Thursday, 31 January 2013

Day 230 : Cannonball

UPDATED 15/04/2012 : see this

Yeah, no posts for a while. I've been stuck in industry which feels like an endless grind that's always but not ever nearly over. I'll post about that soon. Jester stole my thunder on the T2 thing but I'll post a noob guide soon.

On the other hand inspiration struck the other day with the Tuskers announced DEATHRACE

                   DEATHRACE 2013 Wallpaper 
 Another piece of epic artwork by Rixx Javix over at Rixx - if I've been a bad internet person using this Flickr embed then let me know.

Oddly this didn't make me think of Deathrace 2000. It made me think of the Cannonball Run. I couldn't get the theme music out of my head.

Given how cool the Tuskers FFA was I need to go to this event. Given my nature I need to go in the oddest ship possible. So if you see me in a logi cruiser named "Cap'n Chaos" you'll know what I've been channelling. It's not what you do, it's how you do it.

Back to regular posting soon. I promise. At least this one was short.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Day 220: Nipping Down the Local for a Pint

"The local chat channel provides EVE players with an instant source of intel of who is in the system. With a quick glance you can tell who is in system and what your standings are to them. War targets, hated enemies, friends and corp mates all stand out clearly. Is this right? Should we have access to this intel for free with no work or effort? Should the Local chat channel even exist? Should normal space be more like wormhole space where the Local channel appears empty until someone speaks?"

At this rate I'm going to be answering more BB's than anything else. I must get back to posting more. Until that point, and unless I decide to write up my epic drunken idea for TrekGateWars (all the Star sci-fi rolled into one) then I'll try a short weigh in on the current Blog Banter Topic.

When I read these posts I was blown away. In particular I was fascinated by the ideas of Rhavas. Here was a scheme that would transform EVE combat. It would transform it into the ultimate in starship submarine combat. By the time I'd finished digesting it I was practically wearing a sweat soaked Navy uniform and looking tensely at the ceiling as if expecting depth charges. All that was missing was the ability to jettison something from the cargo bay to fake debris before warping off.

Then I thought about it. I thought about when I first went to low sec. I thought about how I could see who is in system instantly. I thought about how I could run for cover when local spiked. I thought how I could judge a system, how I could begin to learn to judge the situation. That was the most important aspect. I had a handle to start to judge the situation in the absence of experience. It made me confident enough to keep trying, to keep going back. Everything else was up in the air. No combat skills, no real knowledge of the attitude of anyone else in low sec (that was provided at the point of a gun later on).

So, what if others like me are coming through? I'm not saying the removal of Local as an intel source is definitely going to make things harder for them. Everything I've read, which sounds cool, sounds more difficult, more complex. The last thing low sec needs is more difficulty. The last thing low sec denizens need is noobs avoiding low sec because it got more difficult. It's all about the New Player Experience these days. Add more skills to that, learned in reality or virtually and gaining that required experience becomes more difficult. Whatever the solution, if anything needs to be done at all, then, well, make sure it doesn't restrict the noobs and doesn't restrict the flow of noobs to those higher up the food chain. This is for everyone and in six months I'm going to need a low sec full of fat cats I can prey on. Don't add something new to learn then I have to keep running to keep up. The Noob Tax was bad enough. Don't add barriers. Keep the Local, local. Keep it full of faces you can recognise before they appear on grid and atomise you three seconds later. Local is fun. Local is a thing. The local is where you go for a pint. It's bad for you but enjoyable. It's almost as bad as that tenuous metaphor.

What about Null? I've hardly been to Null. The cloaky problem? Rhavas already gave you my aforementioned depth charges. I've hardly been there. You sort it out. I'm just a Noob.

Woah. Too serious for me, so here is episode one of TrekGateWars

Jack O'Neill and Han Solo take Kirk aside and attempt to explain the Red Shirt thing. Unfortunately they do this by parading random Red Shirts down the corridor who Solo then shoots. Kirk doesn't get it initially, Jack shouts "crap" everytime a red shirt gets blown away. Kirk is confused and thinks the Red Shirts are all the same guy. Eventually Kirk just says "but doesn't everyone think they are the same guy?", and at that point Teal'q sticks his head round the corner of the door and says "Indeed".

Fly Random.

EVE Track Of The Day

White Shadows - Coldplay

Friday, 11 January 2013

Day 210 : Just Gimme the Prize : BB43

I will respond to a Blog Banter again one day. Today is that day.

For Blog Banter 43 I would like to invite every participant to nominate their peers for whatever awards you think they deserve. Let's start the year with some EVE-flavoured altruism and celebrate the best and the worst of us, the funniest or the most bizarre, the most heroic of the most tragic of the past year. They could be corpmates, adversaries, bloggers, podcasters, developers, journalists or inanimate objects. Go nuts.

I've been playing EVE for over half a year. It's been a revolution. I'm not sure what the hell is happening to my capsuleer career at the moment, or why, but all that can be dealt with in another post. Here are the Noob Awards for 2012. Lets start with something light.

