Saturday, 19 December 2015

Day 1282 : Danger : Space Philately and the Greatest PVP plan ever.

Sounds rude doesn't it? No rude here for you. Jog on.

I convinced myself that my return to EVE would involve a proper community, a vocal involvement in an internet community. Yes Sion. We have those.

I failed. Life took over, as usual, Crohns is hilarious, and EVE became an intermittent joy. It's EVE.You make your own fun. Gradually things coalesced. It turns out that a minor industry addiction is equivalent to my old Civ addiction. No, Dan, I am not going to get involved in epic Civ V battles with you, I play only to get to nukes anyway. Play EVE damn you.

So what did I really become involved in? There's only so long that you can chase ISK for the purposes of a total. What's your top score in Pole Position, Chunk?

Well, crafting in any game I've played has always fascinated me. Add classic EVE complexity and you've got a Space Noob trap. Add a personal desire for self sufficiency and you've got one holy hell of a trap. I became convinced that the plan was to be able to build up from zero ISK without buying anything other than materials I couldn't realistically obtain in a decent time wise fashion. Imagine: one contract or market mistake and the ISK balence is zero. Where to go? Imagine: ganked to death in a corp war. Where to go? Well. I'm nudging researched 500 BPOs at the moment. Not all to top material levels of course. These include all the T1 frigates,  insanity like a Dominix, all the parts needed for T2 small industry. Why? I can't make money off them. The market is still swamped with pre revamp battleships. I can save a couple of ISK making my own frigates and cruisers. Maybe.

But I can make EVERYTHING I might lose. EVERYTHING. Where else can you do that? What other game? Let us not talk of Shroud of the Avatar. Let us not talk of a possible exit from space.

So I'm a carebear at heart and these are my badges:


They are stamps. I have pretty much no need to activate their value, but damn, is it fine to just own them. I glory in the ownership. Any political affiliation I have to the left ends at EVE. As is only proper.

These are more useful. God knows why the script BPO is in there. I do occasionally add to the collection while drunk.


All this exaggerates my loner personality. I don't want that. I want to branch out. I want to be an active  member of a vibrant community.

So I will, in the new year, probably submit an app to Stay Frosty. I was in there before but. alas, I was already on the down and out of EVE and trailed away before they could save me.

This time I will employ the lessons I've learned elsewhere. There will be an aim. I'm not your classic EVE player so no killboard stats for me. I will instead aim to kill other players ....

to incongruous music!

That's correct, I'm going, in 2016 , join a PVP corp and try to get kills while playing certain tracks.

I'll report them here but here is the initial taster

1. If You Leave Me NowChicago this will be hard because I'll be laughing about ex's all the way through

2. Land of 1000 Dances - Wilson Picket. Crazy orbit MWD shit

3. With a Little Help From My Friends - Joe Cocker. Has to be a fleet fight.

4. You Give A Little Love - Paul Williams. Might have to use ECM. Sorry.

5. Ain't No Mountain High Enough - Marvin Gaye, Tammi Terrell. This one devoted to an upclass kill, frigates vs a battlecruiser

6. Spooky - Dusty Springfield. A cloaky torpedo kill here. 

etc etc

I'll come up with some more, but essentially I need to spend 2016 shooting people to my odd taste in music rather than obsessing about small blue squares. 

Track of the Day: Don't Give Up On Me - Solomon Burke

PS. Must get a kill to Then He Kissed Me by The Crystals

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Day 1247 : The Price of Knowledge and How To Be Back

I'm back spending some time in New Eden. Lured back by news of upcoming changes. The greatest of these being the announcement of the plans for the sale of skill points. I don't really need to use it but I love the idea of it. I've read so many wary acceptance statements, and quite a lot more fearful declarations but I can't help feeling it's good for the game. Part of me suspects that it's another step on the road to free-to-play (even before I read this excellent tinfoil hat version) . I'm still thinking about the impacts of F2P but since EVE will always be "hard" no matter your skills, or even your wallet, how bad could it be? Good job they're updating EVE with Brain In A Box then they can handle the influx. Presumably the increase in the number of explosions on grid will be as exponential as the dreaded learning curve.

