Archive for the ‘Our eve Life’ Category

Training Times

Recently the time came once again for me to start looking at the next set of training for Hark to undertake. The last time I wrote about this back in 2013 I talked about how setting a skill queue to maximise the skills within a primary and secondary attribute (back then Int-Mem) allowed me to gain an additional three months training over an un optimised queue over a period of a year and a half. Two years and millions of skill points later, my point still stands and so I once again find myself looking to commit to years of skill training in a particular attribute mapping. It’s a big choice, and my options look something like this:

Memory, Perception (drones) 135d
Perception, Willpower (Weapons) 624d
Willpower, Perception (T2 ships) 163d
Charisma Willpower (Command ships & Clones) 130d
Now in reality anything which takes less than 365 days to train isn’t worth re mapping for which given my choices, only really left Perception Willpower as an option. Alternatively I could have rolled together Char-Will, Will-Per and some of Mem-Per to create a 360 day plan. However because of the mishmash of primary attributes, this would mean committing into a Will-Per mapping even while not training relevant skills.

In the end as I predicted all the way back in 2013, I elected to tackle the largest of the skill pools, re-mapping into a Per Will map, and starting to perfect my weapons. Leaving the smaller pools to tackle in a few years’ time.

Secretly I hope that CCP will remove Skill Attributes before the next time I come to making this decision. At the end of the day the Attributes system seems like an unnecessary complexity for the game, adding little value and likely confusing a lot of new players in a way that is really unnecessary. Very few interesting game decisions have resulted from Attributes.

In the mean time I will just have to enjoy having a good 500+ days in skill training lined up for the future.

Fly like a SP hoarder,

Hark

Raising Hell

Consequence is a cornerstone of Eve Online, so, when you elect to perform an act which is deemed “illegal” by the games NPC Empires, it is obvious that there should be a consequence. This is supplied by the Security status mechanic in eve, which lowers you Sec Status from as high as +5 down to -10 every time you commit a crime in a policed system (High or Low Sec). Should your sec status drop below -2 you will be persecuted on sight in High Sec by the police (Starting with a ban from 1.0 systems at -2 and lowering as you drop). Currently CCP supplies two options for paying for you crime, cash or time. You can trade in ISK & tags with Concord to raise yours Sec status, or you can kill NPC’s for a standings gain (highest value every 5 mins) think of it like a fine, or community services. You can also blend these two by hunting down certain NPCs who drop tags, while at the same time farming NPC kills to lower your sec status.

So when PL announced that in order to make fights more accessible members would need to raise their sec status to allow for High sec travel I paid the gold price to lower my sec status down to -1.8 via Tags for Sec (costing ~300m). This is because I needed to ensure that I could immediately participate in any fights which cropped up and at the time I thought that this would likely be the end of the issue. However twice since then PL has taken fights in Low Sec and both times I have had to immediately pay to top up my sec status ready for the next fight (generally around 90m per fight). Now although I have plenty of cash, to sustain this, I am against dishing out cash where I don’t need to. So I began investigating the most time and cash effective method of maintaining a high sec status. Clearly buying Tags to Trade in for sec was very time efficient, but not very cash efficient.

I decided that I would look at the other extreme: bet ratting. Belt ratting (the act of killing NPCs in 0.0 belts for cash) fell out of fashion a very long time ago, and has a reputation as the least efficient way to make money in Null Sec. However I was interested in it for standings gained rather than the cash. On average this was netting a 0.003% increase in standings per ~1m rat killed. At 0.003% every 5 minutes (assuming I can always find a 1m+ BS rat to kill exactly on the 5m mark) would mean 1h55m spent ratting per low sec fight (let’s call it 2h30m to account for the likely searching time + travel to a belt ratting site). Exceedingly cash efficient, but not very time efficient at all. It also had the added negative that because the time spend ratting my sec status down would be a down time during which I could not participate in further fights.

Two thoughts sprung to my mind a more middle ground “front loaded” sec status removal scheme. First I could try raising my sec status so that a single fight would not make me a wanted man. This would be even less time efficient than ratting sec status after a fight (due to diminishing returns on sec status gain at higher levels), but might work better in terms of missing fights. The other option is to look at collecting the Clone Soldier tags myself, meaning that I will only have to pay the concord “Administration fee” for exchanging the tags. I suspect that the Tag collecting method might be the optimal solution as it provides a balance between time and cost. I already have some thoughts on how best to do it, so this is where I will look next!

