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

Well it’s been not been a bad first month back in, although time has not been as abundant as I had hoped. It turns out that eve was not the only thing waiting for me to stop being busy with planning a wedding to consume my free time. I still found time however to get a few things done in eve and indeed help Arian out. As pretty much everyone one knows now Bothers of Tangra (PLs Renting and PvE group) has seeded most of its space over for Shadow of xDeath, and so Arian needed to move his PvE farming Macharial out of its home and back to highsec before the change took place. Unfortunately  the logistics group were doing shipments out of a station 8 jumps (2 constellations) away from where Arian had been ratting. So I flew an alt out to scout him through the jumps with an interceptor. The operation was entirely uneventful, but still quite nerve inducing, reminding me of why I enjoy eve (risk).

 

Since then Hark has also moved home and participated in a good fleet fight (which was a wonderful 5 sided melee in which I managed to bag around 50 kills (iirc). The fight was an excellent excursion for my Legion which hasn’t been aired in a little while now, and I managed to use overheating without burning out my weapons (this time) so clearly I am improving. Skills wise Hark is now really digging into her Int Mem mapping I started way back in July of 2013. That’s 495 days since I began my first foray into attributes. I estimate that this mapping has gained me 450 additional SP per day compared to the even attribute mapping I’ve previously had. In total that’s 222,750 additional over the time period. It’s not exactly buckets, but it all adds up I guess. Currently I have another 262 days of Skill training planned in this configuration before I begin the next remapping. No doubt I will do another Attribute Optimisation post when that time comes picking what I train next.

 

Xa has also been active, after doing the scouting for Arian she invested in an Astero and delved into Nullsec to try earning some cash. I’ve found that shallow Nullsec is pretty much barren of sites at the moment and I am thinking about going deeper to find more. My hope is that I might be able to train up a BLOPS bridge character at some point to make getting loot in and out easier. That’s a good distance into the future however, and for now I am just solidifying my scanning skills to ensure a faster hunting rate.

 

The Trader has also been much more active this month despite being away for most of it I managed to rake in 1bn ISK, which is back to my average (despite only 3 weeks of trading). Current projections forecast that I might manage to break 30bn in non-asset cash before the year is out, but that’s not for certain. I am also negotiating for a small investment of capital on a % profit basis which might up my trading capital for the next year. My growth rate is pretty variable, but tends to average around 0.125% per day. That means that even a 1bn investment could bring my profit per month up by around 40m per month. Again it’s not a signal to start filling the pool with money, but it’s not chicken feed either. We’ll see how the negotiation goes however. On other fronts I am warming up the PI chains as well with an eye to opening that revenue chain once more. I still haven’t sold of any of the created stock from that yet and estimate that I have around 500m ISK waiting to be sold on the market. Something I really should get around to doing.

 

The Industry character is also being warmed up again but to a lesser degree. My struggle right now is getting back into the habit of doing the daily maintenance needed to keep both this and the trader operational and profitable. To begin with my concentration has been on the trader, and so since I got back the Indy hasn’t really had the same amount of time invested in it. Currently she is sitting on around 500m’s worth of product A with another 500m having been sold at market just before I left on Honeymoon. She has also now trained into a second product line, which I will be interleaving with the original. I need to really sit down and work out a more exact plan for how that’s going to work, but have yet to have the spare time to do so. Product B is currently at level 4 of invention training, so I am still bringing her up to level 5 at time of writing, that should end next month when I will chose my next set of training (could be a dilemma!).

 

Finally my Dread alt is coming into the vinegar strokes of her training with only one months’ worth of training left before she is a competent Dread alt. The question now remained as it if it is worth cross training her into the other dreads, finding something else she could do (BLOPS bridge?) or just stopping the dual training on her account. I think that last one is going to win out to be honest.

 

The Dirties are certainly going into a decline within eve, which saddens me, but at the same time doesn’t surprise me. I am trying my hardest to fight that trend for myself, as I am still enthused about eve more than I am for any other game, but it’s hard to predict how the loss of the group might affect my enthusiasm. The group seems to be quite enthused about Elite Dangerous at the moment, and I have to admit that I am enjoying the beta quite a lot at the moment. Who knows perhaps there is a place for two space games in my life. Perhaps the same is true of this blog as well. More on that in another post.

 

Fly active,

 

Hark

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

Where do you pick up from after a month away from the computer, and longer without any serious time invested into eve? It’s a tough question but one which I am trying my best to answer at the moment.