Best Ship Award  

Shiny New Space Ships were my first EVE love. I'm basically a big kid when it comes to games. When could I get a new type of ship? How would I fly it? This feeling has faded somewhat but is in the process of returning as I move back to flight and combat skills in an attempt to try out all frigates and cruisers in combat. What was my favourite ship in 2013? The Federation Navy Comet? I love it for it's looks as much as the fact that I found it a flexible and powerful ship. I managed to speed tank a level three mission in it once. I can't pick it though, it hasn't been used enough and I haven't dared to lose one in PVP. The Dominix? My faithful Space Potato, the roving kennel for the "lads"? Nah. I've not done enough with that either. Level 4 PVE is a little slow for my tastes with my current skills. I'll return to it again once I raise those skills and see what happens. In the end the winner is the trusty, tough, lance weilding all rounder that is the Incursus. I like it's looks, I like it's handling, I've had my favourite fights in it. It was the first ship I wanted a T2 version of (and then couldn't bear to have explode once I had it). Incursus you win. You make me want to explode a lot.

Best Blog Award

Here is an award I wanted to give but almost proved impossible. It could be any of the blogs that appear in the sidebar on this page, plus a few more stashed in various feed readers in a vain attempt to keep up with the entirety of the EVE blogosphere. Who would I choose? Would it be Fiddlers Edge who posts rarely but instantaneously causes me to drop everything and read? He gave me my first review back in the day, dragging me from complete obscurity so I'm glad of that too but it might be a little self serving of me to award it. It could be Mabricks Mumblings, Mabrick who was my first hero in EVE when he defied the Goons way back when. What about  A Carbon Based Life where I often find myself agreeing with Tur and his approach and who has now been joined by Mabrick in WH space? (By the way CCP - not a fansite? Are you insane?) The winner could be Jesters Trek, the indispensible juggernaut of EVE blogging. It could be Poetic Discourse, Poetic who is so forthright and brutally honest that he ends up being a drama firehose while at the same time having the calm to advise noobs like myself without looking down on them. Admittedly I love watching that drama from the gallery. Thanks also for telling me what a fleet anchor was ages ago. I could also choose Freebooted by Seismic Stan who runs this whole Blog Banter thing on top of his own great fiction and EVE journalism, a workload I can't even understand. I think I met him once. I was drinking something blue from a bucket though. It could have been anyone, or a hallucination.

I could go on and on and on, I could mention each blog and why I like it so much. Look at the blog roll in the sidebar. It's any and all of them who posted in the last couple of months. I can't choose a best blog but if I had to choose a First Among Equals Blog Award based on who I read most and most eagerly, every day, at the moment, then that award goes to Sugar Kyle for Low Sec Lifestyle. It's everything about an EVE life and, well, just read it ok - it's good and it gets me through the work day.

 This award was so hard I can't even bring myself to talk about it any more. When you shave your head you look like an idiot trying to tear your hair out over a decision.

Best EVE Fiction Award

More accurately, who wrote my favourite piece of fiction. Rhavas? Sugar Kyle? I read their blogs regularly and I liked both their recent entries to the fiction competition. They both placed and so they already have awards but that wouldn't stop me giving them another. In the end though the winner is the author of the story that got me reading EVE fiction and in particular a short story that saved one Friday in August from doom and gloom. Drackarn wrote the story that had the most effect on me and the prize goes to him.

Best Thing I've Done In EVE Award

The Tuskers FFA. No doubt about it. I've been to both. I had to leave the most recent earlier than expected but still had a great laugh. My thanks to all the Tuskers for their hard work and ISK generosity in setting it up. My thanks to everyone who attended and made them great evenings. See you at the third one.

Best Thing About Playing EVE Award

Oddly enough the winner isn't just the glory of Internet Space. The winner isn't writing this blog though it could have been. I've never written anything for public consumption before this and it has been a great experience. The winner for the best thing about playing EVE is the EVE community. I've never felt part of something like this via the internet before. Sure, back in my Warcraft days I had the guilds I was a member of, one of which I still miss, but nothing compares with what I've found here. So to the bloggers, the redditors, #tweetfleet, the VETO London meetup players, the people I've talked to in game and the members of my quiet little corporation (Jax, Dave - WTF are you. Log back in already. The holidays are over) this award goes to you. Thanks for making the year of an nerdy internet space noob.

Worst Thing About EVE Award

Was it learning about ship loss? The fact that in EVE, unlike so many games, the "death" of your character has more impact than just requiring some form of simple resurrection?. No, that's a good thing though it took me a while not to learn not to take it personally. It's part of the game and part of what makes the game so compelling even when mucking around in my extensive periods of carebeariness. Could the worst thing be the Noob Tax? Noob Tax is my name for the need to skill up to avoid the split of Destroyer and Battlecruiser skills along racial lines. I know I'm complaining about gaining but I'm a Noob and it took over a sixth of my young capsuleers life to sort it out. The award was still going to the Noob Tax anyway until just the other day when I found out that the skill split had been put back to the Summer expansion. So, for making me remap too early and wasting my December, I nominate you Delayed Reason For Noob Tax! Here is a picture of your boot award.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Day 200 : Space Noob in the ...umm... 21st Century

In the day 200 Space Noob Industries launched a very hungover mining ship.
Aboard this great big space hog a lone capsuleer, Captain S. Noob was to experience extreme boredom beyond all comprehension.
In a freak mishap his entire ship was frozen by lag beyond imagination.
Gold Digger I was blown out of its target belt of Scordite into a grid 1000 times more laggy.
It was a grid that was to return Space Noob to Caslemon .... 365.... DAYS later......
De de duh deeh deeh duh.. etc + Erin Gray (hopefully).

