Friday, 28 September 2012

Day 100 : Exploding Stories Amongst The Stars

You’ve seen the quote, or some version of it, on a hundred bio entries of pilots in Local. Relevant in so many ways to my EVE experience.

Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster, and if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.

I listen to the HBC State of the Alliance. I was going to skip through it but it was compelling in a weird way. 
They seem more organised, tactical and, well, normal than I thought most in the null game would be. I’d thought that those people I’ve spoken to already were the exceptions. Now I know I’m inexperienced and other alliances probably have this but I am intrigued. Null is definitely on the list now for me. Exploring that aspect of the game has become an aim despite it being the part of the game I least expected to like. I need to explore some other parts of the game first and get my skills to the point where I can contribute in some realistic way but I'm going at some point. I’m still determined not to become a logistics pilot. No more healing roles for me thank you. Thank god I don’t have the cash or skill queue control for that stuff. I’m still wary about null since, whatever anyone says, it always feels like a type of end-game, like the raiding in WoW I swore never to get back into.

In the afternoon I link up with Jax for one of our fail roams. We’ll get better, we just have to endure the live fire practice that these roams are.  Our first fight is with a Vexor on a gate. The Vexor pilot makes very good choices in a very short amount of time. Ignoring my Incursus he goes after Jax who is flying a faction frigate. The Vexor has a neut fitted and with the capacitor crippled and a decent drone squad all over him Jax is soon a gonner. He’s done enough damage already to wipe out the Vex shields and I’ve given most of the armour a pounding but as soon as Jax is gone the shields start to regenerate at a rate my gunfire can’t really cope with. I should have gone after the drones from the start. Another lesson learned, and against a well flown Vexor. Mutual GFs exchanged. I could almost feel the pilots icy calm. I contrast it with my adrenaline based blackout. Remaining calm is the most important thing I need to learn. I get out of the fight reduced to about 60% hull, saved again by my double repairer fit.

Later on we run into a Thrasher running some of the Faction Warfare outposts. For some reason I neglect to consider that this is an infamous anti frigate platform and consequently I get my ass handed to me. Still suffering from whatever malady has struck me down this weekend I make the peculiar decision to go back in yet another Incursus, though more poorly fit, for a solo attempt. It’s a good lesson for me. Having it hammered home why something is completely stupid is always a good lesson. Don’t fly angry. Dangerous yes. Angry no. If one starts to blend into the other then PUT THE INTERNET SPACESHIP DOWN and back away.

I feel a bit discouraged despite myself and log off for a bit, but fortunately am able to talk myself round and realise what a plank I’ve been. I am Noob! I am meant to be shit at PVP. I am going to explode all the time. The more daft errors made now means less later. Trial by fire? It’s school by fire. I’ve learnt today that I need a set of fully fit ships ready to go, that fighting anti-frigate platforms in a frigate is a bad idea, and not to change tactics just before the start of a fight. Lets face it, it was fun to get blown up once I stopped being annoyed at myself.

Speaking of which, just for a lark and to make myself laugh even more at loss, I launch the Mission Impossible. The Mission Impossible is a basic Iteron hauler with a zero rig fit and a cargo hold packed with a mocking story. The intention is to see how far it gets before I run into trouble so I head to the first null system I can find.

Like a noob I jump directly across the system to the next gate. I run straight into a bubble guarded by a faction frigate. My solution is simple, I don’t need to survive, I just want to see what happens and last for as long as possible. I hit the DC before I get incoming fire, I start up the shield booster once the damage starts to build up. I survive for a lot longer than I expected as I idle towards the gate, I even get to the edge of the bubble though by that time the hull doesn’t last much longer. As expected my pod is also locked and scrambled much to my amusement.

This heinous attacker, this assaulter of poor noob industry ships (ha) then says “ransome” to me in Local. “Ransome”? Is he talking about Arthur Ransome, celebrated author of Swallows and Amazons? It’s a good adventure book for children but this is hardly the time or the place for such a discussion. I give my opponent a cheery wave in local and tell them to enjoy the loot,
but the scoundrel shoots me dead! Oh noes! Bye bye +2 implants, hello +3’s.

I brought my assailant many good things in the hold of the Mission Impossible, such as 1 Carbon and a single Janitor. Sadly the Exotic Male Dancer did not drop for them, and I guess they will now have no use for the 1 unit of Antibiotics that did drop. I will try harder to pack more next time my nullsec PVP brothers, o7! Sorry to leave you with only 1 unit of  Frozen Food to eat and only 1 unit of Radioactive Waste to cook it on. Perhaps if you give the 1 Scientist the 1 unit of Spirits he will help you cook. I think I’ve tried hard here, honestly! I’ve created a whole story with a simple cargo and a willingness to get podded. Shame about those implants but the storymakers art is a dangerous one! ;)

Anyway. That’s Day 100. I’m going to take a week off blogging. Next week will be busy in real life and there won’t be much to write about until the London Meet Up. I think the blog will move away from daily posts and tend towards the weekly in future. I’ve been neglecting playing for writing about playing and I need to play to have something to write about. It’s a vicious circle. Still, 100 days ain’t bad!

