Why Race?

The Death Race is barely over a week away and as usual, registrations are slow.  I suspect many people are asking themselves, why should I race?  Here are some solid reasons why participating in the race is a great idea.

• It's Fun!
No matter who you are the DR is a structured, organized way to have fun in Eve.  Podding is forbidden, so the only risk you run is in losing your ship.  Sure there are additional dangers involved from the locals, but that's what makes your heart pound.  I can assure you this, you will have fun and it'll be a story you'll tell for a long time to come.

• It's Different!
It isn't the same 'ol same 'ol.  No matter what you do in Eve you have a spaceship and that's all you need to race.  Wormholes, mining, building, even PvPers, the DR is something different.  It gets you out of your rut and gives you a chance to connect with new people, enjoy a part of space you might not otherwise ever visit and experience something new.  Those are all things that can be hard to come by in Eve.

• It's Exciting!
Just look at the comments from the last race, everyone that participated had a great time!  You will have fun and your heart will race along with your ship, believe me.  That's the whole point of why I do this thing, even when it is really a super pain in the butt to run it.  You'll have a good time and you won't have to dance with anyone you don't want to.

• It's Prize Worthy!
The prize pot continues to grow and someone has to win, it might as well be you!  Everyone in Eve has the skills needed to win the Death Race and so do you.  Speed, luck and a touch of daring is all it takes and you could take home some serious prizes!  Where else can you spend an hour and end up with 600 MILLION ISK in your pocket!?  Along with a faction ship or two?  I can't think of anything.

ALL proceeds from the race go directly into the prize pot, so the more entries we get the bigger the pot gets!  Every single red cent goes out to the racers and nothing goes to me or anyone else associated with the race.  Same as last time and same as next time.

What else are you doing next Thursday that will exceed the fun you'll have in Eve from being a racer in the Death Race?!!

C'mon.  From the furthest reaches of Null to hi-sec the answer is nothing.  So get up off your butts and send your measly 5m isk to DeathRace2011 and enter now!

It'll be a lot more fun with you there.

Top 10: Most Amazing Things About Eve

Yesterday we took a look at the most frustrating things about Eve, so today in the spirit of fairness, I thought we'd take a look at the other side of the coin.  The Top 10 Most Amazing Things About Eve!

Again, these are my own personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Eveoganda Incorporated or its affiliates, employees or stakeholders.  Any opinions expressed herein are strictly self-inflicted and hopefully insightful and illuminating.  Or entertaining. And never dull or boring.  

In some type of order.  They could be in any order, but this is the order they are in.

When the rubber meets the road Eve is about the people in it, you, me and all those other knuckle heads who are ignoring their friends and family to play internet spaceships.  The game can certainly be played solo and alone I suppose, but that is simply sad.  In my nearly three years of playing Eve I've met a ton of truly good people from around the world, England, Australia, Crete, India, Russia, France, Chile, Argentina, New Zealand, Whales, and dozens of other countries (and places like Canada) that I wouldn't have met any other way.  I'd like to think that in some way, virtually or otherwise, that they are all friends.  This is the heart of Eve in my opinion.

C'mon now, we get to fly spaceships!  I don't know what it is about Eve, but it is unlike any other space video game or MMORG that I've seen or experienced.  For some reason beyond my reckoner to reckon, it doesn't feel like I'm driving pixels around, it feels... better somehow.  The experience is well and truly great in space, the beauty of the universe, the worlds, the ships, it all works and it drives me to undock and enjoy it.

As much as I hate it sometimes, the long skill train in Eve is friggin' brilliant and whoever is responsible for setting it up the way they did deserves a bronze statue in Iceland.  Skill training is the great equalizer and also the most equatable and fairly considered method of growing a character over time that I have knowledge of.  It isn't perfect and no one rails against those imperfections as much as I do, but it is amazing and deserves to be on the list.  It is truly the backbone of Eve.  A strong foundation that keeps us all on the same playing field. Brilliant.

I am constantly amazed that the damn thing even works.  It is Global, it is insanely complicated, it delivers amazingly detailed 3D imagery and game play around the world almost 24/7, it involves thousands upon thousands of people, and despite our bitching it usually manages to do all of that with little or no serious problems.  Consistently, day after day.  From a single server source.  Whoa.  The whole thing might as well be magic as far as I'm concerned, but the fact that it works is deserving of some praise.

The out-of-game version of the in-game comaraderie I mentioned above, the Eve Community is an amazing and wonderful thing and I am proud to be a small part of it.  My fellow Bloggers, Pod-casters, forum directors, twitterites, facebookers, or however else they manage to contribute, are an amazing bunch of characters.  I enjoy them almost as much as I enjoy playing the game.

6. Player Vs. Player Combat
You might be surprised that I would rank my favorite thing about Eve so far down the list of the most Amazing things about Eve.  But you shouldn't be.  PvP is my favorite thing, but that doesn't make it as amazing as the others above it.  But a good fight is a rare and amazing thing to be cherished.  Goodness knows I've talked enough about the ballet of battle, of the huge fleet fights and the solo 1v1 combat and everything in-between, so I'll just leave it at that for now.