Back to the skills. Why do I love the idea of the ability to buy knowledge (thought not the ability to apply that knowledge)? I guess it's because I'm a fan of plans. Having a plan, finding out how to enact a plan and then bending your effort towards completing that plan. There is fun. EVE is great for plans, there is always something else to try and do. The method of obtaining the ability to do something is much more important than actually doing it once you can. It's a journey thing. But. The amount of times in EVE I've had a plan and then it's turned into "made the skill plan, now sit back and wait". See, I have a problem. I can't just go off half cocked. I'm a coward. Fools rush in and have all the fun. I sit back and glory in the safety of my cloud based harp performance. Essentially I'm bored because of fear. In a game where fear is the underlying element of attraction. The shakes this game can cause, the visceral dread, the adrenaline spikes. No gaming experience I've ever had matches it. Enough of fear, that's a story for another day. And yes, I have a plan to get over that too.

Within a day of returning I had a plan for an alt. I grabbed an old PLEX, I activated the characters training with the month worth of skills it would take me to get there. Then I sat back. I did nothing. I thought to myself "I'll be able to explore that part of the game in a month or so". I was about to crash back out of EVE, just like the last couple of times I'd restarted. I couldn't help but think of when I'd felt the same in my early EVE career. What had kept me going back then? I had plenty to distract me. I had aims that could only be completed by engaging with the game. Despite this there were always those moment where I thought "So, next week" or "In a month or two". Thankfully I was off exploring and experimenting back then. Hell, sometimes I was even mining.

Fortunately I'd started reading round the blogosphere again. I can't recall what particular post caused it but it was Neville Smit writing somewhere. Talking about plans and returning to EVE. So I looked up my old plans notes. There was a wealth of minor achievements there that I'd never got around to. Tiny things, lots of pointless things mainly but lots to do. I put one foot on the road and a week later I was shouting as I warped a Stratios home from an ill thought out attempt at a Ghost Site. For the record, the cruisers appeared after a minute and also, they hit very, very, hard. Thankfully they get distracted when an alt Caracal warps in and side swipes them with a rash of rapid lights before warping out. Either that, or they are unforgivably slow. Warp disruption icons are the scariest thing I have ever seen.

Maybe I played too many theme park games where you actively play/work towards a goal. Maybe, if new players, inevitably mainly from theme park world, could work towards their goals they could play the game as a mean to an ends in the game. Maybe then they could feel the possibilities we all have and they'd be in game while they realised them. Then they'd have the experiences which are more important than what they were actually working towards. Difficulty and loss would be part of the game and not a threat.

Maybe "theme park" has become a swear word and we're scared of it when it comes to our sandbox. I'm probably just dancing around the topic of "player engagement".

Maybe I confused "plan" with "skill plan".

Maybe I'm just a boring old coward. That has to end. I have a plan. This one can only be actioned by playing the game. What's the worst that could happen? The plan I have doesn't have any skill points attached to it, otherwise I'd wait another month or two before engaging.

EVE Track of the Day

I Need Never Get Old - Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Day 1233 : BB68 - Back In The Saddle?

Welcome to the continuing monthly EVE Blog Banters and our 68th edition! For more details about what the blog banters are please visit the Blog Banters Page.

BB68: This is my Rig, There are Many Like it...What do you play Eve on? I'll show you mine if you show me yours! Are you pew-pewing on a laptop? Plotting universal domination on a 12 monitor set up? Mining away on a 50" TV? Is your set up located where your other half can speak to you or do you lock yourself away for hours in your Eve themed shed? How do you play your important internet spaceships?

Banter on!


Heh. Is this thing on? Does it still work? Brush the dust (not that DUST) off the blog and wonder why, as Winter Is Coming, I find myself spending the last few evenings digging through mountains of crap stored in a set of hangars in a series stations scattered all across New Eden.

Picture The Rig time eh? Blimey, I haven't done this in oooh, 672 days.

The PC isn't anything special, an i7 with 14Gb of RAM crippled slightly by a poor disc and an ageing graphics card. Replacements for both the disc and the card are scheduled for next year. Disc swapping hassle. Urgh.

i7-2600 3.4Ghz
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 550 Ti
A pair of smallish monitors in the 22-24" range, running at 1980x1080
Sound comes from a set of Logitech speakers that I forget the specs of but that I can't run even halfway up without aggressing the neighbours. EVE has sound you know. The Moa warp configuration made a noise yesterday! My God!