Fly like a vigilante,

Hark

Formatting Error

Since my last update, not a huge amount seems to have happened in eve. With all the alliances going into hibernation mode ready for the big sov mechanics update, everything seems to have gone on hold. The said there have been a couple of good fights. One of which resulted in over 100 kills for Hark! I think the total for this month ended up at around 150 kills. Overall, for a quiet month that’s not too bad at all!

Aside from Hark, once again my Trade character has been the only real other character, which has seen any sort of action and that action has continued the trend of being profitable. May brought in 1.15bn profit, which although it doesn’t match the amazing 3bn month I had in April, is still a healthy profit. Especially considering that, a large investment of 1.5bn into Harks equipment this month. Currently I am sitting pretty on 39bn total trade assets, a few million isk short of hitting the 40bn mark. When I think back to this time last year when I was really struggling to break the 25m mark it seems amazing how well it is all going this year. Of course hubris could well take its toll, and I don’t want to believe that this will last forever, but for now it make sense to me to enjoy the income while it lasts.

Despite my promises last month I still haven’t managed to re-open any of my old revenue streams, so I am entirely dependent on the trading character. There might be something coming up this month which helps a bit with that, however I think that any profit made will only be a side effect of the endeavour, but more on that in a bit.

It is annoying me that both of the posts I have made this month have been a bit negative towards eve. Both my post on SKiNS and on PvE  have really been looking at some of the worse side of eve’s progress of late. That really doesn’t reflect my feelings on the game at all, I think that it’s just that it’s far easier to write something about a negative than it is to go out and find a positive. However I intend to change that this month (relying on nothing majorly negative happening of course).

Which brings me neatly into the next endeavour that I will be working on for this blog. A little while ago, my work asked me to help create some training videos for some of our products in order to move some of our users away from using 1on1 training sessions for some of the more mundane aspects of our work. Because of this, we purchased a professional grade microphone and some video editing software for me to use on my home computer. I’m sure you can see where this is heading. Over the next few months, I am going to start experimenting with a new format of content for the blog, in which I will attempt to produce some audio/video content in addition to the current written content. I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t worried about the amount of additional work this might take (and indeed if I can support such a load). However, at the same time I am not a man to look a gift horse in the mouth, so I am game to give it a go.

Expect to see some new formatted content coming out over the next month, let me know what you think.

Fly through a pop filter,

Hark

Little Red Crosses

It should not shock anyone to know that eve is not the only game that I frequently play. Anyone who has read a monthly update (when I do them), will also know that I make my money in eve through trading. Furthermore, if some poor fool has frequently read my Monthly updates, they would also know that in the past I have had several other tributary revenue streams in addition to my trading.

 

Should you possess all of this information, you would know that PvE has never been an income source for me for any serious length of time in the last 3 years. This is not for a lack of trying. Indeed, I began my eve carrier as a mission runner, working with the Dirties to slowly climb the mission levels, and along with it my ships. Later after moving to Null Sec, I did a fair amount of ratting for my living, and this almost became what I would now classify as a main income stream, but never lasted. At several points, I have tried to re-invest in mission running as an income, and have even dabbled once or twice into running incursions to earn the big money. The issue is however, that so far I have found none of eve’s moneymaking PvE content entertaining to the point of preferring to play it over another game.

 

Why would I suffer through worlds collide, when I could instead play a round of World of Tanks? Why would I traipse between incursion sites rather than have some fun in Elite Dangerous? The simple fact is that the money earned in PvE and the enjoyment to had do not outweigh higher level of enjoyment I get from doing other things. I say all this because I am on the verge of having another go at trying to make incursions a secondary income stream. But every time I think about doing it, I find myself saying “when are you going to pick PvE over something else?”, at what time am I going to prefer playing an incursion rather than just firing up a better game? Have I missed something? Is there a fun way to play PvE? Is it just me that hates the monotony of shooting red crosses in any guise?

