10 Years of Rixx | CCP

What a long strange trip this has been.

You won't be surprised to hear that I love Eve. And over the past decade I've tried to express that passion creatively. I've created thousands of pieces of art, propaganda, memes, logos, videos, podcasts, wallpapers, merchandise, and other projects as an expression of that passion. I've worked with countless players to help support their projects, charity events, programs, player meets, and so many other ideas that if I listed them all your head would spin. And over the past decade those projects have often involved CCP in one way or another.

I create things out of nothing. When people ask me what I do for a living that is often my answer. Because it is true. I always have. It's funny looking back over the past ten years of Eve and realizing that I've been doing that exact same thing from the very beginning. It is, after all, the heart of what Eve is all about for each of us. We all create a character from nothing and work tirelessly to turn it into something. Whatever that something ends up being, it is in so many ways a direct expression of our own creativity. I know Rixx has been that for me.

So who could blame me when I tried to do the same outside the game? Despite what many people choose to believe, I didn't start that. CCP did. Way back in 2009 I was asked to create a proposal for my company to run CCP's Social Media and PR. Which I did. Naturally that got me to thinking. What else could CCP need help with? And I know you've already seen this coming - Merch. And I won't regal you with the long, convoluted and sad tale (that is what Archives are for), I'm sad to say not much has changed. They still seem strangely hesitant to put spaceships on things. Which is really the secret sauce when it comes to Eve Merchandise. And Eve Online itself. That was the lesson we all learned from Incarna - it's the spaceships.

I had one huge success when it comes to working with CCP. One that I remain proud of to this day.

Sadly that project got mixed up with some people leaving CCP and some unfortunate miscommunication issues (all of which are resolved) that resulted in it ending up at the wrong place to be sold. And it was all downhill after that. It was all handled poorly by the people involved, none of whom are even with CCP any longer. I'm still proud of the work and the overwhelming response from the community.

If I've learned one lesson from this journey it is this - only do it if you love it. Don't do it for any other reason. Because down that path lies frustration. And in that spirit I'm not even going to mention all of those frustrating journeys down various frustrating paths. That is all in the past now. I made the decision long ago to start down a new path, one that doesn't really involve CCP anymore. At least not as a company. 

It all comes back to people. When I started thinking back over the last decade in writing this series, I quickly realized that all the good things - the positive energy - always came from working with people. Both in the community and at CCP. I've always had great relationships with the people, the developers, the artists, the community team, and others. And I've always had nothing but problems when it comes to departments, be it the infamous legal department, or some other.

So now I create for myself - to give to individuals. My wife and I both enjoy handing out swag that I've created. At Fanfests and at our own Steel City Eve events. In just the past couple of weeks I've mailed several dozen individual packets to specific friends in the community. And in Eve Vegas I'll be donating a unique piece of digital illustration to the charity auction. As well as handing out new swag. And, as always, I'll keep creating and supporting community projects - just as I always have.

Onward and upward.

10 Years of Rixx | The Haters

There was a time when I would have written a long detailed post about all the asshats I've bumped into over the past ten years of playing Eve. And there have been more than a few. Most of which is chronicled here in the archives of this blog - if you care to go back and catch up.

But I'm not going to do that.

EveNT Gang

Ten years is a long time. My oldest was 14 when we started playing Eve and he's grown up and married now. And I had a couple of truly horrible years in the middle there. I won't bore you with the details, but the truth of the matter is that I wasn't always at my best. I admit it. But all of that is behind us now and for the past two years we've been working our asses off to make the best of things. And along the way, one of the most amazing things happened.

We went to Fanfest. Three times. And we hosted three years of Steel City Eve at our house. And we've been to various other smaller player meets along the way. And in a few short weeks we'll be at Eve Vegas and then turn around and fly across the pond for Eve London. And you know what? Meeting and talking with fellow Eve players changes things. Prior to our first time at Fanfest I'd never once met a fellow Eve player in person. Now we've met hundreds of them. And many of them I count among my real life friends - even though some are separated by an ocean.

The point being is that I no longer intend to give any attention to the asshats. They are such a small, insignificant percentage of the player base. A desperate little corner that just wants more attention. And frankly, I'm tired of giving it to them. Please don't make the mistake of thinking that means I won't continue to stand up for what I believe in. Or defend my Alliance or my Corporation - or the players that fly with us. Because that isn't the same thing. I'll still be more than happy to point out asshatery when it rears its ugly head from time to time.

The one thing that unites all of my haters from over the years? They were all wrong.

Some say success is the best revenge. That works, but I'd also add friends to that list. And I can't wait to catch up with old friends and make new ones in Vegas and London in the next month.

I just don't have room in my life for haters any more.

Onward and Upward.

10 Years of Rixx | Events

DEATHRACE Wallpaper Rev
My promo poster for one of my Death Races
Over the years I've put together a bunch of in-game events, from Death Races, Frigate Free For Alls, and others - to give us all a little something fun to do together in space. It is a shame that as time has gone on in Eve that such events are almost impossible to hold anymore. Between enforcing the rules, managing the event, prepping the event, providing security, and then watching it all crumble under the weight of a Cap Drop or worse - it just isn't worth it. At least not to me. Part of that problem has to do with my own dedication to being -10. Which is why I don't show up for public roams or high-sec based CCP events. It sucks to be a gangster sometimes.