The Universal economy of Eve is simply amazing, the complexity, depth and vastness of every aspect is incredible to consider.  And it works pretty damn well.  Resources are harvested, converted and consumed at an amazing rate and given the breadth of its services and goods, it manages to drive a vibrant and rich tapestry of events and universal exploits.  For vast Alliances, Corporations and the individual pilots.  Amazing.

It is constantly amazing to me that more people aren't pirates.  lol.  Seriously though, Eve presents to each player an amazing and rich selection of possible career paths, from industrialist to wormhole explorer to miner to builder to warrior to scout to solo roamer to pirate and beyond, the choices are vast.  The breadth of that open world, and the fact that people actually choose some of those paths for real, is simply amazing.

Originally I had this ranked higher on the list, but I decided to move it further down.  To me it is probably the foundation of all the others above it, but the fact that Eve is such a sandbox perhaps isn't, on its own, amazing enough to warrant a higher ranking.  The fact that I can log on and do whatever I want is pretty amazing, in fact, I could log on and do nothing at all.  If I wanted.  Or I could get in my ship and fly all the way across the universe park in a system and mock people in local all day, and that would be ok.  lol.  And don't think for a minute that I haven't already done that a few times.

10. CCP
I do my share of bashing these guys when I think they deserve it, so it is only fair that I give them credit when they deserve it.  Without CCP all of the things above would have been impossible, in fact they wouldn't even exist.  I'd be writing a blog about something else and my innate need for 3d internet spaceships would probably be going unfulfilled right now.  And that would be sad.  So to all the folks at CCP, thank you.  You guys are amazing and we appreciate you.

I was kidding about Canada.

What are some of your most amazing things about Eve?

Top 10: Most Frustrating Things About Eve

Welcome to a new feature here on Eveoganda, the Top 10!  Today we'll take a look at my personal Top 10 Most Frustrating Things About Eve.  Tomorrow we'll take a look at the Best Things About Eve.

These are in order, from what I consider the most frustrating to what I consider the least of the most frustrating, but still extremely frustrating.  They could be in any order, but this is the order they are in.

Dying to another player is part of the game.  But dying because of lag or a failure of game mechanics tops my list of the most frustrating part of the Eve experience. This happened to me yesterday, I knew my ship was doomed so I was prepared, aligned and spamming the warp button.  No lag before I exploded, but plenty after.  Once I finally gained control of my pod I was already pointed.  This, in my opinion, ranks as extreme frustration.

It is cliche to rail against the "blob", so I'd like to take a different tack.  Large fleets are part of the game, but when you warp your Battleship into one of them, is it right to expect instant death?  I'll have more thoughts on this later, but dying before you can even activate your mods is silly in my opinion.

Spying, stealing and other types of shenanigans are all part of the game and I don't have an issue with any of them. But local scammers are frustrating and not necessary to anyone, plus they can be extremely... well, frustrating.  I've only been scammed once back when I was a Noob, but I know plenty of others that have been.

We need more for these people to do, or we need to eliminate the play-style in my opinion.  Faction warfare is dead so these people have nothing better to do than fly around in huge blobs and ruin low-sec.  How you say?  When a huge FW blob is around everyone docks up, so there isn't anyone in space to play with.  Fix FW or kill it.  That's my opinion.

Eve is a commitment, we all understand this, but it also takes a lot of time to play.  Often we only have available play-time in short bursts and there really aren't many choices when that happens. The result is station or gate camping for most people, or spinning in station.  Often most players choose not to play Eve.  That's sad.  Personally I think the Thunderdome idea is the best solution for this frustrating issue, but that's me.

I've been saying this since I started playing Eve and I won't stop saying it until they fix it, it is extremely frustrating that I can't look out of the station!  They don't have windows in the future?!  I know they do, cause I can see them on the station when I am outside!  So why can't I look out and see what is hanging around out there?  Sheesh.  Maybe Incarna will fix this annoying issue.  And maybe it won't.  Be a lot less station camping.  And that would be better for everyone.

This is very frustrating.  For those of us that run Corporations or Alliances the level of control and how those controls are organized is a constant source of frustration.  Just the simple act of assigning roles, removing roles, organizing roles or doing anything else with roles is arcane and complex.  And that is just one aspect!  They've done a lot to make the system better but they haven't gone far enough in my humble opinion.

Personally I think it is stoopid that I can only train one character at a time on any one account.  I have two other character slots that are mostly useless UNLESS I buy another already trained character, or I stop the training on my main character.  This is frustrating and stoopid.  In my opinion, eliminate one of the available character slots but allow me the ability to train both my characters at the same time.  Done.

Few things frustrate me more than cowards.  This is a hard concept to get across in such a short paragraph, but bear with me.  I'm not talking about running away from a blob, or a guy who is clearly older or more experienced than you, that isn't cowardly.  I'm talking about running away from a fair fight, I'm talking about getting into a fair fight and then bringing your buddies along to make sure you kill the guy who started the "fair" fight.  There are other examples, but they are all symptoms of cowardice.  You all know who you are.  And I hope every last one of you chokes on it.

