Saturday, 28 December 2013

Day 561 : How Do You EVE?

Tur over at put me onto a thing. Apparently Kane Rizzel posted his EVE set up and people started following suit. I'm late to the party but have reason to join. Until lately my computer desk was the same one I'd had since the nineties. It was getting cramped. The wheels had fallen off. Literally. It made it an inch and a half lower when they broke off.

My old man heard about this and being the kind of man he is, he decided to replace my old desk with a fitted corner desk. Now my old man is the kind of person that DIY aficionados look up to, possibly seeing a halo behind his head. I see no reason why he couldn't build a house from scratch. How he managed to raise an utter nerd with a fear of drills is mystifying. I still fix his computers and IT crap. I owe.

Onto the desk. This thing has no legs. The supports are 1x3 lengths drilled into the wall and cantilevered off a custom drawer/cupboard. The edges are moulded to fit the space. 3 inch drilled corner holes group the wires behind things. Not only is there lots of air for the PC unit but I can put a blanket over the front and make a den and regress by about 35 years. Bonus. I'm going under there to continue reading Red or Dead as soon as I finish this.

Counting running the phone and the Nexus 7 I've had five screens on it. Here you see EVE autopiloting down to buy a skillbook on an alt, Twitter, and EFT on the laptop. The can of lager caused the can of Irn Bru (ask a Scotsman) and my EON low sec map sits above the first, main, monitor. On the sub woofer sits my prized Star Wars cinema ticket from 1978.

To cap the whole thing off I bought a new chair, and "executive" office chair. It feels like heaven, if your heaven is the seat of a death dealing starship. They'll find me in this seat dead one day with a smile on my face and the EVE launcher in front of me. Thank god I'm going out for New Years.

Future plans involve upscaling both monitors and adding a fourth and also controlling global thermonuclear war.

EVE Track of the Day
Sittin on the Dock of the Bay - Otis Redding

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Day 534 : The Lure of ISK

Tis the season of Scrooge. Be wary.

ISK. The measure, the rule, the validator. It's easy to get caught up in it. Whether it's the vets talking about the translation to real life money ( Oh Poe, why? why? ), the PVP purists talking about ISK efficiency, or my own bugbear: the score. Yes, that's right. Somewhere in my heart a pure carebear exists and I don't care. Over a year of playing EVE Farmville has left me with the compulsion to view ISK as a score. To build it up. I've beat Chunk's top score on Pole Position. And what is that worth?

Sometimes, just sometimes, being ill works for you. It can be the cold that saves you from a meeting, the mild accident that saves you from a wretched family do. Don't tut. You've felt it. This weekend I didn't. I was ill, again, and I really didn't wan't to be. I had plans. Serious plans. Not plans to sit in front of EFT for the day and watch random DVDs (although, frankly, For A Few Dollars More is more epic than I recall).

Today though, the day after, I feel moderately better. At first not well enough to chance low sec where response time and eagle eyes are king. Low sec is the kingdom of having your fingers glued to the keyboard. Fortunately  I couldn't have reached it if I had to. I was boxed into a hi sec station by the curious mix of an Onyx and a Devoter. Neither of which I'd seen in flight before. I suspect mainly because they're predominately Null tools. Tackling big shit, and all that. Null. See you on a rainy day next year.

Anyway.  I have two stock responses to illness denying me things I want.

1) Get drunk and be a whiny coward about it

2) Get drunk and get even

3) Realise my situation and consider the alternatives, thank my blessings and get on with life as best I can. Ha ha. This isn't an option. Try thinking like this when you know exactly what it feels like to be disembowelled bar the mess on the floor.

I chose the latter (realistic option, ie 2) this weekend. I looked at my balance of 1.3 billion and wondered what the hell it was doing. I retain the "I used to live in a rolled up newspaper in't middle o' road" sensibility where cash is concerned but ISK isn't really cash. ISK is just unspent fun. Unless you have a fun aim in mind for your savings then it's a negative score. The happiest man I heard today had just got his ship blown up and said he hadn't enough ISK for ammo anyway. 20K ISK balance. Since I can't be alone in pumping ISK his way I feel he may have been able to afford it later.

Biting my fingernails I spend, spend, spend. Yes. I set a limit of 300 million. I'm not made of money.

Most of my money goes on a triple rep' Myrmidon. I spend the morning, still ill, still unable to spend much time at the keyboard, popping out of a hi-sec station and annoying the Russian war targets camping the station undock. I can sit there for a while and amuse myself but I'm essentially stuck

Later I feel better. Now. You know I'm a player with a solo leaning. I hate it. One of the reasons I joined Brave was to get that out of my system. The bitter irony of a gaming introvert turned real life extrovert regressing to an online introvert is something that shadows this entire blog. I call out with a half formed plan. Brave answers. Enthusiastically . I learn more about forming fleets that I have done in the last 500 days.

My plan is this. I launch and repair on the undock and a secret Brave strike team hits the system once the war targets are engaged ( and so cannot dock unless they "de-agress", ie stop shooting shit, for a minute). The Brave strike team descend upon the war targets like raptors from hell with clown faces on. In a real world plan I would de-agress and dock up. Fuck that. I want to see the play.

Someone in the Brave channel takes charge of my hastily formed fleet and gets them down the Trail of Tears (Barleguet to Stacmon) in good order. I launch as they hit the last gate, reps on, pitiful T1 sentries out, and they jump and warp. It goes well. All hell breaks loose as reinforcements hit the grid. We primary the Onyx and bug out, not before the overheated, over-repped, Myrm bites the dust. Epic. The feeling that I was a miser turns into a 15 man fight on the hi-sec station undock. Kudos to everyone involved, including our scout who was ingloriously killed on the gate before hi-sec. 7o.

We're all left thinking "who flies an Onyx in hi sec" in much the same way as Austin Powers thinks "who throws a shoe?". It was a "good fite" however and this fat bird goes down

Suddenly I'm free of the ISK balance demon. A shout in comms goes out for Harpy pilots. I've never flown one, I don't have one, it's a 40 million ISK drop. I sort it out. Buy buy buy. Fleet fights happen. Among them

I realise, again, as I listen to the FC, that I know NOTHING about this game. There are skills which can only be learned by exposure. That exposure can only be obtained in combat, not in EFT. That combat brings with it a certain ISK loss. Hoard all you like, score it if you will. This game is scored in far, far more ephemeral ways than the long double of a bank balance. Don't get me wrong, I know there is a legitimate form of gaming that involves securing that high score in an economy underpinned by real world people. I still play it myself! It takes guile, skill, empathy and intelligence. Just think that you could use a fraction of that to feed a totally divorced Brave Newbies alt who makes things explode all the time.

EVE Track of the Day:

Gold - Spandau Ballet

EVE Bonus Track of the Day dedicated to heroically ace Logi pilots, a death defying Harpy fleet, and a fleet comms where anyone from old vets to someone hastily learning Caldari Destroyer I was welcome. Welcomed heartily. To the Brave:

Johnny Cash - (Ghost) Riders In The Sky

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Day 527: Lord of the Flies

A short one tonight.

Interceptors. The ubiquitous signature of Rubicon. As if a sentence could sound more pretentious than that. Jesus. Ok.

I decided to have a go at catching myself an interceptor and failed. Perhaps I should have set my sights lower than "W Rush". The bane of unsuspecting Brave Newbies, a constant factor of Barleguet and a most, most excellent pilot indeed.

A lot of crap is aimed at this pilot. A lot. In fact enough aimed at him that people facing him were belittled in Brave comms the other afternoon. Something I've not heard there before. An aberration no doubt but a worrying sign of elitism. Don't get me wrong, Brave chat is usually more open and as welcoming as any I have ever heard on the internet. It must have been my misfortune to log in and listen in on a quiet period where lackluster, lackwitt, stoners apparently ruled the roost. Look to your downtimes Braves. Less than appealing. Somewhere along the line the vocal minority have lost the comprehension that people in the chat channel may not have been playing more than a few days and that learning by burning is a thing.

Enough. It was one episode in an alliance of brilliance.

Back to W Rush and the Interceptors of Doom. He can fly. I thought I could put together a fit, Vexor, Warrior based,  that could defeat him. As ever, in EVE, I was mistaken.