Eve itself has changed a lot since my first Death Race thru Providence back in 2009. Since then I've organized, or co-organized, about 15 in-game events. Each one became more and more difficult as time wore on. Part of that is mechanics changes in the game itself, the increasing complexity of ships available, the use of Wormholes which was still rare back when we started. And the proliferation of Capital Ships and the ease of dropping them has also made things more challenging. Not to mention the expanse of player owned Citadels around every corner these days.

Change is the only constant and someone out there might just come up with an in-game event that could work. In Stay Frosty we are considering hosting an FFA again soon, so all may not be lost yet. We'll just have to see. Every challenge has a solution. It just takes time and dedication to make them work.

I don't have a lot to add. If you are interested in the history you can use the Search function to search for FFA or DeathRace or Event and learn more details.

Next time.

10 Years of Rixx | Player Memorial

Before you go and get your panties in a bunch, I am not taking credit for the player monument in Iceland. Not directly. Let me try and explain what I mean.

Play Eve long enough and someone you play with, or someone you know, or someone you once asked to Hot-Drop PL will pass away. You might hear about it, or you might not. It might make International news or it might just be your friend having a heart attack in his chair while jumping gates. I can't even begin to tell you how many times over the past ten years I've lost someone that I knew inside the community or flew with as a player. Eve is life & death.

Let me re-post this article I wrote in 2016 about the history of the Player Memorial concept:

The Fallen Capsuleer Memorial
A concept I created back in March, 2013

Yesterday a Reddit thread went up on the Eve Sub-Forum from Aelonius regarding the idea of an in-game memorial to the real life players that have left us. Since much of the Eve community is always in transition, many of you may not be aware that I've been advocating for such a memorial for almost four years now.

In the wake of Sean Smith's tragic death in Bengazi I began thinking about the passing of time. It wasn't just Sean's death that inspired me, that year had been a tough one all around as several players I knew had left us. But Sean was a special case in many ways, mostly due to the fact that it was so senseless and public. But Eve is getting on in years and as we've all seen, as Eve gets older so does the player base. In the last year alone I've lost a half-dozen friends that I know about. 

So in September of 2012 I posted an idea on the forums and here on Eveoganda regarding an in-game memorial I called the "Ring of Fire", which would be created on the opposite side of New Eden from the Eve Gate. The memorial was always intended to be a way to honor all fallen capsuleers in a way that would be appropriate to the setting. If we are all immortal in-game, it doesn't mean that we all live forever. I wrote a lot of posts about it and the idea gained a tremendous amount of support around the community. I created several videos, wallpapers, and other material. I even appeared on a few Podcasts to promote the concept. The idea, as always, was to get the community and CCP thinking about the idea.

And then, in early 2014, CCP went and built the Player Monument in Iceland. I'd like to think that two years of talking about a player memorial had something to do with that decision, and I have reason to believe it did, but either way we finally had a monument.  Except not really.  The monument in Iceland is incredible, and I've been there and found my own character name among the etchings, but it isn't the same thing. The monument in Iceland is a testament to the players at the time it was built, but it is not a memorial to the fallen.

I still believe that an in-game memorial would be a welcome addition to New Eden and fit within the established lore. And yesterday we got the first indication from CCP Falcon that CCP is also thinking along these lines.

"This is actually something that I've been discussing for a while with both our dev and art team, and most recently I chatted with CCP Jorg, our Art Director about it.
I'm fully aware of how important paying respects for lost pilots is, I've been through that myself with a corp member who passed away when I was a player running my own corporation. It's incredibly painful and on a personal note I'd like there to be a single focal point in New Eden where pilots can go to pay their respects.
The idea that I pitched to our art team at the start of this year was a memorial site that acts as "The Tomb Of The Unknown Capsuleer", basically a monument in space that would be player designed, would have a deadspace area with decoration around it, and that would have a permanent honor guard of:
2x Marshal
2x Apocalypse Imperial Issue
2x Raven State Issue
2x Megathron Federate Issue
2x Tempest Fleet Issue
Obviously it's something that still needs a little more discussion, and scoping of the bandwidth that's needed, but it's certainly something that we'd like to do."
I reached out to Falcon yesterday and he not only confirmed this information, he also indicated that this might happen sooner rather than later. I volunteered my services to the concept, if there is anything at all that I can do to help. Which is one reason why I've written this post today.

I'd like nothing more than to see this happen. And it finally looks like it might.


Sadly that post was written over two years ago and no progress or updates have been forthcoming. As we've seen, CCP is committed to helping their employees and families thru memorial skins. Just yesterday as a matter of fact. Which is a fine idea, I value both my Blaze skins and now my Mindkiller skins. As I'm sure many of you do as well.

I won't stop advocating for a solution in-game. If Eve is to truly live forever - then this becomes even more important every day that passes. Eventually we will all be lost to the sands of time.

