren’t we just talking about war decs?

Okay, this isn’t that sort of griefing war dec that drives high sec care bears from the game.  In fact, this is exactly the sort of thing CCP wants war decs to be.

With the ending of the war in the north there was supposed to be a month of peace.  However, Pandemic Horde took great exception to the peace payoff that sent the Imperium on its way and loudly declared it was not bound by it in any way and heading off, along with Black Legion, after Guardians of the Galaxy in a war that seemed set to disturb any recovery peace might bring.

Pandemic Horde setting themselves apart from the peace terms left the door open to further conflict before the month long timer ran down.  And while there is combat going on in null sec space as each side drops on the others ratters and miner, a new front opened up over the weekend in Perimeter, a system one jump over from Jita, the central trade hub of New Eden.

Jita and Perimeter and the general area

Perimeter has been the system of choice for attempts to setup trading citadels since they were first introduced.  While not much trade has moved to those citadels… nobody is going to buy hulls or ship modules there when their market alt is in Jita 4-4… certain commodities like skill injectors have found a market home there.

If you are sitting in Jita 4-4 and you look at the market for skill injectors sorted by price, the lowest prices are in the Perimeter citadels.  Since you can activate them remotely, you should probably buy them there.  The lower tax margins allow for lower prices, though that still doesn’t stop people from buying them from Jita 4-4.  I’ve sold a couple dozen skill injectors, always in Jita, and always for much more than the current going rate in Perimeter, without issue.  People will pay more to buy from the station they are in, often much more, just to avoid having to undock and travel.

This is one of the special features of EVE Online.  There is no magical delivery service.  If you buy something remote you then have to go get it or pay somebody to bring it to you.  Travel is a burden in New Eden, but it makes market segmentation possible.  There is not a single, unified auction house that will pop your purchases in the post.  Distance matters.

CCP, in their usual techno-Viking libertarian madness, despite having seen how we generally behave, wants players to control as much of the economy as they can get away with, so this citadel market operation is their plan working as designed… for once.  Player owned citadel markets haven’t taken over the economy.  Gevlon citing this as a corrupt developer game-killing excuse to leave the game was yet one more sign of his self-deception.  But they are a thing and can make some groups a decent amount of money.

And, in the case of Perimeter, Pandemic Horde is a big player both directly and through their neutral alt alliance, IChooseYou Holding.  So this weekend a new front was opened against Pandemic Horde via high sec war declarations.

Declaring against Pandemic Horde

Both GSF and TEST got in early with their war declarations.  While the Imperium reset standings with TEST and its allies with the peace in the north, high sec is a different story.  We can work together and not be blue as standings between alliances do not matter in high sec, only war decs do.  And so both groups declared against PH and their alt alliance right away, with a few additional groups trailing in late.

Probably at war by the time this post goes live

Those mirror the war declarations against IChooseYou Holdings as well.  You can check their info in-game and see the same list.

So we may be working with Darkness, the lead alliance of Guardians of the Galaxy, in this war.  Black Legion, sided up with Pandemic Horde, was also included in the whole thing.

Black Legion’s war plan

Null sec alliances are used to having war declarations against them.  This is usually done by groups like P I R A T, which you see there on Black Legion’s list, that camp the undock in Jita (and sometimes Amarr) hoping to catch the unwary and the unknowing leaving the station for an easy kill.

If you look at Pandemic Horde’s status in-game, you’ll see they have no shortage of war decs running.  But none of them are quite like what they are facing now.  And TEST was quick off the mark to get the party started.  Once their war dec went active they immediately hit the trading Fortizars in Perimeter.

Pandemic Horde Fortizar reinforced

With the first timers down those using the market in either the PH or the IChooseYou Holdings face a choice.  If TEST comes back and wins the armor timer, then the market functions will be shut down and sellers may end up having to wait for asset safety in order to recover their goods.

But TEST was also in to setup their own trade hub.  There was a TEST alliance hub being spun up, using a Draccous faction Fortizar no less.  A bit of showing off in that I am sure.

TEST branded sales

But bigger still was the Keepstar they dropped in Perimeter under an alt corp.

A Keepstar in Perimeter

INN says that this is the first high sec Keepstar and it is right there on the Jita gate in Perimeter if you want to see on up close.

The Keepstar managed to slip past the initial vulnerability period when it was deployed, but anything that big is too sweet of a target to ignore.  War decs on the alt alliance went out immediately and we shall see what happens when it goes into its initial repair cycle after 19:00 today.