I can run a couple of EVE clients on this with fairly high graphics settings as long as I don't start thinking about how I need to hoover the inside of the PC case when the graphics card fan starts whirring.  The desktop itself is tucked away underneath the desk. You can just see a Kindle charging cable draped across the dusty top of it at the bottom of the picture. It's parked next to a printer I hardly ever use.

Right of that is an old (ish) laptop that gets used for EVEMon, EFT, Netflix, etc when the two main screens are in use. 

Right of that you can just see a third monitor which is hooked up to a 10 year old PC running Linux. This I occasionally use for coding experiments and quick parsing of text files such as CSV exports from EVEMon. It's a fairly new addition to the desk. In reality it probably sees less use than that bottle of whisky sat in front of the monitor and certainly less use than the NERF crossbow that sits on top of that monitor (bow not pictured, other fake weapons are available). Theoretically it will one day host my own trade&industry managing web app. Theoretically.

The desk has stood the test of time. Custom built by the old man, cantilevered so there are no legs to kick out, and fitted exactly to the corner of the room. I spend a LOT of time at it. Until recently not much of that time has been EVE time. The last return didn't take.

Minor detailing includes a ramekin full of RPG dice that I make important decisions with (do I nip into lowsec? Wooo, 19 on a d20. Etc, etc) and, somewhere, a tiny Millenium Falcon!

EVE Track of the Day

Homeward Bound - Simon & Garfunkel

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Day 1016: The Alts

Gigantic overhead spotlights burst into life, harsh electric cracks reverberating around the cavernous station storage bay. Dust cascaded slowly downwards like grey waterfalls in the newly activated gravity. With a hiss the observation deck airlock iris closed, leaving three men standing imperiously over a seemingly endless array of battered cargo modules.

“Huh, dust” said one, “I thought this place was hermetically sealed? No place for Dust here.”

“I think it’s a poorly executed descriptive device to indicate extreme age or abandonment.” replied another, warily.

The third man, their leader, strode forward. His featureless disposable combat fatigues, obviously freshly printed, hissed as the fabric moved. The impression was that of a snake, readied to strike.

“Bugger” he muttered.

“Shit, bollocks, and and bugger again for good measure.”, this time slightly louder.

His compatriots waited. Similar descriptions had crossed their minds.

“Boss wants this sorted. Potential of use he says. Wants the entire operation reactivated.”

Snidely: “Just in case”.

There was a moment of consideration, furrowed brows, a dangerous economic calculus beyond mere scientific estimation. Each face bore the hallmarks of accidents in such intellectual wars. Each man paused to consider the technical ramifications of such an exercise. A conclusion that couldn’t be articulated:

“Boss is fuckin’ mad then”.

“Yup” said the third, “Bonkers, wacko and more besides. Never made a good decision in his entire afterlife. Nevertheless, boss says jump, and by jump he means a billion in disposable ISK a month. As if he ever spends it, the lackwit, danger averse nutter. I’m gonna wake the scanner and the idiot. If I’m up, so are they.”

“I need to kick the tyres on the old Iteron then”

“Called summink else now, all of em. Concord knows what else has changed since we were last doing this crap.”

The two men walked off the deck, airlock irising open silently to receive them.

“Hey”, said the last, to himself, “I think we left some Radioactive Material down there, for like, months!?”

He was alone, no one to hear him scream. Which he wasn’t going to do. Because he felt it would have been a bit girly. And he wasn’t in space.

“I think there’s bound to be some dead Fedos and Militants in those pods ‘n all by now. This op is gonna stink in more ways than one.” he muttered. “This isn’t going to work”.

He turned and walked from the observation deck, slightly spoiling his exit by failing to trigger the iris.

“I’m bad at EVE”
EVE Track of the Day : New World in the Morning - Roger Whittaker

(had to start on an odd note, you can blame me watching Calvary the other night for that. And you can blame Fan Fest coverage and the Altruist for this attempt to return to EVE. )

PS. Thanks Google Docs for the formatting. Fixed that