London Meet Up
If you are going and see someone that looks like an older, fatter, drunker version of Cheradenine Harpers portrait, then that person might well be me. Say hi, and tell me an EVE fact that a Noob needs to know!


100 days! Ah wud blog wun hundrud daze, an ah wud blog wun hundrud moar, jus tae be th’ man who blogged..... STOP IT.

Day 99 : The Day Off

I wake up in the middle of the night and feel ice cold while sweating furiously. Ah, hello first work related lurgy of the winter season. I wondered when you’d be along.

By morning I feel like I’ve been beaten with sticks and am in no mood to sit in front of EVE. My thoughts and reactions would be dulled and this would lead to loss of cash and ships in stupid mistakes. It would probably also lead to rage tears which are pretty daft so sod that for a game of space pilots, it’s a do-fuck-all day. I’m going to resist the temptation to describe the day in EVE terms. I’ve done that joke. I’ll probably do it again sometime. Hopefully not about an entire day.

Things I get done instead:

The new Kindle Touch turns up in the post. Being in a strange mood I RTFM, something I normally skip with tech products. Scanning the various formats the thing can support I have more thoughts on building my own Noob reference guide and carrying it around. It’s too much heavy  thinking for today and I end up just downloading the books I’ve already talked about on the blog and pre-ordering The Hydrogen Sonata, the next Iain M Banks Culture novel. It’s out on the 4th. Kindle Touch : 8/10

I watch an entire disc of Falling Skies episodes. There is something missing from this post apocalyptic alien invasion series. I can’t put my finger on what exactly and it has enough to keep drawing me back for more.

I spent a while musing on the reasons to get a second account. I think I’ll get one as a birthday present to myself. It should allow me to generate cash a little faster without resorting to PLEX buying which is a bridge too far for me. It should also give me to move mining/trade/transport/PI designs away from my main combat/industry character. Eventually I’d move industry off there too but for now I want the main account to retain industry skills in case the second account doesn’t take. 

I spend a while thinking about playing some Warcraft, Pandas be damned. I've left that game, it's no longer my game of choice, but after so many years of playing I can't help feeling intrigued by another expansion however much I disagree with it's main focus. I might spend a day or so of my upcoming week off having a look at it. It doesn't help that an old in game friend has joined my old guild. Nostalgic memories of insanely difficult Burning Crusade runs that were some of the best times I had in Warcraft are not helping me avoid Pokemon Pandacraft.

I watch a metric ton of other, easy to ingest, TV : Buffy, New Girl, Big Bang Theory, the list goes on.

I mentally prepare for a super dull blog post. Here you go!

Reasons for getting a second account #6

I'm tired of trying to resist it.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Day 98 : Guns Vs Industry

It’s the usual Friday job. I wait all week to get a swathe of guilt free EVE time and then do nothing. What is this all about? Is anticipation better than realisation? That can’t be true. Every time I log into EVE it’s like stepping into a time machine. I look up after around what I think is an hour later and somehow four hours have gone by.

I start the morning with a quick Jita run to start regaining some of the cash I spent on the Ishkur. For starters this is weird because I already saved the money ahead of time. It’s a poor excuse for rocketing between Dodixie and Jita. I think I’m actually looking for the next easy win and making the run because it’s a cheap thrill, Risk As Reward again. If I’m not careful I’ll end up falling into one of the market traps you occasionally see. They should be obvious, but obvious isn’t all that clear when you’ve just woken up.

I’m getting closer to setting up long term buy and sell orders but I haven’t found anything I can commit to 100%. Partly this is cowardice over the bank balance. It’s also due to the the best tactic for trade and industry being to start with what  you know, by which I mean what you have used. I’ve hardly used anything. My most expensive ships are a Myrm I haven’t flown yet and my fitted Ishkur.

Instead of setting up buy orders for trade I think I’m going to revert back to industry, use buy orders to get materials in and use sell orders to get the finished product out. Less trade thrill runs, more of a sense of achievement from production runs. I got started on this whole thing a few months back but aside from a small business in drone manufacture which keeps cash dribbling in I didn’t take it any further. Low sec excitement demanded skill queue priority for a while. I think the current plan is to boost my industry skills again and then revert back to combat skills.

The common wisdom about combat skills often seems to be to get to battleships as fast as you can. I like flying the smaller ships though, I feel the need for speed. So, I think I’m going to round off all the basics while working my way up through advanced frigate types. I already have Assault ships,  Interceptors are next in line. I wouldn’t be surprised to see bombers before battleships but I’ll see how it goes. The temptation to plunge a ton of time into autocannon skills is immense. This would enable me to strap the equivalent of huge machine guns onto the Myrmidon, which is now named “Keelhauler” after the shape, and get her out in the black gunning things down. I can’t help but think of the Lewis gun incident in Cryptonomicon. There isn’t any bonus for standard Gallente Hybrid guns on the Myrmidon hull so I won’t be losing out there, plus I nearly rolled Minmatar at the start and they have some cool looking ships built for the weaponry I’m talking about.

