ATXV

A Band Apart: Roll Tide
ATXIV Propaganda
It has been a relatively quiet run-up to the Alliance Tournament this year for my Alliance. Having finished in the Top 16 last year certainly helps take some of the edge off this year. We didn't have to worry about getting in, since we had an automatic bid, and we didn't have to fight in that weird feeder round crazy. Whew.

So we've just been quietly going about our business since almost January or so, to be honest it all starts to blur together after a while. Real practices started being serious after Fanfest and we've been doing solid three-a-weeks since then. This is a tough slog for everyone. We all have real lives out here and it can be difficult keeping everyone enthusiastic, especially when it comes to Time Zone weirdness, work schedules, and the dull ache of non-internet spaceship crap we all have to deal with.

But that is all part of the game, isn't it?  My job as Alliance leader person is to put the pieces in place and then help them as best I can to succeed. We are truly lucky to have the people we have, from our FC, support FCs, theory-crafters, pilots, and all those supporters behind the scenes cheering us on or building things for us. Which is all very exciting. Mostly I just write the checks. And pay the bills. And interject what I hope is some wisdom into the mix from time to time.

How will we do this year? I have no idea and neither does anyone else. I know that we will be ready and that everyone will give it everything they have. Of that I have no doubt. The rest comes down to the luck of the draw, the comps aligned on field, and the millions of split-second decisions made under extreme pressure. 

I'd like to see us do better than last year. I think we left a lot on the field last year and those losses still sting. I've probably watched our matches from last year about twenty times in the past few weeks. That isn't healthy. But who cares? I'll probably watch them some more before July 29th.

Lots to do before then. We are almost a month away.




Steel City Eve 2


Last year we had a blast hosting our first ever Eve Meet! So we decided to do the dumb thing and have another one, this time at our house!

More information is available over on Eve Meet at this LINK!!

Everyone is invited, doesn't matter who you are in-game, or what you do, come hang out with us and spend the day talking about Eve, eating, drinking, and having a lot of fun.

So we hope to see you there.



Could Eve Survive the Cinema?

EVE: Blood of the Empires Promotional Poster
Tom Hardy is the Pirate
Over the years I've had some fun imagining Eve as a television series (like above) or as a film. I've made fake movie posters, teased Ridley Scott pictures on Twitter, and created funny one-offs from time to time. I do this because, like I suspect most of you do, I think the idea sounds amazing. Who wouldn't want to see Eve on the big screen in the theater or the big screen at home? And we know the idea has merit because we continue to hear that such an idea is "in development". I heard it myself at Fanfest again this year from Torfi himself. And he would know.

Last I heard Ridley Scott's Scott Free Productions had the rights and that Icelandic Director (who most recently directed 2015's Everest) Baltasar Kormákur was involved somehow. The word from Fanfest hasn't changed much in the intervening years. "These things take time", "Rome wasn't built in a day", etc. Which is all true. Some properties can take decades and decades to be produced. I was just reading a story about Cowboy Bebop's decades long development. There are hundreds of examples like that.

So what is the problem? What is taking so long? I have zero inside information. Other than a life-long interest in film production, thousands of television commercials, three failed television pilots, one almost (so close) greenlit film script, and a brief movie review career - I know nothing. But I can make a few educated guesses. A thought experiment. Why not? 

The biggest hurdle in my mind right now is that Eve is a video game. And video game based films and television productions have a nasty history of failure. Every time one comes along you'll hear the same things being said, "This is the one!" Most recently that happened in the run-up to the release of Assassins Creed last year. And despite Michael Fassbender's obvious passion, that film didn't exactly light the world on fire. I haven't even seen it myself yet, and that should tell you everything you need to know. (I will eventually!) I have my own theories on why video game films tend to do poorly, but let's just go with the accepted reality that they have pretty much failed to live up to expectations in the past.

Ok so combine that with the other obvious issue - cost. Science fiction is expensive. Even for television. So even a modestly budgeted Eve film would land in the $120-175 million dollar range, a TV show maybe in the Game of Thrones range of 7-10 million per episode. An Eve based production could be made for less, or made for much more, the point is that it is going to cost something. Plus marketing and publicity. It is after all, an investment.