Frustration itself is very frustrating and I don't see the need for it, but there it is.  I'd like to see it eliminated, but the only person that can do that is me.  Frustration is a personal experience and it varies from person to person.  Personally I find it frustrating that I can fly thru low-sec for two hours and not find a good fight, others may not feel that way.  And so it is with Eve, one man's anger is another man's treasure, or something like that.  I think you get the idea.

Tomorrow we take a opinionated look at the best that Eve has to offer.

What are some of the things in Eve that really frustrate and annoy you?

Narwhals Ate My Duck

Next to fighting spaceships and running the coolest Corporation in Eve, working on commissions is the most fun I get to have.  I really enjoy not only the work itself, but also the chance to meet and help so many different people.  I know I am horribly late on my project list, but I am trying.  As always I can assure you that you'll receive my best efforts and sometimes that takes longer than I expected.  Life is a bitch and with a large family, work and everything else to deal with... well, y'know.

Anyway.  Today we are talking about Narwhals!  The good folks at Narwhals Ate My Duck, a crazy bunch of nutters who live in those Wormhole things (I dunno), asked me to create an Alliance logo for 'em.  And maybe a Wallpaper.  Well now, how could I say no to that?  Just the name alone meant I had to have something to do with it!

So the in-game icon was a blast to create.  Originally I thought I'd try something more symbolic, representational, but despite some cool paths it just didn't work.  Then I happened upon this sketch I had done years and years ago, a series of clipart icons I had designed for the National Geographic Magazine believe it or not.  Hey, I am not above re-using and recycling my art.  The series was about whales and sure enough there was a Narwhal among them.  I cleaned it up a bit, rotated it cause the Alliance name does happen to be plural and the rest you can see for yourself.

The Icon in-game

Then it was time to create a wallpaper to celebrate the new logo.  Here I was a tad stumped.  Sadly I haven't spent much time in the Great White North, so my supply of available Narhwal photos was a tad... well I didn't have any.  Nor illustrations, nor napkin sketches, nor nothing.

Luckily I have resources.  I found surprisingly little in the way of Narwhals, but I did find this awesome photo that just might work.  It took some doing but I think it turned out pretty kewl.  I did a bunch of different versions for them, and these are two of them.  Feel free to download and enjoy them yourselves.

Narhwals Ate My Duck Wallpaper

And a more "grindhouse" version:
Narwhals Ate My Duck [GRINDHOUSE] Wallpaper

Death Rattle

In his mind he could see the Sun burning brightly nearby, his senses protected by the shielding deep within the confines of ship, shield, electronics, fluids and pod.  But he knew, as few humans could, the power of that star.  The deadly radiation spewing forth from its hellish surface.  No effect on the man or the demi-god capsuleer.  

But it played hell with his scanner.

The Enyo was a last -minute choice when he undocked and he wasn't comfortable with the ship.  HIs mind played across the interior, trying to remember why he'd forgone the usual fittings for something more untraditional.  The usual reasons.  His Father had been a tinkerer and Rixx shared that dna, he couldn't stop himself.  Even if it meant moments like this, unsure and fighting to be right.

The scanner dinged in his head.  Static from the surrounding radiation poured through, but the filters held firm.  So far.  The echo was faint, but he was certain the star screams held a Jaguar.  Trying to hide from me.  It won't work.

The nimble little ship turned towards the star and the left side of the ship dropped a few thousand degrees.  He could feel the shaking of the warp engines even within his pod and his fingers virtually hovered over the weapons controls.  In warp he commanded them to reload to more appropriate ammunition.  Ten seconds.  More than enough time.

The scanner had lied and his instincts were wrong by about 50 clicks.  The Jag was there alright, but to far to engage.  It was already aligned and he knew exactly where it was going.  The buzz in his ear meant local flight numbers had just increased and sure enough another pilot had just activated the Gate.  A moment later and the Concord beacon showed it as another neutral, but not just any neutral, this one was someone known to him.  Just yesterday he'd helped this pilot bring down a missioner, not long ago this pilot had thought about joining his Corp.  He parted his mind and concentrated on the target.

This would be his fatal mistake.

The warp trail was clear and sure enough the Jag had warped directly to where he thought they would.  Already aligned his Enyo burped back into warp, this time he'd guessed right, this time he'd catch the damn thing and kill it.

His heart started pounding in his chest and he knew he'd be right.  Bam, right on target.  His fingers virtually danced across the controls and boom, they were dancing.  The Jag had the advantage at first of course, this was expected.  Let me get closer and then we'll see.  The Enyo rattled under the bullets of the enemy ship and already Rixx was cursing himself for his lack of an Armor Repairer, already he was making mental notes to stop trying out new fits, already he was working out the changes he'd make next time, already he was counting on victory.  He always did.

The tide of battle was turning already, just a little closer and the Jag would really start to feel his Blasters.  Already bits and pieces of the damn Minmatar ship were sailing off into space.  The tide turned then, but in unexpected ways.  The Rifter came down out of the sun, the scanner blind to it's arrival, already its guns adding to the already desperate armor damage he was taking.  Rixx smiled in his pod and he knew his little ship was doomed.  Well done he thought, well done indeed.  The little bitch had used our familiarity against me.  He'd remember this moment, but for now he swung his ship around towards the nearest Gate.  He might lose the Enyo, and so what the fitting sucked after all, but he wouldn't give them the benefit of his pod.