10 Years of Rixx | Vagabond Frills

The EON Magazine Ad
Back in 2012 CCP started the "V3" phase of re-designing spaceships inside of Eve. Some of these early attempts at updating ships did not go well. But it wasn't until they released the Stabber/Vagabond re-design that we learned just how horrible these changes could be. The Vagabond showed up one day minus its distinctive and legendary Frills or Wings or whatever you want to call them.

What followed was my attempt to create a positive activism campaign among the community and try to get the Frills returned to the Vagabond. Matt Westhope over at Freebooted helped, and we created forum posts, a Frill Page, an in-game event sponsored by RvB (We had over 100 Stabber/Vagabonds show up!) and more. I even created "frilled" versions of Twitter avatars.

Eventually, after having a tremendous amount of fun and also managing to keep things positive, we heard officially from CCP:

"Hey Vagabonds

A number of you are missing the so called frills we had removed from the Vagabond during the v3 process, and I think it’s totally fair that I (the Art director) give you an explanation why we did that, and what our intentions (visually) are with the Vagabond in the future.

EVE is constantly under development and we in the art team look at the renovation process as an ongoing never-ending task that we love to keep working on alongside the new assets we make every year. Some players don’t like to see to many changes made to their beloved ships, but because of this, the fidelity of the game after all these years is still hard to beat and EVE keeps getting great reviews for the art every year.

However maybe the decision to remove the frill from the Vagabond was taken too lightly and I didn’t realize how attached to the look of the ship you were. To me, as the Art Director the Vagabond is a Thukker version of the Stabber, but with Brutor sails attached (rather badly, with intersecting polygons) to the bridge area that make the ship look a bit silly. But after giving it some thought I can understand the iconic appeal. I think you should get your frills back in some way or the other.

That being said, I always wanted to fix the old Stabber up a little bit and give it some more love. I’m not talking about a huge overall change to the ship. But rather just balancing a bit the engine area and making some parts a little more believable. This would of course give us a chance to give the Vagabond some extra care and design the frills with Thukker and some functionality in mind. I already have Stephan Stölting an amazing concept artist working on it and I promise to keep you posted about the development in the near future. Until we finish it you still have to live with a “no frills” Vagabond.

Regards CCP Huskarl
August 9th, 2012"

Needless to say it worked and today the Vagabond continues to fly proudly Frilled. Even today this incident remains legendary both in the Eve community and at CCP. Just this past spring in Iceland I talked to several new members of the Art Department about the Frill campaign.

This incident helped both CCP and the player base learn valuable lessons about "legacy" and how important it is to both respect and honor the spaceships that we fly every day. Every time a ship is updated today I always look to make sure those lessons continue to be honored. I thought this was an appropriate post today especially with the new Caladri Osprey line making its debut in-game.

If you are interested in reading more just use the Search Function to search for Frills.

Eve Fitting Lab | Fed Navy Comet

Former Stay Frosty pilot Captain AceRico recently asked me to sit down with him and talk about one of my favorite ships in Eve - the Federation Navy Comet. And here is the video.


10 Years of Rixx | Journey

An early propaganda poster
I had never played an MMO before Eve. (And I've yet to play another one.) I had no concept of a "gaming community" before I started playing Eve. I had been a gamer my entire life, but had yet to bump into those two concepts. For the first two years I simply wanted to hang out with my Son and figure out how to fly the incredible spaceships I saw on my screen. I didn't care about anything else. Whatever sounded fun - we did it. With not a single thought given to anything else.

As with most things in life that you commit time to doing - that slowly started to change. I started to see various pieces of propaganda around the game, primarily in our Alliance forums. That looked like it could be fun, so I started making a few pieces here and there. Around the same time I got involved in helping the Alliance during a war and learned how to FC. I started reading various blogs and a piece of art I had created was used in an issue of EON Magazine. There was no over-riding plan, or machinations, or diabolical scheme behind any of this. It all happened very slowly and randomly. Both in-game and out.

In January 2010 I decided to start writing Eveoganda as a way to journal my journey in Eve. One of my first posts won a contest on CrazyKinux's blog. And by this time I was creating Ads and writing regularly in EON Magazine. It wasn't long before I was creating blog banners for the community and when Crazy retired, I took over the reins of the Blog Pack. Around this time someone asked me for a piece of art or a logo and offered to pay me ISK for it. I eventually got confirmation that such a transaction was not against the EULA and that has been my primary income source ever since.

The thing I've noticed after playing Eve both inside of TQ and out for the past ten years - is that real life influences the game. As many of you know my own life has transformed tremendously since I started playing Eve in 2008. There have been huge tracks of time in which I did very little playing Eve, and times when I would log in simply to haunt a certain system or two for lols, or any number of other time wasting events. Sometimes I'd do something just to have something to do. There were times in my life when Eve was the most positive thing I had going on at that moment. And there have sincerely been two times when the Eve community literally saved my life. And that is not an understatement.

Everything changed for me when I went to Iceland and Fanfest for the first time in 2015. Up to that point I had never met another Eve player and all of a sudden I was meeting hundreds of them. I was also the host of CCP and getting private tours, and dinners, lunches, and signing autographs at the Eve Store table. For a person working his ass off to rebuild his career and his life at the time - those were some extremely positive days.