So combine an unproven genre with expensive production and you get major roadblocks. All of which brings us to another issue that I think needs to be addressed - the Pod. One of the things that the new Frigates of Eve book settles once and for all is the long-gestating argument amongst Eve nerds regarding the "space captain" idea. One I've written about extensively here in the past. For those not aware, the argument raged between different camps for years. Did your space captain walk around in the ship? Did they have a crew? Are you trapped inside your Pod all the time? Or a million other variations. The lore strongly leaned one way or the other, often contradicting itself depending on when it was written. But I think the FoE book has finally settled it. You are in your Pod the whole time.

And while that is a cool science-fiction based futuristic whatnot for us, looking at the outside of our ships 24/7 - it doesn't make for a very cinematic answer. Tom Hardy is not going to spend 45 minutes of a movie floating naked in green goo doing voice over work while his body twitches every so often. Ain't gonna happen.

And obviously that would have to be changed for any potential story.

None of which means anything really. The fact is that Eve has all the potential in the world to be the basis of tremendous stories set in an exciting and different science-fiction universe. It would be, and could be, incredible. We all know this. But will it ever be given the chance?

I hope so. My fingers have been crossed for so long they are turning black.


PS: If I had my way it'd be a 10 episode limited series on HBO or another premium network.


After Hours #22 with Bei Artjay


After Hours #22 with Bei Artjay is now available.

Enjoy!



Being a Part of A Band Apart

Here's a little thing I wrote about A Band Apart... (ahem)... I'm part of A Band Apart. What part of A Band Apart are you a part of? Is that your part of A Band Apart? I'm glad I'm a part of A Band Apart. A part of it is being part of a band of many different parts, with many parts that you can be part of. So you can do your own part while being part of a greater band of many parts that can combine as one like Voltron or Captain Planet or something when all the parts work together when the need arises. So ask yourself, what part of A Band Apart would you like most to be a part of? The pirate part, the wormhole part, the ganky part, the hisec part, the indy part, even the part that fools around in null? There's sure to be a part that you can feel truly part of, and therefore you too can become a part of A Band Apart, and stay part of A Band Apart. Because we all work together even when we're apart, which is one of the best parts of being a part of A Band Apart.

— Bluey Snuttsoff, A part of A Band Apart



No Contest

Just a few of the hundreds of shirts I've designed for the greater Eve community

So today, in a classic example of bad timing, CCP announced a shirt design contest.

If one was given to conspiracy minded thinking, one might view this as more than it is. Contests are nothing new, CCP runs them all the time. In fact, I've won many of them over the years for Eve and Valkyrie. My shelves are gladly over-running with contest earnings. Next to my monitor as I write this post is an Eve Valkyrie poster hand-signed by the team from England. These are among my most prized Eve possessions.

I've even skipped contests in the past due to lack of interest at the time, or to give others a chance. I realize that sounds kinda arrogant, but I don't intend it to be. Contests are often fun especially if the subject matter or goal is interesting enough to warrant participation. But I'm not a contest professional, I am actually a creative professional. More often than not that means I do not participate in contests, for Eve or for anything else. I like to get paid for spending hours and hours doing what I get paid for. Its called making a living and I've been doing it for 32 years now.

No I don't believe that anything evil was intended by CCP announcing this contest. I am, after all, but a speck on the windshield of their Titan. An annoying speck. But a speck nonetheless. But I won't just be standing out of this particular contest, instead I am actively boycotting it. And encouraging others to do the same.

I am encouraging ALL creatives in the community to NOT enter this contest.

Here are my reasons:

• The rules are terrible for you. Win or lose, CCP owns your work. This means they can use it anytime they want now or in the future and you have no say about it. Every piece you enter becomes their property for eternity. Think about that for a second. That is borderline criminal when you think about it.

• The prizes are not very good. You don't even get a t-shirt!