He broadcasted good fight over the local channel and jumped back through the Gate.

Perfect -10

I finally reached another milestone yesterday, after a week of hovering at negative 9.99, I finally hit the perfect -10 on my character sheet.  It took some work, as I needed to kill and pod a lot of people to get there!  6 pods killed just yesterday, I was beginning to think the damn thing was stuck!

Apologies to those that got in my way yesterday, nothing personal, but when you have a goal you are trying to reach - well, some people have to be sacrificed.

Special thanks to Commpot, whose Stabber and pod were the ones that finally clicked the numbers over to the bottom.  And a special shout-out to byExpert for sharing.

There might be those reading this that are saying to themselves, "Well there he goes, like this wasn't predictable."  They are partially right of course, once I started down this path this was inevitable.  But those that poo-poo are missing the bigger picture here.  Much of that bigger picture has to remain hidden, but I can tell you this much (and for those that read regularly this shouldn't be a surprise), I don't do things half-assed.  I never have and I'm not starting now.

So be aware that this path is more than just another tale of a solo pilot turning pirate.  If you think that, then you really need to start thinking bigger. If you think that, then you really need to start thinking... period.  This path has always had more to it than that simple tale.  How much more?  Well that remains to be seen, nothing is written in stone.  The future has yet to be written.

We make plans, we formulate strategies, we try our best, but in the final analysis none of us know what tomorrow holds.  Just ask those Rapture people what happened on Saturday.  Hoping and wishing doesn't make it true.  The crazy prophets make their plans and strive to make the future adhere to those plans, no matter what happens.  The visionary knows that tomorrow, no matter how much it might change, is adaptable because of those very changes.  The path rolls on.

I can't tell you exactly where Lucifer's Hammer is headed.  But I can tell you this, just look at where we've been.  Look at the past, the part that is now written in stone.  We are building something here that is very special, our own culture, our own forged in blood mentality of unbridled FUN.  And we're being extremely successful at it.

Months and months ago I told you that would happen.  That I hoped it would happen.  And here we are.  That doesn't make me a prophet, or a visionary, it just makes me determined.  And that is what reaching the perfect -10 means to me.  It is an outward sign of that determination.

So what next?  I guess we'll have to discover the answer to that one together won't we?

Getting Fit: 3x Low Sec

We all know that living in Low-Sec is different than living in Null.  Duh.  But knowing something and really, really knowing something are two different things.  Having spent the majority of my Eve life in Null up until about four months ago, this really, really deeply knowing thing has taken some time.

Low-Sec is at once much easier and safer than Null and also more dangerous.  In point of fact I'd say they are about the same in level of danger, just in completely different ways.  Fundamentally however, one major difference impacts how you fit ships for Low as opposed for Null, and that is the lack of bubbles.  No bubbles at all, no gate bubbles, no drag bubbles, no bubbles popping out of bubble making machines or ships.  This one fact of life makes a huge difference not only in tactics but in how you fit your ships.

It would be lazy to simply write this off to a question about propulsion mods, that mwds are for Null and abs are for Low.  It isn't that simple, in fact it is much more complicated than that.  And thinking that will only get you killed.  It comes down to tactics and how those tactics are applied more than anything else. We see that with Logistics, recons, mods and pretty much everything else we use.  It isn't especially intelligent for me to say that Low-Sec and Null are different, so I'll drop that line of thought, since that really isn't what this post is about.  But it does set the stage at least.

There is no doubt that the BC class is the workhorse of both null and low, it is without question the turn-to ship when you need to fight something or other.  Especially the Drake and the Cane.  I'm no different and those two ships are the ones I tend to rely on, along with my Tempest, the most when push comes to shove.  But there are also, of course, a wide range of other options for specific situations.  My new favorite "situation" being flying solo.  My favorite ship to fly solo is the Rifter and I always have 2 or 3 of them fit up and ready to go.  The Rifter is cheap and fun to fly.  But it is also a frigate and it tends to be limited in the range of targets it can engage.

Situationally there are other choices when undocking to seek solo action, but primarily my three most reliable choices are the Dramiel, Vengeance and Sacrilege.  It is harder to get fights in them than it is the Rifter, but the range of possible targets is larger, as is their versatility and staying power.

The Dramiel

Lots of people hate the Dram and for good reason, it is over-powered for what it is and someday CCP might just get around to fixing that.  But until they do it is a great ship in any situation, great tackle in Null and great solo ship in low.  It can't stand up to station or gate guns, not for long, but out in the depths of space it is killer.

After some trial and error from the way I fit my Dram in zero, I've settled on the following fit.  It is best low sec Dramiel fit.

2x 200mm AC II - RF EMP for shields, Fusion for Armor and Barrage for special circumstances
Small Nosferatu II

1mn AB II - or faction AB if you want. AB in low, keeps sig down.
Balmer Series TD - Tracking Speed Script
Warp Scram to flavor - doesn't really matter as long as it is high meta
Web to flavor - same as above

Adaptive Nano Plating II
Coreli C-Type Small Armor Rep - or variation, although I like that one the best

This is really up to you and I am still working on the perfect combination.  My current fit is:
Explosive Pump
Ambit Extension
Collision Accelerator

I go with warriors in low, ecms in null.  Any fight I get into in low is usually to the death in this thing and if I need to gtfo it still goes over 2k even with an AB!! WoOt!