 

Fly like the damsel,

 

Hark

 

 

The Gaps in-between Our eve

By now I suspect we’ve all seen the fantastic “This is Eve” trailer, and no doubt noted its success. I don’t want to spend much time critiquing the video (as in my bias opinion its clearly fantastic), but I do want to talk about the bits in-between the video clips. Sure the fights and flights shown represent the best bits of eve, the peaks of intense excitement that make this game worth playing, but what is the video not showing? What happens in-between those peaks? What is the humdrum maintenance and preparation work that supports these potent moments of excitement?

 

Let’s start with money, it makes the universe go around after all. In eve, PvP Costs money, there is pretty much no way around this. PvP almost never ends in profit for an eve player, and so most of us dedicated PvP players spend a lot of our time in-between the fights in one way or another generating cash with which to fund our habit. For me this means logging in every day during my lunch hour (I take the weekends off!), to update trade orders, prod my PI chains and occasionally shovel minerals into a production line. It’s a fairly tedious process, but one which I do enjoy on at least some level. Keeping track of my investments, and watching my asset value chart slowly climb upwards is always gratifying. I doubt CCP’s next advert will be about it however.

 

Keeping up with the meta is also something that fills the time between the fights for me. Eve online is constantly moving forwards in Fleet PvP. Especially since the beginning of the fast cycle releases the FOTM and fleet rock paper scissors has been changing at a rapid pace. When your Alliance is stationed deep in Nullsec, with no easy access to Jita, changing fits can be a time consuming and even risky process. This mostly entails checking the Alliance forums frequently, and watching for potential changes to established fleets, and new and  upcoming flavours which might take over the meta.

 

New compositions are the easiest to accommodate, most of the time you simply buy a new ship from alliance contracts, as the new fleet will be shipped out by your logistics network. Although you do have to keep an eye on how many runs you’re going to end up doing with the carrier to ship them all home. In the post Phoebe universe, nobody wants to do an extra set of jumps for just one ship. Changes to fittings on the other hand are the hardest to accommodate, as most of the logistics people will be brining entire fitted ships out, conversion kits are rare at best. Often, you’ll need to source individual modules at highly inflated prices, or run out to Highsec to source the items. Alternately most Alliances (mine included) have frequent jump freighter runs which you can leverage to keep your fits up to date. It’s not glamorous, but in its own way refitting ships is kind of fun, if nothing else but in anticipation of the fights to come.

 

We also send a lot of time waiting for the fights. Eve is a demanding mistress, and one who doesn’t generally let you dictate the times of your liaisons with her. You can spend hours by the phone waiting for her call, or you might find her calling you before you can even finish booting your PC. Most alliances (all of the ones worth joining) have some sort of electronic “paging” system. The most popular of which are IRC and Pidgeon, these are simply ways of FC’s or leaders mass messaging people who are not currently logged in, to let them know that something is afoot. If I have more than a few hours free time for some gaming, I will rarely log directly into eve, instead I will throw open MIRC and await the sirens that calls us to arms.

 

With all this administration work to be done, you might be wondering how often you actually get to have the fights depicted in the trailer and of course this varies from group to group. For me, I find that I need a window of around 5 hours free to find a fleet(during peak times at least), and that if I am looking for something to do I will find it on average within that timeframe. Of course you can never guarantee what that fleet is going to look like; combat in eve is, after all, like a box of chocolates (assuming your incompetent enough to have lost that little menu card).

 

None of these things are as exciting as the segments highlighted in the trailer, but they are all enablers for the lifestyle I choose in eve. As such I enjoy them for what they bring me. Speaking of which I believe I have some ship fittings to sort out, so I’d better get back to it sharpish!

 

Don’t always be flying,

 

Hark

 

 

 

Eveleet Damnd’erebus

So I mentioned in the last monthly update that Elite Dangerous was featuring in the Dirty Group’s playlist quit heavily at the moment (something that’s quite amazing considering the grouping mechanics aren’t working right now!). And lot of people have been talking about Elite Dangerous (ED) and Star Citizen as “eve killers” over the period of their development. Indeed, when we started playing ED, I was wondering if this was something that would make me quit eve. Now at the risk of ruining the suspense, I’m going to tell you right now that the answer is “nope”, but I wanted to write a little about why I feel this is the case.