I've been thru a lot in these ten years. Both here in this wonderful and amazing community, and over here in real life. But the most important lesson I've learned in those years is this - there is no difference between those two places. Real Life is Eve. Eve is Real.

I made several promises to myself (and by extension to you dear readers) back in 2015. One of those was that I would never stop fighting for what I believe in. No matter what other forces are arrayed against me. Another promise is that Liz and I would do whatever we could to pay back the kindness you showed us when we most needed it. In the intervening years we've literally spent and given back many times more than we were given. And we continue to do so willingly and with joy. No one will ever convince or change my mind about this great community of ours. It remains what we all make of it - no matter who is writing the checks.

In the posts to follow I'll talk in more detail about parts of this ten year journey. And it has been a journey. Full of adventure, mistakes, challenges, great triumphs, frustrating setbacks, missed opportunities, plenty of idiots, and so many good friendships. 

We look forward to meeting even more of you at Eve Vegas and in Eve London in the coming months.

The journey isn't over yet.

10 Years of Rixx | Eve is Dying

Today the news broke that many have been anticipating for awhile now, CCP finally found a buyer and will become a wholly owned sub of a South Korean gaming company. I'm sure you can find the details around on the Internets - they are everywhere.

Like I said, not a complete surprise. I won't bore you with all the telling signs, but for those who watch such things - the signs were there. Still, it is always a bit of a shock when these things become reality. And not surprisingly the Eve community in all of its infinite wisdom has decided, in the main, to panic uncontrollably. I even hear that most of PL will be quitting come Spring. And probably NCdot as well. (I'll believe all of that when it happens) But there is no doubt that a lot of weird, thin-skinned people are losing their minds right now. One can only hope that The Mittani isn't far behind them.

I guess some people have never been part of a corporate merger/buyout/acquisition before? Let me assure you of a couple of important points. A company doesn't spend $425 Million dollars to destroy another company, or to run it into the ground, or chase off the loyal customers of the company it just spent money on buying. Will there be "common ground" between the two companies, economies of scale, overlapping development and departments? Of course. As time moves along those will be dealt with, which means some people will lose jobs or new jobs will be created. Offices may close, or move, or change. All of that will happen behind the scenes and for the foreseeable future life in New Eden will go along as usual.

Eve is 15+ years old now. This acquisition will breath new life into the game. It may, over time, transform Eve as well. But I'd argue that Eve has already been transforming and evolving over time - so this won't be anything new. In fact, it will probably just be more of the same. Your own level of acceptance at that progression may vary. But it isn't anything new. If you think it is then you have been living with your head in the sand for the last ten years.

Am I concerned? Nope.

As always I play Eve as it is presented to me on the day I log in. There may come a day down the road when the game is no longer recognizable to me - but I don't expect that to happen. I do expect it to continue to evolve and change, as it has always done.

I do hope no one at CCP losses their jobs. I do hope that this evolution continues on the current path. And ultimately, I hope Eve lives Forever.

For now I'm willing to believe this just might be great news. Perhaps the worry about CCP's financial situation can be behind us for awhile. And we can stop watching chunks of our friends lose their jobs, offices close, games be abandoned, and all the other wonderful things the past has brought us. Maybe we can look toward the future with at least a modicum of hope.

I don't think the sky is falling. Primarily because the sky is made of pixels.

As I said earlier on Twitter, I salute our new South Korean Overlords and wish them well.

Help us make Eve even better.


10 Years of Rixx | WCS

Mr Mittens Wallpaper

On September 21st Rixx Javix turns 10 years old. In honor of this historic milestone, I'm going to be re-posting and updating important posts from the extensive Eveoganda archives to mark certain events along the way. It has been a Hell of a decade.

For today's look back at history I decided to spare you all the numerous anti-wcs blog posts from the past decade and write a totally brand new one instead! Just kidding. Rather than re-tread the obvious, long, convoluted history of name calling I endured for a just cause, let us instead luxuriate in the knowledge that I WON! #SMUGFACE

So in honor of this historic awesomeness I decided to re-post a humorous post from December 2014, entitled, "How to talk to your kids about WCS" Enjoy!

Children are extremely curious creatures and eventually they are going to wonder why Dad or Mom constantly escape potentially interesting engagements in their favorite on-line PVP-Centric Internet Spaceship game. It is only natural. But for Warp Core Stabilizer users it can be an extremely stressful, anxious, and potentially life-altering moment. Let's face it, the prospect of your Son or Daughter losing all friggin' respect for you is a tough one to swallow. But, if you follow these simple guidelines, you will be able to live thru it with a small modicum of respect intact.

The first thing to remember is to keep things as vague and indistinct as possible, for as long as possible. We like to call this Age Appropriate Conversation. Here are some quick guidelines based on age:

Ages 2-3: These Nippers just barely learned to talk and walk, so higher concepts like cowardice and risk-aversion won't mean anything to them. A simple wave of the hand and a "Dad just doesn't have the time right now to defend his manhood" will probably work. Dads and Moms are very busy people.