I threw together a Vexor kitted out with all the drone boosts you'd think would guarantee victory. Ha ha. EFT warrior loses again. Admittedly the situation was complicated by W Rush's compadre and crimsonshank. A rather excellent proponent of my favourite looking ship - the Catalyst. A gank fit Catalyst bearing down on you makes you throw all your plans out of the window. And yet. Somehow I managed to find the mental agility to disengage from W Rush and slay his gank fit companion. So on this escapade I score, I don't win but I score.

and the inevitable

The curious thing was the lack of damage applied to W Rush. I thought I'd be ok. I'd thought I'd estimated the tracking vs speed issue well enough that I'd be ok. My combat log begged to differ. Misses by Warriors all over the place. So how can you fit a Vexor to fight Interceptors? I have another plan. If I can find them, if they're willing. It would be handy if I had the figures to back it up but the entire two minute fight feels like, say, a second long. I have no memory of transversal figures or anything else. Merely a vibrating desire to die in a ball of flame while holding my own. I mean the vibrating bit. I got the pod out and had to sit in station and calm the fuck down. EVE. No other game like it. Needed a drink. Hands shaking too much to pick the damn thing up.

For a strange Brave sign off : 7o W Rush and crimsonshank. Content is content is content. Keep on teaching us. I for one am glad of it.

EVE Track of the Day: Tainted Love, Soft Cell.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Day 519: Don't Get Cocky Kid

Turned 40, got ill, got even more ill, just about climbed out of it and descended into a spiral of work stress triggering illness, triggering work stress, triggering illness. Blah blah blah. Suffice to say, apart from a bit of EVE Farmville I haven't been in space that much, or felt like writing about it that much.

But lo, what light through yonder window breaks, it is a three day weekend and EVE is the sun.

Nervous about flying in low sec I approach it witl all the trepidation of a part time EFT warrior. ie. No trepidation at all. This plus a few experiments with a Federation Navy Comet has convinced me to bling it up on the Assault Frigates and go hunting for tags.

I get my tag, dicking around in a low sec hole somewhere down the Trail of Tears (as my fellow Braves call the Barleguet to Stacmon pipe). 25 million for a single tag seems a lot until you remember that the rat has scram capability and you must furiously pump the Dscan button in an effort to convince yourself that a) no one is coming and b) you are a super brave EFT warrior who is better than downloading X Rebirth.

I fail at both when a Stay Frosty pilot hits the system in a Vigilant which presumably could web me down to  a snails pace. The fear would have been more manageable had I not been in the throes of realising that the Comet, tank aside, is a far superior ship to any shitty Assault Frigate bar the Enyo. Pass me a dual prop Comet and I'm good to go. Even it's police ship nature helps though I doubt the last Serpentis Clone Soldier Negotiator deserved to have the words "Well done sonny, you're nicked" shouted at it from the other side of a monitor in the UK. Poor old Serpentis. Pay attention. When I set the lads on you, don't focus on them because it means in thirty seconds I'm going to let rip with Neutron Blasters up your arse.

I graduate from the Comet to Assault Frigates. I'm trying out the Retribution and the Enyo. Today is the Retribution. Space bling equipped with the hilarity of endless normal ammo and T2 ammo that has ranges that are frankly beyond "OP". I pity the fool who tries to kite this thing in a T1 frigate.

Soaring from the victory I have time to investigate the Incursus that has been cropping up on Dscan in my journey between the belts. He's not in a station, he's not at a planet and, as far as I can tell, not at any belt. I drop into the nearest Serpentis anomaly and sure enough , there is my Incursus. Happily wailing away at the rats, undoubtedly dual rep fit to be doing so well, it's unfortunate that overheated t2 pulse lasers on Conflagration will go through him like a hot (yet seemingly oddly slow) knife through butter. The Serpentis happily wail on us both but only I leave the 'plex in a ship.

I don't feel the need to even try for the pod. I don't actually see the point of getting a pod. I let it roll home and tap out a salute to the pilots repping. The Incursus and the dual rep fit is an old favourite of mine. The pilot docks up without a word and logs off. Suddenly I realise I've looked too long into the Abyss. I'm that guy that warped in an killed me so long ago. I'm the devil. What manner of being have I become? Is this natural for low sec space living? Have I become hardened and bitter (more so than even in real life). Should I question this, or should I question my ego which, somewhere behind me, is doing the Carlton from Fresh Prince dance and singing "Solo kill, solo kill, solo kill".

I tracked a ship down through dscan and knowledge, leapt in without thought of risk and laser beamed someone to atoms. I have another beer.

This turns out to be the most hilarious bad idea ever.

I head to a station to pick up my Enyo for the next round of trials and find myself camped into the station by war targets. An efficient combination of fast tackle and close range battleship is making it all but impossible to leave. What luck then that I have a Brutix here that I fit back in the days when I hit Battlecruiser III. It'll survive the onslaught, check the situation and just dock up. That is of course unless giddy victory fuelled adrenaline should  lead me to hit the weapons. That won't happen. Actually.....

It'd be hard to top this Feat of Fail with something, let alone performed seconds later but I can do this. When the situation calls for fail. See me.

My solution to getting my pod out is to dock up at the station they are both camping. The station isn't going to let me in. I know this. Good job I am hammering the Dock button. That'll make things go faster. Yes sir. We are all in attendance at Amazeballs Brain University. I'll have to step it up and get into Zoolander's school next time.

The TL;DR?

Assault Frigate hull plus fit : 35 mill
Negotiator plus rats plus loot : 36 mill
Dual Rep Incursus : 3 mill of loot plus a 10 mill kill
Daft Brutix fit: 60 mill
Pod : 60 mill

Gross: Zero minus a fuck ton of ISK

Profit: more wealth than you can imagine.

Don't rush back into EVE. Exuberance leads to enthusiasm, enthusiam leads to mistakes, mistakes lead to podding. Nah. Rush back and laugh at your mistakes. If there is one thing I've learned from the Brave it's to post your losses faster than you post any kill. They're more interesting.

I was laughing and back at the undock within five minutes in a speedy Algos designed to fuck over the tackle. They'd buggered off by then, of course. Irritating. Yet somehow I'd forgotten quite how bad I'd felt about jumping someone harmlessly farming a Serpentis site. That was way, way, way back in the past by now. At least an entire hour.

PS are there any groups out there for ancient EVE players like myself.

PPS revealing my age has just probably ruined any chance of chatting up Arianne Stone at any future EVE meet up. (That and the fact that I was 'hilariously' drunk last time we met). I'm joking. Mostly. 7o Miss Stone.

EVE Track of the Day
Get Lucky - Daft Punk ft Pharell Williams


[Federation Navy Comet, Solo Tag Roamer]
Damage Control II
Magnetic Field Stabilizer II
Magnetic Field Stabilizer II
Small Ancillary Armor Repairer, Nanite Repair Paste

1MN Afterburner II
Faint Epsilon Warp Scrambler I
Limited 1MN Microwarpdrive I

Light Neutron Blaster II, Void S
Light Neutron Blaster II, Void S
Small 'Knave' Energy Drain

Small Ancillary Current Router I
Small Ancillary Current Router I
Small Hybrid Collision Accelerator I

Hobgoblin II x3
Warrior II x3

(yes, I had Genolutions in. Turn off the neut ffs)

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Day 437: Sounds of Revival

Finally I find an entire day where I can pretty much just roll through EVE. Monday was a Bank Holiday here in the UK, meaning a three day weekend. Despite the lure of London calling I dedicated myself to the Importance of Being Idle. One of the tasks this magnificent aim required was to spend a day exploring my new space home, the low sec system of Barleguet. It's a well connected system. It's rich in resources, pirates, gankers, newbies, and some bloke called Gray Arachnid shouting a lot. Commonly referred to as Barle, Barley, Le Baguette or variants of the same.

I put aside my desire to go and waste as many Talwars as possible without a single kill. That task can wait for a post work evening. Wary of jumping straight to voice comms before I had a handle on the community I kept my eye Alliance chat and jumped in if I could offer advice or random nonsense. While I did this I fired up my Nemesis and used its CovOps cloak facilities as a way to fly around making bookmarks and observing what went on in system. Then I tested the pipe to hi sec several times trying to get a handle on the number of enemy pilots and gate activity while stacking up some gate observation perches as I went.

Today I Learned

1. At one point I got bored of flying at cloak speed to a perch location near a belt. I switched off the cloak and turned on the MWD. Within 30 seconds an enemy fleet of around 8 ships dropped into the belt. No ratting in Barle unless it's Alpha and Away style tactics then. I warped off safe and shaky.

2. The process of grabbing your own set of bookmarks familiarises yourself with the system and the way it gets used. For me it removed nervousness about flying around while preserving wariness of that associated contempt thing.

3. Using a CovOps ship improves your DSCAN skills. Mine had got a little rusty. A CovOps ship in a safe point of your own making is virtually unassailable. It gives you time to relax and to experiment, getting dscan operation and interpretation back to the levels of second nature. Sure you can try this in hi sec but nothing is going on there, nothing potentially threatening anyway. CovOps takes about a month of skilling from scratch and all of it will come in handy elsewhere bar the 4-5 days of cloak training. I'm not talking about probing here. Just the ability to fly a ship that can cloak under warp.