It is a bad contest that is set-up to essentially troll the community for free ideas. And for that reason I will not be entering anything and I strongly suggest you do not as well.

For me, I can't enter. If I enter and don't win, CCP can claim my shirt designs suck and yet they can keep my art to do whatever they want with it. If I do manage to win one of the prizes, CCP gets the chance to look great in the eyes of the community and I get nothing. I already pre-ordered the Frigate book and I already have t-shirts with my name on them. A couple that CCP printed themselves.

It is a no-win situation. And given the context of the past few months it is (probably) unintentionally insulting. Big benefit of the doubt here. I'd rather spend my time creating new shirt designs for my own RedBubble store and the long list of commissions that need my attention.

And yes, I suspect they will get a ton of submissions and I wish anyone that does enter the very best of luck. But I really do encourage you to have more self-respect for your time, your creative energy and your work than that.

If you don't respect your work, no one else will.

Keep the courage.




Postcard Backs

At Fanfest this year I handed out, among other things, 400 sets of Art Postcards featuring art on the fronts and backs. I held out on posting the backs for awhile, but here they are in all their glory.


Fanfest Postcard Back #1

Fanfest Postcard Back #2

Fanfest Postcard Back #3

Fanfest Postcard Back #4

Enjoy!


Anger?

Have you been on Facebook or Reddit in the last few days? Sheesh, talk about anger. There are some truly hostile, angry, mean, and often personal things being said about certain people at CCP. It doesn't even matter why, or what, or any of the reasons for it. That isn't the point of my post today. Just keep that in mind as we move forward. Hundreds of people, anger, vile words, and Memes, and whatnots.

Now that we have the proper mental picture, let us reflect on your friendly neighborhood blogger over here on Eveoganda. Generally regarded by most as a decent enough fella. Given to troublemaking tendencies sure, but always with the greater good in mind. He gets mad sometimes, but its always about making Eve better. Gooder even. Putting Frills back on Vagabonds. Hats on avatars. Opening doors. And often advocating for a better Eve Store experience.

Oh and I make arts. And videos. And I have this podcast. Etc.

Back when I started this blog I was just a faceless player starting his adventures in New Eden. Over the years that has transformed a bit, mostly just due to pure hard headedness on my part. Stick around long enough and stuff is bound to happen. Along the way I made fun of CCP sometimes, they banned my store, I made Frills on Tweetfleet avatars, they did their thing and I did mine. It wasn't until they called me one day to suggest we do some work together that things changed. For awhile there I seemed like a golden boy, shit was tight. Suddenly my support tickets got answered right away. Finally, after years of rejection, the logs finally showed things. My art hung on the o7 Show walls for over two years. I was in like Flynn. And then things went the other way rather quickly.

No need to re-hash old news. So lets skip ahead a bit and reflect on the following photo. Please keep in mind the Facebook/Reddit anger thing I mentioned earlier.

Hilmar

So that's me (on the left) with Hilmar (on the right) at Nora's in Reykjavik the night before Fanfest. He walked in and after a few minutes I went up and we started talking for about fifteen minutes or so. We even had a nice laugh about the time he shot me down at the Charity dinner in 2015. I felt comfortable enough to invite him to join me on After Hours to talk about the legacy of Eve and the early days. Anniversaries are coming up and he seemed genuinely interested in doing it. Send me an email he said, and my people will work out my schedule.

You see even with all the crap that was going on at the time, I'm still just a big old goof. I figured all this stuff was behind us and we'd all just move on down the road like adults.

Uh no. What you don't know is that I did send that email and I got an immediate reply. You see Rixx has been a bad boy, he wrote bad things about CCP and the store and the Art Posters. All of which was true, but never mind that we are putting him on super secret probation. Although we are not going to call it that. So non-super secret probation. Either way the results are the same.

So no to having Hilmar on the podcast. My art came down off the walls of the o7Show in case you didn't notice. My segment "Hauling Thoughts" nowhere to be seen. (And no word from anyone on that either btw, it just didn't air.)

