Archive for March, 2013

The Dog with two tails

Hilmar Tweeted the trailer made from the battle for Caldari Prime. I do believe that this is the very first joint trailer. Awesome stuff, let hope our universe remains a double tailed dog, rather than a dog that wags a tail or a tail that wags the dog:

CSM: what ever you want

I’ve been trying to take a break from CSM related posts, as I have already written quite a few this season and it can only get worse as we get closer to voting day. That said, its and important subject and I feel that I have written enough other things to do one more before the season starts in earnest. If you haven’t found them already, Mabrick and Hans have both posted on the subject of the perception of the csm (links below) and its off the back of these that I intend to talk now.
http://mabricksmumblings.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/why-csm-concept-is-broken-part-1.html
http://mabricksmumblings.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/why-csm-concept-is-broken-part-2.html
http://hansshotfirst.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/the-pen-and-sword.html
All the above posts have some excellent points and its thanks to these that I have finally managed to put to paper exactly what I am looking for in a CSM member. Although I have been clear with myself from the start as to what I am looking for, pinning it down in words has proved very difficult. I believe it is because I was using the language of the wrong part of politics. As Mabrick points out, the csm are lobbyists, not parliament. Now the UK doesn’t have lobbyists to the extent the US political system does (thank goodness) , but I have read enough to have at least an inkling of what they are and do. So with this mind frame and language set I was finally able to nail down to electronic paper what I am really looking for.
So with out further ado, here we go:
  • Someone with similar ideals and feelings to me
  • Someone with the savvy to maximise their impact
  • Someone willing to put the work in to make things happen
I’d love to say that there was an order of importance on this, but in my opinion and CSM member lacking any of these three things is next to useless.
There has also been a lot of talk recently about how the CSM could be improved, over its current process/form. So I intend to tack onto this post a my opinion on the matter. It’s quite simple. The biggest problem with the CSM process as it stands is the lack of turnout: 16% is frankly a joke, and I fully expect that to go down this year. A better turnout would mean a better representation and thus a better player voice. To this end, the most important thing CCP could do for the CSM is internalise the voting system. Bringing the voting system into the game itself would I expect help no end with brining more players into the CSM system.

Eve Online: The start of another 10 year Journey?