4. Flying around cloaked means you'll get chance to observe fights from the outside. This is worth doing once or twice just to double check your overview settings which you should have followed a guide on. I recently updated my overview to Sarahs Overview Pack so I had new tab settings to get used to in addition to setting up the orders and colours. It was easier to do the latter when something was actually going on that I could watch and interpret.

5. EVE has sound. Following the earlier MWD incident I wanted to try and see what happened with MWD from a safe spot. Combat probes were out in system so I knew someone was looking around but was probably swamped in signatures. I thought I'd crack on the MWD and run uncloaked for a while and see if anyone warped in. No one warped in during the admittedly short amount of time I dared fly uncloaked but I discovered something else. I was zoomed in on my ship at the time and as I turned on the MWD heard sounds changed. I ramped up the volume and spent a minute listening to the entertainingly industrial hum that now accompanies Microwarp Drives. A quick mention on Twitter reveals a) it's fairly recent - I haven't been ignoring it for over a year and b) I didn't know TIL meant Today I Learned, prompting a joke exclamation to hide my irony driven embarrassment (sorry).

6. Barle Is Busy. I took a few side trips and the surrounding systems are massively more quiet. I don't think much will actually get done outside of fighting in Barle itself. The day to day subsistence, exploration and general mucking around will get done elsewhere. The pipe out to hisec is busier than most of the surrounding systems but it isn't so busy that you can run it in relative safety if you pay attention. It's good to realise you aren't trapped in a thunderdome. I took to flying out in shuttles I was building in Barle, breaking them down and flying the Tritanium back with me in one of the pre-rigged ships I've got stashed in hisec. I'm too cheap to lose the rigs by repacking the ship and having BLT freight all my stuff into Barley.

Next up : Less: recce. More: fleets, voice chat, and probably ship loss.

EVE Track of the Day

The Importance of Being Idle - Oasis

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Day 425 : Summer In The City

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away......

Then these things happened :

Work went mad.
I went on holiday.
I returned to over a months outage of internet outside my providers control (well, speeds that comprise outage anyway)
Brave Newbies moved house.
CFC and Test set the Eastern side of EVE aflame and I missed it all.
Britain had a proper summer for once. A real burner which compelled me to lie about and drink cold lager a lot. (Not much different to my usual behaviour I know but a good excuse)
Several weekend evenings spent sleeping off watching the Ashes in the pub (this is a cricket reference, sorry to those outside GB or AU. Particularly sorry to some of those actually in the AU timezone for reasons they'll understand, ha ha. I'm looking at you Rob).

Add a sprinkling of the usual RL ups and downs and you have a summer snapshot.

As the weather cools, a slightly heavier and more tan coloured Noob finds himself thinking again of doing more than just autopiloted runs between markets and updating skill queues over breakfast.....

I didn't leave EVE, I just didn't play it. With the first hints of Autumn on the horizon and 24 degree temperatures at midnight no longer a problem (lack of sleep and an inability to wear headphones without overheating) it is time once more to aim to misbehave. Hopefully this time there will be more than just aiming.

I got as far as moving my stuff down to the hi sec entrance to Raha before the extreme outage set in. Last night I had it all carted back the same way and beyond, this time to the hi sec system nearest Brave Newbies new home. I'll figure out a way of shifting it the last few jumps myself, once I've taken a look around. All I need to do now is run the pod gauntlet myself and I'm there. I'm going sometime between tomorrow and the weekend so if you are one of those Braves that are still floating round Mendori and see me leaving then feel free to tag along. I'll be in the one in stealth bomber using you as a decoy. Just kidding...

I haven't been idle in the slow time. I've saved up some cash from slow trading and industry and had characters on PLEXed dual training for various purposes. There is enough cash left for at least a month of Talwars. I tried out a short term project elsewhere in the meta game that I think I'm going to let die off. It was fun while it lasted. I've EFT Warriored until it became like an odd game of Chess (At which point I decided to learn Chess again and my phone gave me a kicking. On easy level. The bastard thing. Chess is definitely not like riding a bike). All in all it's surprising what you can achieve in EVE and the metagame using only lunchtimes, breakfasts and, thanks to autopilot, the time spent in various uses of the bathroom. Apologies to anyone who said hi during this time and never got a response. It'll be safer if you imagine I was cleaning my teeth at the time. What I need is a waterproof mobile phone and EVE chat as an application. Anyone heard anything recent from Jon Lander and mobile EVE apps?

I've missed wars, I've missed chat, I've missed space (I was generally in the shower when it passed by), I've missed but never forgot EVE. So I think it is now time to get out there and die gloriously in pursuit of , well, EVE.


PS Hurrah to me for not raging about British Telecoms organisation and customer service. A bigger advert for corporate fuckwittery and the perils of monopoly I have never seen. Well I guess I had a little bit of a rage.

PPS Four hour turn around for 32 jumps by Red Frog for 800,000m3. Nice work.

EVE Track of the Day : Boys of Summer, Don Henley
(or the title of the post, whatever)

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Day 366 : Year One : My Way

Well there you go. A year in space. A year in EVE. Lets be honest. Six months of nothing much. RL got in the way so many times and RL always comes first. At the end a dalliance with T2 industry turned into a strategy game I could play in the morning before work. Admittedly it turned into a billion per month profit dalliance but it may be time to spend all that and shake things up. Logging onto EVE in the evening when you are knackered and generally worn down in every which way but win is not the ideal but neither is an MMO played largely as a solo strategy game.

Things change though. RL troubles fade, summer arrives, sunshine serotonin does it's clever work and a noob finds his step once more, plans ramp up. Typically he meets a delightful young lady with this new energy, she's all but designed to keep me playing Skill Queue Online. It's harsh but I'll man up and face this new task of feeling happy all the damn time. Curses.

Wait. A little bit of thought. Move some stuff around. A very busy new friend. I'm practically ready to go. A couple more skills, a bit of logistics and a move suggests itself. A few moves suggest themselves, thanks in no small part to the Brave Newbies and the TEST guys I met on the Fan Fest exiles meet up in London. Null sec carnage, Low Sec madness? What else could I do? Summer 2013 : The Move of the Main. Suggestions on a post card please. Or you could just stick them in the comments, whatever. Someone talk me out of my sec status fear.

It looks like I like flying ships. I'll continue in this vein for the next month. ALL THE FRIGATES!

I'll have a think and summarise the year a little better in another post. Maybe. The Noob Experience was my thing. If you like that then read A braver pilot than I.

EVE Track of the Day : My Way - Frank Sinatra

PS. Frank can nick off. The end ain't near. A change is needed but a Noob must fly. Some way. Some how. EVE : I've Got You Under My Skin.

PPS. My tips of regret:

1. Train a month throwaway combat only alt and throw it way. A lot. That's my next aim. Dual Training for PLEX! Cheap Tech I frig fits!
2. Don't get stuck in your own corp. Recruit or move no matter how nice the few hardcore members (thanks guys).
3. Don't do the same thing everyday no matter your playing time. Odyssey makes this easy. EVE in general does not.
4. Socialise. Play when other people are on. Not in the gap between US end and EU start. Snooze the weekend afternoon away and make the evening action. Not the reverse.
5. Disregard the above where necessary and play your own game. Whatever they say. EVE is a sandbox. DO IT.

PPPS. I'll see you out there. Fingers crossed. That's Life.

PPPPS. Don't put Sinatra on while writing with copious wine to hand.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Day 307: Diamond in the rough

I voted in the CSM elections, did you? If you didn't then why not? You've effectively lost your right to complain about anything to do with CCP not listening to the player base. Well you will have in about six hours.

With fourteen voting slots available I had to do some more research than I would have thought I'd be doing but it was made easy with the forum posts and the community projects. The community projects in particular were eye openers. I used Vote Match and vote0matic and the excellent series of interviews over at Crossing Zebras. Sadly I missed out on other podcasts where there were some free ranging discussions between candidates as I simply didn't have time.

Being a Noob I voted for the new player experience, general eve knowledge, small scale pvp, and even a nod towards the future and specialised expertise with a vote for a couple of null sec bloc candidates though it was lower down my list. I'd have endorsed for Ripard Teg and Marc Scaurus but the latter pulled out and I endorsed Mangala Solaris instead (even if he does primary bloggers every time....). The big discovery though was Ali Aras. I hadn't heard of her before in any way beforehand and then all of  a sudden we have a null sec living, new player friendly, eloquent, enthusiasic, EVE player appearing out of no where.

and the interview at

Her forum post in Jita Park

Now ideally I'd have jumped in and tried some lobby blogging before the point was moot. Three things stopped me. Firstly my lack of time recently to even play EVE, let alone blog. Secondly, I'm a Noob and a mainly hi-sec one at that. This isn't a bad thing but I'd like a little more experience and to have seen the entire CSM process before I start lobbying for a particular candidate. Third, I have no idea what direction I'll take in the next year but I'm considering breaking free of hi-sec once Odyssey arrives.