Fortizar with the Keepstar in the distance

So for those who were asking, “Now what?” when the war in the north ended, here is the answer, and likely not one many expected.  We will see if Pandemic Horde can be thrown out of the market hub business, something reported to be a serious source of income for the alliance.  The proximity of Jita, still the undisputed trade hub of New Eden, makes for fairly frictionless logistics, so both sides in this conflict could hang on for quite a while.

And, as null sec pilots prepare to enter high sec, the usual comedy will no doubt ensue.  If you live in null sec, where pretty much anything goes, the rules of empire space can be arcane and confusing.  There are already warnings going out for people to check the security status lest they find themselves a target of CONCORD and I am sure the locals will take advantage of anybody’s suspect status.

Finally, with war decs in the spotlight and loud calls to turn the feature off resounding around the community (if only until a better solution is found), there is the possibility that whoever can control the Perimeter trade might have their supremacy locked in by CCP.

Draccous Fortizar anchoring

That is, if you believe CCP will actually turn off war decs.  Somehow I doubt that will come to pass.

Further information:

First Night of Skill Point Trading in Jita

It was fast times in Jita last night as a mass of traders, speculators, scammers, and other interested parties descended on what one might call the Commonland’s Tunnel of New Eden, the economic capital of the game.  A record number of players were in the system, thanks in large part to the fact that the Brain in a Box feature, which came in back with the Parallax update last November (which was also the last named update in Syndicate), let CCP increase the hard cap they  have on the system to 5,000 players.

So there was room for more.

Still, ~3,600 pilots in the system is a lot of people.  At 6VDT-H, still the biggest battle in EVE history, we topped 4,000, but that was a special occasion and the system was heavily reinforced by CCP and we still ended up with time dilation so bad that the UI simply wouldn’t respond for extended periods of time.  But then, we were also shooting at each other too.

Anyway, lots of people were in the system, and they were there for skill trading, which went live with yesterday’s update.

That is 30 billion skill points extracted by 21:00 EVE time yesterday.  That is a lot of extractors purchased and used, considering each one only grabs half a million skill points. 16 billion skill points were applied with a reported wastage of 5 billion skill points… 10,000 skill extractors worth of skill points gone missing.

Of course, that was 60,000 skill extractors obtained through various means yesterday as well.  Since you have to buy them via Aurum, which somebody has to purchase through a straight up cash transaction at some point, it looks like something of an immediate, if minor, economic victory for CCP.

I can remember it for you retail...

You can even buy they for cash directly…

Of course, I had to log in and take a peek.  I had my alt sitting in Jita and when I logged in CCP was night enough to let me know right away that skill point injectors were available and how many skill points I could add to my character with each one.  However, since he is past the 110 million SP mark, that wasn’t very much per injector.

350K SP go to waste for me...

350K SP go to waste for me…

I also saw the scam du jour in Jita local, which was to offer a contract allegedly for a skill injector at 50 million under the current market price when, in fact, the contract was for a a skill extractor, hoping some anxious buyer looking for a bargain wouldn’t notice the difference until it was too late.  One can learn many lessons about unscrupulous behavior in Jita local.

The market price for skill injectors in Jita last night was up above 650 million ISK per, with plenty listed on the market.

Injectors on Feb. 10 ~05:00 EVE time

Injectors on Feb. 10 ~05:00 EVE time

Skill extractors were running at about 300 million ISK per unit at the same time.

Extractors on Feb. 10 ~05:00 EVE time

Extractors on Feb. 10 ~05:00 EVE time

So, at that moment at least, 500,000 skill points looked to be worth about 350 million ISK after costs.

Of course, this was the first night and the market was flooded with excess inventory, fresh demand, and a full of people trying to figure out how to make some ISK out of the whole deal.  Gevlon reported making 350 billion ISK yesterday on skill sales and extractor arbitrage  How the market will look in a week, a month, or a year may change, but last night was the crazy time.

JonnyPew emptied out a 121 million SP character to boost his main from 7 million to 80 million SP, letting 41 million SP disappear forever.  Some people do things just to say they have done them.

Noizy reported that PLEX sales in the first six hours of the day were way up and suspects that yesterday might have been a record day for sales overall.  The price of PLEX itself was up to the 1.3 billion ISK mark, making my six year old stock screen shot of PLEX on the market even more comically out of date.

Current prices are around 800 million ISK in Jita

If you had bought at this price in late 2009 you would have made a billion ISK

As for me, I neither extracted nor injected, I just watched the whole thing for a bit before going off to read a book.