So yeah. Lately I've been struggling a bit with what this means going forward. What role do I have now, what should I write here in these pages? I criticized a company that makes a game I love for doing nothing for a year, keeping my mouth shut about it for a YEAR, until I finally had enough. Dealt with it. Like an adult. And then sat thru a horrible roundtable with twenty other players all of whom felt exactly like I did. And wrote a well-reasoned and logical article about it.

Remember those angry Facebook and Reddit posters from earlier? That's like a Hydrogen Bomb next to my little hand grenade.

So essentially I've come to this conclusion my friends. I'm moving on without CCP. I don't need them to play Eve and run my Corporation or Alliance. I don't need them to make more art or write or podcast or make videos or anything else really. I won't need them to make an Eve based Card Game or an Eve based Coloring Book either. Once I started thinking about it, I quickly realized I don't need them for much of anything.

I'd rather do this stuff with them, sure. But they don't need to be there. And given the childish and often immature ways in which they seem to handle things, maybe I'm better off without them.

HTFU indeed.



The Grand Naglfar Marathon Roam

Naglfar Art Print Poster
Vertical Supremecy
My good friend and fellow Stay Frostian Watson Crick runs in real life. Runs, as in running. I don't understand this, but he does it (often with his beautiful wife) and has gotten relatively good at it. Recently he ran a long distance in what he called a "Marathon". Oddly, this does not refer to the town in Greece as you might expect. But rather to a race that takes place over long distances. On foot.

Whatever the truth of that happens to be, it did give him the excuse he has been looking for to finally lose the rather large Capital Ship he has been hiding in his hangar. So last evening he organized what he called the Naglfar Marathon Roam and a bunch of us crusty Pirates and fellow ABAians decided to join him. I decided, if Watson was going to risk his Nag, I should probably escort him properly with one of my Bhaalgorns. Draped in its impressive ATXIV skin. One must dress up for these formal roams. We actually had two of those in our fleet. Quite impressive.

Everything got off on the right foot as we entered Vey and discovered a Cyno lit on one of the stations. We are not usually in the business of popping Red Frog cyno ships, but the pilot was a good sport about it as we held him down and let the Nag kill him.  Many LOLS were shared in local that day my friends.

Next our scouts started telling us about an E-UNI gang headed our way, a bunch of Osprey and Caracal types. So we waited on the other side of a gate for them to jump into us. As you can see from the Battle Report we came out pretty good in that fight. We lost two ships and we cremated their entire Logistics wing and took down a few others before they warped off and disengaged. It was a fun brawl and I wasn't even primary for once. Although my Bhaal did dip into low armor, it more than made up for it by draining all three Ospreys.

Of course you can't just warp a Nag around Low Sec and expect to live forever. Although living wasn't the goal of this roam, our only intention was to have some fun and some good fights. We heard about another gang of Cynabals roaming around and figured they'd make for another good fight. Eventually we did clash and things were going ok until the Cyno was lit.

Let's see, a Rev, 3 Archons, 2 Moros, 2 Thannies, Scimi, 5 Cynabals, and other assorted ships. We stood our ground and had a fight, but it honestly didn't take long for the Nag to explode after that. You can see the Battle Report for yourself. And yes, 13% efficiency is pretty terrible. But y'know, like most things in Eve, the numbers don't tell the full story. We had a blast together and it was a fun night that we all knew would end in a Hot Drop somewhere along the line.

And yes, my Bhaalgorn lived. Mostly just by chance. It is after all a long range ship, so I had pulled range from the gate to better hit targets with mah lazors and neuts. Once the battle was clearly lost I realized that no one had pointed me, so off to the station I warped. Which was kind of a bummer, since I had actually purchased insurance before we left home.

Stay Frosty my friends.


PS: Watson wants me to inform you that he runs Half Marathons. Something to do with training time and still having time to play Eve or something.