So here I am one year ahead of you, blown into the future by a tragic lag mishap caused by a half assed attempt at building my own shoddy Damage Control II. It's all different in this strange new world.

I undock and find out all my ships have a third more shield and armour. What the hell? It makes fights last slightly longer but perhaps it was the fix to the undock bug where you find you have a third missing from both. A bug where I never found the trigger conditions to report it. Bizzaro. Perhaps it was planned?

I visit to see what's happened and use their link to the sov map. Before I can click it I notice the entire site has become crowded with Planetside 2 articles, hemmed in by various articles on big fat combat robots. Planetside 2 has become a dark warground of individuals sniping at their hated enemies. No one goes for the objectives anymore. Guerilla warfare against other outfits rules the entire game. The comment threads are full of DUST players mocking PS2 players for not being intelligent enough to find a fight. PS2 mock DUST players in turn for being nuked from orbit by passing, bored, capsuleers.

Switching back to the Neocom I notice a supercap in the belt. It's mining! When did they allow this? Before I can ask what is going on a horde of T1 cruisers hit the grid, spouting obscenity in local. They tear the supercap apart and then begin to fight over the remains. Most of the pilots are less than two months old, slavering maniacs in charge of guns. It is a cruiser blob. Reavers driven mad by the insane amounts of PVP they can engage in from day one.

I warp to a planet hoping they won't follow but misclick and end up floating above a belt. There are ships here projecting some kind of effect into the rings of the planet. What are they doing? Hoovering up stuff? Half the ships belong to Goons and have escorts of all sizes flying with them. I'm yellowboxed and completely jammed almost instantly by ECM cruisers in the cloud, but I warp to an old safe point just in time.

Something is still on grid! Investigating further I see a strange structure, modular like a huge NASA space station of old. Industry lights some corners of it and a right click reveals the production of biomass in a space conservatory. I fail to see any protection on it, perhaps it can be only dscanned down by randomly pointing into space? As I watch a Tengu uncloaks and begins to shoot at one of the modules, in turn a squad of Battle cruisers unclock, all year old pilots, yet with fearsome DPS, they tear the Tengu apart. I run in fear of noobs having fully skilled BCs.

This kind of space is too freaky for Space Noob, surely some bastion of sanity must exist elsewhere. I set my destination to Jita. On arrival I view a wasteland. Activating a cloak I drift slowly through the wreckage. Local is silent.. Where are all the scammers? Suddenly I notice a lone Iteron on the undock. Local booms out. It is the Knights of the New Order. Trade is now banned without subscription to the New Order and the promise to never autopilot between trade hubs! As I warp out in fear I notice the flayed body of James 315 pinned to the hull of a gank fit Thorax. It looks as if the Knights rose up and immortalised their founder in their quest to prevent anyone playing EVE by other than their own rules.

Where are all the personalities I've enjoyed reading about in the distant past? How many are still with us? A hint leads me back all the way to Old Man Star. I run the blockade of two month old Reavers only just intact and find Old Man Star to be a refuge for any vet' over a year old, fighting a rear guard action against faction fit cruisers flown by five day old characters who have flown out of null ratting sites. Should I call out to the Noobs as their father or should I join with the old guard as I'd originally planned? Null is a desolate wasteland following the cataclysmic war between the Goons and TEST, imitating real world history after a flare up in the Balkans that is the south and south east.

I choose to join the old guard as I had planned to back in the day, too many friends had been made in the past. Tur is there, the grizzled old WH vet with a much scarred Mab at his side, Kyle the Queen of the Rebalanced Nado is there, Kodachi the frigate king, Drack the Destroyer, Fiddle too mocking while Rome burns, Javix the pacifist (he killed too many and now only flies tackle) and too many other notables to mention. The number of pilots online is off the chart. It is time, as Tallahassee once said, to nut up or shut up. EVE is the land of the noobs and their father is coming to meet them with guns, overheated guns with the safety off.

07 EVE.

PS - Apologies all. Back to work tomorrow and that combined with a nice glass of Jura has led me to an irreverent look at the future of EVE. To all those personalities I've followed on Twitter or their blogs, thank you. To all those people I talk with in game, thank you. To all those people who read my drivel, thank you. EVE was the greatest thing in a rough 2012 for me. 2013? Time to nut up or shut up. I'll see you there. It's back to combat come the end of January. Goddamn PI......