Having returned from my honeymoon in China (it was great, thanks), I am now starting stoke the fires for reinvesting some time back into eve, and boy have things have changed a bit since I was last playing! Unfortunately part of that difference is that the Dirties seem to have lost some of the fire we had for eve. To be fair that’s been on the cards since before I left, with a couple of members unsubscribing and another falling less and less active as time went by. It wouldn’t surprise me to find that none of them have logged into do anything other than skill training online in the last month.

It’s not exactly unusual. Everyone who has played eve for any serious length of time has found themselves burnt out at one stage or another, so I really done blame the Dirties for dropping out of touch with eve. But at the same time I’ve not been this enthused about Nullsec since the ED war for Etherium Reach. The changes coming to Nullsec over the next year or so look like they are going to really shake things up. What’s more at least to begin with I can’t think of a better group to experience the shake up with then PL. Sure they have their issues, but when it comes to adapting to change, and finding fun PL seem to have things down pat. If nothing else, it’s better to be in PL then being shat on by PL.

But at the same time, eve is all about who you play it with and I would rather play it with the Dirties. So I’ve let the guys know that if there is an area of play which might get them re-subbed or active again, I’ll be there in a flash. Admittedly if I can, I might try and join them in anything that’s not Null sec with an Alt, to keep the main participating with PL. But if required I’d even quit to join something they actually wanted to do.

Right now though, my gut says that I’m going to be alone in eve for the foreseeable future. I’m already making plans for that (I’ll share them with any of the D’s who decided to join in of course), and hopefully when things begin to kick off I’ll be ready to partake in the ensuing fights, just like old times.

Of course activity levels isn’t the only big change announced while I’ve been away, but that’s a topic for another post. That’s about it for a reintroduction for now, except to add that I expect that the dedication of time into eve will translate into more posts on here as well. Certainly I have some more posts already brewing on the other changes to the game since I’ve been gone.

Fly more,

Hark

 

 

This is going to be a few of paragraphs worth update this month. We are T-3 weeks to my Wedding right now (which is ‘fun’ in and of itself), and a few weeks back we had a small house fire which means things are a little ‘hectic’ at the moment to say the least. As you can imagine eve, and gaming in general has taken a little bit of a back seat. I will try to summarise my moth anyway.

Been pretty quiet on the eve front this month, although I have attempted to restart both my trading and industrial alts in-order to continue money making. The PvP main has been parked in Ama now pending my return from honeymoon in October.

So that’s about it really, I will see if I have time to write a longer update prior to the wedding, but in-reality I expect to be posting a three month catch up post wedding. Hopefully at that point I will have more time on my hands to being posting more than just the monthly updates I have been doing so far.

 

Fly without structural damage,

Hark

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

Well as I predicted in the last few updates things have gotten a bit quieter on the eve front. PL has returned from a Rapid Deployment and gone almost immediately onto another. I had to delay going onto the second one due to a long weekend trip to Europe. With that all done now, I have successfully deployed to our new staging zone and am eager to see how much activity there will be. Before I went on my holiday however I did purchase a small gift for myself in the form of a Panther Black Ops Battleship. I have to say that the CCP art department did a stellar job on the rework of the Typhoon Battleship hull the Panther is based on. Without a doubt the ship is the best looking one of my meagre collection, shortly closely by the Crow (again masterfully reworked). I don’t think I have been as taken by the look of a ship in eve since I first set eyes on the Chimera, and even then I think the Typhoon might just have it beaten. Seeing as a large percentage of the pings I’ve seen so far in this slow summer have been for BLOPS, I hope that the panther might just increase my kill count a good measure. We’ll see on that one however.

 

On other fronts things are looking… pretty good actually. Xa is still wearing her ganking hat, and we just finished selling our first loot haul of 1bn ISK. Sorry that’s a spoiler for my ganking posts, I’ll put up the story on how we got that soon promise! Admittedly we have been a bit quiet on the ganking front, but it’s because it’s such a slow burning activity (much like a lot of eve), you spend literally hours doing nothing then suddenly it’s an adrenalin overdrive for 30 seconds. The ISK/Hour is pretty good (although that’s dependent on your luck) but the time spent doing nothing is a bit bleh. Still we shall see if the interest wanes over time, I’m almost surprised that we have lasted as long as we have to be honest, but then again it seems to be the only activity in eve which encourages groups of our size to work together.