Reasons for getting a second account #5

Replay. In some sense whatever I did on the first character would be repeated. I’d get to be a proper Noob all over again.  Would I though? Would it be the same? It’s worth testing surely? Given the amount of cash I’ve saved over the last couple of months by playing EVE  the power of two is affordable. Would I be able to drop it after the six months though?

NOTE: This post 6 days behind actual events!

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Day 97 : Too Shiny

It’s Ishkur day. Skills are learned to an “acceptable” level, cash is “earned” through the Jita run the other day to pay for it.  I’ve named it "Killing Time" after the small, destructive and over enthusiastic warship that appeared in Excession.

More spikes! More gunmetal plating. More corporate stamping! More engine nacelles! Once again the love of a shiny new ship beats all. I can’t bear to risk it in some insane attempt to speed tank a level 4 mission. Typical.

In other news : blog stats still going crazy. As soon as anything appears on reddit it is consumed. It’s like the home of internet reading piranhas or something.

I head out on a solo roam into low sec to round off the evening but there is no one about. Nothing is happening. At one point I spy a set of five tier 2 drones hanging in space 80K of a gate. It looks like a trap. It smells like a trap. I’m bored so I head towards a trap. 70K, 50K, 30K, nothing.... Down to 10K now and still nothing. Any second now if the trap is sprung with short range guns. Turns out it wasn’t a trap, it was 2.5 million free loot.

It’s a slow night in the rest of the systems I visit. Must be that whole Thursday is the new Friday thing. All the local pirates are probably in one of those bars you see attached to Serpentis bases. I wonder how many stagger outside to take a leak or attempt to head next door to the whorehouse and suddenly remember it’s vacuum outside. I guess the best thing about being a capsuleer could be the fact that you don’t wake up with a hangover and a set of mysterious injuries after going on an almighty bender. You wake up in a nice fresh clone, sans hangover or injury. You can imagine pirate capsuleers spacing themselves on purpose at the end of a heavy night and getting laughed at by their mates when they turn up in the free noobmobile (or SpaceMobility as I’ve started calling them so unpolitically correctly) next morning. You can’t imagine this ? Try harder. Maybe that’s how I can cajole myself  into writing some fiction; whimsy and stupidity tales. I’d really like to try but keep holding myself back. I have a friend who writes short stories, she’s not a gamer. Her stories are these short tales of the almost real, tales that nudge your mind a little off track. I just can’t imagine forming any story into a coherent whole. If you’ve read the blog before, you’ve seen me babble. Anyway, go read a decent short story if that kind of thing rings your bell If it’s EVE based fiction you are after then the Friday posts on are a one stop shop.

Speaking of which, I chat later to a few of the tweetfleet gods! Sindell and Drackarn (of the blog above, who presumably had too much of said cider and vanished quite early on) are on bantering about the Angel project and I get involved. A Noob hanging out in tweetfleet gassing with the faces of fame from the EVE world! I’m a little starstruck and I’m normally immune to that kind of thing. It’s a bit worrying. What if someone space famous is at the London meetup? Tgl3 ( will be there and I think I pissed him off in tweetfleet earlier with a crack along the lines of  “EVE has taught me multitasking. I can drink beer and swear at the skill queue at the same time”. Resp
onse : “woo”. Hmmm. Note to self : don’t type random things in there when bored.

Reasons to get a second account #4

Dual action. I could set up my laptop and hopefully be able to “solo” roam with two ships. Admittedly I had better learn to fly just one first - but the potential is there! There are other things I could do while flying two ships when no one is around - onlining a POS while defending it springs to mind. Mining ops I’ve covered elsewhere.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Day 96 : Where am I?

I’m called to order by a comment that says I’m slowing down on the EVE front (

It has been slowing down a bit. Progress and adventures in the game aren’t as frequent and they were at the start. This is completely natural and given the amount of time I’ve spent in EVE it is surprising it hasn’t crept up on me already. I’ve had a rough couple of weeks back in RL and that saps post work energy that should be better spent cruising the corridors of low sec and being shot to pieces.

The last thing I want is for EVE to become a grind though. I need to take more days off and preserve the games appeal. Oddly the skill queue, my greatest enemy of the first few months, comes to my aid. Even logged off I can feel that my character is progressing through something.

I’ll probably also move the blog to non daily posts. Weekly at least, with maybe a few in between when something happens, or when something I read fires the imagination. The blog is currently four or five days behind. Updating it less will make it more current. Updating it less will allow me to play the actual game some more! There will always be others to take up the sense-of-wonder noob mantle and run with it. Nothing will incidentally flood my blog stats so I spit what I am eating at the screen - thanks to ;) . See

It’s as good a time to post what I am up to and how I feel about EVE after three months.