Age 4-5: They've already been in Day-Care, so this age already knows first hand that the weak kids get pushed around. So they still want to believe Dad and Mom are the strongest and smartest adults around. Tell them you beat the snot out of that guy in the Comet last week and doing it again would simply be cruel. Kids this age have no sense of time, so this strategy will work wonders. And they won't even know to ask for the km link yet! (lol)

Age 6-7: This is a tricky age, they are into everything. Very curious buggers! A strong dose of "smart talk" will probably buy you some much needed time. Confuse them with techno-babble and intellectually borrowed concepts. Dazzle them with bullshit in other words. They'll think you are the best.

Age 8-11: Kids this age are really into video games and they will probably already suspect you might be running away from trouble. They may have even read the Eve Wiki page on WCS in their room at night while you were sleeping. (Or those links I sent them!) So tread carefully. Explain that Dad carries extremely expensive items, like Plex, in his ship at all times and combat is something he'd like to avoid. This isn't Angry Birds y'know! Sheesh.

Ages 12 and Up: At this point you are screwed. Your kids are also playing Eve and might even be the ones constantly trying to get fights with you! You may never actually talk about it, it can be icky, but nevertheless the truth is out there. Your children do not respect you. You might as well take a minute and mess up the whole sex talk you've been putting off.

Being a parent that chooses to use WCS is a dangerous choice full of lies, deception and eventual loss of respect. Not just from your children, but from all of those close to you. It can be hard to maintain a professional career, relationships and long-term self-respect - much less the love of your spawn.

Being truthful with yourself is the all important first step to recovery. If you want to keep your marriage, your friends, and the love of your children - simply don't even start fitting WCS on your ships in the first place. And if you've already started down that path, it is never too late to change.

Eventually people will start asking questions. They always do.

10 Years of Rixx | Hats

On September 21st Rixx Javix turns 10 years old. In honor of this historic milestone, I'm going to be re-posting and updating important posts from the extensive Eveoganda archives to mark certain events along the way. It has been a Hell of a decade.

(Originally published on December 21st, 2016)

July and August 2011, well over seven years ago now, is when my Hat Empire started. At first the hats were a direct protest against Incarna inspired clothing and monocle pricing. Vanity items. Gold ammo. And other dangerous trends towards "winning" Eve based on the amount of money you spent. Yes, for you young people out there, Eve almost went there. After the Summer of Incarna hats transformed into two directions, first as a fun vanity item for members of #tweetfleet and secondly as a direct challenge to CCP to start thinking in new directions.

Five years of hats and now we finally have some in-game. Pardon me if I take a moment to remind everyone that this was deemed impossible many, many times. There are actual CSM minutes from actual CSM meetings were hats, we were told, couldn't be done. I've been ridiculed on Reddit, called out in local, and generally called every name in the book (as I assume people are rolling their eyes) for my stance on hats over the years. The thing is, and this is where most people miss the point, it was never about hats.

If you've been playing Eve for less than five years you wouldn't think it, but Eve was a LOT different before Incarna. It was different in ways that are hard to comprehend now. And easy to forget. But back then the community existed as an often angry opinionated mob with torches, always ready to jump on the merest mistake handed down from CCP. There was a wall between players and devs that was almost impossible to cross. Massive expansions were released and players dealt with the consequences. Communication was rare and Jita riots, petitions, forums, blogs, were often on fire.

Alot has changed over those years. Twitter changed a lot of it. The CSM has evolved into a change agent over the years, after many rocky starts. Slack has helped. Player meets have helped. Facebook has helped. The o7 Show has helped. CCP has evolved over the years in large part due to the leadership of CCP Seagull and others. The new expansion schedule has also helped to relieve the pressures that used to build in anticipation of those rare and massive releases.

(Update: In the two years since this post was written things have, in some ways, reverted a bit. While I wouldn't say that Eve has de-evolved back to the dark ages, it is also impossible to see much progress since this article was written. Seagull is gone, the o7 Show is gone, CCP employees don't engage on social media like they used to, in fact many have retreated into entrenched Discord channels, the CSM is essentially a Goon Reunion Tour, and Null Sec is a vast ocean of blue brackets. I could go on, but why depress myself.)

Into that environment, during the worst example of its consequences in Eve's history, I started making hats. I did so to illuminate the ludicrous nature of both sides immaturity. Hats are silly yes, but they also represented the true nature of what it means to be an Eve player and, I believe, an Eve dev. It is all silly. And we needed, we still need, a bit of silly in our lives. Hats helped provide a visual metaphor for the root of Eve's very nature. We are all in this together.

I'd like to believe that hats helped pave the way for the environment that Eve is today. A much, much better environment. A community that has, more often than not, started working together across the divide and helped usher in a new era of Eve Online. One that can often dream big together.

And now we actually have hats in Eve. The impossible has become reality. And yes, it remains silly. It might even be stupid. But I'd ask you to remember a time when people said it couldn't be done. And then look back up at the image header and realize that it has.

Next thing you know and we'll have a Player Memorial in-game (something I've been working on for even longer than hats!) and something will finally be done about Warp Core Stabilizers (Update: More on this in a later post!). Each of those also have deeper and longer-lasting meaning behind them as well.

But now I can finally relax a little and let the sweet cash of those hat royalties start rolling into my bank account. Pirate Faction ships for everyone!!