 

Trade wise, things are also looking pretty good with 1.5bn made this month, despite some massive asset devaluations. The industrial character also paid back her start-up debt including the compound interest owed, so any further money earned on that account is pure profit. I expect to see a return on my other investments next month meaning that she will have no debtors. That’s good in the sense of my profitability, but it also means I should look into some new income streams to invest in. Diversity is after all the key to a good portfolio.

 

Speaking of the Indy character, she is currently sitting on about 400m of PI produce (I’ve been lax) and a further 700m of liquid and asset ISK. I am considering shutting down production until the industry changes hit TQ on the 22nd, so that I can spend the time assessing future profitability of the endeavour. So far the enterprise has been run very slap-dash, with finger in the air calculations. If you know me at all this might come as a bit of a surprise given my predilection for spreadsheets and exacting standards, but the simple fact is that although I have kept a loose eye on the profitability of the endeavour, this has been a learning experience rather than a profit making one (although if it had started haemorrhaging cash I would have shut it down) . Knowing that I had literally zero knowledge of the trade, recording exact profit would have highlighted exactly how much my mistakes were costing me. Something that while learning might put me off a little. However now that I am getting better versed in the process, and the industry changes are looming closer, it seems like it might be time to take stock and look at more exact numbers. Should those numbers become less profitable in the future, I will consider moving one of my dual training character to that account to cut costs and increase utility. But that’s a matter for next month at the earliest.

 

Time wise things haven’t been great this month with 42 hours of gaming played of which only 3 were spent in eve. The total hours played has been inflated by the Steam Summer sale which prompted me to boot up some game in order to farm some Trading cards. To be honest I am not certain that this next month will be much better.

 

Fly like a summer sloth,

 

Hark

 

Although I have many characters in many places in Eve, Nullsec has always been where my heart lies. Pretty much all of my other characters, are in some way or another designed to support my main in Null. As a Null player I think that it’s important to always encourage new players to venture out into Nullsec, to ensure we don’t get too bitter. To this end, this series of posts aims to aid new Nullsec pilots in their training, by specifying ships which are used in multiple doctrines; past, present and future, in Nullsec. Divided up into three posts (Quick Trains, Medium trains and the Long Term), pilots who follow this advice will find themselves quickly able to be useful within an Alliance. They will also be well poised to train more specialist ships to further flesh out their arsenal.

 

This section of the guide details some trains which will further develop your usefulness in Nullsec. This second part expects that you have already gone through the training in the “Quick Trains“, Guide  and assume that you have already completed all the training within that.

Let me address the Elephant in the room, while he is still buttering up to get through the doorway. This is going to be a long set of skill training. You’ve trained for 6 months now to get some ships which are brilliant at getting you into fleets. Hopefully you’ve found it beneficial, hopefully you have found a place within fleets to prosper and shine. Hopefully despite your low skill points your Alliance mates welcome you on fleets and consider you a valuable asset. Even if all this is true, the chances are you are still aching to get into a bog standard ship of the line. A good battleship, or cruiser perhaps. Something which lets you join in with the pack on their level. I would advise that you go ahead and scratch the itch. With the three ship types you trained already you should be all but assured access to fleets, and all regimented training and no impulse ships makes jack a dull boy. So go ahead, indulge. Perhaps you might even consider training the next section alongside some impulse training, 1:1 guide/impulse skills might make this go on forever, but something like a 2:1 might keep you going through what is going to be a long set of training skills.

Let’s touch on that some more. This second set of ships is going to be longer that what you have seen in the first guide. A lot longer. The true aim here is to bring you into the vaunted Logistics Cruisers. What before we do go into that however we will be bringing you into T1 Cruiser Hulls (similar to how the moved into T1 Frigate Hulls), so that you can learn the ropes in something cheaper. So it’s going to take a long time but the fact of the matter is that if you want to be truly versatile in your training, you are going to need to invest this kind of time into these ships. For some people the quick trains will be enough to be getting on with, certainly 90% of fleets will allow you in with the ships you trained for in the first 6 months. But if you finish this next set of training skills, 90% of Alliances will let you in just based on your skills (and eventually, experience).