                                                        I spread myself a little thin


I’ve a decent stash. I need to invest some of it in something but I’m holding onto it for reasons of safety ( should some epic error require recovery from scratch ) and as a source of ship and mod fittings for PVP. I must stop thinking of my cash as a score and more as collateral.

Adventures & Achievements

See entries in this blog!


Best. Game. Ever. I've hardly done anything else for three months. Not that I could have for most of it as it turns out but what the hell. It's also at least partly responsible for saving me a load of RL cash. Which today (day 101) I've just enjoyably spent most of. Interesting how my conclusion on Day One ( is still completely true.


After saying that back in the game I don’t do much. I watch a nice tutorial on the directional scanner, though the vocals on it scare me a little for some reason.

After that I bugger off to watch another episode of Buffy and one of Falling Skies. Sometimes even the lure of logging in to fuck around with the skill queue can’t make you log in. Sometimes it’s good to save up all the plans for the weekend.

Reason to get a second account #3

Focus. It becomes clear that I can’t explore everything I want to in a timescale that makes me happy. See the skill wheel above. For example the skills for PI or for blockade runners, which would complement each other, are out of reach for now. Too many other skills will jump the queue ahead of them.

Day 95 : Back to Bear Basics

Today I really only log in to slot the next skill queue item up. I log in too early and so I move some stuff to a test market on autopilot while I wait for the last 40 minutes to tick down. I chat with our resident corp WoW player who I hadn’t expected to see today. Apparently the pre expansion event in WoW was a little lack luster...

Earlier in the day I read this

It’s very long and very bias. If you are pure bear then it is probably best not read at all since the author pretty much gets busy undermining his central point by repeatedly displaying his bias, that of hating care bear style players. The article twists away from his reasonable points towards his need for easy kills. It reads just shy of a disguised rant about having his toys taken away. If hisec is too safe and people can play EVE there without care then where will all his easy kills come from?

The shocking thing for me is that on some points I agree with him. Not to the extent of doing anything (more than is already happening) about it, not to the extent of wanting anything to change quite so radically. When I first read the authors own blog ( about his pursuit of hisec miners I was horrified. It was too early in my EVE career to understand. Lately I’ve come to regard it as a guilty pleasure, it’s cruel example of emergent gameplay but a lot of the miners he reports on are walking into the trap and digging themselves deeper when they are in there.

Hisec feels almost too safe half the time but I wouldn’t change it. People play their own game there and who am I to take it away? Sure, EVE is a PVP game and should stay that way. As long as there is no real threat of non consensual PVP being removed entirely then who cares? I too though would buff lowsec, agreeing with the article. I’d buff it so that there was a reason, a temptation, for hisec miners to go there and risk their ships in the pursuit of reward.  I’d at least put +20% rocks in low sec and rare spawns of rocks usually found in null. I think there are other things I’d do but I don’t know enough about the game to comment.

The problem with nerfing hisec instead is that people take it personally when they are the victim of a nerf. You’ve done it, I’ve done it. We leap up and shout “not fair!” or usually something more whiney. CCP have recently dodged some bullets just by labelling "nerfs and buffs" as “rebalancing”. It didn’t work completely as far as I could see but it was one of the ways to do a stealth nerf. A buff outside hisec could be a stealth nerf, the value of hisec decreasing over time as more players make the move to profit from more dangerous areas of space. This has been going on for some time anyway. It ain’t stealth if you see it happening. It isn't a nerf that's needed anyway.

In the end, in the sandbox you have to take the rough with the smooth. It’s cool to play in the sandbox but eventually someone will, now and again, kick your castles over. It’s an excuse to build something different, have some kind of reasonable response, not an excuse to use the same tactics in reverse. The author of the above article is looking for that. He’s pointing out that the holes in the current hisec rules that allow him to escape any kind of response. He’s may come across as cruel or evil to some but he is intelligent (and god help me, very amusing) when he does so.

Do I have my own bias? Of course I do, at the core I am mostly bear. I like games with things like industry themed elements, building stuff, trading. It’s probably mainly the legacy of playing Civilisation all the way through university. I did tend to play the game with the hope of starting global thermonuclear war when playing, rather than to get a high score. I can’t play a game without destruction of some form.

So what was the whole point of this? An opinion piece? No, this is me just trying to figure out “what” I am in EVE using the article as a kind of mirror. Am I a carebear? Am I a carebear that's rabid and occasionally goes on the rampage? Am I just a bear that has realised that there is good free eating on the trash heap with lots of new tastes to savour ( and if someone gets unlucky - human flesh). Currently in low sec I am a bit a tasty garbage for other roamers of the trash heap of space. 

I think my opinion on the article is tainted by the fact that I'm not the kind of bear the author hates. My mining is done to pay for ships and equipment I can then go and risk at the weekend. I'm that kind of person. Nerfing hisec to the ground, and in doing so the playstyle of AFK mining bears, will just get rid of those other bears, leaving exactly the same amount of PVP players as before. The number of these players would get less over time too, since you'd have less new players making it through the earlier, harder, now with less ability to afford ships, period of the game.