First of all I think it’s important to emphasise that no matter what the uneducated or uninformed parrot, ED and eve share very few similarities. They are both in space, have persistent universes and involve PvP. That’s really about it, and to that end you might as well include Starcraft and Star Realms). Eve is an MMO, whereas Elite Dangerous is an Persistent Universe Optional Multiplayer Online  game (please note that this is my personal opinion on game classification, and something some people with disagree with. I will vehemently deny, for example, that World of Tanks is an MMO it’s is an MO at best. If someone wants to talk about what an MMO is I am happy to discuss it in the comments; But I digress). Eve shares a lot of control interface with RTS style games (admittedly one with a single unit under your direct command), whereas ED uses (obviously) a space-sim control style. Eve online forces you to be online in a single shard, whereas ED give you the option to be online in a 32 player max local instance. To me that really makes them chalk and cheese.

Both games are hard, that’s for sure. Eve has its notorious learning curve so classically depicted in the line graph. ED so far, seems to love nothing more than to goad you into making a mistake so that it can slap a massive fine on your arse. That difficulty is something which within eve is where I derive a lot of the pleasure I get from the game. Eve is hard, and surviving for almost 7 years is an achievement which I am proud of, surviving and doing well for yourself is something even more special to me.

In ED on the other hand, although the difficulty is inducive to the fun, but does not define it. I think that to me, it’s more the spectacle of the game which fires off those pleasure neurons. Docking in a station is a sight, and the concept of getting a group together to crew a capital ship and its fighter wing deep in the backend of the galaxy is something  which really excites me. To gather a crew together and do that would undoubtedly be an amazing achievement and great fun.

But ED doesn’t give me the sense of domination which you get from playing eve, it’s not as harsh (for good reason). If I kill you (or die) in an anaconda (currently the most expensive ship in the game), it will cost you a 0.23% of the anacondas original cost to buy it back again (without equipment). That means that you have neither the sense of loss, nor the sense of destruction in ED as you do in eve, at the end of the day all I have done is inconvenienced you. In eve, were I to kill your Revenant (arguably the most expensive ship in the game) you will lose not only the entire value of the ship, but you might never be able to get it back again (or the reputation you lost). ED also puts a façade (albeit a very good one) where the “Massive” in Massively multiplayer resides for eve. ED limits the number of people within an instance (I believe that this is currently 32, but have no official source). So that you’ll never get the sense of scale which the 5k player battles in eve will give you, or even then 100 man battles. Your wits and skills will only ever be pitted against 31 other people, less if you have a group of friends to play with. And that’s another point. The potential for group play is a little bit neutered when you can only play with 31 other people at most, especially when each friend removes an enemy. If me and 10 of the Dirties are cursing around in our anaconda & escorts, what are the chances of us all ending up in an instance with a hostile force of similar power? Will we just end up shredding 21 individuals? Or a few groups of 5 hopelessly outmatched by our numbers? Or worse will 5 of us be in one instance and 5 in another? I’m not sure that will ever work out.

On the other hand eve will never have the sense of grandeur that ED already has in bucket loads. Let’s face it, eve will never be able to emulate the glory of human innovation that the stations in ED represent. Nor will the play ever be as immersive as ED will be with an oculus rift, the medium just simply won’t allow it. We also have the issue that because of the choices CCP have made in the fundamental design of the game eve is always going to be a little bit detached from the player. Immersion simply isn’t eve’s strongpoint. From a PvP standpoint, fights in ED are also going to be far more player skill intensive than eves fights will ever be. Don’t get me wrong combat in eve is a skill in and of itself, but there are so many other factors in play in these fights that my personal skill will never be the key component in the end result especially in large fleet fights. Sure in a 1v1 my competence will have a fair effect on the result, but never as much as it will in ED. How well I click buttons, know the meta and how long I have been playing can never compete with the raw skill of dogfighting in space. I love the fleet fights in eve, but it’s just a different scale of combat to that of ED.

These are a lot of words that basically are trying to say that ED and eve are different games, and not only that, but they both tickle different pleasure centers in my brain. I could go on pointing out brilliance and flaws in both games, but right now, as they stand ED and eve are not competing for my dedication. It is possible that one day ED could become a direct competitor to eve, with a massive expansion of max concurrent players (let’s say 500 in an instance max), with a full player driven economy and industry/crafting system I might start thinking about packing my eve bags. And sure maybe one day that time will come, but right now I think I would rather just enjoy both games for what they are: different.

