Sunday, 10 March 2019

Day 2428 : Alpha

TLDR for Bittervets: \o/ get back in on Alpha and relive it all.

This post may be edited. I'm old, I'm tired, I've actually been playing EVE, kind of...


EVE. It's legendary for the Hotel California aspect of play. Once you've played for any amount of reasonable time, that's it. You're done. You can check out, but you can never leave. Long past the end of the game we'll all be sat in some space simulator crying that it's not complex enough; that it's not deadly enough; that there is no real world impact; where is the market? The irony is that if EVE does die then the sub reddit that has been predicting it since 2004, /r/eve, will go on long after it's death.

I came back to EVE this time by an odd route. I was looking for the same sense of loss and jump-scare that a full run through of Subnautica provided. Cool ships was a bonus. If you haven't played Subnautica to the end then just go do it.

A Google search picked up some EVE posts. I read and discovered Alpha. I could play for free? I could go back and see how those characters were doing for nothing? Tick, tick, tick, boom. I'm gone.

I'd been back in Warcraft after a long break, apart from submarine excursions, loving the landscape, hating the dungeon meta. That dungeon meta of running around. It's like every dungeon should have a Benny Hill soundtrack. Screw it. I'll save my sub for Classic in the summer. I reserve the right to climb mountains on my motorbike though.

I can't get too bitter about Warcraft. It saved me. I've spent years lurching from one disaster to another. Health wise, Crohns tried to do me in. Work tried to do me in. I spent years using alcohol to escape both. It shows in a lot of my posts. Alcohol not that unusual with Crohns victims but I got lucky and the meds kicked in, as awful as they are. At some point I figured I should give a "Relationship" a go. That really tried to do me in. Christ on a bike that was some level of hurt. Let's not do that again.

So fuck it, here I am, healthier than I've been in ten years despite the fags and the borderline alcoholism, better at work, and dedicated to celibacy and so full of free time. Warcraft. I played the hell out of that for four months. Plunged all my spare time into it and had a great old time, dungeons aside. Saved my life, but damn, it fades fast.

Dungeons and half a dozen internet television subs took their toll but Subnautica woke that itch. Crafting like crazy? Danger around every corner? Lusting over vehicles? Uh oh.

So, Alpha. Things have changed. There is no way I'm going to be able to convey how much.

Space is full of player made stations. They are simultaneously annoying and useful. I guess I'll go into that in some later post. Suffice to say players have an even more permanent way of stamping their genitals onto space. That's harsh. There are lots of themed names that are quite amusing. I recall flying around the prototypes using the first person camera. It's kind of impressive to see lots of them in one place. Go look at Perimeter.

EVE is even more gorgeous than it ever was. I can't tell if half of this is my upgraded PC or not. Stations blink and gleam with life. The PC upgrade can't cover the ship remodels. Too many discoveries to go into here but I even found myself lusting after the Caldari industrial models, the Badger and the Tayra, Just watching and spinning is a pleasure. Don't get me started about the Navitas. I wanna fly Logi. I'll leave you to discover the warp animations, remodels, and generally "art" for yourselves.

I was hooked almost immediately. Like I'd slid the monitor cable into a vein rather than the second monitor Google interface that's almost required. No in game browser anymore. Learning is external!

Huge amounts of my industrial corp stuff was crippled by limits and extra taxes, but to be fair Faction Warfare is fairly dead and so too my small T2 module border markets. Hey ho. Something to research.

Half of the Interceptors aren't interdiction nullified anymore so you can't run gatecamps with them and so they're worth half as much. Don't worry though, you can't fly T2 hulls as an Alpha! Yeah. That's gonna suck you back in. I want my Magnum PI style, ruby red, Ares.

I can't really tell you everything in a succinct post. I've started to babble. I'll list some stuff. Maybe you can vibe off that.

  • Why do I have a freighter? I don't recall even buying it. It's cool. It's surely way too scary to fly. 
  • SKINS: I'd like to hate the real money grab but I've already bought half a dozen... There are LOADS of them now.
  • Tristan: looks good in any SKIN
  • How come my indy alts have that much cash? They've been paying station office bills for years and it's not even made a dent.
  • WHY FACTION WARFARE? WHY? Low sec is quiet as quiet can be. 
  • Overview learning is hard. Just give up and download one of the nullsec recommended ones as a start and then add the stuff you need.
  • If you see NPC miners in a belt and there is some "Pirate" base nearby then align out, like, right now. They ain't joking with new AI based NPCs.
It all feels at once familiar and yet full of changes. I'm not even covering the new ships and weapon systems that you can't access as an Alpha.

Eventually I calm down and decide to do some PVE and see what happens. Practicing Dscan reveals some Salvage drones. I jump into a hard fit Expanded Probe Launcher T1 scanner hull and manage to get to them, abandoned by some fellow noob. I can't use them because they, like so many hulls and ships, are behind the Omega paywall.

Flush with confidence over scanning I roll out and attempt some sites I can find. Check out the "Agency" thing.  I'm scalped a couple of times by a Stratios stealing the final loot but get an escalation.

At one point I have to pass through low sec into a high sec pocket in Placid and run across two Goons camping the gate in Oulley. One of them gets a long point on me (is that the right term? I’ve forgotten). Shields are stripped in half before I squeak away thanks to a single warp core stab. More of those need fitting in travel. I avoid Oulley on the way back, taking three quieter low sec systems and the long way round hisec to the next encounter, thinking how right I was that those kills in the last hour stats on the map were surprisingly high. Long dormant instincts are coming back.

In the end it nets me some drone related crap. I dimly remember this kind of stuff as worthless. I’m wrong. One drop is 44 million worth of capillary fluid. The other stuff fills the gaps. So much for being cheap hauling around my hull and armor reppers. You can park at player stations and get free repair while "tethering" these days anyway.

The last encounter gets a tad tasty, I’m down to half hull but its got a repper on it and I’m a hull tanking mobile kennel here, 8K tank in a cheap destroyer, whipping out drones while Black Sabbath Iron Man plays in the background. The hull is wrecked and I sit outside a station calming down while it all repairs itself.



About 800K for the hull, 2 million for the fit ( if that ), and about 4 mill in drones (overkill since no drone gets even slightly damaged) and ammo. I flog all the crap at buyout prices in TEST's new Perimeter trading hub, because why not dock there?

Overall about 50 million profit for a couple of hours work, as an Alpha, in a fit you could buy for hi sec ratting money or a couple of filled Venture ore holds ( hey, you can't fly any other mining ships). I guess this ignores the fact that I had a Heron to do the initial scanning and the vague memories of having scanned down stuff before. I’d of got carried away and done more but Six Nations rugby on TV is too much of a distraction.

There are many, many things not mentioned here, I’ve re-learned less than a tenth of  the mechanics of a complex game in the odd hour or two over a week. Essentially though, if you are a bitter vet of any kind and haven’t been back in years, it’s worth a dangerously free visit. You’ll make more of it than me I’m sure. Back in the day I effectively rage quit about not being able to two man a customs office takedown. Sure I was drunk, on horrid combinations of drugs and generally pissed off  but what the hell? Really I spent most of my time playing EVE like Stardew Valley. Hello again Spaceship Valley. Can I resist the attempt to PLEX for ISK so I can ship spin in my own space home?

Second TLDR: Come take a look for free, don't fly angry, more worth it than the best solo game on a PC I ever played.

Track of the Day:

Hotel California - The Eagles.

Then stop it halfway through and put on this instead

Raiders March - John Williams






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