Give people a reason to move out of hisec, don't force them. Encourage and coax new players into the PVP arena. Force them and they quit. Less money for CCP, less money for EVE. Encourage new players to take chances and enjoy all EVE has to offer while at the same time leaving hi sec alone means more money for CCP, more for EVE, more players overall. It will be a slow process. I've seen it underway in just the short amount of time I've been playing. Buffed mining barges is part of it.

Anyway. That was a load of incoherent rubbish. That's what you get for me trying to keep up with blogging during lunchtimes. Somewhere along the line I lost the thread of my argument. It's been a long time since I wrote something where I had to construct a reasonable response rather than a rant. "make a point, prove it, repeat" as one of my old history teachers told me about the steps towards conclusion. He didn't say "make a point, talk about something else, dither for a bit, change direction, sweep some shit under the carpet, and then get the hell out before anyone realises what you are on about".

Back to EVE the game. I start gearing up for the Mission Impossible at the weekend. I’m wondering what to fit and am looking at ECM when I have a freaky ECM and Elite based deja vu moment provoked by writing day 92. I can’t stand deja vu. It's like feeling some horrible neurological insult is about to be delivered. I switch off space and go to bed.

Reason to get a second account #2

Foisting off mining onto a second account and open up the possibility of trying small scale joint mining operations. I’ve been invited to some before, larger scale ops that it would be nice to take part in and observe. See ? Still a ‘bear.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Day 94 : Weekender Trading

I’ve a lot on in RL this week so some posts might be a little short, perhaps virtually empty, and I won’t get chance to update them till the weekend. That said, first thing Monday morning, I’m online and parked in Dodixie to check out a theory.

Sure enough, the weekenders have been on. I buy out several orders of various things. One thing here, 16 there, another 4 on top. I have quite the splurge for 5 minutes, scanning all my findings back up to

I then jump in my fast ship and make the 15 minute run to Jita on manual. Bear in mind here that I’m still trying to balance the cargo hold worth against the worth of tricked out Hurricanes on the Uedama gate. I’m just under what they would be worth fitted I think. I still get a rush from passing through various systems in Citadel, which is really why I make these occasional runs.

Arriving in Jita I just sell the lot. I know, I know. I need a regular system of Sell orders, not to mention Buy orders at the other end, but I’ve become strangely addicted to the running total of cash in the bank. I think its the way it counts up after you click the Wallet window open. It’s like the score at the end of a level in an arcade game. Hopefully one day I’ll get to enter my name in three characters in the high score table.

What’s the profit for this 20 minutes of work? 50 million ISK. Now, I’m no great trader but for a one off run, with a pilot with hilariously bad Caldari rep, that isn’t bad. How could it happen? My hypothesis was that people would be dumping a weekends worth of junk onto the market. Lots of people dump stuff on there after playing all weekend and there are bound to be a few mistakes, and probably a lot of lazy, quick sale, Sell orders. I’ll be back there again some Monday morning scanning Tag values but it feels like an odd start to the week. The ISK gain is great but it makes me feel guilty about not using the market more in a persistent way. I need to find a return trade route, either straight back to Dodixie or to some other location on the way home. These should be slower trading items so it might make me think more clearly about this trading lark.

I’ve been thinking about the second account a lot. I’m past the three month mark and I’ve realised that a second account wouldn’t dilute the Noob experience so much anymore, so it’s time to start writing down the reasons that I should consider a second account, beyond the fact that I love the game of course.

Reasons to get a second account #1

Caldari standings : My main is Gallente, I’ve boosted his standings to be able to get level 4 missions. The Caldari don’t like him and this situation probably won’t improve. I could station the new alt in Jita while it trained (pretty much all it would be doing at first). A few trade skills and some career missions should cut down on brokerage fees which are making a dent in every profit. On the non boring side, I could claim I have a pet squid.


I may have done two runs to Jita. My notes for Monday were the equivalent of a managerial post it note reminder. Pretty damn pointless. I have a memory like a sieve and in RL can't splash out on a +4 implant.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Day 93 : Sunday Scouting School

The plan for the day is a PVP roam with Jax. Jax is one of our corps two antipodeans that I rarely see outside of the weekend owing to the time zone constraints. He knows more about fitting ships and flying them than my Noob self so I generally follow his lead and then end up getting us both in trouble by being rubbish. Sorry. Lets face it - he kills Lokis with a capsule and I get ganked by gate guns.

(yeah, yeah, I know. I think most of the kill was done with a Myrmidon)

This time he is flying a Brutix to see how it performs. It can be a DPS monster but it has to get there first and as a blaster boat and a battlecruiser at the same time that can take some doing. I’m flying scout style in my usual failfit Incursus which despite now sporting a dual armour repair setup I’ve crippled in a couple of ways. I’ve combined passive and active armor tanking out of a fear of alpha that I’ve seen. This cripples my speed which is not good. My other failing is my lack of knowledge about capacitor boosters. If anyone can point me at a decent article about fitting and using  these damn things I would be thankful. The range of sizes and charges makes them an entire fitting game in themselves.