So let’s get started…

 

T1 Cruisers

A simple short(er) one to start with. Training T1 cruisers is going to be important for a lot of these medium trains, and is also a stepping stone onto the Battleship Tier which you will require later. Training all Four races ships will take around 20 days, but you will need to train up Weapon and tanking systems as well. Specifically Consider training the following to level 3 (unless otherwise stated):

  • Energy Grid Management
  • Tactical Shield Manipulation
  • Missile Launcher Operation (IV)
  • Missile Bombardment
  • Missile Projection
  • Rapid Launch
  • Target Navigation Prediction
  • Warhead Upgrades
  • Heavy Missiles
  • Capacitor Emission Systems
  • Shield Rigging
  • Gunnery
  • Medium projectile Turret
  • Medium Energy Turret
  • Medium Hybrid Turret
  • Armor Layering
  • All Armor Compensation Skills
  • Shield Management
  • All Shield Compensation Skills
  • Weapons Upgrades
  • Armor Rigging

It’s a big load and will take you a further 30 days, but will serve to solidify your core competency. This will allow you to participate in any cruiser doctrines and will prep you for the next batch of Medium length trains.

 

T1 Logistics

This is a bit of a sidestep which will bring you within range of using the T1 Logistics Cruisers in fleets. Most PvP alliances will use the T2 Hulls for their logistics, but depending on how strict they are, they will likely allow a few of the T1 equivalents to join in as well. Chances are that there won’t be alliance fittings for these ships however, so ask a seasoned logistics pilot if they can help you out with fittings. We don’t need to train any new ships, as the Augoror, Osprey, Exequror and Scythe will already be available to you as T1 cruisers. However you will need to top up some Logistics support skills (to level 3 unless otherwise stated):

  • Repair Systems (II)
  • Remote Armor Repair Systems (IV)
  • Shield Emission Systems
  • Capacitor Management
  • Capacitor Systems Operation
  • Gravimetric Sensor Compensation
  • Ladar Sensor Compensation
  • Radar Sensor Compensation
  • Magnetometric Sensor Compensation

This will only take you around 4 days, and will let you dabble in the waters of Logistics. Consider reading my post dedicated to Logistics (although you can ignore the stuff on skills). You will also find the following guides more useful than my own:

Dabble in logistics now, while the ships are cheap and reap the rewards later when you’re flying a 200m ship in a fleet of T1 cruisers. This is the life of the logistics pilot.

 

Force Recon

For the first time I am going to advise you to not train all four races ships. From my experience the two races which are most likely to get you into fleets are the Minmattar and Gallente ships. With Webbing and Tackle modules these ships are always useful in a fleet, and are called for/accepted most of the time. As an added bonus, is a nice transition up from the Frigate size tackling ships you have been previously using. The tactics will be a little different, as you will now have longer range modules to do the tackling with, so you no longer need to charge into the enemy to forfill your role. Instead you will either be with the main fleet, or self-piloting on the edge of the enemies range, but within your logistics range. Again this all varies with how your FC likes to run things, so always ask about before you do something. Train Recon Ships to level IV before you start flying them.

Alongside the ship train, you should also be looking at improving your general skills, especially fitting I recommend the following skills (to level 4 unless otherwise marked) in addition to what you have trained for the Quick Trains support skills:

  • Cynosural Field Theory
  • Energy Grid Upgrades
  • Tactical Shield Manipulation
  • Hull Upgrades (V)

That’s it. All in this will take an additional 100 days to train, but will get you into a new more durable role.

This next one is the big one.

 

Logistics

Now we are moving into the big leagues. Logistics will not only get you into fleets, but it will also get you into Alliances. My acceptance into Pandemic Legion was highly influenced by my logistics specialisation, it certainly wasn’t the only factor which got me in, but it played a big role. But logistics isn’t a simple train, nor is it an easy upgrade from the ships you have been flying so far (with the exception of the T1 logistics ships you should be been learning in), it’s a whole new world of play.

To train into all 4 Races Logistics ships will take you an additional 90 days (you Require logistics V, this is only going to get longer). The following support skills should also be trained to level 4 unless otherwise stated:

  • Shield transfer Systems (V)
  • Capacitor Emission Systems (V)
  • Remote Armor Repair Systems (V)
  • Capacitor Management
  • Capacitor Systems Operations
  • Advanced Target Management (III)
  • All Sensor Compensation

In all honestly taking the additional 60 days to train all of these to V (with the exception of advanced target management for which no ship can use higher than the 8 Advanced lvl 3 gives you), is worth the extra time.

So there we go. 278 days’ worth of training in this “Medium” trains guide, on top of our original  set that a total of 462 days’ worth of training. I hope you have been enjoying Nullsec, because you’ve become pretty invested in it! Seriously however, I really believe that if you can make it this far, your time in Null is all but assured. In my next section I will be looking at the true long term ships including one which I believe it 100% required for every Nullsec Pilot (not even as a combat pilot, just as a matter of personal self-sufficiency). Until then however, get reping.

 

Fly flexible,

Hark

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

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