EveSpace: Home Away From Home

I noticed over on CK's site a bunch of fellow Eve Bloggers posting their play spaces, which is always very interesting.  So, being one never shy about band-wagon jumping, I was inspired to post my own.  I just took this photo with my iPhone and made zero attempts to clean it up or add more stuff to it.  This is a snapshot in time, just the way it looked trapped in a shuttle in my new home, waiting for my fleet to be delivered.

Late last Summer I forgot to upgrade my Clone and had to re-train Heavy Missiles V, so you can see the rather large "Upgrade Clone" post-it stuck to my monitor.  Not much else is Eve related in this photo, other than my trusty Blue Snowflake microphone and the small note under the monitor, which is my ECM racial cheat-sheet (A=Y, C=B, G=AQ, M=R) which anyone who actually uses ECM Jammers will know what it means.

Click on the image to see it bigger.  And yes, I use Apple Mac exclusively and have since the late '70's, which probably tells you more about my age than I wanted to.  (NOTE: Yes the Mac came out in 1984, before then they were called Apple IIs.  Of course I also used to use Tandy's, Commodores and PET... heck I even had an Atari 400 which I ugraded to Atari 800 with 64k of RAM baby!  I've been a geek for a long ass time.) The actual computer is on the floor off to the side of the desk, next to the THX surround sound system.  The 2 hard drives are both 1,000 Gig (one just slightly older than the other, hence the size difference)... not sure what else to tell you.  Especially since I should be getting back to work now.

Eve Sense of Scale

This video does a pretty good job of relating the size of certain ships in Eve to the Real World.

New Scorpion

You can read about the new Scorpion and potentially more on this blog post over on BattleClinic.  It looks like the Summer 2010 Expansion will be bringing with it some new designs for certain ships.  With the promise of more in future expansions.  No word on how many will be included in the Summer Expansion.

In my humble opinion the Caldari ships have always seemed much "older" in design than the other races.  And I don't mean in terms of role-playing age, but in terms of game design age.  Like Atari 2600 versions, big, clunky and without a lot of style.  It is heartening as a primarily Caldari pilot that they'll be getting a much needed make-over.  Yeah!  I have to admit, the Scorpion is much better.  I may even have to start flying it more often now.

Click the image for a much bigger preview.

I Need More Cowbell

For the last few weeks I've been hanging out in low-sec with a quickly formed Corp of other Providence Ex-patriots wondering what to do next.  This time has coincided with a general lack of real playing time and a busier than usual real life, which is always very busy to begin with.  So it was a welcome respite.  None of us were sure if this situation would be temporary or if it might lead into something else.  After a few weeks I think that decision really came down to an individual choice and I decided that it wasn't a long-term solution for me.  Low-sec pirating is ok sometimes, but I much prefer the freedom and competition of zero space.

I also decided, that while I have several open invitations to join other Corps and Alliances around Eve, that it was time to try something different.  This is no reflection on the many, many friends that I've made during my time in the game, but I wanted to join a Corp and an Alliance that I had little or no interaction with in the past.  New horizons as it were.  And so I set out to find such a place, hopefully one that had some of the criteria I outlined in my previous post.  That would be hard to know of course, until I was actually in the Corp and the Alliance.  But there are ways of finding out as much as you can.

In the end, after speaking with many people and talking with several Corps, I decided on More Cowbell, a Corp in the Cult of War Alliance.  They seem like a great group of people, with very respectable killboards, a great and open philosophy, and they happen to be blue to several former friends and their Corps as well.  Which was a bonus.  I've spent the last few days once again moving and selling my assets, which is rapidly becoming my real expertise in Eve!  Sheesh.

Hopefully sometime today or tomorrow I'll get myself down to COW space and start flying with my new Corp mates.

A Place to Hang My Hat

As I outlined in this post, my employment history continues to be one long search for a place to call "home" within the Eve universe.  My criteria for such a place doesn't seem all that difficult or out-of-line or demanding or unreasonable.  In fact, to me at least, it seems rather simple.