The Sacrilege

The Sac is a good low sec ship because it can withstand station and gate guns for a good period, plus it is a HAM Based assault ship and can take on a wide range of targets.  It is slow and sluggish though, so you have to keep that in mind.

5x HAM Launcher II - Missiles to choice, I usually go with CN Terrors and keep others in the cargo
5W Infectious Power Thingie

J5B Scram
X5 Web
Medium Electrochemical Cap Booster
Y-T8 MWD - You don't use this much, but when you need it you need it.

Energized Adaptive 
800mm Rolled Tungsten Plate (There are those that go with 2x EANM, I prefer the plate to give the rep something to chew)
Medium Armor Rep

Medium Aux Nano Pump
Medium Trimark
(I also sometimes fit a dmg rig instead)

3x Warrior II - Mostly for killing other drones, or ECM if you want

The Vengeance

I admit I like the Vengeance mainly because it is all black and badass looking.  It is also a blast to fly and holds up rather nicely in most situations.  It isn't my favorite ship in the world, but I like having fun and the Vengeance is a fun ship.

4x Rocket Launcher II - Rockets of choice, again I prefer CN versions

Monopropellant I Hydrazine Boosters
J5b Scram
X5 Web

Adaptive Nano Plating II
Small Armor Rep II

Small Warhead Calefraction Catalyst
Small Trimark


Next time we'll take a look at some even more funner ships like the Daredevil, the Comet and others.

Enjoy and be sure to bring your ships into Low Sec for fun, adventure and good fights!

900 Kills

At some point yesterday it became clear to me that I had 899 kills on the BattleClinic killboard.  I primarily use BC because it is the only, to my knowledge, complete and accurate tally of my wins and losses.  I like other killboards, especially our own, but none of the others have all of the kills and losses.  So there it was, 899.

Now this week has been especially harsh for your friendly neighborhood blogger, I have been working my butt off on a major presentation.  Which is only a few short hours away and here I am writing!  I seriously need my head examined.  So I haven't had much playing time lately.  Yesterday was probably the worst.  At best I might get out of station for a few short moments.

I was determined that the 900th kill be a solo kill.  It isn't that 900 means anything special or monumental in the grand scheme of things, because it doesn't.  But it does represent something.  It may only represent that to me personally, but since I'm the only one living in my skin, that is usually the person I'm most concerned about.

With little time to play I decided on a small, fast ship with incredible killing potential - mostly so the range of targets would be bigger.  So I undocked in my trusty Dramiel and headed out, flying North and scanning my ass off.

Nothing.  Nothing and more nothing.  Oh sure, plenty of big ships or gangs of ships, or nasty FW fleets, but not a single chance for me and my ship.  System after system.  The hunter was becoming frustrated.  I started to think that maybe I'd have to wait.  Time after time I came close, but people kept warping away from me.  I can't blame them honestly, but seriously some of those ships probably would've killed me.  I've always had more balls than sense, just look at my losses.

I decided to head home and dock up.  As is often the case, that's when luck finally turns.  Sadly it wasn't the epic opportunity I was hoping for, but we take what we can get.  A Catalyst appeared on scan and lo and behold the poor unsuspecting pilot was actually ratting in a belt!!  A belt I just happened to already be aligned to.  Gift meet horses mouth.  The rest is easy and, in some ways, kind of sad.  The poor guy had no chance at all.  I felt a tinge of guilt, so I was a nice pirate and let his pod escape.  I even typed "gf" in local.  

Let me get this straight.  My first loss was like that, and it wasn't that long ago that the shoe was on the other foot.  I'm not going to stop killing poor unsuspecting pilots along the way.  Sure, I'd prefer epic battles and titanic struggles (honestly I would) but those are hard to come by.  But even a pirate can have a heart, so sometimes I may let a easy pod or two escape.  I personally hate being podded, so I've never been very blood thirsty when it comes to podding.  Even back in my Null days I rarely podded unless it was strategically important to do so.

As always Karma keeps the balance.  Later in the day when I had another brief moment to play, I lost my Sac on the station to a Drake.  Complicated story there, but suffice to say we had a plan and that plan didn't unfold properly.  It happens.  But that loss balances out the day.  You can't lose ships you don't fight with and you can't kill ships unless you fight.  While I am pleased at the 900 mark, I have much further to go and improve on.  A 9-1 rate over the last few months is good, but I can do better.  As always, time remains my biggest constraint on numbers and that isn't going to change.  So I plod along.

As I've always said, my biggest advantage is I won't quit.  There have been many other pilots along the way that have better records, or have stood in my way, or have scoffed at me or otherwise been a pain in my backside... most of them don't play Eve anymore.  I still do.

The Death Race

Why do the Death Race?

It is a good question.  There were times since last August when I seriously thought there wouldn't be another one.  It is a pain-in-the-buttocks sometimes and it takes a lot of coordination, effort and dedication to make it happen.  All without seeing a single iskie for myself.  But, in the final analysis, it also happens to be a lot of fun.