If you haven't already voted then go vote. You have about six hours left. EVE University has a good summary of articles and voting tools

My tip : if you have a small screen then use the zoom feature of your browser to get all the candidates on screen then you can drag/drop easily without scrolling around.

EVE Track of the Day

Fight For Your Right - Beastie Boys

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Day 304 : EVE Wanking

I've mainly been playing EVE Offline. It started last month when my home internet connection went down for six days thanks to either some cable thieves or some muppetry at the local exchange, depending on who you believe. I tethered my phone and managed to play anyway. The bandwidth was fine but the latency pretty much ruled out any flying. I was reduced to updating jobs and doing things other than EVE in order not to be driven out of my mind by the delays. By the time my internet connection had been restored I'd fallen out of a pattern of EVE playing in the evening. I was locked into the behaviour of some kind of mindless morning  industry drone. Not much of interest got done, and nothing of interest enough to write about.

Real life proceeded to throw a further spanner in the works with a series of busy weekends where there was no chance to log on at all. I became a fully EVE Offline player: reading blogs; watching #tweetfleet; reading the EVE Reddit; fitting ships in EFT; staring at EVEMon and willing the skill training to speed up; staring at EVEMon willing sales to happen; making ridiculous alterations to the skill plan in EVEMon in order to satisfy  every sudden "plan" for my character. EVE Offline is great. It's so full of potential, so full of plots and plans and schemes, so full of news covered drama, so full of banter. It's not full of actually flying spaceships and as a result I decided to cut down on it and give it a more accurate name: EVE Wanking.

In order to escape it's clutches and prevent apocryphal blindness I briefly started another couple of blog type projects to play around with, one EVE and one very much not EVE. Then Iain Banks announced he had cancer. I was crushed by this news. I've met him briefly. Even with a hangover at a book signing he had time for a chat and a laugh. He is a great guy as well as the author of some of my favourite books. An ex Civilization playing addict (it delayed Player of Games) who writes science fiction. Thank god he never picked up EVE.

 I thought the awful news would spur me to finally write some fiction. It's a good job I write into the PC because otherwise I'd be buried in screwed up pieces of paper by now. I just don't seem to have the skill to translate an idea into a story. Either the story turns out to be shallow and boring or I race through it and somehow exhaust the idea in writing a rather poor abstract of it. Then something happened.

A little frazzled from a few busy weeks I took a Monday off in order to recover and found myself with nothing to do and an itchy EVE trigger finger that was vibrating with the potential generated by EVE Offline Wanking ideas.

I jumped into my only pre fit PVP ship, scribbling a reminder in my ever present notebook to "Fit PVP shps b4 nd 2 use em". Fortunately the ship was my T1 go to ship, the Incursus. Fit with dual rep and the rigs to back it up (though I have further investigation to do here) I headed out into the northern Essence lowsec borders to see what I could see. Mostly things were quiet or too tasty for a solo pilot with no off grid boosting (which we'll not talk about as I'll start to rant).

I'm in a novice plex watching someone run away and beginning to reconsider EVE Wanking when another Incursus drops out of warp. I've become a lot better at DScan but spamming 360 scans in dangerous places is still a weakness. Nevertheless I didn't lose out and gleefully headed into a scrap.

It quickly became clear that I was up against another dual rep Incursus. My longest frigate fight ever ensued. Subjectively it felt like about an hour. I think it was actually around two minutes. I popped, my cap booster unable to keep up with the continual drain, and got my pod out. My opponent offered a 'gf' and some advice about cap booster charge choices. It turns out I'd flown out with the smallest available when I should have gone for something larger for a full cap boost, taking my chances on the reload. I've got some research to do into the trade off between reload and booster charge size but at least I met someone who passed along some advice. Cheers to Rhino Styx for the fight and for the advice.

Having enjoyed that fight so much I jumped into another as fast as possible. This time a hastily fit Tristan, a ship I continually look to fly, a ship I keep messing with that always feels badly compromised whatever fit I try. Being a little giddy from the earlier fight I leapt straight into the first thing I could find without thinking and was promptly exploded by a Thrasher/Hawk team. I now fear Thrashers like Chief Brody fears Great Whites. I'm gonna need some bigger boats.

Another two ship losses and another two pod escapes complete. A couple more lessons learned the hard but only way. Exploding. It's the only way to fly.

Having been woefully understocked in actual EVE as opposed to mental dreamland EVE, I spent the rest of the day marshalling resources in an attempt to get some kind of fitting program together. Along the way I discovered possibly the most Noob mistake I've made in a long time. I discovered the the export format of EFT can be imported from the clipboard. I'd subconsciously registered the ordered nature of the format but shamefully, perhaps purposefully, not thought any more about it. I see a lot of data in plaintext delimited formats at work. I don't need more in my life.

You'll see a lot of EVE posts with fitting formats along the lines of

[Incursus, Dual Repper, T2]
Light Ion Blaster II
Light Ion Blaster II
Light Ion Blaster II

Limited 1MN Microwarpdrive I
Faint Epsilon Warp Scrambler I
Small Capacitor Booster II

Damage Control II
Small Armor Repairer II
Small Armor Repairer II
Adaptive Nano Plating II

Small Auxiliary Nano Pump I
Small Auxiliary Nano Pump I
Small Nanobot Accelerator I

Hobgoblin II x1

Get the entire thing onto your clipboard (select and Copy) and then open up or maximise EFT and you'll be asked if you want to import the fit. It takes 90% off the time of investigating fits. Import one, delete stuff you can't use and replace those mods with ones you can. It's one of those things that is so obvious that everyone knows it. Everyone apart from me. Somewhere down the line I'd skipped this lesson, so I'm passing it on to any fellow ignorant idiots that might also have missed the fact that it's an import/export format and not just export.

EVE Track of the Day Month

One Of These Things First - Nick Drake

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Day 269 : Space Feng Shui

Fitting Fu, Space Feng Shui, call it what you will, it's the art of putting your own fits together with flight tactics in mind. I'm learning it slowly. I take occasional fits from various bloggers for various purpose but I want to put together my own PVP fits in this new, experimental combateer phase. It's my policy of learning by burning. Learning by rote isn't good enough for me, I need to experience the process of fitting in order to think through the consequences as I fit. You don't sit and ponder the concepts of "kiting vs brawling" and "active vs buffer" when you grab a "PVP blaster" fit from Battle Clinic, and roll it out as fast as possible like  Henry Ford In Space. I need to etch the reasoning on my mind, it's the way I think. I have mild trouble with short term memory so this methodology helps plug stuff into long term memory and, by the way, what's your name again? I forgot.

Anyway, I learned a meta thing about fitting today and that is to have a clear mind while doing it. Having a clear mind doesn't happen after four hours sleep instead of eight. It doesn't get any better by the evening.

I started out the day as usual, shift some orders, line up some jobs, look for something to do that doesn't feel like a second job. I went out hunting for new markets and dropped off some experiments, dropped by Halaima to watch some miner bumpers in the ice field for a while. Then for some reason I decided to load up the Nautilus, my Algos destroyer, and go to null. It was quiet. Not too quiet either. I didn't laugh as I was suddenly ganked or anything of the sort. I did a little ratting and some navigation and scanning practice but didn't see any of the other pilots that appeared in Local until the end of my roam.

Considering a trip home I jumped towards a low sec entry gate, having assured myself there was no one waiting on my side of it. Just before the flash of transit the Overview shifted. An Iteron V. A T1 hauler running around NPC null on it's own, headed into low sec. Following my jump, and assuming that the hauler would have cancelled his on seeing me jump, I swiftly turned and burned gatewards. Just before the flash of transit the Overview  updated. An Iteron V....... My incandescent rage was a thing to behold. I headed home before a building desire to leap into the first camp I could find took hold. I'll be back. T1 haulers in NPC Null you have been warned. I'd normally think twice, it's combat I'm after not sitting ducks, barring this bored whim. Now that whim has turned into a grudge.

I decide that a roam will purge the rage. Already I'm in a bad state to fly. Totally knackered from lack of sleep and pumped up on frustration from seeing a loot piñata fly by me twice in a minute. This isn't the frame of mind to go out learning.