If I was forced to write what I am looking for down, it would look like this (in no real order):

• PvP Focused.  A lot of corporations will tell you they are PvP focused when they are not at all PvP focused.  Even when their killboard or ranking might lead you to believe otherwise.  This can be very tricky.  To me it is simple, is the main effort of the corporation fighting bad guys, defending space, or going into enemy territory to destroy them?  Is participation good within the corp in such events?  Good participation varies obviously, while double digit percentages are awesome, that might not be possible in all cases.  In Provi we were lucky to get 5-6% of the Alliance to fight.

• A Good Mix.  Another important element is the mix within the Corp.  This has nothing to do with the spread of skillpoints and ages, and everything to do with how that spread relates to me as a player.  In other words, I respect that certain Corps have SP limitations and I understand that.  I don't want to be in a Corp where everyone else is 20 million skillpoints further along than I am.  That's no fun.  I also don't want to be in a Corp where I am the only Senior member, believe me, I know that is no fun.  I don't mind teaching, but I don't want that to be my occupation.  A good mix is critical.

• The Two Way Street.  This is the hardest one to define, but it might just be the most important one of all.  I never ask much of any Corporation I am a part of, but I do expect some return on my investment.  When they invite me in they are getting an exceptionally dedicated pilot who will risk everything he has in pursuit of the Corp/Alliance goals.  That is what I do.  And really, that is all I do.  In return for that commitment, I do expect something in return from the Corp.  I'm not sure what exactly, support, respect, whatever it might be I don't ask for a lot of it, just enough to let me know my efforts are appreciated and that I am actually contributing to something.

The rest is icing on the cake.  Killboards, Forums, Comms, ship replacement programs, every Corp/Alliance has their own version of these things and they are nice, but they aren't what really makes a difference.  The real difference is the people.  When it comes down to it, that is the real difference.  In my experience, good people are not hard to come by in Eve.  I've made many, many great friends in this game.  And I don't regret a single thing that I've done.

But I am still looking for that place.

Merlin Size

My Eve Epiphany

I was bored yesterday.  Boredom mixed with very little playing time always brings out... how best to say it?  It brings out  invention.  Sometimes this invention results in me flying to the edge of the map and back, just to see if I can.  Sometimes it brings out flying into enemy space and being annoying for a really long time.  Sometimes it means fitting ships in new ways and seeing if it works or not.  Sometimes it means getting blown up and sometimes (more often than not thank you) it means blowing something else up.  Yesterday it meant getting in my Manticore and flying 37 jumps back to Providence.

The idea wasn't given much thought.  Ostensibly the trip was to pick up the few remaining pieces of faction modules I had forgotten when I left.  The other part was to see what was going on in 9UY for myself, which turns out to be almost nothing at all actually.  I think me and a few guys I know could've re-taken the system ourselves yesterday.  But hidden among these rationalizations was the real purpose.  A purpose that I wasn't aware of until after I blew up the Blue Retriever.

I had an epiphany as I sat in the Ice Field and watched my (then) potential victim ice mining.  It had nothing to do with how easy the kill would be if I chose to pursue it.  It also had nothing to do with the fact that the pilot happened to be blue to my Corp.  Due to a complicated series of strange decisions that I won't get into here, certain Corps within the same Alliances were set red and certain ones were set blue.  In my mind, it was an either-or question.  Either they are red or they aren't.  Of course I asked for and received approval from the Corp Directors that were on at the time and then I killed it.  Boom.  Not the "boom" of the ship, but the "boom" of that epiphany.  A sudden flash of insight into this wacky game of ours.

And if you've been reading the blog you can probably see this coming.  It hit me that I was finally playing the game and the game wasn't playing me.  I think I just climbed up onto that famous Eve plateau and realized it didn't have anything to do with skill points after all, it had everything to do with the game itself.  And my relationship with it.  I was free for the first time since I joined my first Corporation.  I had, in 3 well-placed volleys, removed the shackles of loyalty that others had placed upon me for no good reason.  The loyalty that they expected from me was a one-way street.  Very seldom if ever returned in any tangible way.  As the famous Middle-Eastern saying goes, "The past is dead."