We zip through a couple of systems with me looking ahead. We’ve pre-prepared safe points in most of them and the general consensus is that I’ll scope the fight and draw in Jax as the big guns once a fight gets started. Our first target is a chatty fellow in local who is calling out observations on the local gate camp situation. Interestingly he is flying a Navy Comet which might just be my favourite ship in the game so far.

I roar towards the Comet who nimbly skips away, laughing at my poor speed and lack of range control. He’s also drawing me away from the gate guns. A conversation ensues that goes something like this.

“Do you want to die Cheradenine Harper?”

“Yes! Kill me now!”

“Ok, as soon as we are out of gate gun range!”

As soon as we are out of gate gun range he opens up with what feels like a couple of rail guns and unleashes three drones. Having already flown a Comet I’d expected this. I’d like to get in range but I’m wary of getting just close enough that he’ll get some kind of Nosferatu on me which would really mess my strategy  up. The incoming damage is easily repaired and I shoot down the drones as soon as they come near. Fast tracking blaster fits are a drones worst nightmare. They also mean I can’t get a shot on target. The Comet pilot is does an excellent job of dictating range against my blasters. I can’t touch him. At this point Jax warps in to me at about 10k. Fingers are crossed that this lands him in point and web range of the Comet but we don’t get lucky. The Comet pilot mutters something disparaging about unfair fights but I salute and congratulate him on the quality of his speed tanking and range control. I get a salute in return. He knows there is never a 100% “fair” fight in EVE. Win or die. Try to enjoy and learn from both or don't hang out in lowsec.

After the Comet vanishes we end up roaming. I play a little cat and mouse with a four ship gatecamp but it wouldn’t be worth Jax jumping in unless we managed to isolate one of the smaller ships that we could gank and run. The gatecampers play a game of warping in and then out and then in again trying to get me within a decent range but it’s not happening for them. First ship warps in, then warps out, they forgot to do the Hokey Cokey and turn around. Apparently that’s what it’s all about.

Bored by the lack of targets we start to head home, later seeing our chatty Comet friend jumped by the remnants of another gate camp. I’m not sure what happened to his range.  They must have got lucky with a warp in, that or he got careless in some way. Speculation on carelessness isn’t enough to prevent us from falling to a similar fate. Our rush to warp home and the boredom over lack of action end up with us running into an unexpected camp on the far side of a gate jumping into Melmaniel. Thanks to the Incursus being small and fast I get away, poor old Jax ain’t so lucky.

Lessons learned

1. Stick to the plan, stick to the plan (it really, really worked for Leeroy Jenkins pals), don’t get lazy.
2. Balance the pairing more of ships more. The roles of both ships need to complement each other and be a rounded combat device. We were both short range brawlers.
3. Don’t poke gatecamps with a stick.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Day 92 : Grindstanding

Saturday morning, I’m still in an odd mood. More fun flying The Sweeney is required. Notification of when my MRI scan is has come through. Laughing at Serpentis is way more amusing than idle speculation about what would happen if I ate a bag of nails before going in the machine. Well, sort of. I think my explosion would be better.

I think I’ve done all the level 2 COSMOS missions I can get my hands on. Time to fly the level 3 ones. I’m a bit wary as these might be a smidgen too tough in just a frigate. This isn’t any old frigate though. While it isn’t a tier 2 frigate, it is the frigate that the tier 2 frigates are looking over their shoulders at.

Fast, armed with two guns and a nosferatu energy drainer, it roars up to enemy battlecruisers as they hang around in their filthy dives doing nothing (seriously - what are they doing?), and snaps out the internet spaceship version of “put yer trousers on sonny, you’re nicked”. When I fly away, leaving a trail of Serpentis wrecks behind me I imagine calls of “who the hell are you?”. “We’re the Sweeney, and we haven’t had any dinner” I mutter.

I knew I shouldn’t have named the ship that. I definitely shouldn’t be flying it in an odd mood like this. Readers from the UK of a certain age might have a clue what I’m on about. For everyone else this is the reason a film has just been released starring Ray Winston and PlanB called “The Sweeney”. Well, the original 70s TV series is the reason - not my flying around easy PVE content in a frigate. They wouldn’t make a film about me running up to some Serpentis, kicking them in the knackers and then legging it with the loot before they were any the wiser. I’d watch that film but I doubt anyone else would be interested.

So basically, I’m in an odd mood. I have not gone mad. Well, I might have, just not as badly as it sounds as if I have. Enough ranting about my bizarre mood and daft name association games with the ships I fly. I’ll be back to those games next week when I plan to name a basic industrial ship “Mission Impossible” and see how far out of hisec I can get in it.  

Back to the PVE content. It’s actually quite an entertaining fight. There are several Brutix style battlecruisers in the field, some normal cruisers, a handful of frigates and a couple of missile batteries. I have to leave a couple of times when I mess up the speed tanking but more use of the tactical view tends to sort this out. I’d planned for one exit and repair per set of missile launchers. I hate these things and I can’t just leave them to the lads. I tend to plan to dive bomb them and get the hell out as long as they aren’t going to cause more waves of rats to appear.