About that "single iskie" comment above.  In case you didn't know, no one associated with the Death Race sees a dime.  Not Rixx, nor Lucifer's Hammer, nor anyone else.  ALL donations, entry fees and prizes are distributed to the winners.  Believe me, it was slightly tempting last time, but this event is strictly for the Eve Community and all 4 BILLION in prizes and iskie was distributed to the winners.  And so it will be again.

Entering is easy, simply send 5m iskie to DeathRace2011.  That is the alt created specifically for collecting entry fees and iskie donations.  All entry fees go into the general prize fund.

Some donated prizes also go into the general fund and some are tagged by the sponsors for individual awards.  Like this one announced yesterday by Mike Azariah, 3 Federation Navy Comets to the first Gallente Ship or pilot across the finish line.

If you are interested in being a sponsor or donating, information is available over on the Death Race Blog, the link is at the top under the banner.

Also, in a few days, I will be making banners and bugs available that anyone with their own site can use to help promote the event.  Last year we had 60+ racers, this year I'd like to see us pass the 100+ mark!

Go Racers!  Get those entries in!

Zero Hour Alliance

Between and within and without the pressures of real life, job, family and the goings on within this crazy ass "game", social engine we call Eve, somewhere within all that I have a metric shit-ton of commission work on my plate.  I have to say this about those that have asked for my help, they are a patient lot.  And that patience is well appreciated by yours truly.  I can't begin to explain just how much.  For my part, I am plunging through it.  As always, every piece gets the same level of attention and I don't cut corners no matter how much I should.

I recently completed a couple of pieces for an Alliance called Zero Hour.  They being an anti-pirate Alliance and all, had no effect on my work.  As always, outside the context of virtual space, we are all the same in my humble opinion.  Heck, mostly in space as well.  At least until I see you in local.

Anyway, these misguided pilots needed an Alliance logo to get started.  

I think the logo has a nice WW2/Propaganda Style mixed with Tech, kind of look about it.  I also like how the Zero plays within the design in the middle of the wings, the evil red science fiction eye denoting a certain intelligence.  And yes, I do think about these things.

Zero Hour Alliance Art

Good luck to Zero Hour and thanks again for being patient, I hope it was worth the wait.

Now, on to yet another Alliance logo and the remaining list.  Hang in there, I will get to you all.

Go Big Boom

Your friendly neighborhood blogger is back.  A day off to provide much needed security for my son's school field trip, in which several attempted gate camps were averted successfully.  We did have a few ganking episodes but those were also dealt with in typical pirate fashion and the guilty will be spending some time in the brig.  So all in all a great day of Yarring around with hundreds of school children.  Which only makes Eve and blogging seem incredibly tame in comparison.

After the relatively semi-sorta nasty getting blobbed at every turn week I had last week, Sunday came around and it was time for some serious getting down to business and finding some decent fights time.  Or, failing that, time to organize a decent fleet and at least fight toe to toe with the blobbers.

We had some new friends coming up from Null to play with us, some guys from Greater Goon and Clockwork Pineapple.  We've been trying to get something together for a few weeks now and it finally looked to be happening.  Between us we managed to put together a decent enough gang, but once again we were banging our heads against massive blobbers and fleets.

As if often the case on the weekend however, we weren't the only ones out and about.  Seems our buddies over in Shadow Cartel and Pen Island were roaming up our way.  So we decided to fight fire with fire and we merged our fleets to try and deal with these "militias".

While the Cops in Eve are relatively harmless, more annoying than anything, these so-called "militias" are a pain in the ass for decent Pirate folk.  I imagine it wasn't that much different in the sailing ship days either, suddenly a safe port of call becomes annoying when the locals get it into their heads to organize.  Pfft.  More than that though, the militia pilots never flew alone or with less than 20-60-80 or more of them in a fleet.  I suspect Strength in Numbers is brightly tattooed on all their asses.

There is much about the ensuing fights on Sunday that I cannot tell you here.  Even us Pirates have our trade-secrets and we'd like to keep them that way.  What I can say is this, sometimes fortune smiles down on you from the First Gate and things go your way.  It didn't start out that way, reports of 100 man militia gangs, even some reports of Titans on the field, spread like wildfire.  Our gang was ready though and we've all been flying together for a long time now, we'd had plenty of practice on our tactics and our strategy and we knew our ships well.  So we decided to take the fight to 'em.

I wish you could have seen it.  There was some early posturing from both sides, mostly involving trying to get into the best position, but finally we all said screw it.  We set ourselves up and waited to see what they would do.  Sure enough their Carriers started undocking, at several points in the coming fight they'd have 6 Carriers on the field.  Heck, that isn't counting the Guardians and Oneiros, of which they had many.  They started sending in scouts to get a look at us, but we didn't budge.  Eventually they warped in the bulk of their fleet and the battle began.

Any kind of toe to toe fight like this comes down to several critical things.  Primarily among those is Logistics.  How strong is your Logi compared to the enemies, do your pilots know their job and how tough will they be under fire?  Proper kudos and mucho thanks to our Logi pilots!  They did an incredible job for being completely out-numbered on the field.  Other things are important, but proper and talented Logi?  That can be critical.