Fly in two realities,

Hark

Oppinions on Fatigue

I have to admit that I had read about the changes to Jump Mechanics well before I returned home from Honeymoon. Oops. But in my defence, I suspect that this change will have the largest impact on my gameplay since the original Dominion Sov Changes back in 2009(!). What’s more ccp seems to be promising that this is the first of several changes to Nullsec of equal of greater impact. So really when I happened to see that Dev Blog title on my travels, I couldn’t resist reading up on it during a quiet moment in China.

So having had a few weeks to mull on it, and to look at the general reactions of the rest of eve, how do I feel about the changes? In short, I’m mostly happy. Mostly? I hear you ask? Yes mostly. The mostly bit really is a little thing, a small niggle that comes from my personal views on game mechanics. Before I detail that let me explain what I think is good about the change.

It’s going to really shake up Nullsec, in fact you could argue that it already has. This change pretty much removes capitals from Nullsec except when used within 10ly of your home base. That’s pretty awesome. No more slowcats, no more triage to save the day from halfway across the universe. That’s good news all around as far as I’m concerned. It does mean that entities defending small areas will get an overwhelming advantage, we will likely see more

However this is where the “Mostly” comes in. This is a nerf to capital jump drives. I’m not going to argue that Force Projection didn’t need a nerf, not in a month of Sundays. Force Projection was 50% of what’s caused the stagnation in Nullsec (with the current sov system being the other 50%), and as such it needed a hit with the bat. This change will do that, but it does so with blunt force. Here is the issue. Not every use of a Jump Drive is directly force projection. CCP admit as much in the changes they are making that allows a corp sponsored remote jump clone installation once per year.

So where is the line? Clearly jumping Slowcats into a fight half way across the universe is Force Projecting, and moving a character into Nullsec to join a corp is not. But where does the line between the two lie? I’m going to give some examples below of Jump drive usages. I have my opinions on what does, and what does not constitute Force Projection, draw your own and we will compare notes.

Scenario A. Ketchup Alliance wants to force The Mustard Collection out of Nullsec because of what their leader said about them on the forums. Unfortunately Mustard hold space in Geminate, whereas Ketchup hold in Querious.  So Ketchup forms a war party of half their forces and use carriers to deploy to Geminate.

Scenario B. The Marie Rose Group are being attacked by the far superior Soy force (no pun intended for once). MRG is slowly bleeding their meagre holding of systems in Cache. Because it’s clear that the MRG will lose, they have managed to arrange a diplomatic truce with Soy in order to facilitate a peaceful handover of sov, in exchange for an evacuation period. The evacuation from their capital station NG-M8K to the nearest lowsec system (Konora) including using gates to minimise jumps is going to take a minimum of 4 jumps (30 mins started unfatigued).

Scenario C. Salsa Alliance is has been contracted by Wasbi Holdings  to help them in a fight against 1000 Island Coalition. Salsa are currently rated as one of the best Merc Alliances in the game, which is why Wasabi have picked them. However the fight is almost exactly on the other end of a universe to Salsa’s last operation. Because of the travel distance, and the fatigue involved, Wasabi have had to offer Salsa a very lucrative contract, which Salsa’s leaders have accepted. Salsa must now load up carriers and move their warships to the new deployment.

What do you feel constitutes Force projection in these situations? All three, by the letter of the word could be terms “Force Projection” as they all involve projecting a force from one location to another. However I don’t feel that any of the three examples are the kind of force projection we should be looking to nerf. But all three are going to be nerfed by the changes. Because of the new mechanics all of these pilots could end up with significant periods of time where they are forced to sit in a station waiting for a cool down timer. To me forcing players to not play the game is a poor mechanic which should be relegated to Facebook games, certainly not found in premier MMO’s. It’s just about excusable to punish a player who wants to force project with a timer, but there are situations where non-force projection is going to be punished, and that doesn’t feel right to me.