I grind down the mission until I’m left with a handful of cruisers and a couple of the battlecruisers. I can set drones on one, lock the vampire on it if it is nearby, orbit and gun down one BC while being fast enough to avoid a lot of the incoming damage. Thanks to the state of the capacitor I can tank the rest of the damage. I need to look up some aggro rules. I wonder if I can distract more rats by splitting my drones into three groups. I can carry six so I could have three in a single group and then three acting as individual annoying flies keeping stuff off my back.

Finishing the first set of level 3 COSMOS missions is enough to tip my Gallente standings over 5.0. This activates level 4 agents. I’m not sure what the whole 5 activating level 4 thing is about, I should read up on it but the standing system has already irritated me enough. I’ll find out more when I go back and try and restore some Caldari standings without trashing my Gallente standings. I get the feeling that this isn’t possible and I’m going to be relying on alts to trade at Jita come the end.

On my way out, collecting yet more mission litter, I see my first plasma planet. I’m not sure why I haven’t seen one before. This one is in the Jel system. Part of me knows it is very similar to a lava planet, only with a different colour scheme. The enthusiast in me thinks that blue glowing planets are pretty good on the eye.

I’ve now got the standings to try a level 4 mission. I opt, surprisingly enough, for a mining mission. That’s why I spend the next hour being bored. I don’t have to shoot anything and in a Procurer I have to go back to the station three or four times. I think these things were designed with other ships or setups in mind. I don’t have the ships or skills to run a level 4 combat based mission as far as I can tell. Let’s hope I don’t get bored in the week and try one before I’m ready. Earnings from the mission, including LP, are still theoretically half what I could earn doing regular mining but even I can’t do that all the time.

In the evening I take a break and log off. It’s only later that I curse myself for forgetting, and so missing, the RvB Ganked run that I’d intended to join. I doubt I’ll be online at all next Saturday evening which means it’ll be at least two weeks before I can try and join another. At least it was ECM themed which is probably the class of mod that I know least about. I’ve used webs, scrams and even painters, but are they classed as ECM? Surely ECM is just target jammers?

As a note mainly to myself some random browsing (as in I can’t remember how the hell I got there - I was just clicking things) leads me to this Another one for the upcoming new Kindle list I think. If you’ve see the picture of the ticket on the screenshots page (, you know what I mean.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Day 91 : Derailed

My morning trip to New Eden is derailed by CCP Seleene of all people. He posts a Guild Wars 2 review from YouTube via Twitter. The Monty Python bit alone had me laughing. Nice start to the morning but so much for my early Jita run....


It’s Friday and traditionally I wait all week to get back and have a late night, no work tomorrow, session in front of EVE and then never do it.

This Friday I’m in an odd mood and do manage to log on before collapsing in a heap. I trigger a storyline while doing a mining mission. This storyline mission is a combat orientated one. I get this from mining? I’d been labouring under the false assumption that mining missions would result in storyline mining missions. It means that I had better be careful about triggering storylines when I start doing level 4 missions. I’m hoping that obtaining the required standings for level 4 missions will coincide with both decent skills for the Ishkur and a decent fit for the Brutix that I bought ages ago. I think both should be able to handle level 4 missions. I have some concerns about level 4 missions resulting in Distribution storyline jobs requiring me to head into low sec. My rust bucket haulers are no where near tanked enough to survive anything that might happen down there. I’d have to get the corp involved to do some scouting. If only I could spare the month of training required to fly and fit a blockade runner. Have you seen that Power of Two offer by the way? Yeah. So have I. I’ve stared at it several times now and still not given in....

The current level 3 storyline mission revolves around some Serpentis dude called Garkon Puman. Apparently he has been kicking up a fuss, presumably he is angry at people continually  assuming he is a waiter in France. Time to send in The Sweeney, the Federation Navy Comet I am so enamoured of. I want to play the music from The Sweeney but can’t find the soundtrack to the original TV series so I kick off the soundtrack to an equally cheesy 80s cop show instead - The Professionals. Cheese-tastic. Technically I think they were MI6 rather than cops. It still amuses the hell out of me. I told you I was in an odd mood.

These Serpentis guys must not know what hit them. My fitting skills are poor but even my badly fitted Comet just soars in and sorts them out in short order. Oh, shields gone, in armour am I? Meet my new friend, Armour Repairer II, nosferatu powered by your pal over there. Compared to PVP all this level 3 PVE content is laughably easy even with my shoddy combat skills. The benefit lies in trying modules out, seeing how they work, gauging their effectiveness, and employing them in different strategies. In PVP you don’t get much chance to experiment, particularly when flying frigates like I do. Small PVE missions are perfect places for trying out things like speed tanking and attack approaches. The only problem is that in PVP I’ll still have about a tenth of the time I have in PVE to adapt and use these strategies. This level 3 mission is a kids bike with training wheels and PVP is a motorbike.

