Wednesday, 21 February 2018


During my latest job search one of the recurring requirements in order to be a good corp member was "an independent, reliable source of ISK".

Sadly, by this (and many other) measure(s), your author is not a good corp member.  He has no "independent, reliable" source of income.  For him generating ISK tends to be ad hoc - i.e. when he's broke.  Because he is prone to PvE burnout he also tends to only farm ISK until he is barely not broke any more.

A casual query in corp revealed various "good", some even "great" corpies with lucrative income sources.

One has an alt corp in a wormhole.  Another manufactures rigs.  We have a builder of capitals.  Yet another has an army of alts doing PI.  All of these endeavours take a bit of time, skill and toil -  virtues distinctly lacking in your authors' persona.

To be honest the most tempting source of ISK  was suggested by a corp mate who claims to find 500 or so plex "lying on the floor of his hangar" every now and then - i.e. put there by his credit card.

Tempting, but as explained before I have an unfortunate moral aversion to this.

Of course with great amounts laziness and small amounts of creativity the commensurate adjustment to expectations and quality of life soon follows.

Whereas the aforementioned "good" corpies can fly "decent" ships and maintain losses of 3 to 5 Billion ISK a month, your author cannot.

He makes do with somewhat less "decent" ships and have to contain his losses.

Still even at his level he has to raise 500 million to 1 Billion ISK per month.

ISK generation follows the course of least resistance, which in the faction warfare context this means "selling" loyalty points from FW missions.

There is a nice guide on FW missions published by the Crossing Zebra's website.  In it that author - Gorski Car outlines how he runs batches of 10 FW missions in around 90 minutes.

Of course I am no Gorski Car and the same loop of 10 faction warfare missions takes me closer to three hours.

In addition Gorski seemingly has the luxury of running missions only when Minmatar is at Tier 4 or 5. Sadly waiting for an advantageous tier is not an option when you are broke.

Running missions and obtaining loyalty points is only part of the story.  LP has to be converted into items which in turn has to be sold on the market - (read: more time and effort).

One gets roughly 50k LP per mission and normally get a conversion rate of around 1000 ISK per LP - so I have to run between 10 and 20 missions in a month to sustain this level of activity.  Five to 10 hours a month of missions/hauling/market transacting.

Image result for paradox meme
This happens to be the absolute minimum amount of ISK to maintain this level of involvement (T1 frigates in novice plexes).  This is ok, and it happens to still be fun for a noob like me, but I cannot help but think longer term this will need to stagnation and falling into just another rut.

The consequence is that ISK generation has to be upped in some way shape or form.

One has to appreciate the irony in the fact that in order to experience PvP to the full one has to embrace a system that mandates more PvE to generate ISK, and at the same time then encourages risk aversion to contain losses.

I cannot help but think this is why some people stoop to botting.  Tempting but not for me.

Just one more of life's great contradictions.

If you, dear reader happen to have a nice idea for easy ISK please let me know!

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

The disconnect

Image result for internet connection problems meme
Most Eve players have experienced the dreaded disconnect from time to time.  Even though we like to pretend in our little worlds that all our losses are due to this ill, the truth of the matter is that very few are.

In almost 10 years of playing EVE on and off your author has only ever lost one ship due to a disconnect.  A Tormentor that I warped to fight at a novice plex at 40km.  Right at that moment the disconnect happened. 

Of course I'm dead, but I restart the client and log in - only to have my pod that went into emergency warp land in the fray again...

As luck would have it all the scrams on grid were "busy" and the (empty) pod was reduced to half armor by a single glancing blow before I could warp it off again.

As far as disconnects go that was fairly ho-hum - spare a thought for someone disconnecting when flying his 2Billion ISK Blops.  Or his carrier, super carrier or titan (yes, they tell me it has happened).  Poor sods.

The most inopportune (and hilarious) disconnect that I have personally been privy to happened shortly after I had first joined Schneckt.  Our FC: Hilo (the name we call him by, unchanged to implicate the guilty empathise with the unfortunate).  Our ships: a bunch of cheap arty ruptures to test a doctrine.

We warp to a large plex at range (because sniping - duh) and sure enough there are a couple of ships on grid with an interceptor burning at us from 100km out.  The optimal on these arty ruptures is somewhere around 60km and the inty is fast approaching.

Hilo: "Align to citadel and lock inty.  LOCK ONLY!"... We do as he says

character image
Hilo: "Wait"... 90km

Hilo: "Wait"... 80km

Hilo: "Wait for it".... 70km

...   60km

...   50km

...   40km

Dafuq Hilo !!??? 

Staccato TS3 voice: "User in your channel timed out"... Hilo 

Of course by this time the inty is within scram range and our guns cannot track.  What's more the rest of the inty's fleet is now inbound.