We were out-numbered on the field at least 2-1, maybe 3-1 at times.  The fog of battle reared its head once and reports came down that we'd lost significant Logi.  We de-aggressed and docked up in the station, but once the smoke had cleared it was clear we'd only lost one Basi.  So we immediately undocked and started up again.

At one point the Caldari guys showed up to add to the chaos in their Drakes.  They quickly regretted that decision as our tackle kept them at bay while we killed them all.  In the end we held and pwned large.  The battle reports are a little hard to decipher given the cross-fighting that was going on, Gal Militia shooting Caldari Militia and whatnot.  But it is clear when you look at it that almost all the losses for the day are on the other side.  Almost all the losses.  I haven't taken the time to add it all up, nor will I, but I've heard as much as 60-2, or 70-10, something like that.

You can decide for yourself.  The Shadow Battle Report and the Lucifer's Hammer Battle Report are here.  For my part, in my trusty Tempest, I managed to contribute significantly to 22 kills.

So the worm turns once more.  How long it'll stay on this side is always a mystery.

This is the best version of the final battle report.

And now with video!!  Check it out.


Are now posted over on the official Death Race Blog and will be going up on the various forums today!

This puppy is happening, so get your entrance fees in and let's race!!

Death Race Official Site

Blogger being down the last two days has thrown my schedule off, however, the new Death Race Blog is up and running now!  There isn't much there yet, but it'll start filling up in the coming days and weeks.  Official rules and entry information will be going up shortly, probably Sunday or Monday depending on stuff.

Again, anyone that wants to provide prizes or donate isk or help in some other way, please let me know.  You'll get all the recognition I can give you, links and whatnots on the official site, mentions during race day and afterwards, etc.  Be creative.

So anyway, back to work.


I'm not going to beat around the bush here, we need moar Pirates!  We're only halfway to our goal and Lucifer's Hammer is hungry for the right pilots to join our merry gang.

What is the "right" pilot?

First of all the term "Pirate" is a bit misleading.  The most important thing to know about so-called pirates is that they are players that like to PvP.  In fact, they like to PvP so much that they are willing to give up a lot of the things that other players crave in order to fight.  We don't do much else other than fight.  

Pirates are also among the most creative players in all of Eve.  How you say?  It's easy to make isk when you are part of a huge blobby blue club like the Northern Coalition, heck isk is dripping off the rocks up there.  It is also easy to make isk when you have access to hi-sec trading hubs, but try it when you don't have access to either.  So how do pirates make money?  That's the creative part.  I don't want to give away all our secrets, but our members do very well for themselves in a wide variety of ways.  From mission running to trading to building and more, it isn't as hard to make a living as other people might have you believe.

The other thing about Pirates that isn't given much credit is the social aspect.  Even among enemies and fellow Pirates a sort of mutual respect society exists.  We share channels, intel and often form fleets together for fun and for defeating common targets.  The same pilot you fly with in the morning may be in your crosshairs that afternoon.  Can't say the same for those boring old Null Sec Alliances now can you?

Now let's talk specifically about Lucifer's Hammer.  Almost four months old now, we are undockers and fighters.  We support all forms of PvP, including solo!  (A lost art in many corners of Eve)  We operate daily roams, form ups and opportunities that happen quickly - like, "Hey guys, there is a Thanny in the next system, let's go kill it!"  Which happens more often than you might think.

We are mostly looking for those pilots with 20m skillpoints or more, but we have room for those that are younger but made of sterner stuff.  Several of our younger trial members have already become full-time members.  The real point isn't the skillpoints as much as the desire, the passion and the commitment to fighting.

Check out our website and join LUCRH HAMMER TIME in-game channel to chat.  And if you have an entire Corporation that would like to consider playing with us, we are also looking for those to join our Alliance.

In the end ask yourself this question, are you having fun playing Eve?  If the answer is no, then maybe it's time you considered changing that.  We have fun playing Eve every day.

Bad Day

Sometimes things go your way and sometimes they don't.  Sometimes you get the bear and sometimes the bear gets you.  Some days are better than others.  The list of appropriate trite things to say about having an "off" day is almost limitless.  And while Monday's tend to be my own personal worst days in Eve, yesterday was a Tuesday.

So go figure.

All in all Lucifer's Hammer was 15-10 yesterday, which isn't the end of the world, but certainly isn't great either.  Typically we rarely have days like that, so it was unusual to say the least.  I've gotten pretty used to seeing mostly green on our killboard.  For me personally, three of those ten losses were mine.

It started off on the wrong foot.  A flashy Dramiel was on our station so I undocked in my Dramiel to see if I could get a fight.  Since it was Ministry of Failure he ran off.  (Ministry of Destruction lives in the same system as we do and they are notorious runners awayers.  They'll only really fight you if they have a overwhelming advantage.  As we'll see later in our story.)

I went a few systems over to help someone out but by the time I got there the situation had changed.  Seeing as how I had undocked the Dramiel without any drones, I figured I'd head back to get some.  Along the way a flashy Merlin sat on the gate. I pondered a moment and then he started shooting me, so I figured why not?  It quickly became obvious that I needed my drones as he was active shield boosted, but I could simply hold on long enough and he would run out of boosters.  Cause my Dramiel fit is boss and I was in no danger.  Sadly he knew this also and stopped shooting me and jumped away.  No biggie.