I realise of course that situation A, B and C are going to be rare, and far out numbered by Scenario D “Salt coalition want to drop a massive unbreakable carrier force on Pepper Group to ensure their defeat and minimise losses”. That’s why this change is needed, but there is going to come a time for every Nullsec player when they are going to have to log out of the game half way through traveling somewhere for reasons that do not involve force projection, because they have to wait for their timers to run down, and that’s a sad thing.

I guess it’s something I can live with, as long as CCP don’t implement a pay 1 Aurum to remove 1 minuet of fatigue button :P.

Fly, log out, fly, log out, fly log out, fly safe

Hark

River Bed

Another month slides by and out of game events are starting to take a bigger toll on my playtime. The issue is that the annual Lazy summer has rolled around within New Eden again, and at the same time I am coming closer and closer to my Wedding. Together this means that I don’t get much time to play eve, and when I do get time, there never seems to be much happening. The new deployment has at least been a bit better than the last (like 3 fleets is far better than the 0 I got on last time), even if I haven’t really been able to take full advantage of what’s been going on. So what have I been up to combat wise? Well I’ve don’t a couple of Black Ops Drops (Panther is still sexy as hell), and a few sub capital fleets, including a nice little interaction we had  the other night which saw a goon carrier hit structure before a harpy reinforcement fleet pushed us far enough away that we lost point.

 

It seems to me that in the summer months the actual gameplay of eve takes a back seat to the metagame of politics. TheMittani.com has started splurging out article after article of politics related content and I expect the other news sites to follow onwards. I find TMC to be an interesting site in terms of the constant back and forth over “Goon Bias” and Anti Puby agenda pushers. I don’t see any particular Bias in place on TMC (as their writers come from all around the Galaxy), but I do see individual publications which clearly have an agenda (see anything Mittens himself has posted), but as far as I feel that is fair game. It’s usually pretty easy to spot the Agenda, and Bias articles are still interesting, you just have to adjust your internal salt levels to the particularities of the article your reading, most of the time the propaganda is pretty “try hard”. Anyway I digress.

 

The ganking we have been doing has also ground to somewhat of a halt, as we simply haven’t been engaged enough to get on and do this. Some of the other dirties have been considering taking up an opportunity to do some Nullsec bearing to earn a bit of cash for whatever the winter throws at us. For me, I’m just not too sure if can be bothered to put the effort in. Moving Xa out into null will require an upfront investment of both effort and Isk, one of which I am terminally short on. Even if I could be bothered to get myself out there, historically we have never been very good at PvE ventures, generally we last around a month or two at most in PvE before the fact that eve has the worst PvE content in the MMO genre settles in. Add to this mix the fact that I have enough Isk at the moment to (hopefully) see me through another winter war, and you can see why I am not so keep to rush into this. Still for some of the other Dirties I can totally see why it’s an attractive offer. I would rather spend the little gaming time I will have over the next few months playing part of eve which are fun (or other games) over eve’s PvE content.

 

Industry wise.. Well things haven’t changed much, with my industry lines catching dust. I have been waiting for the expansion to land before doing another batch of product. Now that the patch has landed, I am starting to analyse the industry costs and look at if my lines will continue to be productive. It’s a time consuming effort, which means that it’s going to take a while before I feel ready to fire the old chains up. PI wise, I can only blame pure laziness for my lack of activity, so I will.

 

So the big question is if I have remained financially stable during this dry period. Certainly in terms of logins it’s been as slow as the other characters, with only 4 logins this month. However I have managed to pull in about 1bn in trade so far. There is also currently an outstanding debt of 300m from our ganking experiment, which was the purchase cost of the Fences Orca, which I may sell in the coming month to turn a profit on that investment. Furthermore I intend to push myself to get the trader back up and running, at least selling the stock of product which she is currently sitting on. I hope that this might make the next month far more profitable.

 

 

With all of the above you won’t be surprised to see that my play time this month has been exceptionally low, with only 26 hours played for which 6 was spent in eve. The rest of my time has been spend mostly in world of Tanks, and Space Engineers. Both games where entertainment can be turned on and off at will.

 

I’d normally end a post like this with a line saying how I hope that next month will be better, but in all honesty it’s not going to happen. The next few months in eve (and in gaming in general) are going to be very dry indeed. Still that’s the price you pay for having a life outside of gaming, and one I will gladly pay. Things will get back to normal eventually, October is hopefully going to be a great month for gaming!