Random fleet member: "We can't fight this in arty ships, warp to citadel and dock"... We sheepishly do so, leaving one of your members to die.

Staccato TS3 voice: "User joined your channel"... Hilo

Hilo: "Did we get him!?"...  Laughter!

C'est la vie.

Rasta Smokes In Elevator
HILO is in local bois!!!

P.S.  Hilo is a really funny guy and he likes to announce himself with this meme:

Monday, 16 October 2017

Finding Schneckt

Schneckt: Welcome to the wretched hive of villainy and scum...

Hive of villainy and scum!??

Absence what have you done?  Of all the corps in New Eden, all the opportunity that abounds, all the gates you may have jumped, THIS is what you come up with?  How on earth in space did this happen!!!?

Ahhh  Dear Reader I am glad you asked for finding a new corp is a venerable tale of trial and tribulation, fraught with perils and despair. There be wrong turns, scamsters, fraudsters and merely clueless recruiters and runners of corporations.

One man bands, do everything corporations, 2 day old corporations with aspirations to null sec, l33t pvp corporations, newbie corporations, oldbie corporations.... more corporations you can shake a Federation Navy Gamma Crystal light sabre at...

All of them declined your author's application diligently evaluated by your author and discarded one by one until by blind luck shear force of will and perseveration he stumbled onto the public chat room of Schneckt.

Now your author does not take himself too seriously when it comes to space ship games, so it was important that his corp also does not.

His old corp in null sec is going better than ever and would welcome him back, except that null sec really does not suit your authors game.  Don't get me wrong - I could have made it work, but the friction resulting from "making it work" tends to sap enthusiasm for playing the game.

Where recruitment and corporations are concerned, just about the only sage advice I can offer with any kind of sincerity is this:  Work out what your game is and then try and find the very best corporations that specialise in that game.

The two areas I identified was wormhole (WH) space and low sec pirate/Faction warfare (FW) space.
WH space was discarded as the general "feel" was that it required a bit more of a commitment to fleet up for pings, more doctrine ships, more participation requirements.   And they tend to be serious.

This left low sec and faction warfare... and Schneckt...

Schneckt is a serious, not so serious corporation.  It is a corporation that favours doing and dying rather than being overly concerned with the killboard.  As explained in a prior post, the kill board at times look more like a fail board.

It is a corp with a solid core of older players and a number of eager newer ones.  It has logistics, LP buyouts, strategy, jokes, memes and fits (weird and wonderful ones) for just about every ship in the game.

Above all is the solid advice - low sec can be a fantastically underhanded and frustrating place that really exposes one to the seedy underbelly of so called "l33t" pvp. (more about this in future).

It is an environment where you can just as easily fly solo as fleet up.
In many ways our small corporation fleets are what null sec fleets are not.

It is not uncommon for a fleet to be formed, fulfil its purpose and be over in 3 minutes (clearing some opposing faction members out of a plex).  No wait, no forming up on the titan, no drama.  Get killed, meh thrasher, reship.  Need to step out?  Dock in station/citadel and do so.

The size of the corporation also means that everybody counts.  It is at Schneckt where your author for the first time flew logi (he had logi V trained for years and to his shame never before used it).

He flew frigates, destroyers, cruisers, battleships, logi (as in repping), logi (as in freighting), dps and tackle.  Many of these on a daily basis.

There's a lot to be said for mixing it up.

Mixing it up however does come with a learning curve.  In your authors case the ponderously slow mug mashing the keyboard struggles to keep up.  Still he lives and he learns and his sec status drops.

It is early days but so far the union with Schneckt suits your author to a T.  Schneckt likes bringing and taking the fights (caution propaganda!) - indeed we invite the opposing militia into our pub chat to enable us to arrange fleet fights more easily...  A very welcome change of pace indeed!

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Frigate Fighting Oh-hoh-hoh-hoah

Long have your author been sceptical about the oft meted out council to keep to frigate hulls during one's initial forays into pvp.

Frigate fights tend to be short, sharp and brutal affairs.  Rare is the fight that exceeds even a minute.

Over before you know it.

Worse, blink and you might even miss the lesson to be learned from it...

As far as novice frigate fights go, just about the only redeemable feature is the cost.  Or at least it can be - there are some eye-watering-ly expensive fits on frigates.

If one can temper the impulse to bling out the ship it is entirely possible to buy and fit 100 T1 frigate hulls with T2 and meta modules (fitting issues is a thing!) for less than 1 billion isk.

Still a fair chunk of change, but plenty are the examples on zkill where the loss of a single ship exceed that number.

At least in this way you get 100 chances to learn that lesson.  And practice one needs.  As expounded in the previous missive of this blog, there is no substitute for doing.