At some point the MoD guys in local started gathering on their station, which they love to do, and we decided we'd try some things to see if they would fight.  Nothing worked and believe me we tried.  Tiring of this we decided on a more direct approach, so with only 4 of us available, we undocked in a Tempest, a Drake, Cane and my shiny new Maelstrom.  We managed to get a couple of them off the station a bit and decided to engage.  Seeing as how the odds were only 12-1 in their favor, they called for additional back up and quickly the odds were more like 20-1.  My poor Maelstrom managed to get a few ships into structure before the full weight of the blob overwhelmed him, a Megathron, 2x Pilgrims, 2x Rapiers and a Falcon is what it took to bring the proud ship down and that took awhile. 

This was to be the theme of the day, futility.  When confronted by the blob the warrior is left with few options.  We do what we can to save our ship, help our corp mates, align to something in the hope that we can at least save our pod and pray for the best.  Later in the day I lost a Artie Cane to 5x Canes, 2x Drakes, Ferox, Myrm and a Blackbird - not to mention sentry guns.  There were 5 of us in our gang and they totaled about 20 or so.

Even later I would lose an Ishkur to a Drake/Myrm team on a gate, mostly because one of us DC'd immediately before we engaged.  This time I stayed to the bitter end to keep point since help was on its way, it just came too late.  Nothing to be done about that.  That was a good fight and we lost.  Shame it all hinged on one of us bugging out, but these things happen.

You might think losing three ships in one day would be disheartening, and it is of course.  But that isn't how I play Eve, I don't play Eve to "win" anything.  You can't "win" Eve.  I play Eve to play Eve.  If you are going to fight then you are going to lose eventually, and sometimes those losses tend to gang up for one reason or another.  It happens, it happened yesterday and it will happen again.  The good news is that victories also gang up and the only way to ensure they do is to fight.

So Angor and I undocked in our Megathrons and went on a quick MEGA ROAM!!  Sadly we didn't find anything to shoot at and only managed to get our poor scout popped in the process.  Heck, I even reported us on a few of the shared channels and nothing. 

Not wanting to end on a down note I fitted up another Artie Cane and went and killed this poor guy, with Fallout's help.  Which helped to alleviate his pain at losing that scout ship earlier.

Wonder what today will bring?

1 Per System

CCP Soundwave announced some changes to zero space stuff today that has the forums up in arms.  To put it mildly.  I'll try to keep my impartial hat on and take a look at these changes one at a time.

> Jump Drives
First of all, ships with Jump Drives won't be able to use Jump Bridges anymore.  Except for Black Ops.  This change is coming quick, on the 17th of this month.

While this change might make a few people angry somewhere or other, I can't see this as a big deal or a game changer.  It makes perfect sense and should have been done a long time ago.  It mostly means more POS hangers and a tad more planning.  Not a big deal.

>1 Per System
Now the big one.  Only one Jump Bridge per system.  For those of you that have never used or had the benefit of a Jump Bridge network, let me bring you up to speed.  It is possible, and happens all the time, that a gang of ships can move from one place completely across a region or two, without ever using a Gate.  You undock, warp to a Jump Bridge portal, jump thru and across a bunch of systems, warp to the next Jump Bridge and continue doing that until you either reach your destination or the end of the network.  As long as the JBs have fuel, you probably don't have to use a Gate.  Every Null Space Alliance of any size either has their own network or access to one.

With this change CCP is effectively making that scenario impossible.  You could use one Jump Bridge, but then you'd need to warp to a Gate and jump thru to get to the next one.  Maybe several jumps, it all depends on how clever the network builders are in your neck of the woods.

So now Null Sec gangs and fleets can't cross entire regions of space without going thru Gates.  This is going to make many, many people very, very angry.  Their fleets are exposed now.  A little intel and you can find out these networks and plan camps along the way, security has just gotten a tad more complicated.

I have to admit, if I was still concerned about a Null Sec Alliance, I'd be very upset.  But since I'm only concerned with shooting them, I'm extremely happy about this change.  So let's meet in the middle here and admit that this change will have some significant impact on the way things are done.

We'll see how much in the coming months.

As a bone, CCP is increasing the amount of fuel a Jump Bridge thingie can hold.  I really don't have a comment on this.

CCP is trying to increase "interaction" with these changes.  Personally I applaud them for the effort.  At the very least these changes, or really this one change, will help to increase the amount of actual PVP happening in Null.  Notice I said "help", it isn't a cure for the boring fleet dominated world that Null has become.  But it is a start in the right direction.  Just as ships need 'nerfed' from time to time, so does the larger game.  Eve is a constantly evolving universe that is being adapted and modified right under our noses.  Just when you get comfortable, along comes something new.  This is important, nothing static can last.  Eve needs these changes and others, in order to survive.

As usual I doubt these changes will have the exact impact that CCP is hoping for or that others are dreading.  Us Eve players are a creative lot and I suspect everyone will adapt and move on, wrapping their minds around the new order and finding ways around it.  

I hope this type of modification continues.  It helps to keep us all on our toes.

Now about those Low Sec changes I asked for?