Well that’s the new expansion announced, seems kind of early to me but maybe that’s just the horrid spring we’re having here. Some one at CCP has been reading their classics as our expansion has been named Odyssey  If I remember correctly it took Homer 10 years to get home from Troy, coincidently the same amount of time eve has been released for this year. Perhaps this is CCP’s way of aiming for another ten years.
As regular readers will know I was really pinning this expansion on being a Nullsec  one (more out of hope then anything else). Obviously with only a name and a few paragraphs of gumph, its hard to say exactly where this one is going. Certainly from the headline text, its going to be about exploration… again. All the quoted text here is taken from the expansion page http://www.eveonline.com/odyssey (which is all I have seen yet as I haven’t had time to review any other sources). So here we go:
Welcome to EVE Online: Odyssey
EVE Online’s nineteenth free expansion, Odyssey, offers new tools for exploring the stars, challenges you to breach the unknown for adventure and rewards, and to face what lies on the other side. A re-imagined scanning system, intuitive navigation and new exploration modules will aid you as you search the heavens for your next conquest. Some will encounter sites never discovered before, and others will be confronted with intriguing tests of skill and resolve. Ample rewards await those that return from their journeys with ships intact.
Lots of interesting stuff, but lets hold fire till the little detail we have:
DISCOVERY SCANNER
Using this new system, more pilots will reveal the hidden secrets of the EVE Universe. Beautiful new visuals, customizable controls and new functionality have been added to encourage the adventurer in everyone. There is now more among the stars, enticing even the most experienced veterans to explore.
Interesting one this one. At worst this will just be another iteration on the scanning system, updating it to a more modern system. At best this could be a massive change to the way that scanning, intelligence and communications work. There has been some back and fourth for while now on the idea of revamping the way Intel is gathered in eve. Specifically removing the concept of local chat away from the best method of determining who is in the system. Could this be the first step along that road?
THE WAR MACHINES
Forged by the lessons learned from countless combat pilots, the four factions will issue forth with the latest tools of war and re-designs of old favorites – ships as awe-inspiring as they are deadly.
Sound the klaxon,  ring the bell! That sounds suspiciously to me like “New ships”. Could just be new modules, but then why not just say that?  Gods lets hope its new ships, everyone loves new ships.
A NEW “SPACESCAPE”
A rebalance of major areas of space from highsec to nullsec include changes in exploration sites, industrial resources, some types of NPC loot and more…
Again this could be the first step down the road of removing moon goo, although with a  wider scope around it. Color me intrigued.
THE STORYLINE CONTINUED
The shared EVE Universe storyline continues to evolve following the Battle for Caldari Prime, with participatory events spawning unique player stories in two games at once.
Blah blah blad, more live events for people who live in Europe and don’t work. Good but its not going to get me to take my pants off and dance on the table.
THE LITTLE THINGS
Continued development towards raising accessibility without removing functionality will bring dozens of changes to player-owned starbases, game UI and beyond.
Good to see this effort continuing (as if there was any doubt at this stage), great to see that POS’s will be getting some love after all, even if its not the full Monty (well done two step).
All in all its an interesting set of notes, with what could be diamonds in the rough. All in all I have to admit that my first impression is disappointed. I was really hoping to see EVE Online: Fixing the shit we said we would in dominion, but this really doesn’t look to be that. I honestly feel that Nullsec has been left out in the cold a little too long (lets face it as a group were starting to pine for attention. Such is the way of things however. 
Guess we’ll all be watching for the next press releases.
Fly slightly disappointed but not surprised,
Hark

Social: History of Dirt [GBB]