Long live the future.

Having Fun

I'm having fun again in Eve.  It has been over two weeks since I properly blew up another pilot's spaceship.  Normally these two events would not be together.  And yet, they don't really have anything to do with each other.  I'm not having fun because of the fact that I haven't kilt anyone.  Nor is the lack of explosions cause for having fun.  And yet, here I am, having fun again in Eve.  And it also happens that no one has exploded.

Well, not "no one" exactly.  I did blow up once on Monday.  I lost a Drake in a stupid engagement between three of us and three of them.  It started as an attack on a Curse and should have ended with the arrival of the Sliepner and the Cane.  But we fought it out and I exploded.  It happens sometimes.  And I enjoyed it.

Having fun does have something to do with being out from under the rules and regulations of the Alliances, out from under NRDS, standard fits, and the politics of it all.  I haven't read a forum post in those two weeks and I think that has more to do with the return of said fun than almost anything else.

And also, having fun has something to do with being a "pirate" now.  I've tried the pirate thing before, so it isn't anything new, but it has been a long time and I am enjoying the freedom.  At least for awhile.  I'm not sure it'll last however, we're already talking about moving back into zero.  So we'll see.

The last two weeks have also been incredibly busy in Real Life, so my Eve time has been even more limited than it normally is, which is also extremely limited.  This might also have something to do with the fun element returning.  In either case it is back and I'm glad for it.  Yeah.

Speaking of fun, I'll share with you a desktop I created awhile back based on a pilot I flew with.  In Corp chat he was always saying "touch it", which became something of an on-going joke.  I decided to create the following poster.  It is one of my favorites and I thought you might enjoy it even though you probably don't know Lord Drakken.

Lord Drakken likes to Touch It

The full resolution version can be seen HERE.

A Question of Loyalty: Part Four

Parts One thru Three are below if you haven't read them yet.

The thing about loyalty, the part that trips people up, is that it's a two-way street.  A lot like friendships that way, or relationships in general, both parties have to want to tango.  If not, well then that is called Blind Loyalty.  And while that might work out for you in a Cult, it doesn't work for me.  Give and take, not too much of either.  Hey, I believe that is called balance.

I've spent a huge amount of time and isk over the last year moving back and forth between places.  Selling off assets, getting ganked in my Badger, or jumping into a gate camp in my Gila, risks I wouldn't have been taking if things had gone differently.  Doing these moves has not only hurt my killboard, which I don't really care about, but took a huge chunk of time away from the game.  Which is something I do care about.  The "game".  Hauling, selling, dying while hauling, these are not "game" things, these are "work" things.  And I am growing tired of working in my game.  I have precious little time to give to Eve as it is, I want to make the time I do have count.

These last few weeks have been a whirlwind for me.  I came back to Providence to help out with the expansion into Catch, a struggle that I have been advocating for over a year.  Fully expecting to fight, the whole thing fell apart rather quickly in my opinion.  I never even really got a chance to fight much, at least not in any way that mattered.  And we are talking about 12-16 hour CTAs here, this was never a question of commitment, not on my part.  After the fall of D-GTMI everything vanished.  CVA wanted our leadership to quit, our leadership wanted to strike a deal with -A-, and everyone started moving assets out of Providence in a panic.  Nature abhors a vacuum and that's what we had for over three weeks.  That stress can't be sustained and eventually we started losing members and then entire Corps.

The final straw, for me, might have been a combination of events that all happened immediately after the subsequent fall of 9-UY (Capital of CVA).  Once again, under orders, moving assets to low-sec, then being told to move some of them back, all while our Corp leadership struggled to make any decisions, one of our members managed to steal 20 billion in Corp assets including an Anshar (a very expensive Jump Freighter for those that don't know).  These events led Angor and I to decide to leave Providence for good.  To move on and get the stink of Provi, NRDS and all the drama from our boots.