Some day, if I need to boost up a cyno alt quickly or some such, I might buy an injector.  But for the moment I have no skill points I consider excess on either alt or main and both have so many skill points already that they are far end of the diminishing returns.  They can train an injector’s worth of skill points… 150K for either of them… in a little over three days, so I’ll just do it the old fashioned way.

An Ibis in Immensea

We had gotten word earlier in the week from our CEO that we needed to go on more fleet ops.  Or, more specifically, that we needed to click on more participation links for fleet ops.  Eight such links a month was the requested amount.

And eight such links for eight such ops wouldn’t be a problem at all for me… if there was a war going on or if the Reavers were deployed behind enemy lines.  I’ve gotten eight over a weekend under the right conditions.

However, there is no war going on currently.  The Reavers are all back in their home systems waiting for orders.  And hanging on a gate with some buddies trying to grab a couple kills via hapless passers by do not count.  You only get participation links for fleets that have been broadcast alliance or coalition-wide over Jabber, are led by an anointed fleet commander, and gets a minimum amount of participation… the number 10 has been bandied about… before before the operation can be given a participation link.

And, honestly, I’ve been a bit busy so far this month (you can tell I’m busy because I start writing about games as opposed to about actually playing games… which usually means I am not playing much…) so that as Sunday hit us, and the promise of a corp meeting, I had zero participation links for the month of March.

So I figured I had better get on that if I didn’t want to be evicted from null sec!

I was online and in coms 2 hours before the corp meeting… because my brain couldn’t quite remember how daylight savings time worked… and I had been doing bad things to my brain the night before.  So I had some trouble working out that “spring forward” meant that EVE Online time… which runs on UTC… would actually be earlier and not later.  It seemed a lot more complicated before I had some caffeine.

Anyway, the meeting was at 19:00 EVE time and there I was logged in and on coms at 17:00 and wondering why nobody was saying anything about the corp meeting.  I probably scared some of my corp mates as I am pretty sure that me being on TNT coms, in the corp channel, when there isn’t a corp meeting or event is one of the harbingers of the apocalypse.  I don’t spend a lot of time playing with my corp.  Anyway, we can now add “or its the start of daylight savings time” to the list of possibilities.

There I was, feeling a bit silly, realizing that the meeting wasn’t for a good two hours, when somebody dropped into our channel asking for more people to join a fleet that had just been broadcast… a fleet I had opted not to join because we had a corp meeting.  Well, I figured I had better get in on that action so I would show up to the meeting with at least one participation link in hand.

The first thing I had to do was get where the fleet was forming up.  I was logged in and sitting in Amarr space in my training implant clone, so it was time for a clone jump.  I paused my training queue… please removed to start and stop training queues in order to clone jump on the list of things to do CCP… and started rummaging through my clones looking for the one in the system closest to the one we were forming up in.  The winner appeared to be the clone I still had sitting in VFK-IV.   The one I actually clicked on however was the clone in XS-K10, at the north end of Immensea, just a couple of jumps from B-R5RB.

Well, I wasn’t going to make that fleet.

I had a clone in XS-K10 because for a brief bit of time we were helping some Russians in their conquest of Northern Associates rental space.  The last time I was down there, The Initiative owned the system.  However, I only ran a few ops there before the Reavers were called up to start hitting things at the other end of NA space in order to provide a distraction.  That apparently did not help enough as The Initiative collapsed and lost their holding in the region.

So there I was in the middle of hostile space with a Basilisk and an Ibis.  I put the Basilisk up for sale on contract at a bargain price so as to at least extract a bit of ISK from a ship I would probably never return to claim and then mounted up the Ibis and set a course for home.

And it looked to be a bit of a trip...

And it looked to be a bit of a trip…

I have developed an aversion to self-destructing.   I would rather risk an impossible run and go out in a blaze of something akin to glory than sit there and watch the self destruct timer run down.  Also, content creation!  So I set my destination and started flying towards home, pretty sure that I would find somebody along the way to speed up the process.  And what the hell, a pod doesn’t cost anything these days, and who cares about losing an Ibis.  I have too many of the damn things sitting around already.

An Ibis loose in Immensea!

An Ibis loose in Immensea!

I made it as far as Catch when I got caught by a drag bubble behind a gate… how does that even work, putting a drag bubble 20km behind your landing point and somehow you get pulled into it, how does the lore explain that… and got popped by a solo camper.  I was afraid I was going to make it all the way to HED-GP before that happened, space in the area being exceedingly bare.