Later on I spend some time chatting to Elethiomel, an older hisec pilot with a lot of game experience. I first ran into him in Essence somewhere. His character name is sourced from the same book as my characters first name. Read the book Use Of Weapons, I think I mentioned him earlier in the blog. I’d spoil the book if I told you why we were amused by our character names.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Day 90 : Stories

I do the jump gate tour to pick up all the bits and bobs I left scattered across Sinq Laison during a previous evening of hammering out all the level 2 COSMOS missions. They are worth it if you need an evening of not thinking too much. It’s a bit of a shame that I’ve transferred my Warcraft attitude of grabbing the mission, reading only what I need to do and hardly ever why. I need to stop doing this since the stories in the missions aren’t as bad as I’ve heard some people say. Not always of course, but I feel like I’m missing out a bit, especially since I can’t do these missions again. I’d like to engage with the EVE PVE storyline a little more. Sometimes it feels a little thin on the ground compared to a fully PVE game, which of course EVE isn’t so there is a good reason for that. You can’t have everything, it’s primarily a PVP sandbox. I can’t go throwing my toys out of that sandbox just because I want an evening of being pandered to. If I want to be told stories I can go read a book or watch a film. Having said that New Edens ongoing story does enhance the atmosphere in the game. I do enjoy the unique natures of the four player empires, I have played the game while engaging with the story surrounding these PVE entities.

People are already out there merging the sandbox and PVE. Some are doing it by writing EVE based fiction ( and to name two) , others coming up with cool ideas ( for example). I’m wondering if there is anything I could come up with. I’m not confident enough to write fiction, I don’t have an encyclopedic knowledge of either EVE or the history of EVE to know what player made story events might be possible. I’m going to have a think. I’ve my own story of moving through EVE but I just did a grind for rep’ so something has to change in case I burn out.

Yesterday I saw this on the forums.

It seems to have since vanished but there are summaries and discussions elsewhere on the forums

Some quick thoughts.

The new ORE mining frigate I would have bought anyway to try out. I’ll really help get noobs like me on their feet initially if the price is reasonable. The dev blog mentions “ninja mining” though. I hadn’t thought about that. Ninja mining sounds like a good laugh. I can see me wasting a few of these frigates while attempting to get through gate camps into nullsec space in an attempt to add the high end ores to my samples set.  

The new Gallente destroyer looks like it will be drone based. I already like fighting with drones, fortunate considering I’m Gallente, but a destroyer based on them sounds like a lot of fun.

It looks as if the Exequror is being changed to be a pure logistics ship. This one disappoints me. I’ve got one that I regard as my cheap blockade runner, since I’ve no time to get into the epic skill queue stretch that is involved in getting an actual blockade runner. This ship has been my equivalent of a Firefly class hauler, and is shamelessly called Serenity. This change makes me glum. I can’t see Mal Reynolds turning over a profit as a space healer.

The Thorax sounds as if it is being buffed up a little. I need to be ready as I really want to fly one of these in combat and at the moment I’m hampered by fittings issues due to poor skills in anything larger than frigates. By the time I get to fly one I’ll already have skills to fly a Brutix.

The Vexor is unsurprisingly classed as good already. I’ve a lot of fondness for this hull.  I’ve used it for mining, salvaging and as a backup combat drone boat with some sniping ability. It’s a good all rounder for a new cruiser pilot to buy.

I do some reading around the EVE blogosphere as usual. I’m trying to keep up with a lot of different blogs and it is already hard enough dealing with my own backlog. I make this worse by discovering a few more. I really need to find some way to limit the amount I’m trying to read or it’ll become a full time job.

The first is He is attempting to duplicate an experiment originally done by  It sounds like a cool way to approach learning PVP and now I’m going to have to read both. Lucas Padecain is also flying with an EVE pal of mine, Captain John Crichton, who I met in the early days. Once I get my skills up to spec I might have to suggest a joint venture.

The third blog is
I arrived here after a post on twitter and read an amusing summary of the current arguments about voting in CSM members ( but find another post where RL time constraints, and perhaps not a little boredom, has led a non-noob pilot back to mining ( As a “bit” of a miner myself ( a shoddy one who doesn’t even have Mining V ) I’m intrigued and after posting  find out that the author reads this blog! Quite how I am going to cope with the epic amount of content on I don’t know. It reminds me that one of the things I wanted to do with this blog was go back and try and convert it into an ebook format then I could read it back while on the underground. I can't be that hard to convert a blog post to ebook format, it's just zipped up XML. It might be interesting to try it, mind you EVE has already eaten up any coding time I had.

So nearly three months in, still finding stuff out, still learning. There is more about EVE out there than I can possibly absorb in anything under a year and the finish line keeps on moving.

EVE Track of the Day

Stories From The Bar - The Infadels

Day 89 :

Wednesday 12th September, 2012. Written later.

Better link summaries can be found elsewhere, for example

Not up to writing much about today other than this.

o7 VR