Fortunately we weren't the only ones thinking along those lines.  Convo followed convo and eventually, along with a great group of fellow PvP focused pilots, we decided to form a new Corp - Unforgiven Blood.  To focus on having fun, raising Hell and shooting anything that we want to shoot.  We're forming up now, not a lot of us at the moment and that's just the way we like it.

So that brings the story up to the present.  I want to play Eve and not have it play me.  I've learned to stay out of politics and try to focus on the parts of the game that I really enjoy.  It is a game and needs to be treated as such.  I'm hopeful that the following months won't involve any more moving, changing Corps, Sov warfare and lag fests, and just wall-to-wall shooting of other people in their ill-fitted low-sec spaceships.

Point of the Sword

I continue to be fascinated by the idea of people within the Eve universe, what they do and how they live.  It is a mostly unexplored area of the game and I suspect that has something to do with it.  Within the context of the game itself, we have very little in the way of human on human interaction, it mostly being limited to ship on ship.  Which is odd considering just how much of a social experience Eve actually is.

For this creation, which might be my favorite one so far, I took the ideas I had developed in the Mechanics Corp image and took them a bit further.  Taking my favorite Interceptor, the Taranis, and placing it in a bright, sunny environment is the not-so-subtle joke behind the result.

I'd like to do more of these, but I continue to be challenged by scale.  So many of the ships we fly in Eve are so out of the human scale, that it makes these types of experiments difficult at best.  But I will continue to look for concepts that grant me that opportunity.

Point of the Sword

The full size 1920x1200 image is available HERE.

A Question of Loyalty, Part Three

Back in the early days when I first started playing Eve, I can remember being struck by some players whose histories were crammed full of different Corporations.  A long list of switching and moving that I found odd, having only experienced one Corp at that time, I thought it might last forever.  In fact, I had every expectation that it would.  And why wouldn't it? We had a good group of people, a nice mix of skills and skill levels, in a highly desirable location in Providence.  But it didn't last and it wasn't long before it started falling apart.  And so began my journey, a journey that hasn't ended, to find the right place to hang my hat.

Yesterday I was thinking that anyone looking at my current History might jump to the same conclusions as I did way back in the day.  It's funny because I consider myself a very loyal person, and despite the apparent switching around from my History, I think I've actually exhibited that in-game as well.  That might seem like a strange thing to say, but it is yet another example of why pure facts don't always tell the truth.  In fact, despite what it looks like, I have been very loyal.  Just not exactly in the way I originally thought.

Phoenix Industrial (LFA) - My first Corp.  I wasn't involved in the running of the Corp and I have a tremendous amount of respect for everyone I met during those three months, many of those players I am still on good terms with.  But things started going haywire at some point and we were going to have to leave Providence.  This is when my loyalty started becoming more about the Alliance than the specific Corp.

Dusty Death Enterprise (LFA) - This was an easy switch as I had been flying with members of Dusty while in the previous Corp.  During this first time in Dusty, Angor and I began getting the itch for the first time.  It's a big Universe and when all you've experienced is one part of it, it's easy to understand.

Inglorious Basterds - I talked about this in the post below this one.  We tried it and for a lot of reasons it didn't work out.  But we learned a lot and took care of that nasty itch for awhile at least.

Dusty Death Enterprise (LFA) - Back to Dusty.  Almost three months before, once again, things started getting weird.  Even to this day I don't understand exactly what happened, but a strange combination of events led to us trying to save Dusty by trying to destroy it.  We tried to re-form most of the Corp by forming a new Corp, a combination of events that led to the formation of...

BRUTAL Company (LFA) - Which lasted all of two weeks.  We somehow lost a POS tower, someone in the Corp stole a huge amount of materials and isk, and the whole thing spiraled out of control rather quickly.  Ending with Angor shooting a "Blue" by mistake and both of us running away into the wilds.