I decide to attempt a Tristan fit. I have reasonable drone skills, have wanted to fly the Tristan since it became  a frigate drone boat, and am still intrigued by my defeat the other day. I've had trouble fitting the Tristan before and today was no different. I fit it as a kiter, top T2 rails and the drones. When I get down to the last few slots I'm considering the need for a web which has far too low range to be any good for my proposed tactics but might allow me to build the range I need. Fitting constraints get in the way and instead of sitting back and contemplating I drop any old thing in there. Yep. This is gonna work. Both modules I drop in I haven't really used before so I'll be learning something (my subconscious rage monster announces smugly). Honestly. Part of me actually thought that. It's shitfit flight time.

There aren't many people about in low sec either so it takes a few jumps to find a suitable candidate, a Rifter in a small plex. I should say here that my general roaming skills have improved. There is more logic in my travel and my hunting than there was before. It wouldn't be difficult to improve on these skills. My roaming tactic before was called "Eyeballs To The Screen, Vibrating-In-Terror".

The Rifter warps out as I maneuver for range,  and I experience a flash of the earlier Iteron V rage. Luckily another ship drops in. Another Tristan! I'm going to learn something new after all. It's a QCATS ship. Seeing this and suddenly recalling my fitting resigns me to defeat. Bad Move. I make range but he closes fast and I'm suddenly where I don't want to be. My response? Navigation. Bugger all effect that has too. I don't even switch ammo to the lower range version I'm carrying to compensate. I attempt some manuevers to regain my range but it doesn't work. I fail once more to overheat. This time I don't even overheat a single module! I've got worse! Essentially I do nothing good here. Not my finest hour. I contemplate storing my mid slots in the hold instead of fitting them. If I eject them at the right time there's a chance a pursuing assailant would be slowed by them and they'd be doing some good. Actually that's given me an idea.

My opponent was just under half armour when I popped I think. At 10% hull I'd already prepared for and focused on getting my pod out.

The "Fit-O-Shit" and my alarmingly more experienced opponent.

Lessons Learned

1. Don't fly angry
2. Don't fit angry, exasperated, tired, or randomly
3. NEVER resign yourself to defeat. NEVER EVER.
4. ALWAYS learn and practice something.
5. AMO: Ammo/Midslots/Overheat. I need better mnemonic skills.
6. Enjoy yourself, it's later than you think, enjoy yourself while you're still..... no. I'm kinda joking, but actually not. Sorry for the singing.


1. I got the pod out again.
2. I lasted longer than I thought I would against a more experienced opponent.
3. Despite my flaws, I still learned.
4. Unbelievably I still enjoyed it. A GF indeed. I was a lot calmer by the time I got out. It was a refreshing experience after the Dull of Null and playing Hide the Hauler down there.
5. Some awareness was still there, I attempted to navigate in a fight. Fights aren't lasting longer particularly but I think I've enough control of the adrenaline to not have time distorted perception.
6. I'm still ready to keep learning.

More upsides than down really.

Following a tip in the comments from the other day, I'm making a visual guide I can pin above my monitor. It will remind me of the options when the battered wastes of my mind can no longer cope with decision.

I'm thinking I should spend more time in EFT rather than my bad habit of fitting mainly to what is stored in my hangar at the time. I'm building up reserves of modules but a lack of consideration for some utility items and a lack of meta items is causing problems. Someone add ship spinning to EFT!

EVE Track of the Day

Feng  Shui - Gnarls Barkley (what else?)

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Day 264: The Deadly Lure of Choice

I'm now dedicated to practising a few scraps a week. I didn't have much time tonight and I was feeling a little sketchy from being out late on the date last night. Nerves plus lager plus empty stomach is the arithmetic of feeling like crap come the afternoon.

I head out. I'm about to learn three things.

1. Stick with your instincts.
2. Fighting Tristans is like kicking a wasps nest.
3. Stay Calm.

I roll through a couple of low sec systems, arcing over the northern Essence chain as usual. There doesn't seem to be anyone around and some of my safes are so safe that not only would no one ever find me, I'd never see another ship again. I take a couple of risks and zip down to some FW plexes to scan the inside. Not much is going on but three jumps later I locate a Tristan. Ah ha!

I've always wanted to try a Tristan out in PVP but the fitting constraints end up annoying me every time I try it. I figure I can learn some stuff by trying to kick one in the knackers. Yeah. It's that learning by burning thing again.

I warp into the plex and drop right on the Tristan. A single K and I'm good for my T2 ions. Flick on the afterburner and head in, there's no point worrying about the approach at this range. Well until the Tristan turns out to be way more agile than I thought. He's beginning to pull range and with blasters that means I'm in the shit. Here's my first mistake. I figure I'd take out the drones instead. I flick to my overview tab that has drones on it and CTRL click like a crazy man. I turn off the guns, reselect a drone and turn them back on again, cursing the delay. I hit nothing. NOTHING. I figured Ions would track fast enough. I've kicked a wasps nest and I'm trying to pick single wasps out of the crowd. Suddenly I think I'm Mr Miyagi and my Ions are chopsticks. They are not. It's like swatting with a cricket bat. Oh, I think, I'll switch back to the Tristan. That's right. In frigate 1v1 I switched targets and dithered like an elderly grandmother choosing which fruit scone she'd like. Round about the same level of combat effectiveness as that too as it happens.

The Tristan has a decent range on me now and I don't think I'm going to get back in there. By some miracle of screen clickage I get back there and overheat the guns. It's a death race now and I'll be dead before they burn out. Webbed and scrammed I'm not leaving here until one of us is atomised. Webbed...... webbbed...... DEAR HOLY CHRIST I haven't webbed him. THE WEB IS NOT ON. I didn't even web the drones. Honestly, I should just fly with empty mid slots and enjoy the breeze that blows through them as I speed through the black.

Of course I was toast. It was too late. The fight had us both down in structure. A real tussle that ended in me making a nice little explosive sound. Close but no cigar.

So what did I do wrong?

  • I changed my mind. I should have stuck with the Tristan and tanked the drones.
  • I kicked a Tristan. It's a five drone hive these days people. Take note. I'll be fitting one however annoying it gets. The kill mail says all Rail damage. Not sure what to make of that.
  • I didn't stay calm. With the web running I'd of had him, why the hell wasn't the web on? When range got a little dubious I should have considered switching to Null ammo as a bit of a surprise but it should never have come to that.

What did I do right?

  • I overheated the repairer a little early but around the right time. I could have tanked the drones with it and left the laughed in the face of the Tristans rails. An overheated Incursus repper is a thing to behold. Then again, it did give me enough time to make several very bad decisions indeed.
  • I overheated the guns at the right time. They were still viable, just, at the end of the fight. They had a killing blow in them and I didn't cripple myself early on.
  • I got my pod out. Some post fight awareness remained. I've made the jump to understanding you can die TWICE in an EVE fight.
  • For all my mistakes I had time to make tactical decisions through the haze of adrenaline. Completely incorrect tactical decisions to be sure, but at least I had the awareness to make them this time. All my previous fights have been seen through a veil of Red Mist that nullified conscious thought.

I exchanged 'gfs' with the pilot in question. It was close and a damn fine victory for him whatever my mistakes since I was flying a T2 bullet. I hope he enjoyed my loots, and the thrill. He earned them. I learned more in thirty seconds than I have in a while, and did enough right that the victory truly belongs to my opponent.

Thanks to the pilot in question, and thank to Gedos who shouted me just to say hi afterwards. O7 guys. Onwards and upwards! Here is the link

EVE Track of the Day

Try Not to Breathe - REM

Monday, 4 March 2013

Day 262 : Guilt Trip to Heydieles

I'm done with industry. We've parted ways. It's been an odd month in Real Life which meant it was perfect for the clicking of many, many things in order to submit Invention jobs. It was a perfect month to be drifting down space lanes while composing playlists on Spotify or listening to EVE Radio. I had a couple of hairy moments when DJ Wiggles played the targetting sound but otherwise it was a nice and dull end to Winter. Winter is going. It's the new thing.

It was dull though. I'm loading up the weapon skills finally and considering my next step. One way or another I'll try my hand at spring time idiocy, I'll be the gamboling lamb of low sec. That reminds me of the old Waylander quote, that might be a nice aim.

Once I was a lamb, playing in a green field. Then the wolves came. Now I am an eagle and I fly in a different universe.’
‘And now you kill the lambs,’ whispered Dardalion.
Waylander chuckled and turned over.
‘No, priest. No one pays for lambs.’

Perhaps I do have an aim after all. It'll take some skilling after all the time I've wasted at the factory day after day but the queue is looking after me.