A Brutix Moment


So yesterday I'm out roaming around with about 3-5 fellow Stay Frostians and we're doing the usual stuff. Trying hard to find content in empty corners of Low Sec and engaging pretty much everything we can to drum up some business. Mostly just having fun and chasing people around. This is pretty much what we do on a regular basis. Trouble makers. Instigators. Insane Engagement Doctors. We are rather famous for it. To be a successful Pirate you have to cultivate the concept that you will fight anything, anytime, anywhere. And no one, in my humble opinion, is more well-known for that than we are.

Such a public persona comes at a price however. There are times when people will try to use it against you. There were a couple of these ideas being bandied about in the neighborhood yesterday. In one system we had someone sitting in a Medium in a Talwar, with his cloaked Stratios buddy inside waiting. And there were others, I don't want to give away any more free ideas. Figure these things out for yourself! This is why I try to get everyone who happens to be on-line at the time into a fleet. Even if you plan on flying solo, you should be in the Stay Frosty fleet together. This way we can share intel, potential targets, and opportunities. And yes, that sentence was aimed internally.

And so it was that this Brutix showed up on scan, alone in our home system. Look, most likely the guy is not an idiot. I don't know him, but I'm going to just assume he isn't. We could have engaged him in our Frigates and killed him, maybe lose a few ships, take forever, and give his backup plenty of time to arrive. Or, I could dock up, jump into a Brutix of my own and see if he wanted to play.

Sometimes its better not to be the hunter and appear to be the prey. So I warped to a Large and waited. Sure enough, he landed and we danced. Just FYI, my Brutix fit is much better than his. But I have hungry mouths to feed so my Corp mates also came along. One of them brought a Ferox! How's that for Pirate humor? (I love it, earlier he was in a Drake!) I told everyone to overheat and kill the Brutix fast, align out to the station... because help was coming.

Sure enough that's when the Bhallgorn and friends showed up on d-scan. Luckily Battleships take forever to warp, so we had time to finish the Brutix off and warp away just as the Bhallgorn landed.

All of which isn't even the point of this post.

In my earlier days I would have docked up and gotten into something bigger and engaged that Bhallgorn. And then had three Carriers drop on my ass and go boom. The advantage of your own home system is that no one knows what you have on hand. And sometimes it is better that they don't. I have a crazy hangar. But these days I'm really trying to be smarter about how I use it.

In addition, and this is the real point here. I'm trying to be a better CEO. Because it isn't just me YOLO'ing into a potential hotdrop, but it is also my Corp mates. And while I encourage everyone in Stay Frosty to go for fights, often against impossible odds. I also like them to use their brains. There is a fine line between daring and stoopid. And I'd like them to err on the side of the former.

This isn't a new thing of course. But it continues to be something I'm trying to work on every time I undock. I'm not only the Pirate Lord of Low Sec but I'm also the CEO of Stay Frosty. And I'm trying to work on being better at both those things.

Every day is an adventure.

PS: If you'd like to live the life of adventure and become a notorious pirate Stay Frosty is always open. No prior experience needed. Just join the in-game EVEOGANDA channel or just go ahead and apply. We take everyone.



Alliance Tournament XV


Things are heating up for this Summer's Alliance Tournament. Yesterday we got a look at some stats from this year's prize ships and they are, as always, very impressive. This will be A Band Apart's third Alliance Tournament believe it or not. And after last year's Top 16 finish, this time around we are automatic bid worthy! (Forms and Plex already delivered.)

I could not be prouder of our team. We've already been hard at work with our practice schedule for well over a month now and the rules are not even out yet. I don't expect many changes this year, but there are always the subtle things that you have to look out for. Maybe some point changes when it comes to certain ship types? Who knows. But we will all find out around this time next week.

Funny, even after almost nine years of playing this crazy game, I'm still racing to get a few skills trained up before the Tournament starts. All of Rixx's skills are sub-cap skills and even with 160m+ already trained, there are still a few more that could use topping off. Right now that is Marauder V - which is an extremely loooong skill. 20 days to go on that one. And then a few weird skills I never thought I'd need.