Dirtys: Lore, Shelly, Thunder (original), Hark, Mini, Toon and Arian to name just a few
Eve online is quite possibly the most social MMO I have ever played. I say this as a fact because I believe that the chances of a new player continuing to play eve past the three month barrier is severally affected by how quickly they can penetrate, or create a social group. Without friends, sponsors or benefactors; a new eve player will likely wilt under the harsh exposure to the reality of eve. It was because of this inescapable fact that my first foray into this universe failed after a few weeks. But today I want to dwell more on my second/third attempt at joining eve because the very same principles ensured my, and indeed our success.
As all good stories do, this one starts with a statement that things started before the point the statement initially talks about: Long before I started playing eve seriously (perhaps even at all, I can’t remember the very first time I played) I joined the Battlefield 2142 Troop of a clan by the name of  The 22nd SAS Regiment Gaming Clan, or 22sas for short. I was still at Uni at the time, so as all students do, I had a lot of time to invest in gaming. It wasn’t long after I joined that I first met Ex3cu7or.
I’m sure you have all met the type of player I am thinking of here; numbers and letters in his name, 12 years old, types in all capitals and has a questionable affinity to the word ‘fag’? This was not Ex3cu7or, you see despite his name (which you might take as an early attempt at meta gaming), Ex was as it turned out a good gentleman of excellent standing. At first  the clan fell for the meta game name and mistook his excellent grasp of tactics for cheating. However a quick look at server records, and from his own teams point of view soon showed that no malpractice was going on. So we began the task of wooing him into our clan. It didn’t take long.
Ex and myself got on famously and before long we were placed into the positions of Troop Leader and Second in Command respectively. Our personalities worked well in this together, my attention to detail and patience offset by Ex’s impulsive sense of fun and aggressive tendencies, furthermore both of our senses of humor matched perfectly. Along the was we soon picked up several other friends with similar humor and complimenting traits:
  • Lore Solo, a fellow 2142 player
  • Fliske a counterpart in the Battlefield 2 Troop
  • Thunder who played both Ghost Recon and BF2
  • Crazyfrotto – BF2 player
  • Scouts – BF2 player
We all got along great and formed fast friendships. Sometime in 2008 we discovered that most, if not all of us had at some time in the past to varying degrees of success, attempted to play eve online. Further more we all found that we had an urge to try again, this time as a group. Our clan allowed any member to play with they liked (as long as they kept up with their responsibilities in the clan), and so we jumped in, inviting other members of the clan to join us in our SAS ClanCorporation. I should not that when joining eve, Ex3cu7or took on the name “Arian“, as such he is called both frequently.
Its worth noting that Just as we were beginning our first group play of eve online, the 22SAS Clan was entering into a new period of subversive politics. Put simply, the old guard of the clan didn’t like that they were out numbered by the 2142 members and felt threatened by us. Eve was an excellent escape from this (using eve as an escape from politics, oh my), although at some points the politics did spill over into the game, but for the most part we enjoyed  ourselves running missions and skilling for new ships.
Soon our core group started to change though. Arian and Lore were the first (as the players with the most experience), to start gravitating towards PvP. However there was a problem: carebearism. A lot of the people who had followed us into the game (none from our core group!) were not in the slightest bit interested in PvP, they were happy enough playing eve online ignoring other players except their handful of friends: The very concept of going out to engage in combat with others was way out of the question. There was a bit of an internal war, followed by a parting of ways between sub groups, and our now much slimmer clan group, led by Scouts, applied to join a Corporation called Virtual Warriors. All this happened in around a half year and suddenly I found myself about to sit my final exams at University, and so eve very much took a back burner for around a half year.
Sadly the SAS clan also took my time away as a good excuse to turf me and Arian out of our leadership positions in the Clan (Arian was also on personal leave at the time). We both soon decided that we had had enough of the politics and posturing now infesting the Clan, writing our leaving posts before the year was out. However I was soon pulled back in to eve by the power of our social group. Arian called me one day to catch up, and we got to chatting about eve: Arian who I don’t think had taken a break was still in Virtual Warriors (as was my inactive character); who were currently fighting a war, the pull was to much, I re subscribed. I only really saw the end of the war that killed ED but what I did see was amazing, Czech Lions & Riverini’s fleets and the final evacuation of our space. VW left ED in June 2006 (a few months after I returned).