Fighting in factionware plexes on the face of it has nothing to it.  I mean, you warp in, and well fight... right?


The typical fight for your author goes down like this:
1)Warp at 10 to the plex
2)Click gate to warp - might have to spam
3)Remember to overheat repper, guns (always overheat!)
4)Land in the plex and start targeting.
5)Target some more as your fist couple of attempts failed because you had yet to exit warp.
6)Now that the targeting process is running, start your prop mod and get to either
   i)Keep at range
   depending on your fit and what you're guessing your opponents' fit is and his positioning inside the plex.
7)Shoot, web, scram (of course you pre activated your guns, web, scram..?)
8)In between all this you have launched your drones and pressed F right?  Right?
9)Because you landed outside of 10km your web and scram did not engage and you have to activate them again.  Missed this?  Oh my...  kited to death I am.

Frigates tend to be very fragile.  My fits normally has somewhere between 3000 and 5000 EHP.   Typical damage tend to be 150 - 200 dps.  The combination of typical EHP and dps means every millisecond matters.

Your author would like to be able to report that he has the little procedure listed above down pat... Alas he cannot.  He loses more often than he wins.

Great are the number of times a defeat is snatched from the jaws of victory because he is ponderously slow.  Or forget to launch the drones, heat the guns, lose point or web... or ...

Still he lives learns and yearns for those (very) rare occasions where he does pull it all off to perfection.

Finally, because your author has a slight sadistic streak in him he leaves the readers with the gem below - a tune that is stuck in his head every time he warps to a plex.  Here's to hoping you too cannot get rid of it.  All.  Day.  Long.

    "Kung Fu Frigate Fighting"

    Everybody was Kung Fu Frigate Fighting          
    Those kids were fast as lightning
    In fact, it was a little bit frightening
    But they fought with expert timing

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Riding horses

Image result for how to ride a horse for beginners
If you were to learn
to ride horses
by reading a book
and I were to learn
to ride horses
by riding horses,
who do you think
will be the better rider?
- author's father in law.

Your author married into a farming family.  Having grown up in the suburbs of the big city this turned out to be another of those humbling and character building experiences that life hands us.

I still recall the first time my then girlfriend took me "home" to the farm.

Prospective father in law extends a strong hard hand, callouses on both sides, grabs my sweaty little palm and proceeds to crush it.  I might be wrong but I could swear I spotted him glancing at her with a raised eyebrow silently asking: "erm... are you sure...?"

Don't get me wrong, they are absolutely fabulous people - salt of the earth people.  But ego to be checked at the door farm gate people - especially for a city slicker like me.

This is the place where my wife can do absolutely everything and I can do nothing.  She out rides me (cause I can't).  She out shoots me (Yes, with real rifles. Fml! Right!?).  Drives cattle like a boss (don't worry honey - I've put the bull that chased you up the tree back in the paddock...).  Slaughter, gut and skin a sheep? Yes. She does that.

Damn, Absence!?  That's rough.  Just one hit after the other, but as entertaining as stories of your incompetence and utter humiliations are, what exactly has this got to do with EVE?

Well dear Reader, nothing.  And everything.

Wife: Honey go fetch the bull.
Me: Look honey, no hands.   
You see for the longest time I approached EVE in the way I approached most other things in life - by RTFM.   This is all well and good, but as in the case of riding horses, no amount of reading Feyd (sadly moved on - picture to the right borrowed from him) et. al, watching eve is easy on youtube or theory crafting will make you a competent pilot.

At some point you have to get to doing.

My personal eureka moment was towards the middle of WWB/Casino war (pick your name).
During the so called Fabian defence.  No official defence was mounted, but members were encouraged to harass the enemy.

Your author could fleet up and push F1.  He could farm NPC's with the best of them.  Gate camp in a fleet a bit.  But on his own in this environment he could do nothing.  He had never learned to fly solo.  In effect, he had never experienced EVE.

This realisation and the resultant disillusionment had a lot to do with my losing my mojo and taking a lengthy break from EVE.  How can a player with my amount of SP, and so many years in game NOT be able to play?

It was already clear back then that I would have to approach things differently if I were to return to the game.
Astute readers will already know that I have joined a small FW corporation called  Schneckt.

Schneckt is a small but serious FW corp with a mix of experienced members and rank noobs.  The killboard would no doubt look more like a failboard to the smug l33t pvpers.  Flying and dying is encouraged.

We have guys that go for absolutely everything - sitting alone in a small plex and in warps 3 war targets?  Go for it.  His T1 frigate vs war target's navy/AF?  Go for it.  T1 frig vs Vexor?  You guessed it - go for it.  Of course these guys' kill boards reflect a large amount of losses.  But, and this is a very big but - it also reflects an astounding amount of unlikely wins.  Wins from fights most people would never have taken.