Tropical Killer Bananas - One day.  That was enough to convince me that Privateers wasn't anywhere I wanted to be.  At this point Angor and I split up for the first time, he went and joined a Corp in UK and I tried to find a way back into LFA.

Setenta Corp (LFA) - I joined Setenta to get back into LFA, mostly because I had flown with some of their pilots and respected them.  I still do.  But I was in the Corp for a very short time when they started talking about leaving LFA and moving up North.  After all the moving, drama and crap, I had no intention of doing this again.  But I was determined to find a Corp and stick with it.

Dissonance Corp (LFA) - I spent five months in DION, my longest time with a Corp so far.  I really enjoyed my time there and everyone that is in that Corp I have only the highest respect for.  At some point during my stay the Corp decided to leave LFA and this time I was determined to stick with the Corp first.  We moved a long way and it took a tremendous amount of effort.  Our new home in Insmother with Dogs of War and then Undivided was horrible for me.  I tried to make it work, but I wasn't making any isk (In fact I lost about 4 Billion in those months!) and finally decided that, while it wasn't the Corps fault, I couldn't stay in the Corp if they were going to stay in the Alliance.

Smegnet Incorporated (LFA) - My current Corp.  Back in LFA at the worst time possible.  My good luck continues as Providence comes apart under stress from both -A- and pets, as well as internally between CVA Holders.  Frankly it is simply a huge messy pile of political drama, as Corps leave, switch sides, systems fall, and leadership can't seem to make up its mind what to do next.  I have no idea where this is all leading.

The common thread?  Apart from bad luck, horrible timing, bad decisions (but good experience!) and often misplaced loyalties?  The Alliance.  I have been almost exclusively loyal to LFA from the very beginning.  That realization yesterday made me feel a bit better about my Eve career and the choices I've made, which without exception, I always felt were the best ones at the time I made them.

What will the future hold?

LFA Killboard Masthead

Click HERE for a bigger version.

A Question of Loyalty, Part Two

[ Part One of this series is two posts below. ]

I learned quickly in Eve that Prospecting/Mining was not the right career path for me.  Once I had a taste for player versus player combat I wanted more.  Being stuck with suddenly useless skills, deep in null space in a Carebear Corporation wasn't going to help things anytime soon.  But I started slow, and mostly stupid, got killed a lot more than I should have and also learned a tremendous amount.  Doing so I also started flying with other pilots that shared my goals. It was around this time that Phoenix started falling apart at the seams.  So I started looking for a new Corp.

That's when I joined Dusty Death and really started trying to focus on PvP and get my skill train on the right path.  That first month in Dusty was great and I learned a lot.  On hindsight it was probably too great, as my friend and I started thinking a bit to highly of ourselves.  We hadn't even been in the game six months yet and we started yearning for more.  It was sometime around this time that we decided to head to Empire and low-sec and start our own Merc Corp.  Ok, I'll wait until you stop laughing to go on...

Yes it was retarded.  But we gave it the 'ol college try anyway.  We had a great name, Inglorious Basterds (which no one had even heard of back then!) and dreams of being a force to be reckoned with.  We even managed to recruit some good pilots, mostly a friend of ours from Phoenix that was a Beta tester.  Believe it or not we actually started picking up some contracts and making some isk.  Things were going along pretty well for a short while.  Had we not experienced the perfect storm, I think we might have actually made something of it.  Sadly, we'll never know, because several events all happened at the same time.  It was a perfect storm.  Our friend disappeared.  We learned later that it was serious personal issues in Real Life.  This happened at the exact moment that we got our largest contract against a determined enemy.  A few other things also helped contribute to our decision to abandon INGB and head back to LFA and Dusty.  But I'll leave those for now.  (Some things are better left a mystery, even a year later.  Most of the people involved are still in-game.)

All of this was nothing compared to what would happen next.  The lessons continue.

Larger version available HERE.
(This is one of the only images I've ever done that isn't 100% original, or composed of images I own or purchased.  So the image is from the original teaser poster for Inglorious Basterds and content is ©copyright its original owners.)