The entire Rixx Hat Collection can be seen here.

Update: I find it interesting that I started making hats based on Monocle Gate and here we are seven years later with more in-game merchandise, hats, clothes, ship skins, potions, and formulas than anyone back then could have dreamed. All available for real money at the New Eden Store. And while I don't discount the value that CCP has built in these items, I'm sure it helps the bottom line and consequentially keeps the server running - it is undeniably weird in hindsight. All that Incarna anger. I still wonder what might have been if we would have given CCP a few more expansions to get WiS up and running. But the CQs are gone now and that chapter is probably closed forever. Funny.)

If you are interested in the history, ARS Technica has a really good article on Monocle Gate and the player riots that ended Incarna.

In Depth | Condor Vs Coercer

Lock and Load

The eternal pursuit of the perfect ship. It is an on-going and constantly updating challenge when it comes to Low Sec Pirates. The eternal debate between speed, tank, damage, ehp, resists, and ultimately just how many faction modules does it take before it isn't worth risking? I can only speak for myself, but I also have to factor in a certain level of notoriety. People tend to run away before I even uncloak from the Gate jump. Or worse, decide a blob is the best way to deal with me. After all, the idea here is to get good fights.

I could just fly Comets and Tristans all day, but that gets insanely boring. I try to fly a nice variety of ships and keep things interesting. As well as keeping the skills honed to a fine edge. Or I could do what so many others do and just do my best to ensure I never lose. And while that has its temptations, it just isn't my style. I prefer good fights, and I believe if you want good fights, you have to be willing to give them.

The Condor in the screen shot above had about eight kill marks on it before it exploded. I wasn't really happy with the fit and decided to move on to other ships for awhile. That was until this weekend when I saw the Condor fit that fellow Stay Frosty pilot Darkon was flying. It wasn't all that much different than the previous one, but enough so that I thought it might have solved the problems I had with it. So I fitted one up and have been looking for a chance to see what it could do.

I called this post "In Depth" because I thought it would be nice to take certain fights and explain them in some detail. I dunno, but maybe someone would enjoy that. I've done it before, but let's ignore the vast history of this journal and pretend like everything is new.

If I'm out roaming solo and I jump into a system with one person in local I have a couple of choices. Most of the time I'll choose to just blindly warp into a plex and see if I get lucky. But if I can already see the target on d-scan and it is a juicy target, say a ship-class above my ship - then I might choose to do a fly-by. Especially if the pilot is actually in FW. If I warp directly after jumping in people get nervous and run away. But if I just play it casual and warp to the next gate and then jump out, well obviously I wasn't interested. So that's what I did when I saw the Coercer in the Small Plex. I left system.

I slow boated back to the gate and jumped back in. In warp I went ahead and pre-heated my armor repper, my prop mod, and the rockets. This Condor fit is dual tanked, so I wanted to save my shield boost for later and use my armor rep to survive the initial hurt that was coming my way. If the Dessie was far off the button I'd warp away. If he was in range I'd have to live long enough to get into his face. The time between landing and face was critical. Coercers can do a lot of dps, but their lasers are notoriously bad at tracking small sig, fast targets like Condors.

I landed about 12k from him, so he was outside point or web range. My fingers hit the lock key just as my mouse double clicked off his right bottom side for a nice transversal manual approach. Even so his guns took me into half-armor quickly before the rep started chewing into his damage. By that time I already had scram/web and was burning into an overheated close arc. His damage was already falling off. I only needed to run the shield boost twice to mitigate some of the incoming dps.

The fight was already decided by then. He needed to kill me on approach. I needed to live on approach.

As a bonus I got some nice loot for my troubles. But most importantly that was a good fight.

They don't happen nearly enough these days.

The New Stay Frosty

In a few weeks I'll be celebrating my 10th year of playing Eve. Over half of that time will have been spent as the CEO of Stay Frosty. As we came out of the recent Alliance Tournament it was time to throw some challenges at our leadership team and chart a new course for New Edens largest group of Yarrr Pirates.

Over the past few weeks we've been discussing what exactly those changes can or should be. We certainly don't want to lose the things that have made us successful, the casual attitude, the willingness to take any fight, and the love of low-sec space that make us so well-known in the space lanes. But every once in awhile you need to shake things up a bit to keep the Corp fresh and challenge your members, attract new members, and move in exciting new directions.

For one thing we will be closing the doors on our long-standing policy of Open Recruitment. Starting in September applicants to Stay Frosty will need to bring a minimum of 10m skill points to the Corp and have a somewhat indicative track record of combat on their killboard. (Subject to change or modification, this isn't final yet.) And be willing to talk to people. Which brings up a whole other important change we will be working on instituting in the coming months.

Awhile back we merged our TS and Slack servers into a new Discord server, which not only provides chat but comms in one package. I'm sure most of you reading this belong to at least one Discord channel. For Stay Frosty communication has been an on-going challenge since the very beginning. When we started our pilots were on comms all the time, or at least when in fleet, but over the years laziness and our natural solo inclinations have contributed to horrible comm doctrine. This is no one persons fault, some of it happened because some of our members are unable to talk on comms at all. In addition, a lot of us have children or families that often preclude talking to idiots on the internets. It happens. But we do need to work on changing that. And we will.