It is in this environment that your author has finally got to doing.

As can be expected, doing, mostly involves dying (almost through my stack of 15 Tristans).  Though your author is more cautious than some of the guys, he also takes some fights that he should not.  Mostly he loses those, but so far those losses are more than made up for by that single solo win against a Republic Fleet Firetail in his Tristan.

Life is looking up... now all I need is a horse that will fit into a novice plex...

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Dipping my toes back in...

Like most people that frequent a blog such as this, I like playing video games.  In my absence to EVE I whiled away my time playing League of Legends (LOL).

In many ways League is what EVE is not.

You log on, you queue up, and generally you get a match-up within a minute or two.  Depending on how well, or how poorly you play the match is over in 15 minutes to an hour.  No blobs.  Ten guys, five a side and you go at it.

It is a game where good players can excel, but also a game that is very team dependant - rare is the game that you win when someone on your team lags, disconnects or tilts badly.

The downside of that type of play though is the repetitiveness of it - yes, there is a variety of champions, but at its core it is a game of farm for gear and XP, fight, win/lose, rinse, repeat.

Image result for league of legends teemoWhich is the downfall of virtually all games - and hence our penchant for oscillating between a variety of them.

For some strange reason EVE has managed to draw and keep my attention more than most.

If you were to ask me why, I'm afraid I have no answer - you still have the farm, the XSP, fight, win/lose rinse and repeat cycles.  Good players still excel and if logi disconnects or you lag, you die...

Truly - you can suck just as much playing as a Teemo than as you can as a rifter pilot...

Which brings me full cycle to the topic du jour.

Image result for i can withstand anything except temptation memeForgive me Dear Reader, for I have succumbed.  A brand new 3 month subscription is mine.  Three months, we will see how it goes.

I withered and dithered a bit on where to go and what to do.  My old corp in null is still going strong and would welcome me back, but null does not really suit me.  I had thoughts of WH space, but are loath to commit too much time.  In the end I settled on FW.

It allows a for more casual time commitments and can be slightly more solo oriented (I play at odd hours).  It can pay for itself via LP, and you can fly cheaply.

I have applied to a smallish, but serious FW corp and to my astonishment they accepted my noob ass...  

We will see how it goes...

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

One year and a bit since I announced a hiatus from EVE I have again installed an EVE client.  Am I back?  Not quite.

I had refrained from renewing my subscriptions and instead elected to foray into the world of alpha clones.

Upon logging in the first thing you notice is that you cannot fly *any* of the ships you are used to.  Thanks to a generous, free rookie ship, I could eventually undock...  And do what exactly?

Perhaps I had to adjust my expectations but I cannot help being disappointed. Alpha clones really are useless.

Yes, I know.  Good for some things in limited niches.  And yes they are intended for newer players to introduce them to the game.  And yes, some newbies cause mayhem in their racial T1 frigates.  All the same - I was disappointed.

If I am to continue playing EVE alpha clone I cannot be, to which CCP will probably say "working as intended".

This of course led me to explore the market for PLEX.  Imagine my delight when I found PLEX could be had for the paltry sum of 3.2 million ISK.  Except of course, a PLEX is no longer a PLEX.  Instead of one PLEX I now needed 500 PLEX.   I read the blog on the why, but I have to confess I still don't get it. My aforementioned paltry sum quickly became a very princely sum.

Despite my bravado of earlier it seems an alpha I will have to be...

Other notable changes of are:

1)The training UI.  I have to confess I was lost and confused.  I liked the old interface much better.  Orderly, usable.  Awwwh well, I suppose there is always EVEMon.  Oh, and a 24 hour training queue - this at least had some familiarity - like a recurring bad dream that turns real.  I know, I know - alpha...

2)Some ship changes - most notably, I had an Archon that somehow turned into an Apostle...  Not that it matters because alphas can't fly either...   Besides in a default newbie corp (I got kicked for inactivity) flying that would still be a bad idea....

3)The same old depressing spam, trolling and questions still fills the newbie channel.  Sigh.

4)No IGB.  Will not be missed much.

5)A quick look through the old EVE news and blog sites made for depressing reading.  Goons, TEST, PL, NC and the Russians are still around.  Some comfortable old blogs seems to sadly be going inactive.  In fairness I did not spend time looking for new "fresh" blogs to colour my day.

All this within the first 10 minutes of logging in and subsequently logging off again.  I am sure I would discover some more delights if I were to subscribe again, but to be honest it still feels like the same stodgy old EVE that I had left a year ago.

Then again, EVE is what you make it and maybe, just maybe I am still the same old jaded player of a year ago.