From here our corp had a rocky road, our hearts were never truly far away from 0.0 space, although our clones often lived elsewhere. We tried joining two Alliances who turned out, after the heady heights of Ethereal Dawn, to be down right terrible, and moved on quickly. While we worked out what to do next booked into the homeless shelter known as Providence under CVA. With the bad taste of Dark Taboo and Vanguard. Alliances in our mouths we decided that we would be unlikely to find an Alliance who could live up to the expectations set by ED, and so with some friend we had made along the way we decided to try our own hand at this alliance business. Forming IMPERIAL LEGI0N in September 2009. It took us 3 months to find our first patch of 0.0 space (Geminate) under the watchful eye of Wildly Inappropriate, only to be turfed out when RA/SOLAR caved in the heads of our new Masters.
It was about here that our sub group actually gained its name: Dirties. At the time Imperial Legion Alliance was running  sortie missions into RA/SOLAR space and trying its best to entertain a Nullsec PvP based membership, while not living in 0.0. Our sub group which now included Lord Drokoth (CEO of our alliances Co Founding Corp The Army of the Ori) was as boisterous, rude and fun as ever before. Unfortunaty Imperial Legion was a family friendly alliance and as such had a quite a few members who had children. Sadly a smaller sub set of this group decided that they could only ever play eve with speakers on, and soon complained about some of our language. It is my opinion that if you have children, it is your responsibility as an adult to ensure that they don’t hear naughty rude words or inferences and as such you should buy a headset, not complain until the offending parties are made to go elsewhere, but I digress. Grumbling but compliant, our group was only allowed to use adult words in a sub sub channel (called the pub), we also created a private in game chat channel over which we could use what ever language we fucking well wanted. The channel was called Dirtys (spelling now intentional) and it was intended to keep the dirt of off the open coms.
The Alliance once again found a new master when R.A.G.E Alliance (again the NC) gave us another home in the Vale of the Silent in February 2010. This time we managed a good 7 months in our new home before another combined Russian force (this time including L.E.M Alliance) booted us from our homes. This time, with our own communications channels keeping us close to the friends we left behind; Arian, Lore and Myself left Imperial Legion to experience life working in a large scale alliance: RAZOR.
RAZOR, and our corporation within it (Nailortech) was an interesting group, although we found it quite difficult to integrate with the Corporation on the level we had been used to within Imperial Legion. I should explain that we had been a major part of the Imperial legion since its inception, we were used to being a recognised part of the community, with voices and people we knew and loved always around. Nailor was a good bunch and they were friendly and helpful as you might expect, but it was still a bit of a shock to our systems. I’m sure with tome Nailor would have become  just as familiar to us, but sadly Nailortech left the NC for greener pastures in June 2010. We to took our leave of them and returned to our old friends and home, IMP-L. In the time we had been away, the Alliance has made friends with our two time bailiffs: SOLAR FLEET, and were now comfortably housed back in Geminate, as their vassals.
Upon returning we also gained two new members to our Dirtys (now 7 eve players strong) in the form of Toonlad, who had joined Imperial legion just before we had left for RAZOR, as a very young character. We also acquired Minijack, whos Cearbear corporation had fled IMP-L at the first sign of combat: Unlike his corp Mini got a taste for blood and so joined VW. IMP-L did well during the period expanding further into Geminate and beginning to establish a forwards base in Insmother during the Russian Civil War (fighting alongside SOLAR). In late March 2012, with the Russian Civil War in its closing stages, IMP-L, for the first time, elected to move its home once again to a new constellation in Scalding Pass (losing its Geminate home but keeping the Insmother secondary). Here it was charged with organising SOLAR FLEET’s English speaking allies and forming a sub coalition to aid in the spaces defence. Things didn’t always go to plan, but IMP-L did well in its job and its members had a good home for a long time.
Over a year later in late 2012 the Dirt group (tagged in other games as GBB, don’t ask what it means), decided to move onward in their eve careers. Some of our members have found homes in other Alliances, some have returned to the simple pleasures of small gang pvp, others have even left the game. We who are left however, maintain this blog, and keep the group going. On our own Voice coms we keep in close touch with all our members old and new, we also support and help each other in any way we can. Its this camaraderie which has made us successful in eve, its our trust and real life friendship which keeps us going.
We are Dirty. We are not a corporation, we are not an alliance: We are friends. We are Dirt before we are anything else, we will be Dirt after everything else is long gone. We don’t worry about our group causing a conflict of interest with our separate Alliances, because we know our friends respect our choices, and would never ask us to betray them. Dirties still fly together on our alts and on our mains, making a point to get drunk and die in stupid ways on regular occasions.

Footnotes

This article is based around the members of Dirties who have played eve online. There are considerably more of us than this, however I have not included them in this history as people reading this blog are most likely interested only in our eve credentials. It has also been written very much from my own point of view, as its the only one I have. There are more stories in the history of Dirt, perhaps others might tell them as well some day.
Also worthy of note is the current residence of the majority of the eve dirties. Indeed regular readers may note that I have never directly stated where we reside at the moment. This is intentional, but not designed to completely cover our Alliance ticker. We have elected to downplay our current employ as we are not a direct voice for that group, nor do we intend to talk much about the politics or nuances of being in that group. This blog is written from the perspective of Dirties, and Dirties does not belong to any Alliance (actually it kind of belongs to several, but that’s by the by). If anyone really cares to know who that group are, it wont take much to find out. All we ask is that people consider what we have to say without pre judging us by who we fly with (well except that we fly with each other, and thats bad enough).
Fly with friends,
Hark