It's Monday night though, no time to be haring off on wild suicide missions before some elementary basics are covered. I decide to fit out a couple of ships. I like doing this in game. More time to spin my gorgeous gank mobiles. However, Monday and the distraction of a Tuesday which has a blind date in it collude in a way that results in me buying a rig from a low sec station. It's a low sec area I know quite well. I am pretty sure I got blown up there when a couple of months old while being amazed at the bounties of the sitting ducks. I'm sorry Serpentis Admirals, or whatever those fat boys were called.

Anyway. I decide to go get it. I've got a stored safe there that I can scan the station from. I hit undock. Let's go. It is going to be a terrifying and bumpy road.

It isn't.

It's Monday night.

There's not a single flashy in system and no one outside of a station or POS as far as some incredulous Dscanning could determine. I dock up and grab the rig and fit it. Like all my other fits it is a "shit fit" but who cares? I call them loss learners. I could go with conventional wisdom and fit the ships according to internet doctrine or I could fit to my own theory and witness the testing in person. Like Oppenheimer taking a vacation in Hiroshima.

I undock and leap to my safe point. I do some scans. No one. Sod this. Where is all this adrenaline going to go anyway? I need my sleep, I've got to be intelligent and chatty tomorrow. I warp to the nearest plex and scan it. I'm shocked. Someone is actually flying around in this system. There is a Rifter in there!

Before I can consider the situation I've already activated the gate. I've named my ship "Little Friend". I might even have muttered "say hello to my little friend" on the way through the gate. I'm in. Red mist descends. Spiral in. Time to die Mr Rifter Dude. Guns on, orbit achieved. No..... shield..... loss...... I did start to wonder what was happening at this point. The Rifter hadn't even fired back. There isn't much point wondering about stuff halfway through a fight with a frigate that isn't doing anything. There isn't enough of a fight to have a halfway. It's like the only place Zeno's paradox falls over. When you are halfway there you are actually at the end. It's that short.

Anyway. A slightly puzzled Red Mist in place, I torch the poor bastard and grab the loot and do a runner. No point hanging around waiting for people who fight back eh? I warp safe, flick on the 'burner and start flying out blackward while I check the kill. I'm not impressed by what I see. Which is essentially this

Even worse, the pilot is only hours old.

Even worse, for a Star Wars fan, I just shot down Yoda. He was having a bad Force day. I can deal with this. This is payback for Lucas for Jar Jar Binks. I'm still pissed off about it and praying daily at the small and slightly sinister altar I've set up to JJ.

It's the age of the pilot that gives me the guilt trip. Even gleefully soaring around the nearest belt and wasting the usual dumbass Serpentis battlecruiser doesn't alleviate it. How can I head to low sec in future and feel like this? I'm not doing Show Info on everyone I see. There isn't time. I feel like I've shot one of my own. I feel too bad to even mail the guy to see if he was an AFK alt, which I do suspect on some level. If anyone knows him then let me know and I'll send him a Rifter that actually has some guns on it.

In the end I log off to wrestle with the discovery that my conscience and code might well be disposable. So much for not killing the lambs. I had better invest in some mint sauce instead.

EVE Track of the Day

Lighsabre Cocksucking Blues - Mclusky

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Day 250 : T2 : Lack of Judgement Day

This post has been hanging around uncompleted for ages. It was hard enough to contemplate writing in the first place and then Jester beat me to it with an article that's probably better for you unless you are a complete Noob like me. Go have a read of The whole thing caused bad writers block which caused a slight retreat from constant posting to become a total rout. So, I'm writing it. It may be boring. It may be wrong. It may be out of my head and into yours. EVE is a PVP game!

In the end this post may be deadly dull and since I'm not a sadist, this is your final warning about proceeding. Here is an alternative entertaining post with a potential, slightly mocking, lore reason for the new the duelling system. We all know that the hot pools of Iceland are refilled by CCP with the tears of super hardass vets whenever CCP changes things, but for this one time Nosygamer allows us to dream that a change in EVE isn't powering the tear-based Icelandic tourist industry.

Still here?

When I was but a young noob buying my first few BPOs I was already aware of T2 modules and their purpose. T2 blueprints were a shiny mythic thing that I had to wait to get my mits on. They would solve everything from my cashflow problems, to my inherent bad piloting and eventually cause World Peace. This is why, against better judgement, I decided to attempt some basic T2 production. Really I should have been out flying combat, learning those skills instead. However, despite a desire to go and explode or have myself exploded, something about the apparent complexity of Invention and the shiny nature of T2 blueprint copy items drew me in. In part thinking about the logistics of manufacture gives me something to occupy my brain on the way to work when I'm tired. It's like I'm jump starting my sleep addled brain by thinking about SPACE FACTORIES. When any of my previous pathetic attempts at carebear justification fail I play my ace in the hole - entirely fitting PVP frigates with T2 mods is going to speed up my return to combat. Yes. That excuse is pathetic. I am aware of this.

Whatever the reasons, I thought I'd do a quick entry guide to Invention. This guide is for total noobs. Read elsewhere for more advanced (and more correct) information.

"Invention" is the process by which you create blueprints for T2 modules. From the outside it looks complex, but actually it's not that bad.

What you absolutely need:

Science Skills: It depends on what you want to invent but you'll need some of the more esoteric sounding skills under the Science tree. I'll list these later but you'll invest anything from 20 to 200 million ISK in skill books.

Blueprints. You need a Blueprint Original of the item you want to invent if you want to do the process from scratch. I'm covering basic stuff here, not permutations based on sourcing your BPCs from Contracts. Grab an ammo BPO, or one for a commonly used small module. If you think the sub million price is expensive please stop now and come back in a few months.

Datacores. These items are consumed by Invention. There are a couple of sources of these but for now just look to the market and look into sourcing your own through LP or Research Agents later. Type "Datacore" into the Market Browse and look at the list.

Data Interfaces. A set of items that just sit in your hangar and are not consumed by the process.

There are more components that are handy for the process, not least your own POS with a Laboratory module but I'll deal with these as we go along. While vital for making reasonable income I'm dealing with the basic process here.

Spreadsheets. Technically these aren't vital but if you are thinking of moving on from owning a single T2 blueprint to making enough to make a business out of it then you'll probably end up spreadsheeting some stuff. If you can't stand spreadsheets then a) GTFO now before it's too late and b) WTF are you doing playing EVE?

Patience. You'll be doing some logistical runs to and from market. If flying a freighter, or market hubs in general, is your idea of hell then see what I told the people who hate spreadsheets. You'll also be doing a lot of clicking on multiple windows. You'll be managing copy jobs that take hours or days to complete. If you hate this or are prone to RSI then please see what I told the people who hate spreadsheets.

Seed cash. You'll need around 50 million for skill books, materials and BPO's to get properly started. It can be done for 20-30 million but no less.

The Basic Process

  • Copying. An original blueprint, "BPO", is used to make multiple copies, aka "BPC"s. 
  • Invention. An Invention process is run on one of the BPCs.
  • There is a chance that a BPC for the T2 version of the relevant item will be the result.

That's all, make a copy, invent on it, pick up T2 BPC. Nothing to it really. Shake And Bake Shinys. As if.

The Process In Detail

You run into the big bottleneck of T2 invention straight away. It's not the Invention process itself. For basic items like ammo, drones, and commonly used small ship mods, the Invention process is rapid. It takes just a couple of hours for ship mods, just over an hour for ammo even without a POS. It takes a lot longer for ships but lets stick to simple stuff for now.

 Neither is the bottleneck Material Research on the original blueprint. While it is hard to find free slots for Material Efficiency research in NPC empire stations you don't really care at this point since the ME/PE of the BPO, or its BPCs, has no bearing on the Invention process. That's right. No waiting for those endlessly backed up queues for empire material research slots. Instead you get to wait for the endlessly backed up queues for empire copying slots. It can be hard to find them and this is the main reason why a POS is needed to make any reasonable business out of T2 invention and subsequent production. You'll not be able to supply enough BPCs for the Invention process to have enough to supply a constant manufacturing unless you have in built scheduling algorithms that make it seem as if you have a small personal time machine. That and easy access to some of the worst places in low sec.

1. Copying
a). Where and How?

 Where? Well as I said before copying is the bottleneck. I checked when writing and actually saw a free empire slot in Low Sec. If you can handle that then go for it. It's not too dangerous in a fast small ship as long as you know how to use Dscan. Speedy is the key I think. Warp stabbed and shield tanked cruisers (or frigates if you think you can run the undock gauntlet without being alpha'd). If you want to make copies in Hi Sec then forget making decent amounts of cash. The queues generally run from 10 to 15 days at minimum.