In the end most of this falls on my shoulders and I take full responsibility for it. In the coming months I'll be getting back to focusing on the things that I enjoy most about Eve. I'll be running more regular gangs with doctrine/comms on the weekends. We had a nice 2.5hr roam this past Saturday and I'd like to see us doing more of that on a regular basis. As always I'll continue to drive content and position Stay Frosty as a prime content creator engine in Low Sec.

So a couple of calls to action here. For Stay Frosty, if you've ever wanted to fly with Rixx and be a part of the fun now is the time to think about joining. We'll be ramping up the content for this Fall and preparing for another AT run next year. We're opening up additional areas of Low Sec and building a strong support network that helps keep the engine running. Join the EVEOGANDA channel in game, or put in an APP and ask to speak to a Director.

In addition to Stay Frosty, our Alliance A Band Apart is looking for new Corporations to join and help us all reach our goals. Corporations of 10+ members are eligible in all categories, we're looking for vibrant, growing, and active Corps in any playstyle area. We are especially looking for PvP oriented groups, but we're not limiting it. This is the first time in FOUR years that we've opened ABA to new Corporations, so this is new for us. In addition, in the past, we've only accepted groups that could bring something unique to the Alliance - that is no longer the case. Even Pirate corporations are welcome!

This is a new chapter in both Stay Frosty and ABA, consider being a part of it. You can be a huge part of our success.

Onward and Upward.

Always Next Year

Well that didn't work. We went 2-2 this Alliance Tournament and it was, numerically, our worst showing since the first one. And that one we didn't practice for and we did it simply to learn how the AT worked. And for fun of course. Am I disappointed? Gosh no, I'm extremely proud of our team, our pilots, and of our FC Devlin. Over half of our team did not fly with us last year, we lost our FC and some of our pilots from the last two year runs. Always a tough spot. And I'm not making excuses here, those are just the facts. We worked our butts off and we gave a good showing. The two teams we beat, Centipede and Fraternity, went on to have good runs themselves. And losing to CAS and TEST is nothing to be ashamed of. Solid teams.

Having said all of that we remain in search of a signature win. Despite having beaten Volta, Hard Knocks, Shadow Cartel, Fraternity, and other solid teams in the past - we've yet to climb over that middle weekend barrier. The ever elusive fourth win. Last year, our deepest run, was a 3-2 effort. That fourth win gets you into rare air and builds the kind of momentum you need to make a legit run. Like Tri this year. It can happen in either bracket, but so far it eludes us. Last year's Lazerhawks team could have been us instead, they are the ones that beat us in that fourth win spot.

So it'll have to wait until next year. In good news I think our team is more determined than ever to make that happen. I've been very encouraged by the spirit this team has shown and the reaction they've had to our loses. Which is great news. We'll need their experience if we have any chance of finally breaking down that fourth win wall. And hopefully some of the pilots that couldn't join us this year will be back for our run next year. The AT is a grind and it can be a tough one to balance with real life demands.

So we will also be trying something a bit new this year. For the first time in 3 years we'll be opening Corporation recruitment into A Band Apart in the coming months. We'll be looking for solid Corporations with 50+ members that are looking for an Alliance of mature, honest, game players that they feel they can make a contribution. Not just from an AT standpoint of course, but it is time for us to grow a little more and inject some new blood. If you happen to be interested and you have a Corporation with 50 or more members, shoot me an in-game mail and we can start talking about it.

In addition Stay Frosty is always open to new members. If you want to Yarrr with us and learn the ways of PvP across the board in Eve, then consider joining the team. We'll be starting organized roams up again, on comms, including some public roams here in the next month. So now is the time to consider a change.

My own life is settling down and I'll be re-dedicating myself to bi-monthly organized roams as well as more public event/roams in the coming months. So if you want to fly with me, now is the time.

Lastly, to our friends in CAS and TEST, well played. You guys deserved those wins and we have no regrets, we fought hard to the last man in each one. Good fights.

There is always next year.

ATXVI: Third Weekend

Click to embiggen
In last years Alliance Tournament we won 3 matches straight, including victories against Slyce, Hard Knocks Citizens, and We Form Volta before losing to Lazerhawks and Brave on the Saturday and Sunday of the third weekend. In order to make it to Sunday this year we have to win three matches on Saturday alone. Our first match is going to be against TEST. Then the winner of the Lazerhawks/Templis match, and then the loser of the Vydra/Samurai match. Yikes.

Not an easy road by any stretch. But nothing about the AT is supposed to be easy. And the further you manage to make it, the harder the road becomes. That is the entire point. But so far every team we've faced is still in the Tournament, which is a pretty amazing stat when you think about it.

We could technically end up playing CAStabouts again. But first of all we have to manage to win three matches in a single day. Something we've never had to face before. So this is all brand new territory for us. The Pick Em site has us as 80%-20% dogs in the match against TEST, which is awesome. I honestly prefer being the underdog.