Short and to the Point

Yesterday while walking home for work, I pondered the question which I am sure every eve player has at some point had to ask: How do I sum up eve online? I started mulling the question with the idea of writing a short paragraph which could be used. This was the first thing I went with:
“Eve is many things to many people”
Which frankly is airy fairy bullshit for “I don’t know where to start”. Worse if eve is many things to many people, maybe I should start to look into what those things are and to whom. So without further ado, I put the question to the masses. The masses of #tweetfleet that is:
Hey #tweetfleet can you give me your best go at summarising#eveonline in a single tweet? My best to follow. #secondgo #spellingmistake
— Harkconnan (@Harkconnan) March 19, 2013

#eveonline is Star Wars if Donald Trump was Darth Vader and Alan Sugar Mon Mothma #tweetfleet
— Harkconnan (@Harkconnan) March 19, 2013
Here are the responses I had:
@harkconnan terrible boring game but not as terrible and boring as every other MMO. has the potential to not be terrible and boring.
— wartzilla (@wartzilla) March 19, 2013

Well there is always one! I have to admit that eve can be terrible at times, and even boring; but I point back to last week’s post on what’s successful about eve. Wartzilla has a great point about potential thought. Eve is filled with potential (both un realised and realised).
@harkconnan #tweetfleet Paranoia, patience, planning, panic, pandaemonium, pride, then more paranoia!
— Corbin Nerobec (@corbin_nerobec) March 19, 2013

Alliteration! I love these, nicely put Corbin! I think he has a lot of the feeling that eve inspires in its players in there, especially the double dose of paranoia.
@harkconnan An amazingly deep, open-ended, genuinely massive, occasionally infuriating, fascinatingly complex, spaceship-based mmo.
— Laria Raven (@ARavenInSpace) March 19, 2013

Laria Raven has a good summery of the technical and emotional aspects of eve, including the space angle, which no one had mentioned yet! Complexity is a very good point which distinguishes eve as well.
@harkconnan spreadsheets and deadly sins in space
— Nalha Saldana (@Jeppz87) March 19, 2013

Nalha saldana went with the classic but succinct one here. Eve is starting to head away from spreadsheets these days, but it’s at a glacial pace.
RT @harkconnan: The most evil game ever. Love it!Hey #tweetfleet can you give me your best go at summarising#eveonline in a single tweet?
— Oddsodz (@Oddsodz) March 20, 2013

Oddsodz (whos name could be an entry in itself) has a great one on the idiosyncrasy a lot of us experience around eve.
  
I also put the question to a few of the Dirties guys, they gave me this:
“Frustration, difficulty, explosion YAY”
countered by
“Space, options, freedom, red boxed, Dead!”
and the most game play involved yet (if you don’t count “Boredom” as game play):

“A blend of sociopaths and neurosis distilled into their natural end point with the addition of immorality  like modern government with grenades added”

Keep em coming every one, Ill post any more tweets/suggestions I get on this one! I might try and design my own paragraph on eve, and distill all the tweets I get into a single statement as well at a later date.

Fly with the community

Hark

We’re All Individuals!