 

Fly in Stasis,

 

Hark

Precipice

It’s been another great month for my PvP record, with Providence providing some good fights. I saw a some complaints/propaganda/opinions that PL were “Dropping caps” everywhere during our last deployment, but speaking only for what I saw, things were pretty even. If anything in the fleets we were in, were constantly attempting to nurture the fight out of the Provi fleets, getting annoyed at other (then) blue fleets for over powering, and FC assassination.

 

Like I said, this is only my personal experience of the situation, so perhaps I was just on the “good” fleets. Either way, it was a good fun RDU, and the fights/fleet comps have been excellent. Certainly its lasted longer than I have expected, and provided more content. I’m a bit worried about what happens next however. With no sign of news for our next deployment and the usual lethargic waves of the Summer lap against the content generators. Add into this the devotion of our chief content providers to engage in the wind up to the Alliance Tournament, and I am beginning to think that we might be seeing a slower pace over the next few months. Still make hay while the sun shines eh? Perhaps I need to look into getting my PvP fix elsewhere?

 

Ganking has been on the down as well, although I still need to write up the full length of our adventure so far. It’s in the place where if you say to any of the team (myself included) “You still want to do some ganking at some point?” they say yes, but we never actually get around to that “Some point” being “now”. I suspect that Watch_dogs has had something to do with that my on part.

 

Industry has been on a bit of a low as well. I expect to see me increasing my industry schedule with the changes to the Manufacturing system coming in so soon, but instead its caused me to become more fatigued with the horrid interface. I think that where before I had not even thought about the terrible design (and the number of clicks needed to do anything) is, so I accepted it as “the only way”. However now I have seen a better system on the horizon I feel less forgiving of the clunky old way. That said I have increased my PI production by one planet, and I have also been ticking over the production albeit at a far reduced rate. Still not breaking that mythical 1bn profit mark, but its edging ever closer. I’ve no idea what the industry changes will do to my profits, so at the moment I’m ready to shut up shop at a moment’s notice, should it prove less profitable.

 

This month the traders ledger shows that I have made a paltry 300m profit this month. However part of that does include two investments in longer term schemes of 600m and 800m (1.4Bn total). I expect to be able to return at least the same as my initial investment, and hope to turn a profit higher than if I had left the money invested in the trader. So hopefully I will see a good month in exchange for this low one further down the line.

 

This month I spent around 70 hours gaming (inflated by a LAN party we held a few weekends back) of which 25 was spent playing eve. Eve kill attributes me with 122 kills during this month, including one Aeon (player event though), not bad, but not breaking that record set in Feb.

 

Fly Idling

Hark

Dandy Highwaymen: Part 1

So as I mentioned in the monthly update, last month I decided to try out suicide ganking as an effort in profit, and to sample the darker side of Eve’s lifestyles. This is an attempt to write up the experience, as I found it an interesting endeavor both in the learning curve and in the psychology.

So what started it all? I think I can best attribute it to the fact that I’ve always said that eve is a harsh game, and that I enjoy it because of that. So I have always wanted to see what it felt like to be the sharp edge of that curve, could I cope causing the damage which I claim holds my interest so well? To be honest I expected it to be a short endeavour, something done just to say I had. I’m still not sure where I stand on that. So when early last month I decided that it was time to give it another shot, I started my research.

We have tried to suicide gank once before, but to be honest it was a spur of the moment thing, with no planning or research, and so went as well as you might think. This time however I spent at least a week looking for locations to gank in, and looking at people who were doing it successfully, and what they were doing it in. I soon found a prime system, and a fit which I thought would do the job. I also had what I thought was the blueprint for a standard heist:

Three Operatives: The Lookout, The Highwayman and the Getaway Driver. The lookout sits innocently on a gate somewhere on a trade route (preferably a one way pipe) and quietly peaks through the windows of parsing Haulers. If he spots something worth stealing, he lets the Highwayman and the Driver know, who make best speed to the ambush point. For the Highway man this is on the other side of the next gate the mark is about to jump through. For the Driver it’s 200+km off the same gate. As soon as the Mark jumps through the gate, and begins the spool up process to warp to the next gate, the Highwayman pounces. Unleashing everything he has on the Mark and, hopefully, destroying his vehicle. As soon as its destroyed, the Driver warps to the freshly smoking wreck, grabs whatever survived the explosion, and warps out as quickly as possible to the safety of a station. A short while later the Highwayman does something illegal elsewhere in the system, to pull the lingering police force away from the ambush gate.