If we make it to the final weekend of the Tournament this year, it will happen on my Birthday. Which I consider a good omen. That Saturday is also the day we are planning on our next player meet - Steel City Eve II: This Time It Is Personal. Which I just realized... one of these things may have to change.

I really enjoy the AT, the practices, the teamwork, and everything that goes into getting ready and then playing. I'm expecting good things from our team again this year and hoping that we can make a solid run at an even higher finish than last year. Top 16 was amazing for our second year, but we can do better. So much depends on seeding and placement and other random things that are completely out of your control. Which is all part of the fun.

Onward and upward.



In Extremis?

in ex·tre·mis
ˌin ikˈstrāmis,ˌin ikˈstrēmis/
adverb

1. in an extremely difficult situation."they suddenly find themselves in extremis 20 miles out to sea"

at the point of death.








Given the recent lack of activity here in these vaunted pages, it would only be natural to start assuming that I've decided to stop writing in the blog. Perhaps I am burned out. Toasted. Turning bitter old vet, or else have succumbed to distraction. After all, I do have a lot of irons in the fire these days. The truth is buried somewhere in there, but the fact is that I was simply taking a nice break from writing here in these pages. I have no intention of stopping any time soon. If ever. There is just too much sweat equity in these words and images.

Having said that, I did purposefully take a short break. Primarily because my usual morning window for writing has collapsed due to my new job. Put that up against the energy expended in the lead up to Fanfest and then the horrible explosion of reality that certain... well let's just say that everything didn't go that well. And it has only gotten worse since. I'm not going to go into details, but suffice to say that recent events have led me to some new conclusions.

From now on I'm re-focusing my energies into some more narrow directions. First and foremost I will be playing Eve more regularly again. Last year took a lot of energy and while I never stopped playing Eve, I didn't play as much as I should have. My Corporation suffered and my Alliance as well. Medals went un-rewarded, plans fell to the side, things got a little ignored. That is going to stop. My first and most enjoyable passion is playing Eve. That has to remain my top priority. And it will be.

I owe it to my friends and family in Eve, most of whom fly under the A Band Apart and Stay Frosty banners, to give it my full attention.

Secondly I will continue to build the RedBubble store and annoy the crap out of certain people at CCP. New items will continue to be added each week. I'm incredibly excited by how well the store is doing, but I know it can be even better. RedBubble continues to exceed my expectations and keeps adding new products all the time. I'd also like to see more Alliances taking advantage of the swag opportunities for their pilots. Again, just contact me to get started. I've sold almost 750 items from the store since it was launched in December. All without a single return. 

After Hours will continue as well. I'm enjoying Podcasting more than I thought I would. And I really think the format I've worked to develop is unique and provides a great chance to really communicate with people. 21 episodes in now and I have no reason to believe I won't just keep doing them.

The past few months have been challenging for different reasons. The new job has been going extremely well. But it is taking time for me to get used to less time. Some things have suffered from both a lack of time and a distinct lack of enthusiasm. I sincerely apologize for that. Anyone who I owe work or forgot to get back to, please forgive me. I will be trying to do better.

I have some exciting NEW projects in the works that I want to give my full attention. More on those later. I will tell you that they involve a New Card Game and a Coloring Book. (Hater Alert - No I will not be crowd-sourcing anything, everything I have planned will be paid for by me.)

And now for the negative. Or the positive, depending on how you look at it. From this point forward I am done with talking about, or dealing with, or anything else to do with the Eve Store or merchandise. I'm finished beating my head against that wall. I'm also done with expecting anything to happen on that front. From now on I'm just going to mind my own business and focus on my own projects. 

I had my say. Time to move on.




After Hours 20: Alan Mathison


After Hours Episode 20 with Alan Mathison is now available HERE.

We discuss all things Exoplantary in perhaps the nerdiest After Hours so far. Project Discovery, science, crowd-sourcing and much, much more. Enjoy!



Fanfest Iceland Photo Album

Fanfest/Iceland 2017
Click on the image to see the album


Finally getting around to getting our photos organized, at least a little bit. Here is the first album of images from Fanfest/Iceland if you are interested.