There is something about the CSM process that I find very depressing: Because the candidates all want to impress us with their grip on the things we want changed in the game, and the issues CCP face, we seem to spend 3 months a year dwelling entirely on the problems in eve, and why it is a terrible game. Because of this imbalance I have decided to write today on why I think eve has been so successful compared to other MMO’s and where it has succeeded. First off though I should address that there are those who choose to claim that eve isn’t successful,  because compared to wow, what is? So to this I say: balderdash. What game has gown year on year since 2003? What other games core has made international news so often, simply because its players are playing it as it is intended to be played? What other game allows 500 people to fight another 500 people on a regular basis? What game has pioneered the first cross-game cross-platform link? I could go on.  In my mind there can be no argument, eve is an immensely successful game, and I will broke no argument otherwise.
So here is the main question then: why is it so successful? Eve with it patched history, its outdated UI and its code base that even the developers are sometimes afraid to touch? What solar alignment caused this game reach its tenth anniversary, still going strong? I believe that this was caused by several factors, and the first is very obvious:
Space. Eve itself was on the first “big league” MMO’s to hit the shelves and since then, no other sci-fi based MMO has really seen much success.  Indeed most, like Tabula Rasa failed before they even left beta. The simple fact of the matter is that if you are interested in Sci-Fi, there are two MMOs you can play, Star Trek Online, or eve. This means that for Hard-core Sci-Fi fans like me, who don’t like elf’s and ponies as much as they like Space Marines and Starships, we are pretty much stuck with eve (in my opinion). That’s not to say its a hardship of course, but even if the last turkey in the shop is the best one, its still the last turkey.
But there is much more to the success of eve and the next factor is a huge one: difficulty. Eve is, as the now famous slogan goes, hard; and we (the older players) love that. Now some will argue that this is a failure of the product. Its to harsh, to unforgiving of new players and drives away to many potential customers. Here is the interesting bit though; these very same factors could actually be helping the game more than hindering it.
You see the human mind is a very fucked up piece of kit and one of its favourite functions is adjusting our beliefs, after the fact, to explain why we did something. For example lets say I am running a course on wine tasting; and its shit, properly shit. So I get two groups of people, the first group I give the course to for free; no strings. The second group I acquire by placing an advert in the local paper offering 10 free tickets to the best ten 100 word essays on the wonders of British Wine. Both are given the same course, the same (free) shit wine: but studies have shown that if asked afterwards the second group (who had to fight for their places), will rate the course’s quality much higher. An even stronger example of this principle of self deception is that of “Fagging” or “Hazing” to the colonials. Where initiates are given humiliating, dangerous and downright stupid quests before they can be admitted to a group. Once individuals have gotten through the rituals and into the groups, they will have a much stronger devotion to it than if they were simply admitted on request. This is because our minds have to justify our effort in getting something by valuing it higher. “of course I enjoyed that wine tasting” it says “or writing that essay would have been a waste of time”.
So here we come back to eve: Where our new initiates are greeted by an old UI, a game full of odd little quirks and bugs, and the often abusive behaviour of other players. We Fag our new players, we ritually abuse them just like we were abused when we joined; and a lot of people leave because of it. But the thing is, the people who do make it through, the few who stick it out and learn the system; much like the wine tasters, and the Public School Boy who is now a sixth former; they will be fiercely loyal to the game. After all: Of course I love eve, I fought through years of learning how to play (and still going) to get where I am now. If I didn’t love it I would have been stupid to have wasted all that time, right?
Further more, once you are in, and devoted. Eves skill system is a master class in manipulation. In games like wow un-subbing for a few months means pretty much nothing (except missing a few raids maybe). In eve however, every second your not subscribed, is a second that takes you further away from the people who joined at the same time as you. Every tick of that skill point number missed is a moment longer you’ll have to train for the next big thing. Not only that but unlike wow, there is no such thing as a complete character, nothing to get to and say “Well, done that now. Lets play something else”. Its truly masterful and wonderfully addictive, in what I think is a brilliant way.
The final reason is likely not the most important one, but it is the one I wish MMO makers would look at and realise the value of. Eve was released on May 6th 2003 (if you believe Wikipedia), and a certain other MMO was released on November 23rd 2004. Eve is a diametrically different from wow as you can get really:
  • Space / Fantasy
  • Ships / People
  • PvP / PvE 
  • Sandbox / Themepark
  • ~Perma death / minor penalty

Ever since wow became the success it is known as today, every one and their dog has been trying to emulate it and by proxy is success. Eve is the only one which has lasted as long (as a top ranked MMO), or done even close to as well. I believe that is because it is in pretty much no way influenced by it (It can’t be). Eve started life from the minds of its creators, not the greed of a Corporate Finance Officer. It is truly unique and makes no efforts to kowtow to the “accepted norms” of MMO design. I’ve tried out pretty much ever attempt at a major MMO since wow was released, and every time it has come up lacking because it was just another wow clone. Eve doesn’t have that problem, and EA et al should take a look at that for inspiration.
Eve is a massive success for lots of reasons, and these are just some examples, but I think that during the CSM campaign season its a good idea to keep in mind that we do play a great game which is successful with the formula it has used so far. I hope it never changes that, and remains the success that I love to this day.
Fly like a champ,
Hark