 The other thing to bear in mind is that you'll need a Corporation office at the station you want to make the copy. As far as I know this will work for NPC corps but I've never tried it. It's another driver to get players into corporations. There are those out there that will rent slots on POS labs to you. Presumably you just join their holding corp and get busy copying or researching. Check the forums and ask around but be aware that your BPO and any other hangar contents are then under the control of whoever governs that corporation. 

b). Number of Copies

 It looks like 20 is the maximum in my experience. I usually just stick 20 in here but occasionally I'll time it so that it finishes to coincide with the next morning or the evening so that I can run jobs of lots of different BPOs. When you hit OK you'll see the time estimate. Work out how many copies will best fit into cycling your copying around your normal playing hours.

c). Licenced Runs

 There is a formula to the number of runs. The number of Licenced runs affects how many runs are on any resulting T2 blueprint. My formula : 1 for ships, the maximum for anything else. You can find the maximum under Show Info on the BPO/BPC as "Max Runs Per Blueprint Copy". For more information see the discussion on the following link. Ignore any mention of decryptors for now.

4. Delivery

Once the job is finished and you deliver it, the BPCs, if any, will appear in the location of the Invention slot. If you've done this remotely then you'll need to go pick them up.

2. Invention
a). How and Where.

    If in doubt, right click the BPO/BPC, select Show Info, select the Materials tab and then select the Invention tab. All the information you need should be there.

    Right. You are going to need some stuff. You need to stash this in a hangar in the station (or POS module) you are going to run the job on. The BPC doesn't have to be where the Invention process runs but skills and hangar rules govern how far away the BPC, and you, can be from the Invention job. When early experimenting go there in person.

    The first thing to get are the Data Interfaces. There are 3 variants of these for each of the four player racial backgrounds. You might as well go ahead and buy all but the Ship ones. Leave those four until you get around to inventing T2 ship blueprints. Inventing small T2 ships isn't particularly difficult, just more time consuming and the data interface might cost a lot. Wait until you've made some cash. Don't worry too much about the cost as Data Interfaces are not consumed by the invention process.

  You'll need at lease two Datacores. The ones you need you can find under Show Info on the BPC. For more complex items you might need 2 or more of the two types. I've not used a BPC that needed three different types yet but I presume there are some. Datacores you can buy off the market. Shop around, prices fluctuate a lot. Buy Orders can save you a lot of money if you are prepared to wait. Generally this proves useful only once you've got a lot of planned jobs to run. You don't want to be waiting around for a  Buy Order to fill just so you can run an Invention job. Datacores are associated with one of the more esoteric Science tree skills such as Quantum Physics or Mechanical Engineering.

 You'll need some level of the science skill relevant to each Datacore. To get these skills you'll need Science to V and then buy the 10 million skillbook for each of the science skills. Learn them to at least level 2. Higher if you can. Some BPCs require three or more in that skill to invent it or to manufacture the result. In any case these skills affect the chance of success so anything over level 2 is a bonus.

 You'll need a racial encryption skill, for example Amarr Encryption Methods, that is relevant to the type of racial Data Interface needed for the job. Learn these to at least II to begin with. Again they affect the chance of Invention success so learn them higher if you are not already crying about all the things you had to learn.

 Right click the BPC and select Invention

The resulting form looks a bit forbidding but don't worry about it. TL; DR : ignore everything apart from Pick Installation

Hit the "Pick Installation" button and chose where you are doing the job. Once the location is selected a lot of the other details will be filled in. 95% of the time I pick the location and then click OK. Why?

i). I'm not using "Base Items". These effect the chance of invention success. They are meta level items of the same type as the thing you are inventing. Meta 0 items have no effect. The rest are too much of a pain in the arse to get hold of so I don't yet bother. When I get round to producing larger items that consume more time and money to invent I might take a look at this again.

ii). I'm not using a "Decryptor". There are various types of these and they can effect the chance of invention as well as the stats of any resulting T2 BPC. They are expensive. I don't yet produce anything that justifies their use and neither will you at the start. Ignore this box for now and later see the notes on Chances of Success below.

iii). Input/Output : Use the default. These are hangars, input will be set by your choice of BPC and output will default to that too. I generally just leave them at the default but you might be able to organise a piss up in a brewery whereas my organisational skills do not extend that far. I have no real hangar organisation theme.

iv). Output Type : This will be filled in once you select an Installation. Double check it to see if there is a choice but generally there won't be, I've only seen this have a choice when I attempted to make some t2 frigate BPCs.

2. Delivery and Chances of Success

 When you deliver an invention job you have less that 100% chance of success. You may get nothing. You'll get nothing more than you get something. The chance that you'll get something is a base percentage further improved by your skills unless you are using a Decryptor (which I don't).

  The base chance is 40% for stuff that isn't a ship. That's enough to make a profit with the right item. A lot of the profit in manufactured T2 items is sourced in the willingness of the inventor/manufacturer to click a lot of things, wait for jobs to finish, ship product to market, source Datacores. Basically the markup on T2 items is ,at least in part, the effective cost of renting the boredom threshold of the inventor.

 TL;DR With base skills expect an average of 2 BPCs for every 5 Invention jobs. 

Tinfoil Hat Crazy Conspiracy Noob says: You will get zero successes when you most want to get more than average.
Don't think like this. Ignore success rates for less than 100 Invention jobs, maybe more. It'll average out in the end.

3. Manufacturing

In short form, since it could be it's own post and we were supposed to be talking about getting that shiny T2 BPC.

You can easily do this in NPC Empire stations. Don't worry about it.
You will need crazy materials. See the TIPS section at the end and learn to use the market. One of the crazy materials are R.A.M. tech. See below.
You can save a lot of money with Production Efficiency V, especially since T2 ship mods will often have a T1 version as a build material. Plan to get there.
At some point time becomes a factor and then the entire thing will turn into an ISK/hour calculation. Don't neglect Time Efficiency research when making T1 components for T2 manufacture.
Don't neglect T1 industry as an income source. There are still profits to be made.

A short polite note on those fucking R.A.M. Modules

Robotic Assembly Modules are components in building T2 items. They will be partly damaged by the process. You will need 1 of these per item made even if the damage won't wholly destroy 1 R.A.M.

So - say I'm building 10 drones, each of which needs 1 R.A.M. Robotics Tech and causes 10% damage to it. You think : I need 1 of them and it will totally be destroyed in the process (10 times 10% damage). NO. You will need 10 of them to submit the job. After the job has finished you'll have 9 left. So even though you need the numbers to submit the job, only one of them is used. Did I dream this? Possibly. Please, someone tell me I did. It makes no sense to me. What are the other 9 for if only 1 is damaged?  That's all I'm going to say on the matter since I've already included too many swear words in this post.

As ever you'll be told a lot of things about minimum skills. I recall the amount of times I was told not to make stuff till I had Production Efficiency V. That's bollocks my friends. Lower skills mean smaller profit margins. They don't mean no profits and they certainly mean higher profits that sitting around with your thumb up your arse waiting for the skill queue to sandpaper its way across your sleep patterns. Manufacturing with Production Efficiency of one would likely result in cheaper modules than those bought from the market for your own use. Later I'll tell you to learn it to level V just like everyone else.

Science V -  I don't think you can learn the required skills without this.

Lab Operation III - should give you the ability to run 4 jobs. Technically you don't need it at all but even I balk at running one job at a time. Build this up over time. Getting to V means Advanced Lab Operation and another exponential jump in the amount of jobs you can do, but it does take time. Start small with fast invention jobs. Look at the T2 ammo market. Try buying the ammo BPCs off people in the noob starting areas maybe. They get some in their initial missions.

Racial Encryption Methods I - Learn all four of them to II since it takes no time. You might need to run to III or higher for more complex items.

Physics and Engineering skills I - Each job will require two or more of the Engineering and Physics skills under the Science folder in the skill browser. Your BPO/BPC will tell you which you need and to what level. Start with getting them to II since that takes no time. Higher skills mean higher chances but don't go beyond III at the start unless a) The BPO requires it or b) manufacturing the item requires it or c) you like wasting skill queue time.

When manufacturing you might need skills such as Mechanics or Engineering or some skill associated with the use of the item. Generally they will be quickly learned or you've learned them already as core base skills. You do have V in Engineering, Mechanics and Electronics, right? Get them first. Just get them, get them now.

As you move through the process you'll find that other skills become handy. You don't need them for your first experiments but you'll end up getting them if you go any further. Don't worry about them at the start, you'll know the ones I mean when you start patching the fist shaped hole in your desk.


Stock. If your experiments are successful and you decide to make a long term go of things then invest in stock, both for Invention (Datacores) and manufacturing (all kinds of crap) and continue to invest when profits start rolling in. When you start to make profit then forget about using it for something other than reinvesting in the process for at least a month. After that start using Buy Orders to get in raw materials. It might not look like you are saving much per item but it will add up in bulk and the time saved running around collecting things. Have stock ready for Invention well before you need it.