Why do I love Eve? (Contest)

A week or so ago CrazyKinux (The godfather of Eve Bloggers) asked us to write a blog post about why we love this crazy, mixed up game thingie.  My blog post response is a few down the page and I was very happy to submit to the contest even though I had no desire or expectation to win anything.  56 other bloggers also submitted and, having read almost 90% of them so far, they did a super tremendous job of it.  So well done to everyone.

It must have been difficult to judge and I don't envy the challenge.  But I am also pleased that my post managed to come in 6th place, which is pretty awesome considering I just started this blog a month ago.  Although I have been blogging on other subjects for over four years now.  Still that is quite an honor and much appreciated.  So thanks to everyone, I'll try to keep the quality going in the months and years to come.

In the meantime, CK asked for our email address and mine is always available in the right sidebar right over there.  RixxJavix@gmail.com

A Question of Loyalty, Part One

As I stated in my previous post about why I love Eve, I entered the game almost by accident.  Mostly I just wanted to play the thing, without fully understanding what that meant or how important decisions are in the early stages.  Heck, I didn't even read the character descriptions or backgrounders, or really anything about the game at all, before I plunged right in.  I picked Caldari because my friend had picked Gallentee, and at first I thought the idea of being a Prospector/Miner was a good choice so I could make money.  Oops.

The same was true when it came to joining my first Corporation.  A decision I put off for a long time, it sounded like something that would take a lot of effort and I just wanted to play a game.  So, when I finally relented, I joined the Corp my friend had already joined.  Shortly after I joined, the Corp decided to move to Null Space in Providence and became part of Libertas Fidelitas, or LFA.  And that is pretty much how I came to be in LFA and why that decision has stuck with me for the past eighteen months.

I realize that writing the above kinda makes it sound like I just went along with whatever was happening.  That isn't exactly how it happened, but in the final analysis its as close to the truth as matters at this point.  The point is that before the dust had settled on getting started, I found myself in zero space.  Talk about a rude awakening, but it was also the best thing that could have happened.  No lounging around Empire running missions and waiting for my skills to catch up, it was time to harden up and get down to business.  My time in Phoenix Industrial was a great way to get started in Eve and the people I met in the Corp and in the Alliance were awesome, great teachers, and many of them are still my friends today.

Thus started my adventures in LFA.  A journey that would see me leave and return to the Alliance three times, start two Corps of my own, destroy several others and question if I would ever be able to find a place where I could finally hang my hat.

This is one of the first pieces I did in Eve, a header I created for that very first Corp.  More on my history in Eve in Part Two.

PIT Masthead

Join the Fight

This is the first post in a series that will highlight the way that propaganda can be used within the Eve universe and how it changes as situations change within the game.  A few weeks back LFA embarked on a CVA ordered expansion into Catch, which I called operation "Catch Freedom".  At the time I figured we needed an Anthem banner, something to stir the soul and get people to join in the fight.  It was no doubt going to be a long and hard-fought war and we'd need evey pilot we could get.

Little did I know at the time how it would all turn out, and mostly I still don't know, even weeks later.  But I created the following desktop image, which I think perfectly captures the mood, spirit and gun-ho nature I was looking for.  Luckily for me I already had the ships prepared from another poster I had done, so this one didn't take a lot of time.


You can download a 1920 x 1200 version by clicking HERE.

On request, I also created a CVA version, but I'm not going to post it since I am currently not happy with CVA.

Caldari Ship Size Chart

Back at the very first post in this blog I explained how I came to make a size chart for the Caldari Drake.  It struck me that the size comparison of that chart lacked something and while it certainly gave some sense to how big the Drake is, the sheer scale was missing.  The Drake is long, 726 meters or 2,381 feet tip to tail.  By comparison the Empire State Building is only 1,250 feet tall.  The Drake is almost twice as long as the ESB is tall.  It's a big ship.

Caldari Ship Sizes

I'll have to do some more of these soon. Which would you like to see?