That’s pretty much it. The advanced version uses an Orca as a “Fence”. To do this The Driver steals the loot (which marks him a suspect, and thus a free target to world + dog), and Immediately offloads it into the Orca’s Corp Hanger. This means that even if someone does catch the Driver, killing him only loses the ship, not the newly acquired loot.

Sadly I only had the skills, and the characters for the basic version, so I tooled up a character with each of these roles, and started moving towards my Target system. At this point I mentioned my plans to the Dirties, and they being them, elected that this was a “good idea” and begun making their own plans to join me.

This is where tragedy one occurred. Traveling to a nearby trade hub, with three characters, while looking at possible fittings distracted me from the Highwayman’s screen and I left her pod on a gate for slightly longer than I should have. A few moments later, I was relived of my pod (and life) by an enthusiastic local. -1 pod, and a now in a clone further away than where I started from. Great.  Looking at who did the dead, I realised the fullness of my error, the clone was outfitted with low-grade Crystal Implants. Facepalm, I shouldn’t have been trying to gank in a Crystal set anyway. The irony, losing a 500m pod to a gank, while on the way to a gank. I’m pretty good at taking a loss like this, so I laughed a bit and set myself a goal to make the money back through ganking. At least it proves I can take as good as I intend to give.

After making it successfully to the target system, I returned to looking at fittings. Eventually I elected to go with a Rupture, with the Highwayman’s specialism in Projectile Weapons (and lack of skills in much else). The fit was something along the lines of, Guns, Gyrostabilisers, Disruptor and a Sensor boosters (more on that fit in a bit). Ex Elected to bring a scramble web vexor.

At this point Ex turned up with his own Highwayman, and we began our hunt for targets. We decided that as I was running both the Driver and the Lookout, Ex would be the primary Highwayman, with mine acting as backup. Before long we got our first test. A hauler carrying ~800m of equipment. We undocked the highwaymen, and the Driver, and they all warped to their positions. Ex was ganking in a short range “DPS” style ganker, and unfortunately was still trying to close range as the hauler warped out. Miss 1.

A little while later we spotted a second hauler carrying about 300m worth of kit. This time we had the Highwaymen and Hauler ready at the gate. But he still slipped through. Miss 2.

The next time we saw a 500m hauler, we were ready. Drones were out, guns were pre overheated, and this one was not getting away. Ex opened fire, and the hauler warped out before he could close to Scramble range. Concord however wasn’t, late and promptly removed the ship from around Ex. Miss 3. This is the point that we learned that losing your ship to concord doesn’t remove the suspect timer gained from ganking. Having missed the gank Ex, typed a standard “oops” kinda message in local, and we further learned that Suspect timers make a pod a valid target when an Eve-Uni Legion podded him. Second pod down, and it turned out that Ex was running a +5 set.. Another 500m isk we needed to make back.

Now in a pair of no implant clones, and having swapped the ill-advised scramble for a disruptor, we looked at other way to improve our odds. To double our chances of finding targets, Ex used some free SP on another account to create a secondary Lookout, allowing us to cover both side of the system we were in. We also realised that with kill rights available on us, we were free targets sat on a gate. Knowing that we could be needed at either side of the system,  and that we needed to be hidden away, we made a safe spot midway between the gates, and set up base there.

At this point Ex spotted a 500m hauler auto piloting away from our location (we think he came from a station), and Ex gave chase. With his Highwayman burning into the distance, and my Driver running to catch up, we thought we might have a free kill. Eventually catching him three jumps away, Ex engaged… and promptly died to gate guns before he could finish the job. Miss 4. It was at this point we elected to put a stop to the attempts for the night, quitting while your behind and all.

We restructured our fittings (more tank), and promised that we would continue the next day. After all we reasoned, we had a 50% success rate at Suicide ganking. We had the suicide down pat, now we just needed to get the ganking sorted.

Fly like a bad,

Hark