Markets. Markets fluctuate. Watch them carefully. I can't stand Trading which is a shame considering one of the inspirations for this EVE trip was the cash generating mechanic of trading in Elite. Traders understand market fluctuations better than industrialists do. They can deal with slimmer margins. Pay attention to what they say. Pay attention to demand and sell into places that aren't trade hubs if you can. Be careful of supply - are you outstripping demand yourself, or is someone else also supplying the same market?

Diversify. Protect yourself with diversification - reinvest some of your profit in new BPO's for different things. If you must specialise then specialise in an area rather than an item - for example all T2 hybrid ammo rather than Scorch. Ideally consider everything as a possibility and try it out. I've had several cases where I had to experiment with a new item just to prove my spreadsheet wasn't faulty. I was making that much of a profit margin.

Optimise - find a good base with everything you need either to hand or within easy jump distances. This includes your eventual markets. Cut down on flying time or get ready to build an infuriating network of contracted shipping and sales alts.

Plan ahead, fly less, watch the market.

Clicky : It's clicky. Click all the things! Many, many times!

Management : it's a management, logistics, timing and trade game. Consider it a gym membership for the brain, it's dull hard work but you'll feel better for doing it in the end.

Skill intensive : If you include the optimal manufacturing skills then it is fairly skill intensive for the noob. Producing T2 BPCs for different things is going to involve a one time bump of skill book cost and training in all the Physics and Engineering skills under Science. Start putting aside 10 million ISK increments.

POS : to get the most out of it get a POS. POS cause people to wail and gnash their teeth to the extent that CCP saying they wouldn't do much about their current state recently caused a massive backlash on the forums. The only reason it didn't cause another Burn Jita event is that POS managers have too much to do attempting to manage and use POS's. Imagine:

  • "I'd have blown Jita to fuck if only I hadn't had to hang around to Deliver some jobs in this Region"
  • "I'd have blown Jita to fuck if I could have flown Fuel Blocks out at the same time"
  • "I'd have blown Jita to fuck if I hadn't given myself a brain hemorrhage trying to work out optimal POS role organisation"
  • "I'd have blown Jita to fuck if I wasn't sat in my space house enjoying the fact that I finally got the fucker in place". 

POS role management would be a post all on it's own if it wasn't for the fact that I try to avoid thinking about or having to use it.

Profit and chance
Handy for the shops


Late Night - Foals (just because it's good and air guitar delayed this post even more)


Saturday, 9 February 2013

Day 239 : London Calling

Here we go. It's the London EVE meet up today and I’m tempted to blog the day live (semi live). My new Nexus 4 phone ( the long lost love of my life ) can handle the blogger app so I might as well give it a go. If this post vanishes or stops then you'll know that I just got drunk instead.

6am : awake for an hour listening to cricket on the radio while having a hangover. Cricket going well. Hangover not so much.

9am : Random industry jobs slowed down by said hangover

11am: Shave head. What? That's what I did. 

12pm: Mining, internet nattering, trying to find the name badge from last time that @Heimdall_EVEO made, all while cooking a curry to line my stomach.

I say, this is really thrilling isn't it? You never know whether or not I'll find some paint drying that needs watching.

1pm: Eat curry with tentative, hair of the dog, bottle of San Miguel  

2pm : Curse that I forgot the Six Nations was on TV. Head out to find transport.

3pm: .... 
This blogging thing isn't going very well is it? That's because the Blogger app is shit. I'll update via twitter and fill this in later.

A wretched hive of scum and villany. We must be cautious.

I head in, grab a pint and head straight back out for a smoke a chat with the guys from RAZOR you can see hanging around that table looking disreputable. Good blokes all of them, I'm regaled with interesting stories about the life in null.

There are a lot of guys from PANDA around who a) are wearing silly hats to prove it and b) have some fun stories about helping out the Brave Newbies. I confess that I wish I'd shot at the Brave Newbies and shouted "LUKE, I AM YOUR FATHER" at them in Local. Everybody confesses that they'd like to fly with or like the Brave Newbies.

4pm : Already a couple of pints down I head in to find Heimdall and proudly demonstrate that I still have my badge from last time. He hands me another. I now have two badges. This will help later when I get so drunk I don't remember my own name

5pm : I've forgotten about the rugby which is on the big screen. I chat to a few people and watch a bit of that, pacing myself.

6pm : I'm on the fifth pint already. POS fuel is doing the rounds. I avoid this like an old pro. I drank some of it last time. I get chatting to DJ Wiggles from EVE Radio along with Heimdall who made the badges. I tweet about it and some odd stuff happens. Heimdall stands in front of me and starts shouting "Space Noob!". He hasn't made the connection between Space Noob who I tweet and blog as and the name on my badge. I'm amused that I can tap him on the shoulder and say "I'm here". I'm about to do this when I realise other people have taken up the shout of "Space Noob". This includes @Stevie_SG. Having a highly attractive woman shout "Space Noob" out loud to a pub when you are standing there is a dream like experience I will never forget. I'm momentarily stunned. Before I do something stupid like leap over the table, throw myself at her feet and shout "ta dah!" I tap Heimdall on the shoulder and reintroduce myself.

7pm (ish - I have now lost track of time) : CCP Falcon buys me a drink at the bar. This is so the best meta game in the universe. After this I get recognised outside by some pilots "oh you are THAT Space Noob". This is so gratifying that I put my drink down. I shake hands with people. I pick the drink back up. Internet Spaceship Fame is fleeting but beer is forever.

Some time later : I run into In General who I met at the last EVE meet up. I commiserate about a future without VETO and then proceed to get more drunk and laugh about him having a coat that has way, way too many pockets. An ambulance turns up and I nip inside to double check the pint of Speckled Hen I bought Heimdall hadn't sent him over the edge.

Quite late indeed : I get involved in an intense yet amiable argument about whether they used an ambulance in Cannonball  Run I. I say it only happened in the second film. A fellow fan claims it was the first film too. Even the internet can't help us (probably because I'm too drunk to read it). To that pilot (whose name I have, alas, forgotton) kudos on an entertaining drunken argument. I still claim it was the second film only. Get in touch and let me know what you found out.

Even later than that : Quite a few people about are beginning to look worse for wear. One Panda is outside with the smokers trying to get the "fresh" air to sort him out. The smokers are beginning to look like a real world gate camp. I join them and anyone who comes through the door is barracked by cheerful shouts of  Internet Spaceship nerdiness.

Far far too late : Well, not that late in reality but very very late in terms of alcohol consumed. I head inside again and realise that I am, in fact, to put it nicely, absolutely fucking pissed. This is unfortunate for Arianne Stone who has to put up with me when I exclaim loudly and excitedly, introduce myself and start "talking". Sorry Arianne. And apologies also to Vincent Rlyeh who I really wanted to talk to but really, really, can't remember much of what I said. Turn up earlier next time! We must go drinking soon.

At some point I head out into the night, take a wrong turn and find myself completely lost. I'm so drunk I can't even read the map correctly so I employ Dirk Gentlys trick of Zen navigation and follow the first thing that looks like it knows where it is going. After a few tries I get the hang of it and wind up at an underground station. It's here that my memory fails me.


6 am : I wake up sprawled across my bed. I have dim memories of watching a documentary on Chas and Dave. How surreal is that? One of my hands is lying in a bowl of Singapore Noodles. At least I ate. I watch Match of the Day while trying to recover but after a few hours it becomes clear that this hangover is going to be an all dayer. I head down the local shop for recovery snacks. A neighbour who passes by me gives me an odd look and I wonder if I've done anything to my face. Walking into the shop, I ponder the classic recovery drink Irn Bru. Small bottle or large? Actually, lets just get two large bottles and play it safe. The bloke behind the counter gives me an odd look too and this is when I realise I'm still wearing a badge that says "Cheradenine Harper" in large letters. I decide to drink my Irn Bru and hide from the world all day.


Amazing night out. If you ever get chance to go, just go. If you don't know anyone then say hi to a random with a badge when you get there. Every single person I met was open and friendly. If they are not, come say hi to me.

Downsides? Apart from this hangover? 

1. The people who didn't make it, friends who I talk to everyday or just on the odd day. You know who you are. Tiger Ears also didn't make it. I've still not shook the hand of the Siren of Scanning that removed my fear of probing, which sounds rude but you know what I mean. Tiger Ears : sort it out.

2. Oddly I felt a little timid at times. The great and the powerful are friendly as hell in real life. I need to get over myself and say hi a lot more than I did.

3. CCP Guard was there and I don't think I said hi. I was a little in awe, I confess.

4. I didn't pace myself. I was still meeting new and interesting people when I was too far gone to enjoy it fully.

5. This hangover really deserves a second mention.