Strangers waiting in the night

So another month has passed, and its been a busy one here at E-V. Between the beginning of the CSM election process (or at lest the beginning of the beginning) and our surprise entry to Faction Warfare, the blog has had its bloggyest month yet at 17 posts. I cant promise that the almost Rippardian fever of posts we have churned out in the last week will continue here onwards, but Arian has a few month things he wants to write about (mostly new an interesting ways he is killing people, and getting killed), and perhaps even a new toy to talk on. It might also help that I have now started a new job, which gives me 30 mins on the train to write and edit blog posts.

For me on the other hand its been a mixed month. Four weeks ago I finally purchased an Archon with the hope of getting on a few more opps with the alliance, but what seemed like a nearly complete skill queue has stretched out over the last few weeks until I am only just finishing it even now. My hope is that in the next week I will take a capital into (consensual) combat for the first time. I have to admit that makes me very nervous. Even aside from the price of the thing, I really don’t know what’s going to be expected of me during the op. Its like back when I went into fleet combat for the first time, way back in ED. Things others will take for granted, I may not understand; and my alliance isn’t exactly known for training people. My intent is to have a good chat with Lore about he experiences with capital ops and try to prepare as best I can. Incidentally now that I have had a month for which the Archon’s looks to grow on me… In still think its ugly as a sin.
The Faction Warfare front has also gone a little quiet for me as well. This is going to sound ridiculous, but ever since the Caldari threw off the oppressive Gallente push and fought them back to t1 control (taking t3 for them selves) I have not really done as much. I’m not sure if its the lack of space to go plex in, the surge of people logging in to farm, my change to the Merlin for combat, the longer distance between me and the plex’s, or just plane old burn out. What ever it is, I have only done a few plexs in the last month. On the plus side, I did manage to get a couple of kills in the process (losing 3 Merlins finding them, but that’s by the by). I am pretty sure that the Slasher was my first ever true solo kill (not counting cyno’s), it felt good.
On a FW side note, I cant help but notice a slight disparity between the Caldari and Gallente low sec space. Black rise, if memory serves has about 19 station systems (between around 40 systems), where as Placid  seems to have one in almost literally every one of its low sec systems (25 stations/31 systems) . It strikes me that this is a little unbalanced giving the Gallente a far better reshipping advantage in its final defensive systems. Its also very annoying trying to plex here, when neutrals and war targets enter system, scan you down, then dock up and bring out a counter ship to whatever your flying. But I am sure there is something balancing the system (I’m only new!)
With just over a month to go the fanfest hype within our group is starting to rise as well, with me Lore and Arian all heading out this year for the first time, were all giddy with school girl excitement. Its like the night before an Essex prom, and were all thinking of getting our vjazzles done. The three of us haven’t met up  in a little while now, so that just adds to the anticipation. I am hoping that with the tablet, I will be able to do a little on site blogging, so watch this space for future updates on the one.
Plans for next month? Well I’m still thinking about getting a faction battleship to join fleets with, but I really need to wait a little while to get used to Archon combat before that. Still knowing me, and my love for spending isk, it may happen sooner rather than later. Other than that really there isn’t much more to do except hope for more combat opps in my timezone, last month is saw a single fleet I had the right ship for (aside from not having a capital, I have a logistics ship for both shield and armour, so its not a lack of ships). Lets hope I can see that change soon.
Skill queue hasn’t changed much, except that I have spotted some more gaps that need plugging. But then there always are… Perhaps there is a post in there somewhere.
Fly inspirationally,
Hark