I'm not going to pick matches in the losers bracket, but here are my thoughts on the four winners bracket matches on Saturday:

Vydra Vs Samurai
I'm rooting for Samurai in this one, but I think Vydra is the team to beat this year. Vydra will probably win and we'll have to face Samurai in the losers bracket. Because I am an optimistic type person.

NCdot Vs Skill Urself
or, The Battle of the Former ABA Pilots, as we call it in Discord chat. I don't want either of them in the losers bracket, but I have to give our practice partners the edge here - I think NCdot has the edge to win. But I wouldn't be surprised by either result to be fair.

Hydra Vs Tuskers
Neither team has really been tested so far this year so it is hard to measure without basing it on past year's experience. Which really has nothing at all to do with anything. Again, can we just keep them both out of the losers bracket? As a former Tusker myself, I'm going to root for them.

Bright Side Vs CAStabouts
I think this is where CAS's luck runs dry and I think Bright Side has this one. This has the potential to be either the worst match or best match among the four. But I think BS wins it.

Can we win three matches in a row? I have no idea. What I do know is that we are going to try like Hell and hope that Bob is on our side and the ammo falls in our favor in each match. After that, it all just comes down to the fight. We know how to fight.

The rest we leave in the hands of destiny.

Poster Contest Results

FC, Can I Bring My Drake
One of my two entries, this one won 2nd place

I almost forgot about this because of the Alliance Tournament. But back on Friday CCP announced the results of their recent Vegas Propaganda Poster Contest. You can see the final results in this dev blog.

I've already tweeted a bunch on this subject, thanking everyone that participated and congratulating the winners. But let me do that again here in this forum - thanks to everyone that participated and congratulations to the two winners! Sincerely. I don't have an axe to grind or any secret agenda here, I'm happy with my 2nd place finish and the extra Plex. I can sell that and put it right into our Alliance Tournament Fund.

I've never entered a contest expecting to win. I enter contests hoping to win. Such things are a matter of opinion and I'm sure the judges used theirs to make the decisions on the winning entries. I'm extremely happy with this poster, as well as the other one I entered, and how they turned out. I also understand those that decided not to enter based on the restrictions placed on the entries by CCP, primarily in regards to ownership. I also agree with those stances. However I honestly don't mind if CCP now owns my Drake illustration because there is no chance of me using it anywhere. So good on them.

In the end I had fun executing this idea that has been banging around in my head for awhile. Hopefully someday, somewhere, it might actually get used for something. That'd be cool.

Until the next contest.

Hidden Threats | AT Second Weekend

The clip above is my stream interview with Apothne on Saturday. Thanks to Eve-NT and +10 gaming for the opportunity. I missed two practice matches to be there, which may or may not have contributed to what happened on Sunday. I'm kidding of course. If someone gives you a chance to promote your Alliance you say yes. No brainer.  So I was happy to do it and I think it went pretty well. You guys got to see a little of our Art Studio which is still a little messy after hosting Steel City Eve the weekend before the AT started.

As you all probably know by now we lost our Sunday match against CAStabouts in what turned out to be a really nasty brawl. We both landed our mainline machines at zero, in the replay you can see our Leshak's literally nose to nose at the beginning. First of all I want to say congratulations to the CAS team for a well played match. I didn't expect TD drones and I certainly didn't expect them to be so effective against our main damage dealers. So well played. Best of luck to your team the rest of the way.

This time last year we were still undefeated going into the third weekend, eventually losing to Lazerhawks and Brave. Having already gotten thru Hard Knocks, Volta, and Shadow Cartel. And while this year has turned out slightly differently, our opponents are ALL still in the tournament. Is there another team that has played three matches against opponents that are all still in it? I don't think so. (And yes, I am spinning things because that is my job as Alliance Executor and CEO of Stay Frosty. Shockingly, I am pro-ABA.)

There are a hundred small decisions that go into every single match. There is rarely one or two that you can look back on and say, "That's why we lost." There will always be those idiots that don't know any better who will offer criticism cloaked as advice. The challenge when coming off of a loss is to stay focused, don't second-guess yourself into paralysis by analysis, and stick with what got you to the dance in the first place. We suffered from that last year and as a result we barely showed up to the Brave fight. That was a mistake that we worked to correct in the off-season.

But despite all the practicing, planning, and preparation sometimes you land on the field in a situation that is obviously not in your favor. And, in the span of mere seconds, you make decisions that seem obvious at the time that slowly eat away at your chances at victory. It happens to everyone. In the light of hindsight we made a few very small decisions that escalated into our defeat. That is the slim difference between victory and defeat sometimes. And we've discussed this over and over again, we all know these things. And hopefully we will learn from them, build on them, and take those lessons with us into the remaining matches in our run.

As always I remain incredibly proud of our team and everyone in A Band Apart that continues to support us. No matter what happens next, that will never change. We continue to punch way above our weight-class and make a name for ourselves amongst the biggest Alliances in all of Eve. And that remains, and will always be, something that all of our players can take pride in knowing.

I don't know the specific stats off-hand, but I know that most AT Winners seem to come from the losers bracket. And that is now where we find ourselves. It doesn't get any easier. But this is the furnace from which we can forge our own destiny. I'm excited to see what happens next.