Unfortunately my death clone had been set to XS-K10.  I tried to check that while I was there, but since I couldn’t use station services that was out.  But at least EVE won’t drop you back in a hostile station when you die.  Instead it put me back where my clone was originally set way back in 2006.  It put my at the Caldari Navy Assembly Plant and Jita Planet IV Moon 4.  Jita 4-4, the center of the known universe.

There was a time when that was where the Caldari new player experience dumped you.  Your first real agent was right there at Jita 4-4, which I am going to guess is how that because the most popular station in the entire game. (Also, back then, started a Caldari gave you a leg up with a few combat skills, so it was the default choice for many people.)  I remember when I finally moved away from Jita and set up shop in Hageken.  I felt like I was out in the freakin’ wilderness.

Anyway, I was closer to home and, if nothing else, at a station where I could equip myself for the run back.  I fitted out a Crow because that happened to align best with my skills, undocked safely, as nobody is paying the Marmites to keep us under a declaration of war any more, and continued along the route home.

If I had been thinking, I would have altered my course and gone in via the “safe” route to home, through which I have dragged any number of awkward ships over the years.  Instead I just followed the shortest, most direct route.  After all, I was in an interceptor.  They are invincible, right?

I blew through some familiar low sec names, made it to M-OEE8 and saw that we had the route camped as usual, and headed onward.  Just as I the gate to E-OGL4 was prepping to send me to that system, I saw that a friendly hand in local had written, “Wilhelm Arcturus don’t jump into E-OGL4!”

Well, what trouble could I possibly get into in an interceptor, being determined to fly through as opposed to fight?  I landed in E-OGL4 and held my cloak, but the coast looked clear.  There wasn’t anything on my overview.  So I set myself to jump for the next gate home, breaking cloak and starting to align when suddenly I found myself short a ship.  There were two of those new Svipuls camping the gate and, for whatever reason, not showing up on my overview.  I had best check that.  Anyway, they were set to insta-lock and stripped the Crow right off of my pod which, thankfully, continued the transition to warp and sped off to the next system.

While losing the pod would have cost me nothing, I hadn’t bothered to reset my death clone location yet, so I would have ended up back in Jita.  Instead I was able to carry on.  The next system put me on the jump bridge network and I was able to get a bit deeper into CFC territory where I picked up a siege bomber and flew the rest of the way to my usual home in Deklein, YA0-XJ as my jump fatigue/space ebola started counting down.

That about ate up all the time before our corp meeting.  I had put myself in the AFK channel in TeamSpeak, so I pulled myself back up to the corp channel to listen to the proceedings.

As I was doing that a ping came up for a “quick op” to chase down a hostile carrier close by.  I figured I could get in on that.  It was in our staging system down in QPO-WI.  I grabbed a Harpy, got on Mumble, put myself in the No Chatter channel so I would only hear the FC, since the corp meeting was just starting up as well and I was listening to that at the same time, and flew to QPO. There the FC, Alterair Phoenix, announced that we needed more logistics so I bought a Burst… they cost less than 10 million ISK, which is pretty much a “who cares?” level of pricing… and joined the fleet as we undocked.

My Burst undocking

My Burst undocking

From there we headed out towards the intended targets who were, of course, on the far side of YA0-XJ.  Some times I wonder why I ever leave that system for fleets.  Inevitably I make the run to QPO just to turn around and fly right back to YA0.  It is only a few jumps, so not a big deal, but if just seems amusing.

It turned out that the carrier in question got safe, but we did managed to catch a Triumvirate Ishtar and Cerberus on the gate in E-FICO.  And thanks to somebody loading up the Burst drone bays with a Warrior II I was able to get just enough of a bite on each of those to get on the kill mails.  I don’t need a lot of kill mails, but I like to show up on the boards at least once each month to prove I am still alive.

Orbiting our camp... also, Caroline's Star

Orbiting our camp… also, Caroline’s Star

As that was going on, our CEO listened to concerns about hitting eight participation links during a time of relative peace, so knocked that number down to four for now.  The meeting went on for a bit, focused on our industrial achievements and what might happen come the null sec phase II changes, at which time mining might get the respect it deserves given how it will impact the defense values of systems.  The fleet op wound down and Alterari Phoenix brought us back to QPO, generating a participation link for us.  25% of my monthly minimum in the bag.  And then, almost immediately, another op came up, again under Alterari Phoenix, where we chased some Mordus’ Angels ships around for a while until they buggered off for home, getting me a second participation link.

And that was about the extent of space operations for me on Sunday.  I did remember to reset my death clone before I logged of so I will end up back at home the next time my pod gets popped… and somebody bought the discount Basilisk.  So I have a bit more ISK.